Thursday, 16 February 2017

A MAN CALLED OVE - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Sentimental Swedish Ode to Old Grump

Plucky Persian Perks Up Grump's Spirits.
A Man Called Ove (2016)
Dir. Hannes Holm
Nvl. Fredrik Backman
Starring: Rolf Lassgård, Bahar Pars, Filip Berg, Ida Engvoll

Review By Greg Klymkiw

You'd have to be the biggest grumpy-pants in the world not to respond to A Man Called Ove, a sweetly funny, delightfully romantic and almost-ridiculously sentimental picture about an old curmudgeon who keeps getting interrupted every single time he attempts to commit suicide. Based on Fredrik Backman's 2012 novel of the same name, writer-director Hannes (Behind Blue Skies) Holm renders this always-humorous and often tear-squirtingly moving movie in a solid, straightforward fashion that allows its first-rate cast to flex considerable muscle.

59-year-old Ove (Lassgård) carries his stern, sullen countenance as if it were a badge of honour. As the persnickety prefect of a townhouse community, he makes his daily morning rounds of the complex, wielding an iron fist and spitting out his disgust when anything (or anyone, for that matter) is the least bit out of place. Being a grump seems to be the only thing that gives him happiness.

After being forced into retirement from the factory he's been foreman at for several decades, the taciturn recent-widower becomes a man with a mission. His goal is to become reunited with his beloved wife (Ida Engvoll). As she's six-feet-under (he visits her grave daily with fresh flowers), the reunion can only be effected via suicide.

With a noose round his neck, a kerfuffle just outside the house commands his attention. A new family, led by the pretty, pregnant and definitely Persian matriarch Parvaneh (Pars), are moving in across the way and whilst backing up their u-Haul trailer, Ove's mailbox gets knocked over.

This will not be the first time his suicide attempts will be foiled. Little does he know it yet, but Ove still has plenty to live for and the world still has plenty of reason for him to keep going.

Kids will always melt the cold heart of a Grumpy-pants!
Many things annoy Ove, but it hasn't necessarily always been that way. Flashbacks (which occur just prior to his suicide attempts) deliver warm insight into his relationship with his father and, perhaps most importantly, the grand, though ultimately melancholy love story that shapes him.

Throughout much of his life, the thing that really irked (and continues to irk) him were/are the "white shirts" - bureaucrats whose only reason for being is to make the lives of everyone else intolerable. Ove's specialty has always been railing against the injustices of bureaucracy and finding ways to cut through the red tape placed before real people. Along the way, his own penchant for red tape forces him to take a good hard look in the mirror.

The centrepiece of A Man Called Ove is Rolf Lassgård's astonishing performance. The picture has been nominated for two Oscars, Best Foreign Film and Best Makeup, but the jaw-dropper omission is a Best Actor nod.

Lassgård's deadpan is impeccable, but there's not too much on any big screen out there that's more affecting than those moments when (via Lassgård) Ove's cold heart is melted by the kindness of others, a grumpy cat he adopts, a Middle Eastern gay man seeking refuge from his family when he comes out, a dear old friend stricken by a debilitating stroke and the genuine warmth afforded to him by the sweet children of his neighbours.

(Yeah, I know this sounds like it could be vaguely sickening, but Holm's assured direction keeps things in check.)

And when Lassgård's Ove sheds a tear or three, there will be no dry eyes in the house - except, perhaps, those ocular ejections held back by those of the grumpy-pants persuasion. Chances are good, though, that even they will succumb.


A Man Called Ove is a Pacific Northwest Pictures (Canada) and Music Box (USA) release. It opens in Canada on February 17/17.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE - Review By Greg Klymkiw - "Act of Killing - Lite" on Scientology

Louis Theroux - Brit Michael Moore sans Bulk.
My Scientology Movie (2016)
Dir. John Dower
Scr. Louis Theroux
Prd. Simon Chinn
Starring: Louis Theroux, Mark Rathbun, Andrew Perez, Jeff Hawkins

Review By Greg Klymkiw
"One of the systems of faith that are based on the belief in the existence of a particular god or gods, or in the teachings of a spiritual leader."
- The Oxford Dictionary definition of the word "religion"
Founded by the dreadful and prolific Science Fiction pulp writer L. Ron Hubbard and presided over by the enigmatic David Miscavige since Hubbard's death in 1986, the Church of Scientology has taken more than its fair share of volleys over the years, including the brilliant fictionalized fantasia The Master by PT Anderson and Alex Gibney's searing documentary Going Clear.

Examining the aforementioned Oxford definition of the word religion, in addition to the various film exposes, including My Scientology Movie, I really do have to wonder what finally separates Scientology from any other religion, whether it be Catholicism, Christian Fundamentalism, Judaism, Islam and any other major/minor systems of faith. Scientology, like all the rest, feels it is the best religion, places emphasis upon recruitment, needs to survive upon financial support from its followers and is not without cult-like leaders and/or elements of cultish indoctrination.

With My Scientology Movie, Director John Dower, Producer Simon Chinn, Host/Star/Writer Louis Theroux and chief commissioning entity, the BBC, were obviously denied access to the inner workings of Scientology and have taken their cue from the in-your-face (and decidedly entertaining) shenanigans of Michael (Roger and Me) Moore and the extremely visionary film artist Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing, The Look of Violence), to craft this lightweight, often amusing, occasionally chilling bit of shock journalism.

To the former, Theroux blunders about Los Angeles in his oh-so-Blighty fashion on the outskirts of various Scientology headquarters and to the latter, orders up auditions with young actors to play Scientology types in scripted and improvised recreations of speeches, presentations and alleged actual inner workings of the Church.

Young actors portray Scientology officials in recreations.
Host Theroux is accompanied through most of the film's cheeky gymnastics by former high-ranking Scientologist Mark Rathburn who left the Church, exposed its inner workings and was, not surprisingly, discredited by the Church itself. Via Rathburn, we get a sense of his own experiences within the organization and an even greater sense of how his life has become severely beleaguered since his break from Scientology. He comes across, probably to the chagrin of the Church, as an extremely sympathetic figure. Much of our empathy for him, however, comes more from Theroux's annoying and eventually badgering of Rathburn, attempting to get the man to respond to his own "complicity" in events and actions of the past.

One cannot fault Theroux for being a journalist, but one can certainly question his methods in the film, especially as they relate to Rathburn. Firstly, the movie inadvertently exposes how investigative journalists will try to be "friends" with their subjects in order to get what they want out of them. If My Scientology Movie was a film, as opposed to what it is, little more than reasonably watchable TV-style doc-journalism, this fascinating aspect of what makes investigative journalists do their job, might have elevated the proceedings considerably if it had been less (and seemingly) inadvertent.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Theroux's timing and methods to address Rathburn's "complicity" in the actions of the Church, seem so fumbling and wrong-headed that we can't help but feel for the former Scientology big-wig. At one point Theroux, in a somewhat smarmy and definitely clumsy fashion, uses information and points-of-view from letters he's received from the Church's lawyers to needle Rathburn. This not only pisses Rathburn off, but us as well.

Granted, Theroux interviews another former Church official Jeff Hawkins, who not only adds considerable insights to the proceedings, but states unequivocally that he believes Rathburn has been hiding more than a few skeletons in the Scientology Closet. As a journalist, Theroux is bound to act on this. That's the theory - the practice, however, is something else altogether and backfires on him. This kind of recoil is what will give the Church of Scientology considerable ammunition to discredit the movie itself.

I couldn't really blame them.

Andrew Perez as David Miscavige - Star Turn!!!
The film as journalism barely gets a passing grade. As a film, it registers a "gentlemanly" grade of "B". This is no work of artistry, voice and vision (like, say, Joshua Oppenheimer's great, important films). Still, My Scientology Movie gets points of the old-college-try variety for its dramatic reenactments - not because they're especially good, but because the actor they've chosen to play Scientology's topper David Miscavige, Andrew Perez, is undeniably charismatic and rivetingly scary.

His recreations of public Miscavige speeches go well beyond simple Rich Little-like impersonations, he genuinely creates a "character" of considerable human dimension. In the fictionalized dramatic recreations of the Church's inner workings, Perez dazzles so astoundingly that one wonders why he's not already on the road to the same kind of superstardom that celebrity Scientology church-member Tom Cruise is on. Perez is clearly a great actor. The camera loves him and I think audiences would love to see him in more movies (as opposed to what seems to be his only role since making this movie, a bit part in some TV show).

Hell, if Miscavige ever chose to produce his own approved biopic of himself, he'd be well advised to sign up Perez for the role. The kid exudes power and charisma, and that's what Miscavige has in spades.

This is not a bad picture by any means. It has elements that do provide considerable entertainment value. At times, the movie even flirts with Oppenheimer potential. There are a few sequences where Theroux is filming Scientology types as they are filming him in turn. These duelling cameras moments come close to capturing the kind of picture this could have been, if it had been a real movie made by real artists - not just another glorified TV documentary.


My Scientology Movie is a Kinosmith release. Canadian playdates include:
February 6 & 8 Victoria Film Festival, Victoria, BC
February 17 – 23 Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, Toronto, ON
February 24 – March 2 Globe Cinema, Calgary, AB
March 3 – 5 Salt Spring Film Festival, Salt Spring, BC
April 14 – 18 Bytowne, Ottawa, ON

Friday, 3 February 2017

Another Reason Why The Royal in Toronto is the BEST Indie Cinema, not just in Toronto, but Canada (and one of the best in the world). Anna Biller's THE LOVE WITCH - on the big screen, where it's meant to be seen! The Royal has the best sound and picture in the city (by day, it's Theatre D Digital, a sound mixing studio for the movies) and the sumptuous colours of Anna Biller's ode to 70s Euro-Trash are going to look more gorgeous than ever. The seats are super-comfy too.!!! Review By Greg Klymkiw

The Love Witch is precisely the sort of movie I'd have seen during the 70s and 80s in one of my favourite (and long-gone) grind houses in Winnipeg that dotted Portage Avenue and Main Street in my old winter city like neon beacons of all that was truly sacred in life. Now you can see this ode to magnificent Euro-Trash in the very best cinema in Canada.

It will be glorious, but be warned, The Royal Cinema is sadly bereft of sticky floors, the aroma of urine/cum and toothless hookers giving gum jobs to malcontent veterans (of both Great Wars).

Well, we can't have everything.

The Love Witch (2016)
Dir. Anna Biller
Starring: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys,
Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Robert Seeley

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Babes, witches, devil worship, black magic and sex, sex and more sex were the mainstay of a lovely sub-genre of 70s Euro-Horror that nobody in their right mind could outright dismiss.

American counterparts amongst these garishly-coloured bonbons never quite lived up to the titillation quotient of Euro sleaze masters like Jean Rollin, Jesus Franco, et al, but no matter, director Anna Biller more than makes up for Uncle Sam's lack of quality output with her very own contemporary masterwork of delectably naughty feculence.

Mega-babe Elaine (Samantha Robinson) has left San Francisco and a mysteriously malevolent past behind her. Resettling in a small town in Redwood country at the behest of some "white" witches, Elaine soon unleashes her genuine powers of "black" magic upon a variety of studs. Plenty of carnal gymnastics, nudity and murder follow.

We should all be lucky enough to have someone like Elaine to love us to death.

Biller creates a sumptuous, sex-drenched tale that parades ritual and rapture in equal measure. Cinematographer M. David Mullen shoots the gloriously garish colours (courtesy of Biller's costume/production design) with deliciously rock-hard lighting (in 35mm no less).

The film proudly wears the clever screenplay's feminist undertones on its sleeve, which smartly contributes to Biller's deft satirical edge. The dialogue she generates for her pitch-perfect cast allows for laughs-aplenty, but where the movie excels (far beyond most other post-modernist endeavours of this kind) is that the actors deliver their lines with the appropriate thud-to-the-floor woodenness, or when necessary, jaw-agape histrionics and they do so with very straight faces and sans tongues-in-cheeks. This is one of the most difficult things for even the most seasoned thespians to pull off and there is not a single cast member who lets Biller, the film and by extension, the audience, down.

Though the movie runs a whopping 120 minutes, audiences will never feel like the proceedings are overstaying their welcome. Biller edits with the skill of a master cutter - not a single cut feels anything less than one which moves the story ever-forward and the pace is happily hypnotic. Those acquainted with the cinematic world The Love Witch recreates (with many fresh frissons) will have nothing to complain about. Those who aren't quite as abreast of it, will still derive pleasure from this diverting carnal romp.

The rest can go to church.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***½ 3-and-a-Half Stars

The Love Witch is an Oscilloscope Release enjoying its Canadian Theatrical Premiere at The Royal Cinema, 608 College St. Toronto:
2017-02-04 9:30 PM
2017-02-07 8:00 PM
2017-02-12 8:00 PM
2017-02-19 4:30 PM
2017-02-25 3:30 PM
2017-03-04 9:30 PM.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

10 BEST FILMS OF 2016 as selected by The Film Corner's Greg Klymkiw -includes Klymkiw's Worst Films of the Year and individual accolades forBest Director, Actress, Actor, Script, Etc.

I had such a great year at the movies that I am forced to cheat a bit with my annual Ten Best List. (You'll also find my individual craft accolades and my Worst of 2016 below.)

Here then are my selections of those pictures and achievements that tickled my fancy in 2016 and yes, there are plenty of ties amongst the lot. And yeah, I cheated. There are twenty five movies here, but they are all appropriately tied so YES, this IS a 10 Best List.

Don't like it? Don't read on. It's MY list and NOT YOURS or anyone else's, but Good Goddamn it's a solid list, so pay attention!!!

Greg Klymkiw's 10 Best Films of 2016

(tied with Dog Eat Dog and Under the Shadow)
Now, just the thought of a movie starring Brian Cox (Manhunter, Adaptation) and Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Killer Joe) as father-son coroners slicing and dicing their way into a nude, gorgeous haunted corpse is enough to tantalize the horror buds. That it's the first Engish-language film by the Norwegian Trollhunter director André Øvredal should send all horror aficionados into conniption fits of joy. The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one of the creepiest, scariest horror films of the year. With the uber-talented Øvredal at the helm, brilliantly utilizing the astonishingly-designed single-location set to maximum impact, we are drawn into a gloriously terrifying and happ-happ-happily sickening cesspool of sheer terror.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (tied with Suicide Squad)
In spite of myopic no-nothing critics who continue to crap on him, director Zack Snyder's virtuosity as a filmmaker battered me into glorious submission with this epic DC showdown twixt the alter egos of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. The picture places us in the realm of myth as it relates to 20th century political realities and beyond, but also brilliantly invokes elements of the Arthurian legends, not unlike Sir Thomas Mallory's "Le Morte d'Arthur". Add dollops of New Testament Golgotha fetishism to the mix and, "Bob's your Uncle!" (or in this case, your Uncle is Zack).
(tied with O.J.: Made in America and League of Exotique Dancers)
Using a raft of hidden cameras, Oscar-winning filmmaker Eva Orner chillingly exposes the evil committed by Australia on people who need the country's help, not its disdain. The Australian government, wanting to "protect" political refugees, implement a series of policies designed to "save" lives. That's what they tell us, anyway. The reality is that Australia does not want the bad publicity (and, uh, the inconvenience) of bodies washing up on their shorelines from refugee boats. Most of all, though, the country is run a bunch of ignorant racists who want to keep refugees out of their country - period! What the Aussie rulers have done is tantamount to cruel straight-up incarceration and torture. Orner's film is not only an eye-opener, but a powerful call to action for the rest of the world to speak out against these utterly horrifying, racist actions.
(tied with God Knows Where I Am and Quebec My Country Mon Pays)
This is a great movie! The meticulous detail with which screenwriter Craig Shilowich captures the ins-and-outs of a TV newsroom (not to mention the period detail) is a thing of beauty. He expertly charts the trajectory/descent of the title character (a stunning Rebecca Hall as the famed 70s TV news reporter Christine Chubbuck), never allowing us to feel like anything, structurally or otherwise, is familiar or by rote. Director Antonio Campos demonstrates the kind of control and careful virtuosity needed to navigate the waters of Christine's journey as she looks for love, wends through a complex relationship with her mother (with whom she lives), tries to maintain her journalistic principals, generate work that matters, secure a position in a larger TV market and, as if this wan't enough, deal with both psychological and physical maladies.
LE CIEL FLAMAND (tied with I Olga Hepnarova)
Single Mom Sylvie (Sara Vertongen) runs a tidy little brothel with her Mother. Bearing the moniker "Le Ciel Flamand" (the almost hilariously oxymoronic English translation is "Flemish Heaven"), the modest house of ill repute, nestled off a grubby highway under the grey Belgian skies, is adorned in red lights and within, it seems an especially cozy refuge for gentlemen seeking womanly release. Still, it is a brothel and Sylvie's six-year-old Eline (Esra Vandenbussche, Vertogen's real-life child) is never allowed inside and instead, spends her time in the car or in the company of the kindly Uncle Dirk (Wim Willaert), a dedicated bus-drivin' man of the hangdog schlemiel persuasion. When the child is sexually assaulted, this kitchen-sink exploration of both motherhood and loneliness leads to a virtual explosion of mad intensity which knocks you flat on your ass, precisely because of director Peter Monsaert's observational eye throughout and the quiet intensity which permeates this gorgeous, love-filled slice of humanity.
DOG EAT DOG (tied with The Autopsy of Jane Doe and Under the Shadow)
The first few minutes of Paul Schrader's adaptation of Edward Bunker's classic crime novel "Dog Eat Dog" plunges us into a kaleidoscopic, drug-fueled fantasia that juicily ramps up to one of the most shocking acts of violence imaginable and then the picture forcibly butt-blasts us raw into an even more appalling "OH-FUCK-NO-REALLY?" salvo of horrifyingly hilarious carnage. As the screenwriter of Taxi Driver and director of Blue Collar, Hardcore, Light Sleeper, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, American Gigolo, Auto Focus and the insanely brilliant and unfairly-drubbed The Canyons, the very idea of Schrader directing a Bunker adaptation makes the mouth water. The execution goes well beyond anticipatory salivation - Schrader pins us to the floor and fiercely has his way with us. And we cum and we cum and we cum. Following the adventures of three inept, albeit vicious criminals (Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Matthew Cook) yields the best crime picture of the year.
(tied with Christine and Quebec My Country Mon Pays)
Too many filmmakers forget about the power of poetry in cinema. This is especially endemic in documentary work where far too many pictures simply impart the facts and/or become so wrapped up in "story" that no matter how proficient the films are, they are - as films - all about the issue and/or subject matter at the centre of the work. This does not plague Todd and Jedd Wider's God Knows Where I Am. The picture is an absolute heartbreaker and a good deal of its success is directly attributable to its pace, style and structure which generates a film infused with all the qualities of the sublime. I challenge anyone to not weep profusely at several points within its elegiac 99-minute running time as the picture charts the last weeks of Linda Bishop (beautifully voiced from her diaries by executive producer Lori Singer), an intelligent, sensitive middle-aged woman found dead in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse.
HACKSAW RIDGE (tied with Maliglutit/Searchers)
Let's put Mel Gibson's bilious private life aside - God knows we're happy to do it for Roman Polanski and Woody Allen - and let us embrace the fact that he is one of America's greatest living filmmakers. From his populist Oscar-winning historical epic Braveheart, to the numbingly spiritual Passion of the Christ and through to the genuinely insane Apocalypto, Gibson has proven, time and time again that he's the real thing, an artist of uncompromising vision. Hacksaw Ridge puts Gibson right over the top. With this mad, frenzied magnificently impassioned biopic of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for service above and beyond the call of duty, Gibson sends the Richter scales of Cinema into nuclear overdrive. Veering from gloriously romantic to gob-smackingly violent, Gibson straps us into a straightjacket and grinds our faces into the beauty of love, the horror of war and the near-Christ-like ascension to faith in everlasting life. And the battle scenes, oh the battle scenes: they have few equals.
Is it possible for anyone to have a happy day in Finland? Well, amateur boxer and former Olympic champ Olli Mäki (Jarkko Lahti) hopes so. It's 1962 and he's been entered into a professional bout in Helsinki against the formidable American fighter Davey Moore (John Bosco Jr.), a lean, mean boxer with over 60 wins behind him. Can a sweet, young fighter from the sticks really hold his own in a bout touted as Finland's big shot at boxing supremacy on the world stage? For all intents and purposes, Olli is Finland's "Great White Hope" and the pressures placed upon him seem insurmountable. Worst of all, Olli is severely distracted. He's falling in love. This is one of the best boxing films ever made. Filmmaker Juho Kuosmanen's direction is infused with attention to the smallest details and results in a picture where the stuff of life provides indelible moments of dramatic and emotional resonance far beyond the cliches which litter so many sports films. The love story itself is wildly, deliriously romantic to the point of instilling the most delightful frissons of loving goooseflesh. It's one of the few movies I've seen which manages to create a feeling of butterflies in the tummy which only mad, passionate love can inspire.
HELLO DESTROYER (tied with Old Stone and Werewolf)
In addition to the most Canadian movie never made in Canada, Slap Shot, Canada itself has yielded a number of terrific pictures about its National Sport (Face Off, Paperback Hero, Goon), but none with the genuine force and power of Hello Destroyer. Writer-Director Kevan Funk paints a veritable portrait of Hell; a stylized blend of expressionism and neorealism that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Prince George, British Columbia is often considered Canada's most dangerous city, but in Funk's dazzling feature-length debut, it's not the criminal element anyone need fear, but rather, Tyson Burr (Jared Abrahamson), the newest recruit of the city's minor league hockey team The Warriors. He's a goon, you see. His job is to provide muscle and he delivers the goods with a cool viciousness. Alas, there is something far more brutal and dangerous in the world of hockey than fists and lumber smashed into the teeth - it's politics. When Tyson's enforcing results in a horrifying and tragic incident during a game, our hero meets his biggest adversary of all; shame, shunning and aimlessness.
I, DANIEL BLAKE (tied with A Quiet Passion)
In a world where the poor seem to be better off dying than face the indignity of their supposed benefactors, one wonders what's more evil - the government or its vile, petty bureaucrats who coldly implement policies designed to keep people down whilst supporting the greed of the 1%. Ken Loach, one of cinema's great humanitarians, takes us on a harrowing roller coaster ride of those caught up in the cold-blooded silos of social assistance in contemporary Britain. I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a 59-year-old skilled construction worker (Dave Johns) who suffers a heart-related accident on the job and rightfully applies for benefits. In spite of his serious condition and a desire to get better and return to work, a soulless clerk purporting to be a "medical expert" ticks off a ludicrous series of boxes which deny him basic care. Funny, bittersweet and tear-wrenching, the picture will certainly preach to the converted with aplomb, but should be required viewing for every petty bureaucrat in the world. They kill, you see. They are the minions of the world's true evil.
I, OLGA HEPNAROVA (tied with La Ciel Flamand)
A grim, superbly realized feature-length dramatic biography about the last person ever executed in Czechoslovakia. Writer-directors Petr Kazda and Tomas Weinreb have crafted a compulsive, moving and shocking film about mental illness as a genuine affliction. It can result in evil actions, but the perpetrators are, more often than not, sick in mind, body and soul. Healing and caring has escaped them. I, Olga Hepnarová speaks not just for one, but all of them. The astonishing young actress Michalina Olszanska plays mass-murderer Hepnarová from age 13 to her death 10 years later. She manages to pull off the near-impossible task of a poker-faced intensity that forces us to look beneath the veneer and into her eyes, which alternate between shark-like death stares and deep humanity, ranging from innate intelligence, sensitivity and confusion, to pain and anger, and even, on occasion, humour. She delivers one of the great screen performances of the new millennium and it serves the superb screenplay and austere mise en scène perfectly.
(tied with O.J.: Made in America and Chasing Asylum)
Director Rama Rau trains cinematographer Iris Ng's expert lens upon a group of exotic burlesque dancers who are not only still with us, but are on the precipice of their induction into the Burlesque Hall of Fame, which will include more than the mere ceremony, but full-on burlesque shows by a number of these great ladies. The interviews included in the film not only provide a rich history of burlesque, but reveal a cornucopia of insights into the themes of female power, grace and showmanship during a time when women in North America were viewed by most men as Madonnas or Whores, Housewives or Harlots, Molly Maids or Madams (and maybe even a healthy/unhealthy mixture of the aforementioned couplings). The inclusion of the gorgeous, supremely intelligent and truly legendary Kitten Natividad made the whole movie sing for me. Director Rau importantly focuses on Natividad's professional and personal relationship with the great Master filmmaker Russ (Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens, Up!) Meyer.
MALIGLUTIT/SEARCHERS (tied with Hacksaw Ridge)
Inspired by John Ford's The Searchers, Zacharias Kunuk serves up one of the most compelling and exciting action-adventure pictures of the year. Set against the backdrop of the Canadian north, a father and son obsessively chase after a group of men who slaughter much of their family and kidnap their women. That's it - on the surface. Below the simple veneer, a tale of family, love and a culture rooted in a land of harsh beauty roils with uncompromising resonance. Kunuk captures the rich tradition of the Inuk people and his visual storytelling acumen reaches a dazzling pinnacle. He paints a portrait of good guys and bad guys, but does so with the kind of deep strokes which reveal humanity on both ends of the spectrum.
MOONLIGHT (tied with She's Allergic to Cats and Natasha)
Written and Directed by Barry Jenkins, this exquisitely unique film in three “movements” stars Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes as a young African-American coming of age. We share his journey through life from childhood (as a sensitive bullied kid living with his crack-addicted mother), adolescence (as a kid discovering his sexuality on the cusp of manhood) to early adulthood (as a man seeking truths which have so far eluded him). We experience this man's life in a cinematic chamber piece that is as poetically musical as it is evocative in ways that are both culturally specific and universal at the same time.
NATASHA (tied with Moonlight and She's Allergic to Cats)
Given the ongoing richness of the immigrant experience in Canada, a country with an official policy of multiculturalism, it's so important for our cultural industries to tell these stories and reflect our mosaic as it shifts across time. Natasha, written and directed by Canadian filmmaker David Bezmozgis is an especially layered, intelligent and evocative portrait of immigrant life in Canada. Darkness is what ultimately wends its way through this moving, romantic tale. It makes the light seem brighter when it needs to be, but on occasion the light of day - in both exterior and interior settings - take on a portent which ultimately delivers on a classical coming-of-age story that hurts as much as it offers hope. The hurt, is familiar - not familiar in terms of the filmmaking, but in the haunting and decidedly unidealistic experiences felt by the film's characters that we, as an audience, recognize in our own experience. This, of course, is what makes terrific pictures. Natasha is one of them.
(tied with Chasing Asylum and League of Exotique Dancers)
Ezra Edelman's epic documentary portrait of O.J. Simpson is no simple biography. Running just under eight hours long, we are, of course, led through the ins-and-outs of the former football/movie star's life: his rise to fame, his criminal and civil trials for murder and his eventual incarceration for armed robbery and kidnapping, but Edelman, deftly weaving existing footage and new interviews, has crafted a work that is so much more. It is ultimately the story of racism, class and justice in America and as such, the film takes one of the most notorious figures in 20th Century American history and creates a tragedy on a Shakespearean scale - one that proves to be as moving and incendiary as anything wrought before on film. It is not simply a film about being "made" in America, it stands as a truly great history of America itself.
OLD STONE (tied with Hello Destroyer and Werewolf)
In Johnny Ma's extraordinary first feature film Old Stone, Lao Shi (Chen Gang) is a cab driver who accidentally hits a motorcyclist in the street and soon realizes he should not have bothered to stop and most certainly not bothered to help. Because of China's idiotic laws, his life becomes a nightmare: his job is in jeopardy, his finances are drained and his family, by extension, are placed in peril, financially and emotionally. The movie is engorged with suspense and induces considerable anxiety in the viewer. That it slowly mounts to a chilling series of events which inspires a kind of horror and revulsion in us, not only speaks to the power of the picture, but Johnny Ma as a filmmaker with talent to burn. What keeps our eyeballs, hearts and minds glued to the screen is the exceptional performance of Chen Gang. He infuses the role with so much humanity, doing so to the point in which we're feeling frustration and anger because he makes us care about Lao Shi so goddamn much. Gang also has charisma to burn. The camera absolutely loves him. I have no idea why this guy isn't a huge star.
(tied with Christine and God Knows Where I Am)
Master filmmaker John Walker has chosen a delightfully original way into his own very personal story of abandoning the place he loved and still loves more than any other. It's a deftly handled history of Quebec's "Quiet Revolution" that's presented with a combination of superb archival film clips, still images, interviews from Anglo-Quebecers who identify as Quebecers, Quebecers who want their province to separate from Canada and a myriad of the province's greatest artists and thinkers, including Oscar-winning director Denys Arcand, writer Paul Warren and screenwriter Louise Pelletier. Especially touching is Walker's exploration of his own family's generations-old history in Quebec and its relationship to his contemporary dilemma of loving a place that feels inextricably rooted in his soul, yet seems so distant all the same. Walker's created a film anyone can call their own. Who has not been touched by a sense of place and at worst, forced to leave it and at best, always fearing what one might do if forced to leave it behind? Walker's film is his history, Quebec's history, Canada's history and by the film's very structure, a history we all share - not just in Canada, but the rest of the world.
A QUIET PASSION (tied with I, Daniel Blake)
Terence Davies is unquestionably the greatest living filmmaker in the UK and amongst the world's best filmmakers - ever. His quietly passionate dramatic film biography of poet Emily Dickinson features his trademark tableaux, gorgeous stately pace and his indelible use of music (here being the music of poetry). Cynthia Nixon knocks the wind out of you with her astonishing performance and an almost unrecognizable Keith Carradine chills to the bone. What might be the films's greatest triumph is that one could go into it knowing NOTHING about Emily Dickinson and emerge with both an edifying cinematic experience AND a reason to get to know her.
SHE'S ALLERGIC TO CATS (tied with Moonlight and Natasha)
Though there is no official genre called "schlubs who get to successfully seduce babes", She's Allergic To Cats would definitely be leading the charge if such a thing did officially exist - it's kind of like a Woody Allen picture on acid through the lens of wonky, nutty 80s video art. I found the picture endlessly dazzling, deliriously perverse and rapturously romantic. Nebbish hero Mike Pinkney has a dream: to make a feature film homage to Brian De Palma's Carrie - with CATS!!! Amidst the slacker/McJob existence he leads, Mike miraculously hits it off with Cora (Sonja Kinski - Nastassja's daughter, Klaus's granddaughter) a mega-babe who happily agrees to a date. The entire love story is mediated through Mike's filmmaking/video-art perspective. The result is a chiaroscuro-like melange of garish "video" colours, cheesy (though gorgeous) dissolves and plenty of sexy video tracking errors.
SUICIDE SQUAD (tied with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)
Oh, to be a kid again! What pure, unadulterated joy! And I have writer-director David Ayer to thank for this happy blast into my past. Suicide Squad has cool heroes, even cooler villains, high stakes for the world of the film (and its characters) and most of all, it's infused with sacrifice, sentiment and a big heart. It's also gorgeously shot, snappily edited, overflowing with a great selection of immortal classic songs, an original score that pounds with power and replete with a juicy ensemble cast. Seriously. What's not to like? Or, for that matter, love? What we essentially get here is a comic book remake of The Dirty Dozen - one that still manages to resonate with freshness and originality. The simple idea of villains/criminals being used to fight evil drives the picture and Ayer's wonkily wonderful script offers up a fun first third which provides lively origins for the various criminals who will make up the suicide squad of super heroes. And, Jared Leto's rendering of The Joker manages to leave Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger behind like so much dust in the wind. Leto is: THE. BEST. JOKER. EVER. (Well, Caesar Romero comes close, but Leto even blows the Mad Latin Lover to smithereens.)
TONI ERDMANN (tied with The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki)
If you do the wrong math on Toni Erdmann, you might be tempted to assume a 162-minute running time and its country of origin (Germany) will yield an unbearably dreary slog, so whatever you do, don't be a dumkopf in your calculations; Maren Ade's lovely picture yields one of the funniest, most heartwarming and celebratory experiences you'll have at the movies this year. Winfried Conradi (Peter Simonischek) is a hangdog retired old schlub who perks up his life (and those around him, when they're so willing) with a seemingly endless supply of practical jokes which he pulls off with costumes (including fake buck teeth) and a totally straight face. His adult daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller), a public relations executive in the field of international relations is less amused. Her poker face in the joy department matches Winfried's in the gag sweepstakes. There's clearly a deep love between father and daughter, but also an estrangement as she's tried to move on and create a life and career for herself. Father-daughter relationships have their own unique complexities and writer-director Ade captures this dynamic with considerable artistry.
UNDER THE SHADOW (tied with The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Dog Eat Dog)
Living in Tehran during the eight long years of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s was terrifying enough with endless bombs dropping. Eventually, with the threat of missiles from Iraq, the city emptied to ghost town proportions. Against this backdrop is one of the most creepy, harrowing and heart-stoppingly scary movies of the year. Writer-Director Babak Anveri displays such control over the proceedings that the visceral moments have the kind of impact we seldom see in contemporary horror films. The film is dazzling and original and one of the few movies that flirts with being genuinely in the same league as The Exorcist.
WEREWOLF (tied with Hello Destroyer and Old Stone)
A young woman seeks to escape a life of homelessness and drug dependency as the young man who loves her spirals ever downward as she ascends. Director Ashley McKenzie’s debut feature is rife with Neo-realist touches, but a wholly original mise-en-scene ultimately rules the day. Placing emphasis on single (and often strange) visual details in every scene is what forces certain mundane realities to eventually take on earth-shattering resonance. That we see ourselves and those we know in a world most of us can only imagine is a testament to the filmmaker's consummate artistry.

Greg Klymkiw's Craft Accolades/Awards 2016
Yes, there are ties here. Don't like it? Screw you!!!

Best Director (Tie)
Marian Ade - Toni Erdmann
Terence Davies - A Quiet Passion
Mel Gibson - Hacksaw Ridge

Best Actor (Tie)
Dave Johns - I, Daniel Blake
Peter Simonischek - Toni Erdmann

Best Actress (Tie)
Rebecca Hall - Christine
Michalina Olzsanska - I, Olga Hepnarova

Best Supporting Actor (Tie)
Jared Leto - Suicide Squad
Tracy Letts - Christine

Best Supporting Actress (Tie)
Sonja Kinski - She's Allergic To Cats
Lori Singer - God Knows Where I Am

Best Original Screenplay (Tie)
Terence Davies - A Quiet Passion
Craig Shilowich - Christine

Best Screenplay Adaptation (Tie)
Barry Jenkins - Moonlight
Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Best Cinematography (Tie)
Simon Duggan - Hacksaw Ridge
Adam Sikora - I, Olga Hepnarova

Best Editing (Tie)
Keiko Deguchi - God Knows Where I Am
John Gilbert - Hacksaw Ridge

Best Musical Score (Tie)
Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans - The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Rupert Gregson-Williams - Hacksaw Ridge

Greg Klymkiw's WORST movies of 2016
(in alphabetical order)


Friday, 2 December 2016

PART FOUR: NETFLIX IS POO, SHUDDER IS GOLD - is the IDEALChristmas Present. Here are reviews by Greg Klymkiw of perfectChristmas fare, including the cannibalism of Jim Mickle's remake of WEARE WHAT WE ARE and the completely Bunyip Finnish Ode to Naked PsychoSantas in RARE EXPORTS.


Psycho Santas and Cannibals for XMAS on
I tried Netflix for the free one-month service. It took one day to realize I would never pay for it. Shudder launched October 20, 2016 (in Canada, the UK and Ireland). It took about one hour to decide it would stay with me forever. Netflix was stuffed with unimaginatively programmed product: bad television, (mostly) awful mainstream movies, a lame selection of classics, indie and foreign cinema, plus the most cumbersome browsing interface imaginable. Shudder, on the other hand, is overflowing with a magnificently curated selection of classics, indie, foreign and mainstream cinema, plus a first rate browsing and navigation interface which allows for simple alphabetical listings as well as a handful of very simple curated menus. Yes, Shudder is all horror, all the time, but a vast majority of the product is first rate and, depending upon your definition of horror, there is plenty to discover here that's just plain great cinema!

Why is Santa Claus in a cage?
Who are those men with guns?
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) ***1/2
dir. Jalmari Helander
Starring: Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila

Review By Greg Klymkiw

While it is an indisputable fact that Jesus is the reason for the season, the eventual commercialization of Christmas inevitably yielded the fantasy figure of Santa Claus, the jolly, porcine dispenser of toys to children. Living with his equally corpulent wife, Mrs. Claus, a passel of dwarves and a herd of reindeer at the North Pole, Santa purportedly toils away in his workshop for the one day of the year when he can distribute the fruits of his labour into the greedy palms of children the world over. Is it any wonder we forget that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Our Lord Baby Jesus H. Christ?

Naked Santas must always be scrubbed and tubbed.
I wonder, however, what Baby Jesus might have made of Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a creepy, terrifying, darkly hilarious and dazzlingly directed bauble of Yuletide perversity that takes us on a myth-infused journey to the northern border between Finland and Lapland where a crazed archeologist and an evil corporation have discovered and unearthed the resting place of the REAL Santa Claus. When Santa is finally freed from his purgatorial tomb, he runs amuck and indulges himself in a crazed killing spree - devouring all the local livestock before feeding upon both adults and children who do not subscribe to the basic tenet of Santa's philosophy: "You better be Good!" Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Can you pass me the napkins, please?
We Are What We Are (2013) ***
Dir. Jim Mickle
Starring: Bill Sage, Michael Parks, Julia Garner,
Ambyr Childers, Kassie DePaiva, Jack Gore, Kelly McGillis

Review By Greg Klymkiw

I'm not prone to knee-jerk negative reactions towards movie remakes, but sometimes, the originals are so damn good that the mere notion of a redo is enough to induce apoplexy (of the "nervosa" kind). Jim Mickle's well directed 2013 American version of the identically-titled 2010 Jorge Michel Grau shocker from Mexico is just such a film. That said, this creepy, slow-burning tale of cannibalism and madness is a taste-treat nonetheless. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

NETFLIX is poo, SHUDDER is gold.
SHUDDER is the all-new streaming service devoted to horror. Available in Canada, UK and USA, SHUDDER is expertly CURATED by programmers who know their shit (and then some), including TIFF's magnificent Midnight Madness king of creepy (and head honcho of Toronto's Royal Cinema, the best goddamn repertory/art cinema in Canada), Colin Geddes. It's fucking cheap and notably, cheaper than that crapola Netflix. Get more info and order it RIGHT FUCKING NOW by clicking HERE!!!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Female Filmmakers Continue to Take Centre Stage in Canada: THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Whistler Film Festival 2016

The Sun at Midnight (2016)
Scr/Prd/Dir. Kirsten Carthew
Pre. Amos Scott
Eprd. Anne–Marie Gélinas

Starring: Devery Jacobs, Duane Howard

Review By Greg Klymkiw

When Lia (Devery Jacobs) is forced to live with her grandmother in the subarctic town of Fort McPherson, she's ill-prepared for the sun which never seems to set. It's a world she doesn't know and as such, she's as caught between two worlds, not unlike the glistening orb that seems to hang, so strangely to her eyes, so ever-present in the sky. She'd prefer to stay in the city with her Dad, but alas he must go off to work the mines and she needs to be with the only family she has.

There's a price to be paid for returning to roots she never felt in the first place. She carries herself with the air of a stranger and is bullied for her big-city ways. Without giving the town a chance, she makes the unwise choice to flee.

The Sun at Midnight is a sensitive, poignant, beautifully acted portrait of a young woman trying to find herself. She feels like a stranger in a strange land and yet, as the film progresses, we see her blossom into her own person in a world she comes to know as her own.

It's a survival story, after all.

Lia jumps into a boat and attempts to find civilization. What she finds is a whole lotta trouble in the middle of nowhere. The elements and nature are formidable forces. So too are the less-than-friendly country-cousin hunters with an eye only on her youth and beauty.

Happily, she makes the acquaintance of Alfred (Duane Jones), a wise, old caribou hunter who takes her under his wing. They develop a deep friendship and through the course of their journey, that sun that hangs so ever-presently, becomes as natural to her as the world she rejected.

Of course, no survival tale would be complete without an ultimate challenge and when it comes, it's a lollapalooza!!! As is the film, of course.


The Sun at Midnight plays at the Whistler Film Festival 2016

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Spotlight on first-rate independent Canuck Cinema by female directors at the visionary Whistler Film Festival 2016 - THE DEATH (AND LIFE) OF CARL NAARDLINGER by Katherine Schlemmer - Review By Greg Klymkiw

The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger (2016)
Scr/Dir. Katherine Schlemmer
Prod/Ed. Carl Laudan

Starring: Matt Baram, Grace Lynn Kung, Mark Forward
Anand Rajaram, Beatriz Yuste, Ryan F. Hughes

Review By Greg Klymkiw

For a schlub who spends eight hours a day taking telephone complaints under the glare of fluorescent lights in a nondescript office-cum-hovel, the geeky, gawky Carl Naardlinger (Matt Baram) lives a very charmed life. With Pam (Grace Lynn Kung), a babe-o-licious, uber-real-estate-seller of a wife who loves him madly, this is a guy who seems to have it all. And so, he thinks he does, until his birthday celebrations are interrupted by a doorbell ring of fate. A detective (Anand Rajaram) has appeared at the front porch of the lovely suburban bliss of Chez Naardlinger to investigate a missing person's case. And just who's missing?

Carl Naardlinger, of course.

The only problem is that Carl is not missing. An even bigger problem, is that there appears to be someone bearing his unique appellate who is missing. Carl, should leave well enough alone, but he slowly becomes obsessed with investigating the disappearance of the other Carl Naardlinger (Mark Forward), a pudgy, schlubby baker who roomed with an almost insanely schlubby married couple (Beatriz Yuste, Ryan F. Hughes).

Oh, and to add to the morass, it appears as if the baker Naardlinger has a doppelgänger.

Katherine Schlemmer's sprightly directorial debut yields a queerly delightful comedy of coincidence which leads its characters and the audience on an odyssey into the very heart of what it means to be human in a seemingly apportioned world that, below its surface, roils with crises of identity. Much of the film is delivered by its superb cast in perfect deadpan, so much so, that at one point, when the film explodes into a volcano of mad, manic overlapping dialogue, the effect is as jolting as it is hilarious.

One of the fascinating elements of the film is that much of its running time is set within a ravine cutting its way through the cold, cement of the city and we get a real sense of two physical solitudes which mirror those of the emotional variety. This is both clever and oddly moving.

Given the importance of coincidence within the framework of the narrative, there is a point during the final third of the film where one wants the picture to soar into a kind of reverie that goes well beyond the simple coincidence of the story. It almost gets there when we follow one of the Naardlinger doppelgängers though a kind of natural fantasia amidst the greenery of the ravine. Reality, however, rears its head. This is hardly a flaw, though, as it forces us to soar on a completely new plane.

It defies expectations and if anything, this is what makes this delicious ugly duckling of a movie both loveable and irresistibly piquant.


The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger plays at the 2016 edition of the Whistler Film Festival.

Sunday, 27 November 2016


More SHUDDER Mayhem Reviewed Below:
I tried Netflix for the free one-month service. It took one day to realize I would never pay for it. Shudder launched October 20, 2016 (in Canada, the UK and Ireland). It took about one hour to decide it would stay with me forever. Netflix was stuffed with unimaginatively programmed product: bad television, (mostly) awful mainstream movies, a lame selection of classics, indie and foreign cinema, plus the most cumbersome browsing interface imaginable. Shudder, on the other hand, is overflowing with a magnificently curated selection of classics, indie, foreign and mainstream cinema, plus a first rate browsing and navigation interface which allows for simple alphabetical listings as well as a handful of very simple curated menus. Yes, Shudder is all horror, all the time, but a vast majority of the product is first rate and, depending upon your definition of horror, there is plenty to discover here that's just plain great cinema!

Who can resist a babe in an open window?
Open Windows (2014) ***
Dir. Nacho Vigalondo

Starring: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Open Windows is the clever title of the equally clever and often nail-bitingly suspenseful thriller by the young Oscar-nominated Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial). It's his first English language film and a definite corker. Dazzlingly directed and acted with aplomb by all concerned, this drawer-filling cyber thriller achieves the near impossible by placing much of the onscreen action within a myriad of "open windows" on a computer screen. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Time to kill some zombies, mais non?
The Battery (2013) **1/2
Dir. Jeremy Gardner
Starring: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim, Niels Bolle, Alana O'Brien

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Before the New England zombie apocalypse, Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim) were pro baseball players, but these days they're moving surreptitiously through the woods and backroads, their only contact with anything resembling a human being is the occasional zombie which, of course, will need to be dispatched. Predictably, the guys are polar opposites. Ben's no-nonsense "gotta-keep-moving-like-a-shark" attitude is what keeps them alive and his insistence that they always make time for games of pitch-and-catch is what keeps them human. For Ben, baseball, or at least the vestiges of the once great unifying force of America is the only thing as important as staying alive. The sheer relaxing physicality of it offers a kind of Zen to their seemingly pointless lives. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Serial killers worship
the John Paizs cult classic CRIME WAVE.
The Editor (2014) *****
Dir. Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy (Astron-6)

Starring: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Paz de le Huerta, Udo Kier, Laurence R. Harvey, Tristan Risk, Samantha Hill, Conor Sweeney, Brent Neale, Kevin Anderson, Mackenzie Murdock, John Paizs

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Okay, ladies and gents, strap-on your biggest vibrating butt-plugs and get ready to plop your ass cheeks upon your theatre seat and glue your eyeballs upon The Editor, the newest and most triumphant Astron-6 production to date and easily the greatest thrill ride since Italy spewed out the likes of Tenebre, Inferno, Opera, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Beyond, Strip Nude For Your Killer, Don't Torture a Duckling, Hitch-Hike, Shock, Blood and Black Lace, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Kill Baby Kill and, of course, Hatchet for the Honeymoon. You'll relive, beyond your wildest dreams, those films which scorched silver screens the world over during those lazy, hazy, summer days of Giallo. But, be prepared! The Editor is no mere copycat, homage and/or parody - well, it is all three, but more! Directors Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy have created a modern work that holds its own with the greatest gialli of all time. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

Decent demon possession mock-doc 4 U.
The Last Exorcism (2010) ***
dir. Daniel Stamm
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr, Louis Herthum, Caleb Landry Jones and Tony Bentley

Review By Greg Klymkiw

I suppose we have to thank The Blair Witch Project for all the mock-doc shaky-cam thrillers of the past 15-or-so years. I don't even like it much. The movie had a vague visceral effectiveness upon a first viewing, but the real test for all these pictures is how pictures hold up on repeated viewings. The original Blair Witch Project doesn't hold up to that kind of scrutiny at all. And now we have, from producer Eli (The Bear Jew) Roth, a very effective horror picture directed by Daniel Stamm which, presents its nerve jangling tale of demonic possession with a reasonable degree of intelligence and style. It's also held up nicely to repeated viewings. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

THE LAST DAYS ON MARS gives new meaning to
the appellate, "the red planet" - blood red.
The Last Days On Mars (2013) ***
Dir: Ruairi Robinson
Starring Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Olivia Williams, Romola Garai

Review By Greg Klymkiw

An international crew exploring Mars for signs of life have sadly come up short. In their last days, however, a natural disaster on the planet loosens up a living entity that begins to wreak unexpected havoc. Well, we do expect havoc, but the manner in which it grips the crew is deliciously, scarily unexpected. Life, of course, does not have to mean tangible upright forms - it can also be bacteria, disease and/or mutation. Whilst some might find elements of the tale derivative of Alien and/or The Thing (among others), the writing is generally infused with intelligence and strong attention to character. Besides, familiarity does not always breed contempt. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

She's Hot. She's Deadly.
She's Artificial Intelligence.
She has a Moral Centre.
Watch the fuck out.
The Machine (2013) Dir. Caradog W. James ***1/2
Starring: Caity Lotz, Toby Stephens, Sam Hazeldine

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Two scientists. One's a babe (Caity Lotz). The other's a handsome single Dad (Toby Stephens). Once they're teamed up to develop artificial intelligence, they become a formidable force. They're working for a scumbag (Sam Hazeldine) who wants to use their research and development to create ultra-weapons to go to war with China. The Babe is getting too peace-nikky for the scum-wad's liking and is assassinated. Handsome Single Dad transforms her into a walking, talking, killing machine.

Hell will break loose. And it indeed, does.

And indeed, with The Machine, we get another intelligent, thrilling, well-written science fiction film on a shoestring from dear old Blighty that puts studio-generated product to shame and even provides a sort of unofficial prequel to Blade Runner, but without that film's pretension. Read my full Film Corner review HERE.

NETFLIX is poo, SHUDDER is gold.
SHUDDER is the all-new streaming service devoted to horror. Available in Canada, UK and USA, SHUDDER is expertly CURATED by programmers who know their shit (and then some), including TIFF's magnificent Midnight Madness king of creepy (and head honcho of Toronto's Royal Cinema, the best goddamn repertory/art cinema in Canada), Colin Geddes. It's fucking cheap and notably, cheaper than that crapola Netflix. Get more info and order it RIGHT FUCKING NOW by clicking HERE!!!