Friday, September 16, 2016

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Review: The Promise #TIFF16

Terry George‘s The Promise begins with a title card that appears on-screen stating that 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Turkish government during World War I. It’s a tragedy that has been depicted before in film, perhaps most notably in Atom Egoyan’s underwhelming Ararat, with ample room still made available to deliver the definitive version. Despite formidable talent on both sides of the camera, unfortunately we’ll have to wait longer for such a drama to arrive.
The film takes place on the brink of World War I in Turkey. Michael (Oscar Isaac), an intelligent, compassionate Armenian, decides to settle down and marry a girl (Angela Sarafyan) that he’s not completely smitten by, but claims that with time he will indeed love her. He lives in Armenia, but opts to journey to Turkey, without his wife, to study medicine at the Imperial Medical School and become a doctor within two to three years. He promises his wife he will be back. That promise will drive the core narrative of the film, but will also provide its one major flaw.
The Promise 2

Review: Lion #TIFF16


Garth Davis‘ directorial debut Lion is based on a true story. The film makes sure to tell us that at the very beginning of the movie — just to remind us that whatever we’re about to see in front of us were real events inspired by real people. We first see the main character of the film, Saroo, at all but five years old, wandering the streets of central India by helping out his mom, a rock carrier, and his brother, the man of the house. In a random, but realistic, turn of events Saroo ends up on runaway train and gets lost thousands of kilometers away in the streets Calcutta. The first half, all in Hindi and Bengali with English subtitles, is dynamite, encompassing an exotic world far away from us that nevertheless feels all too intimate and relatable. Saroo is a tiny fella and he ends up surviving many dilemmas by simply doing what he does best: running.

Review: Deepwater Horizon #TIFF16

Full The Film Stage review HERE
The 2010 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico was a disaster beyond belief, not only causing the deaths of workers, but ecologically setting our planet back with the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. Many still haven’t fully grasped what it must have been like to be on the ship at the time of the tragedy. Enter a Lone Survivor reunion for Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg with Deepwater Horizon, a well-made attempt at revisiting the tragedy, giving an action-oriented cinematic face to what actually happened on that fateful day.
Wahlberg plays Mike Williams and Kurt Russell is Jimmy Harrell, a pair of frontmen whose job is ensuring their workers are safe. But money talks: their boss is Jimmy Vidrine (an excellent John Malkovich), a man who always asks for the bottom line and puts safety second, until it comes back to bite him in the behind.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Blair Witch #TIFF16 review

Full The Film Stage review HERE
It’s been more than 17 years since The Blair Witch Project arrived in theaters and changed the way Hollywood viewed horror, and filmmaking in general, for better or worse. Its low budget and hand-held camera style revolutionized the way studios would think — particularly after they saw their return on investment — in an effect felt all the way up to today. Equally ground-breaking in its successful and smartly marketed internet campaign, Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick’s feature was the sort of viral sensation simply not achievable in today’s saturated marketplace. After a quick sequel with none of the original’s imagination or creative freedom, 16 years later, enter directorAdam Wingard’s Blair Witch. It’s a film that not only goes back to the basics, but seems to deliberately steal much of what made the original such a horrific treat.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Leia and the Resistance" -- Deleted Scene -- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens

This was the most Carrie Fisher-esque that Leia has ever been.

Even without seeing this, you have got to figure think that there was something with this character that was missing from the movie. They make a point of focusing on her when Starkiller's base blows up the Republic worlds, but there's zero explanation on who she is or why she is even there. I believe she's a fairly big character in one of the novels, so we were probably supposed to care when she dies.

Interview: Anna Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis for "Colossal"

You can read the FULL Interview HERE

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My coverage of "The Birth of a Nation" #TIFF16 press conference

More of my coverage can be read HERE
[TORONTO] “This is not the Nate Parker story, this is the Nat Turner story,” so said “The Birth Of A Nation” actress Penelope Ann Miller at the Toronto International Film Festival to a packed house at the Fairmount Hotel. That was the theme of the “Birth Of A Nation” press conference throughout its hour-long discussion on the film, but also the political climate in America.

#TIFF16 Review: "The Secret Scripture" [D]

taken from my original review from The film Stage, which can be found HERE

Secret Scripture

Writer-director Jim Sheridan has built a career off the plight of the Irish working class, with his best films (My Left FootIn the Name of the Fatherand The Boxer) all starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Lately, without Day-Lewis, Sheridan has been stuck in a rut of average American films (Get Rich or Die Tryin’BrothersDream House) and yet I still had somewhat decent expectations for his newest work, The Secret Scripture. It does, after all, star one of the very best actresses working these days, Rooney Mara. As evidenced in Carol, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Her, The Social Network, and more, she can detail a world of emotions with just a glance at her piercing green eyes.

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