Our predictions for Best Picture

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Phantom Thread are this year’s frontrunners

The time has come to catch last-minute screenings and fill out your Oscar ballots before the Academy Awards air on Sunday, March 4.

This year’s competition for Best Picture is stacked with nine nominees. While the Oscars and awards season in general tend to be racked with controversy, this year’s scandal has less to do with the nominees and more to do with the treatment of women and minorities in the film industry, culminating in the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements.

The Academy can pat themselves on the back for acting on said controversy early this year. Firstly, by not inviting alleged sex offenders to attend the show and, secondly, by nominating one woman and one person of colour in the Best Director category. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will do due diligence when it comes to selecting this year’s Best Picture winner.

There is a certain type of film that gets awarded Best Picture every year, and while it isn’t always easy to define what type that is, it makes it simpler to narrow down which films won’t win. This is why the beloved Lady Bird and important Get Out are among those that can be ruled out of the competition this year. Despite their nominations and support from general audiences, they don’t quite fit the mold of a typical Best Picture.

Here’s a breakdown of the nominated films most likely to win.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Every year there seems to be at least one film in the Best Picture category that doesn’t resonate with general audiences—at least not right away. This year, that film is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The film follows Mildred Hayes (played by Frances McDormand) who, frustrated with the stalled investigation into her daughter’s murder, paints three billboards in order to get the sheriff’s attention. While met with mixed reviews from critics, the film has swept the Best Picture category at every awards show so far, and it will likely earn the same recognition at the Oscars next week. But does it necessarily deserve to? Three Billboards certainly tells a haunting story about humanity and family, and it’s rich with powerful performances by veteran actors, which is right up the Academy’s alley, making it most likely to bring home the golden statue.

The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is a director known for making emotionally charged and visually beautiful films, and he handles the strange premise of The Shape of Water with a special tenderness. The film is set during the Cold War in 1962 and sees a lonely, mute cleaning lady (played by Sally Hawkins) form a special bond with a top-secret science experiment—a creature that is part fish, part human. While it hasn’t received as much backing as Three Billboards, del Toro’s film is a favourite among film critics. He is poised to take home the award for Best Director, so that could mean his film will receive the same honour.

Phantom Thread

If there is a dark horse in this race, it’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. The simplistic, yet luring and imaginative tale of romance might just succeed in overtaking previously mentioned frontrunners for the win, but it could also get lost in the shuffle. Set in 1950s London, the film follows acclaimed fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) as he meets and falls in love with Alma (played by Vicky Krieps), a young waitress. As Alma takes on the role of muse, assistant and somewhat of a mother figure, the imbalance in their relationship becomes more perturbed and, eventually, takes a toll on her. In Phantom Thread, Day-Lewis is at his most vulnerable, while newcomer Krieps holds her own against an acting legend. This is Anderson’s best work to date, and while it’s unclear if it will take home Best Picture (even though it absolutely should), you can count on it winning Best Costume Design.


Christopher Nolan’s war drama is exactly the kind of film you’d expect to see in the Best Picture category. Dunkirk tells the story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain, Canada and France, who were cut off and surrounded by the German army during World War II. The film is overwhelming in its quiet, subtle beauty and features many breathtaking moments with little dialogue. It should win based on cinematography alone, and it has picked up awards for editing and sound. While there is a slight chance the Academy will surprise us by awarding Dunkirk a win for its visual elements, it seems unlikely against livelier, more Oscar-friendly counterparts.

Call Me By Your Name

Sadly, the film that captured many hearts when it premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival has lost momentum leading up to the Oscars, despite being the favourite to win for many months. It’s unfortunate, because the film is a major accomplishment for director Luca Guadagnino and lead actors Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Set in northern Italy during the 1980s, the film follows 17-year-old Elio (Chalamet) as he spends his summer falling in love with 20-something Oliver (Hammer). The romance unfolds with the crushing honesty that comes with first love, and Guadagnino makes sure to include everything from the sexuality to the awkwardness. Slated to become a cult-classic among teens and lovers of romance dramas, it doesn’t seem as though Call Me By Your Name will be bringing home any major awards this year, and that’s a shame.


Time’s up for sexual assault in Hollywood

As more voices speak up, the social movement takes centre stage during awards season

If you watched the Golden Globes on Jan. 7, you’ll know that time is up for sexual misconduct and gender inequality in Hollywood.

On Jan. 1, an open letter signed by more than 300 women in the film industry announced Time’s Up!, an initiative which aims to end sexual assault, harassment and pay disparity in the workplace.

The initiative came as a response to The New York Times and The New Yorker exposés about the decades-long sexual assault allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Since the Weinstein stories came out, according to the L.A. Times, “a powerful person has been accused of sexual misconduct at a rate of nearly once every 20 hours.”

The Time’s Up! movement was in full force at the Globes last Sunday night, with nearly everyone in attendance wearing black in protest of sexual misconduct. Conversations about female empowerment and gender inequality dominated the red carpet as well as some acceptance speeches.

Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Oprah Winfrey were among those who delivered impassioned and rousing speeches. In one glorious moment, which followed Oprah’s encouraging words, Natalie Portman called out the blatant sexism that exists within Hollywood when she announced the Best Director nominees by saying, “here are the all-male nominees.”

With Time’s Up!, the women of Hollywood are taking great strides to illuminate gender inequality and sexual misconduct in the workplace. After watching the Globes, however, it’s clear there is still plenty of work to do.

While the women were leading the charge, the men stayed relatively silent. Sure, most of the male attendees sported Time’s Up! pins, but they were hardly asked to speak about the movement or why they support it. Unlike the women, none of the male winners brought up issues of sexual harassment or inequality in their acceptance speeches.

Last year, I wrote about how two women accusing Casey Affleck of sexual harassment would not thwart his chances of winning the Oscar for Best Actor. I was right; Affleck won that accolade at nearly every major awards show in 2017, including the Globes.

While it’s tradition for the recipients of the previous year’s Best Actor and Actress awards to present to the opposite sex the following year, Affleck did not attend the Globes. Although not formally announced, he was replaced on stage by Angelina Jolie and last year’s Best Actress winner, Isabelle Huppert.

It was a nice, albeit quiet, gesture on the part of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the committee of film journalists and photographers who nominate and decide the winners each year.

However, the HFPA chose to honour other problematic stars, including filmmaker Kirk Douglas, who has long been rumoured to have “brutally raped” actress Natalie Wood when she was 17 years old, according to the online media company Gawker.

In addition, when James Franco took the stage to accept his award for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical, The Breakfast Club actress Ally Sheedy tweeted (and later deleted) the following: “James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/TV business.” We can’t say for certain what Sheedy was insinuating with her tweet but, since the Globes aired, five women have come forward with their own accusations against Franco claiming sexual inappropriateness in the workplace. On Jan. 11, the L.A. Times spoke to the women, which included actresses Franco has hired for his films and students from his time as a professor at USC, UCLA and CalArts.

However, it seems Franco is getting the Casey Affleck treatment—just a few hours after the L.A. Times story broke, he won Best Actor in a Comedy at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Earlier in the week, Franco denied the accusations, which at that point had only been mentioned on Twitter, during appearances on both The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Since the women came forward, Franco has cancelled several scheduled events and was a no-show at the Critics’ Choice Awards.

While it might seem shocking that Hollywood continues to allow allegedly abusive men like Affleck and Franco to succeed, it’s hardly a surprise. Just look at Woody Allen.

In 1992, Allen’s adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow alleged that he molested her when she was 7 years old. Farrow has penned several essays calling out the actors who have continued to work with Allen despite her testimony, and has been an active voice in the Time’s Up! movement.

The allegations against Allen have been an “open secret” in Hollywood since the 90s, much like those against Weinstein were, but that never stopped Allen from continuing to make films and work with the top actors in the industry.

His most recent film, Wonder Wheel, stars Justin Timberlake, who sported a Time’s Up! pin at the Globes, and Kate Winslet, who has been one of Allen’s biggest defenders.

Allen has also worked with the likes of Selena Gomez, Cate Blanchett, Colin Firth, Blake Lively and so many more. They all must have, at the very least, been aware of the accusations against Allen and chose to work with him anyway. Some, like Ellen Page and Greta Gerwig, have expressed their regret about working with him, but most have remained quiet.

Because, in 2018, working with an alleged pedophile and molester still gives an actor prestige.

Honouring and awarding men who have such severe allegations made against them at an awards show where everyone is protesting that very thing is disturbing. Doesn’t all the aforementioned effort go to waste when the actresses protesting sexual misconduct are forced to share the stage with an accused harasser/abuser?

The Globes may have seemingly banned Affleck from attending, but the Academy Awards are known to be far more traditional, so there is a chance we’ll see Affleck present at the Oscars when they air in March.

If that is the case, what can be done? Should we all change the channel the second Affleck appears on our screens? Should the audience boo as he makes his way over to the microphone? Would it not make more of a statement if the likes of Casey Affleck were formally banned from attending awards season altogether?

Time’s Up! is but a small step in an greater battle against sexual harassment and gender inequality, but cherry-picking who is held accountable and who gets a pass is not going to enact any change.

We must also leave room for the possibility that more stories will come out between now and March. Stories about those who have championed the movement since the beginning; stories about the very people who sported Time’s Up! pins at the Globes. If these stories emerge, those with the power to do so will have to respond quickly and accordingly.

Hollywood is not entirely there yet, and it looks like it still has a long way to go.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth


Auteur directors deliver stunning feats

Call Me By Your Name and Wonderstruck make their bid for awards season at the Festival du nouveau cinéma

While major film festivals like the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival have always welcomed the biggest names in the industry, the Festival du nouveau cinéma gathers a more modest crowd. However, that doesn’t mean the festival’s programming fails to match up with its competitors.

This year’s lineup included a range of high-profile films, including Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell.

In addition, two of the most highly anticipated films, Call Me By Your Name and Wonderstruck, screened during the festival’s final weekend. Let’s see if they lived up to the hype.

Timothée Chalamet (left) and Armie Hammer star in Call Me By Your Name, a coming-of-age love story.

Call Me By Your Name

When a film receives so much praise across the board, it might be tempting to dismiss it as overrated. Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is not such a film. Starring Armie Hammer and newcomer Timothée Chalamet, the film is a sexy coming-of-age tale that explores first love, self-discovery and heartbreak.

Set in northern Italy during the summer of 1983, the film follows Elio (Chalamet), a boyish and brooding 17-year-old who, while vacationing with his academic parents at their summer villa, becomes transfixed with 20-something Oliver (Hammer), an American grad student who arrives to work with Elio’s father for six weeks. Elio and his parents are intellectuals—they’re all perfectly trilingual and read Joseph Conrad while lounging by the pool—and so is Oliver, so he fits right in.

As Elio and Oliver get to know one another, they are simultaneously perplexed by and drawn to each other. This creates a push-pull relationship in which neither of them are entirely sure the other is interested. But the chemistry between them is palpable, and their desire for one another is beautifully exemplified against the sumptuous backdrop of the Italian vistas they explore together.

Elio experiences all of the typical highs and lows of first love. Yet his heartbreak is amplified to a new level, perhaps because their relationship is never fully realized and their romance is somewhat forbidden. The more entangled Elio and Oliver become, the more devastating their eventual goodbye feels.

Call Me By Your Name is a true masterpiece, and it’s hard to imagine Guadagnino ever topping it. It’s safe to say the film is a shoe-in for awards season, with both Hammer and Chalamet poised to receive tons of accolades for their crushingly honest and sensitive performances. This is absolutely not one to miss.

Call Me By Your Name hits theatres everywhere on Nov. 24.

Wonderstruck follows two young children on separate journeys of self-discovery.


“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” This quote is oftentimes the only source of comfort for young Ben, the main character in Todd Haynes’ brilliant film, Wonderstruck. After Ben loses his mother in a car accident, and then loses his hearing when he is struck by lightning through a telephone, he decides to run away to New York City in search of his father, whom he has never met.

Ben’s story, set in 1977, is told simultaneously alongside that of Rose, a young deaf girl who lives in New Jersey in 1927. Rose, like Ben, is also trying to escape a reality she cannot fathom. Told in black-and-white, silent-film-style flashbacks, Rose travels to New York City to free herself of her strict father and reunite with her absentee mother. As Rose and Ben’s journeys unfold side-by-side, they happen upon the same places, but it’s unclear how the two are connected.

Haynes is known for invoking strong performances from his actors, and he does so beautifully here with lead actresses Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams. Williams gets little screen time, but she pulls off her wistful, loving character well, and you miss her when she’s not on screen. Moore, on the other hand, delivers yet another emotionally rich and mesmerizing performance without ever saying a word. The film’s young cast, comprised of Oakes Fegley as Ben, Jaden Michael as Jamie and Millicent Simmonds as Rose, provide a sweet purity and sense of excitement that only adds to the film’s magic. Wonderstruck isn’t Haynes’ best work, but it will certainly strike a chord with audiences—there won’t be a dry eye in the theatre once the film ends.

Wonderstruck is currently playing in Montreal theatres.


Artfully showcasing unsettling stories

Highlights from the Festival du nouveau cinéma include striking films from two Canadian filmmakers

The Festival du nouveau cinéma wrapped up on Oct. 15, following two weeks of showcasing some of the best new films of the year. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes

It’s difficult to describe this film as anything but disturbing and violent, but it’s not a bad film by any means. Directed by Québécois filmmaker Simon Lavoie, La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes will stay with you long after you’ve seen it due to its graphic depiction of family abuse, neglect and assault. Teenaged Ali (played formidably by Marine Johnson) was raised to believe she was a boy. The film shows her living in isolation with her brother and volatile father, who beats them senselessly any time they step out of line. Although the film is shot in black-and-white, Lavoie still manages to convey the gruesome details, which only elevate the film’s morbidity. Ali’s father seems haunted by a life-altering event, told only in flashbacks throughout the film. In present day, Ali is not only unaware she is a girl—she also doesn’t understand that her brother impregnated her when he raped her in the woods. When a sympathetic man from a nearby town explains who she is and what happened to her, Ali takes control of her life and fights for survival. But when the truth of her family’s secrets are finally revealed, it feels like a punch to the gut. Despite the heartbreaking revelation, the film ends with a glimmer of hope, making it worth all Ali had to endure.

Sweet Virginia

Jon Bernthal (right) and Christopher Abbott star in Sweet Virginia, a chilling and cinematic thriller.

There is nothing sweet about this film, and that’s what makes its title so effective. Set in a small town where three brutal murders have just taken place, Sweet Virginia tells the story of Sam (played by Jon Bernthal), a tortured ex-bull-rider who now manages a motel, and his friendship with Elwood (Christopher Abbott), a deranged hitman who inserts himself into Sam’s life. Rounding out the main cast are Rosemarie DeWitt and Imogen Poots as Bernadette and Lila—two disgruntled widows harbouring a few secrets of their own. Elwood books a room at Sam’s motel shortly after murdering three men in a local diner, two of whom are Bernadette and Lila’s husbands. Sam befriends Elwood, not knowing who he is, and the two strike up a rapport. The tension between them rapidly builds as Elwood’s motives—and Sam’s connection to one of the victims—becomes clear. Bernthal impresses as the quiet, kind-heart Sam, but Abbott is the true standout here. He showcases Elwood’s increasingly maniacal and sociopathic behaviour through subtle gestures—such as his ever-present and ever-creepy groan—along with an off-puttingly upbeat candor. While the ending is rather predictable, the audience is still jolted out of their seats when the film reaches its climax. Moreover, the film is visually stunning. Director Jamie M. Dagg managed to capture interesting features even in the most mundane settings, such as a motel room or the front seat of a car, through non-traditional camera placement. If you’re into crime thrillers set in moody small towns, then Sweet Virginia is for you.


The Netflix Original film you should see

I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore will keep you laughing while on the edge of your seat

While Netflix has a dedicated “originals” section, it can be hard to differentiate between what is actually good and what is just completely unwatchable (ahem, The Ridiculous 6).

Despite the previously mentioned Adam Sandler flop, Netflix Originals has delivered mostly solid content, and this is best showcased in their original television series. Shows like Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things have been among some of the most-watched television series in the last couple of years. Since 2015, Netflix has begun to develop and release their own original films, and the recent I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore, Macon Blair’s feature film debut, is one to watch.

I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore is so much more than just a mouthful of a title. Starring Melanie Lynskey—arguably the queen of weird indie films like Happy Christmas and The Perks of Being a Wallflower—it tells the story of Ruth, a depressed alcoholic who, after her home is burglarized, teams up with her troubled neighbour (played by Elijah Wood) to track down the thieves.

The dark comedy had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival back in January and won the festival’s Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition. It also received tons of critical acclaim before premiering on Netflix on Feb. 24, with Collider describing it as a “satisfying story of two people who have decided the only way to behave in a mad world is to be a little mad.”

Lynskey easily gives one of the best performances of her career as Ruth, a pushover with no direction in life. However, Ruth is given new purpose when her home is invaded and her laptop and late grandmother’s china collection are stolen. But she doesn’t care so much about the stolen goods. She describes the robbery as a “violation.” She can’t get past the fact that a stranger was in her home. She doesn’t feel safe anymore.

We see Ruth overcome her people-pleasing ways as the story progresses—whether it’s cutting in line at the grocery store or angrily questioning a potential suspect, the traumatizing experience of having her house broken into forces Ruth to take charge of her life.

The film keeps you hooked as you watch Ruth and Tony (Wood) on their vigilante endeavours, and also features a killer soundtrack. With an array of eccentric characters dressed in flannel shirts and 70s-inspired mobster garb, and a bloody ending you won’t see coming, I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore gives new meaning to the term “weird little indie film.”

Most of all, I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore has a certainty in its uniqueness that makes it truly enjoyable to watch. If this is what Netflix’s original films have to offer, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to come.


Why is television important right now?

Television critic Emily Nussbaum discusses television’s impact and the not-so-certain future of the small screen

When compared to films and novels, it’s easy to look at television as the lesser medium of storytelling. Yet, Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic Emily Nussbaum argued for the importance of television due to its longevity and ability to connect with audiences in ways that movies and books can’t. Nussbaum took part in the “Future Small Screen – Talking Television” conference, Concordia’s second Thinking Out Loud event of the year held in collaboration with the Globe and Mail.

“It’s frustrating to hear that a TV show is ‘like’ a great movie or novel. As if television series aren’t as artistically ambitious as movies,” said Nussbaum. “They are episodic, they span over a few years, they have specific genres, and they have a unique relationship with their audiences.”

Nussbaum mentioned one formative series in her career as a television critic—Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “I really developed a fanhood about it. It was sad to me that nobody was talking about Buffy with the same seriousness as something like The Sopranos,” she said. “We tend to overvalue TV shows that don’t look like TV shows.”

The conference, held at Concordia’s D.B. Clarke Theatre, also featured Concordia media professor Joshua Neves, who had a completely different view of the subject. Rather than looking at television as an art form, Neves focused on the ways television is used as a medium and how those methods reflect society.

“I’m interested in how television is used in other media, like in art galleries and museums or in films when someone is watching TV or a film—the idea of a box within a box,” Neves said.

It’s impossible to talk about the importance of television today without mentioning the emergence of streaming services, or the option to pause and rewind. These new additions have not only changed the way people watch TV but they have also changed the way TV shows are made, according to Nussbaum.

“TV is not the underdog anymore,” said Nussbaum. “It began as a mass-commercial form where everyone would sit around the TV with your family, and you consumed what was on the screen and then you forgot about it afterwards. Now, TV series are stories that are really happening.” While Nussbaum expressed her nostalgia for the television of her childhood—when everything was live and less cinematic—she acknowledged that, especially within the last five to seven years, there has been a significant change in television as a medium. Series are now made knowing that people will pause and rewind, whereas before they were made with the idea that they would be viewed live and only once. She added that it will continue to ebb and flow in the years to come.

Photo by Ana Hernandez

Her biggest fear? “Self-driving cars, because then everyone will be watching TV all the time.”

Moderator—and Globe and Mail podcaster—Hannah Sung’s final question for Nussbaum and Neves was how they would describe the current state of television in the history books years from now.

“That’s if we make it through the next five years,” Nussbaum joked. She hesitated to answer the question, however, without bringing up the recent election of Donald Trump, who refuses to acknowledge climate change as a real issue. “[We] won’t get to describe television if we don’t make it through a global environmental crisis,” she said.

Nussbaum’s comments garnered several laughs from the audience, but most just nodded in somber agreement.

The conversation took a lighter turn during its final minutes when the audience members got the chance to ask questions. One member inquired about the everchanging fine line between film and television. Nussbaum gave a poignant answer:

“With movies and books, you make them or you write them and then you release them, and people see it and respond to it afterwards,” Nussbaum said. “But with television, you have more of a long-term relationship [with the audience] and the show changes in response to its audience.”

Nussbaum said the future will see more content creators star in their own shows, what she referred to as the “auteurist blend of creator and star” genre (see: Girls, Atlanta and the British dramedy Fleabag).

Should those shows be on cable networks or should seasons be released in full on Netflix? Nussbaum said that, while the latter is great for binge-watching, “Netflix makes television look more like film, and I think there’s a loss that happens in that.”

The aforementioned loss being that when episodes are released on a weekly basis, the wait between episodes allows more time for audiences to digest and discuss them. When a show’s season is released in full, the viewing experience becomes more singular and less about the community-feel viewers get when watching, or live-tweeting together.


Swept under the red carpet

When it comes to scandals and sexual assaults, mum’s the word at the Academy Awards

Awards season is well underway, but critics and fans alike are already predicting who will take home the golden statuettes in February when the 2017 Academy Awards airs.

From Damien Chazelle’s La La Land to Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, the films and performances being considered for Oscar nominations this year are quite diverse. However, the controversies surrounding some of the potential nominees are being ignored by the Academy, as well as the media.

The Oscars are not new to scandal—just last year, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite dominated social media platforms after the Academy neglected to nominate any actors of colour, prompting many to boycott the show. This year’s debacle? Two potential nominees have been accused of sex crimes and no one seems to be talking about them.

Casey Affleck—brother of Ben Affleck and frontrunner for the Best Actor award for his role in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Seahas two separate sexual harassment allegations against him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In addition to Affleck, director of the critically-acclaimed drama The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker and his longtime co-writer Jean McGianni Celestin were accused of rape back in 1999. According to entertainment website Vulture, Parker was acquitted of all charges, while Celestin was sentenced to two to four years in prison. He ended up only serving a little over a year, according to Vulture. Last summer, entertainment magazine Variety was the first to report on the allegations, just as they started promoting their film, which features—SPOILER ALERT—a scene in which a female character is raped.

Critics and moviegoers are questioning how they can watch the film knowing the director has been accused of rape and frankly, so am I.

If news of these allegations seems shocking, you’ll be sad to learn that the ignorance of sex crime allegations against male actors has been going on in Hollywood for decades.

According to the New York Times, in 1992 actress Mia Farrow, who was then married to revered director Woody Allen, alleged that their daughter, Dylan, told her she had been sexually assaulted by Allen. That same year, it was revealed that Allen was in a relationship with his step-daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, who was just 19 at the time. They married several years later.

The claims haven’t hurt Allen’s career, though—at 81, he has written and directed nearly 100 films and has worked with some of the best actors in Hollywood.

Last month, a 2013 interview with The Hollywood Reporter with director Bernardo Bertolucci resurfaced in which he confirmed that the use of a butter stick in the rape scene in his film Last Tango in Paris, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider was not consensual. Schneider, who was a teenager at the time, was not made aware of the fact that Brando would be using a stick of butter to simulate the rape, and Bertolucci admitted in the interview that he conspired with Brando to keep that information from her, saying: “I wanted her to react as a girl, not as an actress. I wanted her to react humiliated.”

In a 2007 interview with the Daily Mail, Schneider said she “felt a little raped” after filming the scene and did not receive apologies from her director or her co-star.

Schneider went on to work steadily until her death from cancer in 2011, but she certainly did not have the same career as her co-star Brando, who won his second Best Actor award for his work in The Godfather the year after they filmed Last Tango in Paris.

While Schneider did not reveal her true feelings regarding the rape scene until 2007, Brando has been accused of sexual assault by several other women, including actress Jackie Collins, who said Brando pursued a relationship with her when she was still a teenager, according to The Telegraph.

The allegations against Affleck, Allen and Brando speak to a greater issue. When a man—predominantly a white man—is accused or convicted of a sex crime, he can still get work. He can still be on the cover of magazines, he can still be on every late-night talk show. He can still be a movie star. He can still be elected President of the United States.

Parker, on the other hand, has not been able to escape the backlash and it has affected his film’s box-office success. Not only are his chances of winning an Oscar now slim to none, The Hollywood Reporter predicted that the film will lose an estimated $10 million for its production company, Fox Searchlight.

Meanwhile, Manchester by the Sea is not poised to lose any money due to the allegations against its main star.

But let’s be blunt—Manchester by the Sea, a film that has been described as an “all-American family drama,” is much more appealing to audiences than Parker’s film, a historical account of slavery and racism in America, written and directed by an African-American director.

There may not be an #OscarsSoWhite hashtag this year and #OscarsSoFullOfMenAccusedOfSexCrimes might be too long for Twitter’s word limit, but it is important, as the consumer, to be conscious of where your money goes.

Your dollars speak volumes. Use them wisely.


Get into the Halloween spirit with these horror flicks

Cut the time browsing movie streaming sites for the best spooky movies with these picks

With the emergence of Netflix and other movie-streaming services, it’s never been easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it) to select a movie to watch. For movie lovers especially, assembling a movie-marathon list can happen with just a few clicks on your remote control.

Halloween is just around the corner. For those who appreciate spending the spooky holiday indoors, curled up on the couch with popcorn and a few Halloween-themed movies, it can be a little intimidating to choose from all that Netflix has to offer— especially when you’re tempted to rewatch the same classics every year like The Exorcist and Friday the 13th (or Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown for the faint of heart).

But have no fear (or do, ‘cause it is Halloween, after all), we have you covered with some of the best, albeit less familiar, Halloween movies currently streaming on Netflix and other streaming devices like Shomi.

The Silenced (2015)

If you’re not into gory horror, then the atmospheric Korean thriller The Silenced is for you. Detailing a young girl’s stay at a boarding school in 1938, the film follows a similar storyline to the 1977 horror classic Suspiria, and manages to stay away from the cheap scares the Korean horror sub-genre has become known for. Instead, it produces a consistent narrative with an unexpected and shocking ending. You can watch The Silenced on Netflix.

Let the Right One In (2008)

Perhaps you’ve seen the American adaptation of this film—which was decent, but not as good as the original Swedish version, directed by Tomas Alfredson—but don’t trick yourself into thinking you already know the story. While the remake draws heavily from Alfredson’s original vampire coming-of-age tale, nothing compares to his slow-burning tactics and chilling visuals that erupt into an ending sure to haunt you until next Halloween. You can watch Let the Right One In on Shomi.

Extraordinary Tales (2015)

If you’d rather steer clear of live-action films, Extraordinary Tales is an animated account of some of Edgar Allen Poe’s darkest stories, including “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In addition to the spooky animation, the film uses archive voice footage of legendary horror film actor Bela Lugosi for part of its narration. You can watch Extraordinary Tales on Netflix.

Rear Window is one of the classic horror films to watch this October.

Rear Window (1954)

We couldn’t make this list without including at least one film from the suspense horror master Alfred Hitchcock. If you like classic films, you’ve probably seen Hitchcock’s Psycho or The Birds. However, Rear Window is a classic in its own right, and is often overlooked. This thriller, which inspired 2007’s Disturbia, sees James Stewart as a man who, while on bed rest with a broken leg, fixates on one of his neighbours who he thinks has committed murder. He discovers the truth about this murder mystery with the help of his girlfriend, Lisa Carol Fremont, played by Grace Kelly. You can watch Rear Window on Netflix.

Music Quickspins

Tor Miller — American English

Tor MillerAmerican English (Glassnote Records, 2016)

Tor Miller’s fan base may not be vast, but with the release of his debut LP American English, he is likely to gain a whole new audience. The 13-track album features only two songs from his debut EP Headlights (2015)—the title track and “Midnight”—providing old and new fans with plenty of new material to take in. While most of the songs on the album err on the side of pop rather than the piano-driven ballads he is becoming known for, Miller manages to incorporate the right amount of soul in his instrumentals and earnest lyrics. He has successfully distanced himself from the boy bands of his generation, putting himself in a category all on its own. His adoration of New York City shines through in songs like “Washington Square Park,” “Rag N Bone” and “Chelsea,” making American English a love letter to the city he was born and raised in.


Trial Track: “All Fall Down”


A Q and A with Louise Archambault on mental disability and film

We talked to this Concordia alumna about 2013’s Gabrielle

Gabrielle is a 2013 coming-of-age story by Quebec filmmaker and Concordia alumna Louise Archambault (Familia). It details the life of Gabrielle (Gabrielle Marion-Rivard), a 22-year-old woman with Williams Syndrome, as she participates in a choir of mentally challenged adults and enters a romantic relationship with one of her choir-mates. The film explores Gabrielle’s desire for independence, freedom and love with authenticity and care. We spoke with the director about what inspired her and how using non-professional actors helped add to the film’s realism.

Gabrielle follows the love story between two individuals in a choir of mentally challenged adults.

The Concordian: How did you come up with the concept for this film?

Louise Archambault: I wanted to talk about happiness. I was inspired by [an intellectually disabled] woman I would see in my neighbourhood at the public pool. She always had someone accompany her; she never wanted to put on her swimming cap, but she was always singing and making these very happy sounds. She looked so relaxed and happy, but some people were uneasy with that. I wanted to talk about outcasts, people who were not in the mainstream, and their access to happiness and freedom. I wanted to talk about their independence and autonomy, and I wanted to show people to be, without judgement, open to differences.

C: The characters seem the happiest when they’re singing. What made you decide to incorporate music into the film?

L.A.: Since the beginning of time, humans have always gotten together to sing—it’s something that links us together physically and psychologically. Half of the script takes place in India. I was inspired by the organization Young Musicians of the World. It’s a school for deprived children, and they sing every day.

The film was released in 2013 and will be screened in the EV building on April 8.

C: It’s not often that we see a character’s sexual desire explored in a film, let alone a character with mental disabilities. How did you approach it and why did you decide to include it in the film?

L.A.: Because it’s a real subject. Everybody has the right to happiness. When I met the people who inspired the film and the characters, it was very obvious to me that they have the right to love and be loved. Some people don’t want to see [intellectually disabled] people explore their sexuality—they think maybe they don’t know how, or they will be abused, or they will get pregnant and then what? These are [valid] questions, but they don’t realize they have a right to experience those things too.

C: The movie felt so realistic at times. I felt like I was watching a documentary. How did you achieve this level of authenticity?

L.A.: I observed a lot. Laurent [played by Benoit Gouin] was inspired by a real person who is in charge of a home similar to the one the characters live in—he’s gay, he’s involved with [the characters], he makes changes in their lives and gives them opportunities to be independent and autonomous.

The choir was not a real choir, but the members were [intellectually disabled] people who were chosen because they had talent. For example, [choir member Anthony Dolbec] takes singing classes with Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, and I observed them. When he sings and dances, his emotions come out and we feel it. I thought it was so beautiful. He chose the song [sung in the film] “Ordinaire” by Robert Charlebois. I have known that song forever, but when he sang it it took on a whole new [meaning] and I had to include it in the film.

C: Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects we can look forward to?

L.A.: I have a few scripts that still need to be financed, but I have been working on a lot of T.V. series with Radio Canada in the last few years … Coming up, I have Trop, which is a dramatic comedy. I fell in love with the subject, because it talks about mental illness. It’s about a 28-year-old woman with bipolar disorder. It’s a very moving subject but there are comedic situations and the character’s flaws are treated without judgement. It’s a delicate subject but it talks about what is considered to be taboo.”
Gabrielle will be screened by the Department of Theological Studies at the EV building, room 1.605, on April 8 at 5:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Louise Archambault.


A first look at some of the must-see movies of 2016

Resolve to take more trips to the movie theatre in the new year—you don’t want to miss any of these

While 2016 is shaping up to be a year of exceptional sequels, with follow-ups to 2012’s Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman and just about every superhero movie that has come out in the last five years, there are also tons of non-sequential films coming out this year that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here is a list of some of the most anticipated films coming out in 2016.


After a two-year hiatus, Natalie Portman returns to the screen in the Western drama Jane Got a Gun, in which she plays a woman who asks her ex-lover (Joel Edgerton) to help save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him. You can see Jane Got a Gun in theatres on Jan. 26.

Anesthesia is an ensemble drama that details the aftermath of a violent attack against a Columbia University professor. Starring Glenn Close, Sam Waterson, Tim Blake Nelson and Kristen Stewart in a small but pivotal role, Anesthesia will be out in theatres and on demand Jan. 8.


The Coen brothers are already gaining buzz with their latest, Hail, Caesar! The star-studded comedy, which includes George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum, to name a few, sees the filmmaking duo’s satirical take on the golden age of Hollywood. Out in theatres Feb. 5, this one is a must-see.

George Clooney stars in Hail, Caesar! as a Kirk Douglas-like 50s superstar.


Fans of art-house director Terrence Malick have been waiting for his latest film, Knight of Cups, to come out since it wrapped production back in 2012. This year, we’ll finally see Christian Bale and a bevy of other well-known actors star in the experimental, nonlinear drama, out March 4.

Jeff Nichols, the filmmaker behind art-house phenomenons Mud and Take Shelter, is reteaming with Michael Shannon for Midnight Special, a story of a father forced to go on the road after he discovers that his son possesses supernatural powers. With a solid supporting cast that includes Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver and the young, talented Jaeden Lieberher (St. Vincent), Midnight Special looks like it’s going to be a suspenseful ride. You can see it in select theatres on March 18.

In Midnight Special, the young Jaeden Lieberher shares the screen with Star Wars baddie Adam Driver.


After the well-deserved success of Boyhood, Richard Linklater has turned to sports for his next project, Everybody Wants Some. Described as a spiritual sequel to his 1993 cult film, Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some is set in the 1980s and follows the lives of college freshmen who are also baseball players. Fans of the director’s former projects can expect the same humour and authenticity in this one, out April 15.


Money Monster could end up being a prominent player in the top films of 2016, an assumption based on its cast (Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Jack O’Connell), its director (Jodie Foster) and its plot. The film follows a man named Kyle (O’Connell) who loses all of his family’s money on a bad tip, so he holds T.V. personality and Wall Street money guru Lee Gates (Clooney) hostage on air, threatening to kill Lee if he doesn’t get the stock up before time’s up. This thriller, out May 13 is all but certain to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.


Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash received tons of critical acclaim during awards season last year, and now he’s cast Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who share the screen for the third time, in his upcoming project, La La Land. The musical drama sees Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress (Stone) in Los Angeles. It hits theatres everywhere on July 15.

If dramas and musicals aren’t your thing, you’ll want to check out the all-female Ghostbusters reboot, also out on July 15. Starring Melissa McCarthy and Saturday Night Live favourites Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon, as well as cameos from the original Ghostbusters Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, this comedy is setting up to be more than just a remake.


Jonah Hill teams up with Miles Teller in the upcoming buddy dramedy, Arms and the Dudes, which is out on Aug. 19. The film follows the true story of David Pacouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a $300-million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan.


Paula Hawkins’ debut novel Girl on the Train did exceedingly well last year, and its film adaptation is set to get a warm welcome when it comes out on Oct. 7. Emily Blunt stars as a distressed alcoholic who gets entangled in a couple’s murder mystery after witnessing something shocking while riding the train.


Harry Potter fans will be excited about this one. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them acts as J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut and takes place in the same magical universe, only 70 years earlier. Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, future author of the Beasts textbook which later ends up at Hogwarts. The first in a planned trilogy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be out in theatres on Nov. 17.


Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are next to take on space drama in the upcoming film Passengers, out on Dec. 21. The pair will play sleeping passengers transported on a traveling spacecraft to a distant colonized planet in another galaxy. Due to a mid-flight malfunction, one passenger (Pratt) is awakened too soon and decides to wake up another one (Lawrence) to avoid spending the next 100 years on his own.

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