All the Best (Pictures) (2009 Oct 11)

When it comes to reviewing older movies, I'm at my best when some kind of "series" is involved. So, after completing my nostalgic journey through the '80s, which resulted in my watching about 90 movies and reviewing a little more than a third of ...

Isolation (2009 Oct 06)

And now for something completely different…It's the afternoon of Sunday, September 1, 1985, and I'm feeling strange. Outside, there's the bustle of a Sunday afternoon in a city. The temperature is mild but not unbearable, recalling the heights of...

From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled and Captured' (2009 Oct 01)

Originally, I wasn't going to write anything about Roman Polanski's capture in Switzerland. It seemed to be a relatively minor news story. After all, his detainment and future extradition (or lack thereof) doesn't impact me directly. He's an old ...

TIFF #11: Lights Off, Lightbox On (2009 Sep 20)

The Varsity is once again showing mainstream fare. The Elgin and Roy Thompson Hall are quiet. The airport is buzzing as the lasts guests and festival-goers wait for their planes. The critics are dotting the final i's and crossing the final t's of ...

TIFF #10: All the Rest (2009 Sep 19)

Before every showing in Toronto, an anti-piracy message is displayed for about 10 seconds. The language is fairly familiar - a reminder that viewers are about to see a copyrighted work and any unauthorized duplication will result in ejection from ...

TIFF #9: Crime & Punishment in the U.K. (2009 Sep 18)

There's nothing quite like a U.K. crime thriller to get the blood flowing. They're a little different than U.S. pictures from the same genre - grimmer and grittier, usually. Less romanticizing of things. More brutal. More bloody. This year's ...

TIFF #8: Deceptions (2009 Sep 17)

Curious random thought: Having spent some time staring at the huge screens in the (relatively) new Scotiabank and AMC theaters, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that they are as large (or larger) than the screen in the supposed "IMAX" ...

TIFF #7; Lies, Damn Lies, and Capitalism (2009 Sep 16)

It's getting to that time in every festival when things start winding down - midweek. The bloom is off the rose, so to speak. The best and biggest films are in the rearview mirror. Crowds are dwindling. There are no longer lines at the box office. ...

TIFF #6: Surreality (2009 Sep 15)

Film festivals have a reputation as being places where dramas and documentaries dominate. While there's some truth to this, there are plenty of opportunities for those who prefer films outside the realm of traditional festival fare. The Midnight ...

TIFF #5: Dante, Portman, and Hicks Disappoint (2009 Sep 14)

It seems like forever since we've heard from director Joe Dante. Back in the '80s, he was one of the kings of teen-oriented thrillers, with titles like Gremlins and Innerspace on his resume. He continued working into the '90s but with increasingly ...

TIFF #4: Two Clooneys and Two Coens (2009 Sep 13)

George Clooney and the Coen Brothers: perfect together. Except this year, they're not. Clooney is here in two films and the Coens (both of them, working as a pair as usual) are also at Toronto, but their projects are not related. Also here is ...

TIFF #3: Reel People (2009 Sep 12)

It's not unusual for a festival to showcase period pieces providing semi-fictionalized accounts of famous people's lives. This year brings three such high-profile productions to Toronto. Those are Bright Star, Jane Campion's autopsy of the tragic ...

TIFF #2: Controversy's Groom (2009 Sep 11)

September 11. The ghosts of years and festivals past. Last year, due to the early coming of Labor Day, I was home before the anniversary - the first time that happened since 2001. This year, the festival is just getting underway. It's difficult ...

TIFF #1: The Leaves of Fall (2009 Sep 10)

Summer is over. The kids are back in school. The nights are getting longer, the days shorter. Baseball is moving inexorably toward the playoffs; football season has begun. Heat is escaping from the northern hemisphere like air through the slow ...

Wrapping Up the 1980s (2009 Sep 03)

After spending more than a half-year wading through memories, recollections, and movies from the period of 1980 through 1989, I have had an opportunity to take a new look at an old decade. Personally, it represented my coming of age - I grew up ...

I Hate Vampires (2009 Aug 30)

For nearly a century after the publication of Bram Stoker's classic novel, the term "vampire" was synonymous with the name "Dracula." The only vampires anyone remembers from the '20s (Schreck), '30s (Lugosi), and '50s (Lee) were Draculas (although, ...

Black and White (2009 Aug 20)

Originally, this week's ReelThoughts was going to be about how the practical length of human immortality is about 175 years. Or why I hate vampires. But an issue about which I have a perspective has leapt to some prominence in the so-called "...