by Bill Chambers I don't socialize with director Matt Sadowski, but I appeared in his John Hughes tribute documentary Don't You Forget About Me (seventh-billed, thanks to the alphabet!), and the damned if you do/don't scenario of reviewing a movie by someone you know IRL, as the kids say, is that any praise is met with skepticism and any negativity becomes personal. But since Sadowski and I haven't kept in touch in the nine (!) years since that interview, and since new Canadian films and filmmakers never get enough attention, least of all from me, a few words about his fiction-feature debut, Pretend We're Kissing, which has actually become something of a minor sensation in its city of origin by outlasting its indie-release lifespan at the Carlton in Toronto. (It's currently wrapping up its third week there.) I will be as objective as I know how.
K-Stew, J-Bin, and C-More star in the new-to-U.S. theatres Clouds of Sils Maria; click here for Angelo Muredda's review from last year's TIFF. Meanwhile, playing at Toronto's Royal after making its online debut is Ned Rifle, the conclusion to Hal Hartley's Henry Fool trilogy, which yours truly also covered during TIFF '14.
Finally opening this weekend in limited U.S. release are two films Walter Chaw and I, respectively, loved on the festival circuit, David Robert Mitchell's It Follows (Canada: March 27) and Ethan Hawke's Seymour: An Introduction (Canada: next week, March 20). Don't miss them.
Also opening this weekend in limited release is a trio of movies Walter Chaw reviewed on the festival circuit: '71, Everly, and The Duke of Burgundy, which has finally come to Toronto. Meanwhile, I covered Maps to the Stars at TIFF '14; it makes its U.S. theatrical bow today.
Picture “American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers = yay “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers = barf “Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers = okay “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers = ugh “The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers = whatevs “Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers = yay “The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers = lol “Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers = lol
by Bill Chambers Another self-serving post to notify that the long-delayed sequel to "The Monster Show"'s 2012 Christmas episode, animated by yours truly, finally went live in glorious HD earlier this week. Truth be told I came close to crediting myself as Alan Smithee on this one, but we persevered through so many false starts it'd be perverse to hide (from) it. FYI, it'd probably be even harder to follow this episode without seeing the original, so I've included links to both. Get it before cyber terrorists threaten us to pull it!
by Bill Chambers I try my best to stay away from the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto's state-of-the-art cinematheque, during the Festival, because for a goodly portion of those ten days it becomes Pandaemonium with a red carpet. But I made what I hope is a self-explanatory exception for the Industry conference "Ad Infinitum: Bigger, Faster, Brighter Movies - The Changing Creative Landscape of Digital Entertainment," where Douglas Trumbull--who designed the lightshows for, among others, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Blade Runner; directed the cultish SF movies Silent Running and Brainstorm; and engineered Back to the Future: The Ride--debuted/previewed his new MAGI process, a digital replacement for his late, lamented Showscan. Trumbull took the podium to introduce a featurette on his work that set the context for UFOTOG, a short subject shot in 4K resolution and 3-D at 120 frames per second (fps). Although the piece dovetails with Trumbull's geeky interest in space invaders (the title is a portmanteau of "UFO" and "photography," just as MAGI is a weird anagram-cum-abbreviation for "moving image"), its raison d'être is to serve as MAGI's proof of concept. Good thing, too: as a narrative it's pretty incoherent.
by Walter Chaw You get into trouble when you expect the things you love the most in your life to be the salvation for bad choices. I was in a job last year that I hated. It paid well, and I took the money without thinking over-much that it was money for lying to people who trusted and respected me so they would continue to be productive for an organization that didn't care about them. I was good at this. To quiet the little voices that began to fray around the edges of "everything I'm supposed to do," I taught, and I wrote, and I identified myself as a writer and a critic and a teacher whenever someone asked me what I did. I came to Telluride last year at the invitation of a friend at a point where I thought of suicide a lot and couldn't figure out why exactly that was. I didn't review much anymore. I didn't want to watch movies. I didn't know what made me happy--I didn't understand why nothing made me happy. Then there was the attendant self-loathing where you realize you have it made and shouldn't you just stop complaining?