Vancouver 2018 Review: NO. 1 CHUNG YING STREET Champions the Spirit and Courage of Hong Kong

No. 1 Chung Ying Street is the latest from director Derek Chiu, a well-established figure in the Hong Kong film industry. The movie takes place during two periods of political unrest in Sha Tau Kok, a neighborhood that borders mainland...

Vancouver 2018 Review: LUSH REEDS Balances Comedy Expertly with Uneasy Dread

Xiayin (Huang Lu) is a journalist in Nanjing, living with her professor husband and her dog, and expecting her first child. Increasingly frustrated by the restrictions put upon her reporting by her supervisor, she goes against his wishes to investigate...

Vancouver 2018 Review: THE DARLING, Sadness and Dark Hilarity Abound

The Darling finds a young Korean actress, Lee Sun-hwa (played by Jang Jieun), spending some time abroad in Vancouver, ostensibly to visit her sister and brother-in-law. As she takes in the sights and interacts with the locals, it becomes clear...

Vancouver 2018 Review: EDGE OF THE KNIFE, Immersed in the 19th Century

Edge of the Knife (aka SGaawaay K'uuna) is a film whose reputation will precede it, but for all the right reasons. Its existence marks the first ever feature entirely in Haida, an indigenous language that is spoken fluently by less than...

Vancouver 2018 Review: THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, Lars von Trier's True "Kanye Moment"

Matt Dillon commits fully to the role of serial killer Jack, who works as an engineer and suffers from crippling OCD, among other psychological issues. Like a square version of American Psycho's Patrick Bateman, Jack gleefully embraces his dark nature and never tries to thwart his heinous impulses.

Vancouver 2018 Review: Hosada Returns with the Mesmerizing MIRAI

Part Alice in Wonderland, part A Christmas Carol, Hosada's latest film is as charming and moving as his other works--and perhaps even more beautifully animated.

Vancouver 2018 Review: WANGDRAK'S RAIN BOOTS

Wangdrak (Druklha Dorje) is a spirited first-grader living in a rural farming village in Tibet. As the movie begins, his daily routine, walking to school with a neighborhood girl, playing with his wind-up frog, has been disrupted by the rainy...

Vancouver 2018 Review: THE SISTERS BROTHERS

The Sisters Brothers is an excellent movie, but it is being marketed in all the wrong ways. I suppose if it results in a financial success, then all's well that ends well. I worry, though, that once general audiences see...

Toronto 2018 Review: KINGSWAY, A Well-acted, If Slight, Dramedy

As a Vancouverite, my interest in seeing Bruce Sweeney's Kingsway stemmed almost entirely from the fact that it is shot and set in my city. Vancouver is, in fact, the third-largest centre for film and television production in North America,...

Toronto 2018 Review: SUMMER SURVIVORS, A Sensitive Look at Mental Health

Upon reading a plot description of Summer Survivors -- the debut feature by Lithuanian filmmaker Marija Kavtaradze -- one may imagine a quirky indie comedy with touches of the absurd. While the film does have its share of lighthearted, funny...

Review: PYEWACKET, Dark and Disturbing Horror

Long-time actor Adam MacDonald has already made exciting waves as a filmmaker with just two features under his belt. 2014's Backcountry was a masterfully suspenseful woods thriller, wherein he employed a restraint that served to punctuate the film's moments of...

Vancouver 2017 Review: BLACK COP Does Its Concept Justice

Between its success at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered earlier this year, and here at VIFF, where it won the Canadian Feature award, Black Cop has become something of a sensation. Its concept is an undeniably timely,...

Vancouver 2017 Review: MAISON DU BONHEUR, a Lovely Portrait

Filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz's 2016 film, Never Eat Alone, won her VIFF's Emerging Canadian Director prize for that year. Now, she returns to the festival with her newest feature, Maison du bonheur. How the film came to be is a charming...

Vancouver 2017 Review: GUKOROKU: TRACES OF SIN, a Haunting Debut

Gukoroku: Traces of Sin, a moody Japanese mystery based on Nukui Tokuro's novel, feels like a pristine, preserved relic from the golden age of Japanese horror (think late 1990's, early 2000's). A self-assured and masterfully shot feature-length debut, the film...

Vancouver 2017 Review: THE SQUARE, An Uncomfortable Delight

Ruben Östlund is proving himself to be a keen observer of the human (specifically, male) condition, and one who can draw humor from its depths without losing any empathy along the way.

10+ Years Later: Is David Lynch's DUNE Really So Awful?

The whole concept behind 10+ Years Later is to revisit films about which time has potentially changed your opinion. When perusing David Lynch's filmography, I found myself routinely thinking, “Of course Dune is terrible,” and ignoring it to the extent...

Review: DEVIL IN THE DARK, Ultimately Scary and Admirably Evocative

British Columbia, my home province, is a wild and mysterious place. There's Vancouver, its largest and best-known city; its capital, Victoria; and a smattering of mid-size to small towns scattered here and there. Beyond that, the entire massive thing is...

Review: LAVENDER, Secrets Are Revealed in a Haunted House

Like many gothic ghost stories, Lavender centers around a woman with a vulnerable psyche and a shadowy past. In this case, the woman is Jane (Abbie Cornish), a young mother and wife who may have butchered her parents and sister...

10+ Years Later: Beyond AUDITION's Infamy

Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999) is a film whose memory has been all but condensed into a single image: a young Asian woman, soft-featured but wearing an unmistakably sinister side-long glance, holding up a syringe. This image was used for the...

Slamdance 2017 Review: CORTEZ, A Quietly Affecting and Beautifully Acted Debut

It's not easy to find cinema that transports the viewer into a place filled with people who genuinely seem to have existed before the film begins and long after it rolls credits. Cortez offers just that.