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by Stephen Mayne

12 Sep 2016

Anne Hathaway in Colossal (2016)

We have a lot of ground to cover, but before launching into day 2 of Toronto International Film Festival, there’s a little business from day 1 to finish off. So let’s head to Anne Hathaway and her monster with a brief detour in the forests of Norway.

Colossal is about as high concept a film as you can manage. That it makes little sense were you to think about it for more than ten seconds is just part of the charm. Hathaway plays a burnt out New York writer who spends her nights drinking and days crashing at her boyfriend’s apartment. Given she’s not contributing to the rent after a year of unemployment, he understandably has enough, kicks her out, and she’s back to the small town she grew up in.

by Michael Barrett

12 Sep 2016

This documentary of Ingrid Bergman’s life could be called “In Her Own Images”, because most of the footage is from her own home movies. Even when she was an ambitious Swedish teenager who fully intended to become a great actress, as she told her diary, Bergman had already picked up the photography bug from her father. He filmed her all the time before he died when she was 14, her mother having died when Ingrid was two. 

Throughout her life, Bergman took still photos and 8mm and 16mm movies of her life on and off the movie sets. As her loved ones speculate, she related to the camera as a source of love, and it’s one she learned to control as well as hungered to receive. She also saved her many diaries and letters, with the result that we have a fully documented life of this major star of film and theatre.

by Stephen Mayne

9 Sep 2016

Casey Affleck and Kyle Chandler in Manchester by
the Sea

When the Toronto International Film Festival kicks off, so, at least to a certain extent, does the annual awards race. A mix of Hollywood favorites and the best from world cinema, TIFF usually contains future nominees within its massive program. Boasting a smattering of world premieres and a round-up of festival highlights from earlier in 2016, this year will likely prove no different.

Over the next week and a half, I’m not going to attempt to pick winners but I will watch a lot of films. Besides, winning awards isn’t everything, or even all that much compared to making a good film. Luckily, day one of the festival got things off to a strong start on the quality front.

by Michael Barrett

8 Sep 2016

The Spiders (1919)

As part of their ongoing Blu-ray upgrade of their silent film DVD collection, Kino has released two more German classics from Fritz Lang. One is identical to its previous DVD, and the other adds something substantial.

The unchanged item is The Spiders, a two-part adventure from 1919 written and directed by Lang in direct emulation of Louis Feuillade’s French serials, from a plot full of senseless running around and hair’s breadth escapes to the manipulations of a beautiful villainess—an anti-heroine admired for her strength and intelligence as much as her glamour. Feuillade cast Musidora in these roles, while Lang uses the exotically named Ressel Orla as the equally exotically named Lio Sha.

by Michael Barrett

7 Sep 2016

Daniel Auteuil in On Guard

This Blu-ray offers two gorgeously remastered films directed by Philippe De Broca from more than 35 years apart. While they don’t make much sense as a double-feature, each is an aesthetic pleasure on its own.

De Broca was associated with the French New Wave because he worked with Claude Chabrol and Francois Truffaut, and the former produced his first feature. Unlike that movement, however, De Broca quickly established his interest in classical aesthetics and unabashed mass entertainment that drew on French tradition, often with great success. Indeed, as PopMatters pointed out in a previous review, the international splash of That Man From Rio (1964) directly influenced Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and all it spawned. Such vulgar success likely prevented him from being taken as seriously as he might have been.

//Mixed media

Indie Horror Month 2016: Executing 'The Deed'

// Moving Pixels

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