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Comments: 0Friday, June 19, 2015 01:09:48 AM
Alongside people like Woody Allen and Ridley Scott, director Michael Winterbottom is among the most prolific filmmakers at work today. The British auteur averages a movie a year. This is both a blessing and a curse: At best, Winterbottom’s movies can be fun and breezy (The Trip saga, 24 Hour Party People). At worst, they feel painfully undercooked (The Killer Inside Me, the unwatchable Trish
Comments: 0Friday, June 12, 2015 04:02:01 PM
Jurassic World’s intention to be more like the original wasn’t just words thrown lightly in the heat of promotion. There are Spielbergian overtones all over this film, not to mention a pro-science agenda and certain contempt for corporations.Indeed, Jurassic World easily stands above the third movie and gives The Lost World a run for its money, at least in subtext (
Comments: 0Friday, May 22, 2015 03:04:45 PM
A surefire way to tell if a movie is any good is by keeping track of the physical reactions it triggers. The conclusion of Tomorrowland had me desperately trying to control my sobbing as I was surrounded by critics (they are judgy people, it’s in the job description).Next to those dystopian scenarios that are all the rage today (Mad Max: Fury Road, young-adult franchises using teens as canon
Comments: 0Saturday, May 16, 2015 07:11:50 PM
By this point, you have probably read a number of glowing reviews of Mad Max: Fury Road, perhaps even in this magazine. Adjectives as “ moviemaking master class”, "thought provoking" and “of the uttermost brilliancy” have been used to describe it.This one is not that kind of review.Let me put it this way. Yesterday, I saw a drama starring the septuagenarian B
Comments: 0Friday, May 15, 2015 03:12:25 PM
Independent, low-budget Canadian cinema depends in large part of a strong script and competent performers. Songs She Wrote about People She Knows has both, so much so, one ends up wishing for higher production values in order to give the film a proper framing.The delightfully deadpan Arabella Bushnell is Carol, a fed-up office worker who finds a degree of solace in writing mean-spirited tunes abou
Comments: 0Friday, May 1, 2015 03:47:40 AM
Welcome to Leith (USA, 2015): In a foreboding corner of North Dakota you’ll find the town on Leith. The small, tight-knit community had no idea what was coming when a cantankerous, lonely man moved in. It wasn’t just a regular Joe trying to get away from it all, but militant white supremacist Craig Cobb, who soon enough started to buy land for his fellow neo-Nazis.The excellent Welcome
Comments: 0Thursday, April 30, 2015 03:58:52 AM
Chuck Norris vs. Communism (Romania/USA, 2015): A usually successful strategy to make a documentary is to take a very specific phenomenon and see how it relates to a larger movement. The terrific doc Chuck Norris vs. Communism takes this approach and runs with it, with the added bonus of one fascinating subject.During the Eighties, the only way to have access to American movies in Romania was thro
Comments: 0Wednesday, April 29, 2015 01:05:02 AM
While this year’s HotDocs features plenty of hard-hitting, thought-provoking features, a couple of crowd-pleasers have made it into the line-up. Here are two of them.Raiders! (USA, 2015): For most of their teenage years, three kids spent every summer filming a shot-by-shot recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark. With no more resources than sheer will and gung-ho spirit, the boys succeeded for
Comments: 0Tuesday, April 28, 2015 03:33:23 AM
A common thread on this year’s HotDocs’ line-up is the number of films depicting the conflict between the law and modern life. Often, legislation is not speedy enough or lacks the tools to tackle grey areas related to technology and human behaviour.Deep Web (USA, 2015): Director Alex Winter may be better known as Bill Preston from the Bill and Ted movies, but is als
Comments: 0Monday, April 27, 2015 04:42:56 AM
Deprogrammed (USA, 2015): Cult deprogramming is a complicated affair: Those in need of it won’t participate voluntarily and kidnapping and unlawful confinement is, well, illegal. In the early 70’s –the heyday of religious cult activity- a high school dropout became the foremost specialist in the subject.Deprogrammed tells the story of said man, Ted Patrick. His methods were quest
Comments: 0Sunday, April 26, 2015 04:22:36 AM
The emergence of two major players in the documentary field –Netflix and CNN- plus the continuous strength of HBO is doing wonders for the genre. If there was a time a couple of outliers were the only ones to leave a mark in the box office, now documentaries are easily accessible and are more poignant than feature dramas by a mile. Yesterday, the CNN-acquired The Wolfpack had the crowd going
Comments: 0Saturday, April 25, 2015 02:56:37 AM
While documentaries seldom get the same distribution opportunities as feature films, there is a built-in audience looking for them. HotDocs, one of the foremost festivals dedicated to the genre, is already attracting crowds in Toronto. Judging by the first two films I had the chance to watch, the 2015 version is looking strong.Drone (Sweden, 2014): The War on Terror’s favourite toy
Comments: 0Saturday, April 18, 2015 07:54:15 PM
Simon Curtis speaks fast. He can burn through fifteen questions in less than ten minutes. He also has no trouble keeping his answers short if an adverb suffices. The director of My Week with Marilyn (for which Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh received Oscar nominations) is now back in the big screen with the more modern drama Woman in Gold.In 1998, Austria introduced new legislation to deal w
Comments: 0Tuesday, April 7, 2015 01:06:33 AM
While limited, the influence of auteurs Lars von Trier and Michael Haneke cannot be understated. Their grim perception of the world is as necessary as, say, Pixar’s output, but very few are willing to experience it.It’s different among young filmmakers going for substance. Haneke and Von Trier are hard-to-shake referents and their prints are easy to spot. It’s the case of the min
Comments: 0Friday, March 6, 2015 05:26:21 AM
There is something surreal about meeting Jemaine Clement in person. Bespectacled, tall and lanky, fits perfectly any preconception you may have of him based on his Flight of the Conchords public persona.With the comic duo on hiatus, Clementco-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in What We Do in the Shadows, a horror parody that gets a lot of mileage of a premise a thousand times visited: Vampire lif
Comments: 0Sunday, February 22, 2015 04:29:05 AM
One of the biggest problems of turning the Oscars into veritable presidential campaigns is that the element of surprise has been all but eliminated. With all the awards handed in advance and the momentum measured to a fault, we know the winners well ahead of the event. Sure, Birdman and Boyhood are fairly even forces, but as the later begins to fade, the former is at the peak of its powers. T
Comments: 0Thursday, February 12, 2015 09:22:05 PM
There isn’t a good explanation why fan-fiction-turned-best-seller “Fifty Shades of Grey” became so successful. It was built following the “Twilight” blueprint, hardly anybody’s idea of a great book. It wasn’t even well written: “oh, my” was often the way to describe whatever was going on plot-wise.Unlike “Twilight”, the overarching
Comments: 0Monday, January 26, 2015 12:25:48 AM
Pablo Escobar Gaviria was a larger than life character, whether we like it or not. Because he was notoriously shady in spite of his gregarious public persona, any attempt to portray him is bound to come short. Escobar could be your staunchest ally, until you stop being of any use.Escobar: Paradise Lost does several smart things in its approach to the drug lord’s life and times. It doesn&rsqu
Comments: 0Saturday, January 10, 2015 10:50:13 PM
The Taken franchise has never been a critic’s favorite: A simplistic premise (a nearly superhuman guy knocks every criminal in sight to rescue his kidnapped daughter) made worse by horrifying dialogue. However, a committed performance by Liam Neeson connected with the audience and singlehandedly turned the saga into a hit.Taken 3 shakes the formula a bit. The whole kidnapping gimmick in Euro
Comments: 0Friday, December 19, 2014 02:10:48 AM
Director Peter Jackson made a number of questionable decisions in his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. First, he split the author’s shortest book in three movies. Then, he decided to show it in a 48 frames-per-second format (the usual is 24), giving the film a weirdly hyper-realistic look. Lastly, he inserted two elves that weren’t in the original text: Fan favorite Leg
Comments: 0Thursday, December 11, 2014 02:54:53 PM
Derek Bachman.Oh, man.  That punch in the gut.  The wind knocked out of me.  The outpouring of emotion on Facebook that clues me into the fact that Derek Bachman is just suddenly gone.Derek Bachman, Executive Director at SaskMusic died today, leaving behind not only a young family, but the legacy of a great guy with a big heart.I don’t want to pretend that Derek and I were bes
Comments: 0Saturday, November 29, 2014 03:04:22 AM
An unexpected hit in 2011 (on the wake of The Hangover frenzy), Horrible Bosses was an impish, moderately pleasant comedy with an overachieving cast. Much of it success had to do with the three leads’ chemistry: Jason Bateman as the straight man, Charlie Day as the neurotic sidekick, and Jason Sudeikis as the wild card. Ego, superego and id. While tolerable, there wasn’t anything
Comments: 0Sunday, November 23, 2014 08:06:11 PM
The third movie of The Hunger Games had more obstacles to overcome than previous episodes. For starters, the book -“Mockingjay”- is the most maligned of the series, as the exploration of the outside world doesn’t quite match the tightly controlled universe of the games (also, the writing is not up to par for some reason). Furthermore, audiences are getting wary of the strategy of
Comments: 0Friday, November 14, 2014 03:46:16 PM
Thanks to the distributors’ mysterious designs, three strong Swedish comedies have made it to Saskatoon. Last July, the kiddie-punk romp We Are the Best! demonstrated that free-range kids don’t necessarily turn into obnoxious brats. The film was fresh and original and represents the easily relatable movies the Swedes are making these days. Don’t know about you, but I have problem
Comments: 0Friday, November 14, 2014 03:36:10 PM
I really wanted to like Dumb and Dumber To. The first one –which came out twenty years ago- was gross, weirdly sweet and full of catchphrases still quoted today (“so there is a chance!” is a classic).Sadly, the sequel misses more than scores. As ridiculous as the original was, the demented script unfolded smoothly. Dumb and Dumber To stalls at every corner and comedic ideas are f
Comments: 0Thursday, November 6, 2014 03:36:27 PM
Among the many interesting aspects of director Christopher Nolan’s career, the fact he is one of the few filmmakers able to get original and expensive films greenlighted by major studios is remarkable. Sure, he owes his reputation to a comic book saga (which Nolan elevated way above the source material), but the quality of his work and capacity to blend complex ideas with popcorn entertainme
Comments: 0Friday, October 31, 2014 05:01:34 AM
I didn’t know Jake Gyllenhaal had it in him.Up to Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal had demonstrated to be a fine character actor (Brokeback Mountain), but as a leading man it lacked the spark of a Christian Bale or a Matt Damon. Turns out all he had to do was to pick slightly askew roles to crave his own niche.Nightcrawler is Network for our times: Smaller (the setting is the cutthroat world of loca
Comments: 0Tuesday, September 30, 2014 09:22:13 PM
Hey all!  If you follow this blog, you know that from time to time I invite guest blogger Sam Corbett of The Sheepdogs to tell us about his adventures in rock n' roll.  Sam's gonna spin us a yarn about their performance on The Junos with Bachman Turner Overdrive --- and having to play to an out of time click track.  Enjoy this installment of The Sheepblog, brought to you by
Comments: 0Monday, September 29, 2014 06:22:00 PM
Most animation companies play it safe. All apparent risks are calculated and potential backlash is taken into consideration. Portland-based stop-motion animation company Laika is more forward. Laika’s three films so far (not counting Corpse Bride) have gone beyond heart-tugging tales peppered with comedy. Coraline explored the tricky relationship between mothers and daughters, while ParaNorm
Comments: 0Friday, September 26, 2014 01:40:58 PM
The Equalizer update starring Denzel Washington is a throwback to 80’s action movies in more ways than one: Not only is a remake of the underrated Edward Woodward TV show. It’s the kind of movie in which the good guys are really good, the bad ones are beyond redemption and there are no grey areas in sight.This is not necessarily a problem. The good vs. evil conflict is the foundation o


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