Jay Stone’s Top 10 movies of 2017
Lady Bird: Pretty well the best time I had at the movies this year came from this small, exquisitely observed story that we’ve seen a million times: a young woman comes of age in a small town, fights with her parents and dreams of glory in the big city. But writer/director Greta Gerwig — drawing on her own life — turns this familiar material into a sweet, caustic, and authentic tale of growing up, aided by great performances from Laurie Metcalfe as the exasperated mother and Saoirse Ronan as the complicated young woman. A true gem. The Florida Project: Filmmaker Sean Baker takes a step up from his previous movie (Tangerine, which was shot on an iPhone) but doesn’t sacrifice any of the grit in the story of people living on the edge of the American dream, in every sense: they inhabit a welfare motel within sight of Disney World in Orlando, Fla. A cast comprised of mostly first-time actors, lead by the preternaturally talented seven-year-old named Brooklyn ...
The Orillia Packet & Times: A Love Story
Newspaper Obituary: The Orillia Packet & Times
They're closing the newspaper where I made my start, and where I learned about journalism. I guess I'm still learning.
By Jay Stone
(Ottawa, ON -- Nov. 27, 2017) I’ve been in love with several newspapers in my life — journalism tends to be a promiscuous passion — but never more deeply than I was in my first affair with the Orillia Packet & Times. It was the place where I started in the business, and now they’re going to close it down, another victim of Google or smart phones or whatever it is that has driven the wayward press to the fringes of our attention. I went there in 1968 from Toronto, where I was a 22-year-old university dropout driving a cab for a living while I plotted how to become a writer. My father, who brooked no such nonsense, sent me a note — I was living in a hippie house on St. Joseph Street, near Bloor and Yonge, with my longhaired hoodlum friends — saying that he had heard there was an ...
mother! is a lot of bother!
Darren Aronofsky's new movie is a biblical allegory about the invasion of a rural Eden by the vandals of the world. Or perhaps it's not about anything much at all By Jay Stone
TORONTO — In 2006, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky — best known at the time for his disturbing drama Requiem For A Dream — made the absurd cosmic love story The Fountain. It was about a couple chasing one another through the time and space of an irritating cosmos of spiritual set design, and it starred Rachel Weisz, then the director’s romantic partner. They have since split, and Aronofsky is now dating Jennifer Lawrence, the star of his new movie, mother! After redeeming himself with such films as The Wrestler and Black Swan, he has returned to the murky business of making grand metaphorical showcases for his new love. mother! is another epic of self-regard, this time about nothing less than Creation itself, and the horrors that are visited upon poor Jennifer Lawrence. It has ...
The parents and children of TIFF
Three movies the the Toronto film festival present different versions of the cinematic parent — Interfering Mother, Distant Father — with varying success
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — It was parent-and-child day at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is always interesting for those of us who are parents and wonder which of several cinematic categories we might fall into: Distant Father, Interfering Mother, Demanding Taskmaster (or –mistress), Indifferent Hippie or Kooky Eccentric. I think that’s all of them. We began with a terrific little coming-of-age title called Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan — heroine of yesterday’s movie marathon and providing further proof here that she can do no wrong — as a rebellious high school student growing up in terrifyingly unhip Sacramento, Calif. She laughs with her best friend, dumps the friend for some new rich kids, dumps the rich kids for the old friend, meets a couple of boys who are variou...
TIFF diary: My day in Auditorium 12
What's it like to spend the entire day in one cinema, watching whatever comes along? Jay Stone sets out to find out at the Toronto film festival
TIFF Opens with an Overhead Smash
Festival's opening movie, Borg/McEnroe captures, an epic battle at Wimbledon and the two contrasting personalities — the emotional American and the cool Swede — who fought it out
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — A magazine called Screen has a special edition at the Toronto film festival, and it runs capsule reviews of some of the movies showing that day. Wednesday’s edition included a review of Miracle, a Lithuania/Bulgaria/Poland co-production, in which “the owner of a struggling post-Soviet pig farm finds a surprising benefactor in a visiting American investor, whose ‘good’ intentions upend the gentle rhythms of small-town life.” And that’s the film festival for you: it might be a warm and wonderful comedy, or it could be what you might later describe as the best Lithuania/Bulgaria/Poland co-production of the month. You can’t tell without actually going to watch it, and who has time for that? As it happens, I was reading this while seated next to ...
Jay Stone’s Top TIFF Picks for 2017
The Toronto International Film Festival hits middle-age with an entourage of famous faces and a long history of cinematic conquests that seems destined to continue with a slate of intriguing titles from the world's best filmmakers
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — The Toronto film festival turns 42 this year, which is a dangerous age: if it was a man, it would probably buy a fancy red sports car that was entirely unsuitable to Canada’s roads or its climate and leave its perfectly serviceable wife for a doctoral student — studying something impractical, one imagines, having to do with postmodern cultural analysis — young enough to be its daughter. The festival hasn’t exactly done that, although one notes that it has lost some of its older friends — 81-year-old auteur Woody Allen, for instance, is taking his new film Wonder Wheel to the New York festival, bypassing Toronto — in favour of younger, more with-it voices. And while festival director Piers Handling ...