Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thanks, Everyone!

Vanguarders and Vanguardians, The Festival season is over and it's time for the Vanguard blog to crawl sleepily away to its cave to hibernate until the next Vanguard programme.

Thanks to the programmers and, especially, to Colin Geddes, who coordinated the blog.  And thanks to all the bloggers who participated. And thanks to all you readers!

These cute, sleepy animals symbolize the blog's hibernation and might ease the pain--just a little. See you next year!


Congratulations to the filmmakers, cast, and crew of Motorway, Thale, and The We And The I!

All three films have been picked up for distribution after screening in the Festival's Vanguard programme.

Motorway, directed by Soi Cheang, was acquired by Grindstone/Lionsgate for North American distribution.

Thale, directed by Aleksander Nordaas, was acquired by Xlrator Media for US distribution.

The We And The I, directed by Michel Gondry, was acquired by Paladin and 108 Media for North American distribution.

If you were a silly goose and missed these three movies at the Festival, look for them in theaters soon!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

BEIJING FLICKERS: Final Screening!

So it's Sunday. The last day of the Festival and the weekend. What to do?

Don't worry. There is one more screening of Zhang Yuan's Beijing Flickers.

Still not convinced? Screen Daily says Beijing Flickers is a "highly accessible and heartfelt expression of angst and alienation among the city’s less upwardly mobile young adults."

You can read the rest of their review here, but don't wait too long. You've got to get your tickets!

Sun., Sept. 16th, 9:30PM: TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4

MOTORWAY: Final Screening!

What better way to end the Festival--and your Sunday evening--than by watching the final screening of Soi Cheang's Motorway? There are car chases! Cops! Cops in car chases!

Keep in mind, though, that Motorway is not an open world video game, so drive carefully on the way home, people. Don't try to emulate the title of Cheang's last movie, Accident.

MOTORWAY Screening Time: Sun., Sept., 16th, 6:30PM: SCOTIABANK 9

THALE: Review

With Thale, Aleksander Nordaas's second feature, the director establishes himself as someone to whom we should pay close attention.

Nordaas isn't just the director; he's also the writer, editor, associate producer, and set decorator. His involvement with every aspect of this film results in a wonderful, evocative, fully realized piece of imaginative filmmaking.

Part of this is the film's subject matter: a mythical Norwegian creature known as a "huldra," in this case, one named Thale (pronounced "TELL-uh"). Although her mysterious and heartbreaking story forms the core of the film, it is actually a story about trust and friendship, but one that is neither corny nor overly sentimental.

Nordaas skillfully weaves multiple timelines and storylines without resorting to shopworn flashbacks, instead utilizing a tape-recorded voice as a quasi-narrator as well as dreamlike sequences that reveal more profound significance as the film progresses.

There is also an incredibly engaging contrast between Thale's mystical existence and the gruesome, yet matter-of-fact world of Leo and Elvis, two members of a forensic cleaning crew. Nordaas manages to make both worlds mesh beautifully with extreme close-ups, minimal non-diegetic music, but maximum diegetic sound. The result is a film that is remarkably intimate yet not gratuitous or exploitative.

Much of the credit for the film's enchanting yet ultimately realistic aura must be given to Jon Signve Skard and Erlend Norvold as Leo and Elvis, respectively. With their subtle inflections of voice and unique physical mannerisms, we are immediately drawn to these two; they feel like real people and not characters.

As the film's titular character, Silje Reinåmo creates an aura of genuine otherworldliness. She speaks no dialogue, conveying everything with her face and eyes, but she is not a cipher or a sexualized girl-woman. And although her fear of those who wish to harm her feels uncomfortably real, Thale is not a helpless heroine.

As both a fantasy and a slice of reality, Thale succeeds. It isn't a horror film, though there are horrors within it. There are also moments of laugh-out-loud humor, though it isn't a comedy, either. It is a little bit of all these things, but mostly Thale is an emotionally engaging film that will hold sway over your heart, and precisely when you least expect it.

SIGHTSEERS: Final Screening!

Quick, get out your favourite giant pencil and softest pair of erotic knit panties because we've got one final screening of Sightseers tonight. We don't think there's a single person out there who hasn't enjoyed this film. And if they haven't, well, then they're crazy. Duh. And they obviously don't appreciate the natural beauty of vistas. Or dead, bloodied people. If you know what's good for you--so help us--you'll put down that copy of the Daily Mail and get yourself to The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema for tonight's final screening of Sightseers.


HERE COMES THE DEVIL: Final Screening!

If you woke up this morning and thought to yourself, "Gee, I wish there was a scary, sexy, Mexican horror movie I could go see this afternoon," have we got the film for you.

Here Comes The Devil is a terrifying and entertaining account of what happens to a family after a son and daughter go missing for a night and then mysteriously reappear. Sure, you'd probably be over the moon if your missing children were found, but this family soon finds out that there is something not quite right with the returned kids. And by "not quite right" we mean "damn scary", of course.


ROOM 237: Final Screening!

If you weren't able to make it to the earlier screenings of Room 237, there's one more left. And what better way to spend lunch time than by delving into the manic conspiracy theories based on Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. This documentary is truly compelling and will have you shaking your head at some of the more "out there" ideas. Our personal favourite is The Window. (The window! The window! It's practically a character in itself! The windowwwww!) And don't worry if you haven't seen The Shining in a while--this author still hasn't seen it at all (ugh, totally unacceptable, right?), but she's seen Room 237 twice now and has enjoyed every crazed moment of it.

ROOM 237  Sun., Sept. 16th, 12:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 3

90 MINUTES: Final Screening!

Well, you knew this day would have to come eventually. And we're just as sad as you are that it's the last day of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. While some of us (ahem) have succumb to an evil, body-achy fever disease, the rest are still going strong. And if you're smart, you'll try to attend as many screenings as you can today. And if you're even smarter, one of those will be the final screening of Eva Sørhaug's 90 Minutes. This gripping, wrenching film explores the subject of domestic violence through three different characters, specifically focusing on the last 90 minutes of their lives.

Perhaps a little heavy for a typical Sunday morning, but we know you can handle it. You've got this, champ. Follow the link below to purchase tickets.

90 MINUTES  Sun., Sept. 16th, 11:45 AM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 2

Saturday, September 15, 2012

ILL MANORS: Final Screening!

One more day! Say it with me: one more day! Hopefully you're spending the closing weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival cramming in all of those movies you didn't have a chance to see during the week. And hopefully you aren't like this author and completely bed-ridden from an evil, body-achy flu. TIFF might be over for her (uh, me? It's sort of weird writing about myself in the third person...) but for you, valiant Vanguarders, you still have a day and a half in which to see some amazing films. Do it for her--er, me.

So what you really should be doing is catching this last screening of iLL Manors. This intense, cutting, British crime drama, fueled with an award-nominated soundtrack by the director (Ben Drew recording as Plan B), is a must see.

ILL MANORSSat., Sept. 15th, 9:30 PM SCOTIABANK 4

THALE: Final Screening!

Earlier this week, Toronto audiences were thrust into a mythical, Norwegian fantasy--complete with sexy naked ladies with tails. Say what? Yeah, you read right: ladies with tails. If you want to learn more about these creatures of folklore--known as "huldra"--you have one final chance today. Go check out this fascinating film for yourself later this afternoon. Excelsior!

THALESat., Sept. 15th, 4:15 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 7

THE WE AND THE I: Final Screening!

Last chance to hop on Michel Gondry's bus!  Gondry's newest film The We And The I has its last screening this afternoon. So get there early and sit with your best friend, or in the corner in the back by yourself.  Not that we Vanguardian bloggers have any experience with that...

THE WE AND THE I final screening: Sat., Sept. 15: 3:00 PM, Scotiabank 1

PAINLESS: Final Screening

The final screening of Juan Carlos Medina's Painless is today. It's this afternoon, in fact, which is a good thing because after Painless reveals dark terror from World War II in gorgeous, haunting imagery, a beautiful, sunny fall day might be just the thing to try to shake the shadows. Walk up Spadina. Eat some dumplings or noodles.  

PAINLESS screening: Sat., Sept. 15th, 2:45 PM SCOTIABANK 3

Friday, September 14, 2012

SIGHTSEERS: Talking About The Soundtrack

A huge part of the fun in Ben Wheatley's Sightseers is its terrific soundtrack, with many songs used as commentary on the hilarity and depravity within.

If you were sentient in the 1980s or even if you weren't, chances are you've heard Soft Cell's ginormous hit "Tainted Love." What you may not know is that it's a cover of Gloria Jones's 1964 song, written by Ed Cobb, which became an underground smash in the 1970s when Northern Soul was all the rage. Miss Jones was also later romantically involved with T.Rex's Marc Bolan, and performed on several of that band's albums.

But back to Soft Cell. The version used in Sightseers is actually the EP version, which goes right into "Where Did Our Love Go?" yet another cover, this of the1964 hit by The Supremes. Soft Cell may have covered well-known radio hits, but their own creations were considerably more salacious. (See also: "Sex Dwarf.")

Wheatley cleverly opens Sightseers with the Soft Cell version and ends it with the Gloria Jones version, a bookending that makes the phrase "tainted love" funny at first and then both funny and sinister later on.

Skipping ahead, past Francoise Hardy's "Amour Toujour Tendresse Caresses" (not on YouTube), there's another tune that became popular through a cover version, in this case, Vanilla Fudge's "Season of the Witch." You may know the Donovan version from 1966, but Vanilla Fudge's 1968 cover is perhaps creepier, especially in the context of Sightseers and Tina's witchy behavior.

It gets even weirder with Neu!'s "Lieber Honig" (translating to "come to me"). Even if you've heard Mrs. Miller or The Shaggs,  you may still be distressed by this track. As one YouTube commenter notes, " I love? Neu!, but this might honestly be one of the worst vocal performances ever... lol." It's definitely . . . something.

However, Neu! is a band that has serious diehard fans despite the fact that they were never hugely famous. You can find out more about them on their official website.

Next up is "Ah!" from Popol Vuh, another German group from the 1970s, considered one of the earliest ambient groups. When you think about the fact that Brian Eno was just making his first solo albums in 1972, the year "Ah!" was released, it kinda blows your mind.

Things take a turn for the classical and British with the stately "Nimrod" from Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations. Elgar was a British composer during the early 20th century, appointed "Master of the King's Musick" in 1924. So says Wikipedia.

There is also a performance of Henryk Wieniawski's "Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Opus 22" (that's a mouthful) with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Marat Bisengali on violin. This version is not on YouTube, but another one, featuring Rudolf Koelman and the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra is.

Not one to stay too serious for too long, Wheatley ends the movie proper with Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "The Power Of Love" which is absolutely ridiculous in the scene in which it appears in Sightseers. To quote Tina Turner, "what's LOVE got to do with it?"

Anyway, if you only know of Frankie Goes To Hollywood from those FRANKIE SAY RELAX T-shirts from the '80s or "Relax" from the Body Double soundtrack (and every radio station and club for much of the 1980s), you're really missing out

They were such a great band, and real pioneers in British pop music and particularly in gay culture (as were Soft Cell, actually). As a bit of an extra treat, you should definitely check out their cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run."

If you want to hear all this great music, you're in luck! There's one more screening of Sightseers on Sunday!

Sun., Sept. 16th, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA 7:00PM


Though the Festival is nearing its end (sniff sniff), there are still two more chances to catch Peaches Does Herself, or would that be "chances to catch Peaches doing herself"? Looks like Twitter is overwhelmed, overstimulated, and over the moon about the movie:

If you're looking for a good way to send Festival 2012 out with a bang, go bear witness to Peaches Does Herself.

Sat., Sept. 15th, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4 3:15PM
Sun., Sept. 16th, JACKMAN HALL (AGO) 4:00PM


Gorgeous cinematography, ghastly characters, and an incredibly cute dog. These are the three main things I took away from Sightseers. These things, and also this: Ben Wheatley is one twisted dude.

If we're talking twisted, I must also include Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, who portray Chris and Tina in Sightseers. The pair had already created these characters for live comedy shows and along with writer Amy Jump and Wheatley himself, have now brought them to film fruition. Unlike Dr. Frankenstein's creation, however, Chris and Tina are not misunderstood. They truly are despicable people. It's okay to think they're monstrous.

It's a big gamble to make the protagonist a bad person; it's an even bigger one to have two bad people. In truth, no one is very likeable in Sightseers, except for the dog. It results in a lot of howling laughter; some of it feels justified, while some of it will make you feel terribly ashamed. These conflicting feelings can take place one after another, layered repeatedly throughout the entire movie.

With no overarching conflict to resolve, Sightseers becomes even more dependent upon its characters. You may think you have them figured out in the beginning, certain of who you'll be rooting for and against, until the movie pulls the rug out from under you, watches mutely while you crack your skull on the floor, and then snickers.

As a contest of "who is the least repugnant?" it seems that Tina is the clear "winner," but she's no anti-hero like Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle or Alex from A Clockwork Orange, dysfunctional figures that elicit sympathy due to the terrible circumstances of their lives. Even with a manipulative harridan of a mother, Tina becomes more difficult to root for than Monster's Aileen Wuornos, and not just because Wuornos was a real person.

In this way, Sightseers is more brutal and cynical than your average horror movie because there is no point to the bad behavior. There's no message of hope or triumph of the human spirit, even though Tina is the Final Girl. Though she does undergo a change from the beginning of the movie to the end, it's not one that induces a wave of relief, only the grim realization that she's just become more awful.

Do not misunderstand: Sightseers is a ridiculously funny, can't-breathe-from-laughing so hard movie. Remembering the oversized pencil, the knitted crotchless panties, the line about Daily Mail readers, and the misuse of the word "muse" will make you laugh during the movie, and later. I think ultimately, however, the movie will have the last laugh, at our expense.

SIGHSTSEERS Screening Times:
Sun., Sept. 16th, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA 7:00PM

I DECLARE WAR: Final Screening

We've got the conch shell and have an important announcment to make, so listen up kids! Unless you've been away at glorious battle and haven't had time to check up on your Twitter feed, you know all about how I Declare War is being touted as one of the best Canadian films at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. Toronto audiences have been loving it, and for obvious reasons. Do we really need to list them? FINE, sheesh: kids, weapons, glorious war battle, juice breaks, betrayal, friendship...

Holy amazing, Batman! It doesn't get much better than that, does it? So now, Team Awesome Black Ops Murder Time, your mission--that you have to accept because you don't have a choice, so there--is to attend the last screening tonight. If you don't, we'll give the conch back to Piggy. He has just the best story about a post office mix-up he wants to tell you.

I DECLARE WAR Screening Times:
Fri., Sept. 14th, 9:45 PM SCOTIABANK 4

BLONDIE: Final Screening

Happy Friday, Vanguarders! You've almot made it. Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? The festival is coming to a close, which means you'll soon be able to sleep. But we can guarantee that by the end of next week, you'll be missing the festival like whoa. Yes, even the long ticket holder lines.

If you haven't quite settled on your early evening Toronto International Film Festival Festival plans yet, may we make a suggestion? We're going to assume you said "yes" and tell you that there is one final screening of Blondie tonight. The beautifully filmed Swedish melodrama follows three sisters and their mother during a special birthday weekend as they each struggle with their own demons and each others'. It will probably remind you of your family, except you just aren't that good looking.

The trailer and screening information is below.

BLONDIE Screening Times:
Fri., Sept. 14th, 6:15 PM SCOTIABANK 3

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another Look In ROOM 237

Named after the mysterious room in The Shining's Overlook Hotel, Room 237 is constructed out of fragments of film, Kubrick's and others, as interviewees seemingly haunted by the film share analyses of The Shining.

What struck me most watching this documentary is how well it represents the reinvention of film criticism on the internet, a sort of popular criticism as people on the internet look for more in the discussion of movies than whether or not they should see it, ratings on a scale, the avoidance of discussing any elements of a movie, and the film's awesomeness.

The other thing that I thought about for the first half of the movie was how in internet culture, in a world where any kind of analysis of a film is often dismissed as “reading too deeply” into a work, film criticism itself starts to resemble that other great internet past time: conspiracy theories.

In many ways, conspiracy theories are about looking at life as if it were a film or a book—finding order, structure and meaning in it, analysis in the context of an overarching theory, becoming a protagonist. And conspiracy theories aren't just a way of telling a coherent narrative about life and the world, they are also intensely analytical. They are a kind of hermeneutics, where people carefully look for signs and significance.

And it is easy enough to go back track from that kind of understanding of analysis and theory and watch Room 237 as if the interviewees were conspiracy theorists or, on the other side, watch  The Shining like the Zapruder film, footage of Big Foot or even the Dog Man. What is the significance of the numbers 237 and 42—of the Calumet baking powder tins or the jars of Tang? Are the changing patterns on a man's trousers or a disappearing chair continuity errors? And, again, I see some of the spirit of internet fan culture with a concern with continuity errors and the search for the creator and the creator's intention. (For my part, I think there aren't continuity errors in The Shining. Kubrick wasn't necessarily great with people, but he would notice a missing chair).

Room 237 shows how murky the space between film criticism and conspiracy theory--and possibly even fiction and hoax--can be.And it's intriguing that somehow the documentary parallels the film as it traces Danny's journey through the impossible space of the Overlook Hotel and then, at the film's halfway point, reveals the most unusual reading of The Shining, It's a reading that breaks through this theoretical border between more classical critical and conspiracy theory.

And, goddamn, if I don't want those maps of the The Shining's spaces shown in the documentary.

ROOM 237 Screening Times:
Thurs., Sept. 13th, 6:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sat., Sept. 15th, 5:45 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 2
Sun., Sept. 16th, 12:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 3

PEACHES DOES HERSELF: 5 Questions for Peaches

We decided to ask Peaches five questions about her new movie, Peaches Does Herself, which is playing at the Toronto International Film Festival. Here's what she had to say.

1. Why make Peaches Does Herself into a movie?

For all the lazy people who didn't make their way to Berlin to see one of the ten performances we did of the stage production.

2. What movies were your inspirations when transforming the stage show into a movie?

I saw Phantom of the Paradise and Tommy at a very young age and it's affected everything I do ever since.

I am also inspired by Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing.

Phantom Of The Paradise, 1974
3. Who do you want to go see the movie besides your already-existing fan base? 

Vladimir Putin, Todd Akin, and Rick Santorum.

4. What is the one thing you hope people take away after seeing Peaches Does Herself?

It's a feel good movie, really. I want people to feel empowered, get creative!

5. When are you going to take over the world?

I'm working on it!

Tommy, 1975

Thur., Sept. 13th, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA 9:00PM
Sat., Sept. 15th, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4 3:15PM
Sun., Sept. 16th, JACKMAN HALL (AGO) 4:00PM

ROOM 237: Decrypting The Shining

Those bookshelves are filled with theories about The Shining. Okay, not really.
You were probably scared the first time you watched Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. (If not, then what's wrong with you?) Or maybe, like me, you read Stephen King's book first, couldn't sleep with the lights off for weeks, and THEN watched the movie, but you were still scared.

But how many times have you watched The Shining? Enough to think that it is a parable for Nazi Germany? Native genocide? Kubrick's admission that he helped fake the moon landing? (That last one kills me.)

The Associated Press has a nice article on Room 237, the documentary which exposes the various conspiracy theories about The Shining. And whaddya know, Room 237 is playing at the Toronto International Film Festival!

As for all the theories about The Shining, Room 237 producer Tim Kirk says, "I'm really confused about it at this point."

Luckily, you don't have to be confused. Check out one of the screenings of Room 237 at the Festival. Feel free to share your own theories in the comments. Or share Calumet recipes (you'll have to read the AP article to understand that reference, though).

In the meantime, f you want to see even more artistic interpretations of The Shining, check out The Overlook Hotel. You know they say all work and no play. . . oh, you know.

ROOM 237 Screening Times:
Thurs., Sept. 13th, 6:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sat., Sept. 15th, 5:45 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 2
Sun., Sept. 16th, 12:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 3

ILL MANORS: Director Ben Drew Nominated for Mercury Award

On Thursday morning, the shortlist for the Mercury Prize was released. This prize is award to the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland so it's not just "kind of a big deal", it's a SUPER BIG DEAL IN SHOUTY CAPS. We here at the Vanguard Blog were beyond stoked to see that Ben Drew--who records as Plan B--has made the shortlist with the album that accompanied his Vanguard film, ilL Manors. Past winners of the Mercury Prize include PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand, Pulp, and the Arctic Monkeys. And we've got our fingers (and toes) crossed that our very own Vanguard film director will be added to that list. Are you crossing your fingers too? Good.

While speaking with Ben Kaplan in a National Post interview, he said that he recorded the songs to help fill gaps in editorial process. Drew might not have initially set out to create an award nominated album, but it's topped the charts in the UK and can only keep going from here.

You have one last chance to see this brilliant film with its award-nominated soundtrack. We suggest you clear your schedule for Saturday night and grab a ticket.

ILL MANORS Screening Times:
Sat., Sept. 15th, 9:30 PM SCOTIABANK 4

SIGHTSEERS: Twitter Round Up

If you knew what was good for you, you were at the Sightseers premiere the other night. And if you really, really knew what was good for you, you were at the second screening today. Because what is good for you is the watching the movie Sightseers. Well, that and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Also brushing your teeth. Yeah, that's good for you too. But, but! Way more important than something like "eating healthy" (pssh) is making sure you saw Sightseers. The packed house at the Ryerson premiere knew they were in for a treat when director Ben Wheatley introduced the film by saying there was a lot of f*cking in it. And dogs and vistas. You know--all the things that make a good film.

To those of you who apparently don't know what is good for you, you're in luck too because there is one more screenings of Sightseers during the festival. This is the best news since we found out that Yorkshire has the good kind of pasta sauce. See you at the last screening, Vanguarders.

SIGHTSEERS Screening Times:
Sun., Sept. 16th, 7:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

ROOM 237 Premieres Tonight!

Rodney Ascher's Room 237 premieres tonight at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at 6:00 PM. Head over to our previous post to see the film's trailer and poster.

Tickets can be purchased:
    • BY PHONE: 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433 (Toll-free) 
      • Festival Box Office; 225 King St. West
      • Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Box Office; 506 Bloor Street West

Further information about Rodney Ascher's Room 237 can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the Room 237 websiteTwitter account, and IMDB page.

ROOM 237 screening times:
  • Thurs., Sept. 13, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:00 PM 
  • Sat., Sept. 15, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 2 5:45 PM 
  • Sun., Sept. 16, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 12:00 PM


Peaches Does Herself premieres tonight at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at 9:00 PM. Head over to our previous post to see the film's trailer and poster.

Tickets can be purchased:
    • BY PHONE: 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433 (Toll-free) 
      • Festival Box Office; 225 King St. West
      • Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Box Office; 506 Bloor Street West

Further information about Peaches Does Herself can be found on the Festival website, as well as on Peaches' WebsiteTwitter account, and Facebook page.

PEACHES DOES HERSELF screening times:
  • Thurs., Sept. 13, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM
  • Sat., Sept. 15, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 3:15 PM
  • Sun., Sept. 16, Jackman Hall (AGO) 4:00 PM

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


For those of you who have not yet experienced Peaches, you're in for a treat! Here's a quick primer on some of her music, in video form, to prepare you for the spectacle of Peaches Does Herself.
"Relax": Science Fiction plus Peaches equals AWESOMENESS.

"I Feel Cream": This video is sparkly, glittery, and multicolored, just like the song. It also showcases what a gorgeous voice she has. Plus, Peaches raps are always amazing.

"Serpentine": Peaches gives us her version of the "found footage" trend, tearing off the layers (literally) to reveal serious attitude. She has the best hairstyles and outfits ever. WARNING: THERE ARE SWEARS IN THIS SONG.

"Sex (I'm a…)": Who else could do a better cover of Berlin's iconic song than Peaches? And she sings both the male and female parts. The video is fantastic, too.

For more Peaches videos, go to her Official YouTube Channel, Peaches TV.

Thur., Sept. 13th, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA 9:00PM
Sat., Sept. 15th, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4 3:15PM
Sun., Sept. 16th, JACKMAN HALL (AGO) 4:00PM

MOTORWAY: Car Chases!

Motorway promises to be an excellent car chase movie, which means it's a good excuse--and completely necessary--to revisit fine car chases of yore to get everyone in the mood!

Steve McQueen, spelled by Bud Ekins,  and Bill Hickman in Peter Yates' Bullitt.

The Seven Ups (1973) with stunt driver Bill Hickman in the Pontiac.

William Friedkin directed a lot of car chases, here's the one from To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

The Blues Brothers (1980) visit the mall in Evanston.

MOTORWAY screening times:
Wed., Sept. 12, 9:00PM:  The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Fri., Sept. 14, 12:30PM:  Scotiabank 3 
Sun., Sept. 16, 6:30PM:  Scotiabank 9

MOTORWAY: Super Actor Anthony Wong Chau-Sang


Actor Anthony Wong Chau-Sang returns to the festival, at least in cellulloid form, for Soi Cheang's car chase thriller, Motorway.  Wong plays an older cop who mentors a younger one, played by Shawn Yue, in driving like a mad man.

Wong has played a lot of experienced detectives and slick older Triad brothers in the last decade or so. He's acted in almost two hundred films and directed two. He's played in uncountable movies either directed by Johnnie To or produced by To's production company, Milkyway, which produced Motorway.  But he had an earlier career, playing psychopathic killers, weasely betrayers and just plain creepy guys. He got his start in Category III films, Hong Kong's version of NC-17 or X movies with graphic nudity, sex and violence.

His breakout role was in a Category III film based on a real serial killer, Wong Chi-Hang, Herman Yau's The Untold Story: Human Meat Roast Pork Buns starring--and written by--Danny Lee.

Wong won best actor at the 1993 Hong Kong Film Awards for his portrayal of Wong Chi-Hang.

He was the weaselly, traitorous friend of Chow Yun-Fat's Jeff in Ringo Lam's Full Contact (1992). (Please note the excellent flamboyance of Simon Yam Tat-Wah). He played a psychopathic Triad boss in John Woo's Hard-boiled (1992) was an unstoppable warrior thing in Johnnie To's The Heroic Trio and he made a clear plastic raincoat just plain icky in Benny Chan/Daniel Lee Yan-Kong's Black Mask (1996), costarring Jet Li and Lau Ching-Wan.

Then, in the late 90s, Wong started what almost seems like a second career of playing cool cops and gangsters. For example, Beast Cops(1998).

In Johnny To's The Mission, Wong plays a Triad brother who comes out of retirement to protect his former boss. But it's the character, the acting and the style that make The Mission so satisfying.

 In Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Infernal Affairs (2002) (remade by Martin Scorsese as The Departed), the shocking death of his character, Inspector Wong, influenced a whole slew of filmmakers who added similar deaths to their movies.

Incidentally, Wong's co-star in Motorway, Shawn Yue, also appears in Infernal Affairs.

And Wong returned in Johnnie To's  Exiled (2006)--nod to Sam Peckinpah's Westerns, allegory of the relationship between Wong's birthplace, Macau, and Mainland China--and sequel to The Mission in cast, if not in story. While it seems like just a fun action movie in the West, Exiled was banned in China for its implicit comparison of the Chinese government and a new gang moving in--I mean, given a Category III rating for Simon Yam's dapper Boss Feng making a gang sign while making an agreement to move in on new territory.

Wong also won best supporting actor at Taiwan's Golden Horse Film Awards for his work in Sylvia Chang's Princess D (2002)  And he probably should've gotten an award for mentoring the young and dangerous racers of Initial D (2005).

Like almost all Hong Kong actors, Wong has a musical career. Unlike most, his music has often been more experimental and  punk than standard CantoPop.

MOTORWAY screening times:
Wed., Sept. 12, 9:00PM:  The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Fri., Sept. 14, 12:30PM:  Scotiabank 3 
Sun., Sept. 16, 6:30PM:  Scotiabank 9


If you're familiar with Mexican horror films and are expecting something Gothic, spooky, and languorous from Adrián García Bogliano, you're in for a surprise. His newest film, Here Comes The Devil, is going to scorch your eyeballs and bathe them in blood.

Sex, sex, and more sex. And blood. And sullen teenagers. These aren't your average sullen teenagers; they're creepy. Creepier than your average sullen teenagers, that is.

There's a lot going on in Here Comes The Devil and to attempt even a plot synopsis would ruin the thrills. You might already know that the film is about possession, possibly the Devil, and missing kids who return to their worried parents as mysteriously as they disappeared, but who don't seem quite the same after they come back.

The devil in question isn't the one you're expecting, and that is a big part of what makes Here Comes The Devil so complex and fascinating. Ironically, Bogliano's visual style—lots of zooms, close ups, and intense deep focus shots—is straightforward and almost humorous. In the Q&A after the film's premiere at the Festival, he professed his love for Nicolas Roeg's style of filmmaking (Roeg is thanked in the credits) and noted the audience laughter during all those crazy zooms, which, along with some unusual sound design and a particularly emotional score, have led a few critics to dismiss Bogliano as an amateur, but he's way smarter than they think.

What such over-the-top cinematic tropes do is provide a lighthearted counterpoint to a deeply unsettling film. Yes, the handful of graphically violent scenes are going to shock you, even if you think you're used to movies where blood spurts at you like a busted fire hydrant. The most potentially disturbing scene in the movie, however, is not even shown; what's more disturbing is that it's hinted at early on, leaving the audience to wonder if the Devil was just finishing up what nature already started.

As the troubled parents, Francisco Berreiro and Laura Caro are outstanding. It's even more impressive when you learn this is Caro's first film role (she's a trained singer and had previously only acted in a soap opera). Their performances add some grit to an also-excellent screenplay with a believable narrative arc and convincing dialogue.

References to other filmsPicnic At Hanging Rock, The Entity—were obvious before Bogliano admitted they were an influence in that Q&A. I'll add two more: The Exorcist and (the original) Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but here they're both cleverly inverted.

You don't have to be a film buff appreciate Here Comes The Devil, but although it's (relatively) straightforward, don't expect to have all your questions answered at the end, either. This is one you're going to think about for a while after you leave the theater.

Wed., Sept. 13th, 7:00PM, SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3
Sun., Sept. 16th, 3:30PM, SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4


Here comes Here Comes The Devil, the new film from Argentinian director Adrián García Bogliano. This one is set in Tijuana, but it's not about a bunch of high school kids on Spring Break. Unless Spring Break includes murder, possessed children, and creepy peeping toms. (If it does, you should probably seek help.)

What sayeth Twitter? Here's a sampling?

Hurry hurry! Get tickets for the last two screenings! One of them is tonight! We will not be held responsible if Old Scratch takes his revenge on you for not seeing this movie!

Wed., Sept. 13th, 7:00PM, SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3
Sun., Sept. 16th, 3:30PM, SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4