From the moment that actor Toni Servillo enters the stage with a dastardly grin you know that Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty will be a wild and wonderful ride. Fans of Italian cinema might remember Sorrentino’s 2008 masterpiece Il Divo, where Servillo played the stoic, reptillian real-life politician Giulio Andreotti. In contrast, The Great Beauty follows Servillo as Jep Gambardella, a disillusioned Roman socialite, as he meanders through Rome, reflecting on a life of partying and unfulfilled artistic promise.
Watching I am Divine, the feature-length documentary about the late legendary performer, I was struck with a powerful, overwhelming sense of nostalgia.
The Award winning 1986 film, Dark Lullabies, winner of five international awards and selected as one of the 50 best documentaries of all time, has had a recent spurt of popularity. Made by Montreal husband and wife team Abbey Jack Neidick and Irene Lilienheim Angelico’s DLI Productions, in collaboration with the NFB, it just completed a four night well-attended run at the Cinema du Parc. This was inspired by its out of the blue selection last summer to be the first film to ever be programmed at the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival.
Life’s A Breeze opened the 2014 season of my favourite film festival, Cinegael. Now in its 22nd year, it has shown a wonderful array of Irish related films…
The only Canadian feature film in the official selection of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, My Prairie Home was enthusiastically received in Park City, Utah. In…
Her is the strangest confluence of films. On the one hand, it is a science fiction film that predicts the arrival of hyper-intelligent AI operating systems. On the other hand, it is a film that is paradoxically rooted in human emotions and the deeper core of our inner selves.
Running strong off the success of both The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell delivers another knock out success with American Hustle — loosely based on the notorious ABSCAM operation of the 1970s.
As we approach Christmas, the big Oscar contenders are beginning to trickle out. With all the buzz that surrounded Cooper’s last film, Crazy Heart, it’s obvious that Out of the Furnace was meant to be a tour de force follow up, garnering accolades and prestige. Unfortunely, despite stellar performances and skillful direction, a woefully broken screenplay leads to the film’s ultimate demise.
Alexander Payne’s new film Nebraska is what American art-house cinema would look like if it was directed by Frank Capra. It is a perfect blend of aesthetic refinement and classic Hollywood sentiment which elevates its rural setting while grounding its characters with heart.
Rithy Panh has made many films about his native Cambodia, but none as personal as The Missing Picture, recently awarded the Grand Prix (Un Certain Regard)…
In 3-inch heels, a bustier and cufflinks, Plastic Patrick takes care of the play by play. Smack Daddy sends Miss Tea Maven to the floor in a backwards shove. But Suzy Hotrod breaks through the scrimmage and wins the day for the New York City Gotham Girls. The audience of thousands goes wild. Arch rival team New Skids on the Block have to wait another year to vie for the world championship. Welcome to roller derby.
When we talk about the success or failure of a film, all too often we are implicating the strength of the script — the narrative choices made within the film and the effectiveness of the dialogue. In this auteur-driven age, we are apt to place the burden of responsibility on the shoulders of the director. However, most directors are simply craftsmen confined by the parameters of the script. In light of this, it is surprising that, aside from Charlie Kaufman and a precious few, screenwriters are a generally undervalued group. The Counselor is an excellent example of the difference a scriptwriter can have on a film.
The last time we saw Benedict Cumberbatch, he was maniacally driving a burning starship into a centre of military power. It might be said that his character in The Fifth Estate is up to much the same thing, though arguably with a bit less wrath than is summoned by Star Trek’s arch villain, Khan.
Although there has been a cornucopia of talented black actors in film since the early days of Paul Robeson, black directors are something of a rarity.…
In a few weeks I will be wrapping up a trilogy of film reviews of South-Korea-invades-Hollywood. Interestingly, I could easily begin a new series entitled Quebec-invades-Hollywood with Villeneuve’s Prisoners, Jean-Marc Vallée’s The Dallas Buyers Club, and Ken Scott’s Delivery Man. However, fans of Quebec cinema shouldn’t be at all surprised by this turn of events. With the critical and commercial success of films like Villeneuve’s Incendies, Vallée’s Cafe de Flore, and Scott’s Starbuck, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood sniffed blood.