War, Disasters and Quiet Passions: Jay Stone’s Top Ten Movies of 2017
Movies: Top Ten 2017
Greta Gerwig's coming-of-age gem, Lady Bird, garners big Stone praise amid a cluster of small diamonds about outsiders, loss and the elusive power of hope
By Jay Stone
Lady Bird: Pretty well the best time I had at the movies this year came from this small, exquisitely observed story that we’ve seen a million times: a young woman comes of age in a small town, fights with her parents and dreams of glory in the big city. But writer/director Greta Gerwig — drawing on her own life — turns this familiar material into a sweet, caustic, and authentic tale of growing up, aided by great performances from Laurie Metcalfe as the exasperated mother and Saoirse Ronan as the complicated young woman. A true gem.
The Florida Project: Filmmaker Sean Baker takes a step up from his previous movie (Tangerine, which was shot on an iPhone) but doesn’t sacrifice any of the grit in the story of people living on the edge of the American dream, in every sense: they ...
The Disaster Artist
Jay Stone goes from cornflakes to a promising Canadian movie, stopping along the way to check in with Tommy Wiseau and Margaret Atwood
The Orillia Packet & Times: A Love Story
Newspaper Obituary: The Orillia Packet & Times
They're closing the newspaper where I made my start, and where I learned about journalism. I guess I'm still learning.
By Jay Stone
(Ottawa, ON -- Nov. 27, 2017) I’ve been in love with several newspapers in my life — journalism tends to be a promiscuous passion — but none more deeply than I was in my first affair with the Orillia Packet & Times. It was the place where I started in the business, and now they’re going to close it down, another victim of Google or smart phones or whatever it is that has driven the wayward press to the fringes of our attention.
I went there in 1968 from Toronto, where I was a 22-year-old university dropout driving a cab for a living while I plotted how to become a writer. My father, who brooked no such nonsense, sent me a note — I was living in a hippie house on St. Joseph Street, near Bloor and Yonge, with my longhaired hoodlum friends — saying that he had heard there was an ...
The Florida Project on the edges of Disney
Movie Review: The Florida Project
A single mother and her precociously savvy daughter scratch out a living in a $38-a-night motel beside Disney World in this gritty look at American life near the bottom
Parent-Child Day at TIFF17
Three movies the the Toronto film festival present different versions of the cinematic parent — Interfering Mother, Distant Father — with varying success
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — It was parent-and-child day at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is always interesting for those of us who are parents and wonder which of several cinematic categories we might fall into: Distant Father, Interfering Mother, Demanding Taskmaster (or –mistress), Indifferent Hippie or Kooky Eccentric. I think that’s all of them.
We began with a terrific little coming-of-age title called Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan — heroine of yesterday’s movie marathon and providing further proof here that she can do no wrong — as a rebellious high school student growing up in terrifyingly unhip Sacramento, Calif. She laughs with her best friend, dumps the friend for some new rich kids, dumps the rich kids for the old friend, meets a couple of boys who are variously ...
TIFF diary: My day in Auditorium 12
What's it like to spend the entire day in one cinema, watching whatever comes along? Jay Stone sets out to find out at the Toronto film festival
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — Today I decided to test the fates by spending the entire day in one movie theatre at the Toronto International Film Festival. Most of the press and industry screenings are held at the Scotiabank cinema on Richmond Street, and I chose Auditorium 12, for reasons that will become more obscure as we go on.
The result was a kind of mini-film festival, with all the delights, disappointments — and meals of dry popcorn — that one associates with the glamorous life of the freelance film critic. This is what I saw:
On Chesil Beach: The first film of the day in Auditorium 12 — which turns out to be the Imax theatre, so you get a nice big screen — is this adaptation of what is, frankly, a rather thin 2007 novella by the otherwise estimable Ian McEwan. It stars Saoirse Ronan (whose appearance in ...
TIFF17 Opens with an Overhead Smash
Festival's opening movie, Borg/McEnroe captures, an epic battle at Wimbledon and the two contrasting personalities — the emotional American and the cool Swede — who fought it out
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — A magazine called Screen has a special edition at the Toronto film festival, and it runs capsule reviews of some of the movies showing that day. Wednesday’s edition included a review of Miracle, a Lithuania/Bulgaria/Poland co-production, in which “the owner of a struggling post-Soviet pig farm finds a surprising benefactor in a visiting American investor, whose ‘good’ intentions upend the gentle rhythms of small-town life.”
And that’s the film festival for you: it might be a warm and wonderful comedy, or it could be what you might later describe as the best Lithuania/Bulgaria/Poland co-production of the month. You can’t tell without actually going to watch it, and who has time for that?
As it happens, I was reading this while seated next to ...
Sam Elliott Holds On for The Hero
Movie Review: The Hero
An aging cowboy actor looks for a final big role — and a chance to redeem his personal failures — in a drama that has many parallels with its memorable star