TIFF Review: 'Eva Nova'

Eva Nová
(Slovakia, 106 min.)
Written and directed by Marko Škop
Starring: Emília Vášáryová, Milan Ondrik, Anikó Vargová
Programme: Discovery (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

The winner of the FIPRESCI prize from this year’s robust Discovery programme at the Toronto International Film Festival is the Slovak drama Eva Nová. Eva Nová is a sobering character study. The film offers a portrait of the toll that alcoholism wreaks on families as Eva Nová (Emília Vášáryová) tries to quit the bottle and sees with fresh eyes how her years of heavy drinking devastated her family. Eva Nová sounds like tough stuff—and rest assured that it is—yet newcomer writer/director Marko Škop laudably handles complex subject matter with sensitivity and restraint. This film and its director are going places.


'When Will She Be Back?'

The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?)
(Brazil, 112 min.)
Written and directed by Anna Muylaert
Starring: Regina Casé, Camila Márdila, Karine Teles, Michel Joelsas, Lourenço Mutarelli

“When will she be back?”

TIFF Review: 'Parisienne'

Parisienne (Peur de rien)
(France, 119 min.)
Written and directed by Danielle Arbid
Starring: Manal Issa, Vincent Lacoste, Paul Hamy, Damien Chapelle, Dominique Blanc
Programme : Contemporary World Cinema (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Do stories of migration need to be tragic in order to be compelling? TIFF’s Artistic Director Cameron Bailey raised a similar question this year while defending Kim Thúy’s book Ru in the 2015 edition of CBC’s Canada Reads contest, which Ru ultimately won, and it’s hard not to frame the TIFF selection Parisienne in the same light given that the programme notes bear Bailey’s name. Perhaps the most compelling thing about Parisienne is that the story of young Lebanese migrant Lina (Manal Issa) is anything but tragic. Even her lawyer observes that her narrative isn’t a sob story when she seeks advice on an imminent deportation. Parisienne frankly depicts a story of migration that feels perfectly ordinary. It’s defined by hard work, struggles, keen survival skills, and adaptation, but none of the tragedies that often polarize the subject. Parisienne dramatizes the everyday stories that make up the life of global cities that don’t make the headlines.


TIFF Review: Christopher Doyle's 'Hong Kong Trilogy'

Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled Preoccupied Preposterous (Hoeng gong saam bou kuk)
(Hong Kong, 85 min.)
Written and directed by Christopher Doyle
Featuring: Connie Ming Shan Yuen, Thierry Chow, Ching Man Lip, Vodka Pal Hei Wong
Programme: Contemporary World Cinema (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Grandmaster cinematographer Christopher Doyle makes his feature documentary debut as a director with the gorgeously bizarre film Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled Preoccupied Preposterous. (There should probably be some commas in there, but it’s an arty one.) Calling HK: PPP a documentary doesn’t do the film justice, though, since this free-flowing and artfully democratic docudrama infuses elements of fiction, non-fiction, and (arguably) performance art for a truly contemporary film experience. Don’t look at Preschooled Preoccupied Preposterous as straight documentary: this film defies convention for a fully immersive experience in a city framed anew.


OWFF Review: 'Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World'

Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World
(Canada, 74 min.)
Written and directed by Charles Wilkinson
Charles Wilkinson continues his string of BC-based eco docs with Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World and his latest documentary might be his strongest one yet. Wilkinson follows Peace Out and Oil Sands Karaoke with another look at the changing Canadian climate. This film shifts its focus from the Oil Sands (although they figure prominently) and the ravaged/ruined industrial scars of mainland Canada, and it turns its head to the idyllic archipelago of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia. Haida Gwaii carries a rich cultural history and the area remains one of the most isolated regions on Earth in which the population of First Nations persons remains the majority. Wilkinson looks affectionately at the lush ecosystem of Haida Gwaii in all its complexities and this lovely documentary portrays the last sublime place in Canada as an ideal community to which Canadians should aspire.

Felix and Meira' is Canada's Oscar Submission for Best Foreign Language Film

Canada has its contender! Felix and Meira is Canada's official submission for Best Foreign Language Film in the 2015 Academy Awards race. (Read the full Felix and Meira review here.) The film, directed by Maxime Giroux, is an understated love story set in Montreal’s Jewish quarter. The announcement came today as Telefilm Canada’s Carolle Brabant gave the selection via Livestream following a deliberation from Telefilm Canada’s Pan Canadian committee that annually selects the nominee. The film may be a tough sell to grab immediate votes since it’s a beautifully downplayed love story, but its power grows as time passes, which might give it legs for the long run.

'Mississippi Grind' a Dark Horse Drama

Mississippi Grind
(USA, 108 min.)
Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, Analeigh Tipton, Alfre Woodard
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
Can a character actor be a leading man? Can a leading man be a character actor? Vegas odds tell film buffs to bet on the actors who play strange, offbeat characters in the supporting races, but to stack chips on the more conventionally attractive (but not necessarily more talented) actors when it comes to the top dogs. Mississippi Grind is a dark horse victory, though, as the film gives character actor Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, Slow West) a lead performance that showcases his skills in top form and does the same for Canada’s Ryan Reynolds by offering a role that demands his leading man looks, but offers a challenge he has yet to face. Driven by two solid performances, Mississippi Grind plays its hand ever so smartly.

Into the Wild(like)

(USA, 104 min.)
Written and directed by Frank Hall Green
Starring: Ella Purnell, Bruce Greenwood, Brian Geraghty, Ann Dowd
If you liked Wild, then you’ll like Wildlike. It’s Wild-like. Wordplay aside, this walk through the vast expansive wilderness is quite the trek. As Mackenzie (newcomer Ella Purnell) crosses Alaska and escapes her past, Wildlike takes audiences on a quietly powerful journey.


Bruce Goes Smashing Pumpkins

(Canada, 82 min.)
Dir. Bruce McDonald, Writ. Pascal Trottier
Starring: Chloe Rose, Robert Patrick, Rossif Sutherland, Rachel Wilson
“No animals or demons were harmed during the making of this movie,” read the final credits of Bruce McDonald’s Hellions. McDonald returns to horror with a nod and a wink after delivering one of his best films in the revisionist 2007 zombie film Pontypool. Hellions has a high standard to uphold, and while it might not be Pontypool, this Halloween horror flick lets McDonald keep his status as Canada’s coolest filmmaker. Hellions plays with the icon of the Final Girl with a mix of monstrous mommyhood as teen mom to be Dora (Chloe Rose) gets some unexpected news—and visitors—on Halloween night. The kids are up to no good this Halloween as Bruce goes smashing pumpkins.

Chess Biopic a Duffer

Pawn Sacrifice
(USA, 114 min.)
Dir. Edward Zwick, Writ. Steven Knight
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Live Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Evelyne Brochu
Liev Schreiber and Toby Maguire in Pawn Sacrifice.
Elevation Pictures.

Here’s a metaphor: chess—a battle of the minds. Take two brilliant opponents and put them in opposition across a game board. Give them black and white pieces to signify their different characters and philosophies, and then have them do intellectual combat piece by piece until only one king stands.


2015 Ottawa International Animation Festival Winners

Small People with Hats
I was sad to have missed this year’s edition of the Ottawa International Animation Festival since the fest overlapped with TIFF. (The few films I saw were good though!) OIAF released its list of winners over the weekend with Small People with Hats taking the Grand Prize for Best Independent Short Animation. As the winner of this award, Small People with Hats is now eligible for a nomination for Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards.

The complete list of winners:


TIFF 2015: Festival Wrap-up and Best of the Fest

Michael Caine in Youth - My pick for 'Best of the Fest'
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
Yet another year at the Toronto International Film Festival is done for the books. 2015 marks my busiest and craziest year yet covering the Festival and, for better out for worse, it was a breathless pace for eleven days of festivalling. In total, I saw 44 features and 11 shorts, did 3 sets of interviews, and enjoyed 3 parties. I'd hoped to have covered even more films prior to the festival, but personal commitments occupied more time than anticipated on Labour Day weekend, so I spent the first few days of the Festival playing catch up while maintaining a commitment to documentaries for POV. In total, I saw two thirds of the slate of thirty docs programmed at the Festival. Coverage still has yet to be posted at POV, but about a dozen films will be covered there in reviews and interviews, while the rest will likely appear in the TIFF report for the next issue.

TIFF Review: 'The Witch'

The Witch
(USA/Canada, 92 min.)
Written and directed by Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw
Programme: Special Presentations (Canadian Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” asks Satan during one of the many unsettling moments of The Witch. This flat-out terrifying horror film ranks even higher than The Babadook on the scare scale: The Witch is one of the best horror films in years. Don’t expect gore (although there’s plenty of blood) and don’t expect pop-up scares and surprises. Those are boring; they’ve been done. The Witch takes horror back to its roots with a spine-tingling folktale that brings moments of genuine terror through the meticulous manipulation of place, space, atmosphere, tone, and character. Some things are best done the old way, and Robert Eggers’ The Witch is old-school horror at its finest.

TIFF Review: 'February'

(USA/Canada, 93 min.)
Written and directed by Osgoode Perkins
Starring: Kienan Shipka, Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, Lauren Holly
Programme: Vanguard (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF

February is the second Ottawa film this year to feature an exorcism, but at least this one doesn’t feature Ron Jeremy. February is a big deal for local film nerds because it created headlines this bleak and horrid winter when Emma Roberts chowed down on some wings at Shoeless Joe’s in Kemptville during the shoot for February. Roberts is a champ for braving the dearth of winter this February for February, since some days during the Ottawa-area shoot literally recorded temperatures colder than on Mars. The chill works greatly, though, as the grey coldness makes February a stark and chilling horror film. Roberts stars with Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka (terrific as a child disowned and then found by Satan) in this fractured tale of an all-girls school that sees grisly violence and demonic spirits.


TIFF Reviews: 'Guantanamo's Child', 'Ixcanul', 'Lolo', 'Maggie's Plan'

More capsule review catch up!

Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr
(Canada, 80 min.)
Dir. Patrick Reed, Michelle Shepard
Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)

TIFF Review: 'My Internship in Canada'

My Internship in Canada (Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre)
(Canada, 108 min.)
Written and directed by Philippe Falardeau
Starring: Patrick Huard, Suzanne Clément, Irdens Exantus, Clémence-Dufresne-Deslières
Programme: Contemporary World Cinema (North American Premiere)
Photo: Ronald Plant / Les Films Seville

Philippe Falardeau goes to war in the incisively sharp comedy My Internship in Canada. The film, which stars suave Québécois everyman Patrick Huard (Starbuck, Mommy) as Steve Guibord, a hockey player turned MP, opens with a satirical disclaimer that it depicts true events that have not yet happened, and the droll warning shows how well this comedy has its finger on Canada’s cultural pulse. Stephen Harper has irreparably changed the face of Canada during his reign and Falardeau knows that the best course of action is to recognize our faults, laugh at them, and then collectively ask where to go from there. If the next step is war, Guibord brings the fuel like Canadian politicians take a pie to the face.

TIFF Review: 'Sicario'

(USA, 121 min.)
Dir. Denis Villeneuve, Writ. Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro
Programme: Special Presentations (North American Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
Denis Villeneuve is a marksman. The great Canadian director of Incendies, Prisoners, and Enemy delivers another solid film with the exhilaratingly intense drug war drama Sicario. Sicario is Villeneuve’s second Hollywood production after Prisoners, and every ounce of his talent still stands. Like fellow Québécois filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée (whose Demolition opened the Festival), Villeneuve even improves in Hollywood. Sicario hits with deadly aim.


TIFF Reviews: 'Truth', 'The Wave', 'Room'

More capsule catch-up!

(USA, 121 min.)
Written and directed by James Vanderbilt
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss, Dennis Quaid
Programme: Special Presentations (World Premiere)


TIFF Reviews: 'In Jackson Heights', 'Hyena Road', 'Brooklyn'

Capsule review catch up time!

In Jackson Heights
(USA, 190 min.)
Dir. Fred Wiseman
Programme: TIFF Docs (North American Premiere)

TIFF Review: 'Youth'

(Italy/France/UK/Switzerland, 123 min.)
Written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Wesiz, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda
Programme: Special Presentations (North American Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
Youth shines with the wisdom of experience. Italian director Paolo Sorrentino surpasses the very high bar set by his well-deserved Oscar winner The Great Beauty, which scooped the prize for Best Foreign Language Film for Italy in 2013. Sorrentino moves back to English-language filmmaking here, but Youth carriers a higher, greater, sexier European flare. It's a Fellini-esque extension of his spectacular work in The Great Beauty that (re)affirms him a great Italian maestro as he joins a roster of international talent who all perform at the top of their games. One couldn't find a better film this year that reflects on the bittersweet richness of the golden years as an A-level ensemble that includes vets Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, and Jane Fonda gives audiences one of those great films that immediately feels immortal.


OIAF Review: 'The Magic Mountain'

The Magic Mountain (Le Montaigne Magique)
(Romania/France/Poland, 85 min.)
Dir. Anca Damian, Writ. Anca Damian, Ania Winkler
Let the power of animation take you around the world in The Magic Mountain. This exquisite and unique animated docu-drama travels the globe as it chronicles the life story of Adam Jacek Winker, an extraordinary man who survived various wars throughout history. The film knows no borders as director Anca Damian makes the inspired choice to convey Winker’s story through a multitude of styles as diverse as the countries Winker travels. The stunningly composed film is a feat of animation in every sense.


TIFF Review: 'The Danish Girl'

The Danish Girl
(UK, 120 min.)
Dir. Tom Hooper, Writ. Lucinda Coxon
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Ben Whishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts
Programme: Special Presentations (North American Premiere)
Photo Courtesy of TIFF
“Would you do something for me?” Gerda (Alicia Vikander) asks her husband during an early scene in The Danish Girl. Gerda’s husband, Einar (Eddie Redmayne), bashfully submits. It’s a simple request, especially since both the wife and her husband are painters: she asks him to pose for her. Gerda isn’t painting a man, though; she’s painting a woman, and she needs a pair of stockinged legs to extend a pretty shoe diagonally through the canvas.

TIFF Review: 'Sleeping Giant'

Sleeping Giant
(Canada, 90 min.)
Dir. Andrew Cividino, Writ. Andrew Cividino, Aaron Yeger, Blain Watters
Starring: Jackson Martin, Nick Serino, Reece Moffett, Katelyn McKerracher, David Disher
Programme: Discovery (North American Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Sleeping Giant comes home to Canada after a booming premiere at Cannes earlier this year. Director/co-writer Andrew Cividino makes his feature debut with Sleeping Giant and, much like he did with his acclaimed short film of the same name at last year’s festival, the director hits Toronto as one of the more notable up-and-comers on the contemporary Canadian film scene and international indie circuit alike. Sleeping Giant is a great feature debut: tall, robust, and wise.


TIFF Review: 'The Waiting Room'

The Waiting Room
(Canada, 92 min.)
Written and directed by Igor Drljača
Starring: Jasmin Geljo, Masa Lizdek, Filip Geljo, Ma-Anne Dionisio
Programme: Contemporary World Cinema (North American Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
Take your time with The Waiting Room. This new film from Igor Drljača (Krivina) slowly swallows you as it moves back through time and memory. The film is a black comedy puzzler guided by an outstanding performance by Jasmin Geljo as Jasmin, a Bosnian-born actor playing the role of the immigrant in Toronto. The Waiting Room is a subtle slice of humour as Drljača and Geljo delve fully into this character and explore the past that brought him to Toronto. Drljača steeps the film in performance as Jasmin wrestles with a game of identity play as The Waiting Room wipes the smile of this jovial actor’s face and presents the audience with a crying clown.


TIFF Review: 'Demolition'

(USA, 100 min.)
Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée, Writ. Bryan Sipe
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis
Programme: Galas (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Jean-Marc Vallée returns to the wild, beautiful, and terrifying terrain of grief in Demolition. The Québécois filmmaker shows the range of his skill by following up Wild, his best film to date, with a film of similar subject matter, but an altogether different approach. Whereas Reese Witherspoon takes a walk in the wilderness of her grief in Wild, Jakes Gyllenhaal rumbles with the best of male aggression in Demolition. This newest film from Vallée, which screened as the Opening Night selection of this year's Toronto International Film Festival, continues the director's innovative approach to film and character as he exposes the soul of a man whom audiences haven't seen before. Demolition is a bold risk that succeeds.

TIFF Review: 'Sunset Song'

Sunset Song
(UK/Luxembourg, 135 min.)
Written and directed by Terence Davies
Starring: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie, Jack Greenlees
Programme: Special Presentations (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF

“You almost wish that you could have all that bad stuff back
So that you could have the good”
-Rhianna, “Hopeless Place”

TIFF Review: 'Ville-Marie'

(Canada, 101 min.)
Dir. Guy Édoin, Writ. Guy Édoin, Jean-Simon DesRochers
Starring: Monica Bellucci, Pascal Bussières, Aliocha Schneider, Patrick Hivon
Programme: Special Presentations (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Monica Bellucci saves Ville-Marie from a series of complications and lifts its condition from critical to stable. The Italian actress gives a strong performance in the Canadian drama playing bombshell European star Sophie Bernard who turns heads while shooting a film in Montreal. Bellucci's captivating screen presence plays perfectly to the style of Ville-Marie and the ornately stylish film within the film. The rest of Ville-Marie doesn't hold itself up as nicely, though, as the messy multi-narrative never quite comes together. This second dramatic feature from Guy Édoin (Wetlands) both disappoints and delivers as its ambitions ultimately outpace itself.


TIFF Review: 'Eva Doesn't Sleep'

Eva Doesn’t Sleep (Eva no duerme)
(France/Argentina/Spain, 85 min.)
Written and directed by Pablo Agüero
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Denis Lavant, Daniel Fanego, Imanol Arias
Programme: Wavelengths (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Weekend at Bernie’s gets its whacked-out arthouse cousin with the absurdly original film Eva Doesn’t Sleep. This bizarre strange-but-true film by Pablo Agüero dramatizes the account of late Argentine politician/icon Eva Peron and her posthumous trip to immortality. The film spotlights Evita’s corpse in all its haunting powerful glory as it traces a surreal journey to put this powerful women in her grave once and for all. It’s a bizarre, brainy, and wholly original film.

TIFF Review: 'Ninth Floor'

Ninth Floor
(Canada, 80 min.)
Written and directed by Mina Shum
Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF
Acclaimed director Mina Shum (Double Happiness) delivers an eye-opening wallop with her first documentary feature Ninth Floor. This timely and relevant production from the National Film Board of Canada chronicles a relatively obscure, but significant episode of Canadian history as Shum probes the student protests at Montreal’s Sir George Williams University in February 1969. Shum’s hand at drama propels the film as she interrogates history through interviews with participants and with meticulous archival footage: the film plays like a conspiratorial thriller and exposé in one. The film proves very effective, as Ninth Floor could easily recount a present-day story.

TIFF Review: 'How Heavy this Hammer'

How Heavy this Hammer
(Canada, 75 min.)
Written and directed by Kazik Radwanski
Starring: Erwin Van Cotthem, Kate Ashley, Seth Kirsh, Andrew Latter
Programme: Contemporary World Cinema (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.

“I have a feeling that, in a former life, I was a Viking,” says Erwin (Erwin Van Cotthem) to an Internet date in the maplecore drama How Heavy this Hammer. Erwin definitely has the chops to be a Viking, for he smashes men on the rugby field and clobbers foes to smithereens in the video game world. Erwin’s a living, breathing Thor with his burly strength and powerful hammer, but he’s also a little boy trapped in a man’s body. How Heavy this Hammer begins and ends with Erwin sitting like a zombie, entranced in video game violence as he squishes baddies with his hammer through odd hours of the night. Writer/director Kazik Radwanski (Tower) builds a twitchy, disquieting portrait of a man nearing his mid-life crisis: How Heavy this Hammer is one intriguing lo-fi character study.


TIFF Review: 'Very Big Shot'

Very Big Shot (Film Kteer Kbeer)
(Lebanon/Qatar, 107 min.)
Dir. Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, Writ. Mir-Jean Bou Chaya, Alain Saadeh
Starring: Alain Saadeh, Fouad Yammine, Tarek Yaacoub, Wissam Fares, Alexandra Kahwaji
Programme: Discovery (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF
One of the most memorable coups of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival is the “best bad idea” of Ben Affleck’s Argo, which gave a sweepingly Hollywoodized account of history, flipped the bird to Canadian audiences (who voted the film the runner-up for People’s Choice), and then went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. If Argo seems too big or mainstream for some festivalgoers, then film buffs who like their movies with a side order of subtitles will love the Argo relative Very Big Shot, which makes its World Premiere in the Discovery Programme this year. This wild co-pro from Lebanon and Qatar is like Argo meets Reservoir Dogs, but with a political heft one doesn’t usually film in Hollywood. World cinema fans rejoice.


TIFF Review: 'Dégradé'

(Palestine/France/Qatar, 85 min.)
Dir. Tarzan and Arab Nasser
Starring: Hiam Abbas, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Manal Awad, Dina Shebar, Mirna Sakhla, Victoria Balitska
Programme: Discovery (North American Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF

Anyone who’s asked “Where are the women?” at the movies and at previous festivals had better grab a ticket to Dégradé. This strong film driven by an impressive ensemble of actresses lets festivalgoers put their money where their mouth is and support films fuelled by female characters. The urgency of Dégradé is apparent in every frame as directors Tarzan and Arab Nasser (twin brothers) create a uniquely feminist space within the larger tumult of Gaza and patriarchal traditions of the Middle East. This is bold, shrewd filmmaking.

TIFF Review: 'We Monsters'

We Monsters (Wir Monster)
(Germany, 95 min.)
Dir. Sebastian Ko, Writ. Sebastian Ko, Marcus Seibert
Starring: Mehdi Nebbou, Ulrike C. Tscharre, Janina Fautz, Marie Bendig
Programme: Discovery (North American Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
"It's strange how comfort blinds us," one character says in an especially ominous scene in the family drama We Monsters. Director/co-writer Sebastian Ko shows a promising hand for psychology in his feature debut. We Monsters gets right into the headspace of devoted parents who would literally kill to protect their children as Paul (Mehdi Nebbou) and Christine (Ulrike C. Tscharre) test the limits of a parent’s love. Paul and Christine, now divorced, only grasp the effects that their dysfunctional marriage had on their daughter Sarah (Janina Fautz) when she takes adolescent mischief too far. The family unit is a grotesque beast as We Monsters creates a veritable horror show in this tense domestic drama.


TIFF Reviews: 'Benjamin', 'The Sleepwalker'

(Canada, 16 min.)
Dir. Sherren Lee, Writ. Kathleen Hepburn
Starring: Joanne Boland, Kimberly Laferriere, Jean-Michel Le Gal, Jimi Shlag
Programme: Short Cuts 7 (World Premiere)
Photo courtesy of TIFF

Who has more right to a child? The father? The mother?


Trailer for Jean-Marc Vallée's TIFF Opener 'Demolition'

Jean-Marc Vallée and Jake Gyllenhaal on the set of Demolition.
Photo by Anne Marie Fox. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox
Fox Searchlight released a trailer for Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition, which is set to open the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday! This is one hot ticket. I tried to use one of my press pass pulls (we get 5) for Thursday’s screening, but the P&I allotment was already gone within an hour of the industry box office opening. (Luckily I got one for Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next though.) Best of luck finding the Golden Ticket to see it at TIFF! Hopefully we’ll have some coverage of the film later in the fest… J-MV was last year’s TIFF MVP in my books for Wild, so where’ll he land this year?


Finland's Oscar Bid 'The Fencer' is Inspiring

The Fencer (Miekkailja)
(Finland/Estonia/Germany, 93 min.)
Dir. Klaus Härö, Writ. Anna Heinämaa
Starring: Märt Avandi, Ursula Ratasepp, Lembit Ulfsa, Kirill Käro, Carmen Mikiver, Kaie Mihkelson
Finnish filmmaker Klaus Härö goes five for five with his fifth straight submission to the Oscars. Härö directs this year’s Finnish submission for Best Foreign Language Film, The Fencer, and this accessible, crowd-pleasing drama could prove to be one of the dark horses of the race. The film has yet to screen in North America, but Oscar’s stamp and an inspirational tale makes this sturdy post-war sports drama a prospective hit for future film festivals catering to European fare.


15 for TIFF '15: Most Anticipated Films of the Festival

Michael Caine stars in Youth.
Photo courtesy of TIFF.
This year’s festival is a beast with more films than ever and they all look tempting. The only way to navigate the TIFF programme really is to look at the festival as a dozen or so little festivals: do you want a festival of documentaries? Short films? Canadian films? Glitzy Hollywood prestige projects? Independent world cinema? TV? A ten-day horror show? Pick a stream or two/three, or simply get a taste of everything.


Lights! Camera! Cure! Announces Inaugural Line-up

The Casebook of Nips and Porkington
Another of the new events coming to the Ottawa film festival scene is Lights! Camera! Cure! The event, which is presented by Vixens Victorious Ottawa, a local group that raises awareness and raising financial support for cancer care, spotlights Canadian female filmmakers and raises funds for the Regional Cancer Foundation. The first wave of films announced for Lights! Camera! Cure! includes a mix of dramas, documentaries, animation, student films, and a cat lover's dream doc. The event kicks off Thursday, October 22 at Algonquin Commons Theatre with proceeds going to the Regional Cancer Foundation. October might be a busy month festival-wise in the 613, but lend your support to two good causes in one night!


Tortoises and Grey Hair

A Walk in the Woods
(USA, 104 min.)
Dir. Ken Kwapis, Writ. Rick Kerb and Bill Holderman
Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson
Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in A Walk in the Woods.
eOne Films.

Robert Redford and Nick Nolte take a hike in the breezy buddy comedy A Walk in the Woods. Both actors channel their inner Cheryl Strayed whilst walking a mile in shoes borrowed from the set of Last Vegas, albeit with far more dignity, and they make the film nice, light, and amiable affair. While this cinematic stroll isn’t exactly Wild, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable journey. The fun dramedy A Walk in the Woods is a trip worth taking thanks to the two tortoises and their grey hair.