REVIEW: Les plages d’Agnès [The Beaches of Agnès] [2008]

“I feel pain everywhere” I think it should be a new rule that documentaries about filmmakers can only be made if the subject him/herself directs. How could you not want this enforced after watching Agnès Varda‘s Les plages d’Agnès [The Beaches of Agnès]? It surely helps that the Frenchwoman is candid, funny, and fearless when it comes to combining whatever she has into one cohesive whole. As she says: her movies are puzzles with many disparate pieces strewn about that find themselves coming together in the end. If some footage…

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REVIEW: Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] [1962]

“You shouldn’t use the word ‘despair’” It’s crazy to think that Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] was just the second feature length fictional narrative French auteur Agnès Varda ever made. The maturity in minimal storytelling, singular visual style, and existential metaphor surrounding death’s value that spans classes are stunning to behold. While following Cléo (Corinne Marchand) in virtual real time for an hour and a half as she distracts herself with shopping and work before calling her doctor for potentially devastating test results, we pass…

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REVIEW: Le mépris [Contempt] [1963]

“I love you totally, tenderly, tragically” Director Jean-Luc Godard has tested cinema’s boundaries throughout his career. So it’s hardly surprising his foray into CinemaScope color with a bigger budget would be as much an aesthetic exercise showing off the technology’s splendor as it is a scathing look at the industry with the money and ego to utilize it. Stories of behind the scenes strife on Le mépris [Contempt] rival the faux behind the scenes nonsense onscreen with Godard clashing against his producers (who wanted more sex appeal), alienating third lead…

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Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, Cannes, and Berlin are an ocean away and Sundance is across the country, The Toronto International Film Festival is less than a two-hour drive via the QEW into Canada. Even better than proximity, though, is…

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Posterized Propaganda October 2013: The Faces of ‘Gravity,’ ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘The Counselor’ & 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. Not too many movies open up in October—and only one studio horror flick at that, despite Halloween. What’s the best way to sell tickets then? Star power. Celebrity faces are…

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The 83rd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Oscar time … congrats to The King’s Speech … why bother with the show when everyone thinks they know the winner? The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was quite possibly its worst incarnation the past decade. And things finally seemed to be going the right way. Hugh Jackman was fun; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were lukewarm, but the show was fun; and Neil Patrick Harris is Neil Patrick Harris. NPH can do no wrong. Much in that vein, I thought the pairing of James Franco and Anne…

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TIFF10: Day One Recap

Day One at TIFF has been completed. It started with a bang … as in a rogue Customs agent yelling for us to stop at a cone wall before the actual stop followed by a seemingly exciting wrestling to the ground of two criminals at Dundas Square. We couldn’t stop to see the action completely because we had movies to see. Our first screening was cinema maestro Jean-Luc Godard‘s newest work Film socialisme [Film Socialism]. A complete head-scratcher consisting of unsubtitled French for 100 minutes, overlapping a random sequence of…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Film socialisme [Film Socialism] [2010]

“Meow” A film fan does not overlook the opportunity to see the newest from a legend like Jean-Luc Godard in a film festival atmosphere. When the venue is the Toronto International Film Festival and the movie, Film socialisme [Film Socialism], is the first screening held, you look beyond the fact it is in foreign languages and purposely devoid of subtitles. Right? Well, if you ask me I’d say yes—although I won’t lie that the thought of leaving didn’t cross my mind—but fear not because there are many you can ask…

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TIFF10 PREVIEW: 4 Days, 16 Films, 200 Miles …

September is once more synonymous with four words: Toronto International Film Festival. Fellow Spree’er Christopher Schobert and I will again travel north for a weekend of what could be the top candidates for Oscar gold come next winter. Of course, they could also be films that may hit theater screens within the next two to three years depending on distribution deals. It’s another jam-packed schedule of sixteen films in less than four days. Daunting for sure, but a challenge we rise toward with excitement. Sadly, the most coveted title of…

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REVIEW: Bande à part [Band of Outsiders] [1964]

“Everything that is new is thereby already traditional” When it comes to a film by Jean-Luc Godard, it may be better for you to go in with eyes wide, ready to go on a journey of surrealism and cerebral craziness instead of one tied to a strict plot. Bande à part [Band of Outsiders] is a perfect example of this as the story itself, loosely based on an American pulp novel, is very slight and acts only as a framework for the events occurring. Two classmates learning English strike up…

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