John Madden hits home with Miss Sloan
Interview: John Madden on Miss Sloane
The director of Shakespeare in Love says casting Jessica Chastain as a shrewd, morally ambiguous D.C. lobbyist was the best way to expose the ugliness of modern politics
By Katherine Monk
WHISTLER, BC – John Madden doesn’t want to get bogged down by the F-word: Feminism has so much ancillary luggage, too many awkward hard edges to cram into the narrative anchovy tin called a feature film.
Yet, Miss Sloane, the latest film from the Academy Award-nominated director of Shakespeare in Love points a laser beam at the modern female experience. A D.C.-set (Toronto-shot) thriller starring Jessica Chastain as the title character, Miss Sloane offers a close-up view of the lobbyist’s reality.
Watching from a slightly distanced perspective, the viewer picks up the trail of professional lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane just as she embarks on a career move that will change her life forever.
Madden was reluctant to give away too many details ...
Tatiana Maslany, Tom Cullen fire up first-timer
Interview: Joey Klein on The Other Half
In a world full of malaise, misanthropy and unmitigated sorrow, first-time filmmaker Joey Klein says he wants to hold up a funhouse mirror to ambient pain
By Katherine Monk
(November 30, 2016) Joey Klein is what you’d call a ‘late bloomer.’
When he was a kid growing up in Montreal, he assumed he’d become a doctor like his father. He ended up in McGill management school instead, and hated it. So he headed to New York City at the age of 25 to study acting, a career he pursued with success, landing roles in American Gangster and 12 Monkeys -- to name a few.
Yet, he craved a bigger challenge still. He had a hankering to address the ambient angst of modern experience – without exploiting Hollywood trope – so he started writing. And now, just a year shy of his 40th birthday, he's making his directorial debut with the theatrical release of The Other Half.
“Originally, it was a story about grief… and about grief over time. ...
Leonard Cohen and me: A reminiscence
By Jay Stone
Even if we stated our case very clearly and all those who held as we do came to our side, all of them, we would still be very few. -- Leonard Cohen, Parasites of Heaven
When he died last week his constituency emerged, thousands, millions perhaps, smitten, devoted, some with stories of how they had gone to his house in Montreal and he had made them egg salad sandwiches. He was gracious, modest, haunting, and with the key to something we thought was ours alone. “Have you ever noticed how private a wet tree is, a curtain of razor blades?,” he wrote (in A Cross Didn’t Fall On Me), and suddenly you did notice. A poem is something that everyone knows but no one ever said before.
I found him by accident. When I was a teenager, there was a copy of his first novel, The Favourite Game, on the bookshelf in my father’s den when we lived in north Toronto. I don’t know how it got there, but my father got a lot of books from publishers because he was on the ...
Bob Dylan don’t need Nobel, or stinking badge
Comment: On Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate
Looking back on a close encounter of the Dylan kind reveals a slightly rumpled honouree who has a hard time accepting praise, let alone the Nobel Prize
*Caution: This article contains a top-100 list of Bob Dylan songs.
By Rod Mickleburgh
In the winter of 1990, I waited with a handful of reporters and photographers in a grand salon of the Palais-Royal in Paris for Bob Dylan. More than 25 years ahead of the Nobel Prize people, the French had decided that Dylan’s lyrical prowess was worthy of the country’s highest cultural honour, Commandeur dans l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. T.S. Eliot was one of the first to receive the award in 1960. Borges followed in 1962. And now, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery (1987), it was Bob’s turn.
Finally, the gilded, ceiling-high white doors opened, and there he was, ambling into the opulent room, followed by France’s flamboyant minister of culture at the time, Jack Lang. He was ...
Life, death and Andrew Huculiak
People: Interview with Andrew Huculiak
Getting metaphysical with the first-time director of Violent means dipping a big toe into the cold, dark waters of existentialism and cozying up with Kierkegaard
By Katherine Monk
(October 19, 2016) VANCOUVER – A gentle drizzle falls outside, and the faint smell of woolly dampness mingles with the scent of fresh pie. It’s a typical fall day in Vancouver -- wet, dark, and cool -- the perfect backdrop for an interview with Andrew Huculiak.
Huculiak is the director behind Violent, easily one of the best first features in Canadian film history, but up until now, it was also one of the most difficult to access.
Shot two years ago in Norway with a unilingual Norwegian cast, Violent was invited to Cannes, picked up top prizes at The Vancouver International Film Festival and was shortlisted as Canada’s best foreign film Oscar submission. By all accounts and measures, it should have hit theatres nationwide.
Yet, it’s only now, two ...
Penetrating Helen Gurley Brown
Books: Not Pretty Enough - The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown
New biography of the woman who recreated Cosmopolitan as a vehicle of sexual empowerment reveals lifelong insecurities and a penchant for moisturizing with baking lard
New CBC sitcom exposes The Convenience Truth
People: Interview with Andrea Bang
The Vancouver star of Kim's Convenience says the first Canadian sitcom to feature Asian leads is about transcending ethnic stereotypes through human universals
By Katherine Monk
VANCOUVER – Andrea Bang thanks the Toronto Blue Jays. Not only did the team win the required games to advance, they pushed back the network premiere of her new show, Kim’s Convenience.
The new CBC comedy based on Ins Choi’s award-winning Fringe play airs tonight on the National Broadcaster, but it was originally slated to air last Tuesday – in the heat of the Blue Jays’ wildcard bid. The network wisely aired the ballgame instead, but Bang wasn’t depressed about the delay.
It gave her another week to mentally prepare while promos whetted the public appetite for a family comedy set in a Toronto convenience store.
“You don't want to compete with the Toronto Blue Jays,” says Bang, sitting down for a chat on a rainy day in Vancouver.
John Mann’s Unforgettable Spirit captured on camera
#VIFF16: Pete McCormack on Spirit Unforgettable
The Spirit of the West frontman was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's in 2014, spurring his good friend, fellow musician and film director Pete McCormack to follow him with a camera in a bid to document the one-way trip
Ed Gass-Donnelly hides a message up his sleeve
#VIFF16: Interview with Ed Gass-Donnelly
The Toronto-based director takes a pry bar to the basement door of family secrets in Lavender, a psychological thriller starring Abbie Cornish, Dermot Mulroney and Justin Long
By Katherine Monk
VANCOUVER – The man who made The Last Exorcism Part II is marked. Ed Gass-Donnelly rolls up his right sleeve in the firelight, and reveals two words written in deep indigo capital letters: “Find Beauty.”
“I’m not doing this to pay the bills,” says the Toronto-born director of Lavender, a psychological thriller unspooling at the Vancouver International Film Festival this week as part of the Altered States program.
“I have to remind myself of that… after making [The Last Exorcism Part II] I think I found new perspective,” he says, sitting back in a leather couch at the Sutton Place lounge.
“I appreciated the experience of coming out on 3000 screens. It was like ‘WOW!’ – 3000 screens at once is what you ...