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Movie review: Big Time
The man behind the architectural powerhouse, BIG, gets a medium close-up in Kaspar Astrup Schröder's globe-trotting portrait that takes us to the heights of Manhattan's skyline to the depths of a Danish maritime museum
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The writer-director of Brad's Status is an indie darling, but he says he still wrestles with insecurity and ego issues because we live in a world of false comparisons
By Katherine Monk
TORONTO — “I think you have your epiphany, and then you forget about it,” says Mike White. “Then you remember it again. And you forget it again. It’s like you are inching toward wisdom. Or circling the drain.”
White seems to be doing all of the above, all the time, because his mind seems to radiate ideas. He creates tangent lines mid-sentence, leaving orbit, only to fall back to earth, chained by the full force of gravity.
It’s his ability to levitate and fall with giddy aplomb that makes his voice so unique and his characters so memorable, whether it’s Selma Hayek as massage therapist and healer in Beatriz at Dinner, Laura Dern as a recovering executive experimenting with faith in Enlightened, or the entirely childlike Chuck, from the indie landmark Chuck & ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Movies: Top Ten Movies About Labour Issues
In a world where the salaried worker is becoming an endangered species and the income gap is now the Grand Canyon, the only place to find solace may be on the silver screen -- where workers of the world can still win
By Rod Mickleburgh
(September 4, 2017) I had fun doing this a few years ago, compiling a list of my top ten films for Labour Day viewing. This was in 2014, when BC teachers, instead of heading back to school, were still on strike from the previous June. They would have several more weeks to go, before the longest province-wide teachers strike in BC history was over. And, just like in some of these movies, there was a happy ending. Last November, the teachers won a resounding victory in the Supreme Court of Canada, restoring classroom limits and other staffing measures the BC Liberals (remember them?) had illegally stripped from their contracts way back in 2002 (Jean Chretien was still Prime Minister!) The result has been the ...
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Movies: Interview with Joshua Z. Weinstein
A documentary filmmaker explores the closed world of New York's Hasidic community in his first narrative feature shot entirely in Yiddish with amateur actors and a leading man who'd never set foot in a cinema
By Katherine Monk
There are approximately 330,000 Hasidic and Ultra-Orthodox Jews living in New York City, yet, the community remains largely closed and somewhat mysterious to outsiders. Filmmaker Joshua Z. Weinstein wanted to know more, so he focused his documentary skills on the world at his doorstep in the boroughs and neighbourhoods of his native New York City.
The result is Menashe, a narrative feature shot entirely in Yiddish with an amateur cast of community members — some of whom had never set foot in a theatre until the film’s debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Weinstein says the experience was rich and memorable, but it’s not something he’ll do again — if only because as a director, he’d like ...
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Movies: Interview with Lady Macbeth director William Oldroyd
Lady Macbeth is riding a wave of feminist revisionism that emerged with Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad and crests with the forthcoming Ophelia, but director William Oldroyd says more women's stories should be told. Not just because they're full of drama. But female actors are available. They're better. They're also cheaper.
By Katherine Monk
In 1865, an author by the name of Nikolai Leskov picked up on something his contemporaries were doing. He revised Shakespearean drama for a Russian audience, playing with context but keeping the core of the character intact. Ivan Turgenev offered up Hamlet of the Shchigrovsky District in 1859, and Leskov published Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District — a bodice-ripping, bed-post gripping romance featuring a young woman in a loveless marriage.
A century and a half later, we can see a similar trend emerging as filmmakers once more revamp Shakespeare, as well as other classics, ...
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People: Interview with David Lowery
His art-house horror hybrid starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara is the biggest buzz title of the summer, but David Lowery says he's still figuring out what his movie about ghosts, secret notes and hidden meanings is all about.
By Katherine Monk
David Lowery has been talking about A Ghost Story since January, when it premiered at The Sundance Film Festival. But by year’s end, there’s a good chance everyone will be talking about this low-budget art-house-horror hybrid starring Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck and a ghost walking around under a sheet with two cut-out eyeholes.
Yes, indeed, A Ghost Story is haunting. It wakes the ache that’s always there. Yet, in his bid to dig a little deeper into a single image of a ghost sitting in an empty house, Lowery successfully pulls a long sliver from the calloused sole of the Zeitgeist. He also made a few therapeutic discoveries of his own. The Ex-Press spoke to Lowery, the 36-year-old Texas-raised ...
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Movie Review: Spider-Man - Homecoming
Tom Holland and director Jon Watts prove there's still room for 'comic' in the comic book universe as they return to basics in the highly entertaining Spider-Man: Homecoming
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Movie Review: The Hero
An aging cowboy actor looks for a final big role — and a chance to redeem his personal failures — in a drama that has many parallels with its memorable star