MLK/FBI Trailer

Every child learns about the historic efforts of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. to stop systemic racism in a society that continually treated Black people as inferior. But what they don’t often learn is how the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by J. Edgar Hoover, was ordered to provide surveillance of King in order to get enough evidence to destroy him and the movement that he was leading. The new documentary MLK/FBI uncovers rarely seen facets of the FBI’s investigation into Martin Luther King Jr., and the first trailer has arrived online. Read More »

Spring Blossom Review

The most striking thing about Spring Blossom, in which a 16-year-old girl falls in love with a man in his mid-thirties, is that it stars 20-year-old director Suzanne Lindon in the leading role.

The 2020 Cannes and TIFF selection is a tender and amusing portrait of teen-hood, in which the character of Suzanne experiences a generational disconnect. Bored with her school-aged peers, she seeks out a magnetic stranger — Raphaël (Arnaud Valois), an actor rehearsing at a theatre en route to Suzanne’s school — as a means to escape her mind-numbing routine. Raphaël is similarly dissatisfied, as a performer stuck with older castmates and directors he struggles to understand. And so, their rendezvous feels like the passing of ships in the night, an affair that’s barely physical but always emotional, often expressed through surrealist moments of interpretive dance. 

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Fireball Visitors From Darker Worlds Review

There are few things more soothing and sardonic than hearing Werner Herzog opine about an impending apocalypse. Along with collaborator and co-director Clive Oppenheimer, the filmmakers provide a science-rich documentary freed from the didacticism of the genre, reveling instead in the true wonder and weirdness of our existence. Their previous film, Into the Inferno, gazed into the maw of active volcanoes, while their latest, Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds, looks at the impact that extra-terrestrial visitors have had on the history of our planet.

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Inconvenient Indian Review

In 2012 Thomas King published The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, a compendium of his writings about what it means to be Native, and the types of stories both ascribed to, and told by, the various individuals broadly contained within the aboriginal rubric. Michelle Latimer’s documentary, simply titled Inconvenient Indian, takes the themes of King’s work, narrated in part by his own words, and showcases a kaleidoscopic vision beyond the stereotype, showcasing the actuality rather than the empty costumes secured in museum cabinets that so often speak silently to what it means to be part of these communities.

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Enemies of the State Review

We live in a time that fetishizes a post-truth. In our post-fact world, suspicion of institutions is at an all time high, and citizens on both left and right find ways to pretzel themselves into believing in grand conspiracies as the mundane facts of incompetence and hubris feel too constrained for the magnitude of our society’s problems. Sonia Kennebeck’s documentary Enemies of the State, about a hacker kid, his crusading parents, and a tenacious legal system, brilliantly undermines these impulses.

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Get the Hell Out Review

During these times of social-distancing, it’s impossible to know how Get The Hell Out, part of the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness slate, would have played to a boisterous and welcoming crowd. It’s fair to say it would have been a lot more fun with the rote dialogue being overpowered by hoots and screams, and the wrestling maneuvers cheered like at some mad luchador match. Instead, at home, the experience of sitting through the film is middling at best.

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The Truffle Hunters Review

Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw have crafted a near fairy tale look at the life of some irate Italians as they clamber through the forest seeking a delicacy that by weight is more valuable than gold. The Truffle Hunters is a beautiful, experiential documentary, taking you into a world that feels completely from another time.

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I Care A Lot Review

I did not care for I Care A Lot.

J Blakeson’s tonally deft and awkward thriller begins by introducing us to Marla (Rosamund Pike), a taut, chilly figure tasked by the court to provide care to those who have fallen through the cracks. Ostensibly a legal guardian, Marla’s true motivation is to exploit the vulnerable, shack them up in assisted living homes while living off the proceeds. When one unstable son (Macon Blair) is unable to visit his mother, their violent and awkward confrontation is dismissed as the cost of doing business.

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Limbo Review

Frank Zappa famously said “there is no Hell, there is only France.” If that’s true, there’s a strong case to be made that a bleak island off the Scottish coast may well be the perfect place to host purgatory. In Limbo, Ben Sharrokck’s dramedy about life as an asylum seeker, we get to spend time in this state between the horror of what’s been left behind and the interminable wait for what’s yet to come.

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The Father Review

One of the main joys of film festivals is to go into a film knowing as little as possible, guided by the hopes that the programmers have selected something worthy of your time. I’d missed Florian Zeller’s film The Father at its Sundance premiere, conflating it with another film about an ailing old-man as one of several dramas I skipped in order to focus on that fest’s remarkable doc slate. At TIFF I was allowed to finally dig into this movie, and it’s immediately become one of my favourite of this wild and troubled year.

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