Let 'er R.I.P.

Swiss Army Man
(USA, 90 min.)
Written and directed by Daniels
Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano in Swiss Army Man.
Photo by Joyce Kim, courtesy of A24.

Get a whiff of Swiss Army Man! This Sundance comedy of infamous flatulence features Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse. His performance is a true novelty, not only because the recurring joke has lots of gas, but also because his turn as a stiff injects the film with life. Swiss Army Man is an irreverent bromance for the indie crowd.

Trailer for Xavier Dolan's 'It's Only the End of the World'

It's Only the End of the World, an eOne Films release.
A trailer is out for Xavier Dolan’s upcoming It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde). The film, winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes this year, stars Léa Sédoux, Marion Cotillard, Reda Kateb, Gaspar Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel and hits theatres in Canada beginning Sept. 21. Will you see the new Dolan?


2016 in Review: The Best Films of the Year so Far

Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale in Whit Stillman's Love & Friendship.
Photo by Bernard Walsh, courtesy of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions
2016 is actually a decent year for movies if one knows where to look. Most of the junk coming out of Hollywood isn’t even worth writing about, let alone worth seeing, and more or less every week has something we paid to watch two years ago and didn’t like. What’s the point in seeing it again?


'Neon Demon' a Deliciously Sordid Strut

The Neon Demon
(USA, 117 min.)
Dir. Nicholas Winding Refn, Writ. Nicholas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Polly Stenham
Starring: Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves.
Elle Fanning stars in The Neon Demon

Nicholas Winding Refn scores a rebound with The Neon Demon. Following the repugnant bloodbath of Only God Forgives, the enfant terrible of fluorescent Eurotrash art cinema cruises closer to the speed of Drive with The Neon Demon. The Neon Demon is a deliciously sordid strut down the runway right into the stiletto-heeled underbelly of consumer culture.

'Hyena Road' Leads Directors Guild of Canada Nominations

Paul Gross on the shoot of Hyena Road.
Courtesy of Elevation Pictures.
Paul Gross’s Hyena Road leads this year’s pack of feature film nominees for the Director’s Guild of Canada Awards. The war drama scoops four gongs and appears in every category in which it is eligible. New this year, the DGC only offers craft awards and omits a prize for best feature film. Other Canuck contenders include Born to Be Blue and Remember.

Film Nominees:

First Impressions

Look Again
(Canada, 95 min.)
Written and directed by Daniel O’Connor
Starring: Anand Rajaram, Brittany Allen, Joel Keller, Adriano Sobretodo, Jr., Christian Potenza, Darryl Dinn
Anand Rajaram as Amit and Joel Keller as Brad in Look Again.

“That’s the problem with first impressions,” growl Patty and Selma between cigarettes on The Simpsons. “You only get one.”


Telefilm Canada Opens Call for Canada's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Submission

Les êtres chers.
Photo by Yannick Grandmont, courtesy of Les Films Séville
The race is on! Telefilm Canada invites producers to submit their films for consideration as Canada’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film in the upcoming Academy Awards race.  The candidate is ultimately chosen by the Pan-Canadian committee, which is coordinated and chaired by Telefilm Canada and comprises of 20-ish members of the Canadian film industry. Telefilm does not have a vote in the submission.

Happy Birthday, Meryl Streep!

Hi, You've reached Meryl and Don. We're not home right now, but leave us a message after the tone and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. 


'Dory' Just Keeps Swimming

Finding Dory
(USA, 97 min.)
Dir. Andrew Stanton; Writ. Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse, Bob Peterson, Angus MacLane
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Hayden Rolence, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy, Diane Keaton, Sigourney Weaver
Pixar gambles hard with its 2003 hit Finding Nemo and wins big with the follow-up Finding Dory. Nemo, arguably Pixar’s best film, leaves a very high standard for Dory to match, especially since Ellen DeGeneres’s scene-stealing vocal performance as the blue tang with short-term memory loss is easily the best thing about the Oscar-winning feature. Sequels are risky enough, especially when such a great legacy is on the line, but they’re even trickier when one modest element of a film must carry an entire project. Can Dory make the move from supporting player to star? The answer, unsurprisingly, is an absolute ‘yes!’ Dory just keeps swimming in this adventure and she’s a scatterbrained delight.


Super Boys: Lixin Fan Talks 'I am Here', China's One Child Policy, and Generation Y

I am Here director Lixin Fan
“You don’t show yourself, you conceal yourself. You conform,” says filmmaker Lixin Fan as he describes the collectivist ideology with which he was raised in China. Fan, speaking at the International Premiere of I am Here at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, makes his film a fair counterpoint to competition shows like The Voice and American Idol. The director, who was born in Wuhan, China in the 1970s, sees a notable ideological shift between the youths of his generation and the young men he follows in his latest documentary. Fan provides the same subtlety of observation in I am Here that attracted ample acclaim to his previous docs Last Train Home (2009), which he directed, and Up the Yangtze (2007), which he produced. (Both films earned Genie Awards for Best Documentary Feature.) The openness and understatedness of I am Here display more of Fan’s astute observations on a nation in a time of change.


Montreal's True Colours

Montréal la Blanche
(Canada, 90 min.)
Written and directed by Bachir Bensaddek
Starring: Rabah Aït Ouyahia, Karina Aktouf
It’s Christmas Eve in Montreal. Snow’s a-fallin’. The streets are a winter wonderland. The city’s entirely white. Or, it’s white only on the surface.


New 'Closet Monster' Trailer

Elevation Pictures released a new trailer for Stephen Dunn's Closet Monster. The film, which opens in Canada starting with a July 15 launch at the Varsity in Toronto, scooped the prize for Best Canadian Feature at TIFF last year and scored a spot in Canada's Top Ten. The new trailer highlights Dunn's imposing (and Dolan-y) visual style, but the film's mostly worth catching for Conor Jessup's gutsy performance as Oscar, a closeted teen battling the demon that rumbles in his belly when he starts have feelings for his male coworker (Aliocha Schneider). Sadly, there's no snippet of Isabella Rossellini as Oscar's talking hamster.


Conjures Up Solid Scares

The Conjuring 2
(USA, 134 min.)
Dir. James Wan, Writ. Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan, David Johnson
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Lauren Esposito, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Vera Farmiga stars as Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring 2.
James Wan conjures some solid scares in his thoroughly satisfying follow-up to one of the best horror films in recent years. The original The Conjuring (2013) sets a high bar for a sequel with its chilling tale of true horror that merits comparisons to The Exorcist. The Conjuring 2 matches the calibre of the original film and delivers some truly scary jolts, thrilling set pieces, and bone-chilling imagery that are marred only by the film’s exhausting running time. When the majority of movies hitting theatres are sequels, reboots, or remakes, The Conjuring 2 is the rare case of franchise filmmaking that doesn’t play like derivative garbage.


Khoya: Finding Home

(Canada/India, 82 min.)
Written and directed by Sami Khan
Starring: Rupak Ginn, Stephen McHattie, Ravi Khanvilkar
“Where is here?” This question arises in any Canadian literature class be it at the survey level or as part of the intensive rigour. This element of searching and wondering, of directionless and placelessness, is part of the maple-gazing ethos of CanLit long before the likes of Northrop Frye and Margaret Atwood put pens to papers. Move the question to Canadian film, and it’s more or less the same. It’s an internal struggle, something wild and disconcerting, for characters playing out a story in a vast and diverse landscape that’s constantly evolving.


Capsule Reviews: 'Eye in the Sky', 'Hello, My Name is Doris', 'The Jungle Book'

A bit more capsule catch-up! It’s nice to still be able to see some movies on the big screen now and then, so some brief thoughts on three very different films worth seeing. (Anything you recommend as a treat?)

Eye in the Sky
(UK, 102 min.)
Dir. Gavin Hood, Writ. Guy Hibbert
Starring: Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Aaron Paul
Helen Mirren is Colonel Katherine Powell in Eye in the Sky, an Entertainment One release.


Capsule Reviews: 'High-Rise', 'The Nice Guys', 'Neighbors 2'

Some capsule catch-up! Why can't days have 48 hours?

(UK/Belgium, 119 min.)
Dir. Ben Wheatley, Writ. Amy Jump
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss, Jeremy Irons