They don’t come around all that often, but the movies love a charismatically gruff old man. From the goofy classic Grumpy Old Men with Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau to Clint Eastwood’s racist curmudgeon in Gran Turino, there’s a strange appeal to bitter old cranks. At least, when they discover they have a heart after all. Hannes Holm’s A Man Called Ove, from the novel by Fredrik Backman, follows in the genre’s creaky, recalcitrant footsteps. With a wonderful performance as the titular Ove from Rolf Lassgård, the film hits all the right irascible notes. Nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category, and another for Makeup and Hairstyling, A Man Called Ove has been an unlikely success.
The Canadian Western has to be the smallest of film genres. Philip Borsos’ The Grey Fox (1982) pretty much begins and ends the genre. It’s small because Canadians don’t really think we had a western frontier, in the same way America did. That’s not entirely true, but misses a larger point, that really almost all of Canada is frontier. Still. And most of that frontier isn’t west. It’s north. Inuk director Zacharias Kunuk corrects that oversight with an arctic reimagining of John Ford’s classic western The Searchers (1956). Spare and evocative, Kunuk’s Maliglutit brings the Western to the snowbound north with arresting results.
TIFF’s been doing a retrospective on the German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. A prodigious wunderkind of the seventies German New Wave, he died of a drug overdose at 37, leaving behind over 40 features and television mini-series made in a brief 15-year career. (Cocaine is a powerful drug in the right nose.) In that burgeoning output, Fassbinder made only one science fiction film. World on a Wire appeared in 1973, a made-for-TV two-parter that virtually disappeared soon after its release. Steeped in a 1970s futurist aesthetic, the film is both wildly dated and amazingly anticipatory, a speculative plunge into the world of virtual reality fully 36 years ahead of The Matrix. Turns out Neo wasn’t the only one popping pills to see what’s really going on.
I’ve been obsessed with Anne of Green Gables since I was a kid, and I’m always a bit nervous when new adaptations appear. I never want to see anything that ruins my Anne, so as I sat down to watch the PBS Holiday special, I crossed my fingers, and did my best to keep an open mind.
Throw on some jazz, pour a glass of Giggle Water, and curl up with your favorite bowtruckle, we’re talking Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, on this spoiler-free review.
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.
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.
You don’t have to go very far to get an opinion on the new Suicide Squad film. Chances are, you hit the Internet and the first thing that comes up are the negative reviews. And there are a lot of them.
It’s a shame, really. All of us comic book and pop culture fans wanted the film to be great, didn’t we? We wanted to be thrilled at the idea of a group of hardened criminals, forced to work together for a greater good. We wanted to see the new twists and turns of the DC Expanded Universe (DCEU) as its film empire gets firmly rooted, takes shape, ushers us all forward. Hell, we wanted to see Jared Leto’s crazy-looking Joker!
The truth is the film is certainly flawed in its story. You just can’t hide that fact. But the film is not as bad as the many reviews have been saying, thank goodness.
Suicide Squad is not pretty, but it’s definitely got some guts – and a lot of heart – in it.
Why do so many aliens want to kill us? Okay, maybe humanity leaves a lot to be desired. There’s war, murder, avarice aplenty, and people that want to elect Donald Trump. If we haven’t broken the planet we live on, we’ve sure as hell damaged the packaging. Our celebrated social networks leave us staring at our phones, hardly noticing the actual world in front of us.
But we don’t completely suck. There’s art and inventions and love… still, fucking Donald Trump? Maybe the aliens have a point. Don’t get me wrong. I love me a Starship Troopers or a Predator or an Alien, when that unknowable other is just a vicious killing machine here to reduce us to emphatic survival. But it’s not often that we see aliens as screwed up as we are. Which is one of the many things that makes Neil Blomkamp’s District 9 so great. The aliens and their massive ship hovering over a metropolis aren’t here to destroy us with monument-shattering death rays. Their spacecraft broke down, they’re sick and dying, and whatever their interstellar traveling, they’re completely S-O-L. The film’s a brilliant exploration of a refugee civilization landing on our doorstep, and the amazing awfulness humans bring to bear in dealing with the problem.
Alien invasions have been the premise for some of the best – and worst – games of all time. While these games have you primarily saving the world from imminent danger, they often provide the setting for some of the best gaming stories you can play. Here are three of my favorite alien invasion games.