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Theatrical

The Coen Brothers bring their Tall Tales to the TIFF Bell Lightbox

carteblanche_1The 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.

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Love.net (Dork Shelf)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT DORK SHELF

Love.net_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…)


Kuma (Dork Shelf)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DORK SHELF

KumaFatma 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…)


Alcan Highway (Dork Shelf)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DORK SHELF

Alcan-HighwayHese 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…)


Bette Davis conquers the Lightbox- the hard way.

babyjane_01Starting 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…)


TIFF 2013: Blue Ruin (Addicted)

blueruin_01Dwight is a scruffy vagrant who lives by the beach and scavenges for food in dumpsters. He sleeps in a rusty old car seemingly content to live outside the norms of the everyday hustle and bustle. His seemingly aimless existence is interrupted when he learns of a man’s release from prison. Dwight transforms overnight and his life purpose snaps into focus as he returns to his Virginia hometown to face his past.

Blue Ruin is anchored by an intrepid and highly skilled performance from Macon Blair. (more…)


Indie phenom `The Dirties` makes its hometown debut (Review)

TheDirtiesFinally making its hometown debut in Toronto at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival ‘Spotlight Screening’ tonight, an already sold out show, and then starting a theatrical run October 4th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the ground-breaking film “The Dirties”. The film is an insightful look at the effects of bullying on a fragile psyche and pulls no punches in its portrayal of a troubled teen losing his grip on the reality around him and the deadly results. The film does have a big fan in filmmaker Kevin Smith as he has picked it up for distribution on his Kevin Smith Movie Club label.

The Dirties

Starring: Matt Johnson and Owen Williams

Directed by Matt Johnson

We’ve all known (or been) someone like aspiring filmmaker Matt Johnson (played eponymously by Matt Johnson). A hyperactive teenage fanboy who’s every engagement with the world is filtered through incessant, intertwining references to movies, TV shows, comic books and other pop-culture ephemera. Armed with his ever-present video camera, Matt enrolls his best friend Owen (Owen Williams) to make a DIY comedy about their fantasized revenge on the school bullies who regularly victimize them. But after having their ultimate ‘vision’ of the film dashed, Owen soon begins to wonder if Matt is looking to make their revenge fantasy a reality.

the_dirties_reviewThe Dirties features a tight script, solid acting and steady camera that combined delivers a powerful and thought provoking experience. Johnson proves to be very capable in the acting/directing dual role, not afraid to show his character Matt in a very unflinching and sometimes unflattering way, Johnson manages to avoid the traps that so many ‘vanity’ projects fall prey to. Williams manages to deliver a believable performance as well, though the pair are really only playing themselves onscreen without much characterization. The film looks great with a realistic sense of scope and dynamic between the characters and the camera, more of a faux documentary than a found footage film, as Johnson wisely includes shots of the film being edited on his home computer to show that the footage has indeed been formed to play the way it does. The film also features one of the best ending credit sequences onscreen this year.

The Dirties is not perfect, some of the bullies in the film are mere cardboard cut-outs of what you’d expect and deliver some wooden performances, but it shines when it focuses on our leading duo of Matt and Owen. The ending sequence is shockingly straight forward inaction but heart wrenching in its final moments. The Dirties is the type of film that seeps in and stays with you awhile, a highly accomplished first feature from director Johnson that ends up being one of the most frank, honest and definitive works on the subject of school violence.

Till Next Time

Movie Junkie TO

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Email me at moviejunkieto@gmail.com


TIFF 2013: Like Father, Like Son (Dork Shelf)

Originally posted on DORK SHELF

Like Father, Like Son

Special Presentation

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Like-Father-Like-SonRyota (Masaharu Fukuyama) and Midori Nonomiya (Machiko Ono) are a hard working professional couple who live with their only child, Keita, in a modern Tokyo high-rise. After the hospital delivers the shocking truth about their son being switched at birth, the Nonomiyas suddenly find their lives drastically altered. Their birth-son, Ryusei, is being raised by the easygoing Yudai (Lily Franky) and Yukari Saiki (Yoko Maki). In stark contrast to the Nonomiyas, the Saikis and their three children live in a modest apartment above the family’s appliance shop. Both couples are hesitant to force an abrupt emotional change on their families, but soon begin socializing, including swapping boys on weekends.

The winner of the Jury prize at Cannes this year, Like Father, Like Son is a thoughtful, methodical and serious examination of a concept usually played humorously. Fukuyama delivers a mesmerizing performance as the over-achieving Ryota, a father who while working to better his family’s situation has managed to distance himself from everyone around him. His work is nuanced and largely internalized, but displaying lots of confusion, doubt, and pain in his facial expressions.

The film does carry some pacing issues, and it takes a very long time to start getting to where it needs to go, but audience members that can stay with the film should leave very satisfied with a thoughtful and well-earned finale.

Till Next Time

Movie Junkie TO

Follow me directly on twitter @moviejunkieto and by liking my Facebook page at Movie Junkie TO

 

Email me at moviejunkieto@gmail.com


‘How to Make a Book with Steidl’ Review (Dork Shelf)

Originally published as part of the Bloor Cinema Column at DORK SHELF

How-to-Make-a-Book-With-Steidl

How To Make A Book With Steidl

Meet publisher and printer Gerhard Steidl: revered and sought after worldwide for his ability to make the most exquisite art books imaginable. Using profits from his work with such long-time clients as Chanel, Günter Grass and Karl Lagerfeld, Steidl underwrites his publishing of limited edition books with the world’s best photographers. Superb cinematography frames the scenes between Steidl and the artists in action, revealing the playful, yet exacting process of their creative collaborations. Steidl is constantly in motion, travelling to London, Paris, New York, Vancouver and the deserts of Qatar, allowing us seductive glimpses into the rarely seen homes and studios of such renowned artists as Robert Adams, Robert Frank and Jeff Wall.

How To Make A Book is an intriguing portrait of a fiercely determined and his all-encompassing fascination and obsession with paper and ink (kind of like this week’s other film about Tomi Ungerer). At times a self-deprecating master schmoozer, at other times a grumpy and vindictive control freak, Steidl is never a boring character. During the course of the film we also traverse a product’s lifespan, from conceptual beginnings to the final product of Joel Sternfeld’s book  i Dubai, and see how Steidl’s exacting standards, with all the bickering, infighting and frustrations included, work in driving creating and producing a unique and bold final product.

Audiences who invest in the journey and the man will be captivated and engrossed, though the film will likely be too dry and one sided for those who are turned off by Steidl’s OCD tendencies.

Till Next Time

Movie Junkie TO

Follow me directly on twitter @moviejunkieto and by liking my Facebook page at Movie Junkie TO

 

Email me at moviejunkieto@gmail.com


‘Far Out Isn’t Far Enough’ Review (Dork Shelf)

Originally published in the Bloor Cinema column for DORK SHELF

Far-Out-Isnt-Far-Enough-The-Tomi-Ungerer-Story

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story

Most people have encountered the work of Tomi Ungerer during some point in their lives. From his award-winning children’s books to his provocative and iconic anti-war illustrations from the 60s and 70s, his work has always had a clever, biting edge balanced with a playful fearlessness. But his outspokenness made him a target of controversy and intense malice. This became even more evident when Ungerer began to illustrate erotic books late in his career, a move that outraged fans of his earlier work and blacklisted him and his publications from most major libraries, schools and bookstores.

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is the story of a fascinating artist who never compromised his vision even when it meant the children’s literary world completely excised him. Reminiscent of the brilliant Wayne White documentary from last year, Beauty is EmbarrassingFar Out brings us another eccentric, reformed, and solitary man who chose to step back from his limelight and accolades. While not as accomplished or engaging as the Wayne White documentary, Far Out still tells a great story. With the multitude of drawings and artwork the filmmakers have to pull from, the picture has a fantastic and vibrant look.

Fellow author the late Maurice Sendak, of Where the Wild Things Are fame, calls Ungerer one of his greatest influences. Hopefully Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is ‘far enough’ to influence a new generation to put pen to page.

Till Next Time

Movie Junkie TO

Follow me directly on twitter @moviejunkieto and by liking my Facebook page at Movie Junkie TO

 

Email me at moviejunkieto@gmail.com


‘Prince Avalanche’ delivers enough to warrant a royal visitation

Prince-Avalanche-la-6-26-13

 

Starting this weekend at the Cineplex Yonge/Dundas in Toronto is the newest from the director of “Pineapple Express” and the upcoming Nicolas Cage film “Joe”,David Gordon Green. “Prince Avalanche”. Avalanche is a small, inclusionary tale set against the backdrop of a wildfire and used the filing location of Bastrop, Texas to emulate the effects after the Bastrop County Complex fire of 2011.

Prince Avalanche

Starring Paul Rudd and Emilie Hirsh

Written and Directed by David Gordon Green

Meditative and stern Alvin (Rudd) and his girlfriend’s dopey, insecure brother Lance (Hirsch), leave the city behind to spend the summer in solitude repainting traffic lines down the center of a country highway ravaged by wildfire. As they sink into their job in the remarkable landscape, they learn more than they want to about each other and their own limitations. (more…)


‘La Pirogue’ needs a little more work to achieve greatness

Pirogue-011Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the critically acclaimed story of the struggle for a better life and the perilous journey that happens along the way in “La Pirouge”. The tale of African refuges is a story that has rarely been seen on screens before and was a big sensation at last year’s Cannes film festival, even becoming a nominee for the ‘un certain regard’ jury prize.

La Pirogue

Starring Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Laïty Fall, Malaminé ‘Yalenguen’ Dramé

Written by Éric Névé, David Bouchet

Directed by Moussa Touré

Each year, thousands of people leave Africa in rickety boats to undertake the dangerous (and illegal) voyage to Europe in search of a better life for them and their families. Moussa Touré’s powerful and suspenseful drama focuses on Baye Laye  (more…)


‘A Band Called Death’ rocks the TIFF Bell Lightbox

bandcalleddeath_01Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the new music documentary that unearths one of the most influential bands that almost nobody has ever heard of, “A Band Called Death”. The documentary boats executive producers Scott Mosier (friend and producer of Kevin Smith’s films) and Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara, which just goes to prove the vast and different influence their music has had. A band becoming a hit 30 years after recording your demo tape is a compelling and unique story, and one that has never been told on screen this way before.

A Band Called Death

Directed by Jeff Howlett, Mark Covino

Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was Death. Formed in the early 1970s by three teenage brothers from Detroit, Death is credited as being the first black punk band, and the Hackney brothers, David, Bobby, and Dannis, are now considered pioneers in their field. But it wasn’t until recently, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of Bobby’s attic nearly thirty years after Death’s emergence, that anyone outside a small group of punk enthusiasts had even heard of them. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family chronicle, the story of Death is one of brotherly love and fierce, divinely inspired expression.

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‘Kick-Ass 2’ kicks less ass the second time around

kick_ass_2-wideStarting this weekend in theaters from Universal Studios is the eagerly awaited sequel to the 2010 cult film that hit large on home video, Kick-Ass 2. This time around the film is under the reigns of writer/director Jeff Wadlow and only produced by the original’s director Matthew Vaughn. The graphic novel sequel to Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall, is a veritable blood bath, which beckons the question of how the film will translate to the theater screen.

Kick-Ass 2

Starring Aaron Taylor-JohnsonChloe Grace MoretzChristopher Mintz-Plasse, Donald Faison, Lindy Booth, John Leguizamo, Morris Chestnut, Clark DukeAugustus Prew, Olga Kurkulina and Jim Carrey.

Written and Directed by Jeff Wadlow

When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl (Moretz) and young masked hero Kick-Ass (Taylor-Johnson), they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave.  With graduation looming and uncertain what to do with their shared calling, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy.  Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire, leaving her to navigate  (more…)


‘In a World…..’ is a great directorial debut from star Lake Bell

in-a-world-in-a-world-poster-artNew in Canadian theaters this weekend is the new romantic comedy from first time director/writer Lake Bell, In a World… The film marks a large step forward for the gorgeous actress known mainly for her roles in “Children’s Hospital” and “How to make it in America” as Lake Bell is putting all her cards on the table here, and the gamble pays off.

In a World….

Starring; Lake Bell, Rob Corddry, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins, Alexandra Holden, Ken Marino, Demetri Martin, Tig Notaro, Nick Offerman

Written and Directed by Lake Bell.

Carol (Bell), an underachieving vocal coach, is motivated by her father (Melamed) the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. But when her success starts to interfere with the hopes Sam has for his protégé Gustav (Marino), unbeknownst to Sam, they become rivals. Carol moves in with her sister Dani (Watkins) and her husband (Corddry) who with the help of producer Loius (Martin), who is enamored with Carol, help her succeed amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction.

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‘The Deep’ brings a riveting tale of survival to the TIFF Bell Lightbox

deep_ver2Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the critically acclaimed Icelandic film that made the Oscar shortlist for best foreign language film at last year’s ceremony, “The Deep”. The film comes from director Baltasar Kormákur, the director of the Mark Whalberg starring “Contraband” and “2 Guns” and features a stellar lead performance from one of Iceland’s best actors, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.

The Deep

Starring: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jóhann G. Jóhannsson, Þorbjörg Helga Þorgilsdóttir, Stefán Hallur Stefánsson

Written by: Jón Atli Jónasson, Baltasar Kormákur

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

In 1984, a fishing boat goes down miles off the coast of Iceland’s Westman Islands in some of the most forbidding seas on the planet, leaving the fishermen at the mercy of frigid and turbulent waters. Miraculously, one of the crew Gulli (Ólafsson) manages to survive,  (more…)


Disney’s ‘Planes’ nosedives on takeoff

???????????????????New in theaters this weekend is the film from Disney’s direct to video division that was later deemed to be worthy of a theatrical release, Disney’s follow up to Pixar’s “Cars”, “Planes”. That last point is a very poignant one, this is a Disney in house animation project NOT a Pixar project, and the script for Planes sadly makes this point all too clear.

Planes

Starring the voices of: Dane Cook, Stacey Keach, Brad Garret, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese, Cedric the Entertatiner

Written by Jeffery M. Howard

Directed by Klay Hall

From above the world of “Cars” comes Disney’s “Planes,” a 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (Cook), a small-town plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to naval aviator Skipper (Keach), who helps Dusty qualify to take on Ripslinger, the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar.

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Brandon Darby’s actions are explored in ‘The Informant’

The-Informant-film-documentary-2012-Jamie-Meltzer-molotovStarting this weekend at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is the documentary that strives to delve behind the controversy and motivations of one of the most infamous personalities involved in the activist movement over the last decade. Informant takes a spellbinding look at Brandon Darby, a radical activist turned FBI informant who has been both vilified and deified, but never fully understood.

Informant

Starring Brandon Darby

Directed by Jamie Meltzer

 In 2005, Brandon Darby became an overnight activist hero when he traveled to Katrina-devastated New Orleans and braved toxic floodwaters to rescue a friend stranded in the Ninth Ward. Soon after, he became a founding member of Common Ground, a hugely successful grassroots relief organization.  After two young activists were arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Darby shocked close friends and activists nationwide by revealing he’d been instrumental in the indictment as an FBI informant. As the only film with access to Brandon Darby since his public confession, Informant presents his compelling journey using direct address interviews and re-enactments featuring Darby.  Darby’s story is often contradicted by commentary from acquaintances and expert commentators on various points along the political spectrum. The film invites viewers to form their own opinions about Darby’s character and actions, as well as the larger political context he operates within.

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Johnnie To delivers the goods with ‘Drug War’

Movie-Review-Drug-War-1Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the newest action opus from the brilliant director behind such classics as “Election”, “Breaking News” and “PTUJohnnie To, “Drug War”. The hard-boiled and unrelenting crime drama features some of the great gun and driving stunts that To films are infamous for, but also packs some serious performances from its leads.

Drug War

Starring: Sun Honglei, Louis Koo, Huang Yi, Michelle Ye

Written by Ryker Chan, Ka-Fai Wai, Nai-Hoi Yau, Xi Yu

Directed by Johnnie To

Drug War is an explosive new thriller, the first of Johnnie To’s action opuses to be set in Mainland China. After his narcotics factory goes up in a ball of flame, drug manufacturer Choi Tin-ming (longtime To collaborator Koo) is captured by hard-nosed cop Zhang Lei (Honglei), who is spearheading a sting operation against a massive narcotics network. Coerced by the threat of the death penalty to turn informant, Choi takes Zhang undercover into the narcotics pipeline. But as Zhang Lei gets deeper and deeper into the drug syndicate and tightens the net around the dealers, he is still unsure whether his unwilling partner has an alternate plan in place that will blow open the entire operation.

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‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’ will satisfy fans of the first film

Percy-Jackson-Sea-of-Monsters-QuadNew in theaters today is the sequel to 2010’s “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Theif” which brings back most of the main cast members, minus Pierce Brosnan as Percy’s cedar (half man/half horse) mentor and protector, in another epic tale of Greek gods and their half human offspring in the modern world. This time around Percy and friends end up taking on the ‘Sea of Monsters’, know to humans as the Bermuda Triangle, as they have to save the world all over again.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Starring Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Levin Rambin, Douglas Smith, Jake Abel, Anthony Head, Nathan Fillion and Stanley Tucci.

Written by Marc Guggenheim based on the book by Rick Riordan

Directed by Thor Freudenthal

Percy Jackson (Lerman), accompanied by his friends Annabeth Chase (Daddario), Clarisse La Rue (Rambin), Grover (Jackson) and Tyson (Smith) his half-brother, goes on a journey in the sea of monsters to retrieve the legendary Golden Fleece and save camp half-blood. The camp has been attacked and the barriers that protect the campers are down thanks to Percy’s rival Luke (Abel), another half-blood and the son of Hermes (Fillion). The adventure takes many dangerous and twisted turns and the nefarious plans of Luke could bring the end of days crashing down on earth in a heartbeat if he succeeds.

Percy-Jackson-Sea-of-Monsters-2 (more…)


‘Berberian Sound Studio’ is a feast for the ears and eyes

berbsoundstudioart-1

 

Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the film that caused quite the stir at the formal TIFF 2012 festival, Berberian Sound Studio. The film features the always dependable and engaging Toby Jones as the proverbial fish out of water,  his character traveling from his home in Surrey England to work in the Italian film business during the heyday of the Italian ‘Giallo ‘ film. The film is an exercise in style, atmosphere and tone and delightfully hearkens back to the Italian thrillers it bases itself in the midst of.

Berberian Sound Studio

Starring: Toby Jones, Cosimo Fusco, Antonio Mancino, Fatma Mohamed, Salvatore Li Causi, Chiara D’Anna, Tonia Sotiropoulou

Written and Directed by Peter Strickland

Summoned to an Italian studio to record the audio effects for a bloody horror opus, meek British sound engineer Gilderoy (Jones) quickly finds his genteel disposition clashing with that of his alternately boisterous, genial and hostile Italian hosts. As Gilderoy becomes unhealthily submerged in his work, the simulated aural violence (snapping celery stalks standing in for cracking bones, pulverized watermelons for squishing craniums) starts to take on a cruel edge. As tension in the claustrophobic studio mounts, it becomes clear that the film is corrupting Gilderoy’s fragile psyche.

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‘Computer Chess’ looks great but fails to get the audience in checkmate

computer chess posterThe TIFF Bell Lightbox takes a step back to the low fi days of computer programming starting this weekend with the underwhelming “Computer Chess”. The surreal and subdued comedy strives to obtain the levels of classic Christopher Guest productions in its quirkiness of world building, but the question becomes is it witty and engaging enough to earn that comparison?

Computer Chess

Starring: Wiley Wiggins, Patrick Riester, Freddy Martinez, Myles Paige

Written and Directed by Andrew Bujalski

Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, Computer Chess transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs.  (more…)


‘Blackfish’ will fascinate TIFF Bell Lightbox audiences starting this weekend

blackfish poster

 

Starting this week at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the documentary that caused quite the splash at this year’s Hot Docs film festival, “Blackfish”. When director Gabriela Cowperthwaite began investigating the death of a trainer who was dragged to her death during a “Dine with Shamu” show at SeaWorld, she soon found the initial story gave way to a far more shocking and further-reaching situation that plumbed the depths of a billion-dollar industry.

Blackfish

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite

A killer whale linked to three trainer deaths over two decades, Tilikum is the backbone of the story presented in Blackfish. However, Cowperthwaite discovered it wasn’t just this particular whale; there have been multiple cases of Orca attacks on trainers in parks around the world, although never in the wild. Featuring testimonies from experts and trainers, and with never-before-seen footage,  (more…)


Dragon Girls Review (Dork Shelf)

Originally published at Dork Shelf

 

Dragon-GirlsDragon Girls

The Tagu Kung Fu School is located right next to the Shaolin Temple Monastery (the birthplace of the famed martial art) and is home to over 20,000 studentsDragon Girls follows three young female students at the school, living far away from their homes and families. They sacrifice the luxuries of childhood like days off, playtime and seeing their parents for the honor, respect and skill they will gain from their training. The physical and mental exhaustion and constant drive for perfection weigh heavily on the young warriors as they learn to cope with constant pressure to perform from every corner.

It’s easy to tell why director Inigo Westmeier has chosen her three subjects, as they run the spectrum of the students at the school. There’s the nine year old prodigy, whose father will only visit if she wins first place. Then there are the two teenagers, one who still tries hard every day but is just not as gifted as the rest, and the other, a returned run away from the school who doesn’t want to be there. Through the lives of these girls, and several others, we see the almost cult like attitude that the school fosters in their pupils. It’s a fascinating watch, and the girls are engaging onscreen presences.

dragon_girls_02The living quarters are in near squalor and the kids sleep in bunks beds with double digit roommates in each room. They are allowed to shower only twice a week and have to resort to a bucket and a tap at the end of corridor to scrub clean each morning. But the dedication to their craft of martial arts carries them through. 

Till Next Time

Movie Junkie TO

Follow me directly on twitter @moviejunkieto and by liking my Facebook page at Movie Junkie TO

Email me at moviejunkieto@gmail.com