5 Best Releases From Ontario Creates Studio

The Spool Staff

Seven Veils

GenreDrama

Atom Egoyan's latest doesn't hide from academic sincerity. In the 2010s, Atom Egoyan fell by the wayside in my ‘auteurs to keep an eye on’ radar rather rapidly. The last film I saw from him, The Captive, starring Ryan Reynolds, proved such an impenetrable slog that I couldn’t go back to him for a while. I remember The Sweet Hereafter and Exocita being formative films of my adolescence. I count them among the first to push the boundaries of what cinema ‘was’ to me. The former, especially, had such a hypnotic visual and audial style tied to such a potent mythic metaphor – The Pied Piper of Hamelin – that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for long after.  I’m therefore happy to say that Egoyan’s latest film, Seven Veils, elicited a similar feeling. It’s a movie that has been on my mind nearly every day since seeing it at TIFF.  Continue Reading →

I Used to Be Funny

Rachel Sennott excels in a film that never rises to the level of her performance. Having already more than proven her comedic chops in the great Shiva Baby and the not-so-great Bodies Bodies Bodies, I Used to Be Funny finds rising star Rachel Sennott showing off her dramatic chops for a change. In this task, she succeeds. Alas, that’s more than can be said about the film as a whole. It proves to be little more than an angsty muddle that never quite seems to know what it is trying to accomplish.  She plays Sam, a stand-up comedian whose rising career stalled due to a recent traumatic incident. She’s been unable to return to the stage or do much of anything ever since. Instead, she just holes up in a house she shares with two loving but worried roommates. Then, one day, she hears a news report about a missing 14-year-old girl named Brooke (Olga Petsa). Realizing she may have been the last person to see Brooke alive jolts her from her malaise. Continue Reading →

Alice, Darling

SimilarLost in Translation (2003), The Big Blue (1988), The Party (1980), The Party 2 (1982),
StarringWunmi Mosaku,
MPAA RatingR

Alice, Darling may tout itself a psychological thriller in its marketing, but that leads audiences astray. This isn’t Repulsion or Mulholland Drive. Instead, it’s a startlingly accurate portrayal of domestic abuse. Continue Reading →

Crimes of the Future

SimilarMississippi Burning (1988), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Rope (1948),
MPAA RatingR
StudioIngenious Media,

As Marvel holds its iron grip on theaters, and Netflix seems determined to focus its dwindling profits on churning out generic action movies starring various iterations of Ryan Reynolds, cineastes lament the loss of “art” films, those outliers that, whether good or bad, generate far more lively after-movie conversation than Spider-Man ever could. And yet, right now we seem to be in the middle of a weird movie renaissance. We have the joyful weirdness of Everything Everywhere All at Once, the all too topical weirdness of Alex Garland’s Men, and the over the top spectacle weirdness of Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis. What better time could there be for David Cronenberg to come roaring back to form with some body horror weirdness in Crimes of the Future? Continue Reading →

Possessor

Brandon Cronenberg's second feature is a po-faced collection of genre tropes that wastes its cast and a modest sense of style. (This review is part of our coverage of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.) It’s about 45 minutes into Possessor when its most apt moment comes. A bunch of generically rich people in a generically glossy mansion turn to each other and give a toast. That toast, as it so happens, is “to boredom.” Now, while Brandon Cronenberg’s second movie in eight years isn’t a complete failure, it’s an empty one: a grab bag of sci-fi clichés with a few spurts of violence. The occasional gore gets your attention, sure, but that’s because it’s something on the screen. The production design from Rupert Lazarus does what it sets out to do, but that aim is to recreate older, better sci-fi movies. It’s just… there, and then the color palette generously shifts from pale to neon. These tricks might have an effect if they hadn’t been done so many times before. Continue Reading →