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TIFF 2017: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

billboards

Martin McDonagh’s likes his comedies like his coffee: black. Actually, I have no idea how McDonagh takes his coffee, if he takes it at all. But boy does he have a way with finding the humour in very dark situations. His first two features were uneven, but both In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths unearthed surprising depths among their myriad quirks. With his latest, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, McDonagh has created a richer film, bubbling with tension, stark satire and even a hint of that elusive trait redemption.

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Stars in Broad Daylight

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.

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Return to Twin Peaks

I think my memories of “Twin Peaks,” as with those of many folks, are scarred by how the series faded away, rather than how it started. The phenomenon began with a sizzle then very quickly transformed into an inferno. The problem was that very few people stayed around to see what was left when the smoke cleared. Once the initial ‘Who killed Laura Palmer?’ furor died down, no one much cared any more, and when things got a bit weird, even the network backed off. My thoughts on the rise and fall of, as well as my return to, “Twin Peaks” are after the jump.
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Illuminatus! Trilogy: “They” with a capital “T”

You probably hear the word thrown out offhandedly; maybe you played a board game when you were in high school; maybe you listen to the wrong radio stations. Maybe it just got shouted down the bar from you the other night in the middle of a heated political discussion after someone’s fifth cheap whisky.

Why is there an eye on a pyramid on the American dollar bill?

Who killed Marilyn Monroe?

What is “Fnord”?

Wait, forget that last one.

What are the dolphins up to?

Why does nobody talk about George Washington’s past as a hemp farmer?

What is the connection between Atlantis and the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”?

Who are the Illuminati?

And finally… what is the significance of the number five in so many suspicious places?

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Corina’s Cartoon Cuts: South Park returns… with Ass Burgers!

South Park fans had a moment of doubt when the series paused last June (mid-season) with a sobering thought: You’re getting old. After ~15 years, one movie, and a spinoff broadway musical, it’s no wonder Trey Parker & Matt Stone are feeling the South Park burn out. But not to worry; the series returned to flex its muscle against vaccination fears & fast food, and the power of alcohol to make shit sound awesome.

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