Canadian

Reviews

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

Walking home on a dreary day in Vancouver, Áila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) finds herself in the middle of an altercation between a surly man and a meek Indigenous woman.  The woman, Rosie (Violet Nelson), has been roughed up.  With instinctual grace and with Rosie’s permission, Áila steps in and separates Rosie from this argument, and invites the stranger into her house for safety and comfort.

Reviews

Brotherhood

By: Trevor Chartrand Based on a true story, Brotherhood is a harrowing tale of survival that recounts the tragedy beset upon a boy’s summer camp in Balsam Lake, Ontario in 1926.  On the night of July 20, thirteen boys and two camp counsellors set out to cross the lake in a canoe to gather food and supplies for the camp.  They encountered high winds that capsized the boat, leaving them floating in the cold water…

Reviews

Stand!

Somewhere during the making of this film adaptation of Danny Schur and Rick Chafe’s period musical Stand!, the project was seriously mishandled.  Robert Adetuyi’s film version sounds like it should be on stage and looks as if it was written and shot for daytime television.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘James vs. His Future Self’ and ‘Making Monsters’

James vs. His Future Self (DIR. Jeremy LaLonde) Jeremy LaLonde’s recent movies have truly owned their genre in a unique way.  The Go-Getters was a gleefully foul play on the traditional buddy formula, and How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town was a charming sex comedy.  With James vs. His Future Self, LaLonde takes a swing at crossing science fiction with a romance – it’s a sweet success.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale’ and ‘Witches in the Woods’

The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (DIR. Lee Min-jae) The zombie genre has always managed to survive because zombies, as a monster, are wholly dependent on the zeitgeist of the time.  Since they are brainless creatures, their existence can generally be justified by the anxieties of the time (military industrial complex, consumerism, conformity, racism, etc.).  While that is an advantage to sub-genre, most zombie films follow the same template.  The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale is no…

Reviews

Last Call

Last Call pitches itself to audiences with an intriguing gimmick.  Shot in real time, the film’s story is told from two perspectives – using a split-screen technique to divide the pair of one-take shots.  However, Last Call is more than a crafty production with a trick up its sleeve.

Reviews

The Curse of Buckout Road

Myths and urban legends are most effective in horror movies when filmmakers stick with simplicity.  It’s what makes most legendary villains in the genre resonate with audiences.  The Curse of Buckout Road is a film that does the exact opposite, further proving why less is always more.

Reviews

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life walks and talks like a conventional weepy melodrama, but it’s much more than a typical tear-jerker.  This is a smart and sweet film that reads between the lines.  Instead of rattling off a familiar story about a friendly relationship that blooms between a struggling musician (Finn played by Canadian pop artist Tyler Shaw) and a young leukemia patient (Sophie played by Sadie Munroe of CBC’s Workin’ Moms’), The Meaning of Life…

Festival Coverage

TIFF 2019: ‘Coppers’

In his documentary Coppers, Alan Zweig (15 Reasons To Live) interviews Canadian ex-police officers.  Occasionally, viewers are given the a ride-along perspective as the subjects drive around their formally patrolled turf and share some unforgettable stories.  Most of these interviewees can recall aged confrontations as if it happened hours before Zweig’s camera turned on.  For some, these cases have led to current wellness complications.  Along with riding shotgun, Zweig has also emulated the atmosphere of…

Festival Coverage

TIFF 2019: ‘The Twentieth Century’

Depending on who you ask, Canadian cinema may well be celebrating its 100th year this year and, despite the general dismay that it continues to attract from some, it is still very much able to be as innovative as any other national cinema.  Why the history lesson?  Because that may be the best way to introduce Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century, at once a great addition to the Canadian cinematic canon and a bitter poisonous…