month : 09/2015 33 results

Truth is stranger than TIFF

Real-life dramas make their appearance at the Toronto film festival, but sometimes in the movies, facts get in the way of a good story By Jay Stone   TORONTO — Truth occasionally makes an appearance at a Toronto International Film Festival, although usually not in the presence of a movie star (“You were great, Kevin!”) It pops up in a few movies, more or less; not just in documentaries, its natural home, but in the Hollywood versions of real-life stories, usually twisted ever so slightly to make it more interesting, or cinematic, or sellable. Sure, truth is stranger than fiction, but the challenge is to make it more lucrative.   The biggest “true” story at TIFF is Spotlight, the Tom McCarthy version of the real-life expose by the Boston Globe of the scandal of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests (the Globe won the 2003 Pulitzer prize for the story.)   Spotlight — the name of the four-person investigative team at the Globe that ...

Pop Culture Decoder: Cosmetic Dermatology

Misty Harris suffers the horrors of Thermage so you don't have to By Misty Harris I always intended to grow old gracefully, like Audrey Hepburn or a chunk of parmesan cheese. Things did not go as planned. Around the time I turned 30, a collection of creases made camp on my face – the human equivalent of rings on a tree – and proceeded to mock my age every time I looked in a mirror. Now, I’ve never thought of myself as vain, but I also never thought I’d look between my eyebrows and see skin pleats that resembled a vagina. So there’s that. This is how, about four years ago, I wound up forking over nearly two weeks’ salary for Thermage – a cosmetic dermatology procedure that proved so traumatic, I’m only just now able to discuss it. My consultation went something like this: A physician identifying himself as Dr. Bob* (in the grand tradition of quackery, he omitted his last name) escorted me into his office and asked me to describe my “most urgent” ...

#TIFF15 – LEGEND measures Hardy’s range

Tom Hardy sinks his incisors into the dual role of duelling siblings Reggie and Ronnie Kray in Brian Helgeland's stylish gangster drama that takes on classical and classist themes, then pummels them to pulp LEGEND Directed by Brian Helgeland. Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri, Tara Fitzgerald, Taron Egerton.   Thirty years ago, Tom Cruise made a fantasy movie with Tim Curry, a herd of unicorns and director Ridley Scott called Legend. This is not that movie. If there’s any connection to be made, Brian Helgeland’s LEGEND shares DNA with The Krays, Peter Medak’s 1990 movie about Reggie and Ronnie Kray, twin brothers who ruled the London underworld in the 1960s.   Violent, cocky, but entirely self-created criminal kingpins, Reggie and Ronnie Kray became guttersnipe folk heroes: Kids from the wrong side of London who cracked the upper crust with fists and a shiv.   Their story really is ...

Is Tom Hardy the best actor in the world?

The star of the new gangster drama Legend is a versatile actor whose roles range from the indomitable Mad Max the villainous Bane. Is there nothing he can't do? By Jay Stone   TORONTO — Tom Hardy might be the best actor of his generation.   He can do anything. He was the scary buff gangster in Bronson and then he was the scary but doomed hit man Ricki Tarr in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy. Next thing you know, he’s Bane, the gigantic muscled villain in The Dark Knight Rises, growling through a leather mask. Hard to believe it was the same guy in Locke, a solo film about a man who’s responsible for the concrete in a British construction project, called away because a woman he once slept with is about to give birth to their child. Now he’s Bob, the compliant bartender in the gangster drama The Drop who turns out to be a guy you don’t want to screw around with. Then he’s the indomitable (but vulnerable!) hero in the post-apocalyptic desert in Mad Max: Fury ...

#TIFF15: Demolition deconstructs grief with heart

The Toronto International Film Festival opened with Jean-Marc Vallée's off-beat drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts Demolition Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis.  Jean-Marc Vallée’s opening night movie befuddled some critics here in Toronto, but I fell in love with this movie about an investment banker who unravels in the wake of a personal tragedy — if only because I had no idea how it would end. Anyone who reads the synopsis of Brian Sipe’s screenplay knows how it begins: Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is in the car with his wife arguing over a leaky refrigerator when the random force of fate T-bones their vehicle. His wife is killed, but Davis escapes without so much as a scratch. On the surface he is whole, but beneath the shiny exterior, he is shattered — and it’s this dissonance that powers the whole off-beat drama.   How could an external reality and an internal truth be ...

TIFF report: So far, so exciting

It’s easy to find things to love at the Toronto film festival, especially if you let Alfred Hitchcock be your guide through the movie magic, writes Jay Stone     By Jay Stone   TORONTO — On the sidewalk of John Street, just around the corner from the theatre where most of the Toronto International Film Festival movies are screened, someone has stenciled the instruction, “Find out what you love and let it kill you.”   It’s a line from Charles Bukowski — who found out that he loved alcohol, then died of it, thus proving the authenticity of his advice, if not the wisdom — and it’s an ideal motto for TIFF, where, if you’re not done in by the pace of the films or the parties, you’re also tempted by the unlimited free doughnuts in the hospitality suite of EOne, the distributor that runs a must-visit salon on a high floor of the nearby Intercontinental Hotel.   Mmmm. Doughnuts. I mean, Movies.   It’s also ...

Can TIFF ride to box-office rescue?

With 2015 shaping up to be one of the worst box-office years on record, film industry types are desperately hoping this year's Toronto International Film Festival manifests a movie messiah. The Ex-Press takes a look at the top contenders.   By Katherine Monk September 10, 2015  TORONTO — The truth fades quickly in the pop and hiss of paparazzi flashes, but it sits here nonetheless, a little lump lying under the red carpet: 2015 could turn out to be the worst year at the box-office in adjusted dollar-history.   Sure, J.J. Abrams will awaken the force, James Bond will rise with Spectre and the ever-hungry Katniss Everdeen will no doubt slaughter as the calendar year draws to a close, but as the Toronto International Film Festival kicks off today with the gala world premiere of Jean-Marc Vallée’s eerily titled Demolition, the big question is: Can TIFF ride to the rescue and resuscitate the public’s interest in “cinema” — movies that don’t have ...

Escape the Labour Day pains with a movie

The trials and tribulations of organized labour powered more than one Hollywood epic before the idolatry of corporatism took hold in the wake of Wall Street, but even in the age of a Donald Trump presidential bid and Wal-Mart wages, the union cause still looks heroic though a high-end lens By Rod Mickleburgh My mother hated Labour Day. For her, a high school English teacher, it was not only a day to pay tribute to workers and unions, but a signal that the lazy, hazy days of summer were over, and it was time to go back to work. Every year, the prospect of facing classroom after classroom of demanding new students caused a thick knot of apprehension in her stomach. And my mother was an excellent teacher. Long after she retired, she continued to feel those same old familiar twinges of Labour Day dread.   Last year. B.C. teachers were on the picket line. Classrooms sat empty. This year, one hopes some of them reflect back on the original purpose of Labour Day, a ...
3.5Score

Mistress America a shaggy comedy

Movie review: Mistress America Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig have concocted a screwball story of friendship between two women that finds a beacon of hope in one of life's lovable losers  

Why I’m addicted to The Knick

Clive Owen and Steven Soderbergh create a volatile dramatic mix in The Knick, the HBO-Cinemax series about turn-of-the-century surgeons that broke viewing records last year   The Knick: Season One Starring: Clive Owen, Juliet Rylance, André Holland, Eve Hewson, Michael Angarano, Eric Johnson Directed by: Steven Soderbergh Cinemax/ HBO Home Entertainment Available now on VOD, DVD, Digital HD, Blu-ray   By Katherine Monk September 3, 2015 -- It’s as addictive as the cocaine our lead character injects between his toes, and for that, we can thank the unsheathed thespian potency of Clive Owen. The 50-year-old English actor who emerged as a force in the wake of Croupier takes the gloves off for his portrayal of John Thackery, a turn-of-the-century surgeon trying to save lives at the Knickerbocker Hospital. If he sounds like your standard soap opera doctor, you’re partly right. Dr. Thackery engages in all kinds of heroics, as well as sexual escapades, ...