Category Archives: Toronto
Beyond The One and Strangely Ordinary This Devotion are two works of art with major texture and substance. Paired together as a double bill (both films clock in at under an hour), they explore concepts of love, relationships, and intimacy in powerfully poetic ways.
Jenna Bass’s latest film, High Fantasy, is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of South Africa’s multi-cultural youth. Appearing as a sort of homemade travelogue, High Fantasy is filmed as if collected from a group of friends’ various iPhones and then officially edited together afterwards.
Simone Estrin’s 26-minute documentary, A Shift in the Landscape, is now playing at the Ryerson Image Centre’s (RIC) Student Gallery. As soon as the house lights dim, the colossal abstract sculptures of Richard Serra flood the screen. It is an immediate meditation on art and how it inhabits the environment.
John Bolton’s Aim for the Roses is a quirky and ambitious film. Set to make its world premiere at Hot Docs 2016, Toronto’s documentary film festival extravaganza, Aim for the Roses is a story of obsession.
Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders’ final fictional film from the 1980s, is lighter than a feather. The wispy gates of heaven open to an overcast Berlin in the twilight of The Cold War. Angels float through the streets and listen to the thoughts of the city’s many lonely characters.
Wim Wenders’ neo-noir thriller, The American Friend, looks like it was cut from the same cloth as other films from the genre. When viewing the film in 2016, it’s hard not to make stylistic connections to such titles as: The French Connection, Chinatown, and Point Blank. However, what makes The American Friend stand out from its counterparts is that it doesn’t concern itself with trying to fulfill a mysterious plotline.
As part of their expansive retrospective on the exceptional German director Wim Wenders, The TIFF Bell Lightbox delivers a rare opportunity to see the man’s early short films as one screening. Most of these films date back to the late 1960s when Wenders was a film student in Munich. The films are the collected diaries of a young filmmaker experimenting with the medium, searching for his voice. While many of the films feel like fragmented snapshots of little consequence, it is evident that a vision is starting to form. Viewing the compilation in the context of Wenders’ later work, it is miraculous to see the jump in craftsmanship in such a short amount of time.
The TIFF Bell Lightbox’s stop motion animation retrospective continues this extended holiday weekend with several more impressive titles. Of particular note are screenings of the two 1970s European classics, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage).
Both films pose numerous questions about existence in two completely different tones. Life of Brian, as with all of Monty Python’s greatest works, looks at the world satirically. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious in its absurdities – an elite comedy in which the actors deliver jokes with tremendous control. The jokes are structured so well that they feel as if they appear out of nowhere. All of a sudden, each line becomes funnier than the next. The characters fidget oddly, contort their faces, hold their gazes for a split second too long, and speak with bizarre cadences tones or impediments. Then, at the utmost perfect time, the punch line is dropped and a laughing fit ensues. The Python guys are so good at telling jokes that the plot line is almost unnecessary to the film’s enjoyment. Life of Brian becomes a competition of witty jokester one-ups-man-ship from the opening credits all the way to the closing song.
The TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto’s foremost review cinema house, is putting on an extensive stop-motion animation retrospective for the public over the next few months. Titled ‘Magic Motion: The Art of Stop-Motion Animation,’ the first screenings are set to take place this weekend. Two of the initial weekend screenings, King Kong (1933) and The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), are particularly noteworthy features in the development of cinema. Both films laid an early blueprint for the future of action-adventure motion pictures. Read the rest of this entry
Rejoice! FAN EXPO Canada is back, T-Dot (resident and visiting) peeps!
What’s “T-Dot”, you ask? Well, that’s just me shouting out the glorious city of Toronto with my best urban inflection. FAN EXPO Canada, of course, is the third largest pop culture event in North America, a worthy happening for any lover of comic books, sci-fi, horror, anime or gaming.
Now entering its 20th year (you’re all grown up!), and boasting over 1000 exhibitors over 750,000 square feet comprised of both the north and south buildings that make up the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, FAN EXPO Canada expects to host well over 100.000 fans.
If you plan to be one of them over the next four days, follow me after the jump for a highlight list of some exciting events on a schedule brimming full of exciting events!