REVIEW: Still Alice [2014]

“I knew I shouldn’t have had that champagne” There’s little scarier in this world than a debilitating disease like Alzheimer’s. You may initially feel a sentiment as shared by the titular Alice (Julianne Moore) in Still Alice to be hyperbolic, but the thought that cancer could be a better option is an extreme worth considering. We’d all hope to never have either effect ourselves or our families, but the prospect of losing health does in a certain way seem more appealing than losing one’s self. Because that’s what Alzheimer’s does:…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: 归来 [Gui lai] [Coming Home] [2014]

“So you do have a heart” I kept trying to think about what films Zhang Yimou‘s 归来 [Gui lai] [Coming Home] reminded me of while watching. Obvious ones came to mind like Away From Her and Amour where Gong Li‘s Yu was concerned and even Atonement for Huiwan Zhang‘s Dandan. But it was a fellow audience member as we walked out who said it best: 50 First Dates. The selection resonated with me because until three-quarters of the way through I thought people laughing were crazy. This is a sensitive…

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REVIEW: Stories We Tell [2012]

“Love is so short; forgetting is so long” I remember seeing posters for Sarah Polley‘s newest work Stories We Tell affixed to storefront windows while walking down the streets of Toronto at last September’s 2012 Film Festival. It struck me as weird since she had just completed Take This Waltz the year before, itself five years after her critically acclaimed drama Away From Her. Knowing little of its content, I began gleaning details: it was a documentary, a personal story, and something one woman I overheard say would never play…

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VIFF11 REVIEW: Take This Waltz [2012]

“August 15, 2040, 2pm” Films dealing with break-ups have the trouble of easily falling into two camps. Either the work is genuine and emotionally devastating like a Blue Valentine or faux romantic and absolutely trite like The Break-Up. Having already wowed the world with her debut feature of complete authenticity dealing with Alzheimer’s destructive power on love, Away From Her, I hoped Sarah Polley had her finger on the pulse of heartache and would carry it through to her sophomore work, Take This Waltz. Unfortunately, although it is brilliantly acted…

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Top 25 Films of 2007

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 114 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Away From Her directed by Sarah Polley . #24: Cassandra’s Dream directed by Woody Allen . #23: The Cake Eaters directed by Mary Stuart Masterson #22: Grindhouse directed by Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez #21: Stardust directed by Matthew Vaughn . . #20: Reign Over Me directed by Mike Binder . . #19: El Orfanato [The Orphanage] directed by J.A. Bayona…

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REVIEW: Away From Her [2007]

“Something delicious in oblivion” Canadian actress Sarah Polley has crafted a tale about love in the midst of great adversity by adapting a short story into her new film Away From Her. I have been a fan of hers, acting-wise, for a few years now since Go, and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had written and directed a film garnering a lot of good buzz. What she tells here is a story about an older couple grappling with the wife’s slow deterioration from Alzheimer’s. Although there is little…

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