Review: Downton Abbey’s fairy tale continues to fester
Movie Review: Downton Abbey
Julian Fellowes created a perfect little universe inside a crystal ball, then filled it with the suggestion of outside elements — a pinch of painted sand and glitter that he can agitate to conjure a snowstorm of conflict. The new feature film stays inside the gorgeous snow globe as a Royal Visit shakes up the Crawley family, and sets the stage for the next century -- as well as a continuing film franchise.
Tiff 2019 finds its controversy in Jojo Rabbit
A young boy in Nazi Germany turns for moral guidance to a fantasy figure of Adolf Hitler in this satire that has sharply divided critics
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — Film festivals need movies that people can argue about, and the Toronto film festival has been blessed with a good one: Jojo Rabbit, a comedy set in Nazi Germany. Some people, including half of the representatives of Ex-Press.com, argue that it’s juvenile, and in bad taste, and — worst of all — not funny. Others, including the other half of Ex-Press.com staff, think it’s bold, original and filled with laughs.
And we’re not the only ones. The aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes gives it a favourable rating in the 70s, but the opinions are wildly divergent, from raves (“a triumph. A film of sophisticated brilliance and humour:” Jason Gorber, HighDef Digest) to pans (“conventional, lazy and incredibly irresponsible filmmaking:” Jordan Ruimy, World of Reel.)
Personally, I ...
The Goldfinch fails to adapt but Donna Tartt’s DNA survives
Movies: #TIFF19 - The Goldfinch
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about survival divided audiences in print form as it fragmented in the final act. John Crowley’s visually satisfying, but dramatically disappointing, movie version falls prey to the same problems in its bid to fit too much into the frame.
The movies of TIFF 2019, but not all of them
You don't always get to see a whole movie at a film festival, but sometimes what you do see is enough, Jay Stone discovers
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — Another thing that happens at film festivals is that you don’t see a whole movie because maybe you had to leave to get to another theatre for an even more important film, or because it’s late and you have to get some sleep or you’ll pass out, or because it’s late and you do pass out right there in the cinema and the nice lady next to you has to poke you in the ribs because it turns out you were snoring. You can actually follow a movie this way — often you hear enough dialogue that you dream it — unless it’s a foreign film, in which case you jerk yourself awake and you’re not sure where you are and it takes a few seconds for your eyes to focus enough to read the subtitles.
This is part of the reason that professional film criticism is a young person’s game, or at least an awake person’s ...
All the mothers of TIFF 2019
There are many problems for mothers in this year's Toronto film festival movies, but Jay Stone finds that his real-life mother is still going strong
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — The other night I played hooky from the Toronto film festival to have dinner with my mother, who lives in north Toronto. She’s 97, but she’s in terrific shape. She works out every day at the gym, and, as she tells it, the people at the retirement home are less amazed by the fact that she can still get down to stretch on the Pilates ball than they are by the fact that she can get back up.
This gives me a tremendous genetic advantage in life: Robert Benchley once wrote that one of the keys to a long life is to keep one’s parents alive, at gunpoint if necessary. It also gives me a huge edge over a lot of people in movies at the festival, many of which feature plots revolving around mothers who have just died, although they continue to haunt their offspring with varying dramatic ...
Shelagh McLeod wants to put seniors on the moon
Interview: Shelagh McLeod on Astronaut
If voyaging to space is the ultimate metaphor for human progress, Shelagh McLeod thinks it should be a little more inclusive. That’s why she wrote and directed Astronaut, her feature debut starring Richard Dreyfuss as an aging engineer with big dreams of going to the stars.
Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…
Movies: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino cements his brand into every boring, bloody frame of his latest picture, which frames a Brad Pitt-Leonardo DiCaprio buddy story against the backdrop of the Manson murders. Critic Katherine Monk says the acting is heroic, but the movie is just plain bad.
Tracy Edwards Still Breaking the Waves
Interview: Tracy Edwards on the documentary Maiden
Of course she’d rather be sailing, but the woman who charted a winning course in world class yachting says the real victory has been watching a new generation of women ride the winds of change without fear. Tracy Edwards chats with Katherine Monk about lingering anxieties, navigating the shoals of sexism, and Alex Holmes’s new documentary, Maiden, chronicling Edwards and her all-female crew as they surfed over the ambient obstacles, and made history in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
Spider-Man Far From Home — with excess baggage
Movie Review: Spider-Man Far From Home
The web-slinger gets sticky in a whole new set of places in a so-so sequel that finds a sweet spot in the unspoken codes of masculinity, and what it means to be Spider-Man and awkward teen, Peter Parker, simultaneously.