Entertainment 459 results

Movies, music and popular culture reports from Ex-Press staff

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 ...

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, ...

Cameron Labine climbs mountain of manhood

The director and writer behind the new movie Mountain Men explores the nature of masculinity as he sets two brothers into the Canadian wilderness to cope with simmering sibling issues, and a medical emergency   By Katherine Monk September 3, 2015, VANCOUVER – Like some of mankind’s most classic adventures, it all started with a great fall. Filmmaker Cam Labine was at a full moon party far up the Squamish River on B.C.’s South Coast. He wasn’t “in his right mind,” started wandering, and took a bad tumble in the dark.   “That was sort of a wake up call for me,” says Labine, sitting in a warm and decidedly cozy café in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood. “Growing up in BC, in Maple Ridge, you sort of spend a lot of time outdoors. At least, I spent a lot of time camping and snowboarding and hiking… and you end up feeling comfortable in the mountains, like I belong to them. But with the fall came an epiphany: That I am an urban kid and ...

Wes Craven was horrified by horror crown

Wes Craven faced his lapsed Baptist fears and exorcised personal demons through his work, but the man with the graduate degree from Johns Hopkins said his biggest victory was overcoming his anxiety around "The Master of Horror" label By Katherine Monk Wes Craven is dead, but his characters will haunt us forever. The master of cinematic Screams and A Nightmare on Elm Street passed away of brain cancer August 30 at the age of 76, but he leaves more than a scar on our collective subconscious thanks to the razor-fingered Freddy Krueger. Like many horror auteurs, Craven’s work forced us to experience the world differently: To feel fear, and in turn, to feel more alive.   “My films are about waking up... and no matter what you do, don’t fall asleep. The idea is to be here now; to live in the moment, and to understand what’s happening between yourself and the other,” Craven once told me in an interview.   It was over the phone, done when George W. Bush ...

Patricia Clarkson takes the wheel

The veteran of stage and screen buckles up for a bumpy ride in Learning to Drive, a new film that puts the pedal to the metal of marriage breakdown with surprisingly comic results thanks to co-star Sir Ben Kingsley, and the gentle hand of director Isabel Coixet By Katherine Monk TORONTO – There’s something undeniably regal about Patricia Clarkson, even when she’s vomiting into a toilet and playing an entirely unlaced woman of letters. It’s an underlying strength that inhabits every bone in her sinewy body, and you can feel it in her relaxed presence.   She’s a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, and it shines through every freckle.   “I was fed perseverance as a child,” she says. “I have a very strong mother, and strong parents who were loving and gave me the confidence and ability to survive.”   Clarkson says she had to rely on that deep well of self-possession when she started Learning to Drive. A new film directed by ...

Art star and X-Games pro Tyler Shields makes directing debut

Tyler Shields started skating professionally at the age of 12 and made it to the top of the extreme athlete podium before he turned his talents to art photography and high-end shoots, but he says directing his debut feature was the biggest risk yet, if only because he'd promised his Robin Williams he'd make it the right way.   By Katherine Monk LOS ANGELES – Robin Williams made him promise to be true to his creative soul, and while it hasn’t been easy, Tyler Shields has managed to resist the temptation of quick hits and lowest common denominator success to pursue a unique vision in the richly saturated shadows.   An art star in the world of fine art photography and a former professional in-line skater, Shields has certainly felt the warm glow of popular success in the past, but when he decided to follow his childhood dream of becoming a filmmaker, he knew things would be different. And they were.   Shields directed the B.C.-shot thriller Final Girl ...

How to watch a movie

Notes for a talk given by Jay Stone at Das Lokal restaurant in Ottawa on Aug. 16, 2015 on the topic of “How to watch a movie.” Alcohol was served. By Jay Stone People sometimes say to me, “Hey, Jay,” — or, more frequently these days, “Excuse me, Mr. Stone” — “how does a critic watch a movie? Please be brief and give examples.”   My usual reply is, “No thanks, I’ve already eaten,” which is my fallback answer when I’ve totally stopped listening — or, more frequently these days, didn’t quite catch what they were saying. However, it’s a worthy question and I do have an answers. It’s brief and there are examples.   I started thinking about this in earnest in 1994, when I was at the Toronto film festival interviewing the film director Alan Rudolph. He was in town promoting his movie Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and we had an hour-long chat (film festival interviews used to be nice and long. They’ve now shrunk to 15 ...

Canadian Must-Sees: Mon Oncle Antoine planted a cinematic seed

Claude Jutra's seminal coming-of-age film featured young bodies in caskets, snow-covered landscapes and a loving but dysfunctional family -- essentially birthing a whole new cinematic tradition around a stone hearth   MON ONCLE ANTOINE (1971) 5/5 Directed by: Claude Jutra Starring: Jean Duceppe, Jacques Gagnon, Lyne Champagne, Olivette Thibault, Claude Jutra, Hélène Loiselle, Lionel Villeneuve, Monique Mercure. Running time: 104 minutes   Still referred to as one of the greatest Canadian films of all time, Mon Oncle Antoine marked the beginning of narrative feature film in Canada (right alongside Don Shebib’s Goin’ Down the Road) and set up much of the film cinematic grammar we use in this country to this day with its use of natural light, blue-hues, lack of narrative artifice and an abundance of snow-covered landscapes. The story focuses on Benoit (Gagnon), a kid living with his uncle Antoine and Aunt Cecile, who run the general store in ...

What I learned at TIFF’s Filmmaker Boot Camp

Making the transition from ink-stained journalist to first-time filmmaker feels like seeing the world from the other side of a two-way mirror By Katherine Monk TORONTO — “Did you know everything already?” asked Cameron Bailey, artistic director for the Toronto International Film Festival, looking way too good (as always) for a man who is chronically sleep deprived this time of year.   The answer was a wonderfully wishy-washy “yes, and no.” After being a career journalist for 25 years, and after covering TIFF since 1993, when it was still called the Festival of Festivals, the idea of “learning the ropes” could have felt a little remedial.   After all, I do know what a publicist does, and I know what sales agents do, and I know personal handlers have a dominant obnoxious gene that has yet to be mapped. I’ve been writing about the film industry for so long, I’ve pretty much seen it — and done it — all.   But as I learned at ...