Reviews - Page 79

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

Review: ‘Long Time Running’

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Long Time Running (Canada, 90 min.) Dir. Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas De Pencier Programme: Galas (World Premiere)   Long Time Running has major expectations to fulfill given that the final performance of the Tragically Hip in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario in August 2016 provided a defining moment in contemporary Canadian culture. The CBC’s nation-wide live broadcast of this farewell concert endures as a rare moment in which Canadians in all corners of the land gathered to watch something other than hockey. Even Hip fans without TVs could sit out in the backyards with their cat and a beer and

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Review: ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’

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Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (USA, 98 min.) Dir. Matt Tyrnauer Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)   It’s hard to divorce one’s opinion of subject Scotty Bowers from the documentary that shares his story. Bowers opens his little black book as he tells about his scandalous life as a Hollywood escort and pimp to the stars in Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood. Matt Tyrnauer (Citizen Jane: Battle for the City) avoids making Bowers’ narrative one of tabloid trash, but the subject’s way of presenting his material is too problematic to endorse. There is an undeniable element

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Review: ‘Faces Places’

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Faces Places (Visages villages) (France, 90 min.) Dir. Agnès Varda, JR Programme: Masters (Canadian Premiere)   Agnès Varda, effervescent photographer and iconic filmmaker (The Beaches of Agnes, The Gleaners and I ; La Pointe Courte; Cleo from 5 to 7; Mur Murs; One Sings the other doesn’t), and JR, young mysterious photographer and street artist (including the massive child looking over the border wall between Mexico and the US), are the unlikely and utterly charming couple whose road trips to villages and communities across France resulted in the beautiful documentary Faces Places (Visages Villages). With matching energy and joy, the

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Review: ‘The Judge’

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The Judge (Palestine/USA, 82 min.) Dir. Erika Cohn Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)   Erika Cohn’s The Judge is a captivating and stirring documentary, which chronicles the story of the first female Sharia judge in the history of the Middle East, Kholoud Faqih. It’s particularly interesting that this documentary, which bares the nuances of Palestinian life and culture, is directed by an American Jewish filmmaker. This combination of cultural diversity and conspicuous female presence on both sides of the camera enlivens the film with riveting and emboldening energy. Once Faqih appears on the screen, she immediately forms a durable connection

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Review: ‘I, Tonya’

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I, Tonya (USA, 121 min.) Dir. Craig Gillespie, Writ. Steven Rogers Programme: Special Presentations (World Premiere)   “Everybody has their own truth, and life’s what you fucking make of it,” says Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) towards the end of I, Tonya. Harding likes to make her own version of the truth and there’s a lot to enjoy in the warped retelling of her life as the notorious ex-figure skater who holds dual honors as the first American woman to land a successful triple axel and the only athlete to be banned from the sport after (allegedly) conspiring to oust her

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Review: ‘Jim & Andy – The Great Beyond’

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Jim & Andy: the Great Beyond – the story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman with a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton (USA/Canada, 95 min.) Dir. Chris Smith Programme: TIFF Docs (North American Premiere)   Please give Milos Forman a round of applause for restraining himself from punching Jim Carrey in the face while shooting Man on the Moon. One sees the two-time Oscar winning director plead with the Canadian-born actor several times to reign in his onset behaviour while inhabiting late comic Andy Kaufman for Man on the Moon. Evidence of Carrey’s erratic and exasperating on-set

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Review: ‘The Gospel According to Andre’

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The Gospel According to Andre (USA, 94 min.) Dir. Kate Novack Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)   In The Gospel According to Andre, Kate Novack offers a long needed and detailed examination of Andre Leon Talley’s life and career. Born and raised in the segregated American South, Talley, a six-and-a-half-foot tall black man with a loud voice and decipherable Capote-esque style, has risen through the ranks of the world’s most recognized fashion editors, becoming a fashion legend. Through a set of interviews with his close friends and colleagues, Novack draws a multifaceted portrait of the fashion editor. The film features

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Review: ‘Grace Jones Bloodlight and Bami’

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Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (UK/Ireland, 115 min.) Dir. Sophie Fiennes   Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is the only documentary I’ve ever seen that cites a hat designer in its opening credits. The title card is well earned for hat master Philip Treacy, since Grace Jones brings a fierce chapeau game in nearly every scene of Bloodlight and Bami. Director Sophie Fiennes finds a heck of a subject in the enigmatic style icon from Jamaica, and the range of hats and headgear is just one facet of her singular presence. The film also credits a corset designer, if one

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Review: ‘Jane’

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Jane (USA, 90 min.) Dir. Brett Morgen Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)   I went into Brett Morgen’s doc Jane with some trepidation. Did we really need a new Jane Goodall movie? This one’s different, though. The deal here is that National Geographic gave director Morgen 140 hours of footage of Jane Goodall shot from the 1960s by someone noted in TIFF’s program guide only as “photographer and filmmaker Hugo van Lawick.” Going into the screening, I’m thinking that some German filmmaker found some reason or another to go to Africa in the 1960s—maybe, like Peter Kubelka, he took a

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Review: ‘Gaga: Five Foot Two’

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Gaga: Five Foot Two (USA, 100 min.) Dir. Chris Moukarbel Programme: Special Events (World Premiere)   A special event lit up the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 8 when Lady Gaga turned Festival Street into a red carpet runway and then transformed the VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre into a rock concert before the premiere of the documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two. Gaga offered a soulful and spine-tingling rendition of “Bad Romance” played only with the accompaniment of a piano and while the overture to the feature presentation might have been stronger than the

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