October 22, 2014

Toronto After Dark Capsule Review: Predestination


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Right place, wrong time...

Back to the Future may have set the bar for time travel sci-fi, but at the same time it's hard to argue against a movie like Timecop. After all, what's not to like about the Muscles from Brussels as a kickboxing, time-traveling cop? Fast forward two decades, and here we are again, with another film that, at a glance, appears to be in the same vein. But though it may be tempting to discount the Spierig Brothers' Predestination — a movie about a temporal agent trying to stop a criminal mastermind — as just another piece of throwaway sci-fi filmmaking, it's really the furthest thing from.

October 21, 2014

Toronto After Dark Capsule Review: Open Windows


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You like to watch... don't you?

More and more people these days are watching movies on their computer screens and other devices, which begs the question: why not have a movie where the story takes place entirely on one? That's the premise behind Open Windows, the third feature (and first English language film) from acclaimed writer/director Nacho Vigolondo. In it, Elijah Wood plays a celebrity blogger caught up in a deadly game of high tech cat-and-mouse with a psychopathic hacker — one in which the life of his favorite actress hangs in the balance.

October 18, 2014

Toronto After Dark Capsule Review: Housebound


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If these walls could talk...

There must be something in New Zealand's water supply, because the country responsible for such exports as Sir Peter Jackson, Russell Crowe and the Flight of the Conchords has gone and done it again. This time, it's Housebound, the feature debut of writer/director Gerard Johnstone. The quirky horror-comedy has been making the rounds on the festival circuit, scaring up laughs and frightening filmgoers from the South Pacific to the Great White North. And rightly so, as it breathes new life into a well-worn staple of the horror genre, blending haunted house chills and home invasion thrills, with a heaping dose of Kiwi humor to boot.

October 17, 2014

An Uninvited Film Review: The Guest


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Creepy Crawley...

If You're Next made you nostalgic for '80s slasher flicks, then writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard's deliriously off-the-wall followup, The Guest, will surely make you yearn for the action-thrillers of the '80s and '90s. But unlike the current crop of shoot-em-up throwbacks — most notably, The Expendables series — this sly and subversive homage doesn't deal in bombastic set-pieces and marquee names. Rather, it's a twisted and bloody romp through genre territory — one that finds an unlikely lead in Matthew Crawley himself, Dan Stevens.

Hell Hath No Film Review: Fury


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Death or glory...

The brutality of war — and the acts of heroism it inspires — is something that has been explored in cinema time and time again, going back to the early days of Hollywood. Some directors, like Steven Spielberg, have addressed the subject with sincerity and heartfelt emotion, whereas others, like Quentin Tarantino, have elected to put their own darkly humorous spin on history. Then there are films like writer/director David Ayer’s Fury, which take a raw and unflinching look at the inhumanity of wartime conflict, not just out on the battlefield, but inside the minds of those fighting on the front lines.