It’s TIFF time already and time for me to review a whole bunch of woman-hating films so you don’t have to. Last year I reviewed TIFF films that portray fierce women in leading roles, now it’s time to review the films that can’t even pass a simple test like The Bechdel Test. Read and enjoy! (or hate it, I don’t care, I’m just a blog).
Don’t forget to check out all my VICE articles, and all my many other publications, at the official Christine Estima dot com!
Check out my latest schlepp’ for VICE, this time about all the amazingly badass beautiful broads in TIFF films this year. Writing this piece was so fun because I got to attend the pre-TIFF press screenings for two weeks. I see a lot of bad movies so you don’t have to (and some good ones). There was only one film I saw that I didn’t include in this piece, simply because there were no women in it — Son of Saul — but holy fuck, I highly recommend that film as well.
I used to cover TIFF every year as a critic, but I haven’t done it since 2011 when I was still writing for Exclaim! It was so difficult seeing like 5 films a day, and having to file your reviews by like 7am the next morning, and then doing it all over again! I swore after that year I’d never cover TIFF again, but I guess old habits die hard.
Anyway, enjoy, comment, and share! Happy TIFF’ing.
As always, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com where you can find all of my published works and more.
Sorry for not blogging all week, I’ve been in Montreal seeing family (and doing some graff hunting of course!) so expect regular blogging to resume next week!
Happy weekend, hombres.
I haven’t been much of a film reviewer this year because I was uber busy with other projects (hello finishing my novel!). But I like to freshen up my critiquing skills every now and then. Click here to read my review of To Rome With Love, directed by Woody Allen and featuring an all-star cast (Allen, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Roberto Benigni).
Little trivia for you: did you know that Penelope Cruz learned how to speak Italian for her role in Don’t Move? I saw that film when it came out and found it highly leotarded. But hey, she can still rock the tongue!
Film opens today! Enjoy!
It’s too bad that horse wasn’t nominated for an Oscar … what’s its name?…. oh yeah…
Click on the above image to read Exclaim Magazine’s Top 10 Films of 2011. My film review of SHAME made it to #4!
FUCK YEAH FASSBONER.
I wrote a completely new critique of Shame, different from my review originally published back in December … this new review speaks more to the lasting effects of Shame on audiences and why it garnered a spot in the Top 10.
If you’re not feeling clicky, here’s the new review below.
my Shame film review was also published in the Dec/Jan issue of Exclaim!, on the stands now, free across the nation.
Click on the above image to read my film review of Shame, published in Exclaim Magazine. It opens today, and I would highly recommend NOT bringing a date to this film. It is SO not a date movie. However, as my review says, it’s teetering on brilliance. It’s beautiful, sad, provocative, loaded with depravity, and visuals that will leave you speechless. Enjoy!
i went to the morning press screening for Shame yesterday, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. i tried to review this film during TIFF but all the international press packed the house and there was no room for me in the lightbox. boo.
and this film is a perfect example as to why i’m such a huge fan.
Michael Fassbender gives me a Michael FassBoner.
i’m glad carey mulligan is getting more adult roles as well. i remember when she was just a giggling piece of flotsum in Pride & Prejudice, in the background to Keira Knightley. then suddenly, Keira Knightley was in Carey’s background in Never Let Me Go.
of course, i can’t give you my full review here (there’s a moratorium on pre-release reviews), but when my review is published, i’ll link it here, ‘natch.
suffice it to say, you will want to see this film when it is released in December. i’m predicting Oscars. it’s sicko-brooding-mesmerizing-depravity-undertones-beautiful-cocksure-tinted-symphonic-fuckery that will WOW you until your wow-er is sore.
As I say in the review, after watching it, I wasn’t able to stop thinking about it. That was over a year ago now.
For some reason, the DVD is only available for purchase in Ireland (it’s an Irish film and Irish co-production) and they can’t ship overseas. So recently I downloaded the torrent online.
I can’t stress the magnitude of force this film exacts on your heart. While watching it (and even long after the credits have rolled), you sit there feeling as if someone has just taken a butter knife to your heart, and scraped out the inside until it is left raw, seething, and rigid to the touch.
I feel like I have been through what the character Samira has been through. I have never been brutally assaulted, I have never been interned at a concentration camp, nor have I ever been through a war (although I have been to Bosnia-Herzegovina and other warzones). But this isn’t about the specifics of war, rather about much larger behaviours that affect women.
At any moment we can be the punching bags for aggression, or the object of desires. And we’re struggling to understand the difference.
Watch the film.
Click on the above image to read my Exclaim film review of Like Crazy, starring Anton Yelchin & Felicity Jones, which opens today. I always enjoy a good love story, and now that the season has turned into a colourful and crisp autumn, now more so than ever.
I saw the trailer in the cinemas a few months ago, and was actually really moved just by the trailer, so when my editor offered me this review, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on some of the love affairs I’ve had in my life, all of which seem to be mirrored in this film. Also, for whatever reason, a large majority of my ex’s have been Eastern European and therefore look redonkulously similar to Yelchin. Go figure.
Watch the trailer below:
i’m a little late in the game for this one. Mr Brainwash (aka Thierry Guetta, the notoriously bad graffiti-poseur who unwittingly became the subject of Banksy’s Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop. read my review of it here.) came to Toronto during TIFF to launch a gallery exhibit. i was covering TIFF for one of my regular freelance gigs (so much movie garbage aka review fodder), and then i embarked on my epic bucket list trips to Vancouver and subsequently Peru, so i didn’t get the chance to see the exhibit when it launched.
it’s at Gallery One in Yorkville, and now that i’m back, i thought i’d check it out, but i refused to go inside, instead sticking to the wheatpastes he erected outside the venue.
there’s a reason why it’s called STREET art. by having the work outside, it immediately becomes site-specific and affects its surroundings. it provides a critique and comment on the area and thereby the community. gallery exhibits are removed from cultural contexts and placed on white walls you’re not supposed to touch.
it’s also democratic. street art is free and enjoyable by anyone who stumbles upon it. there is no admission fee, and there’s no gallery attendant whose shoes cost more than you make in a year. it’s not intimidating.
while gallery work (and even some street art) is curated, it’s the curate process that can, in a word, censor street art. it can be prone to editing, vanilla-ization,and the political provocation inherent in the majority of graffiti can be muted.
and the greatest thing about street art is that EVERYONE is welcome to launch an attack on the streets.
imagine if we were all welcome to comment on our society in creative, clever ways without being subject to the approval of the municipal government first?
i originally posted this here. i took mr brainwash’s blasé saying and added a woody allen quote to (frankly) make it better.
unfortunately, even Banksy noted in the documentary that, after the clusterfuck of Mr Brainwash, he doesn’t think EVERYBODY should make street art anymore.
Guetta’s work is trite, derivative, lacking in unique voice and style, and doesn’t express anything beyond the realm of Hallmark cards. as Banksy said, Guetta took Warhol’s pop culture motif and made it even more meaningless.
talk about being a monkey.
“Girl you’ve got balls……I have been following your blog for a few months….Very enjoyable, I like your attitude about what you want to do……Clear one thing up, I am not hitting on you, although if I was 40 yrs younger it would be a good idea………I like looking at blogs of young people and especially attractive young ladies, as you are…..Much better than young men……Most of the people I go to lunch with are young ladies. I like being around young people…….And a young attractive young lady with balls is very entertaining.
I really was going to write you a while back when you were talking about being bullied by a classmate. Scott I believe……Christine I have no idea what you looked in grade school but if it was bad you sure grew out of it….Just because a person has tits and a vagina does not automatically make them attractive to me…..You are on fine looking lady…..I saw a pic of your Mother, I am older than her, so again this is not interweb sex . I am just an old shit and wanted to say hi and how I enjoy watching your life on the web……
I saw you mention something about a health issue…..I hope it is nothing serious…..Have you posted about it?
Just keep on being you and having a good life……………….
-(redacted for privacy), Kansas, USA
fanks dirty old man! i have a soft spot for dirty old men, it would seem. they’re sweet, in a pervy kind of way. they fall in love with me, i turn them into friendly father figures who can soothe me about my life when it seems in shambles, and everybody prospers.
TIFF is coming up, and I’ve been invited to so many advanced press screenings that I’m debating whether or not I should throw myself face-first into the fest like I did last year. Last year was amazing, I reviewed the festival for FOUR different media outlets, including the CBC. I met some amazing people in the industry, attended some hoity-toity parties, saw a record-breaking 35 films (including The King’s Speech, where I knew from the press screening that it would win the Oscar), and feasted on the visual stimuli flashing through a darkened cinema. Static flicking off the beams of light.
So why the debate?
Mama’s got a book to write.
* * *
sneak with me as i disappear into the back alleys. keep your feet pedaling, the bike leaves no footprint. the night will swallow us like a python, opening its mouth, and then holding its breath.
all the kids in the ghetto call me Don chris estima.
gauzed in red, the colour tearing through my flesh, this painted city belongs to me.
we discover art.
and you will know i was once here
by the looks thrown over my shoulder.
Rob introduced me to Poser, who does these smooth rabbits all over town. Now you won’t be able to walk around without noticing them. I love how the rabbits are holding spraypaint cans whilst almost saying “Eyyyyhhhh, sup gurrrrrl.”
that single BlogTO tweet sent my blog traffic batshit crazy through the roof, kiboshing all previous records. fanks hombres!
hello new munchkin readers! enjoy my neurotic blogjaculation.
relax, i’m hilarious.
now shut up and show me your tweets.
rob takes a decent graffiti snap.
rob and i snuck around the back alleys for about four hours, well past midnight. darkness creeping in on secrets.
first obvious target: graffiti alley, then up the ossington alleys, then through kensington market. i think our next destination should be the rail path which runs through the junction. i know there’s some amazing shit there, my camera is gagging for it.
does anybody else think this looks like a concentration camp?
zejko? that sounds yugoslavian . . . maybe serbian or croatian or bosnian. i wonder who this guy is.
political figure? martyr? writer? philosopher? just some dude?
andy warhol just rolled his eyes.
ha, i love this little gas-can fucker.
oh hello mr elliott. we meet again.
i’m surprised to still see some of the Andrew posters around, they’re quite old (in terms of street art shelf life), so this was a rare find. however, considering the way Andrew died, tagging the poster with a mouthful of blood and a speech bubble with “liberal lies” is rather upsetting.
what kind of tagger writes “liberal lies” anyway? i’m sorry, is Andrew’s tragic story offensive to your conservative graffiti ethos? fuck off with that shit.
my last post detailed some Tokyo tags, and now we know who he is. Rob found him on facebook, so we have a face with a (fake)name now. Sup guy.
i also recently blogged about the posters and stickers that have gone up around queen and spadina, commemorating the kettling and brutality that occurred last year during the G20 summit. the stickers say “our civil rights were lost here.” the posters show sombre photos of the attrocities done against peaceful toronto civilians.
the “tokyo” is almost gone. i wish rob ford was rubbing away too.
this headless frowner reminds me of our unhappy hipster run-in while rob and i took a break at 416 Snack Bar. some loud hipsters with massive, square, black-framed specs, and nostrils brimming with white coke, shouted at me from across the table to smile.
i turned into them and gave a fatal grimmace.
coked-up hipster goes, “that’s the worst smile i’ve ever seen. why won’t you smile for me?”
to which i leaned in and coo’d, “I’m not going to be your monkey.”
and at that, his balls crawled back up inside his body.
from what i can gather here, someone stenciled “supreme” then someone with a spray can tagged it into “supremely stupid” but they spelled “stupid” wrong…. studpid? stucpid?
this freaked the shit out of me, because in the darkness of the alley, you couldn’t see all those details. you could see a bit of the face. my flash revealed the bleeding ghost.
some daytime shots from the back alleys in parkdale.
is that elvis presley or chris cornell?
when horses are this lame, they shoot ’em.
hi c-saw, i will respond to that question with this.
good call, speaking of bikes …
i’ve got more THE GOOD BIKE finds!
a basket filled with a potted plant, untouched!
AND it’s bolted to the ground. you ain’t stealing this, fuckfaces.
the photo of me at the top of this post is of me taking this photo….
wow, that’s so meta.
and the moral is: the easiest way to make guys lose their shit is to have yours together
pick up a (free) copy of the August issue of Exclaim, already on the streets nationwide, my film review of Beats, Rhymes, and Life: the travels of A Tribe Called Quest is published within….
microphone check, 1, 2, what is this?
i took a really long walk the other night. Sitto (that’s an arabic colloquialism for “granny”) passed her driving test, the woman is 89, and i don’t want her joyriding, so i hijacked the car, parked it on brunswick, north of bloor. then walked, and walked, and walked.
no headphones, no music. i just wanted to walk and listen to the streets. like a Weimar flâneur (flâneuse?). i ended up at queen and lansdowne in the heart of a hot parkdale. 5 kilometre walk under the gauze of an unforgiving night and an easy breeze.
Baudelaire originated the term “flâneur.” He also once said that “the sole pleasure in love lies in the knowledge that one is doing evil.”
there was a bench outside cafe taste so i sat there for a long time, watching people walk by with falafels in hand. on their bikes, ringing bells like summoning good fortune. girls in white messes.
i never go anywhere without paper and a pen. ideas strike and memories fail more often than not. i started jotting down small notes.
in the heat of the city at night is when i curate the jumble of my head.
as i’m writing, half a dozen sauced blokes tried their hand with me. at this age, i have learned that the best way to navigate unwanted attention is just to ignore it. also at this age, the attention i’m getting is from men easily ten years younger than me. a man with a belly elbowed his mate and said loud enough for me to hear, “she’s a brazillian beauty, no doubt she’s brazillian.”
ignoring gave way to disbelief when a twig of a kid said, “damn gurrrrrl, you is fine” or something along those lines, to which i snorted, “how old ARE you, 12?”
his friends laughed their ass off at him as his 12-year-old balls crawled back up inside his body. in actual fact, they probably hadn’t even dropped yet.
i think i heard him say something like “no i’m 18 with a big dick,” but that was inaudible over the sound of his embarrassment.
“just remember, you’re a girl, you’re not funny, smart, interesting, or any of those things…..if he asks you a question, don’t panic. he already thinks you’re an idiot.”
just because a woman is walking alone on the street doesn’t make her a street-walker.
in my head, i’m still a little girl, looking to adults to tell me how the world is.
i walked back to the car, another 5 kilometres. dundas west is a quiet portuguese strip that is kind of lovely, reminiscent of brooklyn, raw and untamed. men who look like all of my uncles and cousins said things to me in portuguese that i understood and made me hate them.
i think i’ll walk in another direction next time.
“Power to the people, we don’t want it, we want pleasure. And the TVs try to rape us, and I guess that they’re succeeding. Now we’re going to these meetings but we’re not doing any meeting. And we’re trying to be faithful but we’re cheating.
50 kilometres on my bike, dying from the heat, having to stop to take proper water breaks before my body capsized. vicki took me to the park lawn spit in etobicoke, and snapped this photo of me. i look weird, like i’m trying to swallow something. we sat on the rocks and could hear caribana music from across lake ontario, the water provides echoes. an ant bit my arm and i wailed.
she took me back to her place and made me a chickpea/rice/egg/onion salad mixup thingie with guacamole-lime dressing. she went to wash her hands, and by the time she came back, i had cleaned my plate.
you will find me from the trail of dead organs i leave behind.
one of my besties is going on holiday for 3 weeks, and i’m house-sitting for her whilst she’s gone. i house-sat for her earlier this year, i get to hang with “sid fishous” again. jerkface figgy who likes to freak me out, but i could never stay mad at him. the place is on st george & bernard, north of bloor….3 weeks in the annex during lovely august, with my bike and a penchant for writing down the thoughts that keep me trapped in my head.
my ears are like book-ends.
woody allen once said, “love is the answer, but while you’re waiting for the answer, sex raises some interesting questions.”
i seem to have a lot of answers that just result in more questions.
it’s july and the only way to make it better is to wear a polynesian flower that cups my hair … to whisper decomposing secrets into my hands.
at the Vice Magazine Photo Show this past week, all the crunked up hipsters in kicks and half-shorn heads showed up sweaty, accosting the free beer and pizza, spilling puddles on the floor, and ignoring the homosexual nazi photography on the wall. i never leave home without my chinese fan, and ended up cooling off some coolies while lauren and i tried to have a proper conversation.
there was a bitchin’ DJ pumping music but no one danced.
outside, cooling off with iPhone photos and seeing the ossington strip regulars that i peripherally know, a man in thick rimmed glasses accosted my journo-convo with a chip on his shoulder, with a disdain for the veiled honesty music critics espouse in order to obtain a regular paycheque.
i wasn’t interested in arguing, but lauren still had the capacity to evoke erudite shutthefuckup-isms.
the next day, a few doors down, a blonde debonnaire named JT tried to pick me up as i was walking by The Port. i wished it had been at The Red Light. he was hosting an event that night, and told me to swing by at 11pm. although he was lovely to look at (blonde curls and dangerous lips), he presented himself on a silver party platter covered in garbage that would surely result in more questions.
i’m doing the safety dance with my body these days.
* * *
what’s that i see?
rob ford and stephen harper eating the citizens of a high rise, before some schmuck with no respect for other people’s street art scrawled “bitch move” over it. if you want to see the finished piece before it was defaced, watch this video!!
i have been informed from the project coordinators behind Fordzilla that there will be no more wheatpastes of this theme, so go out and find all the fordzillas in the city and enjoy them while you can!
on spadina road, at kendal avenue (my old street).
near lansdowne and college.
last year, during the G20, i skipped town, flew to NYC, had a manhattan fling and was tossed.
looking back, i can’t decide if it was worth it. i think i would rather have been kettled at queen and spadina, then locked up for 36 hours, than sitting on the steps of union square at 14th street, crying.
happy birfday val!
lauren and i went to a rooftop luau in the clubbing district, full of suits, bikini clad entrepreneuses, scientists, vegans, DJ’s, pieces of pineapple and leis with condoms attached (if you’re gonna get lei’d, protect yourself).
i had a long conversation by a roasted pig on a spit with a scientist who will one day be an astronaut. he swooshed his hair around and told me about the tapestry of his life. he had all these stories about wake-n-bake driving to calgary and The Filth pulling him over in manitoba only to battle it out while trippin’ and getting a mere fine. he also told me about his ambitious goals, going from a 7-time undergrad reject to running his own company at the age of 29. he’s off to chile next, and i’m off to peru. south america and macchu picchu. i listened intently, drinking words like i was swallowing my past, tasting future.
present tense, a guy at the bar shoots green grapes up in the air, and i catch them in my freakin’ gob.
the cn tower glowed green like a rave (disco) stick.
lauren says all wealth is relative.
she’s right. i’m not rich in money, but i’m rich in character.
i’m going to the press screening of Beats, Rhymes & Life, the A Tribe Called Quest documentary, because i’m reviewing it for one of my freelance gigs. i’ve already seen the flick when it premiered at Hot Docs, but a refresher is much appreciated for critique purposes.
all you guys acting out your own hip-hopera need not fret, you can see it before it opens on july 29th. there will be an advanced screening here in toronto on the 21st, tickets are $20 and will go fast (if they’re not already gone). peep the deets below, playa.
and watch the trailer for the documentary here:
if they were to name a rock musical after me right now, it’d be Headcase and the Angry Bitch….
….all evidence to the contrary.
I made this poster myself, can I get a whut-whut up in dis hurr bitch?
Alliance Films is proud to present the upcoming release of their new film Submarine, a dramatic comedy about a 15-year-old named Oliver Tate. Oliver has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life. Submarine is produced by Ben Stiller and features some rockin’ tunes from Alex Turner, lead singer of mega-rock-band Arctic Monkeys (personal fav, download their new song “don’t sit down cos i’ve moved your chair,” it’s made of wizard juice)!
Alliance has partnered with The Spadina Monologues to give you a chance to win passes to the advanced screening of Submarine on Thursday, June 9th, before the rest of the planet gets a glimpse. As a film critic, I’m always talking about what it’s like to attend press screenings, advanced screenings, and reviewing films. Now is your chance to have the film critic experience. Oh, and did I mention that I will also be at this advanced screening with you? You can tell everyone you’re on a date with me. I won’t deny it. Swearsies.
How To Enter:
I have 19 double passes (yes, that means you AND a friend) to give away. All you have to do comment in the comments section below, and tell me why you want to see this film. But be sure to be creative, because 4 lucky winners who impress me the most with their mad-comment-skillz will also get a copy of the novel Submarine by Joe Dunthorne, which the Independent Review calls, “the sharpest, funniest, rudest account of a periodically troubled male teenager’s coing of age since The Catcher in The Rye.” That’s a pretty glowing review. I never give such high praise (I’m a tough book critic as well). Make sure in your entry to include either/or/both your email address and your Twitter handle so I can notify my lucky winners!
Details and Contest Rules:
Contest closes Wednesday June 8th at noon. All entries must be received by then. No duplicates will be accepted. Imma be tough up in hurrr.
The advanced screening is Thursday, June 9th at Cineplex Odeon Varsity & VIP Cinemas in Toronto (55 Bloor Street West in the Manulife centre). Prize does not include transportation to the venue. The screening begins at 7pm sharp and no latecomers are admitted (overbooked to ensure capacity, and all that). I will be at the cinema for 6pm to hand out the passes and prize packs, but will only stick around until 6:30pm (I wanna get a seat too, ya know). So arrive early!