Films are rewarded when they think outside the box and resist their genre’s conventions. But sometimes, a movie can remind us of how narrative prerequisites can be misinterpreted as cliché by indifferent filmmakers.
Is a movie still a success if it didn’t come through on its initial promise, yet still left an effective impression? I had a similar reaction earlier this year to Saint Maud, and here I am again with Censor, a horror from writer/director Prano Bailey-Bond that moved me even though I was never truly scared.
By: Trevor Chartrand Based on a true story, 398 Days: Hostage is the harrowing account of a Danish photographer captured, tortured and held hostage in Syria for over a year. Young and ambitious, our protagonist Daniel Rye Ottosen (Esben Smed) is an Olympic contender with the Danish gymnastics team, until a knee injury shatters his dreams of pursuing the gold medal. Short on prospects and in need of work, Daniel starts his career over with…
If Saw’s Jigsaw Killer received his doctorate in marriage therapy, his counselling would resemble the drawn-out home invasion portrayed in Held, a sanctimonious and straight-up stupid thriller that squanders its potential for big scares in small spaces.
By: Trevor Chartrand In the delightfully surreal Death of a Ladies’ Man, director Matt Bissonette addresses some hard-hitting subjects in a mature (yet somehow silly) way. This darkly funny film was heavily influenced and inspired by the work of Leonard Cohen, and the late artist’s presence in the film will not go unnoticed. The film explores themes and ideas present in Cohen’s music, and features a soundtrack that includes plenty of Cohen songs.
Showing different perspectives from the streets of Istanbul, filmmaker Elizabeth Lo explores the day-to-day lifestyle of stray dog Zeytin in Stray. There are brief transitions to other viewpoints provided by fellow pooches or human beings, but Zeytin is certainly the star of the show.
Over the course of its direct-to-video sequels, the Wrong Turn franchise has built an impressive cult following; starting with the fun 2003 original that gave viewers a surprising amount of thrills and kills. But, it also fell back on a genre stereotype that even Wrong Turn fans have deemed rote – mangy country folk will always be portrayed as villains. With 2021’s Wrong Turn, in an attempt to breathe life intro this outdated trope, director Mike…
A Glitch in the Matrix is a documentary about the expressive and opinionated reactions to simulation theory, and the suggestion that our existence may be so trivial compared to a grand existential scheme we happen to be pawns or avatars in. The film is directed by Rodney Ascher, the creative mind behind other out-there docs Room 237 and The Nightmare, and while I wanted to get wrapped up in this interesting subject matter, I was constantly…
By: Trevor Chartrand Falling is the incredibly strong directorial debut from Viggo Mortensen, featuring fully-realized characters in a well-constructed, grounded world. The film illustrates humanity at its most raw in this powerfully compelling and dramatic character study.
Bring Me a Dream annoys me from all angles, but I’m also frustrated because I’m not qualified to criticize its lack of originality. The horror-thriller reminded me that I have never seen a Nightmare on Elm Street movie (aside from Freddy vs. Jason which is more of a collaboration than a standalone film). However, I’m familiar enough with the Freddy Krueger character to see similarities between Krueger and Bring Me a Dream’s derivative boogeyman the Sandman….