2019

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: Shorts After Dark

The biggest strength of Toronto After Dark is, and always has been, the importance given to short films.  Shorts are given their own programs, but they also play before features.  Due to genre cinema’s specific limitations, shorts are both useful as a way to make a name for oneself and as a storytelling medium.  As such, it’s important to look at what is happening in that world.  Let’s take a look at the good, the…

Reviews

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet

The melodic title of Robin Hays’ Anthem of a Teenage Prophet suggests, at the very least, a kind of experimental approach to tragedy and trauma.  Instead, this adaptation of Joanne Proulx’s award-winning novel Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is surprisingly familiar;  replete with the traditional rebellious drug-fueled angst we’ve come to expect from cinematic representations of teenage life in the suburbs.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘Enhanced’, ‘Werewolf’ and ‘The Wretched’

Enhanced (DIR. James Mark) The idea of a low budget superhero film is an undeniably commendable one.  Superheroes are incredibly generic, and there is nothing that necessitates the bloated budgets that they tend to cost, so the idea of telling those stories with less waste should be celebrated.  Unfortunately, the films that come out of this practice tend to be underwhelming.  Case in point: James Mark’s Enhanced.

One-on-Ones

Wylie Writes’ One-On-One with Robert Eggers

“This makes me want to puke.  Sorry, this came into my head.  Sorry.”  These were the words spoken by Robert Eggers, before he made a point about the relationship between Andrej Tarkovsky and Fyodor Dostoevsky.  The singular voice behind the instant classic The Witch and The Lighthouse provided evidence of two important parts of his personality: the first being his self-effacing tendencies despite how well-read he is—after all, any great artist is first a great student—and…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘8’, ‘The Assent’ and ‘The Mortuary Collection’

8 (DIR. Harold Holscher) Horror can be found just about anywhere, however not all horror is equal.  This is why films that incorporate real-life horrors must be particularly aware of how they incorporate the various elements.  Former TAD presentation Under the Shadow is a great example of how to do this correctly.  But, this is why Harold Holscher’s 8 is so conflicting.  It doesn’t really have much to say about its source events, creating a final product…

Reviews

Parasite

Using a narrative that gradually builds momentum through a series of hustles and surprises, Parasite is utterly unpredictable.  It’s a memorable flick not only for its mind-bending story, but because director Bong Joon-ho (The Host [2006], Snowpiercer, Okja) has reinvented the farce formula with this Palme d’Or award-winner.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘Contracts’ and ‘Paradise Hills’

Contracts (DIR. Alex Chung) Critics Jean-Luc Comolli and Paul Narboni once suggested that all films were inherently political because, even when a film lacks an overt political bent, its refusal to question the politics of its world is an acceptance of said politics.  This lesson in film theory may sound like it is coming out of nowhere, but it serves a purpose, namely in explaining that Alex Chung’s Contracts—which had its world premiere at Toronto After…

Reviews

Jojo Rabbit

World War II has been done!  This is hardly a controversial claim when it comes to cinema;  everyone and their mother has already made a film about World War II—whether about how bad the war was or how heroic—and seemingly every possible angle has already been covered.  Filmmaker Taika Waititi, however, finds a way to stand out with Jojo Rabbit, a movie that refuses to be about the war at all, instead using his unique brand…

Reviews

Pain and Glory

By: Trevor Chartrand Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory is a well-crafted melodrama;  an emotional piece weighed heavily by its evocation of sadness and regret.  The film stars Antonio Banderas as Salvador Mallo, an aging filmmaker who reflects on his past and the mistakes he’s made – mistakes that seem more clear through older, wiser eyes.  Almodóvar explores themes of life, love, family, regret, and retribution, all through the lens of the classic mantra: ‘hindsight is…