The image of the train is that most cinematic of devices, rumbling in as it carries a dark stranger (U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr.) to a sleepy town to engage in misdeeds that only happen in the movies. The train is a complete sensory package as the reflections bounce apathetically off of the windows, giving a character one of the few luxurious means to be transported to a new locale with adequate time to contemplate where they’ve been. The mechanical orchestra clambers on, carrying with it a lifetime of connection to cinema as the two have been inseparable since their respective births. It is the perfect cinematic device as it (like narrative cinema) is only capable of moving forward on its tracks. There is no sense of past with the arrival of a train, save for the hushed whispers of the brakes that hiss with ignored warnings. Like the complicated lives of the mysterious strangers they carry across the countryside, in both narrative film and trains there is only now.
Some films, whether they’re good or bad, have a strange magic about them. They operate as a kind of fascinatingly damaged fable, made all the more intriguing by their mix of clichéd and inspired moments. As you watch it, you’re thinking this is the most poorly constructed scene I’ve ever… and before the thought is finished, a truly unique visual graces the screen creating the most wonderfully absurd juxtaposition between drudging mediocrity and supreme artistry. This is the mysterious dynamic of Mary Harron’s The Moth Diaries.
The faceless killer has been a staple of the horror genre for as long as there have been heroines trying to escape them. The formidable shape of an unidentifiable stalker speaks to our fears of the unknown and allows us to project whatever horrors we can muster onto their adaptable and mysterious psyche. Often these villains are explained to death (literally) either by the end of the film or at least by the third or fourth sequel. Although the unknown is and will forever remain the ultimate universal fear, perhaps the narrative trick of having your villain represent that fear has become old hat, as seen in the sometimes interesting, but all too often tedious ATM.
In the establishing shot for his entry into the 2012 Canadian Film Festival, the city of Toronto’s skyline fills the screen, and water from the lake laps around the edges of the frame, as the gently bobbing perspective gives the viewer the impression of arriving upon the city by ferry. This is followed by lingering shots of familiar Toronto locales and icons – the CN Tower, Chinatown, Kensington Market, Tim Horton’s, the ubiquitous red TTC streetcars – and as the Canadian Film Festival director noted, this is Toronto finally playing itself, instead of being used as a substitute for yet another American city.
It’s now common knowledge that Gaspar Noé found his eureka moment for Enter the Void during a shroom induced viewing of Robert Montgomery’s insipid first-person noir, Lady in the Lake, though there’s little in way of imbrication between the films aside from their noted POV codification. Montgomery’s picture was largely a product of the times, a cheeky encapsulation of 40’s male egotism further hobbled by its formal and gestural plasticity – the staging is forced, the performances more so, and the impotence of its at-first novel approach is quickly exposed.
Hockey is to Canada what cricket is to India. It’s a sport that is followed religiously and is something Canadians are quite proud of. Well now hockey has been given a different kind of spotlight with the release of Goon, a new film by Take Me Home Tonight director Michael Dowse. Co-written by Canadians Evan Goldberg & Jay Baruchel, the story revolves around Doug Glatt (Scott), a local bouncer who is quite nice but unintelligent. Coming from a family of two doctors, he is always looked down upon by those around him and thus spends much of his time with close friend Pat Hoolihan (Baruchel), an individual who has a rather unorthodox way of expressing himself. One day at a minor league game, a friendly round of taunts concludes with Doug beating the living daylights out of a player, changing his life forever. The head coach of the local team gives him a call and asks him to come out for tryouts, eventually offering him the job of enforcer. Now in the professional world of hockey, this bouncer is put head to head with the leagues big boys, including the league’s legendary enforcer Ross Rhea (Schreiber).
Film noir and the weird and wonderful vibrations of the CRT aesthetic. This thought kept repeating itself in my mind as I sat fully engrossed in a Videodrome rewatch for the first time in nearly a decade. I remembered my first viewing, and the new ground it broke in my journey as a cinephile. I felt compelled to return to it, drawn by wisps of half remembered feelings and flashes of sense memories. By now I had explored a much larger section of the infinitely wide spectrum of cinema, and was uncertain of how the content of film would hold up with my ever-shifting viewing techniques and methods of analysis. Would I still love this film that was such an important entry in my personal film canon? Would the subversive elements still resonate with me to create as strong a visceral reaction as I experienced with my first viewing? My first viewing was at a time when I had not yet explored the depths of subversive cinema nor completely understood
An old foreboding mansion, scary noises in the dark and ominous looks from the local townsfolk; these are the essential ingredients in making a classically gothic horror film. In The Woman In Black, all of these elements are laid on as thick as imaginably possible, reminiscent of the early works of Mario Bava. It’s a spooky clash between the world of superstition and the world of logic. Like most ghost stories, the scientific world crumbles to its knees, bowing to the unknown forces lurking just behind the door, out of reach of studious scrutiny. It’s about he fear of the unknown and its infinitely terrifying possibilities.
A food exploitation fantasia. Specializing in cringe cuisine and gastronomic humiliation, no ingredient is safe from The Chef.