Greetings programs! Canadian actor Mark O’Brien has been working steadily since the mid-2000s with roles in CBC’s The Republic of Doyle and AMC’s Halt & Catch Fire, and movie appearances in Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s Ready or Not, and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.
This week sees his feature film writing and directorial debut, The Righteous, arrive in cinemas nearly a year after its premiere at least year Fantasia Festival. Grappling with themes of faith and guilt, The Righteous stars a who’s who of Canadian talent including O’Brien himself, Henry Czerny, Mimi Kuzyk, and Nygel Bennet. It also picked up three Canadian Screen Award nominations this year including best original screenplay and best supporting actor for O’Brien himself.
I sat down with Mark this week on Zoom to talk about the film. You can listen to it right here on the page after the jump, or wherever you listen to podcasts. I hope you enjoy it!
Continue reading “Interview: Mark O’Brien on his film ‘The Righteous’”
For many, the Oscars are the last stop of awards season. Up here in Canada though, the highest awards that the Canadian Academy gives out are being awarded this coming Sunday, April 10th. Canada produces a ton of great movies each year, and 2021 was no different.
Presented here is a list of all the nominees for Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Actor and Actress, Best Director, The John Dunning Best First Feature Award, and Best Picture, along with where you can buy, rent, or stream them.
Continue reading “Home Video: The 2022 Canadian Screen Award Nominees and where to buy, rent, or stream them”
There’s an apt dreamlike quality to Dreams On Fire from the very first few minutes, where protagonist Yume announces her wish to become a dancer only to be chased out of her rural Japanese home by her fiercely overbearing father, while her mother can only cry in the corner. Soon she’s relocated to Tokyo, packing her whole life into a tiny noisy apartment that’s barely bigger than her single floor mat, and the rest of the movie’s two-hour-plus runtime takes its time to show us every high and low of her journey.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 review: Dreams On Fire is a hypnotic and authentic drama where dance is the star”
What do you want in your documentaries? Sweeping views of Colombian jungles? An in-depth exploration of the habits of migrating monarch butterflies? Or a group of bus drivers from Dorset who decide to put on their stage version of the classic sci-fi horror, Alien? Well, good news, you can have all three, but if you’re looking for an almost unbelievable underdog story that leaves you misty-eyed at the end, then the latter is perfect for you.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: Alien On Stage is an irresistible creative journey”
This week on the podcast, we’re recapping some of our favourite films from this year’s Fantasia Festival! Join us!
Continue reading “Awesome Friday Movie Podcast: Fantasia Festival Wrap Up Special!”
The coming of age tale as a horror movie has been done before. Whether it’s vampirism, or lycanthropy, or witchcraft, the story of a young person discovering something new inside themselves and figuring out both who they are and who they want to be is a well-worn trope.
Hellbender manages to put a unique spin on things, not only by reimagining witchcraft through a hard rock lens but by being a family affair, both on and off-screen.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘Hellbender’ puts a hell of a twist on the coming of age story”
There has been a pandemic, as there has been a lot lately, and there probably will be for some time to come in the world that Glasshouse takes place in. Unlike the one in the real world, this one strips people of their memory, of the very essence of who they are. This plague, “the shred” as they call it, leaves a mother and her family in a hermetically sealed glass house to live out their days gardening, and also killing “forgetters” who stumble out of the woods into their lawn, until one of of the daughters brings in a wounded stranger.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘Glasshouse’ is palpable with desire but reckons with memory”
The largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan is actually located in Brazil. São Paolo, to be exact. Of the roughly twelve million people who live there, more than a million and a half of them are Japanese or of Japanese descent; the legacy of a bilateral agreement between the two nations to promote migration in the late 1910s. This is, in a word, fascinating.
Yakuza Princess is set in this diaspora, the story of an orphaned girl with no knowledge of her past who was secreted away after her family was massacred. Now, of course, she is going to find out, and vengeance will be hers. Eventually.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘Yakuza Princess’ is an intriguing setup with lacklustre execution”
Ghost stories are among the oldest we have, and they come in many forms. While often scary, they are also inherently sad, depicting a spirit tied to this realm and unable to move on to a peaceful afterlife, usually due to some trauma.
Martyr’s Lane is one of these films. Told from a child’s point of view and full of both dread and melancholy.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘Martyr’s Lane’ is about a haunting, in more ways than one”
Crime films are a fun genre, and within that genre live some of the best character pieces ever made. Writer and director John Swab clearly knows this, as his film is made up of references to lots of other films in the genre, and while two good performances save this movie, there’s not much here you won’t have seen before.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘Ida Red’ makes reference to many, much better movies (but it’s fine)”
2021 is turning out to be a big year for Sera-Lys McArthur. The alum of series such as Arctic Air and Burden of Truth is starring in two films at Fantasia Fest this year, a short (which she also produced) called Kwêskosîw (She Whistles) and the feature film Don’t Say Its Name, a horror film which had its world premiere this week at the festival.
I sat down with Sera-Lys on zoom this week to discuss both films and the state of indigenous filmmaking in Canada. I hope you enjoy it.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Interview: Sera-Lys McArthur on her films ‘Kwêskosîw’ & ‘Don’t Say Its Name’”
It begins with a hit and run. A young woman walking home alone at night, on the phone with her mother, is run down by a pickup truck. It growls like a wild animal as it races toward her, and it ends her life viciously. This is the opening scene to Don’t Say Its Name, the new film by director Rueben Martell, and the beginning of a story of blood and vengeance on a first nations reserve.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘Don’t Say Its Name’ lacks scares, but has two compelling lead performances”
Earlier this week I was able to watch and review a number of short films, including Kwêskosîw (She Whistles), a story with a supernatural twist from Indigenous filmmaker Thirza Cuthand. I was able to speak with Thirza about the film as well, and here is the conversation I had with them. I hope you enjoy it!
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Interview: Thirza Cuthand on their film Kwêskosîw (She Whistles)”
Time loops are one of the most well-worn tropes in cinema today. From Groundhog Day to Palm Springs, the key to making it work is a unique twist. This is exactly what Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes has going for it, a story in which a cafe owner inadvertently ends up with a viewport to the future.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes’ is a delightful twist on the time loop genre”
As we’ve previously established, Nicolas Cage is one of our most idiosyncratic performers and one of our last true movie stars. Sion Sono is a Japanese filmmaker known for his subversive and idiosyncratic sensibilities. So what do you get when these two meet? A bonkers film, that’s what.
Continue reading “Fantasia ’21 Review: ‘Prisoners of the Ghostland’ is a totally bonkers film, in a good way”