REVIEW: Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm] [2014]

“Today a part of me has died and I cannot cry” For wunderkind Xavier Dolan, a film unreleased in America two years after completion is hard to believe. But that’s exactly what happened with his adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard‘s play Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm]. On the surface it should be his most marketable work to date and yet his fifth, Mommy, found itself on the shortlist for Oscar glory before we were even able to see it. Something gave distributors pause and perhaps that thinking…

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REVIEW: Mommy [2014]

“A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six years all by the time he’s hit the quarter century mark with four debuting at Cannes and the other Venice? How can you not take notice of such accomplishments? Carrying the preconceptions a critical darling…

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Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the bone by credits’ end. The best thing I can say about 2014 is that my top ten (heck, maybe my top twenty-five) could be re-organized and re-listed without making me too angry about what is…

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REVIEW: Libertador [The Liberator] [2014]

“I am the people” I think I may have snorted a bit when the short list for foreign film Academy Award nominations came out with Libertador [The Liberator] as one of its paltry ten. They wouldn’t have placed the movie with those melodramatic character posters shrouded in a dark brooding atmosphere above critical darlings like Mommy and Two Days, One Night, would they? It just goes to show how you truly cannot judge a book by its cover because even I, the hater of sprawling epics hitting checkpoint after checkpoint…

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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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