Reviews - Page 65

Giving you our points of view on the latest docs in release and on the circuit.

Oscar-Nominated Short Docs a Dire But Worthy Bunch

Goodness gracious, this year’s Oscar-nominated short docs are a dire bunch! They’re great, naturally, but, as the kids say, they’re depressing AF!!! The menu of the nominated shorts features death, racism, the migration crisis, women fighting the Patriarchy, and some good old-fashioned Nazis. In short, they’re an appropriate bunch to represent the cultural pulse of 2018. Let’s start with the Nazis. An unsettling chorus of “Heil, Hitler!” echoes throughout Marshall Curry’s haunting nominee A Night at the Garden. This archival film presents footage of a 1939 event in which 20,000 hate-filled white supremacists convened at New York’s Madison Square Garden to

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‘The World Before Your Feet’ and the Sidewalks of New York

The World Before Your Feet (USA, 95 min._ Dir. Jeremy Workman Not many documentaries out there can offer the in-the-moment perspective The World Before Your Feet can. Matt Green, the curious subject of this simple yet compelling documentary from Jeremy Workman, is on a personal quest to walk every street in New York City’s five boroughs, inhabited or not. He started this endlessly interesting, undeniably obsessive, and slightly peculiar walk, alongside a blog of research and photographs, nearly seven years ago. By the end of the film, Green is still far from completing his walk, but he’s in no hurry. At one

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‘The World Before Your Feet’: Experience NYC in the Moment

The World Before Your Feet (USA, 95 min._ Dir. Jeremy Workman Not many documentaries out there can offer the in-the-moment perspective The World Before Your Feet can. Matt Green, the curious subject of this simple yet compelling documentary from Jeremy Workman, is on a personal quest to walk every street in New York City’s five boroughs, inhabited or not. He started this endlessly interesting, undeniably obsessive, and slightly peculiar walk, alongside a blog of research and photographs, nearly seven years ago. By the end of the film, Green is still far from completing his walk, but he’s in no hurry. At one

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‘That Higher Level’: A Doc that Sings

That Higher Level (Canada, 75 min.) Dir. John Bolton This one time, at band camp, the NFB made a documentary. That Higher Level goes behind the scenes with the devoted flutists, tromboners, violinists, and other musicians in the National Youth Orchestra during the summer of 2017. Director John Bolton (Aim for the Roses) captures the passion and dedication of these students who commit themselves to the arts. The doc chronicles their intensive rehearsals and ambitious cross-country tour (which sees them travel nearly half the Earth’s circumference in distance) over two months. Focusing more on the collective voice the artists create, rather than the

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Review: ‘Tales from the Winnipeg Film Group’

Tales from the Winnipeg Film Group (Canada, 80 min.) Dir. Kevin Nikkel and Dave Barber When the delirious, gnarled tale of Canada’s quixotic film history is properly told, much of its telling should be devoted to the film co-operative movement that swept across the country in the mid-1970s. From St. John’s to Vancouver, local collectives of people wanting to get their hands on the apparatus of cinema would come to embody the independent DIY collaborative spirit of Canadian cinematic expression. This movement also established essential training grounds and creative hothouse environments for some of the most important film artists in our history.

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Review: ‘Wonders of the Sea’

Wonders of the Sea (UK/France, 82 min.) Dir. Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jean-Jacques Mantello Just this week, Arnold Schwarzenegger told CNN that Donald Trump was in the wrong for denying climate change and withdrawing the USA from the Paris Agreement. Schwarzenegger, the action star and former Republican “Governator” of California, advocated the need for communities and countries to rally together, look beyond borders, and devise immediate goals to save the planet. And if there’s someone who knows a thing or two about saving the planet, it’s Arnold. So it’s no surprise that Schwarzenegger plays a different kind of hero—an eco-warrior—as he lends his narrating skills to the

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Review: ‘The Last Resort’

The Last Resort (USA, 70 min.) Dir. Dennis Scholl and Kareem Tabsch Beaches, bikinis, parties and Art Deco architecture in vibrant colours make up Andy Sweet’s photographs of 1970s South Beach, Miami. It’s not that far removed from today’s South Beach—only in Sweet’s photographs, everybody is over 70, and overwhelmingly Jewish. They are a part of Sweet’s ambitious 10-year endeavour, alongside photographer Gary Monroe, to document their hometown’s Jewish retirement community living in the sunny paradise of 1970’s Miami Beach, a now-bygone era in the city’s past. In The Last Resort, filmmakers Dennis Scholl and Kareem Tabsch present an evocative portrait

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Review: ‘Inventing Tomorrow’

Inventing Tomorrow (USA, 87 min.) Dir. Laura Nix Imagine a city carved by bubble bath lakes with white, foamy and luscious bubbles scattering the streets. That is what we see in the city of Bangalore, India in Laura Nix’s Inventing Tomorrow, only the reality is not so beautiful; in fact the bubbles are caused by toxic waste combining with household detergents. Nix’s film follows a group of young scientists from different ends of the world as they tackle environmental issues such as the one in Bangalore in their local communities. Through scientific exploration, innovation and creativity they prepare to compete at

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Review: ‘Around India with a Movie Camera’

Around India with a Movie Camera (UK, 72 min.) Dir. Sandhya Suri Was there a random box of archival footage at the British Film Institute labelled Odds and Ends – India? One can only wonder how such a haphazard assortment of bits and pieces from film history landed in such an unwieldy heap. These clips and reels feature some of the earliest footage of India and chronicle the life of the country over 50 years from the advent of film to the country’s independence in 1947. The footage itself is obviously valuable and culturally, historically, and (in some cases) artistically significant. Around

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Review: ‘Hal’

Hal (USA, 90 min.) Dir. Amy Scott Is there a director with a winning streak better than Hal Ashby? Perhaps rivaled only by early career Woody Allen in his prolific output, but far more consistent in the quality of his formative years, Ashby delivered one influential film after another in the 1970s. From the box office success of Shampoo (1975) to the Oscar-winning gold of Coming Home (1978) to the comedic brilliance of Being There (1979), his films occupy a decent chunk of what many film buffs consider the best decade in cinema. Ashby gets a warm cinephile’s appreciation in Hal, an engaging crash course on authorship

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