Tag: Drama

2019, Movies

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival

Once again I only saw 5 movies this year. As with previous years, the reason for that will become apparent in a month or so. But, as usual, we managed to do a pretty good job picking movies and only saw movie I wouldn’t recommend seeing, which is a pretty good ratio.

2016, Movies

Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg)

Peter Berg excels at a kind of hyper competence, where his films are technically extremely well made and impressive but which lack subtext or critical thinking. I often hate his films even though I have to grant that they always have exceptional production values. But this one is (a little) different. I think this is …

2019, Movies

Mano de obra [aka Workforce] (2019, David Zonana)

This a very well-made, fascinating drama about manual labourers in Mexico City which threatens to become a thriller but consistently subverts your expectations and ends up having more in common with classical tragedy. It’s a debut, so I was very wary of choosing to see it, but this is a remarkably self-assured film. I strongly …

1938, Movies

The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (1938, Mark Donskoy)

This is the first part of a three part adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s autobiographies, released in the years after his death. I don’t believe I have ever read any Gorky, but I know he’s considered one of the greats of his era.

1954, Movies

Chikamatsu monogatari (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)

Aka The Crucified Lovers aka A Story by Chikamatsu This is one of those Japanese tragedies where two lovers are prevented from living happily ever after by the strictures of society. Yes, this is a universal story, but the Japanese have a lot of these stories and there is a particular tenor to the Japanese …

2008, Movies

Che (2008, Steven Soderbergh)

So the first thing that must be said is that this is an incredibly ambitious project – rarely is a biographical film this detailed and this long. Only in TV now could you get this level of depth into a the subject of a person’s life. The fact that the film exists is an accomplishment …

2018, Movies

Support the Girls (2018, Andrew Bujalski)

This is one of those films which focuses on an eventful day in the lives of the employees of a small business. There are a bunch of these films but for some reason the film we both thought of afterwards was Empire Records, though this is a very different movie (it should go without saying). …

2008, Movies

Ce qu’il faut pour vivre (2008, Benoit Pilon)

This is an affecting but amusing film about an Inuit man taken to Quebec City for tuberculosis treatment in the 1950s. Though it is a simple film – and arguably a variation on a story that has been told many times – its unique perspective is a needed one, and it’s worth your time.

1991, Movies

Daughters of the Dust (1991, Julie Dash)

This is a landmark film to my knowledge – the first wide release directed by an African American woman. That in and of itself makes it notable and it is a testament to the nature of the film industry that it both took until 1991 for this to happen and that most of us still …

2015, Movies

Rak ti Khon Kaen aka Cemetery of Splendour (2015, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

There are certain types of films which require patience. I am almost always better able to appreciate films which require patience in the theatre where I don’t have distractions. At home, I’m liable to find my way to my laptop pretty quickly if a movie is deliberately paced. It’s less bad with English language films …

2007, Movies

Cassandra’s Dream (2007, Woody Allen)

Obligatory mention: This movie was written and directed by Woody Allen. Woody Allen married his step-daughter (who was adopted by his then wife). Woody Allen has been accused by his adopted daughter of child abuse. For too long fans and critics have ignored or dismissed these aspects of Allen’s life when discussing his films. On …

2018, Movies

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018, Henry Dunham)

This is a very stagey film – so stagey you’d think it was a play – that overcomes that limitation by being expertly made, even though it is Dunham’s first time directing a feature. (It’s a miraculous debut, in terms of Dunham’s ability to film and edit – I would sworn this was not a …

2011, Movies

Carnage (2011, Roman Polanski)

This is the first time I’ve seen a Roman Polanski film I haven’t seen previously prior to what you might call my “maturity” regarding the crimes Polanski has fled the United States for. I have known about these crimes since I don’t know when – probably since I discovered who he was (so 20-something years …

2009, Movies

Carcasses (2009, Denis Côté)

Carcasses is part of that trend in Canadian independent film in the early years of the 20th century to mix documentary style with fictional or plots, sometimes with people playing themselves. (I say Canadian trend because most of the films I have seen that do this are Canadian films from this time, or thereabouts.  I …

2003, Movies

Café Lumière (2003, Hsiao-Hsien Hou)

This is the first film of Hsiao-Hsien’s I’ve ever seen but I have seen a few of Ozu’s, and this film is a tribute to Ozu. I don’t always love Ozu – apparently my ADD is too much for him much of the – so I think that my feelings towards Ozu’s type of filmmaking …

2011, Movies

Cafe de Flore (2011, Jean-Marc Vallee

This is one of those maddening movies that eschew conventional narratives but lack the visuals, editing or other techniques to make the lack of story compelling. That’s not to say there isn’t a narrative here – there are two – but it’s fractured to bits and the hooks the audience are given are character development …

2012, Movies

Byzantium (2012, Neil Jordan)

This is a fascinating revisionist vampire film that takes a different approach to an over-done genre in more than one way. It’s not a great movie, necessarily, but it’s a neat twist on a tired genre and it’s worth watching if you are interested in vampire films that don’t follow the tired old movie formulas …

1960, Books, Fiction

The Caretaker (1960) by Harold Pinter

This is my first Pinter and I should mention that I had no idea what I was getting into before I read it. I suspect that it would have made more of an impression on me had I seen it, rather than read it, simply because some of the tone of one of the characters …

2017, Movies

Gifted (2017, Marc Webb)

This is a film about one of those precocious child geniuses that only exist in Hollywood movies (and independent movies that wish they were Hollywood movies – I’m looking at your Good Will Hunting) and how such geniuses should be nurtured. In real life, nobody is quite as smart (or quite as high functioning if they …

2005, Movies

Brokeback Mountain (2005, Ang Lee)

I think it’s probably hard to discuss Brokeback Mountain without talking about the hype: this film is considered by many to be a landmark either in Hollywood with regard to LGBTQ topics, or in LGBTQ cinema in general. Now, I don’t know much about the history of LGBTQ cinema – just what I got from a …

2013, Movies

Coherence (2013, James Ward Byrkit)

This is one of those super talky, high concept science fiction films which feels like it was written for the stage. (Many of these have been written for the stage, but this one apparently was not.) There are a lot of these films by this point and it’s sort of become its own sub genre. …