Posts Tagged ‘Gilles de Maistre’


I join CP24 to have a look at the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em action of “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” the found footage scares of “Late Night with the Devil,” the Liam Neeson actioner “The Land of Saints and Sinners” and the family film “Autumn and the Black Panther.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

AUTUMN AND THE BLACK JAGUAR: 2 STARS. “a conveyance for environmental lessons.”

French director and journalist Gilles de Maistre specializes in making family films like “The Wolf and the Lion” and “Mia and the White Lion,” that raise awareness about the protection of animals and the environment. His latest, “Autumn and the Black Jaguar,” about the bond between a young girl and her childhood friend, the jaguar of the title, is a sweetly saccharine story with some mild action-adventure woven around its messages regarding illegal wildlife trafficking.

Lumi Pollack spent ten months imprinting with two jaguars in the jungles of Mexico to prepare for the role of Autumn, a precocious fourteen-year-old who grew up in the Amazon rainforest. As her animal rights activist parents work fighting against poachers, she forms a bond and helps raise jaguar cub Hope. When Autumn’s mother is killed by poachers, her father (Paul Green) relocates them to the urban jungle of New York City.

The jaguar is always on Autumn’s mind, and when she learns her childhood village is under attack by poachers, she goes rogue, and returns, with her socially anxious biology teacher (Emily Bett Rickards) along for the ride, to find Hope before the poachers do.

“Autumn and the Black Jaguar” is a wholesome film, fit for the whole family, with oversized performances, stereotype characters and predictable story beats. But, as an issue forward filmmaker, de Maistre shapes the movie’s events to suit the messages, not the other way round. The result is a movie that works mostly as a conveyance for environmental lessons about wildlife trafficking than a convincing action-adventure film.


Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the reboot of “Hellboy” starring David Harbour as Big Red, the stop-motion animated “Missing Link,” the Ethan Hawke bank heist “Stockholm” and the kid-friendly “Mia and the White Lion” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

MIA AND THE WHITE LION: 2 ½ STARS. “breathes the same air as ‘Born Free.’”

The family drama “Mia and the White Lion” breathes the same air as “Born Free,” “The Black Stallion” and even “Bedtime for Bonzo.” While it feels like many other humans-and-their-beloved-animal films is its political stance. Woven into the story is strong criticism of South African laws that allow lions to be sold and hunted in enclosed areas. “It’s the way South Africa works,” says Mia’s father John (Langley Kirkwood). “It’s the way it has always worked.”

When we first meet Mia Owen (Daniah De Villiers) she is a young girl upset about leaving her life and friends in London behind when her family moves to South Africa. Alone, separated from all she knows, Mia makes an unusual friend, Charlie, a white lion cub born on her father’s farm. Three years in Mia’s parents worry about her safety. Charlie has grown and while the bond between he and his human is strong, for her own safety Mia’s parents forbid her to see her best friend. When it appears Mia’s father will sell Charlie to hunters to protect his daughter the plucky teen steps up to save her leonine buddy.

Like the Oscar winning “Boyhood,” director Gilles de Maistre’s “Mia and the White Lion” was shot over the course of several years. That allowed De Villiers to form a relationship with Charlie in real life as well as convincingly grow up on screen. The process makes for some startling, realistic moments between Charlie and his lion whispering friend. Unfortunately, their intimacy is the only really surprising thing about the movie. Good messaging about animal welfare aside, “Mia and the White Lion” relies a little too heavily on predictable, family film tropes and cardboard characters to maintain interest.


Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the reboot of “Hellboy” starring David Harbour as Big Red, the stop-motion animated “Missing Link,” the Ethan Hawke bank heist “Stockholm” and the kid-friendly animal flick “Mia and the White Lion.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!