It Follows

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Apr 102015


It Follows has been at the centre of discussion since the Cannes Film Festival last year. David Robert Mitchell’s (Myth of the American Sleepover) film screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival last July and then at the Toronto International Film Festival in September to positive buzz and critical acclaim. It’s expansion from very limited screens to 1,000+ in the US has made it the independent hit of 2015 to date, and for good reason. It is an intelligent, accomplished feat of claustrophobic horror filmmaking with the capacity to transcend the cinema environment, get under a viewer’s skin and continue to terrify long after the credits.

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Nov 252014


“If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket” – a pearl of wisdom from entrepreneurial young man, Lou Bloom. Lou is someone willing to go the extra mile, the extra 100 miles, to do what it takes to succeed. So what happens when he decides to turn his sights to capturing video news footage? Nightcrawler is reviewed after the jump

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This Is Where I Leave You

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Oct 192014


“You are all my children again and you are all grounded”, Hilary Altman (Jane Fonda) announces to her adult children who have gathered at the family home after the passing of their father. It was his dying wish that the family sit Shiva, a week-long mourning period, and Hilary will see to it that this wish will be granted. This Is Where I Leave You is reviewed after the jump.
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Trailer: Top Five

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Oct 172014

Top Five was a big hit at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is one of those films that I am kicking myself for missing out on. Friends who have seen it have all said how smart, funny and fresh it is. It’s another film which is in some ways examining identity and the performer – something which I feel has been a very prominent theme in 2014 (Venus in Fur, Clouds of Sils Maria, Birdman are a few examples of others).

The official synopsis is as follows:
Written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, “TOP FIVE” tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind.

The cast is absolutely packed with comedic talent including Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, and Cedric The Entertainer.

Top Five will be released in Australia on January 29.

So that was TIFF14

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Sep 232014


So, it’s done. I, with my fear of flying, made it all the way to Toronto and attended the Toronto International Film Festival. I hope to have a steady flow of reviews up on the site over the next month, but for now here’s a brief summary.

*29 films viewed at the festival (list here)
*2 films skipped – Wasteland, which I heard was terrible and Bang Bang Baby, I was just too tired
*8 films viewed on the plane
*The best film I saw at TIFF by a country mile was Nightcrawler
*Nightcrawler was one of only two films which audiences burst into applause mid-film
*The other the horrifically painful The Last 5 Years and I have no idea why people clapped
*I didn’t cry this festival, but Coming Home got me the closest
*FAQs are generally awkward and bad, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are
*The award for ‘the film shoved in at the last-minute to my schedule which turned out to be incredible’ award goes to Coming Home, with Beyond the Lights and Hungry Hearts the runners-up
*The worst film was Manglehorn. David Gordon Green goes on my list of directors I am wary of because they are too hit-and-miss. Other members of this list include Michael Winterbottom, Françis Ozon and Jason Reitman.
*I had one great morning of celeb spotting and let me tell you Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is ever bit as handsome as he appears to be on the screen
*My one fangirl moment was seeing Mark Ruffalo onstage for Foxcatcher. *swooooooooon*
*I was surprised by how TIFF is a festival of two halves. Thursday->Monday is absolutely packed with celebs, press packs with their red lanyards (and often pushy, entitled attitudes) and lines like nothing I have seen outside of Japan. From Tuesday the press start to leave, there are less big red carpet events and you can mostly forgo lining up
*It’s much harder to pick films for a festival where most of the films are world premieres, thus the number of not-so-good films I saw was probably higher than most festivals.
*Certain veteran TIFF goers make pirate noises when the anti-piracy ad comes on. It’s weird and you should stop it
*The volunteers are incredible. How these people could have a sunny deposition when looking at my sleep deprived, grumpy face at 8.30am is beyond me. Kudos TIFF volunteers, you made it something special
*Beer is dangerously cheap and I drank my weight in it
*Toronto has perfected the art of city pubs, but you have to work a little harder for good [healthy] ethnic food
*The blocks are always twice as big as you expect, so wear comfortable shoes. Actually this applies to the first half of the festival, regardless of how far you have to walk. You will spend hours upon hours lining up, so treat your feet kindly
*The people are so nice that you’ll consider never leaving (but then you remember how cold it gets). Huge shout-out and love to Ryan, Lindsay, Courtney, Bob, Matt, Kurt, Amir, Max & Shannon (& others)for making it such a fantastic festival
*It was worth every cent
*I want to go back

Podcast: Wicked Little Town (The Cobbler & TIFF) @ The Matinee

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Sep 132014


Hello from Toronto and the Toronto International Film Festival! I have had the most amazing time in Toronto and it’s mostly not because of the movies. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many good films (NIGHTCRAWLER!!!!), but it’s really the people who have made the experience really special.

One of the people I was most looking forward to meeting was Ryan McNeil of The Matinee. Ryan’s writing is some of my favourite on the web and I had a hunch that he would be a top guy to hang out with. My hunch was right – Ryan is not only a fun person, but has been extremely kind and helpful during my time here in Toronto.

Andrew Buckle and I sat down with Ryan (over crepes and coffee) at a local café to chat about the festival and THE COBBLER, a film which we had just seen together. Head over to The Matinee and give it a listen.

I’ll be back in about 10 days, so keep an eye out for lots of TIFF reviews which will be heading to the site. In the meantime, continue enjoying the quality guest posts I’ve been lucky to be able to post.

O Canada

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Aug 292014


So this is the time of the year that I usually get insanely jealous of my North American friends. Telluride, TIFF and NYFF are generally packed with amazing films. Many of these films could take months and months to reach Australia, that’s if they get here at all. This year is different, because this year I will be at TIFF. This is bucket list stuff for me and despite my hideous fear of flying, I am ridiculously excited to go.

I won’t be reviewing at TIFF but I hope to write a diary of sorts or write-up some good notes so that I can smash out some reviews when I get home. After the jump check out my schedule. I’m pretty happy with it, although by the time my ticket window had come around 4 films (St Vincent, While We’re Young, Elephant Song, Welcome to Me) on my list were sold out at the times I could see them. I also didn’t pick some films due to upcoming release dates in Australia (such as Whiplash which I’m very keen to see).

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Trailer: Nightcrawler

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Aug 162014

Oh boy.

I first heard about Nightcrawler when this ad was posted on Craigslist. The ad contained a link which led to the video resume of one Lou Bloom, aka the lead character in Nightcrawler. I must say I appreciate when marketing tries something a little different.

The official synopsis is as follows:

NIGHTCRAWLER is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling — where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents.

Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favourite actors right now. Between Enemy, Prisoners and End of Watch , he is so on form. This is director Dan Gilroy’s first feature film, however he is no stranger to Hollywood. Gilroy has behind the pen for films which include The Bourne Legacy, The Fall and Reel Steel.

Madman Entertainment has picked up Nightcrawler for a 2014 release in Australia. The film will première at TIFF (where I hope to see it) in September.