Monthly Archives: August 2013

Top 10 Films Screening at TIFF 2013

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Well, TIFF is a mere 6 days away and I’m finding it extremely hard to contain my excitement. So, I figured I’d compile this list to somewhat ease my strain as well as inform you all of what you can expect to be radiating from the festivities this year. Now, with nearly 300 films screening at the festival, narrowing it down to the top 10 was extremely difficult. Not to mention that each individual carries their own interpretation of anticipation and cinematic values. Inevitably, this means it’s almost a foregone conclusion that many of you won’t agree with most of my choices. That being said, I did my best to include the general public in my decisions regarding the films playing in Toronto and how hotly anticipated they are. So, please keep that in mind when judging this list. Click on the film title for all the information you need regarding the film.

As always, if you feel I’ve overlooked a film or listed one that shouldn’t have been included, feel free to voice your opinions and comments below.

Honourable Mentions: Kill Your Darlings, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her (it’s a film told in two parts from two perspectives), Prisoners.

James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain in “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”

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Horror: The Sacrament, The Green Inferno.

Eli Roth’s “The Green Inferno.”

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Now, without further ado, let’s get to it!

10: August: Osage County.

Seriously, just read the cast list for this film and you’ll see why I’m so smitten.

9: Joe.

Similar to Mud, except instead of Matthew McConaughey, Nicholas Cage takes on the role of the mentor.

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8: Don Jon.

The Directorial debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, what’s not to like?

7: Enemy.

TWO Jake Gyllenhaal’s, yes please!

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6: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

This just might earn Idris Elba an Oscar nomination.

5: Blood Ties.

Marion Cotillard and Clive Owen light up the screen in this thriller.

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4: The Fifth Estate.

Is this performance by Benedict Cumberbatch going to earn him an Oscar?

3: Dallas Buyers Club

Has anyone ever, in the history of cinema had two consecutive years as amazing as Matthew McConaughey’s past two? They are calling his role in Dallas Buyers Club Oscar worthy, even though he should probably win for Mud.

2: Gravity

This film has recently shot up the list since its initial screening. It is garnering masively positive reviews out of the gate.

1: 12 Years a Slave

There is tremendous Oscar buzz surrounding this film and for good reason. Watch the trailer and you’ll find out for yourself.

That’ll do it for this week’s top 10, hope you all enjoyed it. Remember to leave all opinions and comments below. Have a great weekend!

The Look of Love (2013)

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For the most part, “The Look of Love” is the beneficiary of some fine performances and unwavering chemistry between director Michael Winterbottom and his actors. In majority, the positives outweigh the story’s skeletal simplicity and the second half is a brilliant ending to a beginning that felt almost non-existent. This biopic provides a veritable gaze into the restricted, promiscuous, pornographic world created and lived by Paul Raymond. And although this lifestyle sounds like all fun and games, it proves to be quite the contrast. Shining a harsh, unflinching light upon drug and sex addiction, family struggles, and existence. “The Look of Love” may offer up some shady hilarity and the occasional quip, but nevertheless remains quite potent and disheartening. “The Look of Love’s” beautiful, nostalgic soundtrack, strong performances, and hypnotic camera work are enough to save it from mediocrity and make it recommended viewing.

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Paul Raymond (Coogan) is an adult magazine publisher and entrepreneur. Upon opening a few burlesque houses and touring with a mature show, his fortune beings to explode. Now, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, Raymond begins to fall victim to temptation. With sex and drugs available to him so easily, Raymond eventually parts ways with morality. This causes him to lose his wife Jean (Anna Friel) and puts a serious strain on his relationship with his daughter Debbie (Poots). Raymond is left trying to recoup and reinvent his life, starting with his family.

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This is the fourth time director Michael Winterbottom has collaborated with actor Steve Coogan, who tackles the lead role portraying Paul Raymond. And even though “The Look of Love” is the duo’s weakest effort in a long line of overwhelming successes, the film is a step outside the pair’s comfort zone. So cinephiles, take note that instead of treading warm waters, the formidable twosome opted for a bold, dramatic, and more importantly new direction. I know it is no excuse for the flicks relatively linear and cliched story. Nonetheless, I’d rather applaud them for taking a leap, you know, find solace in the risk. I mean it should assist in the viewer reluctantly coming to terms with “The Look of Love’s” blandness. However, don’t take this dissection the wrong way, it is an entertaining, visceral, and occasionally funny film.

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Winterbottom’s direction is as intoxicating as ever. Consistently throughout “The Look of Love” the viewer is bombarded with a colourfully detailed pallet. Wave upon wave of neon, bright pigmentation, and dreary shades drown each minute making the film a visual feast. Not to mention the paced nudity, physical interactions, and explosiveness of the characters emotional diversity. Winterbottom leaves no stone unturned and captures the film’s limited brilliance with his usual style and exuberance.

There’s no denying that “The Look of Love” draws a substantial amount of its charm and effectiveness from its two main characters ability to bond. Portrayed by the aforementioned Steve Coogan and the lovely Imogen Poots, it’s safe to say the film didn’t suffer from a lack of talent and investment. The two might not have been able to secure the films flimsy structure, but did manage to salvage some treasure amongst the rubble. Imogen Poots rendition of “The Look of Love” is outstanding and continues to affirm her status as a star on the rise. Coogan once again proves that he’s got the chops to hang with the best in the biz and is undoubtedly one of the most underrated actors. He certainly hasn’t lost his flare for wit, humour, and strong emotional output. Sadly, it feels as if the film didn’t take full advantage of Poots and Coogan’s many talents, most importantly, hilarity.

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Although it could’ve been a lot better, “The Look of Love” has a striking cast, firm direction, and enough pull to appease fans of Coogan, Poots, and Winterbottom.

The Look of Love: 7.5 out of 10.

The World’s End (2013)

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The “Cornetto” trilogy has always been about humour, heart, and homage. And even though it’s been six long years since we last visited a quirky, enthralling, and action-packed world created by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright…”The World’s End” was well worth the wait. That being said, the fact that Pegg, Wright, and company were able to pull it off is no surprise at all. It’s simply a rarity for a trilogy to be so evenly brilliant, so skepticism is understandable. Nevertheless, “The World’s End” is a fitting conclusion to such a fantastical series. Undoubtedly, it’s sad to see one of the most critically and all-around successful trilogies come to a close…but much like our way of life, nothing lasts forever. “The World’s End” is a superlative finale to a near-perfect trilogy and while not as strong as “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” it isn’t far off…

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Gary King (Pegg) is somewhat of a low-life and a borderline alcoholic. One day, having been reminded of his youth and happier times. Gary sets out to track down his old friends in order to convince them to complete a pub crawl they all failed to accomplish when they were younger. Upon successfully persuading Peter (Marsen), O-Man (Freeman), Steven (Considine), and Andy (Frost) to accompany him on this idiotic journey, the crew head back to their hometown of Newton Haven. After the group finishes up the first few pints, they begin to realize that something is amiss. However, deciding to carry on, Gary and his pals soon come to terms that this night will not go as originally planned.

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For all of it’s playful hilarity and jaw-dropping action, I don’t think the public expected “The World’s End” to be so decidedly earnest, disheartening, and tragic. Without question, it’s the most serious and honest chapter of the trilogy. After removing layer upon layer of relatable fears and experiences, such as dissipating youth and failed relationships, not to mention the triviality and flaws of the human race. It’s quite upsetting to realize how deep and truthful this satirical, bittersweet rabbit hole is. No matter how disingenuous and unfazed this group of pub-crawlers appears to be facing down their impending doom, they reek of mortality, mistakes, vulnerability, and imperfection. That being said, the final confrontation, themes, and the film as a whole is funny and unforgettable. Yet resonates a harsh, inevitable wake-up call.

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Perhaps the most important thing about “The World’s End” is that it didn’t let the previous entries down. Granted, it is somewhat a blend of the first two entries, brandishing similar plot points and themes. In addition, the premises and specific style of the “Cornetto” trilogy is becoming a bit stale and a tad bit predictable. That being said, “The World’s End’s” candidness, fresh comedy, and fast-paced violence is enough to differentiate it from the others. Each entry carries its own merit and traits that make them like no other. It feels like the right time for Wright and company to move on and bring to fruition their bright, limitless futures. With the “Cornetto” trilogy, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, and Edgar Wright have created something that is truly invaluable, priceless… They should take unmeasurable pride in what they have accomplished.

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Without question, Edgar Wright is the most responsible for the triumph of not only “The World’s End,” but the “Cornetto” trilogy as a whole. His refusal to make pictures inside the norm is easily the most promising aspect of his career thus far and is what makes this trilogy so utterly brilliant. Wright continues to employ a Guy Ritchie-esque style melded with his unwavering, youthful wonder and cinephile heart. Essentially, this is what makes Wright’s films so intoxicating and enjoyable. But more importantly, what sets him apart as a filmmaker is the passion and humbleness in which he derives vision and creativity. He conjures up films that he, as a cinephile would cherish, which is the reason he is so respected and relevant to movie lovers every where. Sure, things might get a little hectic here and there, especially when your filming a battle to save all mankind, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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One thing that no one will ever accuse the “Cornetto” trilogy of having is shallow ensembles. And with “The World’s End,” we are treated to much of the same. Starring the exuberant, trustworthy duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, a wonderful supporting cast that features Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsen, in addition to a plethora of brief cameos. “The World’s End” arguably contains the strongest cast in the trilogy. Freeman is sort of the unsung star of the group, having landed the role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy. He continues to provide evidence as to why he earned the job in the first place and apart from his reprising role on “Sherlock,” Freeman has never been better. Marsen and Considine, both severely underused in the business today, have an undeniable comedic charisma that is on full display in “The World’s End” and will hopefully garner them the attention they deserve.

As predicted, it’s Pegg and Frost who take the reigns of this fantastic adventure, with one significant change. Nick Frost is the responsible, sensible wet blanket, well, for as long as he can muster it anyhow and Simon Pegg is the  idiotic, chaotic friend, who isn’t really much of a pal at all. Now, aside from the closing of the trilogy, the biggest tragedy here is the disconcerting underuse and lack of acknowledgement from filmmakers everywhere towards Frost. Who, continues to be an under-appreciated talent and arguably gives the performance of his career in “The World’s End.” As for Pegg, who’s chagrin, heedless, and selfish performance is unfathomably effective. Pegg, who has gone on to star in several big-budget blockbusters, makes a fortuitous return to his humble beginnings and certainly adds another invaluable notch to his already stellar repertoire.

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Just a brief shout-out to Alice Lowe, Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Bill Nighly, and Steve Oram for their brief, but memorable roles in “The World’s End.” It’s nice to see Wright give a little extra screen time to the great, up-and-coming filmmakers for, his homeland.

Funny, heartfelt, and all-around awesome. “The World’s End” is the closing chapter die-hard “Cornetto” fans and cinephiles were hoping for and so much more.

The World’s End: 9 out of 10.

You’re Next (2013)

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What do you get when you “blend” gallons of gore, a clever story, and pitch-black humour? A rip-roaring, brain-scrambling, lung-aching comedic blood-fest that’ll give your entire body a run for its money. If this happens to sound like your diabolical, twisted, hemorrhaging cup of tea. Watch “Your Next” at a local theatre and drink in the laughs, carnage, and fear until you get your fix. Which shouldn’t take too long considering this abhorrent, funny, and down-right disgusting nightmare is oozing with all the necessary, horrifying accoutrement. This soon-to-be cult favourite puts its own unique stamp on home invasion flicks. And although there isn’t much presented that’ll revolutionize, when the hunters become the hunted, redefining the genre is the last thing on any given horror enthusiasts mind. With a classic, almost giallo feel and an absolutely awesome soundtrack. “You’re Next” is a strong contender for horror flick of the year.

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A wealthy family heads up to their remote vacation house to celebrate the parents anniversary. Each sibling has brought their loved one with them and the first evening is spent getting to know one another. At dinner, things begin to unravel when sibling rivalries and jealousy works its way into the meal. When things get heated, one of the guests is murdered by an unknown assailant. Little does the family realize that they are being hunted and their night of terror has just begun.

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It’s rather difficult to summarize the tension, violence, and gory substance of “You’re Next” into perspective. Every aspect sort of congeals together to such an extreme satisfaction that these facets now, somehow transcend all definition and memory to become something you’ve never experienced before. The genuine effectiveness of the onslaught, ferocity, and expelling of human innards is nearly unprecedented. It seems as if every five minutes your looking away or cringing, not out of terror, but gleeful disgust. The viewer is so willing to abandon all morality just to urge on the brutal assault and keep the ending of human lives progressing. Honestly, I can’t remember a time when mayhem, bloodshed, and disconcertion was so tasteful. Never has watching continuous murder and being subjected to physical torture been so much fun. “You’re Next” perfectly encapsulates what horror is and should always be.

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During the first five minutes, my bud, who normal despises watching horror films, turns to me and says “I guess they’re just gonna get right to it,” which made me chuckle…but the laughs didn’t stop there. The hilarity is paced and constant throughout “You’re Next,” but make no mistake, it is the darkest of humour and is definitely not for everyone. Which shouldn’t really surprise anyone considering that writer Simon Barrett knows his target audience fairly well and tends to stick to what he does best. That being said, “You’re Next” is without question his best outing to date. Barrett’s bizarre, witty, and savage script is devilishly captivating. And although the story isn’t overly original, it is definitely unique. Littered with quips, brute force, and what seems like an endless stream of unrivalled kills and household murder weapons. Barrett’s melodramatic family never stood a chance, much to the delight of viewers everywhere.

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As much as the violence, story, and laughs are left up to the scribe, the tension and overall effectiveness of the screenplay is placed in the hands of the director. “You’re Next” is fortunate to have such an imaginative and ruthless writer like Simon Barrett and a firm, visonary director of Adam Wingard’s caliber. The two play off each other extremely well, which is why the film is so abundantly successful. Throughout “You’re Next,” I lost count of how many times Wingard’s excellent camerawork spawned an unbearable amount of strain and nervousness. He doesn’t just capture the imagery amongst the carnage and destruction. Wingard absorbs it through the lens and expels it with meaning purpose. A truly magnificent job done by the pair, both on and off screen. I also want to mention “You’re Next’s” outstanding soundtrack. It has this old-school, slasher feel to it which melds perfectly with Barrett and Wingard’s visuals.

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Rarely does a film rely so heavily on the collective performances of its ensemble instead of individual bright spots. “You’re Next” is a terrific example of how a casts ability to invest, collaborate, and perform as a singular unit benefits the general efficiency and power of the films material. In all honesty, apart from Sharni Vinson and Joe Swanberg, it’s nearly impossible to differentiate the strength in performances of the supporting cast. Seeing as they’re all so equally outstanding and potent. The group doesn’t force the humour, terror, or violence either, every aspect of their portrayals is smooth and authentic. That being said, without question Sharni Vinson is the shining star here. Her performance supersedes all others and should be enough to launch her into the mainstream. As for Joe Swanberg, he is so incredibly and consistently frustrating and hilarious, it’s insanely hard not to give him kudos.

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Bloody, violent, and decidedly funny, “You’re Next” is further proof that the genre isn’t dying.

You’re Next: 8.5 out of 10.

Top 10 Pixar Films

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Over here at The Cinema Monster, I haven’t been giving enough credit or designating much time to the animated genre…that’s all going to change. After recently starting to post reviews of my all-time favourite animated comic book films, it’s time to get into full-length features, starting with this top 10.

Pixar is one of the most illustrious, prolific, profitable, and overall successful studios in existence for a reason and are well deserving of their own top 10 list. Since 1995, Pixar has released a total of 14 films and earned nearly 10 billion dollars worldwide. All 14 flicks are amongst the highest grossing animated films of all time, while “Toy Story 3” and “Finding Nemo” both found their way into the top 50 highest grossing films of all time. That being said, Pixar’s achievements aren’t limited to box office success and critical acclaim. The studio, in total, has earned 27 Oscar nominations in numerous categories and have won a staggering 7 times for creating the best animated film of the year. Not to mention the countless Golden Globe and Grammy wins, in addition to being nominated by the academy for best picture of the year, twice. I think it’s safe to say that Pixar has earned their reputation and status.

The criteria I compiled this top 10 upon, aside from personal preference obviously, is story, soundtrack, character strength, and visual appeal. However, because this is my personal blog/website, my preference will have the final decision in the end. As always, if you feel I’ve overlooked a film or listed one that shouldn’t have been included, feel free to comment below. I’m always open to others opinions and love hearing your thoughts, whether it has to do with the top 10 itself, ways to improve the segment, or topic suggestions.

That’s it, no more dilly-dallying, let’s get started!

 

10: “A Bug’s Life”

The second oldest film on the list having been released in 1998. “A Bug’s Life” might not be as unique or structurally strong as Pixar’s future endeavours, but memorable characters and striking visuals make “A Bug’s Life” one of Pixar’s first smash-hits.

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9: “Ratatouille”

With some terrific humour, a heartfelt story, and outstanding CGI. “Ratatouille” was a brilliant bounce back after a minor speed bump with “Cars.”

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8: “Toy Story 2”

What I feel to be the weakest entry into the “Toy Story” trilogy, which isn’t saying much considering all three are essentially immaculate. “Toy Story 2” is without a doubt one of the best sequels ever made and is as fresh and visually appealing as the first.

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7: “The Incredibles”

Well, it’s definitely more ambitious and violent than a majority of Pixar’s films. Yet, “The Incredibles” is an enjoyable adventure and is one of Pixar’s more original creations.

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6: “Monsters Inc.”

What I feel to be one of Pixar’s most underrated films. “Monsters Inc” is intelligent, endearing, and utterly entertaining.

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5: “Toy Story 3”

A near-perfect finale to a timeless, transcendent trilogy. “Toy Story 3” might be the most difficult Pixar film to watch, only because it signals the end of an era.

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4: “Finding Nemo”

“Finding Nemo” is hilarious, visually hypnotic, and captivating. With amazing voice work, the characters truly become three-dimensional and the story comes alive and practically leaps from the screen.

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3: “Toy Story”

This is where it all begin. Without “Toy Story,” who knows where Pixar would be now. It is literally impossible not to enjoy this masterpiece.

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2: “Up”

Incredibly disheartening, visually striking, and infinitely enthralling. “Up” might be a little too mature for its intended audience. Nonetheless remains, sweet, smart, and unquestionably entertaining.

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1: “Wall-e”

For me, this is a no-brainer. Easily Pixar’s most intelligent, visually breathtaking, and memorable release to date. With its entrancing characters and clever story, “Wall-e” truly sets the bar.

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Alright then, that’ll do it for this week’s top 10, hope you all enjoyed it. Have a great weekend!

The Iceman (2012)

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Lined with a star-studded ensemble who illuminate this dark, grim, and violent crime-thriller. Ariel Vromen’s Scorsese-esque “The Iceman” is a taut, riveting biopic showcasing the two lives of hitman Richard Kuklinski as they begin to converge on one another. Although Vromen may not be able to create as well-written and intricate of a mafioso world to accompany the superlatively constructed and performed characters. “The Iceman” offers enough cold-bloodedness, criminality, and heart to stay a notch above in a crowded genre which earns it staying power that should burn for the foreseeable future. While things might get a little clustered at times and eventually descend into utter chaos. “The Iceman” remains quite the emotional, gritty wallop and is rooted by Vromen’s uncompromising vision and sublime performances. Which makes it one of the more memorable crime-sagas in recent memory.

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During the 1960s, Richard Kuklinski (Shannon) is working as a porn technician. When his boss informs him that they will be closing the lab, Kuklinski is persuaded to change careers and become a contract killer. For a number of years, Richard gains a reputation as a cold-blooded professional, even though he raises and provides for his family, who remain kept in the dark as to what his actual profession is. When a hit goes wrong, Kuklinski is forced to lay-low, much to his distaste. Soon, he partners up with a fellow assassin as his two worlds begin to merge.

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There’s no question that “The Iceman” is lifted to greater heights by the casts ability to invest and perform astoundingly. That being said, the extremely intriguing true story at its core and fascinating premise of a family man turned  killer-for-hire are just too compelling to completely dismiss, even though neither is fully realized.

Based upon the novel entitled “The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer” by Anthony Bruno. This adaptation might pick and chose what events and characteristics to utilize. It even goes as far as to dilute some of the violence and more disturbing actions carried out by Kuklinski himself, not to mention the complete absence of his earlier life and experiences. Which, one could argue, works against the overall effectiveness of the film. Nonetheless, Vromen definitely makes the story his own and provides his viewers with the gist of Kuklinski’s devilish endeavours and family life. Well, at least enough to satisfy those seeking out the truth and those wanting to experience the family man turned mafia assassin premise. Regardless, Vromen’s interpretation works decently alongside the immaculate performances, despite being more of a summary. I’d recommend reading the novel and watching some documentaries about the man himself  if the subject truly interests you. If not, this adaption will surely suffice.

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As for Vromen behind the camera, aside from a few shaky instances, he handles the illustriousness of his high-profile cast and the immensity of the story fairly well. He even occasionally shows signs of brilliance and innovation. Undeniably, he does a phenomenal job not only capturing his performers, but assisting and magnifying their blaze and radiance. Starring the likes of Michael Shannon, Ray Liotta, Wynona Ryder, Chris Evans, James Franco, and David Schwimmer. Keeping this much talent in check and reserving enough screen time for each to be effective is truly a skill-set most directors wish they held and one Vromen should continue to deploy assertively. It’s what sends this film over the top in my honest opinion.

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Between “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Killing Them Softly,” and “The Iceman,” it’s nice to know Ray Liotta’s still got it. And like his performances in these other two films, he is incredibly intimidating and ruthless throughout the film. David Schwimmer is terrific in a limited role and James Franco, also briefly used, holds the distinction of being in the most memorable scene of the film, in my opinion anyway. Chris Evans takes a break from playing America’s hero to tackle a much smaller role. Nonetheless, gives an even more integral, respectable performance and continues to be tragically under-appreciated. Yet, all in all, Michael Shannon and Wynona Ryder steal the show. Forming a bond that is believable and authentic, their chemistry is what drives the film. Ryder hasn’t been this good in a long while. Shannon is as malicious, stoic, and visceral as ever and once again proves why he is one of the best in the business.

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Remarkably performed, enthralling, and decidedly violent. “The Iceman” is a delicious crime-thriller that’s sure to win the acclaim of any cinephile, although it should’ve been handled with a bit more care.

The Iceman: 8.5 out of 10.

Jeremiah Kipp’s Short Films

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Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with filmmaker Jeremiah Kipp. You might be familiar with Kipp’s work and not even know it. Having lent his expertise to such films as “I Sell the Dead” and “Somewhere Tonight,” in addition to having directed a plethora of critically acclaimed short films. Kipp is no stranger to the big screen and is currently completing his first-full length feature behind the camera entitled “The Sadist.” Kipp is well-known for his strict attention to structural detail, staggering visuals, and his ability to work extremely well with his actors. Speaking of which, Kipp has worked with tons of high-profile talent such as Ron Perlman, Dominic Monaghan, John Turturro, and Melissa Leo to name a few. Having several of his films screened at numerous festivals, including Cannes, and receiving rave reviews for his short film “The Christmas Party,” Kipp is one of the few directors to watch out for.

You can check out Jeremiah’s website here and his IMDB page here.

Now, Jeremiah has been gracious enough to provide me with several of his short films for my viewing pleasure. So, in my way of returning his generousity, below you will find my brief thoughts on these short, yet vastly entertaining vignettes.

Contact: 8 out of 10.

This Tense, unflinching, and brutal short, shot completely in black and white, is sure to catch you off guard. Right from the start, a wave of incessant uneasiness leaves a feeling of breathlessness and utter stillness. Eventually winding its way to a parallel tangent, “Contact” begins to unravel into a grim, decidedly honest story of addiction. Dotted with some violent gore and tasteful nudity, “Contact” isn’t merely appealing mentally and cinematically, but is also visually stimulating. Kipp does a sublime job using the story’s exhaustive power to full effectiveness and although at times it might not always be easy to watch. If you can stick it out, “Contact” is a very rewarding short.

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The Days God Slept: 8.5 out of 10.

Hallucinogenic, disturbing, and thought-provoking. Kipp’s brilliant sense of direction keeps this complex short from straying too far from relevance and descending into chaos. Starring Lauren Fox, best known for her role in Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi,” containing a musical score written by Harry Manfredini, who you might know as the composer of the “Friday the 13th” soundtrack, and then toss in Kipp behind the camera, it’s easy to see that “The Days God Slept” is a hidden gem. While it might not be for everyone. If you’re looking for a superbly thought-out, intricate, and controversial experience, this might be for you. Sure to stir the pot and send you into an uneasiness that’s not easy to shake, give “The Days God Slept” a watch, but be forewarned, you’re in for a shock.

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Drool: 7.5 out of 10.

At first glance, “Drool” might appear a little bizarre and monotonous. And the reason for this overwhelming feeling of simplicity and oddness is due to its intentional placement. With “Drool,” Kipp knows full well how to handle the apparent tediousness of this short’s premise and utilizes it as a lulling agent, then occasionally striking when the viewer is most vulnerable. Although it is not Kipp’s strongest short, the argument could be made that “Drool” holds more insight and underlying themes than some full-length features. Again, shot entirely in black and white. “Drool” offers a lot of the same shadiness and bleakness as Kipp’s other short, “Contact.” That being said, its distinguishability is unprecedented and is a must see for anyone looking to discover something out of the ordinary.

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If you feel like checking out any of Jeremiah Kipp’s films, head over to his website (linked above) for information or links on how and where to watch. I’d like to thank Jeremiah for allowing me to watch and review a few films from his repertoire. Look him up, you won’t be disappointed.

TIFF 2013 Releases Schedule and Final Announcements

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We are now less than two weeks away from when the Toronto International Film Festival tickets go on sale to the public and a mere 16 days away from the start of the actual festivities. On Tuesday morning, another slew of films were announced along with the schedule itself and a long list of celebrities set to attend the festival. I don’t know about you, but the anticipation is overwhelming me. I suppose the nervousness and excitement will dissipate somewhat when I actually know what screenings I will be attending, or it could skyrocket even higher. Either way, this is shaping up to be one hell of a festival!

Schedule:

Now, for those attending, or those simply who’d like to know what’s going on and when, you can find the full schedule by clicking here.

FInal Film List and Programmes:

If you’d like to know what films are playing at the festival, you can click here for the entire list or click the TIFF button in the main menu at the top of this page. You can also find all the programmes offered by the festival by clicking here. Essentially, all films screening at the festival are divided into groups for attendees to better understand what type of genre and themes the film will contain.

TIFF Guests:

Perhaps the most exciting news released Tuesday morning was the endless list of celebrities ready to attend the festival. Amongst the names are Benedict Cumberbatch, Meryl Streep, Rebecca Hall, Josh Broliin, Alan RIckman, Clive Owen, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Ruffalo, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Tom Hiddleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nicholas Cage, Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, Ben Foster, Anton Yelchin, Liam Neeson, James McAvoy, Nicole Kidman, Felicity Jones, Ed Harris, Spike Jonze, Melissa George, Paul Giamatti, Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sarah Gadon, Colin Firth, Michael Fassbender, Jesse Eisenberg, Sandra Bullock, Chris Hemsworth, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Mia Waikowska, Owen Wilson, Steve McQueen, Jason Reitman, Keanu Reeves, Keira Knightley, Matthew McConaughey, Ti West, Eli Roth, Daniel Radcliffe, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson, Oliva Wilde, Mike Myers, James Franco, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard, and Thandie Newton, just to name what I feel to be the most important. And honestly, I couldn’t type any more names. There is a bunch more on the list you can find here. Also, these are just the people confirmed thus far, it is expected that the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, amongst others will be attending.

Jason Reitman’s Live Read:

You can find all the information below, provided by the TIFF website.

The Festival proudly welcomes back Jason Reitman’s Live Read — a unique event in which classic movie scripts are read by contemporary actors. With no rehearsal, the actors come together for a one-take read-through with Reitman narrating stage direction. In 2012, the Festival welcomed Reitman and an all-star cast — including Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Adam Driver, Sarah Gadon and George Stroumboulopoulos — for a live table read of Alan Ball’s screenplay for American Beauty. This year, Reitman is back with a surprise script from a modern classic and a new cast at the Ryerson Theatre on Friday, September 6. Details, including cast and script, for the 2013 Live Read event will be announced in early September.

IMAX Screenings:

New this year, audiences are invited to be part of the action with two official Festival selections and two special screenings presented in spectacular IMAX. The two films will be Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” and Keanu Reeves “Man of Tai Chi.”

Next Wave and Manifesto Announced:

You can find another plethora of titles announced by clicking here.

New Galas and Special Presentations:

Metallica Through the Never: Nimród Antal, Canada/USA, World Premiere

Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) stars as a Metallica roadie dispatched to hell and back in this mind-blowing mash-up of concert film and post-apocalyptic adventure, presented in IMAX 3D.

The Wizard of Oz: Victor Fleming, USA, World Premiere

Experience Judy Garland’s over-the-rainbow adventure in vivid new detail with this IMAX 3D presentation of Victor Fleming’s family classic.

10th Midnight Madness Film Unveiled:

Witching & Bitching:

Fleeing through the impenetrable forests of the Basque countryside after a jewel heist, a hapless band of robbers runs afoul of a coven of witches, in this madcap supernatural spectacle from Spanish genre specialist Alex de la Iglesia (The Last Circus).

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Okay then, that’ll do it for the pre-TIFF announcements. The Cinema Monster will be covering the festival in full, providing reviews, news, and Q and A’s as often as possible, make sure to follow our website to keep up with the festival. Also, follow The Cinema Monster on Twitter (@cinema_monster) and Facebook for up-to-the-minute news and posts, not to mention special pictures and videos provided by me from the screenings. Have a great week!

Top 10 Movie Antiheroes

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With the passing of each week, the more I enjoy concocting these top 10s, and this week’s entry is no different. As you may have guessed from the title or header image, this top 10 will feature, in my opinion, the best antiheroes in cinema history. As always, if you feel I’ve overlooked a contestant or listed one that shouldn’t have been considered, leave all comments and questions below. I’m always looking to improve the segment and love interacting with fellow film lovers.

Every now and then there comes along a protagonist who might go off the deep end. You know, beat someone half-to-death, take pleasure in humanities destruction, or have the occasional soul erased from the face of the earth. Now, however they chose to go about there business is irrelevant. We, as cinephiles love these colourful characters for their more shady characteristics and the nonchalant way they handle things that would send normal people into spiralling depression.

Let’s do it!

Honourable Mentions: 

Severus Snape (Harry Potter series, Alan Rickman), Oh-dae Su (Oldboy, Min-sik Choi), Marv (Sin City, Mickey Rourke), Lisbeth Salander (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara), Patrick Bateman (American Psycho, Christian Bale), Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood, Daniel Day Lews), Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee, I Saw the Devil).

10: Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson)

Jules is someone who really radiates anti-heroism. Almost like a gun-slinger with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

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9: Charles Bronson (Bronson, Tom Hardy)

Talk about taking pleasure in abhorrent behaviour. All Bronson wanted was to fight for the sake of fighting and to become Britain’s most violent prisoner.

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8: The Driver (Drive, Ryan Gosling)

Torn between his only skill-set and doing right by his friends. The Driver may lull you in with his heartwarming nature, but make no mistake, he is ruthless and unforgiving.

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7: Tyler Durden (Fight Club, Brad Pitt)

Driven by a desire to disrupt the world and destroy his opinion of oppression. Tyler may be trying to help out his bud, but he accomplishes it in true antihero fashion.

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6: Alex (A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell)

Alex simply wants to see others suffer, whether it be through violence, mental degradation, or dominance.

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5: Leon (Leon: The Professional, Jean Reno)

An assassin with a heart of gold.

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4: Tony Montana (Scarface, Al Pacino)

Willing to do whatever is necessary to become his own interpretation of king. Tony Montana is as cold-blooded as they come.

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3: Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro)

One can’t help but feel for Travis, attempting to free the unfortunate girl sucked into prostitution. However, his sociopathic mentality, obsessions with firearms, and desire to murder is too repulsive to overlook.

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2: Henry Hill (Goodfellas, Ray Liotta)

From the beginning, we are led to believe that Hill and his fellow thugs are normal, everyday hard-working guys. However, the truth is much more sinister and ferocious.

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1: Michael Corleone (The Godfather, Al Pacino)

Although we’ve been given a veritable gaze into the Corleone family and begin to care for them. There is no denying that this mafia family will do whatever it takes to remain atop, especially Michael.

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Okay all, that’ll do it for this week’s edition of the top 10, hope you all enjoyed it. Have a great weekend!

Justice League: Doom (2012)

Okay, no one jump to any conclusions. I happen to be a huge fanboy and I love me my comic book films, animated or not. So, with that in mind, I decided to try reviewing a few of my favourites. If it happens to catch on, I’ll probably make it a common thing here at The Cinema Monster…Enjoy!

Batman Doom

Adapted, loosely albeit, from Mark Waid’s “JLA: Tower of Babel” story arc, “Justice League: Doom” is a fanboys dream. Simultaneously portraying these timeless heroes in a way that causes the viewer to reminisce of their childhood idols while also appealing to their maturity with a dark, mortal, more relatable twist on the league. Director Lauren Montgomery and writer Dwayne McDuffie definitely understand their target audience and are able to not only create a captivating tale, but also make it feel nostalgic, look current, and overall authentic. Although this animated film does touch upon a series of human elements that make each individual superhero just as enticing and revered as ever. The team behind the scenes put an equal amount of effort into making sure each villain is one the viewer will love-to-hate. Which ultimate makes “Justice League: Doom” one of the most complete and entertaining animated superhero films.

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Vandal Savage has concocted a plot to exterminate a great chunk of the Earth’s population. Soon, he recruits a slew of villains to help him disband and destroy the Justice League of America to insure that they will not stand in his way. During the routine bust of a familiar group, the JLA slowly begins to unravel. Quickly, with the help of information stolen from the Batcomputer, Savage and his group of evildoers grab the upper hand and the JLA looks to be out of options.

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Despite the rather short runtime, “Justice League: Doom” is a veritable, unwavering gaze into the fear and insecurities motivating, as well as hampering each individual member of the JLA. Which infuses a much needed relatability and honesty to our ageless superheroes. And with enough of a twist on traditional cinematic skeletal structures and an excess of heart-racing action sequences that, at times, are down-right vicious. “Justice League: Doom” matches up quite nicely against big-budget blockbusters and it frequently offers more heart and intellect than these trivial, slapped together offerings can muster at their best moments. Now, of course an animated film comes with a few trade offs, most notable is the absence of living actors on screen. However, if you don’t mind swapping substance for fantasticality, you’ll not only be pleasantly surprised, but ultimately feel rewarded.

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Although only being able to convey emotion, reaction, and vulnerability through voice. The actors used to portray the JLA make this inevitable, seemingly disadvantageous predicament not only tolerable, but are able to thrive under the circumstance. The aforementioned director Lauren Montgomery and writer Dwayne McDuffie also do a sublime job from behind the camera. The tone and overall atmosphere of the film ranges from light, occasionally funny to dark and brooding, but never abruptly spikes, everything shifts into one another smoothly. The result, as with most impressive comic book flicks, is that there comes a moment when you totally forget that what you’re seeing is animation and soon drop the notion entirely. Eventually you’ll wind up watching the film for what it is…a heartfelt, intelligent, action-packed thrill.

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Justice League: Doom: 8 out of 10.