Angelo Muredda

TIFF 2021 | The Other Tom (Rodrigo Plá, Laura Santullo, Mexico/USA)

By Angelo Muredda / September 15, 2021

By Angelo Muredda Single mom Elena (Julia Chavez) tries to do right by her scampish ten-year-old son Tom (Israel Rodríguez Bertorelli) despite the interventions of the byzantine Texas school system in Rodrigo Plá and Laura Santullo’s minor-key drama The Other Tom, based on Santullo’s novel. The filmmakers do well to balance their kitchen-sink realism and…

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TIFF 2021 | Drunken Birds (Ivan Grbovic, Canada)

By Angelo Muredda / September 13, 2021

By Angelo Muredda With Jean-Marc Vallée tied up in American television and Denis Villeneuve bound for Arrakis, Canada’s response to the tangled international melodramas of Alejandro González Iñárritu seemingly falls to Ivan Grbovic. Grbovic follows up his understated character study Roméo Onze with the curiously schematic Drunken Birds, which marks a step up in scale…

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TIFF 2021 | Mlungu Wam (Jenna Cato Bass, South Africa)

By Angelo Muredda / September 13, 2021

By Angleo Muredda “I think she’s been working for too long now,” a man deadpans about his bone-tired mother Mavis (Nosipho Mtebe) late in Jenna Cato Bass’s absorbing thriller Mlungu Wam, an allegory about how the white supremacist violence of apartheid-era South Africa reverberates into the future as demons for the children and grandchildren of…

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TIFF 2021 | Small Body (Laura Samani, Italy/France/Slovenia)

By Angelo Muredda / September 12, 2021

By Angelo Muredda A young mother’s desire to give her stillborn child a name prompts a perilous trip to a mountain sanctuary in Laura Samani’s assured if familiar Small Body. Celeste Cescutti is appropriately severe as Agata, a pure-hearted stoic who risks life and limb to carry her limbo-bound child to a remote church where…

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TIFF 2021 | Lo Invisible (Javier Andrade, Ecuador/France)

By Angelo Muredda / September 11, 2021

By Angelo Muredda Anahi Hoeneisen is inscrutable as a woman on the verge of either a breakdown or a breakthrough in Javier Andrade’s chamber drama Lo Invisible. Co-written by Hoeneisen and Andrade, the film unfolds, enigmatically at first and then tediously, as a series of opaque tableaux of protagonist Luisa’s tentative reintegration into family life…

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Sound of Metal (Darius Marder, US)

By Angelo Muredda / April 5, 2021

Entering Riz Ahmed in the disability cosplay sweepstakes as a young drummer coping with hearing loss, Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal originated as a lightly meta vehicle for husband-and-wife sludge-metal duo Jucifer to be directed by Derek Cianfrance, with whom Marder co-wrote The Place Beyond the Pines (2012). That the final result is more surprising than the rote uplift narrative suggested by its edifying logline is a testament to both Ahmed’s cagey intensity…

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Jojo Rabbit (Taika Watiti, US)

By Angelo Muredda / December 28, 2019

By Angelo Muredda “Don’t get into the Nazi stuff,” Taika Waititi’s deadbeat dad tells his son, the eponymous protagonist of the New Zealand-born actor-writer-director’s sophomore feature Boy (2010), gesturing to a swastika he once carved into the wall of his childhood bedroom, the remnant of a reformed punk’s youthful exploits. Hindsight being 20/20, it’s almost…

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Coppers (Alan Zweig, Canada) — TIFF Docs

By Angelo Muredda / September 9, 2019

By Angelo Muredda “Cops are by far the biggest liars,” a subject admits early in Alan Zweig’s Coppers, which brings the filmmaker’s signature conversational style to bear on a profile of retired Toronto police officers, about a dozen of whom are interviewed at rest and in ride-alongs to the scenes of past arrests and disaster…

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Incitement (Yaron Zilberman, Israel) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Angelo Muredda / September 8, 2019

By Angelo Muredda Israeli filmmaker Yaron Zilberman follows up A Late Quartet with Incitement, an unnerving recreation of the days leading up to Orthodox Jewish law student Yigal Amir’s assassination of then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for his integral role in the Oslo peace process. Offering another look into the social customs by which…

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American Woman (Semi Chellas, Canada) — Gala Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 7, 2019

By Angelo Muredda  TV-to-feature transitions are always a fraught jump for writers of sparkling, monologue-heavy prose, and Mad Men writer Semi Chellas’ American Woman is no exception. Faring a bit better than Chellas’ former boss Matthew Weiner’s dispiriting Are You Here but falling well short of the intimacy and idiosyncrasy of David Chase’s Not Fade…

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The Platform (Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, Spain) — Midnight Madness

By Angelo Muredda / September 5, 2019

By Angelo Muredda A pitch in search of a movie to ground it, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform never amounts to more than the sum of its parts, but fans of high-concept science fiction such as Cube and Snowpiercer may nevertheless appreciate the sheer number of those parts in a film that teems with ideas, but…

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Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 2, 2019

By Angelo Muredda  In Pain and Glory, Pedro Almódovar burrows further into his late-style period with all the “intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction” Edward Said promised, with an equally frank and flattering self-portrait of the artist as an aging Antonio Banderas. Though a decade younger and a good deal handsomer than the auteur behind the…

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Good Work: Lev Lewis, Yonah Lewis, and Calvin Thomas’ Spice It Up

By Angelo Muredda / August 12, 2019

By Angelo Muredda Spice It Up screens at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Thursday, August 15 as part of MDFF Selects: Presented by Cinema Scope and TIFF. “Spice what up?” a film professor played by Cinema Scope’s own Adam Nayman asks with disinterest early in Lev Lewis, Yonah Lewis, and Calvin Thomas’ smart and puckishly funny…

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Green Book (Peter Farrelly, US)

By Angelo Muredda / December 21, 2018

By Angelo Muredda  There’s a handy visual metaphor for auteurist progress in the way that road-movie savant Peter Farrelly trades the shaggy-dog van that carried his heroes most of the way from Providence to Aspen in Dumb and Dumber (1994) for the sleek vintage ride in Green Book. Farrelly’s first solo project since that debut…

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Saf (Ali Vatansever, Turkey/Germany/Romania) — Discovery

By Angelo Muredda / September 14, 2018

By Angelo Muredda Ali Vatansever takes a stab at an Asghar Farhadi-style overdetermined drama about tired people in impossible situations with his second feature Saf. The film tells the two-part story of Kamil (Erol Afsin) and Remziye (Saadet Isil Aksoy), a working-class Turkish couple who struggle to live with dignity in the shadow of an…

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Through Black Spruce (Don McKellar, Canada) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 10, 2018

By Angelo Muredda You almost have to admire the chutzpah of Through Black Spruce, which hits TIFF with an inscrutable mix of sheepishness and self-confidence. Don McKellar’s adaptation of Joseph Boyden’s Giller Prize-winning novel couldn’t be arriving at a worse time, a cultural moment where writers like Jen Sookfong Lee and Alicia Elliott have proclaimed…

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Graves Without a Name (Rithy Panh, France/Cambodia) — TIFF Docs

By Angelo Muredda / September 8, 2018

By Angelo Muredda Late in Rithy Panh’s elegant successor to The Missing Picture, which more squarely faces his own family losses in the Cambodian genocide of the late ’70s, the filmmaker’s longtime surrogate narrator Randal Douc wonders if he has shot so many images of death in order to forget that he himself is dead.…

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Angelo (Markus Schleinzer, Austria/Luxembourg) — Platform

By Angelo Muredda / September 7, 2018

By Angelo Muredda It’s funny in an Austrian sort of way that Markus Schleinzer should take seven years to follow his 2011 Cannes debut Michael with a movie called Angelo. That kind of contextual anti-joke would be at home in his latest, a self-reflexive 18th-century period piece, pitched at the edge of irony, about the…

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Giant Little Ones (Keith Behrman, Canada) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 5, 2018

By Angelo Muredda From its YA market-friendly nonsense title to its insistent poptimist score and tired elevator pitch—it’s about that One Moment Everything Changes for a sensitive, good-looking teen who has the whole world on his plate—Giant Little Ones has a lot of strikes against it. It’s a bit of a surprise, then, that Keith…

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Les Salopes, or The Naturally Wanton Pleasure of Skin (Renée Beaulieu, Canada) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Angelo Muredda / September 1, 2018

By Angelo Muredda What can be said about Renée Beaulieu’s Les Salopes, or The Naturally Wanton Pleasure of Skin that isn’t already conveyed in the title? The Québécois filmmaker and University of Montréal film professor’s second feature—which concers a biologist whose research on the potentially scandalous connection between desire and dermatology—sits at an awkward juncture…

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, UK/US)

By Angelo Muredda / December 19, 2017

By Angelo Muredda There’s a moment early in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri that neatly encapsulates the playwright-turned-filmmaker’s competing instincts toward moral sophistication and childish self-indulgence. As the bereaved protagonist Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) struts through the local sign shop—the first step in her campaign to use the title’s eponymous placards to shame…

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Mañana a esta hora (Lina Rodriguez, Canada)

By Angelo Muredda / September 28, 2017

  By Angelo Muredda The first image we see in Lina Rodriguez’s deceptively modest second feature Mañana a esta hora (This Time Tomorrow) is something of a puzzle: a gradually lightening shot of a tree in a leafy park in Bogotá, standing sturdy and still. While this depopulated, evergreen overture might seem to promise an…

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Alias Grace (Mary Harron, Canada/USA) — Primetime

By Angelo Muredda / September 13, 2017

By Angelo Muredda Margaret Atwood’s most genre-bending, postmodern novel gets a mostly straightforward Victorian adaptation in Mary Harron’s CBC-bound miniseries Alias Grace, at least on the basis of its first two episodes. Atwood has a lot of fun with the lurid rubbernecking appeal of the story of Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), the maid turned prisoner…

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Breathe (Andy Serkis, UK) — Gala Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 12, 2017

By Angelo Muredda Andy Serkis takes a left turn from performance-capture guru to prestige-pic helmer with this ingratiating and anonymously directed biopic that leaves no cliché about love and illness untapped. If there’s anything curious about Breathe, it’s the behind-the-scenes business machinations that saw Serkis taking on as his directorial debut a story that turns…

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Thelma (Joachim Trier, Norway/Sweden/France/Denmark) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 11, 2017

By Angelo Muredda Joachim Trier makes a sterling if somewhat noncommittal bid for post-horror with Thelma, a slow-burn supernatural thriller about a Norwegian teen (Eili Harboe) who goes away to college (and away from her morally rigid Christian parents) and finds her long dormant powers to make terrible and strange things happen reactivated by, what…

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A Worthy Companion (Carlos Sanchez & Jason Sanchez, Canada) — Discovery

By Angelo Muredda / September 11, 2017

By Angelo Muredda Evan Rachel Wood works hard to put on a tough face in Carlos and Jason Sanchez’s unconvincing debut feature, the kind of miserablist festival fare that has given English Canadian cinema a bad name for too long. Wood stars as Laura, a thirtysomething house cleaner with unsavoury sexual appetites (so a moralizing…

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Stronger (David Gordon Green, USA) — Gala Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 9, 2017

By Angelo Muredda Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman gets the biopic treatment in Stronger, David Gordon Green’s lazy if intermittently affecting first major stab at Oscar glory. Jake Gyllenhaal tamps down his blinking-related affectations of prestige movies past and brings some calm, regular-guy gravitas to Bauman, who, according to the gruff, faux-Boston brogue of…

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Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, Italy/France) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 4, 2017

By Angelo Muredda From the moment the opening credits offer a screen-filling shout-out to the musical score by Sufjan Stevens and the handwritten titles by Chen Li, Call Me By Your Name announces itself as a Luca Guadagnino film: a love letter from one aesthete to countless others. That opening salvo might inspire a bit…

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Porcupine Lake (Ingrid Veninger, Canada) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Angelo Muredda / September 2, 2017

By Angelo Muredda Micro-budget Toronto filmmaker turned production maven Ingrid Veninger hits her sweet spot with Porcupine Lake, which trades some of her scrappier aesthetic instincts for a more polished veneer but keeps the heart and prickly specificity of her best work. Like Andrew Cividino’s recent Canadian indie darling Sleeping Giant, which staged its small-scale…

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First Do No Harm: Hugh Gibson on The Stairs

By Angelo Muredda / March 24, 2017

By Angelo Muredda  Early in Hugh Gibson’s The Stairs, we meet Marty, a recovering addict working as a social worker for drug users in Toronto’s Regent Park. A loquacious eccentric who clearly relishes the Aaron Sorkin-inflected walk-and-talk of his onscreen introduction, Marty seems equally comfortable leading a tutorial on packing safe injection kits at work…

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Layla M. (Mijke de Jong) — Platform

By Angelo Muredda / September 14, 2016

By Angelo Muredda The youth-in-extremis movie gets a relatively fresh new face in Mijke de Jong’s Layla M., which, together with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, positions TIFF’s Platform programme as a quality clearing house for coming-of-age melodramas with a critical difference. Here the point of distinction is the budding radicalism of the heretofore university-bound Layla (Nora…

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The Untamed (Amat Escalante, Mexico/Denmark/France/Germany/ Norway/Switzerland) — Vanguard

By Angelo Muredda / September 11, 2016

By Angelo Muredda Repressed sexual impulses find a novel form of expression in Amat Escalante’s The Untamed, a genre film for people who find genre films distasteful. As in his Cannes-winning Heli (2013), Escalante’s knack for high-concept premises—there, using the family unit as a means to explore the insidiousness of violence—is undone by his obvious,…

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Free Fire (Ben Wheatley, UK) — Midnight Madness

By Angelo Muredda / September 9, 2016

  By Angelo Muredda A canny genre filmmaker with a Situationist’s knack for how people’s surroundings sculpt their blinkered worldview, Ben Wheatley is wise to make Free Fire, his first film set in the US, a crime caper with big-mouthed braggarts shooting off their guns in a confined space just large enough to let them…

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Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming) (Ann Marie Fleming, Canada) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 9, 2016

By Angelo Muredda Though it’s a bit scrappy on first glance, Window Horses director Ann Marie Fleming’s drawing style has a good story behind it. After surviving a car accident while she was an animation student, Fleming resorted to the barest of shorthands in her minimalist sketches of a character she called Stick Girl, made…

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Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, US ) — Platform

By Angelo Muredda / September 8, 2016

By Angelo Muredda “No place in the world ain’t got no black people,” Mahershala Ali’s good-hearted drug dealer and surrogate father Juan tells prepubescent Chiron (Alex Hibbert) in the opening act of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins’ accomplished but fussy sophomore feature. Juan’s attempt to instill a sense of black masculine pride in a boy mercilessly teased…

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The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook, South Korea) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 7, 2016

By Angelo Muredda Park Chan-wook dresses up his naughtiness under the ritzier coats of period drama and metafiction in The Handmaiden. More well-oiled machine than movie, The Handmaiden adapts Welsh historical novelist Sarah Waters’ Booker Prize-shortlisted 19th-century throwback Fingersmith, about a petty thief commissioned to act as a maid to a mentally unwell heiress, the…

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Unless (Alan Gilsenan, Canada/Ireland) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 7, 2016

By Angelo Muredda The last novel and late-career manifesto of Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Shields gets a visceral but disjointed adaptation in Alan Gilsenan’s Unless, which, like its source, follows the mysterious transformation of Norah (Hannah Gross), a college student who suddenly goes silent and abandons her life of middle-class comfort to camp out on…

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Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, US) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 6, 2016

By Angelo Muredda The elegant swan to Margaret’s (2011) ugly duckling, Manchester by the Sea is a moving but less arresting follow-up to Kenneth Lonergan’s career best. At his strongest when he is least governed by discipline and good taste, Lonergan seems a bit too tentative in this unmistakably well-crafted study of the way grief…

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Mean Dreams (Nathan Morlando, Canada) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 5, 2016

By Angelo Muredda Early in Nathan Morlando’s Mean Dreams—a Canadian production with American aspirations—kewpie-doll runaway Casey (Sophie Nélisse) gets moony-eyed as she remembers her dead mother’s wish to get away from the dour country that entrapped her and light out for the ocean. It might be a testament to the film’s restrained Northern ethos (in…

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Room (Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland/Canada)

By Angelo Muredda / December 21, 2015

  By Angelo Muredda Another awards-season thoroughbred is foaled in Room, Lenny Abrahamson’s take on Ireland-born, Canada-based Booker Prize nominee Emma Donoghue’s best-seller. For all its touchy subject matter, Room is the sort of film for which People’s Choice awards were made: a lightly conceptual, sturdily acted piece of redemptive cinema that peers into the…

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TIFF 2015 | Eva Doesn’t Sleep (Pablo Agüero, France/ Argentina/ Spain)—Wavelengths

By Angelo Muredda / September 9, 2015

By Angelo Muredda Evita Perón’s luminous corpse gets exhumed for dubious ends in Pablo Agüero’s intermittently engaging Eva Doesn’t Sleep, a mixed-media survey of Argentinean history since the fall of the Perónist government in the mid-1950s. Agüero’s method is to explore the persistence of Perón’s iconography for the disenfranchised by tracking it across a series…

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TIFF 2015 | Al Purdy Was Here (Brian D. Johnson, Canada)—TIFF Docs

By Angelo Muredda / September 9, 2015

By Angelo Muredda An old CanLit staple whose braggadocio feels out of tune with the relative civility of contemporary Canadian letters, Al Purdy is a fitting subject for Brian D. Johnson’s doc, which also feels a bit out of time. Al Purdy Was Here operates as both an extended eulogy for the scrappy poet as…

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TIFF 2015 | How Heavy This Hammer (Kazik Radwanski, Canada) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Angelo Muredda / September 9, 2015

By Angelo Muredda There’s a moment in Kazik Radwanski’s impressive feature debut Tower (2012) where a dentist tells thirtysomething man-child Derek (Derek Bogart), a better-adjusted, Torontonian Travis Bickle, that he has an impacted tooth coming in from the side long after most people’s wisdom teeth cease to bother them. Radwanski looks to another late bloomer…

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TIFF 2015 | A Heavy Heart (Thomas Stuber, Germany) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Angelo Muredda / September 8, 2015

By Angelo Muredda Student Oscar nominee Thomas Stuber makes his first tentative mark in features with A Heavy Heart, a close-quarters profile of unsmiling musclehead Herbert (Peter Kurth), whose heyday as a boxer in East Germany—he almost but didn’t go to the Olympics, as his friends remind him—is long gone post-reunification. Now a hired goon…

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TIFF 2015 | Room (Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland/Canada)—Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 8, 2015

By Angelo Muredda The first thing a reader of Emma Donoghue’s novel Room will notice about Lenny Abrahamson’s mostly sturdy adaptation is a problem of perspective. The impressionistic early montage of mundane objects (a sink and a toilet, which soon become known to us as the talismanic idols Sink and Toilet) quickly gives way to…

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TIFF 2015 | The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/ UK/ Greece/ France/ Netherlands)—Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 7, 2015

  By Angelo Muredda You’d be hard-pressed to think of a more singular contemporary filmmaker than Yorgos Lanthimos, whose off-kilter satires are perfectly attuned to humanity’s endless capacity for self-delusion. It’s a shame, then, that to this critic Lanthimos’ English-language debut The Lobster recalls nothing so much as My Blueberry Nights (2007), in which Wong…

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TIFF 2015 | 45 Years (Andrew Haigh, UK)—Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 4, 2015

By Angelo Muredda Andrew Haigh branches out from his chronicles of transitory love among gay male urbanites with 45 Years, one of the shrewdest follow-ups to a calling-card picture in recent memory. The filmmaker trades the Nottingham setting of Weekend (2011) and the San Francisco clubs of his HBO series Looking for the flatlands of…

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Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, France/Mauritania/Mali)

By Angelo Muredda / March 26, 2015

By Angelo Muredda. Early in Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu, an army of young Islamic rebels marches into a mosque, automatic rifles slung at their sides. It might look like the start of a proper siege if we hadn’t just seen the same men ineptly chasing a gazelle through the desert in a jeep (calling to mind…

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Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund, Sweden/France/Denmark/Norway)

By Angelo Muredda / December 18, 2014

By Angelo Muredda With all respect to David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure is the best formalist black comedy about marriage since Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Inasmuch as its outline suggests an essay on the crisis of masculinity—one distilled to a defining image (emblazoned on the vaguely apocalyptic poster) of a patriarch shirking…

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Easy Virtue: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman

By Angelo Muredda / October 24, 2014

By Angelo Muredda What could be a more appropriate fate for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)—a slick film about a disgruntled director baring his soul and guts for unfeeling audiences and critics alike—than its doubtlessly smooth course to award-season glory? While the film is ostensibly an angry manifesto stumping for…

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20,000 Days on Earth (Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, UK)

By Angelo Muredda / September 16, 2014

By Angelo Muredda “Songwriting is about counterpoint,” Nick Cave insists early in 20,000 Days on Earth, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s curious documentary slash postmodern biography of the Australian singer-songwriter and Bad Seeds frontman; you put two disparate images beside each other, he explains, and see which way the sparks fly. That Cave’s definition of…

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TIFF 2014 | The Theory of Everything (James Marsh, US) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 12, 2014

By Angelo Muredda Stephen Hawking falls in love, gets disabled, and becomes the world’s best-selling cosmologist in James Marsh’s mostly undistinguished The Theory of Everything, the sort of cautious, unoffending profile that tends to arrive in swarms this time of year. For what it’s worth, Eddie Redmayne is fine as the young Cambridge scholar with…

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TIFF 2014 | Tu dors Nicole (Stéphane Lafleur, Canada) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Angelo Muredda / September 3, 2014

By Angelo Muredda Slight as it is, next to the garrulous shoutiness of much of its Canadian brethren at the festival, Stéphane Lafleur’s Tu dors Nicole feels like a minor oasis. Nicely lensed in minimalist black and white by the filmmaker’s usual collaborator (and Bernard Émond vet) Sara Mishara, the film follows the post-grad ambles…

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TIFF 2014 | It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, US) — Midnight Madness

By Angelo Muredda / September 3, 2014

By Angelo Muredda Trading the gentle lilt of his debut The Myth of the American Sleepover for a steelier look at youth in extremis, David Robert Mitchell arrives seemingly out of the box as a skillful genre filmmaker with It Follows. The “it” in question is an otherwise unnamed, shape-shifting stalker contracted like a virus…

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TIFF 2014 | Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, US) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 2, 2014

By Angelo Muredda Pitched somewhere between a kunstlerroman and an Archers melodrama about the psychic toll wrought by a life of artistic commitment, Whiplash is about as off-kilter as Sundance darlings get. An extended riff on sophomore helmer Damien Chazelle’s earlier short, the film stars Miles Teller as Andrew Neyman, an aspiring jazz drummer lured…

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TIFF 2014 | An Eye for Beauty (Denys Arcand, Canada) — Special Presentations

By Angelo Muredda / September 1, 2014

By Angelo Muredda “Some people are stuck in a wheelchair and they’re happy, and others want to kill themselves when their poodle died,” a ponderous Adonis muses early in Denys Arcand’s tiresome An Eye for Beauty. That’s one of many meaningless canards spouted in a film that mostly scans as a dumb almanac for the…

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TIFF 2013 | Kill Your Darlings (John Krokidas, US)—Gala Presentation

By Angelo Muredda / September 5, 2013

By Angelo Muredda Vintage knitwear porn for those lads and lasses who’ve been hankering to see Harry Potter’s first onscreen bout of gay sex, Kill Your Darlings puts a slick YA sheen on Allen Ginsberg’s Columbia days. Not content to trace the origins of the “New Vision” young Ginsy (Daniel Radcliffe) co-conceived with fellow dreamboat…

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TIFF 2013 | The Invisible Woman (Ralph Fiennes, UK)—Special Presentation

By Angelo Muredda / September 5, 2013

By Angelo Muredda While Coriolanus seemed designed to show us that Ralph Fiennes could direct as well as star in Shakespeare, The Invisible Woman scans as a cannier power play, a consistently underrated actor-director’s audition for high-toned costume dramas about major historical figures (Charles Dickens, here). As a director’s portfolio, it’s not so bad: certainly…

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TIFF 2013 | Empire of Dirt (Peter Stebbings, Canada)—Contemporary World Cinema

By Angelo Muredda / September 4, 2013

By Angelo Muredda Since her breakthrough in Bruce McDonald’s Dance Me Outside, Jennifer Podemski has had a grounding effect on the countless Canadian TV shows and films she’s cropped up in, singlehandedly recalibrating the sombre melodrama of Degrassi into something like realism. Podemski is an especially valuable player in Peter Stebbings’ Empire of Dirt, a…

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TIFF 2013 | Don Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, US)—Special Presentation

By Angelo Muredda / August 31, 2013

By Angelo Muredda An overeager new entry in the cinema of reformed douchebags, Don Jon is the feature debut you would expect from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, an affable star who’s keen to show his directorial (and pectoral) chops at all costs. And show them he does, in a host of obnoxious if admittedly muscular montages that…

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TIFF 2013 | Young & Beautiful (François Ozon, France)

By Angelo Muredda / August 30, 2013

By Angelo Muredda Not a Lana Del Rey cover, dommage, but a riff on his usual concerns of voyeurism, Gallic family strife, and the ambiguity of pretty girls, François Ozon’s Young & Beautiful is an accomplished trifle. We’re in Ozon country from the first shot, a young peeping Tom’s through-the-binoculars gaze at his sunbathing teenaged…

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Canada’s Top Ten 2011: The Roundtable

By cscope2 / January 5, 2012

We’ve already discussed the majority of the features on this year’s Canada’s Top Ten list in some form or another in the pages of Cinema Scope or on Cinema Scope Online, many during our TIFF coverage. But as it’s still the time of year when film culture is obsessed with lists—writing them, reading them, arguing…

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