Just the end of the world another soap on steroids
Movie review: Juste la fin du monde
The latest effort from Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan plays to the auteur's favourite themes: moms, gay sons and simmering family dramas that will not be denied - or else!
A bad case of Storkholm Syndrome
Movie review: Storks
Andy Samberg headlines an all-star cast but this cartoon outing from the man who wrote Zoolander 2 holds the viewer captive to a bird-brained premise
The Lovers & The Despot a bizarre thriller
Movie review: The Lovers & the Despot
Documentary tells how a South Korean movie star and a director were kidnapped by North Korea's autocratic leader to help kick start his nation's film industry
Lawren Harris resurrected on screen
#VIFF16: Peter Raymont and Nancy Lang on Lawren Harris
The Group of Seven founder rides a wave of rediscovery with the bow of a revealing and personal Harris documentary from Peter Raymont and Nancy Lang that gives the viewer a portal into the painter's time
Feeding the mind with a good book and a head of cabbage
Recipe: Red Split Lentils with Cabbage
Cabbage may not get the same respect as other 'it-legumes' such as kale and continental chard, but the humble head is a superfood, too, and cooked up with split red lentils, it's an easy way to stew goodness
By Louise Crosby
One thing I’ve come to appreciate since retiring from the workforce two years ago is the Ottawa Public Library, or the OPL. What a resource. What I most love is the option to reserve, to get in line for a particular publication. It may seem dispiriting to be number 143 in the line-up, but things move quickly and before you know it, the book is yours for three whole weeks. Free! It does happen that books become available all at once, in a big wave, and there’s no way you can read them all in the allotted time, but life is like that and you just get back in line again. What books am I reading? I just started The Edge of the Empire: A Journey to Britannia, in which the author, Bronwen Riley, takes us on a trip from ...
The Promise not worth keeping
#TIFF16: Critic's Dispatches
A bad old-fashioned historical drama about the Armenian genocide revisits final days of Ottoman Empire while La La Land and few gin and gingers quench artistic thirst
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — They threw a party last night at the Toronto International Film Festival where they served a delicious drink made of gin and ginger ale, and you could have as many as you want. When I regained consciousness, it was time for The Promise, a bad old-fashioned historical drama in which the troubles of three little people — in this case, an Armenian apothecary (Oscar Isaac), a comely dance teacher (Charlotte Le Bon) and an American journalist (Christian Bale) — don’t amount to a hill of beans when they’re cast across the vast and clichéd canvas of tragedy during the First World War. Fusillades of exposition fly across the screen, capturing our doomed heroes in a crossfire of clunky dialogue, tired movie tropes, and earnest over-acting. Pass the gin and ...
Seeking inspiration in the Big Smoke
#TIFF 16: Critic's Dispatches
Damien Chazelle's La La Land offers a deep breath filled with human notes in an urban landscape where the creative urge is often filtered and conditioned for comfort
By Katherine Monk
TORONTO — The condo tower I’m staying at affords me a view of downtown Toronto’s rooftops: squares and rectangles carving their way into the horizontal blue line of Lake Ontario. Sheer glass and steel boxes topped with trailing steel tubes that allow sealed office buildings to breathe. Inspiration, mechanized. It’s a necessity in an urban landscape that denies human scale, and emotionally speaking, all things human. But I didn’t even notice the ambient drone of a thousand HVAC fans whirring away over the Big Smoke until today — until I saw Damien Chazelle’s La La Land and rediscovered what true inspiration really feels like: A deep breath exhaled as song. Sure, La La Land had already been touted as the big buzz movie at this year’s Toronto ...
Three at-bats, but no TIFF hits on this day in cinema sports
#TIFF16: Critic's Dispatches
Seasoned critic sacrifices a Blue Jays game to take in The Queen of Katwe, Planetarium and The Bleeder but finds little to celebrate beyond a sweet mid-movie slumber
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — I went to three films today, which means I didn’t get to watch the Toronto Blue Jays game on television. The films weren’t great as cinema, but they were excellent as distractions from the Toronto Blue Jays. For the record, the Boston Red Sox beat the Jays 11-8, and I went 0-for-3. The first movie was The Queen of Katwe, a Disney movie based on a true story about a teenage Ugandan girl who lives in dire poverty on the bad side of a small African village — mud streets, bare shacks, a cacophony of people trying to sell maize to people in cars stuck in monumental traffic jams at red lights — and becomes a chess champion. Yes, it’s that movie, which suited my fellow movie-goers to a T. They laughed and applauded on cue, which makes me think The Queen ...
On American Pastoral and Canadian Shields
Movies: #TIFF16 American Pastoral press conference
Ewan McGregor's adaptation of Phillip Roth's novel points out the problems in bringing internal narrative to the big screen, but the actor-turned director faced the same challenge as those who braved the work of Carol Shields
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — Here’s something pretty interesting: in the Carol Shields book Unless (now a motion picture at the Toronto International Film Festival), a sensitive teenage girl sees a monk setting himself on fire and is inspired to drop out of society and become a mute beggar in front of Honest Ed’s discount emporium in Toronto. In the Philip Roth novel American Pastoral (also a movie at TIFF), a sensitive teenage girl sees a monk setting himself on fire and is inspired to drop out of society and become a domestic terrorist. This tells us something about Canada and the United States — or perhaps just something about Carol Shields and Philip Roth, and about the film industry in general. ...