VIFF Review: The Face of an Angel

VIFF 2014

The Face of an Angel / Daniel Bruhl

A few years ago a young British woman was murdered in Sienna, Italy. The case gained worldwide attention as the girls American roommate and friend was accused, tried, and convicted of the crime and then later acquitted on appeal.

The Face of an Angel is a fictionalization of this case. Sort of. Rather than going for the true crime, based on a true story type film director Michael Winterbottom and writer Paul Viragh instead opt to tell the story of a washed up film director in Sienna trying to find a story among the city, the massive media presence, and local characters during the appeal trial.

Yes, we’re basically talking about a director making a film about a director trying to make a film about a real life story. And also using Dante’s Inferno as a frame for the story. Yeah. It’s a bit weird. Not what I’d call bad, but definitely weird.

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VIFF Review: Foxcatcher

VIFF 2014

Foxcatcher / Steve Carell

Bennett Miller has a pretty good track record. His last two films, Capote and Moneyball were both nominated for best picture, for both he was nominated for best director, and for both his main actors were nominated for acting awards. Looks like he’s going to keep the streak alive with Foxcatcher, which is a superbly directed, superbly acted, superbly compelling film.

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VIFF Review: Mr. Turner

VIFF 2014

Mr. Turner

I’ve said before that one of the things I love about movies is those few occasions when I get to witness one of the great performances of our time; when an actor disappears into a roll completely and I can forget even the most familiar of faces as belonging to an actor I’ve seen before and instead see the character that they are playing.

This doesn’t happen quite as often as you might think but it happened today when I saw Mr. Turner in which Timothy Spall played famed British painter J.M.W. Turner.

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VIFF Review: Black Fly

VIFF 2014

Black Fly

When writer director Jason Bourque was a boy his family moved to St. John, New Brunswick. The move to a rural area was meant to be a peaceful one but as it turns out their new neighbour was a serial killer.

The Bourques didn’t suffer any losses at his hands but Jason, now based in Vancouver, has turned that experience into a taut thriller called Black Fly.

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Mommy Trailer: VIFF Hit Is Canada’s Selection To Compete For Best Foreign Language Oscar

Mommy

Xavier Dolan’s VIFF has been officially selected to compete for the foreign language oscar. Hooray! There are no more showings at VIFF. Boooo! There’s a trailer you can watch! Hooray!

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VIFF Review: Pulp

VIFF 2014

Pulp

Pulp is an easy film to recommend. If you’re a fan of the band then you should definitely want to check out the story of the bands final concert –played in their hometown of Sheffield– and if you’re not a fan of the band then you should check out the story of a band winding down, getting ready to stop playing, and wanting on last great night of rock and roll before they go.

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VIFF Review: Miss and the Doctors

VIFF 2014

Miss and the Doctors

You know what’s refreshing? A movie about romance between adults, made by adults and for adults. Miss and the Doctors, or Tirez la Langue, Mademoiselle (Stick Out Your Tongue, Miss, roughly) if you prefer the original french title, is just that. It’s a romantic drama about two brothers, opposites dependant on one another, who fall for the same woman, and how their relationship changes as a result.

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VIFF Review: Maps to the Stars

VIFF 2014

Maps to the Stars

David Cronenberg makes two kinds of films: Great ones and weird ones. I’m honestly not sure which category Maps to the Stars falls into. On the one hand it’s a biting indictment of Hollywood and the stars who live there and featuring some completely amazing performances but on the other it’s a muddled mess of slow-moving plots, some of which are never resolved.

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