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Review: Come to Daddy (2020)

Come to Daddy (2020) Like the dynamics of the father-son relationship at the heart of its story, Come to Daddy has layers waiting to be peeled back and revealed; each one rife with surprises and secrets, drama, and more than a few oddities. Nothing is ever as it seems in Come to Daddy, something that the deft filmmakers here fully understand and play with, turning and twisting the plot on its head and ratcheting up the suspense and action in ways that are equally absurd and surprisingly relatable. As far as unique indie films go, Come to Daddy hits all of its marks. The setup for the film is quite uncomplicated, allowing the creeping tension to begin building right from the get-go. Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) receives a letter from his estranged-father who he hasn't seen for over thirty years to come out to visit him at his secluded beach-side house. Immediately upon arriving, Norval takes note of the less-than enthusiastic welcome he receives from his dad (Stephen McHattie).…
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Review: Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020) My expectations going into Birds of Prey was pretty close to ground-zero - something that I am continuing to realize is a good thing. After a string of okay-to-horrendous recent DC films (*cough* Batman v Superman *cough* Justice League *coughcoughcough* Suicide Squad), my excitement for this film was as tepid as the water dripping from my ever-broken kitchen sink tap. It was a joyful surprise then to find myself (for the most part) quite entertained watching Birds of Prey last week. 
Like Birds of Prey the movie, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), at the start of this film has smartly broken away from any connection she might have from Suicide Squad and has now broken up with Mr. J (that's the Joker, to all you hopeless non-nerds). And so, Harley tries to strike out on her own not knowing that she very quickly will be running-in with local mobster Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor). Harley soon finds out that a numb…

Discussion: Parasite's Big Oscar Win

Parasite: Ushering In A New Era For The Oscars? Last night's Best Picture win by Parasite was a major milestone for the Academy Awards. It marked the first time in history that a foreign-language film won the Oscars' highest accolade. As many voices are currently discussing, this may be the precursor to a new era of internationalism for the Academy Awards, as well as, for Hollywood and Western cinema. 
Firstly, let's just say with certainty that Bong Joon-Ho's Parasite deserved the myriad of awards it received last night: Best International Feature, Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. Notably, making the wins even more special was the fact that it was the first time a South Korean had been nominated for either Best Picture or International Feature. Parasite really is a marvelous film though, and one that should be seen by all. The film is about a 'parasitic' lower-class family who slowly infiltrate an upper-class family through various ingenio…

Review: Color Out of Space (2020)

Color Out of Space (2020) Richard Stanley's, Color Out Of Space is like a psychedelic greatest-hits of the horror genre. Although it is an adaptation - based on HP Lovecraft's 1927 short story of the same name - many of these old short stories/novellas are often concise and lacking in overt detail and dialogue. And so an adaptation such as this one will often take liberties in fleshing out the story and the world it takes place in. As well, unless its a period-piece, additional changes are often required to contemporize such old stories for modern audiences. All of these factors are present in Color Out of Space and, in that, Stanley has put together a fun and overly-trippy nightmarish romp. While it doesn't succeed in every way, it is nevertheless a fun ride for any B-horror movie fans out there. The film follows the Gardner family who, after leaving the big city, have recently moved into an old farm of the family's out in a secluded part of the countryside. There, …

Review: Under the Silver Lake (2019)

Under the Silver Lake (2019) Part of A24's great success has been its ability to market its wide-ranging genre of films to very specific markets - illustrating why each of this indie gems may be the perfect film for you. With Under the Silver Lake however, upon its mediocre reception at Cannes, A24 became a bit stumped, unsure of how exactly to market this enigmatic film, leading to a semi-bout between the production company/distributor and the film's writer/director, David Robert Mitchell, over a possible re-cut for the film. In the end, the director won out and the film remained intact leading to its concurrent theatrical and VOD release.
It is a testament to Mitchell's integrity as an artist that he used his new industry clout following the massive success of It Follows to make such a heady and ambitious film for his follow-up. Under the Silver Lake is a large film; it is a subversive noir that both pays homage to the classic genre while also consistently poking fun at…

Review: Bullet in the Head (1990)

Bullet in the Head (1990) As someone who (clearly) loves film, I feel pretty lucky to live in a city where special screenings of films happen often. This past Saturday was such an opportunity. At the TIFF Lightbox I attended a viewing of John Woo's classic film, Bullet in the Head. As host, Colin Geddes, said in his introduction, this 35mm cut of the film was of the utmost rare; on top of it essentially being an unauthorized screening (consent was attempted, however, the owner of this cut is no longer an operating company...) it was also one of a number of cuts of the film with alternate endings - Colin himself did not know what version we were about to see. This is the exact type of film-going experience that cinephiles go wild for - and I have to thank a friend of mine (you know who you are) for informing me of this screening and pushing me to check it out.
Out of Woo's vast filmography, Bullet in the Head is his most personal. Unlike many of his other films that are largel…

Review: 1917 (2020)

1917 (2020) My first theatre-film of 2020 and it couldn't have started off stronger. Sam Mendes' 1917 very much does for the First World War what Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan did for the Second World War. It is a hauntingly beautiful depiction of a bygone era of warfare - one that sucked into its depths a tragically-young generation of men and threw them into what is likely one of the closest things we have seen to 'hell-on-earth'. What came from this are stories of bravery, the fight for survival and comradeship - all of which is depicted in a majesty here that only a cinematographer such as Roger Deakins could conjure onscreen. Though it is only the very beginning of the new year, I anticipate 1917 will remain one of the best films of the year, not to mention, being one of the best films about war ever made.
1917 follows the story of Lance Corporals Blake and Schofield (Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay, respectively) who are given the task of crossing a…