Mother! Rips TIFF Audiences Apart with Creative Labour Pains
Darren Aronofsky's latest is a dark swan dive to the depths of the artistic process that could be read as brilliant biblical allegory or a self-absorbed bid at vindicating failure
By Katherine Monk
TORONTO (September 10, 2017) - Oh, mother! The creative process can be a real bitch. Just ask Darren Aronofsky. The director of the Oscar-winning Black Swan returned to the Toronto International Film Festival with his latest film, mother! And already, it’s dividing audience opinion. A laborious metaphor about the act of making art, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a handsome couple renovating an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. He’s a successful writer struggling with a blank page. She is the young muse, fixing and mending broken walls, looking to restore the house to its former glory after a fire burned it to the ground. The only thing left is a diamond-like stone with a mysterious glow that he carefully places on a ...
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
The Square and Loveless Share Responsibility for Eye-Opening Day
Ruben Östlund's Palme D'Or winning satire of the art world and Andrey Zvyagintsev’s peek into a Loveless Russia address issues of social responsibility in our generic age of self-absorption
By Katherine Monk
TORONTO — One man was lying face down on a street grate to keep warm. He wore no shoes. His feet were blistered and gangrenous black. He was eating what appeared to be a discarded salad with his hands, dirty, swollen, cracked. I walked by him, and about a dozen other bodies wrapped in soiled sleeping bags, on my way to festival headquarters on King Street where the freshly laid red carpet curls out its tongue, anticipating the glitterati. As a Vancouverite, walking past homeless people is routine. Turning a deaf ear to the person with the glazed eyes and a feeble hand stretched into the moving stream of sidewalk treading humanity is such a regular exercise, it doesn’t even register. It’s considered part of the urban experience. Yet, on day one ...
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 ...
#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 ...