Canadian cinema is an odd beast, it’s broken into Quebec cinema, which is a thriving island unto itself, with its own star system and release schedule, and the English industry, which has always been dwarfed by our American neighbours to the south — a constant talent drain to Hollywood, and Hollywood shooting big pictures in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. Recently however, big Quebec directors such as Jean-Marc Vallee have been Denis Villeneuve wooed by Tinseltown as well.
Then in the 1970s and 1980s there was the Tax Loophole situation which resulted in both start of the career of one David Cronenberg, as well as a great lake of cheap and sleazy horror pictures (and sex comedies). This makes, on average, the Canadian cinema ouvre very much obsessed with sex and despair – as far from the Canuck stereotypes politeness, pragmatism and maple syrup.
To celebrate this diversity in Canada, below is a collection Canadian posters (both good and bad – and I mean the poster as much as the film) that reflect a pretty gonzo diversity in the Great White North, which celebrates its 149th Birthday today!
Tickled is a documentary about power when one is the ‘tickler.’ Tickled is a documentary about the sudden whiplash from silly to terror when one is the ‘ticklee.’ Tickled is David Farrier’s investigative reporting magnum opus, a deeply engaging ride-along that is darn near impossible to properly review without spoilers. In fact that last sentence, and the two preceding it are probably spoilers to those sensitive about such things.
We will proceed with caution, but if you wish to go into Tickled as clean as possible (at this point), read on at your own risk, I will attempt to tread lightly.
This year, Hot Docs was rocked by an unconventional star; a documentary laced with conspiracy, intrigue, and tickling. The New Zealand doc, directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, initially attempted to bring the unconventional sport of Competitive Endurance Tickling to the public’s attention. In so doing, Farrier and Reeve found themselves in a mess they weren’t prepared for. What started out as a fun exposé very quickly became a dangerous game of cat and mouse, with the directors chasing leads that lead to horrifying stories of manipulation, greed, extortion, identity theft, and harassment.
There isn’t much that can be said about the documentary. It unravels like a thriller, with each layer peeling back to reveal something new and shocking. But its impact lies in the element of surprise; the less you know going in, the better your experience with the material will be. I had the good fortune of being able to talk to Farrier about the doc, an interesting process in itself given how little can be said without spoiling ones viewing experience. The below information may seem cryptic to those who have yet to see the film. To those who have, they will be enlightening. But proceed with caution, and maybe read what follows after seeing the flick. Tickled is playing at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema until July 6th. Don’t miss out on this incredible documentary. Would you like to know more…?
When Thursday rolls around, and you’re looking for something to do, and you’ve got an hour to spare….who you gonna call? That’s right! AFTER THE HYPE! YAY, MUCH CLEVER! We’re here this week with special guests Mackenzie Peykov and Renee Gauthier to talk the 1984 classic GHOSTBUSTERS. Saddle up them proton packs and get ready to be slimed. It’s gonna feel funky…in a good way.
Not a particularly clever title, but it’s great to see Ben Foster getting back on the proverbial horse. Ten years ago and I would’ve said this guy is going to be an A-lister among A-listers. But he’s been virtually nowhere to be seen.
A story about the collision of the Old and New West, two brothers — Toby (Chris Pine), a straight-living, divorced father trying to make a better life for his son; and Tanner (Ben Foster), a short-tempered ex-con with a loose trigger finger — come together to rob branch after branch of the bank that is foreclosing on their family land. The hold-ups are part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that powerful forces beyond their control have stolen from under their feet. Vengeance seems to be theirs until they find themselves in the crosshairs of a relentless, foul-mouthed Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) looking for one last triumph on the eve of his retirement. As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their plan, a showdown looms at the crossroads where the last honest law man and a pair of brothers with nothing to live for except family collide.
Hell or a High Water is a modern action drama set in West Texas where the distinction between honest men and outlaws has blurred beyond recognition. Besides Ben Foster, Hell or a High Water features a cast that includes Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Gil Birmingham.
CBS Films will release Hell or a High Water in select theaters on August 12th and nationwide on August 19th. See you there?
As if you need further proof that the rebooted Star Trek universe is flash-in-the-pan pop cultural action-blockbuster-mush instead of boldly attempting any kind of science fiction or social ideas — something more or less ended with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country — here is Rihanna fiddling while Rome burns.
While the nerd collective throws an over-the-top hissy fit about the all-Female Ghostbusters, I continue to quietly lament the Star-Wars-Too-Fast-Too-Furious-ification of this third go-around on Trek in the multiplex.
(Also, on a serious, perhaps inappropriate note, at least a more morbid one, this is twice now that Justin Lin inherits a big budget franchise, one of the leads dies tragically via car. Two data points doesn’t make a trend, but I wonder if Star Trek Beyond will have a Yelchin-bump in terms of audience interest in the same way the Furious Franchise did with Paul Walker.)
Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky, Eduard Abalov (uncredited) Screenplay by: Vladimir Bogomolov, Mikhail Papava, Andrey Konchalovskiy (uncredited), Andrei Tarkovsky (uncredited) Based on a Story by: Vladimir Bogomolov Starring: Nikolay Burlyaev, Valentin Zubkov, Evgeniy Zharikov, Valentina Malyavina Country: Soviet Union Running Time: 90 min Year: 1962 BBFC Certificate: PG
Andrei Tarkovsky is a director whose name has become a byword for the kind of ‘high-art’ cinema that critics tend to love, but your average viewer would gladly distance themselves as far as possible from. I have a hit and miss relationship with that style of filmmaking so you might have thought I would have been hesitant to offer to review his work, currently being remastered and re-released on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK by Curzon Artificial Eye. However, I’ve only actually seen one of Tarkovsky’s films before, Andrei Rublev, and that blew me away with its spectacular set pieces and striking cinematography. So I’ve been desperate to dig further into his oeuvre ever since and practically leapt at the chance to review Ivan’s Childhood, Tarkovsky’s debut feature and the first of his films to receive the re-release treatment by Curzon Artificial Eye. I’m planning on reviewing the whole set (other than Andrei Rublev due to time constraints and the fact I’ve already seen it not too long ago), so watch this space.
Ivan’s Childhood is set during WWII and tells the story of a 12 year-old orphan, Ivan (Nikolay Burlyaev), who works for the Soviet Army as a scout. His size and seeming innocence make him a perfect candidate for the job, so his three pseudo-guardian officers keep him operating as such, despite their misgivings about sending such a young boy out on such dangerous missions. They do try to send him to military school at one point, but Ivan is too determined to allow this. After his mother and sister were killed by the Nazis he spends his nights dreaming of vengeance.
We may have to sprint for the end on this one. Time constraints is our enemy this week but we’re powering through undaunted; just like Brian DePalma filming a big-budget picture. This week we feel a little bit bad about staring at Blake Lively’s ass (a little bit) in Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows. We also get to (finally!) talk about the De Palma documentary, aptly titled De Palma. This segues nicely into his 2002 film, Femme Fatale. Unlike previous sessions of our ongoing De Palma retrospective, there’s a difference of opinion on this one, who loves it and who was not in love?
On the blockbuster front, Kurt smartly stayed away, but Andrew couldn’t resist catching up with a 20-years-in-the-making sequel to see if Jeff Goldblum still has what it takes to save the planet from invading aliens. Spoiler: he does, but no one else really does. Andrew zips through a quick watch list that includes a first time watch of Harold & Maude, a light-hearted look at the abortion issue in Obvious Child and Danny Boyle forces you into a straw filled with piss… and man you get thirsty. We dip our toes into other things in this brisk, but packed, show as well. It’s not a dream.
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!