Author: Jovana Jankovic

Review: Spring Breakers

The saccharine Disney starlet Selena Gomez plays the least bad-ass of a group of four college girls who head out to Florida for spring break to get away from what they perceive to be the mind-numbing boredom of their nameless and nondescript hometown. The girls, however, don’t have enough money to fund their trip, so the other three (played by Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine — director Harmony’s wife — and Ashley Benson) rob a local store with squirt guns, a giant hammer, and a generous dose of profanity. After some fun in the Florida sun, the girls end up...

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Who is she? Hollywood and the 1990s femme fatale

Look at her: she’s dangerous, sexy, probably lying to you, and lookin’ good doing it. Who is she? Well, she’s probably Sharon Stone or Demi Moore, and it’s most likely around 1994. I’ve never quite been able to figure out why, but there seems to have been a spate of big-budget Sexy Dangerous Lady movies in the ’90s. The answer is probably that Hollywood likes to maul a trend to death as soon as it garners one mega-profitable hit (see, for example, the spate of “disaster” flicks that sprouted up in the 1970s;  The Poseidon Adventure  (1972) is a personal...

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Cinema Revisited: Gilles Groulx’ Le Chat dans le sac

Ah the sixties: a time of existential angst, political turmoil, and cultural revolution. OK, so I was born in 1983…but it doesn’t mean I can’t dream. Of course, the ’60s were a seminal moment globally and cross-culturally: the sexual revolution took hold in the West while films and music began to experiment with form, and the strength of the student and labour movements engendered the protests of May ’68. But what was going on at home was   much more specific and thought-provoking: the Quiet Revolution swept the province of Quebec (so called because it was not a revolution...

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Cinema Revisited: Denys Arcand (even masters make mistakes)

First of all, doesn’t Denys Arcand kind of look a little bit like John Waters? Hm. Despite this jarring similarity, let’s take a look back at the work of one of Canada’s most internationally-renowned auteurs. But when we aim to “revisit” cinema, what is it exactly that we are doing? In my view, it is one of two things: recuperation or time-testing. In the act of recuperation, a formerly-maligned film might be re-read to excavate some previously unnoticed qualities, or perhaps to highlight the usefulness of those of its qualities which were used against it in contemporary criticism (think of Paul Verhoeven’s now-cult-classic 1995 film Showgirls ). In the act of time-testing, we try to see how a film “holds up”, and whether the praise it originally received is still relevant today. One of the first films that garnered Arcand major notice was the Oscar-nominated and multi-Genie-winning Le déclin de l’empire américain (1986), a comedy-drama about the intimate conversations and relationships among a group of intellectual friends (professors, no less) before and during a dinner party. As the first of the “unofficial” trilogy, onto which 2003’s Les invasions barbares and 2007’s L’age des tenebres were added, Le déclin…   offers a not-so-subtle critique of contemporary capitalism and Western sexual morality. The critique, however, is not an outright attack; rather, Arcand’s skill as a writer (he wrote the script, too)...

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A hard-hearted look at kids’ films

I stand before you ready to fully admit my perhaps excessive serious-mindedness. I’ve rarely been able to enjoy a film “just for fun”. There have   been a few exceptions, of course: Wayne’s World (1992), The Cutting Edge (1992), and maybe even, on an exceptional day, something saccharine yet playful like   Home Alone (1990). But for the most part, when my twenty-something friends suggested a couple of years back that we all go see   Madagascar (2005) in the theatre, I groaned pretentiously and declared I was going to stay home to read post-structuralist literary theory instead. I...

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TIFF launches Trintignant-Riva retrospective to accompany release of Haneke’s Amour

Not only is Michael Haneke’s Amour destined to clean up at all sorts of glitzy awards shows, both Hollywood and otherwise, but the film itself is bringing two living legends back to the big screen. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva were   both pillars of French cinema across a span of decades in the mid-to-late 20th century, and the TIFF Bell Lightbox celebrates their re-appearance in Amour with a carefully-curated retrospective comprised of some of the most influential 20th century European films. The program, “A Man and a Woman: Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva”, is running now until February...

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Meet the TFS Writers: Jovana Jankovic

Here I am! When I was ten, my parents pressed pause and sent me to my room when Geena Davis’ character started to get raped in Thelma and Louise (1991). They, of course, didn’t know the scene was coming up, and they were just letting me hang out around the movie because I was in the room. But after that, I couldn’t quite figure out what the big secret was, and I never knew what I had missed in Thelma and Louise until I saw it again, many years later, with a much more thorough knowledge of the politics...

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