Saturday, September 17, 2016

TIFF: Forever Pure & Girl Unbound


As is customary every four years, sports fans and casual viewers alike were glued to their TV screens this summer for the Olympic games. Throughout the 16-day event, the core Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence were on full display and celebrated worldwide. But as a pair of eye-opening sports documentaries prove, this ideal of sportsmanship is not always upheld.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

TIFF: City of Tiny Lights


As the lines between TV and film are increasingly blurred, there’s no doubt that film directors have had to step up their game to draw in audiences. Particularly in the realm of gritty crime dramas, cinema has had to contend with outstanding work from small screen counterparts on cable and even network series. Indeed, films like Pete Travis‘ respectable neo-noir “City of Tiny Lights” face a tall order in trying to feel fresh.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

TIFF: Vaya & We Are Never Alone


When it comes to international film festivals, it’s almost a given that there will be at least one dark multi-narrative film among the lineup. This year’s Toronto International Film Festival was no exception. Hailing from two countries as vastly different as South Africa and the Czech Republic, respectively, directors Akin Omotoso and Petr Václav brought a pair of harrowing ensemble dramas.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

Monday, September 12, 2016

TIFF: The Birth of a Nation


When Nate Parker‘s directorial debut “The Birth of a Nation” was announced as a Sundance selection, the knee-jerk reaction was to be expected. Many groaned that we didn’t need another “slavery film.” The concern was understandable, especially in a year that included “Underground” and “Roots” on TV. But as its Sundance reception showed, this passionate film captured an aspect of slavery that audiences needed to see.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

TIFF: Joe Cinque's Consolation


Disturbing, unsettling, infuriating. These are the adjectives that will likely come to mind in response to "Joe Cinque’s Consolation", the debut feature from director Sotiris Dounoukos. A misanthropist’s delight, this unflattering portrait of Australian society truly gets under the skin.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

TIFF: Lion


Over the next few months, we’ll be hearing the term "Oscar bait" a lot. Used as a pejorative for period dramas, biopics or anything that looks like old-fashioned storytelling, it can be both a blessing and a curse for late year releases. One such film already labeled with that tag is Garth Davis' "Lion", a heart-stirring adaptation based on an extraordinary true story. Indeed, this is a prestige film through and through. And it deserves all the awards attention it will likely get.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

TIFF: Death in Sarajevo


The more things change, the more they stay the same. This seems to be the overarching thesis guiding award-winning Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanović and his new film “Death in Sarajevo”. A cynical sociopolitical satire, this labored drama critiques the unsavory legacy of Europe’s checkered past.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

Saturday, September 10, 2016

TIFF: A Monster Calls


After a summer movie season widely regarded as one of the worst in many years, many film lovers are understandably pessimistic about the future of the “popcorn flick”. The mainstream summer slate was almost universally criticized as vapid, noisy and simply lacking in “fun”, it reignited fears about the death of cinema. But of course, sometimes you just have to look harder to find gems in a constantly expanding international marketplace. And one such example is “A Monster Calls”, directed by Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona, which feels like an antidote to the curse that afflicted this year’s blockbusters.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

TIFF: Nocturnal Animals


It’s been a long time coming for fans of 2009’s “A Single Man”, the impressive debut feature that marked the arrival of an exciting new director in Tom Ford. But now, the wait is finally over and it was certainly worth it. Indeed, Ford makes a bold return to cinema with “Nocturnal Animals” a film that essentially offers two strong films for the price of one.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

TIFF: Free Fire


What do you get when you bring together 11 men, 1 woman, an abandoned warehouse and guns to spare? A perfect setup for a classic shoot-’em-up. And that’s exactly what Ben Wheatley brings with “Free Fire“, his latest, wickedly entertaining genre outing.

Read more at The Awards Circuit