TIFF 2013

The Armstrong Lie Review

Alex Gibney’s firsthand look into the rise and fall of cyclist Lance Armstrong, The Armstrong Lie, becomes even more increasingly interesting as a result of how flawed the film is overall. It’s not that Gibney’s points about the tarnished seven time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor’s deceptions and lies about doping allegations aren’t perceptive or valid, but with a bloated and unwarranted running time north of two hours it’s not only about its subject’s inability to come clean. In many ways it’s an almost overly emotional document of Gibney’s own inability to let go of his own film.

In Brief: All the Wrong Reasons & Blue is the Warmest Color

As our film editor continues to play catch up after a crazy couple of weeks for new releases, he takes a look at the Canadian drama All the Wrong Reasons (co-starring the late Cory Monteith) and the heavily talked about French romance Blue is the Warmest Color. The movies might be vastly different, but his opinion is the same on both: They're just okay.

Interview: John Krokidas

Dork Shelf talks to Kill Your Darlings director John Krokidas about humbling your idols, the Beat Generation, youthful ambitions, working with Daniel Radcliffe, and wondering aloud about Glen Danzig’s past

Hi-Ho Mistahey! Review

Famed First Nations filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin takes a look at one Northern Ontario community's decade long fight for a new school in the documentary Hi-Ho Mistahey!, a suitably rabble-rousing and eye opening look at how the Canadian government has turned a blind eye to a community in need of something that should be seen as a basic human right.

Dallas Buyers Club Review

A definite high point in the still rising career Matthew McConaughey, and a very good, but lesser film in the career of Canadian director Jean-MarcVallee, Dallas Buyers Club runs a bit overlong, but it delivers a firm emotional punch at the hands of an unrepentant and initially reprehensible protagonist.

Man of Tai Chi Review

Although heavily westernized, Keanu Reeves’ fictional directorial debut Man of Tai Chi will hold some thrills and excitement for those who aren’t too picky about their martial arts epics.

The Fifth Estate Review

Although it gets off to a pretty rough start and is a bit overstuffed, Bill Condon’s somewhat fictionalized “inside WikiLeaks” drama The Fifth Estate manages to generate some thrills once it gets the dynamics of the larger than life characters out of the way.

Le Joli Mai Review

Recently restored and cut by 20 minutes at late director Chris Marker's request, the 1963 documentary Le Joli Mai helps to solidify Marker's standing as one of the greatest cinematic artists and philosophers to ever pick up a camera.

12 Years a Slave Review

There’s no doubt in my mind that 12 Years a Slave will go down in history as a landmark film. Never before, and quite possibly never again, has the issue of African American slavery and the still present pain and anguish been this viscerally and brilliantly realized. Its effect is provocative, much like gazing into an unattended open wound that never quite heals itself, but rather reaches a point of stasis beyond which things couldn’t possibly get any worse no matter how awful a situation may be.

Interview: Steve McQueen, John Ridley, & Henry Louis Gates

Dork Shelf talk to director Steve McQueen, writer John Ridley, and historical consultant Henry Louis Gates about their work on the powerful drama 12 Years a Slave, the history behind free African American turned forced slave Solomon Northup’s life, how the story came to the filmmakers, if they thought the truth of slavery being depicted on screen would be too much for audiences to handle, what Ridley found most painful about the writing process, and why McQueen believes cinema is the greatest of all art forms.

A Touch of Sin Review

One of the best anthologies in years, Jia Zhang-ke’s A Touch of Sin offers a thrilling, multilayered, and delightfully bitter look at a Chinese economy told from a viewpoint sick of rampant arrogance and greed and openly asks about what an acceptable response to such indifference towards the working class would be.

imagineNATIVE at a Glance

The indigenous and aboriginal devoted film festival imagineNATIVE kicks off its 14th year in Toronto this coming Wednesday (October 16th through the 20th), and we take a look at several of the high profile features playing in what's shaping up to be a banner year for the festival.

Bastards Review

Thanks to some great performances and Claire Denis’ always exceptional ability to mine suspense out of the purposefully vague, Bastards saves itself from needless convolution and a story that’s pretty much on the level of a late 90s American boilerplate thriller.

Parkland Review

As a depiction of the events on the day of American President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22nd 1963 – as well as the three days in the immediate wake of the killing – Parkland doesn’t cover any historical or narrative ground that hasn’t been touched on before, nor does it go out of its way to create melodrama.