Posts by Phil Brown

Interview: Martin Donovan

We caught up with famed character actor turned first time feature director Martin Donovan about his filmmaking debut Collaborator, how his life and previous work led to this point, and why comedy never works unless you play it straight.

Beasts of the Southern Wild Review

Pitched somewhere between a southern gothic, a fairly tale, and a hard luck life childhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild is an undeniably striking feature directorial debut from Benh Zeitlin. It’s a low budget, independent movie with the scope of an epic, nimbly weaving between acutely observed realism and wide-eyed child’s fantasy. Unfortunately, that combination of seemingly contradictory elements is both the film’s strength and shortcoming.

Neil Young Journeys Review

Although still nothing more than just another concert film collaboration between icons Neil Young and Jonathan Demme, it still works largely on the strengths of the talents involved.

Interview: John Kricfalusi

In advance of his appearance this Saturday morning at the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International, we talked a great deal with famed animator and Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi about everything to working with Ralph Bakshi, his time with Mighty Mouse and The Jetsons, and some of his greatest struggles trying to get his vision across in the network system.

To Rome With Love Review

While not one of the more disposable films in the Woody Allen cannon, the filmmaker's latest To Rome With Love only manages to be a mildly amusing mishmash of four separate, mediocre, half-baked stories instead of just one really good one.

People Like Us Review

Obnoxious, absurd, and sentimentalized to the point that could even Hallmark greeting card writers vomit, People Like Us wastes of the talent of the people who made it and the time of the people unfortunate enough to watch it.

Dark Horse Review

The almost surreal man-child comedy/drama Dark Horse from divisive director Todd Solondz almost becomes his most accessible film since Welcome to the Dollhouse. Almost.

Interview: Makeup Artist Gordon Smith

We talk to the extremely candid Canadian makeup design artist Gordon Smith in advance of his appearance at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto this Wednesday about his groundbreaking work on Near Dark and the X-Men films, as well as his early career and his working with Oliver Stone several times.

The New Old: Cults of Personality

In this week's archival DVD and Blu-ray column, Phil Brown looks at three cult favourites that break genre expectations: Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave, Hal Ashby's Harold and Maude, and the John Wayne classic Hondo.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Review

Action packed, utterly hilarious, and sure to be divisive, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter balances thrills, outright silliness, and ludicrous revisionist history to create an experience where you'll either get the joke or you won't.

Five Broken Cameras Review

Oddly elegant for such a gritty project, the documentary Five Broken Cameras doesn't shed too much new light on the Israeli/Palestine conflict, but it will definitely leave audiences feeling angry and confused in some of the best possible ways.

Woman in the Fifth Review

A bit of an interesting failure, Pawel Pawlikowski's The Woman in the Fifth comes tantalizingly close to becoming a great thriller before losing the thread.

That’s My Boy Review

Thanks to woefully diminished expectations and a willing desire to offend anyone and everyone in its path, the Adam Sandler comedy That's My Boy still offers more for Sandler fans than his last handful of movies.

Interview: Randall Cole and Vincenzo Natali

We talked to director Randall Cole and producer Vincenzo Natali about their Canadian made found footage genre thriller 388 Arletta Avenue and the freakish ways that real life ended up imitating art.

Lola Versus Review

Thanks to the natural charm and grace of leading lady Greta Gerwig, Lola Versus fares better than a lot of similarly unrelatable NYC hipster fare.

Safety Not Guaranteed Review

Despite some narrative messiness and a somewhat miscast leading lady, the supporting cast, winning script and tone help make Safety Not Guaranteed rise above the trappings of a standard indie comedy.

Beyond the Black Rainbow Review

Purposefully trippy, artful, and really well done for a low budget debut feature, Beyond the Black Rainbow feels evocative of John Carpenter, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Daft Punk all at the same time.

Interview: Beyond The Black Rainbow Director Panos Cosmatos

Beyond The Black Rainbow is a deeply bizarre science fiction/horror film set in an alternate 1983 in a style of how that future was pictured in the 70s. First time director Panos Cosmatos recreates the aesthetic of late 1970s sci-fi with such mind-boggling attention to detail that it would be easy for an unsuspecting viewer to assume they stumbled onto a lost film from that era. We got a chance to chat with Cosmatos about the conception and production of his remarkable debut, as well as growing up in a house with the guy who made Rambo.