Author: Becky Belzile

One Mississippi and Tig Notaro’s Non-Performative Honesty

When most of us want to hide in the dark corners to deal with our mental health privately, it seems counterintuitive that in the comedy community, comedians so often use the stage as a form of therapy. Jokes become a kind of confession as performers work through their issues with an audience. Frequently, this comedic form can be a recipe for failure. At its worst, psychologically confessional material makes the crowd uncomfortable and wastes precious open mic time for people who are working on their humor, not their trauma. Sometimes, though, this transparency serves the material well. If a...

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New on Amazon Prime: The Big Sick is Exactly What We Need

Originally published on July 5, 2017, The Big Sick is now available for streaming for Amazon Prime users. Overview: A new couple is challenged by familial, cultural, and medical issues. 2017; Apatow Productions; Rated R; 119 minutes. Some Background: Before getting into the movie as a whole, it’s important to talk about how Kumail and Emily got to where they are today. Back in the early days of podcasting, I met the couple through The Indoor Kids, a podcast where the couple and a guest played and talked about video games and the culture that surrounds them. When I...

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A Collection of Regional Cryptid Horror

The world is still a big and scary place. There’s much we haven’t answered or catalogued. And folklore is full of stories of culturally specific cryptids, legends and stories which can be mined for our viewing pleasure. Some stories have been told so long nobody remembers their origin, and new ones are popping up every decade. In a world that struggles to come up with new content, it makes sense that we’d turn to our oldest most fantastical unexplained stories to inspire our imaginations and give them a facelift. So to shake up a little extra creepy Halloween spirit,...

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VIFF: Tragedy Girls is Destined for Sleepover Stardom

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: Two girls bent on becoming horror legends use the work of a serial killer to project their burgeoning hobby into a career. It’s The Comeback Kids; 2017; Rated R; 98 minutes. Get Off My Lawn: Back in the ’90s and early-aughts sleepover classics like Heathers, Jawbreaker, and Idle Hands reigned supreme. These dark horror-comedies played perfectly for angsty, giggly teens the...

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VIFF: Thelma Is a Striking Story of Self-Realization

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: A young woman experiences a sexual and supernatural awakening. Snowglobe Films; 2017; Not Rated; 116 minutes. Sad Girl: There’s something wrong with Thelma. She’s six-years-old, standing in the forest, her breath coming in plumes as she stares down the wild doe. Her father stands behind her, his rifle pointed securely at the back of her head and then, a breath, and...

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VIFF: Housewife Leaves a Mess

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: A trauma survivor finds help through a travelling cult. Anka Film; 2017; Not Rated; 82 minutes. Big Fan: 2015’s Baskin came out of Turkey like a bat out of hell, winning horror fans over with its outlandish gore and unhinged story. I loved it, and it became one of my most-talked about movies that year, so I was doubly excited when...

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VIFF: The Crescent Only Wanes

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: A widow and her toddler head to a beach house to get away and come to terms with death. Cut Off Tail; Not Rated; 99 minutes. Why: It’s hard to say immediately where The Crescent is going. Initially we meet Beth (Danika Vandersteen), the young widow and single mother who’s lost her husband in an accident. She’s empty and numb and left...

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VIFF: Tiger Girl Goes Wild

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: Polite Maggie learns to bring out her alter-ego Vanilla the Killer thanks to one cool girl named Tiger. FOGMA GmbH; 2017; Not Rated; 90 minutes. Girl Power: Maggie (Maria Dragus)—or, Vanilla the Killer as she’ll soon become known—is a bit of a wet noodle. It’s not her fault; she’s just become a relative doormat due to a lack of confidence and assertiveness. We...

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20 Great Horror Posters

Originally published October 26, 2016. The horror genre has some of the most striking and visually interesting posters in cinema. Here are 20 to appreciate (in order of release) whether they’re framed on your wall or just in your heart. Don’t forget to check out the other posters we’ve highlighted here! Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) There’s something really special about the style of horror/sci-fi thriller posters of the 1950s. Creature from the Black Lagoon is a classic favourite, but take your pick: they’re all charming and pulpy as hell. Black Sunday (1960) Starting off strong with, “Stare...

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VIFF: Bitch is a Triumph for Bitches Everywhere

Overview: A troubled housewife finally snaps and shows everyone what a bitch really looks like. Company X; 2017; Not Rated; 93 minutes. Holy Shit: Writer/Director/Star Marianna Palka has no time to waste with her latest black dramedy, Bitch. She comes out swinging from the first moment and never, ever stops. Palka is Jill Hart, wife to a pathetic, cheating husband, mother to four rambunctious extra-curriculared kids, and she is tired of her thankless existence. Just as we meet her, she attempts to end her own life. Jill needs help, and she’s all but begging for it as she desperately grabs...

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Leatherface is Exactly What You’d Expect

Overview:  A young nurse is kidnapped by escapees from a mental institution; Lionsgate Films; 2017; 90 Minutes. The Whole World’s Gonna Know: This time of year calls for a good old-fashioned blood romp through the fields. Fans of horror classics will turn to the days of yore for that nostalgia-flavoured death dream: ‘80s franchises, favoured cult classics, and, of course, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. TCM didn’t need an origin story. Its unanswered questions made up for some of the most depraved and creative imaginings for its audience. How did this family get so completely maniacal? How long has this...

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VIFF: Sweet Virginia is a Smoldering Thriller

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: A retired rodeo star becomes involved with a killer in a small town. Automatik Entertainment; 2017; Rated R; 105 Minutes. Cold Open: Sweet Virginia is a complex web filled with many spiders. Ex-rodeo champ Sam (Jon Bernthal) has retired his spurs after too many falls off the bull and runs a little motel in Alaska called Sweet Virginia that gets its fair...

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VIFF: Caniba is a Thankless Endurance Test

Overview: A quiet examination of the current life of Issei Sagawa, cannibal killer. Norte Productions; 2017; Not Rated; 90 minutes. Why, Though: There is little reason to make multiple documentaries about a straightforward cannibal killer. Not only has Issei Sagawa been the subject of at least four varying documentaries about himself (Excuse Me For Living, The Cannibal that Walked Free, Interview with a Cannibal, and Cannibal Superstar) but he’s had a fair amount of pop culture influence. It’s not because new details arise about his heinous crime, or that he’s had a miraculous transformative experience, it’s simply because since the...

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VIFF: The Endless is a Perfect Circle

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: Two brothers revisit the cult they escaped years before to confront their past and present. Snowfort Pictures; 2017; Not Rated; 111 minutes. Hey, Guys: We’ve been fans of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead for a long time. It began with Resolution, their first inventive indie horror back in 2012, continued in 2014 with their dark romance Spring, and rounds out this...

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Now Available on Netflix Instant Streaming: Raw May Be the Year’s Best Horror Film

Originally published on June 9, 2017. Raw is now available on Netflix instant streaming. Overview: A gifted veterinarian student finds her dietary and personal values challenged through a triggering event at college. Petit Film; 2016; Rated R; 99 minutes. Let it Sink In: Raw bared its flesh at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Adding to its critical success in Europe was the story that several audience members at the Toronto International Film Festival had to receive medical attention after fainting, a tried and true horror marketing ploy that, no matter how valid, always gets my attention. It delivers on...

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