Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Toronto International Film Festival announces first films for 41st edition


2016 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL UNVEILS ITS FIRST SLATE OF GALAS AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
Featuring World Premieres from filmmakers including Oliver Stone, Mira Nair, Ewan McGregor, Konkona Sensharma, Lone Scherfig, Raja Amari, Jonathan Demme, Baltasar Kormákur, Amma Asante, Christopher Guest, Feng Xiaogang, Rob Reiner, J.A. Bayona, Arnaud des Pallières, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and many more

Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, announced the first round of titles premiering in the Gala and Special Presentations programmes of the 41st Toronto International Film Festival.

Of the 19 Galas and 49 Special Presentations announced, this initial lineup includes films from such celebrated directors as Werner Herzog, Denis Villeneuve, Jim Jarmusch, Mia Hansen-Løve, Rebecca Zlotowski, Tom Ford, François Ozon, Andrea Arnold, Maren Ade, Park Chan-wook, Kim Jee woon, Kenneth Lonergan, Antoine Fuqua, Damien Chazelle, Pablo Larraín, and Paul Verhoeven.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Film review: Cafe Society


Writer/Director: Woody Allen
Producers: Letty Aronson, Ron Chez, Helen Robin,  Adam B. Stern, Allan Teh, Stephen Tenenbaum, Edward Walson
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Parker Posey, Corey Stoll
Comedy/drama
1 hour, 36 minutes

By now, audiences expect certain elements in a Woody Allen movie: a period piece from the 1930s, a love triangle, a nebbish Woody-Allen-like protagonist, perhaps a gangster, a discussion about morality and, of course, some sharp, funny lines sprinkled throughout.

Cafe Society, the auteur's latest, contains all these ingredients which adds up to an entertaining though flawed film that's parts comedy, romance and drama.

[Spoiler alert] Jesse Eisenberg plays Bobby, a naive Jewish kid from Brooklyn who hits up his bigshot uncle Phil (Steve Carell), a Hollywood agent, for a job. Unwittingly, Bobby falls for Phil's younger secretary, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) who is secretly Phil's mistress. When Phil leaves his wife for Vonnie, Bobby's world crashes down and he returns to Brooklyn to work for his gangster brother, Ben (Carey Stoll) and runs his high-society nightclub. Years pass, Bobby marries another woman and becomes a father. He grows tougher, harder, wiser. One day, Vonnie and Uncle Phil visit Bobby's New York nightclub and that nearly rekindles his L.A. romance with Vonnie. By the end of the film, we're left with a big What if? What if Vonnie had chosen Bobby instead of Phil?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

David Bowie is back...on the big screen


review by Allan Tong

Six months after cancer claimed the iconic British musician, David Bowie returns to Canada on select Cineplex screens on July 21, 24 and 31. No, it's not The Man Who Fell to Earth or Labyrinth, but a documentary about Bowie's superb retrospective mounted by London's V&A Museum that traveled to cities from Toronto and Melbourne in 2013-5. Both the show and the film are called David Bowie is and both are indispensable to fans of rock music, pop culture and The Thin White Duke.

If you caught the exhibition, then the film is a 94-minute souvenir that perfectly recaptures the show. If you missed it, then the next best thing is to catch this documentary. David Bowie is is part museum guide, part documentary and part biography. It is an unusual creature in that the curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, speak directly to the camera as in a TV special while periodically Bowie fans gush on camera about their idol as they would in a TV commercial.

However, David Bowie is redeems itself by detailing key moments in Bowie's life by deftly using the exhibitions rare photos, films, costumes, Bowie's audio interviews and his handwritten lyrics. The curators give us a tour of several exhibits, starting with photos of the teenage Bowie and his early band, The Kon-rads, looking confident and "imagining himself as a star already" rising from grim postwar England. We glimpse Bowie in a rare film performing mime under the key influence of teacher Lindsay Kemp, who would teach Bowie to adopt characters later in his music career. "It was much easier to be somebody else," Bowie says in voice-over.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Academy Invites a record 683 New Members

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 683 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2016.

18 individuals (noted by an asterisk) have been invited to join the Academy by multiple branches. These individuals must select one branch upon accepting membership.

New members will be welcomed into the Academy at an invitation-only reception in the fall.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

ICFF review: All Roads Lead to Rome


 Italian screen legend, Claudia Cardinale, delivers a sharp, sardonic performance in All Roads Lead To Rome (Tutte le strade portano a Roma), but even she can't save this romantic comedy which screens tonight in Toronto at the ICFF (Italian Contemporary Film Festival).

Cardinale plays 80-year-old Carmen who secretly plans to wed her one true love in Rome against the wishes of her son, Luca (Raul Bova). However, the focus lies on Maggie (Sarah Jessica Parker), a cheery, but daffy divorced mum who tries to re-connect with her rebellious (obnoxious, really) teenage daughter, Summer (Rosie Day) with a trip to a gorgeous Tuscan village that she frequented as a youth. Maggie runs into her old flame, Luca, and Summer wants to return to her sleazy boyfriend in New York who's battling drug charges.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

They Called Me Jeeg astonishes at ICFF


by Allan Tong

The best film of this year's Italian Contemporary Film Festival is They Called Me Jeeg (Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot).

To label Jeeg as Italy's first superhero action film is incomplete. It's also a dark comedy with a twisted romance. Enzo (Claudio Santamaria) is a small-time crook who falls into radioactive waste during a cop chase. He's a lonely wanker who eats endless pudding and has no friends. During a botched drug deal which slays a fellow criminal, Enzo discovers these super physical powers that let him survive a fall off a high building and to shove refrigerators across rooms with his bare arms.

Enzo literally robs an ATM by ripping it out of the wall and steals using his newfound powers. That ends when gang leader Zingaro (Luca Marinelli) comes looking for his drugs and cash, and he strong-arms Alessia (Ilenia Pastorelli), the mad daughter of Enzo's fellow criminal. Enzo winds up protecting--and falling in love--with the poor, deluded Alessia who believes Enzo is the hero of a Japanese anime called Steel Jeeg Robot. She's been lost in her own world ever since her mother died years ago and/or her father started molesting her.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Funnyman Zalone opens the ICFF in Toronto

story by Allan Tong
photos by Sally Warburton


"Thank you for the orgasm," declared Italian funnyman, Checco Zalone.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Love and laughter at this year's ICFF

by Allan Tong

From June 9-19, Italian cinema rules Toronto and Vaughan (with screenings in Hamilton, Quebec City and, new this year, Niagara Falls) with the Italian Contemporary Film Festival. The ICFF offers another entertaining year of movies, mostly drawn from Italy with a few from Canada, but this year the overall program skews towards comedy and romance.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Call for submissions: TIFF Studio 2016


TIFF Studio 2016 Applications are now open:
Calling Canadian writer-directors!

Applications for Canadian writer-directors are now open for TIFF Studio, our year round training programme for mid-career professionals, co-supported by the Harold Greenberg Fund and the Director’s Guild of Canada. Our fourth edition will run from June to January 2017.

Studio is a space for filmmakers to be inspired, consolidate skills, exchange ideas, and discuss challenges in a collaborative environment. Offered to a select group of 10 mid-career, writer-directors, Studio is intended to take the candidates careers to the next level, via creative and business skill development.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Call for submissions: Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM)


Submissions for RIDM 2016 are now open!

Quebec’s only film festival dedicated to documentaries, the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) presents the best reality-based films, including the works of established directors and new talents alike. Every November, RIDM screens approximately 140 domestic and foreign productions and hosts a dozen complementary activities such as workshops, master classes, debates and roundtables. The festival typically welcomes about 100 guests from outside Quebec, and hands out 11 awards selected by juries comprised of industry professionals.

Doc Circuit Montréal, the documentary market organized in parallel with the festival, hosts a dozen activities for documentary professionals, including workshops and presentations, and facilitates more than 1,500 business meetings.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

2016 Canadian Screen Awards – Pre-Show & CBC Broadcast Winners


Comedian Norm Macdonald hosted the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards live on CBC from the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, where 39 CSAs were presented to winners from across the country, it was announced by the Academy of Canadian Cinema &
Television.

"Tonight we congratulate and applaud all of the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards' nominees and winners,” says Academy Chair Martin Katz. “Through your skill, artistry and talent – you represent the cultural infrastructure of our creative economy. We are all very proud of you.”

39 Canadian Screen Awards’ winners included six Academy Special Awards:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

2016 Canadian Screen Awards – Television & Digital Media Gala 2 Winners


The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television held their gala evening at the Westin Harbour Castle for the second round of Canadian Screen Award winners for 2016.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is pleased to announce that 49 Canadian Screen Awards and six Academy Special Awards were presented tonight in Drama, Children’s or Youth, Comedy and Variety categories. This Canadian Screen Awards Gala was hosted tonight by comedian Steve Patterson at the Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

2016 Canadian Screen Awards – Television & Digital Media, Gala 1 Winners


The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television held its first gala tonight at the Westin Harbour Castle for the first round of Canadian Screen Award winners for 2016. The event was hosted by comedian Seán Cullen and presented 50 Canadian Screen Awards in the News & Sports, Documentary, Lifestyle, Reality & Digital Media categories.

In addition, they presented and three previously announced Academy Special Awards – Canada in Perspective received the Diversity Award; Mark Starowicz received the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism; and Much Music Video Awards – Router-Based Production Audio Design received the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award.

Nominations announced for the 2016 MTV Movie Awards


Get ready movie buffs, because the 2016 Movie Awards are coming to you Sunday, April 10th from the Warner Brother Studios in Burbank, California.

It's time to witness another show down. Voting is now open, so get hype to cheer on more of your favorite bad ass girl crushes, epic superheroes and lovable villains as they fight dirty for the Golden Popcorn. Your vote counts towards their destiny. To host this epic night of movie magic, MTV has enlisted action hero and all-around BAMF, Dwayne Johnson, and 2015 Comedic Genius honoree, Kevin Hart to be our masters of the Golden Popcorn. This dynamite duo will be sure to fill the night with unforgettable jokes, side-splitting introductions, and tweet-provoking moments.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016 WGC Screenwriting Awards finalists announced


The Writers Guild of Canada celebrates 25 years of working for Canadian screenwriters, showcasing their talents at the 20th annual WGC Screenwriting Awards. The gala event takes place on May 2, 2016 at Toronto’s beautiful Koerner Hall.

This year close to 150 scripts were nominated, with 24 scripts chosen as finalists, and 32 screenwriters up for awards. Special awards, including the WGC Showrunner Award, the Alex Barris Mentorship Award, and the Sondra Kelly Award will also be presented.