Author Archives: Luke Sneyd
Halfway to Halloween, and here in Toronto, the scarestivities are well underway. The Toronto After Dark Film Festival is bringing the shivers to the Scotiabank Theatre for the next week. And this weekend, the third annual Horror-Rama Canada convention is turning the Hyatt Regency into a horror hotel.
High winds took a bite out of the weekend, Hurricane Matthew knocking nearly 10% off the weekend’s box office totals, compared to last year. But The Girl on the Train was the engine that could, topping the weekend grosses handily.
This weekend’s shaping up to be a little all over the place, with slaves, trains and hurricanes. Nate Parker’s controversial, critically-acclaimed The Birth of a Nation is taking on Tate Taylor’s thriller The Girl on the Train, but Hurricane Matthew might have something to say before the weekend box office is tallied up. Close the storm windows, grab the candles and let’s head to the cellar to figure this all out.
A mad dictator obsessed with film kidnaps the best director and actress of a rival country, so that his nation can make its movies world-class. In two years, the captive pair churn out seventeen movies, before escaping to freedom. Oh, and they’re married. That’s not the ludicrous pitch to the next Coen Brothers flick. It’s actually a true story. In a limited theatrical run and just released to iTunes today, The Lovers and the Despot lays out the ludicrous details in a fascinating, strange documentary.
The big Hollywood musical is alive and well. Sure, it’s an endangered species, but Damien Chazelle’s vibrant La La Land is about as fine a specimen as you can find. Chosen by Toronto’s filmgoing horde as the best film at TIFF this year, La La Land is a throwback tour de force.
Werner Herzog is a living legend, a madman director who insists he’s “the only sane filmmaker.” The director of the eighties remake of Nosferatu and the surreal “let’s drag an entire steamship over a mountain” movie Fitzcaraldo (plus countless others) has largely turned his attention to documentary in the past twenty years. His latest explores a subject close to his fevered, compulsive mind. Into the Inferno follows Herzog and co-director and vulcanologist Clive Oppenheimer as they traipse around the globe, visiting the world’s mightiest volcanoes.
Amy Adams is having a pretty great year. It’s only going to get better. With two top-flight films at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, she’s this year’s Benedict Cumberbatch. I already wrote about her note-perfect performance as the love-lorn gallery curator in Tom Ford’s chilly noir Nocturnal Animals. Her role in Denis Villeneuve’s cerebral sci-fi feature Arrival is even better. The movie is pretty great, too. But Amy, she should clear some space on her mantle.
With Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford seems compelled to make up for lost time. Seven years after the success of the fashion designer’s directorial debut A Single Man, Ford’s second feature merges two noir tales into a single multifaceted narrative, dancing through time and multiple fictions. Haunting, by turns icy and anguished, it’s an unsettling and exquisite study of failure, loss and revenge.
Following a rag-tag group of teens selling and sexing across the mid-West, American Honey is a modern-day Kids, minus that film’s relentless pessimism and narrative drive. With a near interminable three-hour running time, director Andrea Arnold’s fourth feature is fuelled by muddled hope and hunger, and the boundless energy of its kinetic youthful stars. If slam-bangin’ road movies across the corroded skeleton of America are your thing, read on.
“Live long and prosper.” That was Spock’s Star Trek catchphrase, words immortalized in Leonard Nimoy’s deadpan delivery, matter-of-fact, with hidden layers of emotion. And boy, if anything has lived long and prospered, it’s the Star Trek franchise. Six TV series with a seventh on the way, and thirteen films. It’s hard to believe it all started way back on this day in 1966, fifty years ago. Read the rest of this entry