2018: Another Year of Cinema Come and Gone

This year was a real game changer for a person like myself. To kick things off, it was the first year in which I was able to attend TIFF as a press member rather than as any other audience member. It was a defining moment for myself, though I don’t want to brag a little too much about what happened there. It was just a good year for cinema in general. That’s all I can really say, and I want to bring more attention to the many films that I absolutely loved this year – and so many of them came around this year and so forth. We’re already nearing the end of a decade, and through the good and the bad, the cinema has always been able to provide nothing but the greatest pleasures through and through. Although as we look through the films that have come to define 2018 as a whole, there were many surprises that came along the way just as there were disappointments – all of which came in between the very best and the worst in cinema through the year. So without further ado, let us begin. Continue reading →

Adam McKay’s Vice, or How My Hatred For Dick Cheney Only Grows Stronger: A Review

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When I hear the name “Dick Cheney,” the very reaction elicited from myself is one of intense hatred. But for as long as I’ve been alive, there’s no other United States president that I despise to that same level that I do George W. Bush. So before watching Vice, I was unsure about what exactly to expect out of how Adam McKay brought the story of his vice to the big screen. If one person were to make a film about one of the most despised recent American political figures, the last person I would ever expect to take on this story is Adam McKay had he not made The Big Short prior. Although McKay started off with comedies like Anchorman and Step Brothers, there’s a very level of anger present in these recent films that seems to come from a very perspective that almost feels so underestimated because of McKay’s own background. But maybe that background ever feels so vital to describing what political debate has already boiled itself down to at this point, and McKay clearly isn’t happy about where any of it has gone by now.

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Beautiful Boy Hits Really Close to Home in its Grimness: TIFF Review

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In 2017, Timothée Chalamet stole our hearts only to split them into two with his performance in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name for which he became the third youngest Academy Award nominee for Best Actor (behind Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper) – and now he’s here to split them again in Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy. But like his role in Call Me by Your Name, he’s also never letting go of the audience’s ability to resonate with a character much like that of Elio Perlman now that he’s here to portray the young drug addict Nic Sheff in Van Groeningen’s English-language debut. Prior to seeing Beautiful Boy, I was only familiar with Van Groeningen’s work through The Broken Circle Breakdown, a film that I did not expect to like nearly as much as I did given how sappy I found it to be, but with Beautiful Boy he ventures into another territory certain to tug onto one’s own heartstrings. And for a first film in the English language, Beautiful Boy isn’t only an impressive entry, but its approach to such delicate subject matter also makes it one of the most harrowing viewing experiences of the year.

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The TIFF Diaries: Day 2 – Abruptly Changing the Schedule: Mouthpiece and Gloria Bell

It is my second day at the Toronto International Film Festival and I seem to have encountered a bit of a Sophie’s Choice more than anything, and in this instance I’d been left with a choice whether to go attend a press and industry screening for Cold War or just skip it to secure red carpet access for Beautiful Boy. But I feel afterwards that I ended up making the red carpet for Felix Van Groeningen’s film after having come straight from Oakville to catch a press screening of Mouthpiece today. I have to admit though, being at a red carpet may also have been one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences of my whole life by far, because knowing already that I have to meet up with numerous big names in the business, I kept worrying about what would happen if I ended up making a fool out of myself.

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The Big Short – Review

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It’s interesting to see how Adam McKay would go from directing silly Will Ferrell comedies like Anchorman and The Other Guys to what would go to an Oscar contender much like this. It’s a rather impressive transition, because it just surprised me how effectively Adam McKay pulled off telling a story as important as this one. Granted, The Big Short is rather flawed but I found it to be a nonetheless rather enjoyable ride, yet it wasn’t such an easy film to piece together. It’s enjoyable in the sense that when the film is funny, it works quite well, but given the true story that the film is based on, the mannerisms to which it blends comedy and drama within the lead characters does not seem to feel as consistent as it should be. Continue reading →