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Jay Stone and Katherine Monk movie reviews and profiles. Movies new to streaming / DVD.
Reviews of Canadian movies and filmmaker profiles by Katherine Monk and Jay Stone.


Movie review: Ricki and the Flash hits most of the right chords

In this family drama, Meryl Streep plays an aging, marginal musician who’s called back to reality — or at least out of the bar — when her estranged family needs her

What I learned at TIFF’s Filmmaker Boot Camp

Making the transition from ink-stained journalist to first-time filmmaker feels like seeing the world from the other side of a two-way mirror By Katherine Monk TORONTO — “Did you know everything already?” asked Cameron Bailey, artistic director for the Toronto International Film Festival, looking way too good (as always) for a man who is chronically sleep deprived this time of year.   The answer was a wonderfully wishy-washy “yes, and no.” After being a career journalist for 25 years, and after covering TIFF since 1993, when it was still called the Festival of Festivals, the idea of “learning the ropes” could have felt a little remedial.   After all, I do know what a publicist does, and I know what sales agents do, and I know personal handlers have a dominant obnoxious gene that has yet to be mapped. I’ve been writing about the film industry for so long, I’ve pretty much seen it — and done it — all.   But as I learned at ...

Canadian Must-Sees: Cinema Verité Defines a Real Moment

Late, and undeniably great, documentary director Peter Wintonick not only chronicled the rise of a new cinematic day in non-fiction film, he traced its roots all the way back to the New World and the camera work of Michel Brault CINEMA VERITE: DEFINING THE MOMENT 4/5 Directed by: Peter Wintonick Running time: 102 minutes   A documentary about the pivotal shift in documentary film, Cinema Verité follows the evolution of static, institutional non-fiction film into a flowing -- and often shaky -- vehicle of artistic expression. Montreal-based filmmaker Peter Wintonick (Manufacturing Consent) opens this slick yet sedate take on film history with a shot of Terrence Macartney-Filgate -- regarded as the pioneer of the Candid Eye series -- sitting on a Toronto streetcar with a digital camera, filming Wintonick’s crew as they are filming him. It’s a wonderfully reflective image that captures the essence of the self-conscious movement and sets up the history ...

Canadian Must-Sees: The Apprencticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Ted Kotcheff's adaptation of Mordecai Richler's CanLit classic brought a hint of Hollywood to the wilderness of Canadian cinema, blazing a trail for the next generation of storytellers looking to bring a slightly different eye to the Canadian experience THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ (1974) 4/5 Directed by: Ted Kotcheff Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Micheline Lanctôt, Denholm Elliot, Jack Warden, Randy Quaid, Joe Silver. Running time: 121 minutes   One of the first movies I can remember that actually showed me where I lived, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz somehow legitimized the Canadian experience to Canadians -- and somewhat ironically, made a bona fide star out of its American lead in the process. Richard Dreyfuss plays Duddy Kravitz, a character born from the imagination of the late, Montreal-based shit-disturber, Mordecai Richler. Duddy is part weasel, part brass-balled hero, which means we have a love-hate relationship with him throughout the ...

Mission improbable, but entertaining

Tom Cruise has just the right amount of crazy to energize the latest film in a series of preposterous action adventures that take us around the world to see breathtaking stunts. Warning: thinking is counter-indicated    

Movie review: Vacation feels like work

Though the set-ups take forever and Ed Helms's performance is just plain irritating, there's enough humanity in this vehicle to make us care as it drives American family values into a brick wall -- with Griswold results  

Interview: Juliette Binoche laughs off fear of aging

The Clouds of Sils Maria features the French siren in the role of an aging actress agonizing over her latest job: playing the role of the older woman, instead of the ingenue, in a revival of the play that made her famous. Binoche says she wasn't afraid to tackle a reflection of herself, but she did push director Olivier Assayas to face what she calls a "fear of actors... particularly women."   By Katherine Monk In an age of ubiquitous celebrity, Juliette Binoche is an old-fashioned movie star. It’s more than the Prada blouse that seems to flow over her curves with loving deference, and more than the elegantly honed features that allow her to look both pretty and strong simultaneously. The French actress who emerged in the wake of The English Patient has a presence that moves through a room like precious perfume, a tingle mingled with an essence. Binoche brings her intoxicating powers to every role she’s ever had, from Lasse Halstrom’s Chocolat to Michael ...

Canadian Must-Sees: The Sweet Hereafter

Atom Egoyan crafted a world with a gaping black hole in the centre, pulling characters into a swirling, self-destructive vortex, while simultaneously affirming the redemptive power of love THE SWEET HEREAFTER (1997) 5/5 Directed by: Atom Egoyan Starring: Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, Tom McCamus, Bruce Greenwood, Arsinée Khanjian, Gabrielle Rose, Earl Pastko, Stephanie Morgenstern and Maury Chaykin. Running time: 112 minutes   A film that touches on the essence of love by throwing us into the abyss of loss, The Sweet Hereafter marks the apex of the English-Canadian film tradition as it navigates the empty space left in the wake of tragedy with a gentle, but unsentimental eye. Based on the novel by Russell Banks, The Sweet Hereafter focuses on a school bus tragedy in a small town, and the big city lawyer who drives into town looking to point the finger of blame. Ian Holm plays Mitchell Stephens, a slimy litigator who makes a living off of other people’s pain ...

Movie review: Mr. Holmes deduces Sherlock as an old man

Ian McKellen gives a performance of warm humanity as an aging Sherlock Holmes who is trying to solve his last and most puzzling mystery: where did he go wrong?

Movie review: Irrational Man is Woody Allen at his unfunniest

The new Woody Allen movie is a morality play that looks at a philosophy professor who wants to commit the perfect murder. The result isn’t very interesting, and not at all funny