By: Trevor Chartrand The Beasts, from director Rodrigo Sorogoyen, is based on the ominous and tragic true story of discrimination set in rural Galicia, Spain. With all due respect to the victims involved, this true story is captivating – there’s tons of cinematic potential in this narrative that The Beasts, frankly, fails to exploit. Instead of a tense, emotional thriller, Sorogoyen has chosen to take a much slower paced and melodramatic direction, which doesn’t feel…
By: Trevor Chartrand Director Marc Turtletaub, who helmed 2018’s thought-provoking drama Puzzle, delivers warm-and-fuzzies once again with this sophomore indie, Jules. This surprisingly entertaining film is sweet, endearing, and often laugh-out-loud funny.
Director Thaddeus O’Sullivan guides The Miracle Club efficiently, successfully telling a period story of four women who bond over the course of a pilgrimage to the French town of Lourdes in search of their own miracles to lend guidance for their medical conditions. Although the story’s devoutness is prominent, it’s mild compared to the focus on the film’s relationships.
By: Trevor Chartrand Many B-Movie enthusiasts are likely familiar with the squib-bursting insanity of Who Killed Captain Alex?, the Ugandan action movie with a violent – and loud – viral trailer on YouTube. Shot in an impoverished slum, the film is creative with its budget, which reportedly was less than $200. The movie is absurdly violent. It’s goofy, it’s strange, and it looks and sounds terrible. But, Captain Alex is also a film with a…
Liz Unna’s documentary Making Time bounces between subjects who all share a career in watchmaking, and have an overall obsession with time itself. Being a horologist has put life into perspective for these meticulous people, and has issued a number of self-reflections and epiphanies. This collective fascination is the frequency Unna invests all of her storytelling confidence in. Unfortunately, Making Time lacks personal touches as well as a coherency between the doc’s interviewees.
By: Jolie Featherstone Becky Hutner’s urgent Fashion Reimagined is an important report, rendered through masterful storytelling. Formally hired to edit docs (Revolution, Being Canadian), it’s near impossible to believe that Fashion Reimagined is Hutner’s feature-length documentary directorial debut.
By: Trevor Chartrand Cascade does some adequate genre-blending; plucking tropes in such a way that it feels like the film would be right at home if it were released in the 80s. Essentially, the indie boils down to a combination of teenage dramas like The Breakfast Club and a watered-down Rambo.
Mafia Mamma is a badly executed fish-out-of-water movie that features rushed filmmaking and a slipshod script, as well as lavish destination scenery and good-looking men and women practically straddling the leading lady. Not a good look for either director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Twilight, Miss Bala) or producer/star Toni Collette, who reunite since working together on 2015’s Miss You Already.
By: Jolie Featherstone A sweet-natured family film, Judd Hirsch’s charming performance carries the emotional and comedic weight of iMordecai.
By: Trevor Chartrand Soft (which was featured in TIFF’s Discovery program last year) is a coming-of-age drama that, while captivating, can be difficult to watch – largely due to its meandering nature.