People are going to compare God’s Own Country to Brokeback Mountain. It’s inevitable because they cover much of the same ground: two men spending time away from the world and looking after a herd of sheep form a relationship. That isn’t completely unfair because the basics are remarkably similar but also because they’re both great movies.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: ‘God’s Own Country’ is quietly great
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: ‘The Green Fog’ with Kronos Quartet playing live was something else.
Guy Maddin makes weird films. This isn’t a complaint, it’s a compliment of the highest order. In a world where studios are making only the safest of choices on a daily basis weird, experimental film is always some of the most important film around. The Green Fog is no exception: it re-imagines Hitchcock’s Vertigo using clips from other films (new and old) and television from the 70s and 80s –all also shot in San Francisco–, and only one single shot from the film itself.
It’s something else and the fact that Kronos Quartet were there to play the original score live made it truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Movies, Trailers / Comments Off on Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Trailer Is Finally Here
A spark that’ll light the fire.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: ‘The Hidden Sword’ is a muddled mess with some awesome martial arts action
Have you ever watched a scene in a foreign film and thought “something must have been lost in translation”? The Hidden Sword is an entire movie like that.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on Review: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ is as good as the original.
The original Blade Runner is held up by many as the gold standard of dystopian existential science fiction films. It asks questions about the nature of humanity and what it means to truly live while at the same time painting a picture of a world that seems to have broken under the weight of more people being alive than ever before. It’s an acknowledged masterpiece –even if it took a decade or two and two different directors cuts to get to that status– and that’s a lot to live up to.
And I’m here to tell you that it does. I’m also here to tell you that you should probably go into it as cold as possible, so maybe bookmark this and come back to it after you’ve seen the film to see if you agree with me. I’m not going to say any major spoilers but regardless, this is your warning.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: Penelope Cruz can’t save ‘The Queen of Spain’
I really like movies about making movies. I think they’re a fun way to explore and poke fun at the film making business. I also like period set comedies, in particular those set in the late 40s and 50s. I like the design sensibilities and I feel like the feel good image of that era that still lingers today is one ripe for subversion. Also also, I really like Penelope Cruz. I think she’s a dynamic and interesting screen presence.
The Queen of Spain then is a movie that should be right up my alley: it’s a period set comedy about making a movie starring Penelope Cruz. Turns out it’s not though.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: ‘In The Fade’ will net Diane Kruger all the award nominations
Fascism is on the rise in the world. It’s easy living on this continent to forget that it’s happening elsewhere. In The Fade isn’t directly about the resurgence of Nazism, but those themes never the less play an important part in this story of family, justice, and revenge.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: ‘Meditation Park’ is just lovely
Director Mina Shum is back, people. Meditation Park is the latest film from the Vancouver director and the latest to explore the immigrant experience with a woman finding empowerment. You know what? It’s a damn delight, too.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: ‘Breathe’; Andrew Garfield & Claire Foy are great in this OK film.
Andrew Garfield has a marvellous gift: when he smiles he does so with his entire face, including his eyes. This may sound like a weird thing to start a review with but when you’re talking about a film where he has to lay completely motionless save for his face it kind of becomes a big deal.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: ‘Thelma’ and the existential dilemma that is becoming yourself
Thelma begins with two things. First, a warning that if you have epilepsy the movie might set it off and second, a father and his young daughter walking in the woods, hunting. The girl sees a deer and inches forward, transfixed. The father readies his gun and aims at the deer and then slowly changes his aim to the back of his little girls head. He doesn’t pull the trigger it’s clear from the get go that he desperately wants to. Then the movie starts to get interesting.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on VIFF Review: ‘Lucky’ is the perfect swan song for Harry Dean Stanton
A man lives alone in a small house in town so small you’d probably miss it if you blinked driving down the highway. He’s never been married, he has no kids. He starts each day with a cigarette, a vigorous yoga routine in his underwear, and the walk into town to do his morning crossword and see his friends.
I’m sure this wasn’t exactly Harry Dean Stanton’s real life but Lucky is clearly a movie about Harry Dean Stanton.
Editorial, Movies / Comments Off on Catching Up: A Few Great Performances From This Year So Far
Despite having the lowest summer box office in over a decade 2017 has been a great year for movies. It’s actually hard to believe that the box office has been so bad given just how many great movies have come out. It’s almost like the a glut of sequels and remakes combines with going to the movies being a kind of shitty experience is starting to take a toll. Or everyone spent the summer outside. You never know.
In any event, since I haven’t been writing reviews as diligently as I should (read: at all) I’d like to present you a few performances from this year in roughly chronological order that are worth of both your time and hefty amounts of praise. Mild spoilers for all films discussed.
Editorial, Movies, Television / Comments Off on My Favourite Harry Dean Stanton Performances
A few days ago the world got a little dimmer. Harry Dean Stanton passed away at the age of 91. Celebrity deaths don’t generally hit me that hard but this one did. Stanton is the kind of actor that elevated every project he was a part of, whether he was in a lead role or a quick cameo. Roger Ebert once said that any movie with Harry Dean Stanton in a supporting role couldn’t be all bad and for my money that is a true statement.
He has one film left to come out, this years Lucky (pictured above). I’m looking forward to seeing *Lucky at VIFF next week and it is one of the films I’ve been anticipating most. I imagine now, as the last performance of a legend, it may take on a bittersweet quality.
Stanton has left a staggering filmography and each entry has a notable performance. Here now I’d like to share with you my favourite three by way of tribute to his amazing career.
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on ‘Dunkirk’ Review: Christopher Nolan’s best film to date
It has been three days since I saw Dunkirk and I cannot stop thinking about it. That alone should be enough to tell you that the movie is great and that you should see it, so if an affirmation that it is worth seeing is what you are looking for you can stop reading now. Let me say this clearly and concisely right up front: Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s best film to date and you should absolutely seek it out on the biggest screen you can find.
I sometimes find the music in films almost manipulative. You watch something big and brash, like a Transformers or Avengers, and the aural aim is clear: use the score to generate the required emotional response from the audience. Here’s the hero, BAM BAM BAAAAM. Moment of loss; strings in a minor key. Racing through a jungle, peppering Colombian foliage with bullets? Have some dubstep to pass the time. What stands out for me more these days are films where the music is part of the story, instead of merely underpinning the action. Inception’s slowed-down Non, Je ne regrette rien; Fury Road’s war drums; Tarantino’s torture music. It’s an elevation of the material, a move that takes it to a whole level of blissful enjoyment.
But even the creative musicality of these great films cannot eclipse the groove of Baby Driver. Edgar Wright’s crime story is choreographed like a ballet, where every movement, spin and gunshot is rooted in the music blasting out, and the effect is somewhere approaching pure magic.