On KCFF ’14: The Pin, The Dirties, and more

On KCFF ’14: The Pin, The Dirties, and more 0

I’ve been going to the Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF) for four years, but this year’s events, hosted from February 27 to March 2, were quite different. Typically, I attended the festival as a student of Queen’s University, taking a break from readings and essays (or avoiding them altogether) to sneak into the classic Empire […]

Joyless in Repetition: “300: Rise of an Empire” Review

Joyless in Repetition: “300: Rise of an Empire” Review Comments Off

300: Rise of an Empire, the sequel to Zack Snyder’s 2006 action orgy 300, is all foreplay and no finish – only in this case the foreplay is effectively, chronically boring. Incidentally, Snyder (who co-wrote this sequel with Kurt Johnstad) directed one of the silliest sex scenes in Hollywood history: the sloppy bit of bonking […]

Fuelled Efficiency: “Need for Speed” Review

Fuelled Efficiency: “Need for Speed” Review 0

Car racing movies can be the perfect remedy for the excessively violent action flicks that thrash about in today’s multiplexes. A movie like Need for Speed, while it’d be more than a stretch to call it “perfect”, is an expertly executed cheap bit of entertainment (“cheap” in both an artistic and budgetary way). The movie […]

On Paul Schrader: The Man Behind One of the Greatest Screenplays Ever Written

On Paul Schrader: The Man Behind One of the Greatest Screenplays Ever Written 0

Written by Tom Beaver Paul Schrader’s contributions to American cinema certainly venture beyond screenwriting, but it’s safe to say he will be remembered as the man who wrote Martin Scorsese’s 1976 Taxi Driver. That film is one of those rare instances where one writer took the pulse of a universally-recognized male loneliness and documented it with bravery […]

Amusing Ourselves To Death: “The Lego Movie” Review

Amusing Ourselves To Death: “The Lego Movie” Review 0

Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s The Lego Movie is the first animation film in quite awhile that’s narrative is primarily engined toward social satire. The film’s entertainment value comes from not recycling pop culture totems, but having us recognize those references and find humour in their shameless inclusion in contemporary Hollywood product. To that extent, […]

The Cannes Men: “Seduced and Abandoned” Review

The Cannes Men: “Seduced and Abandoned” Review 0

Written by Tom Beaver James Toback’s wonderful new movie Seduced and Abandoned is about the rewards and pitfalls of a filmmaker’s unconditional devotion to film and its industry. One of the best moments in Toback’s new film is the look on the director’s face as he watches Marlon Brando in 1972’s Last Tango In Paris. The […]

Clueless Clooney: “The Monuments Men” Review

Clueless Clooney: “The Monuments Men” Review 0

The Monuments Men is a halfhearted war drama about, supposedly, American triumph and heroism. Not the best combination. It centres on such an unique, historically understated aspect of World War 2 but fails to produce much emotional power. The film, directed by George Clooney, is all hollow ambition – scope without sweep. Worst yet, its […]

Pie in the Sky: “Labor Day” Review

Pie in the Sky: “Labor Day” Review 0

Labor Day’s central problem is that it lacks believability. The movie effuses sentimentality, but not really a perceptible human understanding of its characters. So, in that case, how can this work as a character-driven tale? Canadian director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Juno) is too facile here, pushing the story along without developing his […]

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014): A Tribute

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014): A Tribute 0

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN TRIBUTE Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the great actors of our time. Versatile, poised, and a Orson Wellesian figure of gravitas. On February 2, 2014, “The Master” co-star was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. He was 46. His passing is surely sudden and deeply tragic, but he’s left an impressive […]