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‘Les Loups’ Movie Review – is the first great Quebec film of 2015

The dark unforgiving waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the St. Lawrence river provide the backdrop to Les Loups, a beautifully crafted melodrama. Set in a small island Quebec town during the spring thaw, a stranger arrives during the height of the controversial seal hunts. Vibrant and mysterious, many suspect that Elie, the young woman from Montreal, is not who she says and is likely a reporter or an activist bent on portraying the townsfolk in a bad light.

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‘Miraculum’ Movie Review – feels like a failed pilot

Miraculum Written by Gabriel Sabourin Directed by Daniel Grou Canada, 2014 Daniel Grou (affectionately known as Podz by the Quebec public) got his start in television, directing a number of very successful shows for Radio-Canada, the national channel. In 2010 he made his cinematic debut with two films and has since been working exclusively for …

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‘Backstreet Boys: Show em’ What You’re Made of’ is dark portrait of music industry

Backstreet Boys: Show em’ What You’re Made of

Directed by Stephen Kijak

USA, 2015

At the height of their face The Backstreet Boys represented with their harmonious voices and cherub good looks a newfound idealism in the American landscape. Not without talent, their selling point as much their image as their sound: they were chosen to be branded. Offering context to the tumultuous early years and how their experienced shaped their identity and worth over the years, the new documentary Backstreet Boys: Show em’ What You’re Made of documents the production of a new album from the former boy group.

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136 Years of Visual Effects in 3 Minutes (video)

Editor Jim Casey has parsed through the history of cinematic visual effects to create a short and sensory overloading video of it’s history. Beginning with photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s pre-cinamatic photography of a horse galloping up to the present day, the video is not only valuable as a fascinating document of evolving techniques but a representation …

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FRONTIÈRES International Co-Production Market Unveils 4th Edition

FRONTIÈRES International Co-Production Market has announced it’s official selection for it’s return to this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. Frontieres is the first and only co-production market to connect North America and Europe in an environment focused specifically on genre film production. The initiative began in 2012 with 14 projects selected including works by Aaron …

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Sleeping Beauty and the Impact of Eyvind Earle

Among the most sumptuous of Walt Disney’s films, Sleeping Beauty’s enduring legacy is largely due to its incredible art design and complete creative vision. In production for nearly 10 years, the film was very costly and represented the end of an era for Disney hand-drawn animation. Though collaboration is key in most Disney productions, Sleeping Beauty …

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FNC 2013: ‘Our Sunhi’ is a charming comedy of errors

Our Sunhi, the newest film from Hong Sang-Soo, is enamoured with interconnected romances and the mysteries of affection. A charming and patient comedy, the film excels at presenting the trials and tribulations of desire, offering a rewarding and funny take on the mysteries of love. Though there is nothing exceptional about the title character, Sunhi, she captures the elusive affections of three friends.

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FNC 2013: ‘Stray Dogs’ is one of the most unique films of the year

Tsai Ming-Liang has built a reputation for himself as one of the foremost artists of contemporary cinema. His work is often lauded for its challenging ideas, careful pacing, and incredible compositional sense. His newest film Stray Dogs (rumoured to be his last) is about an alcoholic father and his two children struggling to survive in Taipei. Blending stark realism with elements of fantasy and absurdity, there is little doubt that this is one of the most unique films of the year, offering a singular vision of the world.

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FNC 2013: ‘Bluebird’ is a stunning debut about loss and hope

Borne out of the current economic crisis, Bluebird is set in an obscure and isolated logging town in Maine. Coated in snow that seems to be barely ever cleared, there is a lingering fear that the mill will close and the town will fade even deeper into the past. Lost in the rituals of daily life, it is only through accidental tragedy that a true sense of malaise and hopelessness comes rising from below the surface.

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‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Movie Review – a colorful, middle-tier period piece from the Coens

Poor Llewyn Davis is not at a good point in his life. In February of 1961, he is a struggling, bearded bohemian shivering through a frosty Greenwich Village, a folk musician seeking the next gig just to keep the wolf from the door. With few possessions other than the fraying clothes on his back and his trusty guitar, he relies on the charity of others to keep a temporary roof over his head, oscillating from staying with two wedded musical companions in the tight-knit folk scene, Jean (Carey Mulligan, deliciously spiteful) and Jim Berkey (Justin Timberlake, polished) and the middle-class Gorfiens , the wealthy, perky parents of Llewyn’s musical partner, revealed to have committed suicide a few months earlier. Davis is a man scorned, sneering at others and certain of his superior musical skills. He’s not the most likable sort, as his futile attempts to escape the confines of his self-imposed cage make for a colourfully arranged period crooner.

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‘The Double’ Movie Review – an ambitious and darkly funny second feature

The Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky has been well served by cinema, especially his major works Crime & Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot, all of which have received numerous adaptations throughout the decades. The latter was lavished with a recent Estonian take, after receiving a Japanese decoding by Kurosawa no less, as well as Indian and (naturally) Soviet versions. It has taken until 2013 for a filmmaker brave enough to approach Dostoyevsky’s binary second novel; there is a certain numerical sense of doubling, since Richard Ayoade has decided to allocate his second film as The Double, an ambitiously promising plea following Submarine back in 2010.

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‘Nebraska’ Movie Review – boasts a grizzled, irascible performance from Bruce Dern

Venerable Woody Grant (a grizzled Bruce Dern) has a singular purpose in mind, to get from his adopted Montana home to neighbouring Nebraska to collect a million-dollar cheque that a suspiciously speculative postal disclaimer has promised to honour. Elderly and suffering with decaying mental functions, Woody clearly can’t see through the marketing scam, and his wife Kate (June Squibb) and son David (Will Forte) grow increasingly exasperated at his dangerous footbound expeditions before arriving at a mutual solution:

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FNC 2013: Five Must See Films in the Focus Program

The 42nd Edition of Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinema is just days away and the weight of an incredibly diverse and exciting program can intimidate even the most weathered cineaste. Combining the very best of big name and upcoming filmmakers, the festival has built its reputation on giving attention to groundbreaking and avant-garde cinema. Though sometimes …

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‘Deconstructing Harry’ is as Funny as it is Harrowing

Deconstructing Harry Written by Woody Allen Directed by Woody Allen USA, 1997 Like many Woody Allen protagonists, Harry Block is neurotic, damaged, and unhappy. Plagued with writer’s block and haunted by a string of failed relationships, Harry is searching for inspiration and meaning in his life. As he faces the fact that his ex-girlfriend is …

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‘The Killing of America’ Movie Review – Can Exploitation be Profound?

The Killing of America is an impassioned and emotional showcase of violence in America from the period of the early 1960s into the early 1980s. Resting on the thesis that the society quickly devolved into increasingly acts of senseless violence, the film utilizes rare and disturbing footage of both familiar and unfamiliar events. Rift with a somewhat confused ideology, the film nonetheless packs a punch and suggests where many others haven’t that access to guns are part of the problem, an issue that continues to be debated within American society to this day. Is this little more than a parade of greatest hits for snuff fans or does it reaches deeper, revealing darker truths and realities that we are unwilling or unable to face.

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The (In)Security of Horror: What Max Brooks Got Wrong about the Horror Genre

In a profile by Taffy Brodesser-Akner for the New York Times, Max Brooks, author of both World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide, is apparently quite serious about the zombie apocalypse. I have little doubt that Max Brooks is an intelligent man, and behind his facade of anxiety and fear, I think he has …

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‘The Bling Ring’ vapid and entertaining

The Bling Ring Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola USA, 2013 Her career was born in the excesses of the 1990s and Sofia Coppola’s career trajectory has brought her through one of the worst economic crisis’ in recent history and a period of social seriousness that she seems quite frankly out of step with. In …

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What Role Does Film Have in the Telling of History? A Look at Denis Villeneuve’s Polytechnique (2009)

What value does fiction have in the interpretation of a historical event? This question can become central to the reception and understanding of historical films and has taken on important resonance in past years in regards to films like Ben Affleck’s Argo or Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. These films are not documentaries; however they …

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Iconic Westerns: A Visual Guide to the Pick of the Bunch

Westerns may appear as diverse and unruly as the characters they contain, but beneath the ten gallon hats and spurs lie a handful of basic mythologies. This guide selects one movie which epitomizes each legend plus another four outstanding examples, each one given a capsule review and illustrated with a classic movie poster. Click on …

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‘Life of Pi’ score is a lush meditation on spirituality

Life of Pi Composed by Mychael Danna Sony Masterworks November 19, 2012 Mychael Danna has spent the majority of his career composing scores that suit their respective films perfectly. This is every composer’s goal, but where some aim to make their presence known, Danna approaches his projects with a refreshing sense of humility and an …

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31 Days of Horror: ‘The Case of the Bloody Iris’

The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972) Directed by Giuliano Carnimeo Written by Ernesto Gastaldi Italy, 94 min. The giallo film is obsessed with surface values, the quality and textures of materials; rough, soft, hard, supple, warm, cold, etc. The constant contrast between cold metal and hot flesh, the mixing of bodies and the release …

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