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by Valeriy Kolyadych

30 Mar 2017


One lamentable aspect of the current epoch in American society is the dissolution of the so-called “American Dream”. The idea that hard work and perseverance will allow everyone to live a comfortable life with a plot of land, happy children, and ample leisure time has been shown, time and time again, to be nothing more than a marketing strategy.

How does one respond to this? What are the psychological effects on the people in a society where such a divide between promises and actions exists? In many ways, Fraud, directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp, doesn’t explicitly tackle this subject, but it’s difficult to watch it without seeing the modern western condition reflected back at us.

by Valeriy Kolyadych

15 Nov 2016


Alanna LeVierge in Let Her Out (2016)

When a bike courier has a bad accident outside of the motel where her mother died, things get strange. All of a sudden, Helen’s (Alanna LeVierge) idyllic life of hanging out in hip lofts with her actress roommate, Molly (Nina Kiri), becomes tinged with the presence of some kind of evil force that seems to follow her everywhere.

Watching Cody Calahan’s film, I couldn’t help but think of It Follows (2014). To be sure, the ‘80s throwback trend is nothing new anymore, and the story itself doesn’t call to mind David Robert Mitchell’s modern classic, but there’s a pervading feeling that you’ve seen this all before. The problem isn’t even that it’s derivative, but that it doesn’t pull it off.

by Valeriy Kolyadych

14 Nov 2016


Johnny Galecki in The Master Cleanse (2016)

We first meet the sad-sack hero of The Master Cleanse as he tries—and fails—to joke around with a stereotypical diner waitress. His goofy grin, however, hides a darker past that the movie carefully tiptoes around. All we are told is that Paul (played by Johnny Galecki) is sad. He’s sad because of some kind of life event involving his partner… or is it ex-partner?

by Alex Ramon

26 Sep 2016


The ErlPrince, the Opening Night film of Gdynia Film Festival 2016

It’s fair to say that last year’s Gdynia Film Festival—the 40th edition of Poland’s most prestigious showcase for its national cinema—was a festival like no other. This was for reasons both good (notably, a superb selection of films including works as diverse as Jerzy Skolimowski’s sublime city symphony 11 Minutes, Kuba Czekaj’s mind-blowing candy-coloured puberty portrait Baby Bump, Kinga Dębska’s touching and hilarious These Daughters of Mine, and Małgorzata Szumowska’s wryly austere Body/Ciało, which scooped the main prize) and for reasons truly horrendous: namely, the death of the 42-year-old director Marcin Wrona, which occurred on the penultimate evening of the event.

The emotions were still raw when I posted my final dispatch, and I would only add to that post that many of us who were at Gdynia in 2015 ended up feeling changed by the whole experience, which combined the great joy of seeing so much challenging and inspiring work with shared shock and grief at a talented filmmaker’s passing.

by Stephen Mayne

16 Sep 2016


Woody Harrelson in LBJ (2016)

All good things must come to an end. After 26 films over the past week, my time in Toronto is over. Generally, thunderstorm apart, the weather has been lovely, the films good, and the TIFF volunteers spectacularly helpful and efficient. On the plus side, it will be nice to get back to a diet that doesn’t consist of grabbing junk food in-between screenings, and I should probably see a bit more of the outdoors again.

Before we close, there are three final films to discuss. First up, in a quiet screen, we have LBJ. Rob Reiner’s biopic puts an initially unrecognizable Woody Harrelson into the shoes of Lyndon Baines Johnson, America’s 36th President, the man sandwiched between JFK and Nixon. Using a certain day in Dallas in 1963 ,and a certain motorcade as a base, LBJ ranges back and forth in time to show Johnson the Senator, Johnson the Vice President, and eventually Johnson the Commander-in-Chief.

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