TIFF15 REVIEW: She Stoops to Conquer [2015]

“It’s everything you’ll never be” The TIFF description calling Zachary Russell‘s She Stoops to Conquer a “fantastical oddity” is about as spot-on a review as you can get. What else can you say about a short film depicting a struggling performance artist who applies a latex mask—transforming her into an older gentleman in hope of laughter that doesn’t come—who comes face-to-face with the alter ego in real life? The possibilities are almost nightmarish: to see yourself in parody and wonder what sort of game is happening around you. There’s a…

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: Ejecta [2014]

“Something came to me” Many might take my comparing Ejecta to The Fourth Kind as a slight, but I actually enjoy that film a lot. While Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele‘s science fiction horror doesn’t pretend it’s real, the crosscutting between time and styles similarly keeps us off-balance enough to buy into the escalating danger onscreen. We’re shown straight away that a government or privatized military agency has captured William Cassidy/Spider Nevi (Julian Richings) in the woods through night vision goggles and yet this convergence is the mid-point of the…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: 2012 Short Cuts Canada Programmes

Programme 1 “So a TV killed your father” What do you get when you mix the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the ancient metallurgical science of alchemy, and the namesake of inventor Philo Farnsworth? The answer is Connor Gaston‘s short film Bardo Light—titled for the bright glow none of us can avoid at the end of our lives. Told via the police interrogation of the younger Farnsworth (Shaan Rahman) after his adopted father (Bill Gaston) was found suffocated to death in their cabin, we quickly learn of successful experiments using…

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REVIEW: My Life Without Me [2003]

“There’s no such thing as normal people” It may be clichéd to use the phrase, “if you look ‘blank’ up in the dictionary, you will see a photo of ‘blank’”, but sometimes it is appropriate. Sarah Polley, for instance, epitomizes the words underrated and underused. I know she has evolved her state in the film industry by becoming an auteur behind the camera of late, but it truly is a joy to go back and watch her early work in front of it. Finally catching The Sweet Hereafter a short…

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