REVIEW: Doubles vies [Non-Fiction] [2019]

An infinite minority. You know when you go to a get-together and the conversation inevitably turns to current affairs for which everyone has a fringe understanding? So rather than provide true opinions, they simply start regurgitating what they’ve read on the subject. Most times their content doesn’t even come from a primary source because we’ve conditioned ourselves to blindly trust media outlets that paraphrase, parse, and filter through their own personalized political agenda. Fact therefore becomes a stepping-stone towards editorial and that editorial suddenly becomes a stand-in for the facts.…

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REVIEW: Irma Vep [1996]

“Have you sex with girls?” If you’re going to poke fun at the film industry, you might as well go for broke. Take Olivier Assayas‘ Irma Vep for example. Hot off the success of his acclaimed Cold Water, he was recruited for a project about foreigners in Paris with Claire Denis and Atom Egoyan. When this attempt at recreating Louis Feuillade‘s silent Les vampires fell through, Assayas decided to continue with that thematic idea while also adding some “meta” behind the scenes chaos that could (and probably did) occur. With…

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REVIEW: L’eau froide [Cold Water] [1994]

“Extravagant maneuvers” Originally envisioned as a 52-minute chapter of a television anthology series with strict thematic and contextual rules, Olivier Assayas‘ L’eau froide [Cold Water] eventually found itself as the much sought-after 90-minute Cannes debut that cemented the auteur’s style, acclaim, and promise without ever reaching American shores due to lapsed music rights. He would revisit the characters almost twenty years later with Something in the Air‘s more overtly political depiction of his semi-autobiographical youth mired in the turmoil of May ’68, but his earlier work still lingered as a…

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REVIEW: Personal Shopper [2016]

“I just need to see it to the end, that’s all” At the heart of Olivier Assayas‘ Personal Shopper is an idea of fear. This isn’t surprising considering it’s a genre ghost story, but its target is. Lead character Maureen Cartwright (Kristen Stewart) isn’t afraid of ghosts, spirits, or the supernatural because she’s a medium like her recently deceased twin brother Lewis. And even though she doesn’t quite believe their abilities prove what he did—the afterlife’s existence—she trusts and respects him enough to make good on the oath they struck…

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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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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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TIFF12 REVIEW: Après mai [Something in the Air] [2012]

“I live in fantasy. When reality knocks I don’t open.” Sex, drugs, art, and revolution—such was the life of a young European in 1971. Or at least it was the life of a young director at 17 trying to reconcile the state of his country and his ambitions for the future. Taking us along for the rapid ascent into adulthood of a group of school-aged French radicals, Olivier Assayas‘ semi-autobiographical film Après mai [Something in the Air] is a slice of life at a time of wholesale liberation. These Trotskyites…

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Top Ten Films of 2010: Dark Fantasy Cinema

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all—141 seen is this year’s number—the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I remember thinking around April that there hadn’t been a truly great film released yet. After summer came and went with little to cheer about, I feared 2010 would be a gigantic bust containing a ton of decent to good films, but only a handful of great ones. And then—like it seems…

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Top 25 Films of 2010

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 156 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Restrepo directed by Tim Hetherington& Sebastian Junger #24: Trust directed by David Schwimmer. #23: Kick-Ass directed by Matthew Vaughn. #22: Christina directed by Larry Brand. #21: It’s Kind of a Funny Story directed byAnna Boden & Ryan Fleck #20: Catfish directed by Henry Joost& Ariel Schulman #19: The City ofYour Final Destination directed by James Ivory #18: The King’s Speech directed…

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REVIEW: Carlos [2010]

“Sudden bloody terror” Kudos to Dan Franck and Olivier Assayas—who also directed—for doing the research and having the skill necessary to pull off an epic such as Carlos. Originally created as a three-part, five and a half hour miniseries for Canal Plus in Europe, the work became a sensation, debuting at Cannes and eventually being scooped up for American distribution in its entirety and as a two and a half hour theatrical version. While I can admit the complete piece drags at times in the beginning and especially at the…

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REVIEW: L’heure d’été [Summer Hours] [2008]

“It’s nicely displayed” What is the true value of something? Whether it a house, paintings, heirlooms, or photos, do objects hold more worth monetarily or sentimentally? Just the fact that the deceased is taxed upon death shows how important the money is to the whole system of life, rendering one’s childhood memories into commodity. Olivier Assayas’s film L’heure d’été [Summer Hours] delves into this very topic, showing a generational gap as well as a societal one when it comes to a trio of siblings’ mother’s estate. Two of them have…

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