Monday, April 30, 2012
“The way I have to connect with him is go into his world, to dive into the ocean of the gym, of the fight club...” These are the words uttered by director Corey Lee as he explains to his mother how he plans to step into the martial arts ring that his father has made famous. At first his mother assumes it is a joke, but when Lee assure her he is serious, she simply responds “I think you’re nuts.” The truth is the audience is thinking the same thing. The idea of Lee, who now has a family of his own to take care of, stepping into the ring to train to be a fighter seems far-fetched. One cannot help but question how sincere Lee’s motives are at first. However this is far from a mere ploy, Lee’s quest is one that ultimately takes him, and the audience, on a surprisingly rewarding journey.
Legend of a Warrior is ultimately a tale about a son’s desire to reconnect with his father at all cost. Fearing that his children will grow up not knowing the Chinese side of their heritage, Corey Lee sets out to give his children an education on his family’s past. The problem is that Lee only knows the ”superhuman” side of his father, Frank Lee, that the public sees. Lee has no idea who the real Fraank is. At age 70, Frank is still treated like a rock star in most circles. Creator of the White Crane martial arts technique, Frank became a huge name in both Hong Kong and Canada. Now owning his own gym, Frank is the “Sifu”, which means teacher, for several of the world’s top martial arts champions. In order to try and understand what makes his father tick, Lee decides to let Frank train him so he will be able to compete on a professional level. However, neither Lee nor Frank anticipate how their relationship will forever be altered as a result.
One of the things that will strike you immediately about the film is the glorious use of animation. Lee uses the black and white animated segments to explore many of the key moments in Frank’s past. These sequences provide the documentary with a wonderful film within a film feel. The best thing about the way Lee uses the animation is that it never overpowers the film. He provides just enough to keep the pacing of the film upbeat, while never losing sight of the central father and son narrative.
Corey Lee crafts a film that is both engaging and touching without ever feeling forced. By time the film is over the audience feels as if they have a better understanding of not only Lee and Frank’s relationship, but the men as individuals as well. Despite the estranged relationship that Lee has with Frank, he never paints his father as the villain. Frank is portrayed as man who never claimed to be more than what he is. This does not mean that Frank does not have his share of regret. One of the reasons that Legend of a Warrior is such a captivating film is because Lee not only successfully peels away the guarded layers of the wall that his father has spent years building up, but also reveals his own insecurities. Some of the most telling moments come when Lee is describing how envious he was of kickboxing champion Billy Chau, who was Frank’s star pupil.
Though Lee is nothing like his father, we start to see parallels to what Lee experienced through his own children. By being away from his own family for so long, the audience gets a glimpse of how the separation is affecting Lee’s own children. Legend of a Warrior is a marvelous film that not only shows the effects that decisions have on a family, but also the importance of a father/son relationship regardless of what age it begins. Legend of a Warrior is a crowd pleasure that should not be missed.
Screening: Monday April 30th 9:15 pm – Cumberland, Thursday May 3rd 1:30 pm – The ROM Theatre, Friday May 4th 4:00 pm – Isabel Bader Theatre.
Exposing how conglomerates have influenced legislative change in order to control major media outlets, Shadows of Liberty is a startling wake up call. Director Jean-Philippe Tremblay’s film dissects how corporations, and even the government, are manipulating the news information most American’s receive. What was once a vessel for unbiased stories about real issues, many newspapers and television news channels are now spinning more mindless entertainment driven pieces. Speaking to the likes of Dan Rather, The Wire creator David Simon, Julian Assange, Amy Goodman, and numerous others in the media industry, Tremblay is able to show how hard hitting investigative journalism, is being swept under the rug. For example, the working conditions of Nike factory workers in Asia never made it to air because it would affect the company’s bottom line. It is hard for CBS to air a story saying anything bad about Nike, when Nike is one of CBS’ major Olympic advertising partners . The same goes for government related scandals, whether it be tales of weapons of mass destruction or stories of selling secrets to the enemy, media outlets are no longer doing the digging and simply taking the word of the government as being fact.
The quest for the financial bottom line by CEO’s of corporations such as Viacom, Time Warner, Disney, and General Electric, to name a few, has crippled the state of modern day journalism. Similar to the film Inside Job, Tremblay’s intentions are clear from the start. As a result, the film is a little too one-sided without shedding much light on the smaller media outlets that still produce insightful content. Tremblay’s documentary is concerned with only the major media outlets. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Tremblay’s methods in regards to what is being featured in the film, Shadows of Liberty raises an important issue that needs to be discussed. It is especially timely considering the troubles media mogul Rupert Murdoch has found himself in over the last year. Shadows of Liberty is an effective film that will get the audience questioning everything they read and see in the news.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
In a world where everyone seems to be expressing themselves daily on social media, it easy to forget that, for many people, self-expression does not come as easily. For individuals with special needs, it is not only important to build up the strength to express themselves to others, but also to have the confidence to believe they can do it. Since the theatrical stage is one of the oldest vehicle for letting individuals express themselves, it seems fitting that the bulk of documentary The Frog Princes take place there.
The Frog Princes is a film that follows Ray-Man, named after modernist artist Man-Ray, as he and his theatre troupe attempt to stage a production of The Frog and the Princess. However, Ray-Man is no ordinary actor and this is no ordinary theatre group. Ray-Man is a 24 year-old with Down Syndrome and all of the members in his theatre troupe are special needs individuals as well. Led by Dr. Stephen Snow, who hopes to instil confidence in the group through the use of theatre, Ray-Man and the troupe must learn to trust in themselves and each other in order to successfully stage the production.
It is easy to draw comparisons between The Frog Princes and the popular film Autism the Musical, as they both focus on individuals with developmental disabilities attempting to perform a stage production. However, The Frog Princes has its own unique story to tell. While Autism the Musical focused primarily on the children with Autism and their parents, The Frog Princes focuses more on the actual production side of the play. Directors Omar Majeed and Ryan Mullins follow the actors from their initial meeting all the way to the final dress rehearsal. It is fascinating to see how the actors struggle with differentiating between what is just acting and what they consider to be real. For example a simple scene where characters in the play laugh at the frog, takes on a whole other meaning for the actor playing the frog. This nice thing about The Frog Princes is that it is not so much a documentary about people with special needs, as it is a film about the importance of maximizing each person’s potential.
Majeed and Mullins use the play to symbolize both artistic and personal freedom. One of the subplots in the film involves Ray-Man’s desire to move out of his mother’s house and be his own man. The fact that Ray-Man still needs his mother for certain things causes both conflict and uncertainty for him. Ray-Man is nicely contrasted with another troupe member, Tanya, who has tasted the freedom that Ray-Man so desperately seeks. In her mid-thirties, and living with Prader-Willi Syndrome, Tanya lived with her boyfriend for several years before her insecurities caused the relationship to end. Where Ray-Man displays confidence on the stage but not at home, Tanya is the exact opposite. Her insecurities lead to several breakdowns during rehearsals, some of which are genuine and some of which are clearly attention seeking. It is interesting watching Ray-Man and Tanya co-exist in the same production. Just when you think you have them all figured out, the final production completely changes your view of what each person can do.
Speaking of the final production, this is one area where the extensive focus on the behind the scenes elements hinders the film a bit. Considering that the bulk of the film is devoted to the preparation, it would have been great to see a little more of the final production in the film. While you do get some key scenes here and there, most of the attention of the final production is focused on the backstage reactions. Though I guess this is ultimately the point of The Frog Princes, it is not the end result that really matters, but the journey in which it took to get there. The Frog Princes does a good job of showing that having a developmental disability does not mean a person cannot achieve their goals. It only means that the path they take will be slightly different than most, but still equally rewarding.
Screening: Sunday April 29th 7:30 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, Tuesday May 1st 4:45 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, Saturday May 5th 9:45 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2.
Based on a poem recited by Petra Tolley, a young artist with Down Syndrome, Petra’s Poem is a documentary short that takes a unique look at what it is like living with Down Syndrome. As an independent person with Down Syndrome, Petra finds herself stuck “in the middle” of society. She finds herself isolated as she struggles to identify her role within modern society. An interesting piece of performance art, the film as offers much to think about visually as it does verbally. The film blends live action and animation to emphasize Petra’s conflict. In the live action sequences, all the actors involved are persons with Down Syndrome. However, director Shira Avni uses these actors to represent both those living with Down Syndrome and those in “regular” society. As Petra’s Poem is basically Petra working out her own issues, the film is more concerned with posing questions than providing answers. Which works well for this short as the goal of film is not about evoking pity, but rather generating discussion on an issue that often goes unnoticed.
Screening: Sunday April 29th 7:30 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, Tuesday May 1st 4:45 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, Saturday May 5th 9:45 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
The Imposter tells a story so outlandish that you would not believe it had it been a fictional film. The fact that the events actually occurred, makes the film even more intriguing. The Imposter is the story of Frederic Bourdin, a 23 year-old Algerian man who successfully assumed the identity of a teenage boy, Nicholas Barclay, from San Antonio who went missing four years earlier. The most shocking thing about this story is that Bourdin was not only able to fool authorities in both Spain and the United States, but that he was able to trick Barclay’s family as well.
The fact that Bourdin looked nothing like Barclay, with the exception of one or two features, makes the whole thing even more baffling. The Imposter is a film that is full of twist and turns. Director Bart Layton, manages to weave together a narrative that not only ponders what happen to Nicholas Barclay? But also why would the Barclay family welcome this obvious, to most people, imposter into their home. Even Bourdin himself admits that he believed that alternative motives were in play on the family’s part. Though how can the words of Bourdin, a serial imposter, be trusted at all?
Deciphering who is telling the truth is the hardest part of this complex tale. Even the colourful private investigator, Charlie Parker, who almost single-handedly steals the film, seems stumped as to what happened to Barclay. Layton leaves it up to the audience to come up with their own hypothesis as to what happen to Barclay and whose story to believe. The film features heavy use of dramatized re-enactments to tell the various stories of the many individuals involved. This will surely bring comparisons to Errol Morris’ The Thin Blue Line, but The Imposter’s use of dramatization works on a completely different level than Morris’ famed film. While the dramatized re-enactments may be seen as a controversial move by some, Layton never exploits the device. In fact it allows the film to feel more fully realized than many fictional films today. Layton crafts a film that manages to be full of mystery, and often quite humorous, despite it incredibly sad subject matter. The Imposter is one of the best films this year. This is not a film to be missed.
Screening: Saturday April 28th 1:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Monday April 30th Isabel Bader Theatre.
Although Father Gregory Boyle may look like your typical Jesuit priest, he has one thing that some would consider more valuable than money...street cred. Nicknamed “G-Dog” by the locals in the Los Angeles community which he serves, Father Boyle is even highly respected by those in rival gangs. How did a simple Jesuit priest attain such a high level of praise amongst those who usually kill without hesitation? In her latest film, G-Dog, Academy Award winning filmmaker Freida Mock sets out to answer this question.
G-Dog examines how Father Boyle took the philosophy that “nothing can stop a bullet like a job” and turned it into a life changing movement. Hailed as a visionary by ex-gang members and celebrities alike, Father Boyle’s Homeboy Industries is changing the way the United States looks at rehabilitation. The largest, and most successful, gang intervention and rehab program in the US, Homeboy Industries is an organization that not only provides former gang members with jobs, but teaches them important skills to ensure they do not revert back to a life of crime and violence. Created and run by Father Boyle, Homeboy Industries has managed to defy the skeptics, and become a lucrative business.
Mock spends the majority of the film focusing on both Father Boyle and the individuals that he helps. The film offers good insight into not only the various businesses that Homeboy Industries runs, but also the many educational and social programs too. In fact, this is where the film is the most captivating. Mock does a good job of not only showing how the former gang members, many coming straight out of prison, get started with the organization, but also how Father Boyle uses reformed gang members to teach many of the programs. Having instructors who have incurred the same struggles with drugs, violence and other issues that come with gang life, is a brilliant move on Father Boyle’s part. Though even this has its limitations as Boyle points out that some things, such as parenthood, are not easily relatable if you have never had a parental figure in your life.
The challenge of educating those who have a different perspective, and value, of life is one that provides Father Boyle and his team with both great joy and sorrow. In one touching moment, Mock shows Father Boyle at his most vulnerable when the harsh reality that he cannot save everyone hits close to home. This helps to reinforce not only the importance of Father Boyle’s work but also the thin and dangerous line that many of the people Father Boyle is trying to help are walking. Despite these moments, G-Dog is an uplifting film at its heart, documenting how the community rallies around Homeboy Industries during its darkest hour.
Though an inspirational film, G-Dog does play things a bit too safe at times. Mock only lightly touches on the criticism that Father Boyle received in the 1990’s. Father Boyle makes reference to the fact that some assumed he was protecting a lot of the violent gang members instead of turning them into the authorities. A little more exploration into areas like this would have given G-Dog greater balance. While the point of the film is to celebrate Father Boyle’s accomplishments, a little more insight into his personal adversities would have only enhanced his accomplishments. Still, as it stands, G-Dog is a solid tribute to both the man and the organization that has changed so many lives for the better.
Screening: Saturday April 28th 9:30 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, Monday April 30th 6:45 pm – Cumberland 2, Saturday May 5th 4:00 pm – Isabel Bader Theatre.
Friday, April 27, 2012
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Some of us wanted to be athletes, some doctors, and some wanted to be fireman. For director Danic Champoux the answer was simple, he wanted to be a member of the Hells Angels. In his film Mom and Me, Champoux reflects back on his youth and the major role the notorious biker gang played in his upbringing.
At an early age Champoux would spend hours staring out the window at the Hell’s Angels bunker across the street from his home in Sorel, Quebec. While the police and media painted the Hell’s Angels as a danger to the community, Champoux saw them as heroes who lived a lifestyle that he found immensely fascinating. Mom and Me not only examines the path in which Champoux’s life takes as a result of his childhood fascination, but also looks at the life of Maurice “Mom” Bouchard as well. A notorious criminal who rises through the Hell’s Angels’ ranks, Bouchard was at one point, one of the most feared individuals in Quebec. Considering that Champoux idolized the Hell’s Angels, it was only a matter of time before Champoux and Bouchard crossed paths.
Mom and Me is a surprisingly entertaining film that does not glorify the Hell’s Angels, but shows how easily an impressionable child could be swayed by the organization. Champoux offers insight into how the Hell’s Angels functioned in Sorel, Quebec. He presents the gang as a community conscious group who were seemingly more effective in deterring crime than the local police. A few of the film’s more humorous moments come when Champoux is getting accounts from former neighbours about what is was like to live on the same street as the gang.
The flaw with Champoux reminiscing about the Hell’s Angels influence on his childhood is that the film feels rather uneven at times. Champoux spends so much time setting up the history of Maurice Bourchard and the Hell’s Angels, that it takes longer than expected for Champoux to really delve into his own story. A good portion of the first half is focussed on Champoux’s childhood obsession with motorcycles and bikers in general. By time the audience is completely engulfed in Champoux’s own experience, the film is near the end. This causes the director to wrap things up in a quick and unsatisfying manner. This is a bit of a shame since Champoux’s life has more than enough twist and turns to carry the film on its own. It is hard not to get caught up in the film when Champoux is detailing his troubled teen years in which he starts to follow Bourchard’s son down the criminal path. These sections, coupled with the director’s relationship with his own father, adds a nice layer to the film.
On the other hand, Champoux’s examination of Bouchard’s life feels more fully realized. In regards to the focus on Bouchard, the interviews that provide the most insight are the ones with journalist, police officers and acquaintances of Bouchard. One segment that does not work as well is when Champoux gets a numerologist to chart Bourchard’s life. These scenes in particular feel more like a gimmick than anything else. Fortunately the film’s fun, and at times raunchy, use of animation more than make up for any of the other pitfalls in the film. The rough style of animation not only fits the subject matter perfectly, but also allows Champoux to provide several unexpected moments. Despite some uneven parts, Mom and Me is a film that offers an entertaining look at both the Hell’s Angels and one boy’s fascination with them.
Screening: Friday April 27th 6:30 pm – Cumberland 2, Sunday April 29th 3:30 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 4.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The world of wrestling has come a long way since its carnival sides show days. Wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, The Rock, John Cena and Andre the Giant have become household names to both wrestling fans and novices alike. However, names like Mountain, Fiji, Tina Ferrari, Little Egypt and Roxy Astor have gone unnoticed despite their important contribution to professional wrestling. In the male dominated industry of wrestling the plight of the female wrestler often gets lost in the shuffle. Fortunately Brett Whitcomb’s engaging documentary, GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, does a good job of giving the women a voice and the recognition they deserve.
Up until the 1980’s, female wrestlers were nothing more than a gimmick. That all changed when GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling hit the airwaves and made televisions ratings history by being the first all female professional wrestling show. Whitcomb documents the rise of GLOW from its inception, including the show’s misleading casting calls, all the way to the over-the-top sketches and wrestling moves that made the show a hit in the late 80’s. However, GLOW was not all body slams and bad acting, as the show evolved so did the women. Not only did they start to embody their characters, but an unbreakable bond was formed between many of the women. When GLOW was unexpectedly cancelled in 1990, at the height of its popularity, the women found themselves looking for closure on a brief, but important time in their lives.
There have been several documentaries, such as Beyond the Mat and Memphis Heat for example, that have done a good job of capturing both the larger-than-life personalities and overall history of wrestling. However, it is the fact that GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling manages to capture the cheesy fun that wrestling programs often provide, that sets it apart. The film features several hilarious clips from the show including the musical promos that the cast often had to rap. This helps to establish a good understanding of what GLOW had to offer and why it would appeal to both children and frat boys alike.
Despite the absurdity of some of the antics that happened onscreen, Whitcomb makes a point to show that many of the female wrestlers on the show were simply average women looking to break into Hollywood until they got bit by the wrestling bug. Some of the most engaging moments of the film come when women are describing their transformation from auditioning for a “children’s program” to the toll that wrestling has taken on their bodies. In a revealing discussion with Mando Guerrero, patriarch of the legendary Guerrero wrestling clan, we get a glimpse of the turning point in which professional wrestling became more than just an acting job for several of the women. Those who had a previous wrestling background share stories of the hardships they endured, such as having to wrestle animals, before GLOW and their obsession to continue wrestling despite the health risks.
Although the documentary keeps the tone light throughout, there are some brief moments that allude to a darker side of the industry. Most notably the way the women were manipulated verbally and mentally by show director Matt Cimber, a Hollywood film director who also provided GLOW with its initial funding, to ensure they managed their weight. The fact that the women were also encouraged to stay in character at all times , not to mention a strict curfew being unforced is a bit unsettling, but Whitcomb does not dwell on these moments. His film is meant as a celebration of the women and on that level he greatly succeeds. GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is a fun, and surprisingly touching, tale of both friendship and overcoming the odds, without ever being too sentimental. The film will bring a smile to your face while in the theatre, and have you surfing Youtube for more classic GLOW moments when you get home.
Screening: Friday April 27th 11:30 pm – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, Saturday April 28th 1:30 pm – The ROM Theatre, Saturday May 5th 6:30 pm – The Regent.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Screenings: Saturday April 28th 9:45 PM – The Royal Cinema, Sunday April 29th 1:15 PM – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Screenings: Friday April 27th 9:00 pm - Bloor Cinema; Saturday April 28th 1:15 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Monday April 30th 11:00 pm – Isabel Bader
Screenings: Saturday April 28th 9:45 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2; Monday April 30 4:00 pm – Isabel Bader Theatre; Saturday May 5th 10:00 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Screenings: Saturday April 28th 9:00 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 3; Sunday April 29th 9:00 pm – Cumberland 2
good people of earth: lcd soundsystem are playing madison square garden on april 2nd, and it will be our last show ever. we are retiring from the game. gettin’ out. movin’ on.
James Murphy, the creative force behind LCD Soundsystem, posted the message on the band’s website, officially announcing that the end is here. With only three full studio albums and a handful of EPs, the band’s swift rise and relatively quick exit only added to their frenzied appeal. The film depicts the pre-show anticipation with footage from the incredible event along with Murphy’s revealing interview with pop culture journalist Chuck Klosterman. Blending the concert you never want to end with the intimate personal moments that follow (where the ringing of the show can still be heard), the film appropriately echoes the title of the band’s final album: This Is Happening
Screenings: Tuesday May 1st 9:30 pm – TIFF Lightbox; Thursday May 3rd 9:30 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox; Saturday May 5th 6:30 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
All film summaries are courtesy of the Hot Docs website. Please visit the site to purchase tickets and find out about the other great films playing at the festival.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
“Why don’t you just say you did not like it!” That was the response I received from a co-worker after sharing my thoughts on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I was taken aback by this remark as it dawned on me that for the last ten minutes I had been pointing out everything that bothered me about the film. The truth is I quite enjoyed the film which is what made the experience so frustrating at times.
Andrew Dominik’s film is not your typical western film, although there are a few moments of action, the film is more a meditative look at the events that led up to the death of famed outlaw Jesse James (Brad Pitt). The film follows Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) as he joins the James-Younger Gang as they are about pull off their last train robbery. A fan of James from when he was a boy, Ford, now approaching twenty, is delighted to work alongside his idol. However, as time passes, Ford’s relationship becomes strained as both resentment and paranoia begin to set in. Jesse James knows it is only a matter of time before his number is up, but the question becomes who in his group will be the one to pull the trigger. As tension rises, and secrets are kept, the gang begins to crumble paving the way for Robert Ford to grab the spotlight he always desired.
If there is one word that came to mind as the credits rolled, it would have to be “exhausting.” The major issue I had, and I assume several others will have, with the film is the pacing. While I am always willing to dive into a meditative film, there is something about the overly contemplative nature of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford that drove me mad. I struggled for a long time after watching the film trying to figure out what it was. A few days removed from the film, it has dawned on me that it wasn’t so much the contemplative elements that bothered me as it was the fact that it unnecessarily delays the film from moving forward.
This is most noticeable when you look at whose story the film is actually telling. The film is not only about the relationship between Jesse James and Robert Ford, but also the insecurities and paranoia that each man must eventually deal with. However, the film spends a lot of time focusing on sub plots involving supporting characters. This is a bit of a blessing and a curse for the film. On one hand some of the sub plots are extremely entertaining, but they do not necessarily enhance the main story. In fact it often does the main story a disservice as they overshadow many of the pre-assassination Robert Ford moments. When looking at the film as a whole many of the sub plots could have easily been summed up in a few lines of dialogue.
Again, I do not want to sound like I am trashing the film as, like I mentioned to my co-worker, I actually did enjoy many aspects it. From a visual standpoint, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward of Robert Ford is endlessly fascinating. Whether it is the use of soft focus whenever the narrator speaks, or the beautifully framed shots of Jesse James and his masked crew as they are waiting for the train which they are about to rob, Dominik’s film offers much to fawn over.
It should also be noted that the acting from the ensemble cast is outstanding. Brad Pitt brings the perfect mix of melancholy and unstable fire to the character of Jesse James. He provides a good sense of what made James so fearsome to others. However, at no point do you ever feel like Pitt is dominating a scene. Each actor is equally up to the challenge of matching Pitt. This is especially true in regards to Casey Affleck, who has one of the toughest roles in the film. Affleck must be both unabashedly ambitious as well as the group whipping boy. He has to go through the most changes in the film. Another example of how strong the performances are can be found in the the interplay between Jeremy Renner’s Wood Hite and Paul Schneider’s Dick Liddil. Though the Hite and Liddil sub plot overshadows the films at times, the actors successfully mix both humour and tension into their escalating feud.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a film that I feel will probably play better on repeat viewing. Now that I am more aware of where the pacing issues occur in the film, I might be more incline to look past them and explore more of the themes that Andrew Dominik is striving for. However, as it stands, the film is both frustrating and enjoyable at the same time. I know this is not the best way to sell the film but I am just being honest. There is a lot that I loved about the film, but there are also elements that I cannot easily ignore…yep, I will need to watch this one again.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is also part of our "The Must See List" series.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Wondering what bloggers have been chatting about this week?
Here is Your Reading and Listening Schedule for Today:
9 am: Episode 68 of the Movie Moxie podcast looks Lockout.
10 am: Episode 21 of The (title pending) Movie Podcast discuss The Three Stooges.
11 am Wilde.Dash shares part six of the 100 best uses of songs in movies.
12 pm: Patrick shares his favourite scene from Submarine.
1 pm: Addison took in To the Arctic.
2 pm: Steven’s latest editions of his The Auteurs series focuses on Guillermo del Toro .
3 pm: Elliot reviews Into the Abyss, Texas Killing Fields, and The Rum Diary.
4 pm: Kevyn list the 10 Best Non-Indian Films set in India.
5 pm: Andrew shares his Top Ten Prison Films.
6 pm: Chip Lary talks about Bound as part of his Girl Meets Girl week.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Screenings: Friday April 27th 4:00 pm – Isabel Bader Theatre; Friday May 4th 4:45 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2; Saturday May 5th 9:00 pm pm – The Regent.
Screenings: Friday April 27th 3:30 pm - Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; Saturday April 28th 9:00 pm – The ROM Theatre; Saturday May 5th 3:15 pm – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
In The Frog Princes that man is Ray-Man (named by his parents after artist Man-Ray), a young adult with Down syndrome who lives at home but plans to move out, has a girlfriend and is part of a theatre troupe of developmentally challenged actors staging a unique adaptation of The Frog and the Princess. Missed cues, forgotten lines, romances and rivalries highlight the backstage drama as troupe members gain independence and confidence while guided by their charismatic mentor, Dr. Stephen Snow. If life imitates art, The Frog Princes is cleverly framed as a play within a play. As the performance’s third act reveals the hero’s true identity, Ray-man and his fellow thespians discover a new world before them and the transformative power of theatre.
Screenings: Sunday April 29th 7:30 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Tuesday May 1st 4:45 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2; Saturday May 5th 9:45 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2.
Screenings: Wednesday May 2nd 7:00 pm – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Thursday May 3rd 9:15 pm – Isabel Bader Theatre; Friday May 4th 8:45 pm – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.
Screenings: Sunday April 29th 6:30 pm – Cumberland 3; Tuesday May 1st 9:00 pm – The ROM Theatre; Saturday May 5th 1:15 pm – The Regent.
All film summaries are courtesy of the Hot Docs website. Please visit the site to purchase tickets and find out about the other great films playing at the festival.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Get Him to the Greek
28 Weeks Later
X-Men: First Class
The Devil Wears Prada
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Gnomeo & Juliet
My Summer of Love
The Young Victoria
The Jane Austin Book Club
The Adjustment Bureau
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I remember being totally mesmerized the first time that I saw Edward Scissorhands. It marked the first collaboration for Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and boy, was it the start of a beautiful moviemaking relationship. The film is a whimsical and haunting modern fairy tale about a young man with scissors for hands who is created by an old inventor who dies before he can replace the scissorhands with human hands. The discovery of this isolated young man living alone in a deserted castle atop a hill and the way that he is at once embraced and then reviled by the residents of a cookie-cutter suburban community is a thing of beauty brought to life by the creatively brilliant mind of Tim Burton and the inexplicably beautiful acting of Johnny Depp. It’s a wonderful tale about love, kindness and acceptance as well as rejection, estrangement and isolation.
The film is full of many wonderful scenes that explore the ideas of tolerance from the people who’ve welcomed Edward into their lives. The scene that I always think of first is the one where Edward is eating dinner with Peg, the Avon lady who found him, and her family. Edward tries so hard to use his utensils and struggles terribly. Peg does her best to make the experience feel as normal as possible and scolds her son for staring. It’s not that her son, Kevin, is put off by Edward or frightened of him. Quite the contrary – he’s absolutely fascinated and thinks Edward and his scissorhands are cool. Peg’s husband, Bill, is a good-natured soul just like his wife and treats this meal like any other meal at their table. At one point he watches hopefully as Edward nearly succeeds in eating a pea and then looks empathetic when Edward drops the pea just before it reaches his mouth. It’s very clear that Peg and Bill are trying to create a sense of normalcy and inclusion for Edward, and it’s quite a heartwarming scene in the film.
The real magic in this scene is in the way that Johnny Depp plays Edward with a sweet, determined sensibility. He tries so hard with his large blades to dine with this family and to feel at home in this unnatural situation. And he finds a way! He realizes that the peas are too small, but that he can stab, pick up and eat the larger vegetables and he even butters his own bread. It’s a spot in the film where for a brief moment, Edward finds a way to belong apart from dazzling people with the things that he can create with his blades. Though the tone of the film turns from sweet benevolence to cruelty, the goodness in people is highlighted in this scene, and so too, is the desire by Edward to be embraced and to belong.