Author Archives: Luke Sneyd
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
Biff Bam Pop maestro Andy Burns is having a blast at Fan Expo (see J.P. Fallavolita’s essential strategy guide to Fan Expo survival). So I’m tackling the weekend box office predictions this time around. On Friday, I posed the question could Suicide Squad crawl back on top during the slow Labour Day weekend? My guess was no, betting that the horror flick Don’t Breathe would top the weekend, as well as Suicide Squad. So how did I do?
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It’s the Labour Day weekend. Probably the slowest weekend of the year, movie-wise. People go to the cottage, go to the Canadian National Exhibition, hit Fan Expo, stuff like that. And some folks still go to the movies. But not many of ’em. One of those non-movie peeps is our own Andy Burns, off to Fan Expo. So this weekend I’m making the box office predictions. Cuz I’m Vegas like that. This weekend there’s a tired old dog limping toward the finish line, and a few new pups eager to show their moxie. Where you gonna put your chips?
We hear about Syria a lot these days. Ravaged by ISIS, crushed by their own dictatorial leaders, the Syrian population is wildly displaced, with millions of refugees looking for new homes around the globe. But we don’t know a lot about the actual country. TIFF looks to fill that gap, with a week-long program of Syrian films called Syria Self-Portraits: Chronicles of Tyranny, Chronicles of War. Stars in Broad Daylight is one of the oldest in the program, from 1988, by Syria’s foremost filmmaker Ossama Mohammed. It’s a bleak comedy, an absurd look at the country’s longstanding oppression.
The revolution is coming. It’s coming for your flat screens and your movie theatres and when it’s done, nothing will be the same. Virtual reality has at long last arrived, with tech that is ungainly, expensive and wondrous. Like all tech innovations, the race to consumer affordability is on, and within five years you can bet that VR will be cheap and ubiquitous. Right now, though, we’re in the supercomputer-that-fills-a-room days (metaphorically—the actual gear is already quite compact). In Toronto, TIFF saw the exciting breakthroughs in the medium and seized the opportunity to let people experience VR firsthand, minus the outlay for an Oculus rig. POP 03 is TIFF’s latest public pop-up installation, a three-day hands-on for people to check out what VR is about. I got my own eyes-on yesterday, and I gotta tell ya, the impact is powerful.