Category Archives: Film


TIFF 2014: Interview with Indigo’s Amanda Strong

In my continuing series on the Short Cuts Canada Programmes, today we look at one of the most visually striking films in the series, Amanda Strong’s Indigo. Filmed entirely in stop-motion, the hand-crafted figures in this dreamlike short are inspired by Native mythology. A confined woman finds herself liberated by grandmother spider, while her memories are projected in an effort to restore her spirit. Following its own archetypal images and logic, the film doesn’t conform to a straightforward narrative, but conveys a striking journey through several different coloured worlds in its nine-minute run-time. Strong has made several short films, each with an intense, dark visual style. Indigo was also selected for the 2014 Cannes Short Film Corner, and last year the National Post included her in its feature “Six emerging aboriginal artists in Canada who are inspiring change.” Catch my interview with her and the trailer for Indigo after the jump:

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It Follows: Heartfelt Horror Mines the Past for Something New

David Robert Mitchell’s throwback horror film It Follows is surprisingly fresh. And creepy.

Passing on the curse is a time-honoured horror tradition. Through an innocent act, the victim unwittingly brings a malevolent force down on themselves. The only chance for salvation is to make someone else the next target. That’s the plot for The Ring (2002) and its Asian originators, and it stretches back to Jacques Tourneur’s occult Night of the Demon (1957), which in turn takes literary inspiration from M.R. James’s short story Casting the Runes. (The Stephen King/Richard Bachman classic Thinner is another haunting example.) With his new film It Follows (2014) at this year’s TIFF, American indie filmmaker David Robert Mitchell turns the conceit to a sexually transmitted serial haunting. He takes that idea and runs with it, or rather, walks very… creepily… slowly. Now take a look around. We don’t have much time. But you need to know this.

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The GAR! Podcast: Stoner TV and Big Brother


Biff Bam Pop! presents The GAR! Podcast, the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind. It’s an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world. This week, we examine “Big Brother,” Sid and Marty Krofft, stoner TV, customer service, and OMAC goes down the toilet. See and hear more after the jump.

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TIFF 2014: Interview with Sleeping Giant’s Andrew Cividino

Andrew Cividino’s short film Sleeping Giant perfectly captures the uneasiness of growing up

Sometimes a short film is its own thing. Sometimes it’s a calling card, a director’s notice that this great story could be even more as a feature. The Short Cuts Canada programmes at TIFF give lots of opportunity to check out cool films from up-and-coming directors. Andrew Cividino is one of them. A graduate of the Ryerson University film program in Toronto, he’s made four short films. Sleeping Giant is his first at the festival, and the short is already being made into a feature. Following a boy Adam and his misadventures with a pair of local boys on Lake Superior, their dynamic changes with the arrival of pretty young Taylor. The film captures the competitiveness of kids and the uneasiness of those awkward tween years. Catch the trailer and my interview with director Cividino after the jump.

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Our Man Bill: Celebrate Bill Murray Day With TIFF

This is going to be an annual thing, right? As the Toronto International Film Festival gets up to full steam, they’ve declared that today, Friday, September 5th, is Bill Murray Day. Aside from the fact that really every day should be Bill Murray Day (and get this, if you’re Bill Murray, every day actually is!), it’s about time that there was an international day recognizing all things Murray. So for relaxing times, join me after the jump. It’s Bill Murray time!

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The Art of the Small: TIFF’s Shorts Cuts Canada

Matthew Rankin’s Mynarski Death Plummet is just one of the visually arresting films in the Shorts Cuts Canada programme

Everyone loves a big canvas. Directors can hardly resist getting all that vision up there on screen, going crazy Coppola-style waxing operatic and napalming the jungle for their personal Apocalypse Now. Lately, the push for longer movies is back, with blockbusters like Captain America: The Winter SoldierDawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, and X-Men: Days of Future Past all clocking in over two hours long. Transformers: Age of Extinction is 165 minutes, fer chrissakes! But there’s another way. For the intrepid, those just starting out in film, and the craftspeople dedicated to the art of the small, short films are where it’s at. Over the next few days I’ll be posting interviews with a few of the many filmmakers in the Short Cuts Canada programme. Just like their lengthier siblings, these movies go anywhere, from comedy to horror, from surreal animation to the mundane grit of real life. So here’s to the miniaturists. Let’s get small after the jump.

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Here Comes the Flood: TIFF 2014 Unleashes a Torrent of Cinema

South Korean high seas survival story Haemoo is one of hundreds of TIFF films from all over

Well it’s here. And it’s big. Massive in fact. There’s over 300 films at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, TIFF’s 39th kick at the burgeoning cinematic can. Hollywood might be staggering like a drunk at the end of a very long bender, but there’s a world of vibrant movies out there. And for the next eleven days, they’re all here in Toronto. I’ll be looking at a handful, a bagatelle, a mere soupçon, but to kick things off, have a trailer or two, and get ready to celebrate BM Day.

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Scene Stealers: Summer Movies 2014

Gamora & Star Lord“I am going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.” – Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy

Isn’t that what summer movies are all about? Checking our intelligence in at the theater door and joining other fellow “idiots” as we watch mind-numbing, big-budget flicks with minimal plot lines and questionable acting? I admit, the term ‘idiots’ might be a bit harsh here, but after watching “The Legend of Hercules” with my friends, I definitely felt like an idiot for having gone (though we did get plenty of laughs from the experience so it ended up being worth it).

Here’s my Top 5 Scene Stealers from 2014’s Summer Movie Extravaganza:


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