TIFF 2018 Review: THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK (USA 2018) **1/2

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek Poster
A former cop-turned-militia man investigates a shooting at a police funeral.

Director:

Henry Dunham

Writer:

Henry Dunham

Writer/director Henry Dunham’s debut feature tackles a series of current issues – gun control; violence; loyalty among others.  The film begins with the announcement of a mass shooting, not shown on screen, an incident unfortunately too common these days.  The cops are all out to find those responsible, being under great pressure from everyone.  

The story centres of a neighbourhood militia that have an assortment of weaponry.  It is discovered that the recent mass shooting was apparently carried out by one of its own members as one of the AR-15 rifles (reportedly used in the shooting) stored in a lumberyard warehouse is missing.  Fearing that the authorities have already connected the weapon to their collective and will soon descend, they resolve to determine who among them has broken ranks, so that they can deliver the perpetrator to the police and not risk jeopardizing their operation. 

The film has little action and lots of talk.  Most of the excitement comes in the revelation of the dialogue.  Of course, if the whole film relies on the dialogue, it should be flawless.  But there are a few loop holes.  The audience is also required to be 100% attentive to the dialogue while expecting a few plot twists.  A few bouts of humour are inserted (there should be more), but all the talk seems too much for a Midnight Madness movie.

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TIFF 2018 Review: HER JOB (Greece/France/Serbia 2018) ***1/2

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Her Job Poster
 Director:

Writers:

Katerina Kleitsioti (screenwriter), Nikos Labôt(screenwriter)

Direct from current times as heard on the Greek radio about the country’s dire unemployment woes, a husband has been put out of work for far too long.  The wife, as a result takes employment as a cleaner at the newly opened shopping mall.  They have two children, the elder daughter being spoilt and uncontrollable. 

 Panayiota (Marisha Triantafyllidou) works hard but has a hard time at work, especially driving the new vacuum cleaner as well as a hard time at home, having to cook and have the family complain when she is not around to do chores for them.  Things look as if it is reaching boiling point but director Labot takes his film to a higher level.  Things improve.  After taking driving lessons, Panayiota masters the vacuum.  Her supervisor and colleagues appreciate her hard work and dedication.  Her daughter starts cooking for her and husband cleaning for her.  

Director takes his film even one step further.  To reveal more would spoil the film’s twist and enjoyment.  The film works wonders, thanks to actress Triantafyllidou’s performance and the director’s frequent use of closeups that show every expression of joy and regret of her face.  Marvellous too, is the way Labot connects the audiences to the protagonist, family and story.

Trailer: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/her-job-trailer-1137998

TIFF 2018 Review: FALLS AROUND HER

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Falls Around Her Poster
A relentless pursuit to seek reclamation through isolation.

Directors:

Darlene Naponse,

FALLS AREOUN HER is a true Northern Ontario and Anishinaabe First Nation film that celebrates the winter of Canada as seen in the landscapes of lake, forests and rivers.  The film stars Tantoo Cardinal shining as a world-famous Anishinaabe musician (there is a shot her singing at the stat of the tim – showing some good original music) who returns to the reserve to rest and recharge — only to discover that fame (and the outside world) are not easily left behind.  

Her sister Betty (Tina Keeper) senses there may be more to Mary’s need for isolation and urges her to reconnect with family and old friends.  As Mary gets out more and even starts dating, it seems as though new possibilities are on the horizon.  She has demons to rid off which includes her past manager who is quite the woman abuser, though he gets what he deserves in the end as the film shifts uncomfortably towards horror slasher mode. 

Otherwise it is a relatively dull affair, all good intention aside.

TIFF 2018 Review: MAYA (France 2018) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Maya Poster
The film follows a 30-year-old man named Gabriel, a French war reporter who was taken to hostage in Syria and then heads to India after months in captivity.

Director:

Mia Hansen-Løve

It’s been frequently on the news about war journalists in Syria being kidnapped with the threat of being decapitated on live televsion.  MAYA, Mia Hansen-Love’s (LE PERE DE MES ENFANTS, EDEN) latest film has one such French journalist recently freed who travels to India on vacation to recuperate.  

He meets MAYA, an Indian girl who opens his eyes back to life, though she is too young for him to start a love affair.  The best segment of the film is his re-meeting of his mother  who is working with foreign children, though detached from her own son. This the only serious musings on life by the director.  Lighter fare. otherwise  from Hansen-Love with lots of beautiful scenery of poverty stricken India. 

 The film does not really go anywhere as deep as her previous films but MAYA is still worth a look.

TIFF 2018 Review: KINGSWAY (Canada 2018) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Directed by Bruce Sweeney

This dysfunctional comedy is done with much of the Bruce Sweeney wit that viewers of his previous films DIRTY, LAST WEDDING and EXCITED are used to.  And it is bitingly funny.  Take the first scene with Matt (Jeff Gladstone) in his psychiatrist office. “I am better.  I don’t need to be here and I can leave.” 

 So he gets up and leaves the office.  But Matt is not better but getting worse, even considering suicide.  It does not help that his wife, Lori is having and affair but worst of all, his dysfunctional family is butting in trying to do what they think is best for him – which is not.  The bossy sister, Jess (Camille Sullivan) and mother, Mary (Gabrielle Rose, who is always a pleasure to watch) will not leave Matt alone, even stooping so low as to confront Lori for him.  Director Sweeney knows how to tread the fine line between anxiety and crazy and often the line is blurred.  

One wishes that there would be something deeper in the story or some message  for the audience but Sweeney’s film is so entertaining, no one really cares for anything deeper.  The fantastic cast do a great a job as well.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2ILcjp-x44

 

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TIFF 2018 Review: ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH (Canada 2018) ***1/2

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch Poster

 

Filmmakers filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier return with their latest and third of their trilogy after MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES and WATERMARK, entitled ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH.  

The doc, written by Baichwal and narrated by Swedish actress and Oscar winner Alicia Vikander is a disturbing doc that demands to be seen for it explores human impact on the Earth.  The film’s first scene is that of molten metal.  

The site on display is north of the Arctic circle in what Baischwal describes as Russia’s most polluted city.  This is where the world’s largest metal smelting industry is located.  Baichwal and her crew travel the world documenting evidence of human domination – from concrete seawalls that cover 60% of China’s mainland coast, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to vast marble quarries in Italy, to surreal phosphate tailings ponds in Florida.  

ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH is a spectacular film – Baichwal’s best of her trilogy.  She has spent an immense amount of time on research and travels resulting in this magnificent educational documentary.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44RYqgKwfSQ

 

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Interview with Festival Director Matty Steinkamp (iNDIE FILM FEST)

An exclusive independent film festival featuring the the highest quality in independent filmmaking. Our goal is to create the highest quality platform to showcase independent films while giving the filmmakers a place to make money and succeed at selling out their first premiere. Filmmakers will have the opportunity to premiere their film with a sold out audience in a nationally recognized independent theater and benefit from direct ticket sales with the festival.

Contact

 
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

A: Our fest premieres films with filmmakers giving part of the ticket sales directly to the winning filmmakers. We also provide earned media for each of our films here in the southwest along with radio interviews on Phoenix morning radio shows the week of the festival as part of our festival partnerships. Winners also receive cash prizes and in some categories direct distribution to several theaters in the southwest to screen their film after the festival. All of our premiere screenings will be held in downtown Phoenix in the heart of the art community so there is very active audience that filmmakers get to premiere their films in front of.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend your upcoming festival?

A: An inclusive art experience that premieres new indie films in vintage movie theaters and classic ballrooms, being surrounded by art, artists, and art lovers, the chance to experience VR at our VR installation, or take some fun photos in our photo booth, or catch a panel or our Key Note speaker at Crescent Ballroom and learn what it takes to get to the next step in your filmmaking career, or on opening night catch one of the pop up screenings down on the art walk with short films and music videos being projected on the buildings as you walk by. There will be live music and live art throughout the festivals two days. Unique film viewing experiences is what we are aiming to accomplish this year.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

A: The films must be created under a $250,000 budget. We are looking for true indie films. We want films made by filmmakers not the industry or some major studio system. Of course with each category there are different qualifications. Like the Drone Film category, we are only selecting films in this category filmed on or with a drone. Also we are looking for films that have not had a World Premiere yet in theaters or online. It is our goal to help new films reach audiences faster and with a successful premiere that the filmmakers can move on to more premieres and make money doing it without needing to struggle all along the way with putting films out alone.

4) Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

A: Our team is made up of filmmakers and artists, we know from our own experiences in submitting films to 100s of festivals that indie films are over looked and passed on more so to give popular icons / studio films more lime light….. even if the the popular icon made a shitty film and the indie film that got passed up was actually amazing and might have been an award winner. Indie films are on the rise though and now is the time to showcase them and celebrate them even more! Our festival is going to give independent films and filmmakers a 100% chance to succeed the second they announce their official selection with INDIE.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

A: We have always wanted something in downtown Phoenix to be honest. The art scene in Phoenix needs a great film festival that is more than just one night at one venue. Combining two of the top venues in downtown Phoenix in the festival allows for our audience to walk or ride a bike between venues while on the way possibly catch a pop up screening on the side of building just to keep in fun… no one is doing this here in the downtown area… we almost feel like its up to us to move the film festival concept forward in favor of the artists and become more experimental with the screenings to hopefully evolve the art form.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

It has been great so far, we have had some amazing submissions early on and are very excited to see the outcome of our committee selections!!! Filmfreeway gives us the chance to reach way more filmmakers across the entire planet… we are very excited!!!

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Our plan is to be in the same locations but keep adding days as we grow. Our festival is still only a two day festival at this point but it is our goal to stay small and maintain the highest quality while giving the filmmakers the best opportunity to premiere their film. We do plan on growing into larger and more venues once we can accommodate the right budget for additional venues.

8) What film have you seen the most times in your life?

A: Coming to America, Goodfellas, Citizen Kane, Play The Documentary,

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A: A great film needs to have the ability to tell a story that transports the audience to a different place or time.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

A: The film scene in Phoenix is growing. While the industry itself is not investing into the growth in Phoenix, several groups in Phoenix are working hard to collaborate more to help the growth of the film scene from within. New film companies are starting up everyday and more and more creatives are making indie films and putting them out to the world. We have a very strong activist community in Phoenix that is leading the way with social justice films telling the stories of our communities to help us move closer to an inclusive society as well to tell the stories of our communities correctly on not mislead or conveyed by the mass media.

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