TIFF REVIEW: Teen Spirit [2019]

Love’s not real. If you haven’t had enough underdog tales about kids from the wrong side of the tracks trying to make it big, Max Minghella‘s directorial debut Teen Spirit hits all the usual check marks to provide a stylish if familiar entry to the theme. There’s the likeable teen lead in Violet’s (Elle Fanning) Polish-British, Isle of Wight resident working her land and a waitress job all while attending school. The tough parent trying to instill a pragmatic realism meant to temper expectations that end up working to destroy…

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REVIEW: The 9th Life of Louis Drax [2016]

“More than all the fish in the sea” Ten years after Anthony Minghella optioned Liz Jensen‘s The 9th Life of Louis Drax to develop cinematically, it was his son Max who saw it begin production. The younger Minghella’s first credited screenplay, probably brought to director Alexandre Aja on set of their previous collaboration Horns, it would ultimately take another two for the finished film’s release. If I were to wager a guess as to why I’d say the distributors found themselves painted in a corner unable to figure out how…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Into the Forest [2016]

“It reveals character” The farther we advance towards a world of complete convenience, the further we distance ourselves from self-sufficiency. Every new generation loses more skills and know-how of what humanity was capable of for millennia to survive. We choose careers in dance and the arts, leave books collecting dust when the internet is at our fingertips, and take comfort in the assumption we’re only minutes away from acquiring what we need so technology can continue sustaining us into the future. So what happens when the power goes out? What’s…

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REVIEW: The Social Network [2010]

“Farm animals …” We all might have shook our heads when dark noir extraordinaire David Fincher signed up to direct this so called “Facebook Movie”, but in a matter of five minutes all reservations are rendered moot. It begins with a Mamet-esque tit for tat between Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg (perfect casting anyone?) and his soon to be ex-girlfriend Erica, played by Rooney Mara. Don’t get me wrong, Aaron Sorkin is no screenwriting slouch, the Mamet notion just popped into my head and I say it complimentary. The cuts between…

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TIFF09 RECAP: Connecting to Your World … and mine

Every year at the Toronto International Film Festival seems to get better and better. Is that due to the increase in films from six to eleven to fifteen? It very well might be. And I’ll just say now, watching fifteen films in less than four days may not be the healthiest thing in the world. Between the vendor sausage/chicken dogs/nitrates on a bun being easily accessible and a standard meal when going from one film to the next with barely enough time to catch your breath and the sheer fact…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: Agora [2009]

“I was forgiven, but now I can’t forgive” I will not deny the fact that Alejandro Amenábar is one of my favorite directors at the moment. With the eerily creepy The Others and the emotionally wrought Mar adentro, how could he not be? And why have I not seen Abre los ojos yet? Disgraceful I know. Well, you can imagine my immense excitement when finding out his new 4th century Egyptian epic Agora would be playing as a gala presentation in Toronto for TIFF. The trailer made it seem very…

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