Reviews - Page 87

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

Review: ‘A Kid from Somewhere’


A Kid from Somewhere (Canada, 54 min.) Dir. Adam Beck and Paul Johnson   It’s nice to see images of Millennials that go beyond entitled avocado toast eating brats. A Kid from Somewhere follows three young creatives as they make their mark on the world and defy convention. The film encourages youths to escape their over-parented shackles. Bumps and scratches are all part of growing up. The three subjects in A Kid from Somewhere are succeeding without training wheels. However, they consistently reassert their merits to industry veterans and, ultimately, themselves. 23-year-old photographer Olivia Bee still reassures clients who doubt

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Review: ‘Seeing Allred’

Seeing Allred (USA, 96 min.) Dir. Sophie Sartain, Roberta Grossman   “I don’t think Gloria is in a popularity contest because if she is, she lost that one,” says lawyer and commentator Greta Van Susteren in the new Netflix documentary Seeing Allred. Van Susteren laughs about the no-nonsense attitude of civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred as this documentary by Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman offers a highlight reel of Allred’s image on television throughout the decades. The montage includes a South Park spoof and an impersonation on The Simpsons that introduces her as a “shrill feminist lawyer.” Seeing Allred unabashedly

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Review: ‘Fake Blood’

Fake Blood (Canada, 81 min.) Dir. Rob Grant, Writ. Rob Grant, Mike Kovac   If there are two forms of filmmaking that go hand-in-hand with low budgets, they’re documentary and B-horror. Director Rob Grant and actor/writer Mike Kovac have ample experience with the latter having made oodles of horror flicks in Canada’s underground scene. Screaming girls, squishy guts, and squirm-inducing gore are all staples of their filmography, which includes B-movies like Mon Ami and Yesterday. A pretense to realism, however, is not something to which they aspire with their splat-n-chuckle violence. Their latest film Fake Blood is an experiment in

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Review: ‘Icarus’

carus (USA, 121 min.) Dir. Bryan Fogel, Writ. Bryan Fogel, Mark Monroe, Jon Bertain, Timothy Rode   Super Size Me meets Citizenfour in the mind-boggling and suspenseful doc Icarus. Bryan Fogel’s worthy Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature begins as a personal challenge and morphs into an international scandal. The film is an alarming whistleblower tale that raises significant concerns on the integrity of the Olympics. Following the revelations of doping by Russia’s national team, the nomination is very timely since any win in the Winter Games in Pyeongchang invites skepticism. The revelations in Icarus are so extensive, elaborate, and

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Review: ‘Free Lunch Society’

Free Lunch Society (Austria/Germany, 95 min.) Dir. Christian Tod With: Gotz Werner (billionaire), Charles Murray (Libertarian), Evelyn Forget (Canadian economist), Emmanuel Saez (French-American economist), Michael Bohmeyer (entrepreneur), Zepahania Kameeta (Namibian Minister), Marshall Brain (computer scientist and sci-fi author)   Christian Tod’s The Free Lunch Society begins in outer space, which is unique terrain for a documentary. In the 24th century, Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation explains to a visitor from our day that everyone in his century has a guaranteed income. “We no longer want to accumulate things,” he pontificates to the former billionaire, who

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Review: ‘Midnight Return: The Story of Billy Hayes and Turkey’

Midnight Return: The Story of Billy Hayes and Turkey (USA, 99 min.) Written and directed by Sally Sussman   Alan Parker’s 1978 film Midnight Express generally holds up as a Hollywood classic. The film, which won Oscars for Oliver Stone’s screenplay and Giorgio Moroder’s memorable disco score, is a tense political thriller about the arrest of college student Billy Hayes who was caught carrying two kilograms of hashish while travelling in Turkey and sentenced to an irrationally harsh life sentence. Tough, dark, gritty, and violent, the film remains controversial for its intense story of a prison break and survival. Despite

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Review: ‘Two Trains Runnin’

Two Trains Runnin’ (USA, 80 min.) Dir. Sam Pollard   The number of good American music docs that combine the songs of the South with the nation’s turbulent history of racism are too numerous to count. Add Sam Pollard’s Two Trains Runnin’ to the list, however, since it smartly intertwines the two historical narratives and articulates the arts’ ability to articulate the soul of a nation. Pollard (Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me) mixes interviews, archival images, animation, and musical performances to create a piece of living history. Like many other music docs, Two Trains Runnin’ sees in the

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Review: ‘The Final Year’

The Final Year (USA, 89 min.) Dir. Greg Barker   Don’t let The Final Year get you down. See it as an optimistic reminder of goodwill, rather than a tragic portrait of lost progress. It’s been one year since Donald Trump took the presidency and turned the world into a “shithole.” It’s been two years since director Greg Barker started following Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, and documenting the final twelve months in his second term as president of the U.S.A. One can debate if Barker sensed Trump’s unfortunate victory during the course of filming or if The Final Year partly

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Review: ‘Aida’s Secrets’

Aida’s Secrets (Israel/Germany/Canada, 90 min.) Dir. Alon Schwarz, Shaul Schwarz   “From 6,000 survivors, 1,300 babies were born.”—Alon Schwarz about the Jewish survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp who lived in a Displaced Persons camp after World War Two Imagine what you would do if you survived a living hell. Would you be concerned about conventional morality? Everyone in power, every institution, had abandoned you to a grisly fate. Yet somehow you didn’t die, perhaps out of luck or because you had a skill that your oppressors valued. With hope abandoned, you did what you could to stay alive until,

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