Latest

Articles by Mark Barber

Reviews

The Dinner

On paper, Oren Moverman’s The Dinner, based on the novel by Dutch author Herman Koch, sounds similar to the 1981 chamber piece My Dinner with Andre, but with a darker twist.  The intellectual wit of Andre isn’t present here, replaced instead with elements of thriller and drama.

Reviews

Hello Destroyer

Kevan Funk’s Hello Destroyer, a complicated and clinical disclosure of the underlying traumas associated with hockey, was well-received at TIFF last year for a good reason: there aren’t many films brave enough to de-mythologize Canada’s national sport.

Reviews

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove, adapted from the novel by Frederik Backman, is a charming, yet slightly familiar dramedy about a grieving widow and his budding friendship with his new neighbours in a gated community.  Recently nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language Film and Best Makeup), Hannes Holm’s adaptation is a digestible and likeable, but hardly transcendent film.

Reviews

Hacksaw Ridge

After a long, ten-year stint in filmmaker jail, Mel Gibson has returned with Hacksaw Ridge: a gruesomely violent WWII biopic about Desmond Doss, a medic and devout Seventh Day Adventist, who saved the lives of over 75 soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa without killing a single enemy combatant.  Hacksaw Ridge features Gibson’s typical heavy-handed religious symbolism to great effect here, and serves as an unnerving contrast to the graphic violence in the film’s third…

Reviews

Art Bastard

Victor Kanefsky’s Art Bastard asks broad questions about the relationship between art and politics.  Its subject, American artist Robert Cenedella, serves a micro-answer to some of these broad questions.  Although Kanefsky is successful in arguing for Cenedella’s work as critical satirical representations of U.S. political culture, the film lacks energy.

Festival Coverage

TIFF 2016: ‘The Unknown Girl’

The Unknown Girl marks another incredible achievement by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne.  Following up their equally brilliant Two Days, One Night, the Daredennes deploy their clinically austere style to great means in The Unknown Girl, which doubly serves as an investigation and character study.

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hitchcock/Truffaut: Magnificent Obsessions

Contemporary cinephilia places – at times – undue emphasis on the auteur in relation to their work and in relation to the works of others.  Intertwined authorship and intertextuality are the two most recurrent approaches in film criticism.  As such, it’s easy to rationalize the existence of the Hitchcock/Truffaut: Magnificent Obsessions retrospective at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, given the sheer amount of discourse written on the famous relationship of Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut.

Reviews

Now You See Me 2

It’s been three years since audiences flocked to the largely forgettable yet surprising box office hit Now You See Me, a crime thriller about a Robin Hood-esque band of highly skilled magicians who perform elaborate cons to rob the rich of their money.  After taking in roughly $350 million worldwide, the film has apparently merited a sequel – the equally forgettable Now You See Me 2.