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 ...
TIFF 2019: When the theme is the theme
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 ...
The dark recesses of TIFF19 and some great expectations
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 ...
Canary Islands provide a volcanic perch on life’s big picture
Travel: Canary Islands, Part Two
When you’re a senior tourist, it’s not easy to travel and often harder to trust, but there’s safety in a group -- and often a police escort -- through streets where pickpockets prey upon open backpacks and dangling cameras.
Visiting the Canary Islands without a flap
Travel: Canary Islands
The Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa offers a unique blend of imported white sand beaches from the Franco era, a 1000-year-old fig tree, and a food mix that includes authentic tapas and branded American burgers.
Welsh movies — yes, and there are a lot of them — come to Ottawa
By Jay Stone
OTTAWA — The most famous Welsh film ever made is probably How Green Was My Valley, the sentimental 1941 portrait of a growing up in coal mining town that was directed by American-born John Ford and starred Walter Pidgeon, the pride of St. John, New Brunswick, and Maureen O’Hara from Dublin. Everyone in the movie spoke English with an Irish accent. It was, however, filmed in Wales.
How Green Was My Valley — which won the Best Picture Oscar that year, beating Citizen Kane — was just one of many movies throughout the years that have been set, or sometimes just filmed, in Wales. Even more have featured Welsh-born actors: the country has contributed a mighty roster of stars to the world cinema, including Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ray Milland and a current Oscar nominee, Christian Bale.
But there’s another Welsh movie industry as well, that tells stories of the country, often in the Welsh language. ...
At #TIFF18, it’s all about the music
Movies: #TIFF18, Toronto International Film Festival
The soundtrack of movies can leave you with the exhilaration of the dance floor, or bring you down into the existential angst of neo-noir
By Jay Stone
(September 8, 2018) TORONTO — There was a great moment at the movies this morning, near the end of Gloria Bell, Sebastian Lelio’s English-language remake of his own 2013 drama Gloria. Julianne Moore, replacing Chilean actress Paulina Garcia in the original, stars as a 50ish divorcee — are they still called that? — who has a productive but somewhat lonely life that she spices up by going to dance clubs and letting herself get lost in the candy sounds of disco. A romance with a divorced man (John Turturro), who seems not quite totally divorced, disrupts her balance, but in the final scene, we see Moore back on the dance floor, raising her arms and swaying from side to side as Laura Branigan sings the old hit Gloria.
You can sometimes forget the importance of music in ...