Tag Archives: Review

May 24

Inside Out 2017: Bad Girl

Amy (Sara West) is a teenager, a “bad girl” who’s just returned home after some shadowy shenanigans to her adoptive parents who are willing to give her “one last chance.” They’re pretty sure she’s going to hate the new home they’ve bought in rural Australia and they’re right; she’s out the door and doing a […]

May 24

Inside Out 2017: Signature Move

Zaynab is a Pakistani-American immigration lawyer who is: a) learning wrestling moves from a former pro wrestler who went by the name Jolt; and b) keeping a new relationship with Alma secret from her conservative Muslim mother who doesn’t know she’s gay. “Mothers and daughters aren’t friends in our culture,” Zaynab tells Alma. “That’s a […]

May 24

Inside Out 2017: Mansfield 66/67

The documentary Mansfield 66/67 trades in the same camp as its iconic subject: “Blonde Bombshell” Jayne Mansfield. The film focuses on the last two years of the starlet’s life, reveling in the rumors that swirled and the legends that the papers saw fit to print. The film is built from celebrity interviews, discussions with cultural […]

May 23

Inside Out 2017: Handsome Devil

Writer-director John Butler’s Handsome Devil favorably compares to other boarding school coming-of-age dramas like School Ties and Dead Poet’s Society. Butler’s film packs more irreverence than those films, and has a kind of tongue-in-cheek sensibility, but a lot of the elements are the same. Much of the drama is focuses on a pair of roommates, […]

May 22

Alien: Covenant

The original 1979 Ridley Scott directed Alien is among my favourite films of all time. It was unlike anything I had seen before. The film reached new heights for terror, tension, suspense and gore; and gave birth of the notion that the last man standing could be a woman. Skip ahead to the series reboot […]

May 19

Chuck

Former heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner is not a name that may ring bells for many people. Chances are good though that you have heard about at least one of the two achievements he takes great pride in. The first of which was the fact that he lasted 15 rounds against boxing legend Muhammad Ali, even […]

May 17

TJFF 2017: Mandala Beats, Harmonia

After another successful year, the 25th Toronto Jewish Film Festival wrapped up this past weekend. Over at In the Seats, I took a look at two films that played the festival: Harmonia and Mandala Beats . I have included the TJFF synopsis of both films and links to my reviews below: Mandala Beats TJFF synopsis: […]

May 13

Violet

Bas Devos’ gorgeous and sparse film Violet opens with a shot of four CCTVs as they capture Jesse and best friend Jonas hanging out in the mall. The scene seems insignificant at first, as even the security guard monitoring the footage leaves his post at one point. However, the cameras silently observe Jesse and Jonas […]

May 12

Hounds of Love

Being in a relationship is constant work, but when abuse and evil take over the dynamics of power within that relationship, it becomes another animal all together. Ben Young’s directorial debut Hounds of Love shows us the brutality of a distorted love fashioned to devour the innocent in an all too realistic and frightening way. […]

May 06

Hot Docs 2017: The Force

Over at In the Seats, I reviewed the mesmerizing film The Force which plays Hot Docs one last time tomorrow. I have included the film’s Hot Docs synopsis and a link to my review below: The Force Hot Docs synopsis: ”A stunningly intimate fly-on-the-wall account of the beleaguered Oakland Police Department as it battles to […]

May 05

Hot Docs 2017: Island Soldier

A woman clings to a casket draped in the American flag as tears roll down her face. It is a scene that has sadly played out in many states, however, this is not America. This is the Federated States of Micronesia, a remote group of islands that have been supplying the U.S. military with soldiers […]

May 05

Hot Docs 2017: Recruiting for Jihad

Ubaydullah Hussain is an Islamist missionary who is also a recruiter, though he often denies the latter. Despite the philosophical rhetoric he spouts, when it comes to defining what a recruiter is, Hussain dedicates a large chunk of his time to helping young radicalized Norwegian men make their way to battle in Syria. Like a […]

May 04

Hot Docs 2017: Ramen Heads

In Koki Shigeno’s Ramen Heads, the homey Japanese comfort food is lovingly explored, revealing the complex quintessence of broth and noodle.  The documentary focuses on Osamu Tomita, the preeminent ramen chef in Japan and winner of three consecutive end-of-the-year awards for best ramen in the land. We delve into Tomita’s kitchen and learn his ramen […]

May 04

Hot Docs 2017: Hobbyhorse Revolution

I was excited to see Hobbyhorse Revolution because I’d heard of, and was mystified by, ‘hobbyhorsing’ and needed to know more about it. Hobbyhorsing is a lot like the horse competitions you’re used to seeing on TV, or in Olympic events.  Dressage, an equestrian sport, is the highest expression of horse training. In the events, […]

May 03

Hot Docs 2017: The Quiet Zone

I’m not sure you can ever know what it feels like in someone else’s skin. You can identify with certain issues, headaches, a stubbed toe, a bumped funny bone, but you can’t rate someone else’s experience with pain. If you had to live with numerous kinds of pain, and someone told you there was a […]

May 03

Hot Docs 2017: A Cambodian Spring

Land rights are a super contentious issue in Cambodia, where the communist Khmer Rouge regime banned private property in the 1970s, destroying tonnes of land documents in the process. As a result, at least two thirds of Cambodians, most of them poor, of course, don’t have proper deeds for the land they live on. Over the […]

May 02

Hot Docs 2017: Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower

To say Joshua Wong is a remarkable individual would be an understatement. Already gracing the cover of Time magazine, as “the face of protest,” at age 18, he displayed a gift from a young age for sorting through complex issues and finding concrete solutions. Wong is living proof that a clear message and resilience can […]

May 02

Hot Docs 2017: Integral Man

Writer-director Joseph Clement’s subject for Integral Man is the modern renaissance man Jim Stewart.  Stewart is a brilliant concert-level violinist with a contagious passion for music, but he is also an accomplished teacher of mathematics.  Spurred on by some students who told him that his notes on the chalkboard were clearer than the textbook they […]

May 02

Hot Doc 2017: Birth of a Family

Tasha Hubbard’s Birth of a Family documents the first meeting of a family torn asunder by racist government policies, decades after their separation.  As infants, Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie, and Ben were taken from their indigenous mother and placed into separate white homes across North America as part of Canada’s “Sixties Scoop”.  The story of […]

May 02

Hot Docs 2017: Step

As the final credits began to roll on Amanda Lipitz’s Step, a woman sitting next to me turned and said “wow.” She stated that she felt like she had cried throughout the whole film, the sound of sniffles and the frequent dabbing of eyes did not go unnoticed, but these were clearly tears of joy. […]