Friday, 24 October 2014

CANADIAN SHORTS at the illustrious TORONTO AFTER DARK FILM FESTIVAL 2014 - Reviews By Greg Klymkiw - FOXED!, DAY 40, ROSE IN BLOOM, MIGRATION and HONOR CODE - 5 Terrific Canadian Shorts at #TADFF 2014

Screening a new Canadian short film before every feature is one of many deserved accolades to bestow upon the magnificent Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which proudly displays its unwavering commitment to the future of Canadian Cinema as well as its open embrace of the short film medium. Here are five Canadian shorts that tickled my fancy during the 2014 edition.

Every child's worst nightmare!
Foxed! (2013)
Dirs. James E.D. Stewart, Nev Bezaire

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Originally presented in 3-D, I was grateful that TADFF screened this gorgeously animated grim fairy tale sans my least favourite mode of projection. This dark, icky, terrifying world is imbued with both visual and thematic depth to such a degree that its eye-popping visuals are, to my eyes, exquisitely sumptuous in a non-3-D format. The film is a grotesque phantasmagorical portrait of a little girl kidnapped by evil foxes and forced to serve in a purgatory of hard labour. When she discovers a window upon her previous home and hearth, we're treated to a delectably creepy rendering of every kid's worst nightmare. The film should be marketed to parents as a tool to keep kids in their proper place.

Foxed! played before the feature film Housebound @TADFF14 THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars

What the fuck did all those animals do?
Day 40
Dir. Sol Friedman

Review By Greg Klymkiw

From here on in, whenever my attempts at repressing the loathsome experience of Darren Aronofsky's ludicrous, humourless, overblown debacle Noah aren't working as well as I'd like, I now have the perfect antidote. Aronofsky's Noah is the disease, Friedman's Day 40 is the cure! Sol Friedman's knee-slappingly hilarious and alternately vicious and moving (!!!) satirical look at activities on Noah's Ark is one of the most cleverly amusing cartoons I've seen in a longtime. If you've ever wondered WHAT THE FUCK was really going on within the bowels (so to speak) of that ark for 40 days and 40 nights, Friedman's quaintly perverse film provides more answers than one could ever begin to imagine on their own.

Day 40 played before the feature film Zombeavers @TADFF14 THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars

Kids see things they should NEVER see!
Rose in Bloom (2014)
Dir. Trevor Kristjanson

Review By Greg Klymkiw

When a young girl turns 13, there are many things on her mind which are confusing, thrilling and even kind of scary, but it's all part of what it means to grow up. Sadly, there are things they should never have to see, think about or experience. Trevor Kristjanson's super-creepy evocation of a child's birthday celebrations is splashed with a kind of rural, midwestern White Trash gothic as it follows a child during pre-party preparations, through to a mysterious ride into a murky, muddy, isolated flatland and eventually, back to a celebration where her poker face does not reveal the horror she's experienced, but the almost voyeuristic approach to storytelling reveals everything we need to know. It's ambiguous, but only on the surface. It's a tidy, twisted and painful short that will keep you haunted long after you've seen it.

Rose in Bloom played before the feature film Wolves @TADFF14 THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** 4-Stars

Aaron Poole
One of Canada's best actors
as a Buster Keaton corporate Samurai.
Honor Code (2014)
Dir. Pascal Trottier

Review By Greg Klymkiw

If honour could truly be found amongst the zombies working in the world of corporate fluorescent cubicles, it stands to reason that the best of its best could only settle differences as aggressively as they pursue filthy lucre to line the pockets of their CEOs. Pascal Trottier's clever and funny satire ascribes the most honourable methods to settling roiling hostilities twixt suited, brief-case-toting warriors who adhere to long-honoured traditions of the Samurai. Seeing these Masters of the Universe engaging in Toshiro Mifune-like bows, nods and sabre-wielding gymnastics is not only hilarious, but decidedly pointed. Aaron Poole is the challenger. With a Buster Keaton deadpan, he proves again why he's one of Canada's finest actors.

Honor Code played before Time Lapse @TADFF14 THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***1/2 3-and-a-half Stars

All of God's Creatures Must "Go Home."
Migration (2014)
Dirs. Fluorescent Hill
(Mark Lomond, Johanne Ste-Marie)

Review By Greg Klymkiw

They say that all living things are God's Creatures and if there is such a higher power of all-embracing love, then surely there could not be a more perfect example of his glory than the herd of sweet, intelligent and fun-loving animals in Migration whom we follow as they traverse a multitude of barren topographical regions tainted by humanity to get to where they belong. This might well be one of the best short films ever made, not just in Canada, but the world. Utilizing a gorgeous 8mm-like home movie aesthetic and imbued with a narrative, characters and theme that are as profound for our time as they will be for future generations, this is a film that deserves no less than being lauded as both a classic and a masterpiece. This is pure cinema and a magnificent tribute to the importance of its funder, Canada Council.

Migration played w/Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter @TADFF14