The enigmatic Coen Brothers are the subject of the latest retrospective from the programmer at TIFF as starting this weekend Joel & Ethan Coen:Tall Tales kicks off 4 weeks of Coen goodness at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. A 10 film spotlight on the theatrical films in the Coen Brother’s cannon, the retrospective kicks off with screening of Fargo, Miller’s Crossing, No Country for Old Men and Blood Simple over the opening weekend and snakes through the month of December with screenings of other Coen Classics.
Of the opening weekend, the can’t miss opportunity lies in the stunning debut film from the brothers, Blood Simple, which is a twist driven crime noir that set the indie film world ablaze and inspired a myriad of late 80’s early 90’s rip offs that never captured the energy and originality of the Coens debut. The film features strong performances from a cast of classic character actors like Dan Hedaya, John Getz and the legendary M. Emmet Walsh. It’s also responsible for introducing the brothers, and the film world, to Joel soon to be wife and collaborator on many Coen films Francis McDormand.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT DORK SHELF
Love.net follows the parallel stories of character trying to change their lives via Internet dating sites in Bulgaria. This film is about love at first (virtual) sight in all its forms – the inevitable, mystic and inexplicable love, as well as the superficial. The film tracks multiple couples trying to make their first forays into the online dating world, examining the possible dangers of underage users on sites, the anonymity of site clients, and the possibility that the person you are talking to may not be that unfamiliar. (more…)
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DORK SHELF
Fatma is a fiftysomething housewife with six children in Vienna, but she grew up in Turkey and clings stubbornly to the traditions and values of the old country. Ayse is 19, and married to Fatma’s son, Hasan. However, when the family takes Ayse to Vienna this is revealed as a charade… for Ayse is to be the kuma (second wife) of Fatma’s husband, Mustafa. (more…)
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DORK SHELF
Hese is a 44 year-old Finnish man trying to solve the paradox of wanting to be constantly on the move and to find a home to settle down. To this end, he plans to build a mobile home and find a place to turn off the engine for good. He travels from Finland to Anchorage, Alaska, customizes a 60 year-old truck, throwing the body of an old Streamline trailer very awkwardly on the back, with his friends and drives to Vancouver Island to seek peace of mind. At least, that’s the plan. (more…)
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT DORK SHELF
Virgil First Raise (Chaske Spencer) wakes up in a ditch on the hardscrabble plains of Montana, hungover and badly beaten. He returns to his ranch on the reservation to find that his wife, Agnes (Julia Jones), has left him. Worse, she’s taken his beloved rifle. Virgil sets out to town find her— or perhaps just the gun— beginning a hi-line odyssey of inebriated and possibly imagined intrigues in town with the mysterious ‘Airplane Man’ (David Morse), a beautiful barmaid, and two dangerous Men in Suits. Virgil’s quest brings him face-to-face with his childhood memories of his beloved lost brother, Mose.
Twin directors Alex and Andrew Smith have attempted to create a film that is true to the spirit of James Welch’s 1974 novel about Native American life, but the film is just as meandering and disjointed as Virgil’s recollections. Narrated in voice over by an older Virgil and liberally jumping between young man Virgil and childhood, the film comes across aloof, keeping the audience at a distance the whole time, much like Virgil does with everyone else. David Morse’s Airplane Man (clearly his attempt at Hunter S Thompson) is uneven at best, and oddly a low point from an otherwise usually strong actor. The other myriad of characters that jump in and out of Virgil’s fever dream are never really developed beyond caricatures and sketches that aren’t all that interesting.
Winter in the Blood rests solely on the shoulders of Chaske Spencer, and while his performance is very strong, it’s not enough to anchor the sense of aimlessness that permeates the heart of the film.
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- Toronto After Dark 2013: Willow Creek (Dork Shelf) (moviejunkieto.com)
- Reel Asian 2013: Evangelion 3.0 (Dork Shelf) (moviejunkieto.com)
- Toronto After Dark 2013: The Machine (Dork Shelf) (moviejunkieto.com)
- Musicwood (Reel Indie Film Fest – Dork Shelf) (moviejunkieto.com)
Starting this weekend at the Tiff Bell Lightbox is the new retrospective on the films of Hollywood icon Bette Davis entitled The Hard Way: The Films of Bette Davis. The retrospective covers the entire gamut of Davis’ career and runs until Sunday December 8th.
This weekend featured some of the earlier films from the Davis cannon with Of Human Bondage, The Letter and the scathing behind the scenes Broadway drama that earned Davis Best Actress honors at the Cannes Film Festival in 1951, All About Eve. All About Eve is one of the career defining roles for Bette Davis, she carries the role of Margo Channing of with ease and responds to the manipulations and Anne Baxter’s conniving Eve Harrington aplomb. (more…)
Grace (Brie Larson), a young supervising staff member of a foster care facility, looks after troubled teens and reckons with her own past alongside her co-worker and long-time boyfriend, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.). But when a young girl named Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) is admitted Grace’s past comes rushing back on her like a tidal wave. Now Grace must find a way to reach out for help, the same way she instructs her charges, in order not to drown in a despair all her own.
There has been much said about the star-making and mesmerizing performance from Larson in Short Term 12, and all of it is very well deserved indeed as her performance is stunning, but not as much has been touted about her counterpart Gallagher Jr. Just as impressive as Larson is Gallagher Jr’s understated and brilliant turn as Grace’s long suffering and devoted boyfriend Mason. The patience and understanding Mason shows even in the midst of Grace pushing him away as hard as she can is earnest and inspiring and Gallager Jr is fantastic in role. The rest of the supporting cast is strong as well, the casting is perfect here as all of them are playing to their strengths, as Stephanie Beatriz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine plays the stoic and strong Jessica and Rami Malek (the Mummy from Night at the Museum) is the doe eyed newbie Nate that sticks out like a sore thumb. Even the kids in the home put in some solid work with Keith Stanfield as Marcus becoming a real standout.
Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues the big-screen adventures of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos. But an ancient race, the Dark Elves, led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. To defeat an enemy that even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor sets upon his most dangerous and personal journey yet, forced into an alliance with his treacherous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to save not only his people and those he loves, but our universe itself.
Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival started in 1993, and has evolved and grown into one of the world’s leading festivals showcasing edgy, thought-provoking films, video, media installations, symposiums and panel discussions on Canadian and international perspectives of mental illness and addiction.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DORK SHELF
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo is the third of four films released in the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy. Fourteen years after the third impact, Shinji awakens to a world he does not recognize. His body has not aged a single day. Earth lies in ruins, and those he once fought valiantly to protect have cruelly turned against him. Trapped in a harrowing cycle of death and rebirth, Shinji continues to courageously battle the angels—even as the world spirals down towards what could be a tragic end.
Over the almost 20 years since its inception, the Evangelion story has become incredibly dense in its own mythology and Evangelion 3.0 is no different. The film takes no time for anyone new to the series to indoctrinate themselves in the story (making this almost unreviewable to anyone without a doctorate in Evangelion), and while this will no doubt please fans of the expansive universe, it’s made for absolutely no one other than die hards. The story is very much a bridge to the final sequence, jumping around through scenarios and characters that add little clarifying context to the present story, or simply add subtext that will lead to the final film due later this year. It’s visually stunning, though, as the mixture of classic animation style and computer generated environments works very well.
Dallas Buyers Club
When Texan cowboy Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is diagnosed with HIV, he is prescribed a highly toxic drug and given thirty days to live. Refusing to accept this death sentence, Woodroof taps into the world of underground pharmaceuticals and becomes a kingpin of an unapproved alternative treatment that is both restorative and life extending. His crash course of research reveals a lack of approved treatments and medications in the U.S., so Ron crosses the border into Mexico. There, he learns about alternative treatments and begins smuggling them into the U.S., challenging the medical and scientific community including his concerned physician, Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner). An outsider to the gay community, Ron finds an unlikely ally in fellow AIDS patient Rayon (Jared Leto), a transsexual who shares Ron’s lust for life. With a growing community of friends and clients, Ron fights for dignity, education, and acceptance.
Originally Published at Entertainment Maven
New in theaters this weekend from Universal Pictures is the latest film from writer/director Richard Curtis, “About Time”. Curtis’ third stab behind the camera after the wildly successful “Love Actually” and the disappointing “Pirate Radio” (aka The Boast that Rocked) plays like the majority of his scripts about many relationships and how they intersect, but at its core is a genuinely moving and convincing tale of love between and father and son.
Written and Directed by Richard Curtis
At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Gleeson) discovers he can travel in time after Tim’s father (Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to do so. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life so he decides to make his world a better place, by getting a girlfriend. Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary (Rachel McAdams). Tim quickly learns though that time travel has rules and implications as an unfortunate time-travel incident means he’s never met her at all. So they meet for the first time, again and again, until finally he wins her heart. But through trials, triumph and heartbreak, Tim realizes that life is harder and much more satisfying all on its own without time manipulation.
Two former baseball players, catcher Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and pitcher Mickey (Adam Cronheim) cut an aimless path across a desolate New England. They stick to the back roads and forests to steer clear of the shambling corpses that patrol the once bustling cities and towns. Ben embraces an increasingly feral, lawless, and nomadic lifestyle while Mickey is unable to accept the harsh realities of the new world and longs for the creature comforts he once took for granted. When the men intercept a radio transmission from a seemingly thriving, protected community, Mickey will stop at nothing to find it, even though it is made perfectly clear that he is not welcome.
It’s been 20 years since the corporations took over the world’s governments. Born from the ashes of the corporate wars, the Council of Nine rose as a new law and order. To avenge the corporations’ reckless destruction, the Council issues death warrants for all white collar criminals. Their hunters are known as Bounty Killers. From amateur savage to graceful assassin, the Bounty Killers now compete for body count, fame and a fat stack of cash. They’re ending the plague of corporate greed by exterminating the self-serving CEO and providing the survivors of the apocalypse with retribution. These are the new heroes.
Sudeep (Kiccha Sudeepa) is a high profile industrialist who gets whatever he wants and he has a special eye for beautiful women. To get them, he will not hesitate to do anything. That desire gets triggered when Sudeep sees Bindu (Samantha Prabhu), a micro artist who runs a non-profit organization. Bindu, however, has long flirted and been in love with Nani (played by Nani), who keeps following her everywhere. The story takes a turn when Sudeep discovers the pair is in love and in a rage he kills Nani. But 10 days later Nani is born again as ‘Eega’ (fly) and he vows to take his vengeance on Sudeep. (more…)