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David Cronenberg Sees People As The Flesh Bags That They Are

David Cronenberg’s films offer a brutal truth: that humans are merely meat. This is not to say that cannibalism is the norm for him. Rather than emphasizing any potential consumption or digestion of bodies, he takes a look at humanity through the lens of our physical reality and the possibilities therein. Any person is capable of being broken down into the elements of flesh and bone, blood and guts. Cronenberg’s posit sits underneath all of his films, rising closer to…

Patricia Rozema Interview: On Belonging, Identity, and Ignoring the Noise

“I couldn’t imagine you’d be 63, still in a state of wonder and curiosity about who you are and who you’re becoming,” director, writer, and producer Patricia Rozema tells me over Zoom from her home in Toronto. “I once had a playwright say, ‘all your works about belonging and not belonging.’ And I thought, that sounds true, but isn’t that everyone’s?”

The Criterion Shelf: Starring Delphine Seyrig

It took a while for Delphine Seyrig to become Delphine Seyrig, and that’s not a bad thing. In a business mainly preoccupied with youth and beauty, particularly celebrating and quickly using up female youth and beauty, the excitement of an ingénue who gets it right on their first try at movie stardom is often a matter of much-lauded excitement: entire festivals at Cannes have been spent celebrating the genius newcomer (it’s even lampooned in a very bad Henry Jaglom film),…

Simple but Complicated: The Short Films of Sophy Romvari

As we anticipate her first feature, it’s the perfect time to indulge in Sophy Romvári’s short films, which are now on The Criterion Channel. The big debut is still in development. The Toronto filmmaker told me of her excitement of working with a great team and about how “it’s a big step forward in terms of scope and budget.”

YOU Haven't Seen MAGIC MIKE?!

"YOU Haven't Seen" is a monthly column that celebrates milestone movie anniversaries. This month, Marko Djurdjic goes back to 2012 and watches Steven Soderbergh’s sweat-inducing, butt-shaking opus, MAGIC MIKE, for the very first time.

A Look Back At Jean-Marc Vallée’s Café De Flore

Google reviews of Jean-Marc Vallée’s 2011 drama Café de Flore and you’ll discover that there are two deeply divided camps regarding the film. One side praises the film’s charm and emotional puzzles, citing how the overarching theme stayed with them long after the credits rolled, while the other singles out its male gaze and frustrating time jumps, which come together in an overwrought climax. While I was firmly in the latter camp on first viewing, time and life has provided…

The Criterion Shelf: Starring Harry Belafonte

The most exciting moment in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman has to be the single-scene appearance of a ninety-one year-old Harry Belafonte. The veteran actor gives the film added context by delivering a monologue about the murder of Jesse Washington in 1916 Texas. In showing how much charisma the performer still retains at his age (and during a retirement that he agreed to interrupt for this one day shoot after his doctor finally permitted it), the scene is so deeply satisfying.

Bob Saget (1956-2022)

Bob Saget, the legendary comedian and performer who mixed popular entertainment on shows like Full House with his unique and acerbic sense of humour and bristling stand-up delivery, has died at age 65.

The Criterion Shelf: Fox Noir

The genre of film noir got underway at the beginning of the forties, inspired as it was by the dark perspectives brought on by World War II. Twentieth Century-Fox joined every other studio in capitalizing on their popularity almost immediately with the release of their first entry, I Wake Up Screaming in 1941. Talking about film noir tends to bring our minds to popular Warner Bros. classics like The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, tales of Los Angeles detectives and double-crossing blondes, but Fox had its own spin…

Interview: Director Will Sharpe on The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

At first glance, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain might seem like an enjoyable but paint-by-numbers British biopic. Naturally, you’ve got the pedigreed casting (Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy), a life story filled with both comedy and tragedy, and of course, frames fairly bursting with picture-perfect period costumes and set designs. Nothing to sneeze at, certainly, but also nothing that particularly stands out. And that’s what might’ve been had this particular film not found the perfect marriage of director and subject. The subject is…

He Saved Latin: A Wes Anderson Retrospective

Today, after two delays and more than 17 months since it was set to premier at Cannes, Wes Anderson’s new film, The French Dispatch, is finally being released in cinemas. In order to celebrate this momentous (it is, right? Movies are back, people!) occasion, we take a look back at Anderson’s sprawling, whimsical, and oftentimes biting filmography.

GIF-able Jessica: Saluting TIFF Tribute Actor, Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain knows how to make an entrance. The recipient of TIFF’s Tribute Actor Award has only been in the public eye for a decade. However, she’s produced one of the best bodies of work of any Hollywood actor ever during such a period. Chastain was everywhere in 2011 as the Summer of Jessica touched down and gave audiences oodles of face time with one of the most versatile and consistently likeable performers ever to grace the screen. Chastain is pulling…

TIFF 2021: What We’re Most Excited to See

The countdown begins today! With just one week to go until this year’s Toronto International Film Festival kicks off, movie lovers are running out of time to finalize their must-see movie list. Despite a slightly pared-down slate, largely due to COVID-19 restrictions and logistics, there are still close to 200 titles to choose from over the 10 days of screenings. Then there’s the inevitable, yearly dilemma: do you try to see all the buzzed about biggies or set out to…

The Criterion Shelf: Directed by John Huston

One has a tough time deciding what theme or style to associate with director John Huston (1906-1987). However, one thing that stands out when taking in a number of his films at once is his lack of faith in happy endings. In one of his best works, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, the American flag that is raised in the final scene doesn’t find its pride of place in the centre of the widescreen frame as a beacon of patriotic glory. Instead, it…

With Friends Like These: Stand By Me at 35

As the old adage goes, wine gets better with age. Sugars, acids and substances known as phenolic compounds (including tannins) perform complex chemical reactions, which result in very expensive bottles of what is essentially grape juice. Temperature, humidity, and, of course, time are also key factors in the final product. Oxygen is bad. Bottles have to be kept cool, but not cold. Humidity and The Cork go hand in hand. This is all a very complicated process.

The Exchange’s Tim Long on His Journey from Springfield to Hobart

Writer Tim Long has been bringing audiences to Springfield for years with The Simpsons. Now he’s taking them to Hobart with The Exchange. The setting of Long’s film, like Springfield, is fictional. But unlike the town from which Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie hail, it’s north of the Canada/US border.

Basement Tapes: The Music of “Summer of Soul”

Motion Picture Soundtrack is a column that explores the soundtracks of music documentaries and biopics. Using songs featured in each respective film or series, the column offers readers a primer on artists and bands worth loving, revisiting, and discovering anew. This week, we look at Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s provocative, brilliant, and essential new film about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.

The Best Films of 2021 So Far: A Year of Hidden Gems

It’s only been 69 days since the Oscars. It therefore feels a weird to be picking the best films of 2021 so far. Nevertheless, we’re already halfway there. 2021 has had, perhaps unexpectedly, as many challenges for Hollywood as 2020 did. Movie theatres, at least in Toronto, haven’t been open for a single day this year. Some theatres, like my local the Mt. Pleasant, are surviving as churches. You can meet to sing hymns and shake hands, but god forbid…

Summer Reading List: 10 Upcoming Adaptations

Bookworms, rejoice. As we look forward to a safe return to movie theatres in the near future, let’s plan our summer reading list accordingly. The upcoming release schedule has a number of notable film adaptations. This means that read-the-book-before-seeing-the-movie-nerds like myself have lots to devour for the year ahead. Let’s crack the spine on a good book and get excited for some movies.

Beats, Rhymes & Life: An Introduction to A Tribe Called Quest

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (2011), Michael Rapaport’s raw-but-loving documentary on hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, explores the connections and tensions that led to the group’s formation, ascension, breakup, and numerous reunions. Made up of MCs Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and part-time member Jarobi White, as well as DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, ATCQ released six albums, numerous singles, and some of the most visually striking videos in hip hop. They remain one of the genre’s most eclectic, beloved, and influential acts,…