Toronto After Dark has been a great platform for short films to be showcased. Former Wylie Writes critic Shahbaz Khayambashi believed that the short selections were the festival’s strong suit and are sometimes better than the feature-length films – and I kinda agree with him.
If you’re looking for genuine scares, look no further. Evil Eye (Mal de Ojo in Spanish) is the real deal. Get ready for great special effects, maximum impact jump scares, and chills.
Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, Doomsday, Hellboy) knows how to make a horror film. The writer/director is responsible for the early 2000’s cult classic The Descent, a film that has been praised for its mature characterization of a group of women (a relatively novel concept, as far as early ’00s horror was concerned). In addition to its dramatic and psychological elements, The Descent was also freaking terrifying. Even the toughest, most hardened horror fans are quick to admit…
Horror-comedy Here For Blood features Shawn Roberts (of the Resident Evil franchise) as Tom O’Bannon, an all-around good guy who has a solid reputation in the world of wrestling and only shows a smidge of an attitude when his girlfriend Phoebe (Joelle Farrow) asks him to babysit a 10-year-old for a few hours while she prepares for college exams. The kid, Grace (Maya Misaljevic), is stubborn at first, but warms up to Tom over some…
Triangle of Sadness pitches itself as a sophisticated comedy with “biting” satire about elitist attitudes during class wars. However, the jabs made by writer/director Ruben Östlund are nothing more than the filmmaker taking hackneyed swings at low-hanging fruit for a really, really long time.
Environmental lawyer Aurora (Noëlle Schönwald) has sought out refuge in Canada after her husband is mysteriously killed. She flees across the border from Columbia and then, after some additional information is explained about Aurora’s backstory, the film fast-forwards to the refugee’s contemporary lifestyle in Toronto. Despite finding new roots and separating herself from the past, recent sightings of her late husband around the city have Aurora second-guessing her identity.
Set in the early-2000s, I Like Movies alternates between the double life of 17-year-old Burlington native Lawrence Kweller (Isiah Lehtinen) as an outspoken high school senior and an obsessive film buff at his local video store, Sequels Video. Lawrence is an opinionated know-it-all under both roofs, but he feels more in his element at Sequels and is elated when they finally hire him on as an employee.
The Future of Film Showcase (or FOFS, for short) offers emerging filmmakers a platform to cut their teeth in storytelling and messaging all while experimenting with different styles. The shorts I caught at the FOFS featured an incredible amount of imagination and fearless ambition.
Full disclosure: Prior to his filmmaking debut with Out in the Ring, director Ryan Bruce Levey and I have worked together and we’ve kept in touch online. When he announced Out in the Ring, I was excited to watch the doc because I was interested in the subject matter: wrestling and the LGBTQ+ influence the sport has had over decades. The finished film, while mechanical in its style and a little long in the tooth,…
Stupid For You, a sophomore effort from musician-turn-filmmaker Jude Klassen, is an awkward movie. Sometimes deliberately, and sometimes unintentionally so.