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Happy TIFFmas! Toronto’s film fest reveals first 2017 picks

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It’s the silly season for Toronto filmgoers, the cine-season, TIFFmas to many devoted local movie buffs. Today the Toronto International Film Festival 2017 edition announced its first swath of upcoming films. These are Gala and Special Presentation flicks, and there’s bound to be a passel of Oscar-hunting contenders worth checking out. Catch the full list after the jump!

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Creations of Chaos: The Last Unicorn

On this week’s Creations of Chaos, it’s the Rankin/Bass, animated fantasy, that every child in the 1980s saw, but me. It’s time to go on a journey, with ballads aplenty, with The Last Unicorn.

The Last Unicorn Poster

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It’s A Wonderful #WonderWomanDay – Let’s All Celebrate!

You’ve already heard that the new Wonder Woman film has been released this weekend – and it’s making for some pretty glowing reviews!

We’re hearing that it’s full of action, adventure, tears and joy – and that there are <a-hem> pardon the pun – wonderful performances throughout the film!

Yesterday, Biff Bam Pop! Editor-In-Chief, Andy Burns, predicated a $105 million bankroll for the film in its first weekend of release. That’s a hefty and, frankly, outstanding sum of coin for this film and a number that can only be deemed a victory for the DC Cinematic Universe. There’s a lot riding on the Wonder Woman film both creatively and monetarily.

But Wonder Woman is more than just a single film. The character is a 75-year old pop culture icon of strength, love, hope, and will – not to mention an number of other positive and engaging adjectives!

Did you know that today, June 3, is #WonderWomanDay?!

Perfect timing, really…and there are a number of things you, or someone you love, can do to participate in the worldwide celebrations!

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Celebrate An Early #WonderWomanDay w. “Wonder Woman Annual #1” On The Wednesday Run

Even if you had your head under a rock, you’d know that there’s a highly anticipated (and finally!) Wonder Woman film being released this weekend!

Early reviews have been positive to absolutely glowing – and that sense of affirmation is just the vaccination that the DC Extended Universe film franchise has desperately needed! With the tent pole Justice League film dropping later this year and the cinematic debut of Aquaman now firmly in production, the Wonder Woman film had a massive pop culture encumbrance to bear on its shoulders.

Indeed, perhaps unfairly, the future of Warner Brother’s comic book universe of films was in absolute jeopardy due to previously dark and critically lackluster movies.

Thankfully, that sentiment is not the same in the comic book world – the wellspring of these globally recognized pop culture icons.

This Saturday, June 3, is appropriately, #WonderWomanDay. Fans around the world will be celebrating the feminist icon with comic book readings, cosplay, theater-goings and much, much more.

But you can get an early start on the festivities today with the release of Wonder Woman Annual #1 – a fantastic introduction to the character for readers of any age!

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Marriage Under a Microscope Overshadows The World Of ‘The Commune’

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Man. I guess people were so depressed in the seventies they’d try just about anything. As we live through a fast-forward remix of the Watergate scandal, it’s interesting to take a look back at those strange, hungover times. The Commune is a Danish film set in the seventies, so a rather different milieu than Nixon’s America. But societal malaise was pervasive in Western culture at that time. From the talented but uneven director Thomas Vinterberg (The CelebrationThe Hunt), The Commune is a loosely autobiographical film of his own experiences growing up in that era. It’s a spare tale of a marriage pushed too far, veering into melodrama.

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‘Buster’s Mal Heart’: Rami Malek Shines in Surreal But Broken Thriller

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Anyone who watches Mr. Robot knows how hypnotic Rami Malek’s presence can be. He’s mastered an aura of complicated blankness, his glinting, buggy eyes set deep in his flatly inexpressive face. Malek calls on that same bright, disturbed facade to propel the shambolic, disjointed thriller Buster’s Mal Heart from director Sarah Adina Smith. A head-scratcher with a twisty split narrative, the film’s an uneven study of one man’s descent into madness, held together by the force of Malek’s commanding distance.

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‘My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea’: Dash Shaw Lands Quirky Animated Debut

High school dramas are back with a vengeance. There’s the noir soap opera shenanigans of Archie, Betty and Veronica on Riverdale, and the sharply observed teen pathos of Thirteen Reasons Why. Both series paint a portrait of high school about fifty shades darker than the quaint distractions of a John Hughes movie. Out on the big screen in limited release this weekend is My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, joining the class of 2017 with a surrealistic romp fusing teen comedy and disaster movies to hilarious effect.

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Creations of Chaos: ‘My Neighbor Totoro’

There are parodies, countless mash-up tees, and more merchandise than your wallet could ever afford. On this edition of Creations of Chaos, it is the most recognizable, cutest, and fuzziest character in the Studio Ghibli world, it’s My Neighbor Totoro.

Totoro Poster

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Black Code dissects the internet’s social dilemma

You know you’ve done it. You’re breezing through Twitter, and some outrageous post pisses you off. You retweet it with a snarky comment, probably signing off with a SMH or FFS. You’re still riled, so you repost it to Facebook. People start commenting, tempers flare. Friends are texting you. Meanwhile, you’re hopping off the bus and headed to a restaurant, checking in your location on Facebook, hardly thinking about the myriad crumbs you’ve left in your wake, info bits awash in the net’s digital ocean. “Digital exhaust” is what Prof. Ron Diebert calls it, the ephemera of our constant internet output waiting to be hoovered up and fed into patterns that reveal more than you could possibly imagine. It’s bad enough here, where we mostly fret about corporations assembling minutely accurate portraits of our likes and dislikes to sell us more stuff. In other places, the governments actively use Facebook and other internet media to mislead and pinpoint activists and critics, rounding them up and arresting them. In some countries, posting the wrong thing can get you killed.

I got the chance to catch Nicholas de Pencier’s documentary Black Code as part of TIFF’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, where he and Prof. Diebert engaged in a Q&A after the screening. The doc has been playing the festival circuit, and it’s well worth checking out, if you want to stress out about how piss-poor your digital security practices probably are. The film was released in 2016, and speaking about its concerns in a contemporary context, it was clear both men recognized how the intervening year has only made their film even more painfully relevant.

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David Lynch: The Art Life

There’s nothing quite like a David Lynch movie. You know the second you find yourself immersed in one of his unsettling worlds, the strange blend of earnest innocence and churning malevolence vying against one another, light and dark and laughter and horror and violence but especially the eeriness. Nobody but nobody does eerie like David Lynch. Which makes David Lynch: The Art Life so fascinating, a movie about a movie-maker that takes up all the stuff he does other than movies.

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