Category Archives: movie review
He’s funny, disarming, a genial presence that belies the disturbing sensibility he harbours within. But even more than that, Guillermo del Toro knows his shit. TIFF’s been offering a series of Gothic Master Classes with the renowned director, the last one happening on Monday, August 31st. I was fortunate to attend last week’s dissertation on Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940). Del Toro introduced the film, and fielded questions from the audience afterward. Sitting there in the theatre, I took four pages of notes. He’s nicknamed “The Professor” for a reason.
“This is the future. The world as we know it is gone. Scarred by endless wars, humanity struggles to survive in the ruins of the old world. This is the future. The year is 1997.” It’s a great pitch, and for Turbo Kid (opening today), a winning one. Fuelled by Mad Max and countless dystopian eighties adventure movies, this low-budget tween actioner gets its kick from gleefully over-the-top gore and a winsome underdog hero story. So strap on your power-gloves, and let’s get back to the future.
I always wonder how secret agents manage to look so superbly good. I guess all that Cold War cash had to assert dominance in every way imaginable, fashion included. Guy Ritchie’s latest romp, the resurrection of the campy sixties TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as a breezy spy franchise in the offing, certainly lays on the style. The sunglasses budget alone must’ve been thousands. Deviating from the bombast of the Mission Impossible series, Ritchie opts for a sardonic retro pastiche. Unquestionably cool, find out after the jump if The Man from U.N.C.L.E. delivers on its premise, or the emperor’s only sporting exquisite new clothes.
I miss Robin Williams. Since my days of watching Mork and Mindy when I was a child, through to Good Morning Vietnam, Insomnia, and One Hour Photo, to his incredible stand-up that I was lucky enough to experience live, he was always of my favourite performers. His death last year was a shock to me, just like to so many others, but knowing we’ve been left with an enduring body of work was some small comfort.
Boulevard is Williams’ last live-action performance and, as one would expect, the actor is brilliant in an understated role in a small film.
No preamble, no set-up about how bad the reviews have been for Fantastic Four, the reboot of a film series that wasn’t particularly well-regarded when it launched back in 2005. I’m going to get right into it, if it suits you.
I thought it was ok.
No, really I did.
Do you remember The ‘burbs? It came out back in 1989, directed by Joe Dante and starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher and Rick Ducommon, and was a fun and slightly creepy tale about how neighbours react when someone moves into an old house across the street. Every couple of years I go back and watch it; I even wrote about it here back in 2010. It’s just one of those under the radar movies that sticks with you. And when I finished watching Suburban Gothic, the excellent second film from director Richard Bates Jr., I couldn’t help but feel like I’d seen a kindred spirit to The ‘burbs.
Tangerine, the new film by Sean Baker, portrays a realism that is at once immersive and fresh. The film, shot entirely on cell-phone cameras from seemingly every possible angle, invites the audience into a very personal story.
BASE jumping is back, baby. The acronym stands for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth. In practice, it means strapping on a parachute and hurling oneself off a tall, fixed place, whether a skyscraper, communications tower, bridge or forbidding mountain cliff. The rush is real. And so is the folly. As part of the promo leading up to the Pan Am Games in Toronto this summer, a duo of BASE jumpers leapt off the CN Tower a few weeks ago. Footage of the feat will be part of the Games’ opening ceremony. At the other end of the spectrum, veteran jumpers Dean Potter and Graham Hunt died in May BASE jumping with wingsuits in Yosemite National Park. Between success and failure, the experience is truly extreme. Marah Strauch’s Sunshine Superman (2015) takes up the life of one of the sport’s most charismatic pioneers, Carl Boenish (rhymes with “danish”). Let’s take a look over the edge, but careful, it’s a long, long way down.
Great artists are kinda fucking nuts. They don’t always seem that way. Sometimes they come across completely normal, as normal as you or I. (Well, you anyway.) Sure, some have their tics and rattles, but it’s the work that really shows where their compulsions lie. To look at his work, Hans Rudolf Giger must’ve been batshit crazy with all manner of body and technological loathing. His prodigious output is among the most distinctive art of the late twentieth century, from paintings to sculptures to the all-time creepiest xenomorph ever to smash its double-hinged projectile jaws into a human skull in Alien (1979). The documentary Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World (2014) finds Giger in the final fade of his twilight years, ailing but affable, presiding over his legacy with the creation of the Giger Museum in his home Switzerland. It’s an uneven doc, but Giger’s shadows are impossibly compelling. Grab a ticket. If the ride makes you sick, well, isn’t that what you paid for?