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by Chelsea Phillips-Carr

19 Sep 2017

Lacking the sense of fun and creative character design that made his past films somewhat bearable, Guillermo del Toro’s latest feature, The Shape of Water (viewed at Toronto International Film Festival 2017) has almost nothing within it of interest. Opening with a voice-over describing “the princess without voice”, the film sets itself up in the realm of the fairytale. But rather than engaging with the genre in a meaningful way, del Toro’s film is boring, broad, and unoriginal, without any magic or charm.

by Chelsea Phillips-Carr

18 Sep 2017

Ope (Zainab Balogun), a struggling chef, decides to return to the Royal Hibiscus Hotel owned by her parents in Lagos after quitting her London job. Seeking comfort in her childhood home, things go awry when Ope begins a romance with Deji (Kenneth Okolie), a guest who just happens to be working on a deal to buy the hotel. Directed by Ishaya Bako and viewed at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017The Royal Hibiscus Hotel has all the makings of a conventional romantic comedy, but in Bako’s hands, conventionality is at its best.

by Chelsea Phillips-Carr

10 Sep 2017

Kathleen Hepburn’s feature debut, Never Steady, Never Still, viewed at Toronto International Film Festival 2017, leaves a lot to be desired. Théodore Pellerin stars as Jamie, a young, aimless man living in Alberta, Canada. He struggles with his identity and sexuality while his mother, Judy (Shirley Henderson) attempts to deal with the progressing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. But with underdeveloped characters who rely on garish representations of difficulty, the film is never sensitive enough to its subjects.

by Chelsea Phillips-Carr

10 Sep 2017

In 2012, Denis Côté directed Bestiaire, a documentary which captured with simultaneous cold objectivity, and tender sensitivity, the lives of zoo animals, allowing them to be looked at, but also to look back. Côté created a space for a new visual relationship with animals. Taking up this same style, Ta peau si lisse, at Toronto International Film Festival 2017, focuses this time on five bodybuilders.

by Anthony Perrotta

30 Aug 2017

David Lynch first made a name for himself on the midnight movie circuit with 1977’s surrealist nightmare Eraserhead, which he wrote and directed while studying at the American Film Institute (AFI). The filmmaker then chose 1980’s The Elephant Man as the follow-up to his first feature-length film. This, however, wasn’t his original intention.

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