Despite all the less-than-stellar changes made to TIFF this year, the festival continues to excel in giving a voice to Canadian filmmakers and video artists. Representatives of TIFF, once again, gathered in the Fairmont Royal York hotel to announce Canadian films which will play at the festival this year and then – presumably – disappear into Canadian cinemas, where a few of them will compete with the latest Oscar bait and Hollywood slop.
Tyler Perry apologists may find pleasurable qualities in Sergio Navarretta’s The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship. Then again, even those movie goers have seen this sort of romantic peril too many times by now (the Why Did I Get Married? series).
My introduction to filmmaking duo Brett Butler and Jason Butler was imperfect. Prior to the release of their indie Mourning Has Broken, I interviewed Brett. He was an all-around standup guy who was grateful for when he and his brother won Ingrid Veninger’s “1K Challenge”, granting them access to make their dark comedy starring character actor Robert Nolan.
Movies can be delicious, such as this year’s rom-com Bakery in Brooklyn. Despite the fresh food, the charming chemistry between the two leading women is what made the film buoyant. On the other end of the scale, you have Menorca, which is deliciously bad. This film feeds us so much camp, we’re begging for more when the movie begins to clam up.
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.
In Frank D’Angelo’s The Red Maple Leaf, special agent Alfonso Palermo (D’Angelo) asks potential suspects to “indulge him” during interrogations. I’ve heard some describe D’Angelo’s filmmaking as indulgent, which is why I smirked whenever Palermo asked this. Whether this was a cheeky wink toward critics is a mystery, and will probably remain unanswered.
The strengths in Streamer are very subtle and camouflaged by deliberate monotony.
Inspiration may be Jason Armstrong’s first feature-length movie in seven years, but he’s been a consistent storyteller. Just this Summer, Armstrong (along with frequent collaborator Mike Klassen) made 9 Days with Cambria, a moderately successful web series confronting abuse through short stories performed by different actresses portraying the same character.
A murderer whose calling card is a scratched-down horror story; a couple goes trick or treating and it quickly gets out of hand; a family brings home a witch to burn at the stake; a group of gutter punks find an easier way to come by food; a pair of police officers have a shady side business.
Siobhan Devine’s The Birdwatcher is a bad movie, but it made me reflect on how spoiled Canadian audiences really are.