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Review: THE WOUND, An Essential South African Masterpiece

This week South Africa must decide which of its films to submit for the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category. Likely, it’ll come down to a choice between The Wound, which has the advantage of having collected a plethora of...

Toronto 2017 Review: NINA, A Child's Story For Adult Audiences

Juraj Lehotský´s drama Nina marries Dardenian vérité style to child´s unsterile POV amid a divorce proceedings with a pinch of Hanekenian social horror.

Toronto 2017 Review: Kitamura Ryuhei's DOWNRANGE, A Lean and Mean Horror Thriller

Six college students on the way home in a carpool are stranded on an isolated road (in the middle of BFE as one puts it so eloquently) when a tire blows. Just when one of them realizes that this is...

Review: INDIVISIBLE, The Pain and Joy of Constant Companionship

If we are only truly ourselves when we are alone, what would it mean if you were, quite literally, never alone? If both your private and public identity was entwined with another person whose presence was constant? If your body,...

Toronto 2017 Review: THE CRESCENT, A Visionary Fusion of Horror Tradition and Originality

Late in Seth A. Smith's The Crescent, there is a hushed shot of the lead character, who happens to be a 2-year-old toddler, sitting on a beach, framed inside an hollow wreck of an old seaside house. The camera slowly...

Toronto 2017 Review: BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, Prestige Grindhouse Moviemaking

Sometimes, you have to smash things to bits before life can get better. But then life only gets better for a while before it gets much, much worse. More smashing is required, some resolution gained. Then, well, hmmm, that seems...

Toronto 2017 Dispatch: Worldwide Faves Deliver in their Mother Tongues

Although it's often the big Hollywood awards movies that get the most column inches, TIFF is always loaded with international films. 2017 is no different with many a Foreign Language Oscar submission making its North American debut at the festival....

Toronto 2017 Review: UNICORN STORE, A Clever, Oddball Delight

Is there such a thing as the 'woman-girl' film? The female equivalent to the man-boy film (which describes far, far too many films) about someone who allegedly refuses to 'grow up', or be the kind of adult that their families...

Toronto 2017 Review: EUTHANIZER Unflinchingly Considers Misery and Karma With An Offbeat Finnish Worldview

Welcome to Haukka's Repairs And End Solutions. A dilapidated auto repair shop in a small town in Finland where the proprietor, Veijo, occasionally fixes cars, but mainly he runs a business of putting down pets for owners unwilling to pay...

Toronto 2017 Review: VERÓNICA, Treading Familiar Teenage Ground

Teenage girls have always been ripe fodder for horror filmmakers. Either as monsters or victims (or both), the body changes (not to mention the change in treatment by other people, especially men) and vulnerability of girs at this age can...

Toronto 2017 Review: FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES, Cowboys & Corruption, South Africa Style

The western genre, long associated either with American film and the lone cowboy holding fast to independence in a changing landscape, or the spaghetti western, in which European directors examined more forcefully the often insidious nature of the more corrupt...

Toronto 2017 Short Film, Short Review: GREAT CHOICE

A woman gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial. That is the helluva succinct elevator pitch for Robin Comisar's short film that recently graced the Ryerson screen of Toronto's Midnight Madness.  Great Choice meticulously recreates said Red Lobster advert from...

Toronto 2017 Review: LOVELESS Boldly Repurposes the Missing Child Drama

Years ago, when our children were smaller, my wife and I used to share a dark joke about the 'reverse custody battle.' It went like so: In the event of our marriage falling apart, we would each try to convince...

Toronto 2017 Dispatch: Dark Comedies from Clooney/Coens, Payne, and Iannucci Scoring Well

In trying times, sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. It would seem that some of the leading filmmakers of today have taken that to heart and have also embraced the idea that a certain form of laughter laced with...

Toronto 2017 Review: LES AFFAMÉS, The Things They Carried

While many zombie films are set in rural areas, the characters of such films are usually urban dwellers who have escaped cities in the hopes that the countryside is safer, that any possible survivors might be more welcoming, and remoteness...

Toronto 2017 Review: VALLEY OF SHADOWS Leads Us Into The Deep, Dark, Woods Of Scandinavian Gothic

What we do not understand scares us. We often need monsters to blame. Young Aslak is at that tender age where we all seek a little independence, but do not know what to do with it. When nothing in the...

Toronto 2017 Review: BODIED Battle Raps Our Current Cultural Moment

Eager-beaver, and ready to rumble, Bodied, huffs and puffs its way into our current cultural moment with impeccable timing. Produced by Eminem and directed by cult (or as the cool kids say, 'vulgar') auteur, Joseph Kahn whose straight-faced ludicrousness on...

Venice 2017 Review: UNDER THE TREE, Reason Eclipsed in Dark Icelandic Social Satire

Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson third feature, a social satire Under the Tree, aptly embodies the present times when primal urges emerge coagulating the state of civilization into homo homini lupus-type of society when populism and other forms of extremism cast thick shadows over reason.

Venice Review 2017: MEKTOUB, MY LOVE: CANTO UNO, We Need To Talk About Kechiche

I think it's about time we all sit down and have a frank chat about Abdellatif Kechiche, because he's made me pretty cranky with his latest feature, Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno. By now it's well documented that his last film,...

Venice 2017 Review: MOTHER!, A Masterpiece Straight From Hell

Director Darren Aronofsky has set the 47th Biennale Main Competition alight with an infernal psychological thriller that definitely burns with the fire of his past films Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. It's perhaps not surprising that mother! is...