Author: Amanda Clarke

Organic adaptation: interview with Christian Sparkes, director of Cast No Shadow

Adaptation from the page to the screen is always a tricky task. What works on the page doesn’t always translate to the screen. There is a fine balance that must be struck between remaining faithful to the original intent and accommodating the requirements of the moving image. Does the original lend itself to adaption? Then there is the intent behind the adaptation, does the filmmaker have something to add to the original work? All of these things are factors in Christian Sparkes’s debut feature Cast No Shadow, an adaptation of Joel Thomas Hynes’s “Say Nothing Saw Wood”. Sparkes was...

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Playing the long game: Lee Daniels’ Empire and synonyms for American culture

“So you can witness as Empire becomes synonymous with American culture and Lucius Lyon becomes a god.” These words, spoken by Lucius Lyon (Terrance Howard) to a group of reporters part way through Empire‘s first season finale, can be read as a manifesto from creator Lee Daniels. While Daniels isn’t trying to bestow godhood on anyone in particular, he is out to change perceptions of race and sexuality in American culture, to challenge the the straight-white male default, to create a world where it is possible for a black owned and run hip hop empire to be considered the...

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The TFS List: can’t-miss Canadian cinematic television

General wisdom is that films are superior to television, but there’s no denying that television has become really good in the past few years. As the line between film and television has begun to blur, it’s the big American cable networks that have started to gain a lot of critical attention with big budget cinematic series. It could be said that Canadian television gets less attention, but Canadian television is just so good that you can barely tell the Canadian from the Hollywood on the small screen. Here is some Canadian cinematic television you should check out for the...

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Review: Playing It Cool

The story of Playing It Cool follows a screenwriter (Chris Evans) tasked with writing a major romantic comedy. The problem is that he doesn’t believe in romance or love, that is until he meets the perfect woman (Michelle Monaghan) at a charity event. True to generic form, she is involved with another man, so Evans befriends her in the hope of falling out of his infatuation, opening paths to a complicated relationship. Playing It Cool hits every cliché of romantic comedies presented in a cute little package. It starts out promising, poking fun at the genre, playing with the “meet...

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Contributions of black women in film

With the announcement of the Oscar nominations, many were angry to not see Ava DuVernay’s name among the best director nominations, but most were not that surprised to see the omission. In an industry dominated by middle-aged white men, it can be difficult for anyone who doesn’t fit that designation to receive support and recognition for their work. It is particularly difficult for women of colour to break into the ranks. They often must work twice as hard to receive a fraction of the recognition afforded to men in the industry. This is to the detriment of film as...

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Review: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows follows a group of four flatmates, Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) and Petyr (Ben Fransham) living in Wellington as they go about their lives. Shot in a documentary style, the film highlights the everyday trials and tribulations that come from sharing a flat with incompatible personalities. The catch—they are vampires, trying to stay under the radar as they hunt for victims and try to navigate their undead existence. Over the last decade or so the vampire myth has become part of popular culture and that is what writers/directors Waititi...

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Review: Two Days, One Night

Two Days, One Night tells the story of Sandra, a young mother, who discovers upon her return to work that her colleges have voted for a bonus instead of keeping her on. After convincing her boss to agree to another vote, Sandra has the weekend, the titular two day and one night, to get a majority to agree to lose their bonuses so she can keep her job. It doesn’t seem like that kind of film, but by the time Sandra meets with her final co-worker on the second day, the tension has built to a level that rivals...

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