‘Blancanieves’ enchants the Varsity Cinema this week
Starting an exclusive engagement at the Varsity cinemas in Toronto this weekend from D Films is the captivating black and white Spanish film that won over audiences at TIFF last September, Blancanieves. Spain’s official submission to the 85th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film, Blancanieves is a gorgeous homage to the Golden Age of Europe’s silent cinema. Coming on the heels of 2011’s Oscar winner “The Artist”, Blancanieves had its work cut out for it being another silent film homage trying to establish its own path.
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ángela Molina, Pere Ponce, Macarena García and Sofía Oria
Written and Directed by Pablo Berger
Once upon a time there was a little girl who had never known her mother. She grew up in the care of her grandmother until she was a young lady. But after tragedy strikes again she is whisked away to live with her father and treacherous stepmother. After she learns the art of bullfighting from her famous matador father, she is forced ran away with a troupe of dwarves, and becomes a legend. This tribute to silent films is set in southern Spain in the 1920s.
‘The Bible’ miniseries is a jam packed Blu-ray
The Bible Blu-ray Review
Starring: Diogo Morgado, Darwin Shaw, Roma Downey and narrated by Keith David
Directed by Crispin Reece and Christopher Spencer
From executive producers Mark Burnett (Survivor) and wife Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) and Fox Home Entertainment comes the near 7 ½ hour TV miniseries in a 4 disc Blu-ray set, The Bible. The sprawling epic series played earlier this year on the History Channel in 10 1 hour parts and now arrives in a Blu-ray set for the purchase. With further plans now in place for a 3 hour theatrical release about the life and times ofJesus Christ from this same team, the question is do they manage to pull this ambitious project off?
Narrated by Emmy winning actor Keith David, The Bible features a stunning international cast including Portuguese actor, Diogo Morgado as Jesus Christ and beloved actress, Roma Downey as Mother Mary. And for the first time since their award winning collaboration on Gladiator, Oscar and Grammy winning composer Hans Zimmer reunites with acclaimed vocalist Lisa Gerrard to create the majestic musical backdrop for this epic production. (more…)
TIFF gets ready for its ‘Picture Day’ (Review)
Starting an exclusive run at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this week is the TIFF 2012 Festival alum, and Toronto filmed Canadian production, starting the breakout star of TV’s “Orphan Black” Tatiana Maslany, “Picture Day”. The film marks the directorial debut of veteran “Degrassi: The Next Generation” writer Kate Melville, who delivers an accomplished and engaging, yet small, story that is enhanced by some great performances.
Starring Tatiana Maslany, Spencer Van Wyck, Steven McCarthy, Susan Coyne, Fiona Highet and Mark DeBonis
Written and Directed by Kate Melville
‘Fast and Furious 6’ barrels full throttle into theaters this weekend
Crashing into theaters this weekend is the latest entry into the billion dollar franchise that has morphed from a gear head fantasy into all out crime caper action/comedy, but still keeping its fair share of vehicular mayhem intact, Fast and Furious 6. Or as the title card on the film suggests, Furious 6, keeping the ever changing moniker of the series intact. This time around the crew is on the right side of the law as the series goes back deep into the past to close any loose ties and connections that still exist, and even resurrect on character from the dead.
Fast and Furious 6
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Luke Evans, Michelle Rodriguez,Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Sung Kang, Gal Godot, Jordana Brewster, Gina Carano, Elsa Pataky
Written by Chris Morgan
Directed by Justin Lin
Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam has left their lives (more…)
‘The We and the I’ stop the bus at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this week
Starting an exclusive engagement at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this week is the newest film from the visionary director of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Green Hornet” Michel Gondry, “The We and the I”. The film carries a very experimental concept and feel to the screen, nothing new for Gondry, but also relies with on a very unconventional cast to tell this unique story. But does this long bus ride across the Bronx travel at a constant speed, or are their detours along the route?
The We and the I
Written by Michel Gondry, Jeffrey Grimshaw and Paul Proch
Directed by Michel Gondry
Director Michel Gondry applies his unique and dazzling style to yet another self-contained world, the back of a New York City school bus, populated by a group of teenagers riding the length of the Bronx on the last day of school (more…)
The TIFF Bell Lightbox sends ‘Greetings from Tim Buckley’
Starting an exclusive run at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this week is the new drama about a time early in the career of singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley before any of the acclaim and accolades, Greetings from Tim Buckley. The film explores the ups and downs and the impact that Jeff’s father had on his life and career through flashback sequences intermingled into the days leading up to the tribute show. As talented as both Buckley’s obviously were, the film struggles to succeed on its merits.
Greetings from Tim Buckley
Starring Penn Badgley, Imogen Poots, Ben Rosenfeld and William Sadler
Written by Emma Sheanshang, Dan Algrant and David Brendel
Directed by Dan Algrant
TIFF highlights the films of Chris Marker with a mini retrospective
Starting at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, as a compliment to TIFF ‘s exhibition of Chris Marker’s photographs as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, is a mini-retrospective of the films from the heavily influential French Filmmaker himself entitled ‘Films in Remembrance of Things to Come: Works by Chris Marker’. Starting May 16 and running through the Sunday of the long weekend, May 19, the collection of films features a single screening for each and starts each night at 6:30. For some of these works the opportunity to see them on the big screen is extremely rare as some have only recently been restored after the passing of Marker last year.
Chris Marker Mini-Retrospective
Playing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox
May 16 – 19
The retrospective starts with one of perhaps his more widely known and easily attainable works with ‘Sans Soliel’. The ‘film essay’ that traverses the globe and deals with time, (more…)
‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ boldly goes for stellar box office
Arriving in theaters this weekend is the follow up film from J.J. Abrams to his 2009 eponymously titled reboot of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness. The film has been under heavy guard with cast members sworn to protect the secrets of the film as to not ruin any of the twists that lie ahead. Looking to rule the box office this weekend, with phasers set to stun the competition, will Star Trek Into Darkness be able to boldly go past Iron Man 3, this year’s early box office champ?
Star Trek Into Darkness
Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Alice Eve, Peter Weller and Benedict Cumberbatch
Written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof
Directed by J.J. Abrams
‘I Declare War’ prepares to overtake the TIFF Bell Lightbox
Starting an exclusive run at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this weekend is the visionary new film from directing team Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson that will transport audiences back to those hazy summer afternoons of childhood where playing with your friends carried much more epic circumstances in your own mind. The film takes on that area of adolescence just as the characters arrive on the cusp of typical teenage school dramas, including girls, where a game of ‘War; could hold so much sway. They film adds a level of the surreal by removing the crude homemade weapons the boys possess and replacing them with actual guns and ammunition.
I Declare War
Starring: Siam Yu, Gage Munroe, Michael Friend, Aidan Gouveia, Mackenzie Munro, Alex Cardillo, Dyson Fyke, Spencer Howes, Andy Reid
Written by Jason Lapeyre
Directed by Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson
Hidden Gem ‘Graceland’ graces the TIFF Bell Lightbox
One of the grittiest films to play at last year’s Reel Asian Film Festival in Toronto was the crime thriller “Graceland” from the Philippines. Not to be confused with the lavish estate of Elvis in Memphis, Graceland in this case refers to the seedy underground that inhabits and seeps out of every pore of the city of Manila. A place where everything has a price and nothing appears to be as it seems. Graceland is finally getting a long deserved theatrical run at the TIFF Bell Lightbox starting May 10th and it’s definitely a film that should not be missed.
Starring Arnold Reyes, Menggie Cobarrubias, Dido De Le Paz and Ella Guevara
Written and Directed by Ron Morales
Marlon Villar (Reyes) is a pious family man who minds his own business, takes care of his daughter Elvie (Guevara) and visits his bed-ridden wife at the hospital every night. (more…)
‘Skull World’ rocks the Carlton cinema
Starting an exclusive run at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto this week is the newest film from Toronto based director Justin McConnell that impressed back in March at the Canadian Film Fest, “Skull World”. McConnell’s fun and engaging documentary about his friend Greg Sommer is some well-crafted film making though the film hints that there is a ton of footage left aside that will likely emerge on a DVD/Blu-ray release down the road. But this rare, unexpected chance to see the film on the big screen in a regular theatrical run in a opportunity most should take advantage of.
Starring: Greg “Skull Man” Sommer
Directed by Justin McConnell
An enterprising man in his early 30s Greg, and his alter-ego Skull Man, is at war, ‘Box Wars’ that is. Step into Greg’s world full of warriors, magic, glory, and metal music. Greg is e founder and developer of the Canadian-chapter of Box Wars, an international (more…)
‘ChristCORE’ mildly rocks the Royal Cinema
Starting an exclusive run at the Royal Cinema on May 4th is the new documentary that goes on the road touring with the biggest bands in hardcore music, ChristCORE. Of course this isn’t your typical hardcore musicians, rather the deeply religious preachers of faith in the midst of the volatile vocals that is known as the ever expanding in popularity Christian based hardcore music scene.
Directed by Justin Ludwig
Canadian filmmaker and atheist punk rocker Justin Ludwig goes on tour with two evangelical hardcore bands, driven newcomers ‘Messengers’ (more…)
‘Veep’ is one candidate worth supporting on Blu-ray
New to Blu-ray from HBO Home Entertainment is the new series from the creator of the similarly politically charged “The Thick of It” and “In The Loop” Armando Iannucci, Veep. Starring “Seinfeld” vet Julia Louis-Dreyfus and a handful of improv veterans like Tony Hale and Matt Walsh, Veep has all the quick witted retorts and lightning fast dialogue that has become a trademark of Iannucci productions, but also features the slapstick sensibilities of SNL vet Louis-Dreyfus as well. Set in the ‘other offices’ not in the white house, Veep explores the desperation and idiosyncrasies of a power hungry woman that cannot manage to escape the mediocrity that surrounds her position.
Veep Season 1 Blu-ray
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Matt Walsh and Sufe Bradshaw
Created by Armando Iannucci
‘Iron Man 3’ starts the summer box office off on the right foot
On the heels of last year’s mega smash hit “The Avengers” Marvel Studios and Disney, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, brings us the newest installment of one of the Avenger’s key players, Iron Man 3. With this film, Robert Downey Jr. fulfills his Tony Stark contract quota and has fuelled speculation that he may be done donning the iron suit for good. Whether this is the case or not, it would be hard to argue that he has not left the character in a far better place than he started with it.
Iron Man 3
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale, William Sadler and Jon Favreau
Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black
Directed by Shane Black
Hot Docs 2013: Essential Viewing ‘Valentine Road’
The seaside town of Oxnard, California, was shattered in 2008 by the shooting death of Lawrence “Larry” King, a 15-year-old biracial, gay/transgendered student. Who was the killer? Larry’s 14-year-old classmate crush Brandon McInerney. The question became was this a hate crime, a retaliation against unwanted advance or something much more complex? Did flamboyant Larry, who liked to crochet, wear makeup and don heels, push his attacker, an emerging white supremacist, over the edge with his advances? It sure made for catchy headlines and drew attention to the plight of LGBT teens, as well as the overwhelmed educational and juvenile justice systems.
Director: Marta Cunningham
Valentine Road is a masterfully crafted documentary and one of the highlights of this year’s Hot Docs lineup. The film manages to be heart wrenching, maddeningly infuriating and inspirational all at the same time. (more…)
Hot Docs 2013: 5 Films that need your attention
Hot Docs 2013: 5 Films that need your attention
With Hot Docs in full swing starting today after last night’s gala premiere of “The Manor”, here’s a quick checklist of 5 films that should not be missed. With the over 100 films playing this year this is far from a comprehensive list of the best films overall, but these are some definite winners.
Director Alex Winter’s documentary about the rise and fall of Napster is a very funny and informative dissection of the rise and fall of Sean Fanning and Sean Parker’s (more…)