Thank You, Lynn

Lynn Shelton was an exceptional filmmaker.  Like many, I was devastated to learn about her sudden passing.  Shelton was 54.

I remember watching her work for the first time.  I saw “Your Sister’s Sister” (2011) at home, after renting it from Netflix.  I wanted to see Emily Blunt’s latest film and I didn’t know much about it.  Shelton brought to life an intimate story about three people struggling to find themselves, redefine themselves and their circumstances.  It wasn’t a flashy or showy film.  Yet, I was struck with every element of the film.

So, when her film “Touchy Feely” (2013) came out, I sought it out.  The film stars Rosemarie DeWitt as a massage therapist who suddenly has an aversion to touch.  It has to be one of the most intriguing plots I’ve ever seen on film, especially in an independent film.  It was inventive and simply human. Continue reading Thank You, Lynn

Exclusive Interview With Director Amy Adrion About “Half the Picture”

“Do you want to watch this with me?”  I am home for the holidays and my mom, a movie-buff, is gearing up to watch the documentary film, “Half the Picture” (2018).  “Half the Picture” looks at female filmmakers, their stories, their films, and more importantly, giving them the space to talk about the hurdles they have had to climb throughout their careers.  The filmmakers each had unique hurdles for their films, but the blatant gender inequality experienced was universal.  Thanks Mom for introducing me to this film.

“Half the Picture” was directed by female filmmaker, Amy Adrion. Adrion’s film perfectly balances the valiant victories and the lowest lows.  It is an intimate look at women in different stages of their careers, all with a plethora of film credits.  It ponders if the current conversations in film will lead to a paradigm shift or if this is simply a brief respite from systemic discrimination.  Will the current atmosphere lead to the change film and TV need?  It is an inspiring, and at times frustrating, film.  So much has been done, yet there remains so much to do. Continue reading Exclusive Interview With Director Amy Adrion About “Half the Picture”

Mental Health Awareness Month Review: “Somewhere”

Let me tell you why I love Sofia Coppola so much: she’s interesting. She is unbothered by box office returns; she is loyal to her vision. Here is a woman who has had a keen understanding of Hollywood since her earliest memories–she plays the baby in “The Godfather”, for crying out loud! She is a keen observer of life, of human nature, and–as a consequence, I suppose, of growing up around the glitz and glam of Hollywood–the repercussions of copious amounts of glitz and glam. 

In keeping with this month’s theme of Mental Health, I thought it’d be appropriate to write about a woman’s depiction of a man’s mental state in La La Land. “Somewhere”, which won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, offers very little in terms of plot and intrigue. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month Review: “Somewhere”

Mental Health Awareness Month: Suicide in Comedy

Suicide is not funny. It devastates family and friends and is a thief which robs us of our loved ones. But film is not real life. It is a tool through which we tell stories, a way for filmmakers to examine issues and situations, and a way for audiences to experience any number of things in (physical) safety.

Laughter can aid in the healing and processing of painful events. But clearly, the way suicide is shown and discussed can hurt as much as it can heal.  And, although filmmakers are under no obligation to show suicide in a certain way, the potential impact of their films means that they carry responsibility. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month: Suicide in Comedy

“I, Tonya” and the Preponderance of Trauma

When you watch the trailer for “I, Tonya” (2017), you get the tonal sense of the film.  It is a dark comedy about infamous skating figure Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie).  I can yammer on all day about I am still not over Robbie losing the Oscar; her performance is magnetic.  She was captivating from start to finish.  It was a career-defining performance, one that demonstrated her innate talent…but I am seriously digressing.  Robbie is incredible in the film, which is why I think the abuse and trauma we see in the film makes it all the more difficult to watch.

I have my Master’s degree in Professional Counseling.  One of the courses I took was on trauma-informed therapy.  Trauma is everyone.  Trauma is, in essence, completely defined by a person. Continue reading “I, Tonya” and the Preponderance of Trauma

Review: We Summon the Darkness

The best kind of horror film is the one that involves all the trappings of a cliché. Though it might be tempting to posit that those that leave us the most on our toes are ones that are full of novelty and turn the genre on its head, that is surprisingly not always the case. Some of the best horror films are those that readily boast everything we might expect. There is something about being lulled into a false sense of security that is far more compelling than being presented with something so unique that strangeness ceases to be strange. Presented by Signature Entertainment and Frightfest, “We Summon the Darkness” pairs longstanding trademarks of the genre with a contemporary twist, resulting in a brilliant contrast. While it may be filled with scenes we recognize, it certainly makes for a refreshing take. Continue reading Review: We Summon the Darkness

Exclusive Interview with Jared Douglas, Christian Gnecco Quintero, and Stefanie Rons Regarding “The Sound of the Wind”

By Bianca Garner With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, it seems like the apporitate time for people to seek out Jared Douglas‘ film, “The Sound of the Wind”. This is a well-crafted, and emotional charged film, which tells the story of  Lucio, a young man whose paranoia has him torn between the pain of abandoning his daughter and the safety of his own life. … Continue reading Exclusive Interview with Jared Douglas, Christian Gnecco Quintero, and Stefanie Rons Regarding “The Sound of the Wind”

Review: Bombshells and Dollies

“Bombshells and Dollies” (2020) is a charming new documentary looking at the lives of women who take part in the pinup culture, centred around one year’s contestants at the most well-regarded pinup contest. Pinup fashion, which refers to primarily 1940s and 1950s style, has seen a resurgence in the past couple of decades. The women featured in this documentary could pass for having lived in the times of their grandmothers when they’re all dressed up were it not for some of their tattoos, cell phones, and wild hair colours. Dan Halperin wrote and directed this fascinating look at a subculture that many may not know about.  Continue reading Review: Bombshells and Dollies

Social Isolation Review: “The One I Love”

Do you ever watch a film and think, “Oh, I’m going to be a different person after I watch this whole thing”?  That’s what I felt after seeing “The One I Love” (2014).

Directed by Charlie McDowell and written by Justin Lader, the film follows Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) as they go to an isolated retreat recommended by their therapist.  I want to talk all about the twists and the turns of the film, but that kind of spoils the magic of it.  The less you know going in, the better.  Trust me.  When someone wants a recommendation, this is the first film I give. Continue reading Social Isolation Review: “The One I Love”

Review: The Shed

When a vampire hides out in the shed, your premise teeters on the brink of ludicrous rather than serious. Frank Sabatella’s “The Shed” (2019) though has serious chomps to take out of the social paradigm of bullying, abuse, and snap judgements, it’s just a shame this all gets wrapped up in the wrong delivery. Stan is a young man (though seven years too old for a high-schooler) who grows up under the vigilant ‘boomer’ antics of his Grandfather, a crotchety, one-note character who seems determined to berate Stan despite the traumatic deaths of his parents. Continue reading Review: The Shed