Posts in Film
[TIFF 2018] REVIEW: ‘The Old Man and the Gun’ is a simple, energetic farewell to Robert Redford

Whatever the motivation, there’s no doubt that the new movie, from David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, A Ghost Story) is a fine way for Redford to make his exit (if that is indeed the case). The Old Man and the Gun is a smooth, lively, and warm experience; it doesn’t break new ground, but proves that even in 2018, you don’t need a lot of flash or a lame gimmick to hold an audience’s attention. All it takes is some confident filmmaking, some chemistry between the stars, and a “so crazy it must be true” story.

Read More
[TIFF 2018] REVIEW: ‘Border’ unlocks emotion and cultural commentary in a bonkers movie about trolls

The noteworthy detail about Border, however, is that it transcends the high-level logline and manages to be about more than a misunderstood female troll living in modern-day Sweden. It folds in commentary about forced cultural assimilation, racism, romantic relationships, and even child abuse. And while some of the imagery can make the work difficult to take completely seriously, there’s no denying that the film was made with a lot of commitment and heart, which is more than you can say for some fantasy/monster movies.

Read More
[TIFF 2018] REVIEW: ‘Burning’ invites you to choose the genre – quiet drama or simmering thriller?

To be sure, the pace of Burning is slow, and those expecting a Hitchcockian everyman wrapping up a citizen-justice murder case in the space of 100 minutes will be disappointed. Lee lays out enough material that up until that final scene (and perhaps even beyond it), the door is still open for the tables to turn and Jong-su to be revealed as the one who kidnapped Ha-emi.

Read More
[TIFF 2018] REVIEW: ‘The Wedding Guest’ is a well-shot but aimless crime drama

Which is all well and good, but the film doesn’t encourage us to cheer her on. We’re not given much evidence of her unhappiness with her family, and so she comes across as impulsive and entitled. Later on, she reacts inexplicably coldly to a violent act perpetrated by Jay, and it’s hard to tell how we’re supposed to feel about it. Then, despite being given many opportunities to part ways, Samira and Jay drift into something resembling a romance, though they have very little chemistry (unless evidence of it got buried in one of the many travelling montages). It adds up to be a rather uninspiring amount of character work, with no clear purpose.

Read More
REVIEW: 'The Meg' shows a bad genre still has some bite

By the time the second act rolls around, it’s clear this movie isn’t quite as tongue-in-cheek as the Bobby Darin needle-drop in the trailer suggests. There’s a little too much self-seriousness to call it a comedy, and a little too much comedy to call it a thriller. The mixture of tones doesn’t make it impossible to watch, just hard to recommend; especially when you could easily go see Mission: Impossible – Fallout again.

Read More
REVIEW: The jaw-dropping 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout'

The film is very aware the story is not its strong suit; the entire plot is explained in the first 10 minutes in classic Mission: Impossible secret message fashion, and then promptly ushers you into an incredible two-hour escape. What’s most impressive is that it feels like there’s a legitimate mental and physical weight to the things Cruise is put through and that’s undeniably a part of his charm.

Read More
REVIEW: ‘Sorry to Bother You’ is social commentary and self-critique in equal measure

But in a bizarre meta twist, it also looks inward, pre-emptively questioning its own message and those of its compatriots. The movie seems to ask, “Is this really progress? Or are we merely packaging up social commentary in a form that’s still palatable for white people?”

Read More
Reviews of Classic Movies: ‘Being There’ cuts ever deeper as social media gets louder

The movie is a subtle, but damning representation of modern politics. We’re invited to wonder how many of our leaders and public intellectuals are really know-nothings who were lucky enough to stumble into recognition and respect. At the time Ashby (perhaps best known for Harold and Maude) was working on Being There, the political climate in the United States was nowhere near as charged as it is today.

Read More
REVIEW: 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' misses the mark

There seems to be two distinct films in here; there’s a black ops espionage thriller pitting the talkers in suits versus the doers in camo, and another which weaves a slow burn tale of a hitman who is forced to decide between the mission or the moral high road.

Read More
REVIEW: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, where progress starts small

For her part, the Wasp is a sensible new addition to the Avengers roster. At a time (10 years, 20 movies) when Marvel has yet to deliver a female-centric solo film, the Wasp gets halfway to the milestone by sharing the marquee with Ant-Man.

Read More
REVIEW: The Pretty Good 'Incredibles 2'

It doesn't sound fresh, and I don’t think it’s just because it's a sequel. If the most memorable part of Incredibles 2 is Jack-Jack's fight against a raccoon, there's something wrong. The first film asked really good real-world micro questions in the superhero genre: What if I don't want to be saved? What if my superhero husband is having an affair? It forced the extraordinary to be ordinary, which is the exact opposite of the basis of superhero origin stories.

Read More
True North Streaming: The Best New Titles on Netflix Canada, June 6/18

True North Streaming is a semi-regular column highlighting some of the best new additions to Netflix’s Canadian service. Like many of you, every so often I get a pleasant surprise when I discover a cool movie or TV show that’s just popped up on Netflix’s often-maligned sister platform. These posts will help you filter through the often quirky mix of Netflix Canada’s offerings and find the most valuable ways to waste some time.

And with that, in no particular order…

Read More
REVIEW: 'Deadpool 2' expands the vigilante family

They say that Reynolds was born to play Deadpool and probably because so much of the character has been informed by his own career. He got his first breaks in the ‘90s when gross-out teenage comedies were big summer films, and for a long time he was known as that guy from National Lampoon’s Van Wilder before becoming the lovable idiot or the action star who couldn’t stop making stupid but funny jokes in Blade: Trinity. Superhero films have become both a source of fun and occasional misery, but perhaps no other actor has as much right to lampoon them than the guy who’s been in two of the worst ones in history.

Read More
REVIEW: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' smuggles some good moments from a troubled shoot

It’s mildly diverting stuff, though unfortunately it doesn’t have the same verve or sparkle as a true heist film, or even of something else from Disney’s catalogue, Guardians of the Galaxy. The whole thing is very capably assembled, but there’s a nagging, familiar feeling of a movie that changed hands partway through production. Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

Read More
REVIEW: 'Batman Ninja' cannot be unseen

Let’s start with the good; Batman Ninja looks gorgeous. The smoother CGI and cel animation threw me for a loop because I’m still used to some of the herky-jerky action of the old hand-drawn ones, but the colours are vivid, the movements look cool and smooth and the transitions are creative. I watched it with its original Japanese audio and I had no qualms with the voice acting or the translated subtitles, but note there is a completely different set of subtitles to go with the English audio.

Read More