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Toronto After Dark

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘Contracts’ and ‘Paradise Hills’

Contracts (DIR. Alex Chung) Critics Jean-Luc Comolli and Paul Narboni once suggested that all films were inherently political because, even when a film lacks an overt political bent, its refusal to question the politics of its world is an acceptance of said politics.  This lesson in film theory may sound like it is coming out of nowhere, but it serves a purpose, namely in explaining that Alex Chung’s Contracts—which had its world premiere at Toronto After…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: A One-On-One with Precious Chong

At this year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival (which is currently in full swing at the city’s Scotiabank Theatre), you won’t be able to shake Precious Chong’s wild performance in Zach Gayne’s Homewrecker.  As Linda, Chong channels mousey and maniacal characteristics after she haphazardly kidnaps a new “friend” Michelle (Starry Eyes’ Alex Essoe).  Chong is funny, but she’s careful not to exploit the character;  allowing Essoe’s character to show empathy towards Linda under nerve-racking circumstances.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘The Furies’ and ‘Mutant Blast’

The Furies (DIR. Tony D’Aquino) So, there are these seven women and seven monsters.  The women are tasked with staying alive, while the monsters attempt to kill them.  This plot could either be attached to a self-aware bit of amazing cinematic trash, or it could take itself too seriously and fail.  Tony D’Aquino’s The Furies falls firmly into the latter category.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘Blood Machines’ and ‘Homewrecker’

Blood Machines (DIR. Seth Ickerman) The cinema is a visual and narrative medium, but the narrative is often king.  Way too many films will give up on the visuals to tell a story, leading to slightly stagnant results.  As such, it is sometimes oddly refreshing to get a film which will sacrifice narrative cohesion in order to produce a spectacle of light and sound.  Seth Ickerman is such a filmmaker and Blood Machines, a collaboration between…

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2019: ‘Extra Ordinary’

Ghosts are just ordinary people who have died.  Surely, that means they are all around us, right?  Extra Ordinary starts with this quirky concept and adds satanism, post-domestic abuse, and driving school experience to turn the weirdness up to eleven.  The film’s weirdness isn’t its only trick, however, because Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s film is roaringly funny despite that.

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…

One-on-Ones

Wylie Writes’ One-On-One with Corey Stanton

Robbery is a solid drama that tells the compelling story of Frank (Art Hindle), a cerebral career criminal suffering from dementia.  When his son, Richie (Jeremy Ferdman), finds himself the target of a dangerous organization to whom he owes money, Frank must come out of retirement and use the remnants of his mind to save his son. I talked with writer/director Corey Stanton to see where this surprisingly unique story came from.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2018: ‘Extracurricular’, ‘Lifechanger’, ‘Nightmare Cinema’, and ‘You Might Be the Killer’

Extracurricular (DIR. Ray Xue) As the Canadian pop-punk band Sum 41 once sang, “motivation, such an aggravation.”  That seemed to be Ray Xue’s complaint as well when he was directing Extracurricular, which is the only way to explain why anything in this film happened.  Long time readers may recognize the number one rule of TAD: if a film is having its world premiere here, it will be terrible.  This is not a knock against any of…