TIFF 2021: Hellbound dir. Yeon Sang-ho

Director Yeon Sang-ho, who staked his claim in international pop culture with his fantastic zombie film, Train to Busan, not to mention it’s animated prequel, and follow-up sequel, helms Hellbound, already picked up by Netflix, a supernatural procedural series based on his online digital cartoon, The Hell. Screening at TIFF the first three episodes are…

TIFF 2021: Dune dir. Denis Villeneuve

Magnificent. Triumphant. THIS is the movie I saw in my mind’s eye when I first read Dune in 1984 when I was anticipating the Lynch film (which I love for its own reasons). The visual aesthetic, the sound and production design, the score (I swear Hans Zimmer isn’t the only one throwing a few nods…

TIFF 2021: Becoming Cousteau dir. Liz Garbus

Like a lot of people my age grew up in the 70s tuning into The Undersea World of Jacques Costeau, in our house, it would be paired Sunday evenings with The Wonderful World of Disney. I had one of his books as a child, and would pore over the pictures and text for hours, losing…

TIFF 2021: The Power of the Dog dir. Jane Campion

Combining intimate drama with dramatic landscapes has been a signature of Jane Campion’s work, and in her latest film, The Power of the Dog, which she also wrote, that mixture still holds true, giving us a different kind of western. Set in Montana, 1925, the film centres around two ranching brothers, the hard-edged, Phil (Benedict…

TIFF 2021: Violet dir. Justine Bateman

With her feature debut, writer/director Justine Bateman delivers an oppressive but ultimately rewarding emotional powerhouse that brings the everyday inner monologue and life struggle that each of us experience to the screen. In this case, it’s Olivia Munn’s Violet, a film producer, who has for too long sacrificed her own wellness, and life to the…

TIFF 2021: Attica dir. Stanley Nelson

Taking a look at the five day rebellion, and hostage taking in September of 1971 at Attica prison, Nelson’s documentary is a stark, unflinching look at the prison system, the industry of it, the culture and race clash that is inherent in it, and the larger world as a whole. Filled with interviews from those…

Mortal Kombat (1995) – Paul W.S. Anderson

Paul W.S. Anderson loves his video game properties it seems, and in 1995, he delivered the first version that tried to create a narrative around an incredibly popular fighting game, and his first ‘big’ film. Some would argue that this was incredibly stupid idea, and yet, there are people who love this iteration. While the…

TIFF 2021: Petit Maman dir. Celine Sciamma

Director Celine Sciamma delivers a gentle pontification of loss, family and understanding in this gentle, and quiet drama. When Nelly’s (Josephine Sanz) grandmother dies, she regrets the fact that she didn’t get a chance to truly say goodbye to her. While her mother (Nina Meurisse) deals with her grief, and the job of clearing out…

TIFF 2021: Dear Evan Hansen dir. Stephen Chbosky

Mental health. Suicide. Depression. Loss. Grief. Loneliness. These issues are usually trapped in the individual, and though a number of us share in these things, it’s never a shared experience. We are held in the prison of our issues, in a society where social media presentation, the illusion of life being better than it is…

The X-Files (1999) – Field Trip, and Biogenesis

Frank Spotnitz created the story which Vince Gilligan and John Shiban wrote the teleplay for the sixth season’s penultimate episode, Field Trip, which first aired on 9 May, 1999. Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) head to Brown Mountain, home of the Brown Mountain Lights, which Mulder believes may be UFO related, to investigate…

Mission: Impossible (1968) – The Cardinal, and The Elixir

John T. Dugan puts the IMF team through their paces in this episode he wrote, The Cardinal, which first aired on 17 November, 1968. Phelps (Peter Graves) and his team are asked to sneak into a country behind the Iron Curtain (which looks amazingly like Southern California) and deal with General Zepke (Theodore Bikel), a…