SPIDERMAN: NO WAY HOME – Review by Susan Granger

Spidey swings again! The new sequel Spiderman: No Way Home topped $600 million, becoming the biggest hit in Sony Pictures history and ranking as one of the 10 top-grossing domestic hits of all time. In this third go-round as the teenage web-slinger, Tom Holland’s likable Peter Parker loses his anonymity when malevolent muckraker J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) reveals his identity as a Queens, New York, high school student.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 3, 2021: THE POWER OF THE DOG

It has been 12 years since film titan Jane Campion released a feature film. Now, with The Power of the Dog, the New Zealand director shows she has lost not a step. Her adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 Western novel offers the vivid landscapes and hothouse emotions reminiscent of the film that put her on the world map, The Piano (1993). A piano even serves as an important plot point.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2021: Ari Wegner, Cinematographer, THE POWER OF THE DOG and ZOLA

While she won’t speculate on her own awards prospects, Ari Wegner recently told me how happy she is to see the way women are now being more welcomed in the field of cinematography. She hopes this will continue to increase as female DPs start to see the recognition that has eluded them for so long. She discusses both the art and science of filmmaking with such a degree of passion and poetry, that her love for the medium is contagious. She is a leader, a champion, and a gifted artist, giving the world not only beautiful images, but a sense of hope and fascination too.

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THE POWER OF THE DOG – Review by Sherin Nicole

You’ll keep waiting for the axe to fall…and it doesn’t…and it doesn’t…and the tension builds to the bursting point. Perfectly benign moments take on sinister hues in The Power of the Dog, you know something is deadly wrong, tensions hang over your head, and when the axe finally falls it’s a hell of a payoff.

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THE POWER OF THE DOG – Review by Susan Granger

Utilizing myriad metaphors, writer/director Jane Campion (Oscar-winner for 1993’s The Piano) subtly crafts a kinky, compelling thriller, working with cinematographer Ari Wegner, who transforms New Zealand’s barren South Island into stark, sparsely populated Montana in 1925. Tt’s visually stunning with a spine-chilling score by Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood.

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THE POWER OF THE DOG – Review by Diane Carson

New Zealand director Jane Campion has a knack for isolating individuals in a remote, harsh location, applying pressure, and watching civilization unravel. That’s exactly what she does in The Power of the Dog, set on a vast Montana cattle ranch in 1925 where two brothers, the wife, and her son will become immersed in an unnerving psychological battle. The Power of the Dog is one of this year’s most haunting, well-executed films.

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THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN – Review by Diane Carson

That director Will Sharpe establishes a spirited, often amusing approach to Louis Wain’s life adds to the entertainment of his roller coaster fortunes without minimizing the hardships he encountered: his adored wife Emily dying young of breast cancer, his sister Marie suffering from schizophrenia, nightmares of drowning, coping with underemployment and social scandal while struggling to lift his mother and five unmarried sisters out of increasingly impoverished circumstances, failing to copyright his images, and his escalating mental illness.

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THE ELECTRIC LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

If you have cats in your home as part of your family, you have Louis Wain to thank. He was the 19th century illustrator of cat images and he introduced Victorian London to the wonder and joy of cats. A socially inept, eccentric soul, Wain created paintings and sketches of anthropomorphized felines, though many of his images were of his beloved pet cat Peter. In Will Sharp’s The Electric Life of Louis Wain Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, along with Andrea Riseborough as one of his five sisters, and Claire Foy as his beloved Emily. The film is charming, sad, has great performances, and is visually sumptuous, with some of the best costuming and makeup you’ll see this year. It has such undeniable heart, you’ll be sure to forgive it being a little overly sentimental.

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