Sook-Yin Lee is currently mystifying Toronto movie goers with her long-awaited return to feature-length filmmaking. Octavio is Dead! gradually reels us in with a dream-like allure as we observe Tyler (Sarah Gadon) rediscover herself through the death of her absent father (Raoul Max Trujillo). From there, Lee strings her audience on a winding narrative that consistently maintains a personal intimacy throughout its run.
Pardon me for sounding blasé, but I can’t help but clench when a Canadian film makes supernatural suggestions. Other than the odd exception (A Sunday Kind of Love), these are ideas that are usually squandered of their potential (Considering Love & Other Magic). Imagine my surprise in Octavio Is Dead!, the latest filmmaking effort from Shortbus actor Sook-Yin Lee, when the writer/director treaded familiar ground but drove her film in a darker direction; blending different…
Craig Johnson (director/co-writer of The Skeleton Twins) returns with another sweet story about solving personal ambiguity with wonder, caution, and experience in Netflix’s Alex Strangelove. This time, the angst takes place in high school, as Johnson evolves the “teen sex comedy” sub-genre with positive (and current) messages of sexual orientation.
The ReelHeART International Film & Screenplay Festival is currently underway until Saturday, July 8 featuring events all over the city of Toronto. I’ve seen two of this year’s selected documentaries and while these films belong in separate categories, both have a comparable criticism.
The David Dance is a stage-to-film adaptation from actor/screenwriter Don Scimé. I haven’t seen his original stage play, but I can figure out a couple of things from the movie: Scimé is a passionate artist who cares very deeply about the themes acknowledged in his work, but not enough compromises have been made by director Aprill Winney to make his original material fill feature film britches.
Out of all the stories and characters in Miles, writer/director Nathan Adloff picks the weakest ones to carry his semi-autobiographical indie.
If anything says “fun long weekend at a sunny lake house,” it’s deliberately creating awkward tension with your friends.
There are different ways for a writer to tell a story while tapping into their own personal catharsis. Chris Kelly (co-writer of Saturday Night Live and Broad City making his feature filmmaking debut) has found a vessel in Other People to tell his own semi-autobiographical story by re-capturing snapshots of his ailing mother’s final months.
Unsimulated sex and its utilization in film is a continuing debate between movie aficionados on whether the uncensored acts add to a story or the general moviegoing experience. French filmmakers Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau create a controversial – yet very convincing – argument towards the issue in their minimalist drama Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo.
Fire Song says a lot until someone speaks.