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The old hacks who make The Ex-Press the glorious, old-school rag that it is.

Beautiful day in the Oscarhood: Academy Award hopes of TIFF

The Toronto film festival features several movies that could be in the discussion for this year's top movie awards, Jay Stone writes By Jay Stone   TORONTO — The Toronto film festival is known as a launching pad for Oscar movies. Here are a few of the early contenders.   A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The re-evaluation of Fred Rogers — from figure of fun in a thousand parodies of his children’s program to American hero in a famous Esquire magazine article to secular sainthood in the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? — continues in this movie that’s actually based on that Esquire article. Tom Junod, an investigative journalist, was assigned in 1998 to do a short profile of Rogers (Tom Hanks) and emerged with a 10,000-word cover story that painted him as an unexpected wise man, a life coach whose simple wisdom could heal fractures of the heart. It was as if Being There had come to life as a puppet show for children.   In this ...

TIFF 2019: When the theme is the theme

Movies: #TIFF19 Jay Stone discovers that you can go from dance to geriatric sex at the Toronto film festival, with barely time for a refreshing doughnut By Jay Stone TORONTO — One of the secrets of formerly professional film criticism (I can now reveal) is to find a common theme around which you can elucidate your theories of the creative imagination. The good news is, if a common theme doesn’t occur to you, you can always make one up because who cares really? So it was the other day that I saw a 3-D movie about dance and a black-and-white drama about geriatric sex, then attended a lunch party that was so jammed with loud freeloaders that I could barely get to the dessert table for a second doughnut. What do these things have in common?, I asked my daughter, who got me into the party because she knows a guy who knows a guy. “Three things you don’t like,” she ventured, which is a pretty good guess. But it’s a daughter guess. I actually liked the party, especially ...

Fascism, Feminism and the big buzz movies at TIFF19

Movies: #TIFF19 The Toronto International Film Festival is the equivalent of Christmas morning to a movie critic, and oftentimes, the most appreciated gifts are the ones in humble packages, writes critic Katherine Monk By Katherine Monk TORONTO — For film critics, the Toronto International Film Festival feels like waking up on Christmas morning. Pretty, promising packages bathed in sparkling light and and a tangle of reflected tinsel have arrived at the foot of the Bell Lightbox, just waiting to be torn open. They will either be loved and cherished, or completely forgotten, disposed of with the next day’s trash. There’s no way to predict the reception, but after a few decades of scrolling through schedules, pondering publicists’ press releases, and reading between the glowing lines penned by festival programmers, you start sifting, and making lists. The first list is always the buzz sheet: What movies are coming to the festival with some advance hype — either from ...

The dark recesses of TIFF19 and some great expectations

Movies: #TIFF19 Smelling something familiar in the air? It’s the gentle fragrance of auteurism, leavened with the sharp odour of Oscar bait. In other words, it’s the dawn of TIFF19. Jay Stone places his bets on Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman and Ed Norton’s directorial debut as a detective with Tourette’s. By Jay Stone SOMEWHERE ON THE WAY TO TORONTO — And here we go again, heading to the Toronto International Film Festival with a suitcase packed with black clothes and a head filled with dark hopes. Will our feet hold up? Can we stay awake through those evening screenings? Will we ever eat dinner before midnight? Did someone remember to pack the Lipitor? Also: Will the movies be wonderful? Some of them always are, but you never know: the hot buzz titles can land with a clunk, while the unknown thing you walk into because you have nothing else to do or the title grabs you — I always remember the unheralded documentary Carmen Miranda: Bananas Is My Business as the ...
3.5Score

Ready or Not exploits the secret fear of in-laws

Movie Review: Ready or Not A young bride agrees to play a family game to prove her love and commitment, but traditional belief systems are the central villain in this entertaining satire that articulates a millennial disdain for decadence and inherited privilege.  
3Score

Review: The Kitchen is a woman’s place, indeed

Movie Review: The Kitchen Part revenge-quest, part sisterhood of the travelling pants with pistols, The Kitchen has so many male constructs sewn into its inseam, first-time director Andrea Berloff doesn’t have a lot of room to move. It’s a man’s cut, yet but makes it comfortable by wearing it all a size too large, boyfriend style, writes critic Katherine Monk.

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.
2Score

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.
3.5Score

The Art of Self-Defense kicks with fists while crunching numbers

Movie Review: The Art of Self-Defense Director Riley Stearns bares some surprising truths in a predictable revenge story that evolves into a forensic audit of the masculine identity as Jesse Eisenberg plays a meek accountant who helps a karate instructor reconcile the books.