TIFF Review: White Material

The films of the incomparable Claire Denis are subtle lessons in semiotics.  They are like moving photographs, or graphic novels with almost no words: the viewer must (and can) put together the story from the images, like they are a fly hovering with no knowledge of past context. The third of Denis’ African-centred films, White […]

TIFF Review: Enter the Void

I don’t think a title has ever been more accurate for defining a film.  Nor has a film been as divisive in recent festival memory as to whether it is a work of genius or an exercise in audience torture.  This is not necessarily a film to love or hate though.  Rather, like his earlier […]

TIFF Review: A Town Called Panic

One of the few animated films to be shown at the Cannes film festival (not only this year but in the festival’s history), this strange little gem from Belgium starts at a cracking pace that it easily sustains for 75 minutes of roaring fun.  It is also the first G-rated film to be shown in […]

TIFF Review: Leslie, My Name is Evil

Only a Canadian could make a campy pseudo-musical film about the Manson Family.  While perhaps fading from the memory of those not alive at the time, Charles Manson is still one of the icons of crazed cult leaders and serial killers.  Director Reginald Harkema (A Girl is a Girl, Monkey Warfare) creates a visually stunning […]

TIFF Review: [Rec] 2

The past few years have seen Spanish horror burst onto screens around the world thanks to some fairly high-profile Spanish directors making films in Hollywood, and Spanish films being remade for US audiences.  [REC] was remade into Quarantine, though there is no news on whether Quarantine 2 will be made (I haven’t seen it, preferring […]

TIFF Review: Solomon Kane

British director Michael J. Bassett brings to the screen Solomon Kane, the graphic novel penned by Robert E. Howard  (who also created Conan the Barbarian) with all due seriousness and gravity, as apparently befits the character. I have not read the books, so this was my first exposure. And while certainly not a perfect film, […]

TIFF Review: Air Doll

Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda has written and directed some of the most sublime, strange and touching films to come out of his home country in recent years, including After Life and Nobody Knows.  Unfortunately his most recent film, Air Doll, is not as original or interesting. A sex doll comes to life while her owner […]

TIFF Review: The Loved Ones

People who insist that small towns are better places for raising children than cities always amaze me.  The typical arguments are that people are friendlier, there are fewer places for kids to get drugs, wide-open spaces for them to run around in, and that you can always know where your child is.  These people need […]

TIFF Review: Solomon Kane

With only a few middle-of-the-road horror films to his name, Brit filmmaker Michael J. Bassett tackles sword and sorcery with his third directorial effort, Solomon Kane.  Adapted from the short stories and poems of Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian), Solomon Kane tells the tale of the eponymous 17th century mercenary and thief.  […]

TIFF Review: Bright Star

Just because a film is set more than a few decades ago, doesn’t mean it’s a period film.  And just because events happened in a particular kind of society 200 years ago, doesn’t mean they are not relevant today.  Jane Campion made that clean with her feature The Piano, and she has returned to these […]

TIFF Review: Fish Tank

15 year-old Mia’s life is claustrophobic.  The council estate flat that she shares with her mother and sister is tiny. The corridors are tiny, and filled with young people who swear in ways that would make Mickey Rourke blush.  Her mother seems to care little for her; in fact, there doesn’t seem to be anyone […]

TIFF Review: Defendor

Think Gotham City is the only city with a monopoly on costumed vigilantes?  Think again.  Hamilton, Ontario has its own guardian of the night: Defendor, a well meaning citizen hero bent on cleaning up the streets of The Hammer, or at least trying to. Defendor is the first feature film from Canadian actor Peter Stebbings, […]

TIFF Review: The Vintner’s Luck

The Vintner’s Luck is Niki Caro’s fourth feature, and it is as mixed as film as the wine and angels on her screen.  It is a sumptuous film, one that engages the senses beyond sight and sound.  While it is gorgeous to look at, its moments of exchange between story and viewer are too few […]

TIFF Review: Les Herbes Folles

If Les Herbes Folles were directed by a newcomer, you would call it an extraordinary, quirky, thoroughly French look at the strange happenstance of love, the objects that lead us there, and what would happen if we said out loud the often strange things we were thinking.  But the film is directed by the great […]

TIFF Review: The Road

If you saw director John Hillcoat’s last film The Proposition, then you know that he is perhaps the only man suited to adapt Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road.  The world as we know it has been utterly destroyed: Society no longer functions and every bit of infrastructure is gone.  A father and son struggle to […]