Category Archives: Reviews

April 30

Hot Docs 2017: Ask The Sexpert

When Dr. Mahinder Watsa was starting out his career as a doctor, he wrote a medical column in the back of a ladies’ journal. At the time, young women were dying from back-alley abortions while others committed suicide, unwilling to let their prospective husbands know they were not virgins (due to sexual abuse). Dr. Watsa […]

April 30

Hot Docs 2017: Tokyo Idols

Sad-sack middle-aged men in Japan are flocking to ‘pop’ concerts performed by underage girls. These artist are called Idols, they perform in ‘girl groups,’ and to date there about 10,000 of them. They are so intoxicating that one 43-year-old man has blown his life’s savings on this “religion” that saved him from depression. They’re providing […]

April 29

Hot Docs 2017: Thank You For the Rain

There are moments in this world when we know we could have done more. The recent elections in the US, Brexit in the UK, among many others have left many people realizing they should have done more. The focus of the new documentary, Thank You For the Rain, directed by Julia Dahr, is a Kenyan […]

April 28

Hot Docs 2017: 78/52

Psycho was a watershed moment in cinema, and not just because it was the first film to show a flushing toilet.  Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary 78/52 explores this cultural touchstone through interviews with a myriad of film people, from directors and editors to actors, composers, and critics.  The film begins by exploring the philosophies, style, […]

April 28

Hot Docs 2017: About My Liberty, Unrest

Over at In the Seats, I continued my Hot Docs coverage with reviews of About My Liberty and Unrest. I have included the Hot Docs synopsis of both films and links to my reviews below: About My Liberty Hot Docs synopsis: ”A group of millennial students plan protests unlike any Japan has ever seen—loud, well-marketed […]

April 28

Hot Docs 2017: PACmen

If you are still trying to understand how Donald Trump ascended to the highest office in America, then it would be wise to take a closer look at the Republican presidential nominees who were also in the race. In his eye-opening and thoroughly engaging film PACmen, director Luke Walker presents a fly on the wall […]

April 27

Hot Docs 2017: The Road Forward

There’s been a great deal of discussion in recent years about the past and ongoing injustices suffered by the indigenous community. As there should be. From suicide epidemics to systemic racism to the alarming number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women to the over-representation of Aboriginal men in Canadian prisons, the challenges of the First […]

April 27

Hot Docs 2017: Sunday Beauty Queen

Hong Kong, like many cities around the world, benefits from the help of underpaid Filipino workers. A local domestic worker would cost $8 an hour, but a Filipina in the same role works round the clock, 6 days a week, for just $500 a month. There are strict rules for these poor workers, who aren’t […]

April 27

Hot Docs 2017: Bee Nation

In a tension filled room, an audience sits on the edge of their seats, gazing at William Kaysaywaysemat III standing on stage. They wait in anticipation for the young man to open his mouth and spell a word into a microphone. Regardless of one’s personal views of such competitions in terms of spectator sports, it […]

April 26

Hot Docs 2017: Mermaids

The myth of the mermaid has been told by the ancient Greeks, Inuit communities, and most famously in children’s fairy tales. Popular culture has also played a key role in perpetuating the allure be it the romantic charm of Disney’s The Little Mermaid or the dark musical fun of Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure, our love […]

April 26

Hot Docs 2017: Gilbert, School Life, Rivolta, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Over at In the Seats, I continued my Hot Docs coverage with reviews of Gilbert, School Life, Rivolta and Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World . I have included the Hot Docs synopsis of both films and links to my reviews below: Gilbert Hot Docs synopsis: ”The bluest jokes and the shrillest whine delivered […]

April 26

Hot Docs 2017: Let There Be Light

Today, the vast majority of the energy we produce comes from burning fossil fuels.  We generate smaller amounts by splitting large radioactive atoms, capturing a tiny percentage of the energy in sunlight, or other various techniques, but these are not currently capable of generating energy at the same cost and abundance of fossil fuels.  Let […]

April 26

Hot Docs 2017: Still Tomorrow

Jian Fan’s Still Tomorrow considers its fascinating subject in all its facets.  The film follows a year in the life of Yu Xuihua, a middle age woman with cerebral palsy who has worked on her parent’s farm for her whole life.  Her arranged marriage of 20 years is one of convenience, and her life is […]

April 25

Hot Docs 2017: Shiners

Shoe shiners: at the airport, a busy subway station, a kiosk in your local mall, even on the street corner. There they are, every day, providing a service to the people walking by. Yet this humble profession is often overlooked. Who goes into shoe shining, and why? Director Stacey Tenenbaum gives us the answers by putting […]

April 25

Hot Docs 2017: 69 Minutes of 86 Days

The realities of refugee life are captured with stunning passivity in Egil Håskjold Larsen’s understated 69 Minutes of 86 Days.  The film follows a refugee family en route to Sweden, careful to observe the journey, not comment.  The brilliance of the film lay in a stylistic choice that forces the spectator into the perspective of […]

April 25

Hot Docs 2017: Mama Colonel

Over at In the Seats, I reviewed the captivating film Mama Colonel which plays Hot Docs this weekend. I have included the film’s Hot Docs synopsis and a link to my review below: Mama Colonel Hot Docs synopsis: ”For 15 years, a determined female colonel led a unique brigade against sexual violence in the Democratic […]

April 24

Hot Docs 2017: Last Men in Aleppo

“I swear nobody cares about anybody anymore” expresses a sullen man in one of the many sobering moments in Feras Fayyad’s breathtaking documentary Last Men in Aleppo. The man is one of the White Helmet, volunteers in Syria who serve as rescue workers and fireman, a thankless job whose value to those they save is […]

April 24

Hot Docs 2017: The Grown-Ups

As part of my Hot Docs coverage, I will also be contributing some reviews over at In the Seats. So be sure to visit that site as well to see all of their fine Hot Docs coverage. Today you can read my review of the delightful film The Grown-Ups. I have included the film’s Hot […]

April 24

Hot Docs 2017: Do Donkeys Act?

Did you ever have existential questions about donkeys? No? Well, move on. Or not. The truth is, you haven’t seen anything like Do Donkeys Act? It’s a documentary about donkeys, made reputedly by humans (Ashley Sabin and David Redmon), for the enjoyment of – donkeys? There are no talking head interviews in the film, very […]

April 15

The Fate of the Furious

The long and winding road that the Fast & Furious franchise has found itself on has come with many unexpected turns. Now in its eighth film, the series once again finds itself having to figure out how to move forward without one of its main stars. Unlike 2 Fast 2 Furious, which simply tried to […]