Starting January 23rd and running til February 13th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the first part of a widely encompassing retrospective into the films of one of the French Wave pioneers and most beloved filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard entitled Godard Forever. The series will conclude with its second part in the fall program, but this first part covers the works of Godard from 1954-1967. The retrospective is highlighted by the rare, archival, and newly minted prints that fill the lineup.
The series starts with Godard’s iconic debut Breathless starring Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Belmondo curls and slithers across the screen like a viper ready to pounce where Seberg may be film’s first incarnation of the now popular ‘manic pixie dreamgirl’ character with her short cropped hair and infectious charisma and sex appeal, wrapped up in an unassuming package. (more…)
The Israeli film that caused a stir last year, and had Quentin Tarantino proclaiming it the best film of the year, “Big Bad Wolves” finally sees a release in theaters and on VOD. The film revolves around a series of brutal child murders that puts the lives of three men on a collision course. The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings – a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder. After kidnapping the man believed to have murdered his daughter, the father goes searching for answers by any means necessary in the basement of his ultra-secluded home.
As you may devise from the brief description above, Big Bad Wolves is a bleak and at times unnerving thriller that takes it time to unfold. The brutality shown towards the main suspect Dror by both of the other parties is often made the main attraction and show in full detail, (more…)
The underdog sports story is one of the oldest tales in film. This is the one where the athlete that nobody believed in eventually proves everyone wrong to roaring applause. Such is the true life story of professional basketball player and overnight sensation, Jeremy Lin. Lin grew up living a normal life, idolizing his favourite basketball players on TV, and mimicking their moves on the courts with his brothers. He would time and time again prove he was an exceptional player but was often passed over because he didn’t look like a traditional basketball star.
Evan Leong’s Linsanity focuses on the meteoric rise of Jeremy Lin and chronicles his early childhood memories while paralleling it with Lin’s current NBA stardom. The documentary does a great job of capturing the real Jeremy Lin, and getting a first-hand account from the star himself, which reveals the very personal and spiritual journey that the basketball sensation has been on since his youth. The strongest aspect of the film is that it doesn’t just gear itself towards basketball fans; it instead opts for a broader approach making it accessible and fun to watch for everyone. Even someone who has never sat and watched an entire basketball game will stay engaged in the film throughout. .
Mourning Has Broken, the new Canadian independent feature from the directing duo of Brett and Jason Butler aka the Butler Brothers, starts a week long run at the Royal Cinema in Toronto. The film features a simple premise as it follows Toronto based indie acting icon Robert Nolan as he tries to get through the day after discovering his wife has died.
The movie works brilliantly on many different levels, ranging from the comedic opening scene to some heart wrenchingly beautiful shots that convey the emotions of the main character. Robert Nolan’s character, simply referred to as Husband, attempts to complete a “To-do list” in his day while avoiding returning home to face the facts of his wife’s passing, throughout the day these simple tasks turn into a series of little nightmares for him. The Butler’s do a fantastic job of making these everyday tasks into thought provoking and character defining moments that push the story further into a final scene that will certainly tug at the heart strings and have you emotionally invested.
Roz (Robin Wright) and Lil (Naomi Watts) are the best of friends, and have been since childhood growing up as neighbors in an idyllic beach town. As adults, their teenage sons have developed a friendship as strong as that which binds their mothers. One perfect summer the boys, along with their mothers, are confronted by the simmering emotions that have been mounting between them. What follows is a film that aims to be provocative and taboo breaking, but falls far short of the mark.
The premise of two mothers who are best friends becoming lovers with each other’s sons sounds like it should be ripe for psychological exploration and some difficult questions. Adore though seems content to present sappy melodrama with little consequence and explanation put into the actions of the foursome. The script is poorly conceived, subjecting the film’s leads with some awful dialogue to portray. The film is filled with so many shots of longing stares into the distance that the audience can’t help but wonder if the actors were simply looking for something better to do.
While training for the 2010 Winter Olympics, champion US snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a devastating accident on the slopes, putting him temporarily in a coma and leaving him with a debilitating brain injury. When he finally recovered both speech and mobility, Kevin shocked his supportive, tight-knit family by announcing that he wanted to return to the sport he loves—despite doctors’ warnings that even the slightest blow to the head would be enough to kill him.
The Crash Reel is an engrossing exposé on the world of extreme sports and more specifically the terrible accident and recovery of Kevin Pearce, known to his fans simply as KP, who before his tragic accident was poised to upset Shaun White for the gold in the Vancouver Olympic Games. The film follows diligently the Pearce family as they try to recover from his head injury that almost cost Kevin his life. Through practice and competitive footage, director Lucy Walker does excellent job of examining the psyche of an athlete and paints a compelling picture of the athlete and the man that Pearce would become.
Originally Published at EXAMINER
Going through the list of best films of the year for 2013 proved to be tougher than first imagined as though there was a lot of films that are deservedly worth maligning and ignoring all together, the films that were good were really good! The following list is the top 25 ranked in order for the year 2013, with a little blurb about each film.
“Junkie” is a pitch black comedy about two heavily addicted, drug addled brothers, Danny (Daniel Louis Rivas) and Nicky (Robert LaSardo). When Danny decides he’s going clean, Nicky reacts aggressively, driving Danny from one insane experience to another. As Danny’s life spirals out of control he must fight tooth and nail to kick the habit and rescue himself from the personal hell Nicky has consigned him to, whilst simultaneously attempting to repair the deeply damaged relationships with his bizarre set of friends and family.
Junkie is a bit of a mess of a film doesn’t quite get cleaned up by the end. The film starts with a very inventive title sequence that is immediately negated by a story that plays like a very poor man’s take on David Fincher’s Fight Club. In fact the entire first half of the just over 80 (more…)
Invited to document the Stones’ US tour in support of their legendary album Exile on Main Street, Robert Frank forgoes the glamour on stage in favour of the everyday chaos of life in the wings, as the band and their assorted hangers-on (groupies, roadies and journalists) pursue various listless debaucheries to kill the boredom and homesickness of constant travel. Reportedly described by Mick Jagger as “a fucking good film … but if it shows in America we’ll never be allowed in the country again,” Cocksucker Blues remains one of the most raw and unfiltered accounts of life on tour ever recorded.
Director Robert Frank’s unflinching record of life on the road with the Rolling Stones remains one of the most notorious documentaries ever made, and one of the most impossible to see. A legal settlement with the band — who feared that their entourage’s onscreen antics could lead to public embarrassment and/or criminal prosecution — permits it to be screened only in very controlled circumstances (which makes this screening at the Lightbox a priceless rare event). Throughout the film though Jagger and Richards are very protected as whenever something illicit may happen, for example when Jagger goes to snort cocaine through a rolled dollar bill provided by Richards, the camera pans away to other action in the room.
This edition of the Dead Air podcast is all about the newest entry into the Paranormal Activity series, The Marked Ones. I sat down with Dead Air host Jeff Konopka to discuss the latest chapter in the found footage series, whether it should still be found footage, how does it fit into the series as a whole and whether the change in cast helps the series or hinders it.
Oh and the spoilers section feature is kinda fun as you’ll literally hear me blow Jeff’s mind with my observations about the series.
Link is below or you can download the podcast on Itunes here.
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Jobs is the true story of a visionary who set out to change the world, and did. The film chronicles Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) transformation of character from the enthusiasm and self-discovery of his youth, to the personal demons that clouded his vision, and finally to the ultimate triumphs of his later life. Jobs changed the way we see the world today through his relentless drive, passion, persistence, and the force of his will, and it is through these qualities that we draw inspiration from his life.
Jobs is a fluffy and ideal version of the story of Steve Jobs that barely scratches the surface of the Apple computers pioneer. Kutcher is actually making an effort here to do something more meaningful with his performance, but in the few instances where the film becomes serious it becomes more and more evident that he is completely lost and in way over his head. The script does Kutcher no favors either as it starts with the launch of the first Ipod then flashes back to the beginnings of Apple and covers the ground to when Jobs returns to Apple in the 90’s. During this time frame only the major points of the story are hit upon with increasingly little shown about his private life and nothing covered after the Ipod launch.