Graveyard Gypsies: photo editorial

“The thing about rising is we have to continue upward: the thing about going beyond is we have to keep going.” – Cheryl Strayed Here at TCP, we enjoy dabbling in the dark & twisty. Our latest editorial was born from a Bulgarian myth called Nestinarstvo, where locals dance on burning coals to celebrate life and death […]

Film review: Snowpiercer

Originally posted on Chris Hanna:

Snowpiercer

Like the train that is the film’s namesake, Snowpiercer is in constant motion.

The Korean production by Joon-ho Bong (The HostMother) stars an international cast that includes Chris Evans in the lead role, with Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Octavia Spencer, Alison Pill, Kang-ho Song, Ah-sung Ko, Luke Pasqualino in roles of varying importance. It’s Tilda Swinton, though, who steals the show. In her third appearance on our screens this year (she’s in Terry Gilliam’s Zero Theorem, but it’s unlikely to get a Canadian theatrical release), and after a career resurgence thanks to her magnetic White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia in 2005, it’s clear there’s not much Swinton does wrong. In Snowpiercer, she’s Mason, a snobby bourgeois who dons a preposterous bob, fake teeth, expensive furs and colourful dresses and suits. She first graces Snowpiercer about 15 minutes in and her Mason…

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Film review: Begin Again

Originally posted on Chris Hanna:

Begin Again Keira Knightley Mark Ruffalo

Like a great song, Begin Again is all about the build-up.

It’s a long road of meh, though, until the electrifying, invigorating, chill-inducing third act, which almost makes up for a choppy beginning and sometimes dull middle bit. Keira Knightley stars as Greta, a Londoner in New York with her beau, next-big-thing-in-music Dave Kohl (a surprising Adam Levine). She writes songs with him, sometimes for him, and they’re madly in love until she hears one of his new tunes and deduces that it’s about another woman. Disgruntled, she sings about loneliness at a dingy club later that night, where Dan (Mark Ruffalo, phenomenal as usual), drunk as a skunk, imagines Greta being backed by a pianist, violinist, cellist and drummer. It’s magic, he thinks and hopes.

Director John Carney is no stranger to movies about musicians, having helmed the Oscar-winning Once, like Begin Again only in that it features…

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Film review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Originally posted on Chris Hanna:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The most surprising thing about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is that Andy Serkis’s incredible motion-captured performance is only the third best thing about the Matt Reeves film.

Surprising because Serkis’s Caesar, an ape born of a chimp who received experimental Alzheimer’s medication, was the centrepiece of the 2011 film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which successfully rebooted the series to critical and commercial success (a $481 million worldwide box-office haul in its run) and made Dawn inevitable.

The visual effects are king in Dawn. Really, without them, Serkis’s performance – and actors Toby Kebbell, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval and Judy Greer, whose work as apes was also motion-captured – would be inconceivable. The explosions, CG set pieces and the many scenes of destruction (that fire…) were all breathtaking. Then there’s the score by Michael Giacchino, an Oscar winner for Pixar’s Up score, that is…

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Emmy nominations: Nine biggest surprises

Originally posted on Chris Hanna:

Emmys

One of the perks of living on the east coast is not having to wake up at ungodly hours for awards announcements.

This morning, at 8:30/5:30 PT, the nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced by Carson Daly and Mindy Kaling. You can check out the full list of nominations here.

There were the predictable nominations for HBO’s True Detective, and Breaking Bad‘s final season (the two shows will be up against each other in the drama series categories, making those especially contentious), and FX’s miniseries game is unmatched (FargoAmerican Horror Story are up for several awards). But there were still some unnerving oversights – and some pleasant surprises – by the Television Academy. Here are nine.

1. Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Universally praised for her work on BBC America’s Orphan Black, Canadian Tatiana Maslany did not get a nomination in the…

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Film review: Only Lovers Left Alive

What is the traditional vampire narrative like? Well, Bela Lugosi’s famous Count Dracula was a dangerous and scary being, aroused by the purity of virgins. Thirsty for blood, vampires have been depicted in fiction and film as sexual predators with porcelain white skin and sharp fangs. Their inhumanity has been a key factor – vampires are not humans, they’re something else entirely.

Leave it to Jim Jarmusch then to create vampire heroes who are not only human, but also have a penchant for music and literature. And they dress like rock stars. Starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, Only Lovers Left Alive is a mood piece more than it is a film. It follows a couple, fittingly named Adam and Eve, as they battle the inconveniences of being vampires in this day and age: not enough supply of good quality blood due to the bad nutritional and drug habits of “zombies” (what they call humans), hiding their identities, and bemoaning the days when being a genius didn’t equate fame.only-lovers-left-alive02

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Photo of the week

rainboots De Maisonneuve street bike path, Montreal 

It’s been a tough week in Montreal – for ladies, gentlemen, pets, bikes, picnics. First, there was a whisper of spring… quickly followed by a whole lot of unfortunate rain. Naturally, we’ve come up with a way to appease our unhappy feelings towards mother nature’s unjust, summer-suppressing hand. What is it, you ask? Well, an expression. “April showers bring May flowers.” You’ve probably heard it before. Our photo of the week is dedicated to the quick and swift elimination of the “showering” process. Here’s to hoping it’s a short one.

Photo & write-up by Sophia Loffreda

Twitter @sloffreda

Film review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Originally posted on Chris Hanna:

Captain America Winter Soldier_Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson

Always a groomsman, never a groom.

Even in his own film, Captain America plays second (or third or fourth) fiddle to more interesting characters. I will say that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a marked improvement over 2011′s The First Avenger, and it’s the best post-Avengers Marvel film, though Iron Man 3 and the Thor sequel didn’t set the bar quite as high as they could and should have. The Winter Soldier is more fun and also attempts to paint Cap a.k.a. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as a more independent and confident superhero this time around. It mostly works, but directors Anthony and Joe Russo have surrounded Captain America with characters more charismatic than him. The story in The Winter Soldier never feels entirely Captain America’s. He’s doing things for Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and SHIELD and with Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson, as magnetic as…

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Film review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s movies are like carefully crafted homemade plays, from his very first Bottle Rocket (1996) which blended gangster film and Catcher in the Rye in a unique, heartwarming way, all through his latest, the sweet and decadent The Grand Budapest Hotel.

royal-tenenbaumsOne could argue that the prolific director has a penchant for stories about loneliness and the search for identity is something that underlies all of his work. The protagonists in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Darjeeling Limited (2007) all come from dysfunctional families with strong parental figures, that either neglected or abandoned their children, leaving them to ponder who they are and where they belong.

In The Grand Budapest Hotel, the two main characters, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes in fine comedic form), the concierge, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy, both turn out to be orphaned, or with no family to speak of. Their bond comes from their mutual loneliness, perhaps, and they are given purpose by the hotel which in its heyday in the 1930s welcomed characters from all over Europe.

The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-UK-Quad-Poster

Perhaps Anderson’s most elaborate effort ever, The Grand Budapest Hotel is also his kitschiest, elevating his work to pure mastery, because a Wes Anderson film is more a demonstration of craftsmanship than anything else. It combines baroque inelegance with historical allusions and stereotypes about the Old Continent, and it does so with multiple narrative and technical devices such as jumping back, forth, and sideways in time and occasional stop-motion animation, among others. Anderson depicts Europe the way it is seen in the American imagination: as never changing and made up of sensual pleasures and pastries, strict manners and well-calibrated speech. Continue reading

Review: House of Cards – Season 2

Originally posted on Chris Hanna:

House of Cards Season 2

It took me about 10 days to watch the second season of House of Cards, but more than a month to sit down and write about it.

It was less exciting, less scandalous, and more slow-moving and into itself. About midway through, after I’d devoured eight episodes in the three days following its Valentine’s Day première, I needed a break. Finishing the season felt like a chore or, worse, a workout: you put in the time and got a small reward every few, torturous sessions.

I liked the first season of House of Cards but do remember a lull in the middle episodes. Some have written that on closer inspection, even the first season of the show isn’t strong. It has elements of a great show, but it isn’t one. I disagree. I was under no obligation to watch it but did – and quicker than I care to admit –…

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