October 24, 2014

Cinemist: 'Birdman' Forever or (The Unexpected Virtue of Pretension)

"Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige."
Alejandro González Iñárritu Michael Keaton | Birdman

Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel) has until now told very serious, usually interlocking, stories about grief and the cyclical nature of humanity without much joy or humour. In his latest film, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a departure for the director, Iñárritu partly sheds his past filmography's style while taking on the explicit criticism of it head on with an assertive attempt at satirical humour.

October 23, 2014

Cinemist: Brad Pitt Brings the 'Fury'

"Ideals are peaceful. History is violent."
Brad Pitt David Ayer | Fury

Writer (Training Day) turned director David Ayer (End of Watch) represents some of the best and worst tendencies in contemporary American filmmaking. He often tells messy, ultra-masculine crime stories involving corrupt authority figures and blurry morals as he trades in L.A. cop dramas for a fictional story about an American army troupe in 1945 Germany during the dying days of World War II in Fury. Brad Pitt dials back his inner Aldo Raine as "Wardaddy", once again leading a band of misfits fighting Germans in the titular named tank.

October 21, 2014

VIFF 2014: 'Listen Up Philip' – A Real Piece of Work

Jason Schwartzman Elisabeth Moss | Listen Up Philip

Listen Up Philip is in many ways the ultimate film for writers, particularly entitled, academically minded asshole ones with a healthy dose of literary arrogance. Filmmaker Alex Ross Perry crafts Jason Schwartzman as the perfect portrait of a narcissistic novelist, incapable of change, who uses people and feeds on destructive relationships. Perry's distinctive voice is so confident and authoritative with a vintage sheen, shot on 16mm film with handheld cameras and devoid of any modern technology, in its timeless poeticism.

October 20, 2014

TEDxVancouver 2014 x Tilt x Queen Elizabeth Theatre

2014 TEDxVancouver: Tilt conference at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 18, 2014.

TEDxVancouver 2014: Tilt | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

After taking last year off and the arrival of the official TED2014 conference in town, the independently organized TEDxVancouver returned, bringing along its 2,500 attendees (mostly newcomers and first-timers) for a full day of stories and inspiration. This was my fourth straight TEDxVancouver and it was both familiar and new in its high ambition and broad appeal (despite being a little all over the place at times), hoping to "Tilt" themes and shift thinking about human innovation.

October 16, 2014

From Hip to Coffee x Gene Cafe x Mount Pleasant

Coffee break at Gene Cafe on Main Street in Mount Pleasant on October 14, 2014.

Gene Cafe | Mount Pleasant, Vancouver

I love coffee shops. There's something about the lounging about vibe, hanging out, and caffeine in the air that appeals to me. Fortunately for me, Vancouver has many cafes of different varieties from chains to independents to pass the time in.

October 13, 2014

VIFF 2014: Violence and Jazz – Miles Teller Gets 'Whiplash'

"There are no two words in the English language more harmfull than good job."
Miles Teller | Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most dramatically violent films of the year. The way writer/director Damien Chazelle uses jazz to express uncompromising creative artistry is exceptional. Miles Teller tempers his natural charisma to give a fluidly determined and sympathetic portrait of a young musician obsessively trying to master every aspect of playing the drums. His performance in the face of J.K. Simmons as that of a tyrant and musical disciplinarian is superb.

October 9, 2014

VIFF 2014: Industry Interview – Filmmaker Jay Duplass

"Make movies, not meetings."
Filmmaker Jay Duplass | VIFF Industry Conference 2014

Along with his brother Mark (who's also also a prolific actor and stars on The League), Jay Duplass is the co-writer/director of films like Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home. The Duplass brothers broke onto the scene with their Sundance and SXSW hit, The Puffy Chair. Along with a group of other upcoming indie filmmakers, the two focused on inexpensive digital video productions and lo-fi films involving naturalistic dialogue and amateur actors (commonly referred to as "mumblecore"). Jay was in town for the Vancouver International Film Festival, speaking at the VIFF Industry conference on Totally Indie Day talking Crossing Over: From Indie to Studio on his experiences in filmmaking.