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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.

Recent reviews

Dionne Warwick has the voice of an angel and the personality of your favourite auntie after three shots of gin. She’s an artist who never holds back; not on stage, not in interviews, and certainly not on Twitter. So who better to profile in a retrospective than this talented and glamorous musical queen?

Directors Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner’s biographical documentary Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over takes viewers through the pop and R&B star’s illustrious career. Most importantly, the…

One can only swoon for Benediction. Terence Davies’ serenely poetic portrait of Siegfried Sassoon and the “Bright Young Things” social set of the 1920s is a melancholy exploration of the battlefields of love. This handsome Brit pic interprets the life of the poet who honed his voice while objecting to the senseless bloodshed of the Great War. Sassoon, played by an excellent Jack Lowden (Dunkirk), narrowly escapes a court martial and a bullet upon objecting thanks to the protection of…

There’s no one-size-fits-all method of dealing with grief. We all heal at our own pace, in our own ways. You can’t make a loved one’s pain disappear with the right words or some magic pill. These words are the last thing someone wants to hear when they’re caught in despair’s cold black grip. But that doesn’t make this sentiment any less true.

Director Theodore Melfi’s heartfelt drama, The Starling, focuses on a husband and wife trapped in a cycle of…

Through such films as The Kindergarten Teacher and the Golden Bear-winning Synonyms, Nadav Lapid has earned a reputation for thematically and formally challenging work. For his latest effort Ahed’s Knee, the Israeli filmmaker continues in the same vein, with a drama that takes its cues from real world events to make a bold cinematic statement. The result is a typically eccentric rumination on Israeli art, politics and society.

Indeed, Lapid courts controversy from the opening of the film, nodding towards…

Liked reviews

simultaneously one of the great action parodies because beyond the expertly crafted looney tunes visual gags, on a filmmaking level it's frequently indistinguishable from the real thing (god mctiernan) and one of the best movies about a movie star literally wrestling with their own hollywood fantasy image and myth. "you've brought me nothing but pain."

full discussion on episode 57 of my podcast SLEAZOIDS.

15-YEAR OLD ME: "Oh boy! A RESIDENT EVIL film and a remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD! I hope this means there will be a new wave of zombie films!"


Zack Snyder can craft a fun action scene, but I am baffled as to why he wanted to make ARMY OF THE DEAD.

It's a zombie heist film (There's potential there!), with a charming gang of actors (I do love Dave Bautista!), buckets…

So weird, so Danish, and yet, not even Anders Thomas Jensen’s weirdest Danish film.

Being in a hole sounds a lot more fun than watching this movie again