Category Archives: Lists

2017 Retrospective

As a perfect response to the incomprehensibly ridiculous world leader that now sits in the White House making plans to chat with totalitarian dictators, women in the film industry took this year by storm. Lucrecia Martel returned after almost a decade and made us wish she never left; Agnès Varda, at 89, proved that age need never be a barrier; Chloé Zhao stunned Cannes with her genius; and Brooklynn Prince and Haley Lu Richardson and Margot Robbie and Laurie Metcalf captivated the world. The below results – from Israel and Russia to San Francisco, from the 18th century to the future – represent the pinnacle of all cinematic endeavours undertaken over the last 12 months.

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2017 Year-End A&S Nominations

Dozens and scores of films later, with more inconsistent renditions of Sundance (that sheet, those primes), Cannes (that morgue scene), Telluride, and TIFF behind us yet again, I present the second annual Year-End A&S Nominations, in advance of my 2017 Retrospective, coming in January. A narrower range of great films this year means a narrower range of films represented (19), but chart-toppers like Columbus, Foxtrot, and Loveless can stand toe-to-toe with the best films of any year. See below for the full results.

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TIFF 2017 Wrap-Up

After a summer that many pundits considered one of the best in years (I may disagree) and an especially strong line-up in Venice, the 42nd annual Toronto International Film Festival burst onto the scene with typical flair and a host of red carpets. In line with an increasing trend away from the fall festival circuit, a number of high-profile films skipped the big 3 and will be released at the New York Film Festival (hello, Last Flag Flying from Richard Linklater and Wonder Wheel from Woody Allen) or held until the Christmas season, including Paul Thomas Anderson’s tentatively-titled Phantom Thread and The Post, Steven Spielberg’s anticipated take on the Pentagon Papers.

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2016 Retrospective

2016 was a borderline disastrous year for the world. Brexit, the rise of Trump, ISIS attacks, the Syrian refugee crisis, the Zika virus, the deaths of Leonard Cohen and David Bowie (not to mention Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, and Anton Yelchin, among many others) cast a pall over our theatres. But filmmakers near and far – from Romania, Brazil, and the Philippines to South Korea, Iran, and Texas – came to the rescue with a bounty of work to distract, disturb, and delight.

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2016 Year-End A&S Nominations

Dozens and scores of films later, with superb renditions of Sundance (that police station scene), Cannes (that wig), Telluride, and TIFF behind us yet again, I present the inaugural Year-End A&S Nominations, in advance of my 2016 Retrospective, coming in January. Twenty-seven films are represented below: one special mention goes to Justin Hurwitz for La La Land, in honour of the catchy songs that mark (along with Emma Stone) the high points of Damien Chazelle’s crowd-pleasing musical. See below for the full results.

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2009 Retrospective

For the first time in a long time (perhaps ever), the Cannes Film Festival – and its elite, typically inscrutable jury – awarded its top three prizes to the best three films of the year, irrepressibly bleak though they were. In other news, the Coen brothers offered their blackest comedy yet; sci-fi, horror, and animation got a much-needed boost; and British and foreign filmmakers alike played in the sandbox and came out screaming, in a year that had quality and variety for everyone to enjoy.

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TIFF 2016 Wrap-Up

The cinematic dry spell known as summer 2016 is over: the Toronto International Film Festival is behind us, and Oscar season is in full swing. More quality films have hit the shores of Canada’s biggest city in the past 11 days than in the past 8 months, and only three big films have yet to be unveiled (or not) before year’s end: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (world premiering in 4K at the New York Film Festival next month); Fences, Denzel Washington’s highly-anticipated adaptation of August Wilson’s play; and Silence, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited passion project.

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