REVIEW: The Boxtrolls [2014]

“We’re exterminating justice!” If it didn’t take Laika so long to produce a feature film due to the meticulous process inherent with their stop-motion aesthetic, I have to believe they’d be as prolifically successful as Pixar. I might say I even like their sensibilities more because while they too deal with morality lessons every child should have an outlet to deal with, they do it without fear of the darker bits of humanity coming through. It’s not that fare like Coraline and ParaNorman are inappropriate for young children—on the contrary,…

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VIDEO: Don Hertzfeldt Simpsons Couch Opening

An Oscar-nominated animated film director for the fantastic Rejected, Don Hertzfeldt became the newest artist to try their hand at making the usually brilliant opening couch gags on “The Simpsons” even more brilliant. A futuristic, surrealistic, insanely unique look at everyone’s favorite Prime Time family, Hertzfeldt delivers exactly what you’d expect from him and yet still makes it wholly unexpected. Check it out below:

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REVIEW: Lilting [2014]

“Kissing is kissing” There’s no better title for Hong Khaou‘s feature debut than the one given: Lilting. It describes the pacing and aesthetic as guilt and grief intertwine with memory and reality fading together within a single camera pan for a joltingly emotive effect. It also illustrates each character’s cautious trepidation amidst tragedy and their desire to find acceptance in a powerfully calm rhythm. We’re ushered into the life of a Cambodian Chinese mother (Pei-pei Cheng‘s Junn) living in London with no one but a kindly British gentleman down the…

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REVIEW: The Maze Runner [2014]

“Wicked is good” There’s really no better way to start The Maze Runner than Wes Ball‘s opening. I’ve not read James Dashner‘s novels and probably knew less than the trailer foretold since it’s been so long since I last saw it. So watching the pitch-black screen stare at me while scrapping metal creaked until a scared boy as disoriented as I gets illuminated was brilliant. He and we enter this crazy situation together—running for our lives, being introduced to our new family, and realizing everything that came before this moment…

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INTERVIEW: John Ridley, writer/director of Jimi: All Is By My Side

After all the talk from last year’s TIFF centered around the eventually Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years a Slave, you can’t blame yourself for forgetting its Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley brought another film he both wrote and directed. Jimi: All Is By My Side flew under the radar and was mired by a media blitz intent on focusing around the fact it didn’t acquire the rights to any of its titular subject Jimi Hendrix‘s music. What it did have, however, was a uniquely arresting visual and aural style that looked…

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REVIEW: Björk: Biophilia Live [2014]

“If you feel like dancing, don’t stop yourself” Icelandic musician Björk has always been somewhat uncategorizable with a career that’s uniquely evolved to the beat of her own electronic drum. There was the infamous swan dress, her critically acclaimed foray into acting for Lars von Trier‘s Dancer in the Dark, collaborations with cutting edge artists like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, and Chris Cunningham for memorably batty music videos, and the 2011 release of her eighth studio album as an iPad app. Partially recorded and composed on the device, Biophilia was…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Beats of the Antonov [2014]

“Laughter is like a new birth” Sudanese director Hajooj Kuka‘s documentary Beats of the Antonov is smartly constructed in a way that eases us into the political message and hope for peace lying underneath the music and laughter initially portrayed. Beginning with a look at the people residing in the Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains, we learn about the planes overhead dropping bombs while they hide in ditches for cover. No matter how much pain and suffering is inflicted by these raids, however, they emerge with smiles to the…

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Wiig, Gyllenhaal, and Monster Love at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

Friends and family think me crazy for driving up the QEW so I can sit in darkened theaters for around thirty of a total eighty-hours in Toronto, but I wouldn’t spend my early September days any other way. This is what the Toronto International Film Festival does—it makes you look sanity in the face, say no thanks, and go the exact opposite way towards a world-renowned cinematic spectacle those same people are jealous about once I tell them I saw Kristen Wiig tell a joke. It was a funny one too…

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REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You [2014]

“Secrets are cancer to a family” Get ready because I’m going to throw some hyperbole your way. Here it is: This Is Where I Leave You is Franny and Zooey meets The Big Chill. Now hold on a second and let me explain. Jonathan Tropper is not J.D. Salinger and Shawn Levy isn’t Lawrence Kasdan. I know this because I’m not completely delusional. However, the comparison is still sound if you’re willing to take it with a grain of salt. The former work popped into my head straight away through…

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REVIEW: Tusk [2014]

“I believe we’re all tea people” I want to dismiss Kevin Smith‘s second foray into horror as total bullshit. I really do. Not only was Tusk created on a lark because one of his and Scott Mosier‘s internet Smodcasts recorded them discussing a crazy Gumtree ad offering a room for rent if the lodger agreed to wear a walrus suit, but because the “ad” in question was itself a fictitious prank by poet Chris Parkinson. Smith’s listeners voted to have a film made out of the restructured, warped version of…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Riot Club [2014]

“People like us don’t make mistakes” I’ll bet Laura Wade’s 2010 play Posh is something special to see on stage. A fictionalized take on Oxford University’s exclusive Bullingdon Club—sons of wealthy Brits who attended the best boarding/prep schools before following in their patriarchy’s footsteps to enjoy vandalizing college rooms as an initiation ploy and restaurants as part of their yearly evening of hedonistic excess—it’s debaucherous centerpiece of a banquet has to be an invigorating experience live. I say this because its depiction in Lone Scherfig’s film The Riot Club (adapted…

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