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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TIFF14 REVIEW: Spring [2015]

“I’m not drunk enough to sleep in your mother’s deathbed” The first words in Colin Geddes’ TIFF description for Vanguard selection Spring are, “Before Sunrise gets a supernatural twist.” You read that as a cinephile and you push everything aside to check out what it could mean. A horror romance co-director Aaron Moorhead described in his and Justin Benson’s (who also wrote the screenplay) introduction as “life, love, and monsters”, its Italy-set journey of an American lost and alone proves equally suspenseful, grotesque, funny, and beautiful. The best part, however,…

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REVIEW: Boyhood [2014]

“Life don’t give you bumpers” It’s almost impossible not to consider Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood one of the year’s best films on the surface. I don’t think any version of reality has the Academy neglecting to vote it onto the Oscar ballot because it’s a cinematic feat unlike few others. To fathom the number of moving parts a twelve-year shoot entails with two non-actor leads—one the director’s daughter no less—is mind blowing. To witness the result’s success critically and commercially is seeing a cherry on top for an artwork that matured…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: 2013 Short Cuts Canada Programmes

Programme 1 A far cry from the documentary short Joda—a visual letter to Jafar Panahi—that was included in the TIFF Short Cuts Canada Programme last year, graphic designer turned filmmaker Theodore Ushev’s Gloria Victoria is all about the visceral and aural capabilities of film without something as unnecessary as words. Full of sumptuous textured layers formed by sketch drawings, Russian Constructivist elements, what I believe were faces from Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, and more, the rising crescendo of Shostakovich’s “Invasion” from Symphony No. 7 helps spur on an emotive war in…

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REVIEW: Before Midnight [2013]

“To passing through” With another nine years gone, true loves Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) return to the big screen to update us on romance and relationship struggles for their current, more cynically pragmatic time. Gone is the ability to shirk responsibilities on a whim and roam European with a cute twenty-something guy or girl. Gone is the normalcy of a career-building trajectory as a thirty-something to create a life hopefully in possession of the vitality necessary to endure. The now includes second-guessing, introspective regret, and an all-too…

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REVIEW: Before Sunset [2004]

“Memory is a wonderful thing if you don’t have to deal with the past” The end of Before Sunrise contains a great sequence of moving snapshots epitomizing the film’s intrinsic romanticism. Every corner of Vienna that Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) visited is reshown in their absence—seemingly ordinary locales now unforgettably resonate pieces of personal history. We see how their unique spot in the park hasn’t only gained an empty wine bottle and glasses but also the priceless memory of a young couple’s love. Whether or not these…

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REVIEW: Before Sunrise [1995]

“How do you speak such good English?” While Slacker put Richard Linklater on the map and Dazed and Confused shot him into mainstream consciousness, Before Sunrise was the film that cemented him as an auteur of note. An intimate portrait of love depicting one assumedly solitary night for two complete strangers that becomes a romantic evening neither expected, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) take a chance on the other after candid conversation evolves into a mutual desire to not say goodbye. His flight from Vienna to America looms…

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Posterized Propaganda May 2013: Super Sequel Summer with ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Hangover,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Fast & Furious’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. One of these years Alamo Drafthouse has to organize some crazy Mondo Tees sponsored summer where every big tent pole release receives a unique artistic interpretation on paper. They get…

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REVIEW: Copie conforme [Certified Copy] [2010]

“I’m afraid there’s nothing very simple about being simple” Any lovers of Jesse and Celine need to see Copie conforme [Certified Copy]. Think of Abbas Kiarostami‘s film as an alternate Before Sunset if its two lovers from different countries stayed together, got married, and had a child instead of losing touch like they did after the end of Before Sunrise. Philosophical discussions occur, opinions about the validity of art are shared, and the authenticity of love comes into question. The title also comes into play early and often with the…

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REVIEW: Tape [2001]

“Verbal persuasion” I don’t think anyone does small, dialogue-heavy indie film like Richard Linklater. He is the master of them and that only makes me madder when he remakes movies like Bad News Bears. Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are beautiful films shot simply and effectively, showing that cinema can rely on words and actors without the need for cranes or effects. Tape is one that works very well with those as a darker companion. Adapted by Stephen Belber from his own play, Linklater gives us a claustrophobic account of…

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REVIEW: SubUrbia [1996]

“I don’t need a limousine to know who I am. At least I know I don’t know” Always having been a fan of Richard Linklater’s work, it confounded me that his film after indie darlings Dazed and Confused and Before Sunrise has never been released on dvd. SubUrbia is the kind of movie you hear that fans of his work love, but never found a place in cinema history. Flipping through the movie channels on tv, I happened across the film and could not stop watching until it was over.…

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