3 items from 2015
Looking at Paul Gross’s two most recent films as writer-director, 2008’s World War I drama Passchendaele and this month’s Afghanistan pic Hyena Road, you might think he has a master plan; some reason he’s made two military movies in a row. That’s not the case.
“After doing Passchendaele I had no interest in ever doing another war film because they’re just so phenomenally difficult to execute,” he says over the phone from his Toronto home.
Gross, whose big break as an actor came playing Constable Benton Fraser on TV’s "Due South" in the 1990s, was asked to go to Afghanistan to visit the Canadian troops in 2010. Once there, he realized there was a story he wanted to tell.
“It was just mesmerizing to me, I’ve been in a lot of weird places, but never in an active war zone. It was so complicated and so strange, »
- Marni Weisz - Editor, Cineplex Magazine
Going UNDERGROUNDEverybody and their dog, it seems, feels this off imperative to try to identify common themes in the handful of festival films they (we) (I) see in a given year. It's the Ghost of Hegel, I suppose, demanding that we make sense of our times by referring to some Zeitgeist. (Zeitgeist? Isn't this just as likely to Strand the FilmsWeLike in some oh-so-precious Music Box, to be unearthed years later by members of some as-yet-unassembled Cinema Guild? But I digress.) There may or may not be tendencies running through this year's feature selections, and if there are, that could have as much to do with the people who selected them than with any global mood. But there does seem to be a generalized turning-inward, with filmmakers making works about themselves and their immediate lives, the cinematic process, and the very complexities of communicating with other human beings. There are »
- Michael Sicinski
The very first pilot I watched on this job was for a CBS drama called "Ez Streets." Created by Paul Haggis — then best known for creating "Due South," but most commercially successful for having helped develop the "Walker, Texas Ranger" pilot — it was essentially an HBO drama before such a thing existed: dark, dense, ambitious, heartbreaking, and addictive. It even featured Joe Pantoliano playing a sociopath gangster years before he won an Emmy for it on "The Sopranos" (and was, to my mind, better as Jimmy Murtha than as Ralphie Ciffaretto). It was also the first time I got my heart broken in this job. Despite rave reviews from me and my more established colleagues across the country, "Ez Streets" was Doa: CBS pulled it off the air after only two episodes had aired, and though most of the remaining episodes would air the following winter, it was just running out the string. »
- Alan Sepinwall
3 items from 2015
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