Reviews - Page 88

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

Preach, Pauline! ‘What She Said’ Celebrates the Legacy of Pauline Kael

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (USA, 95 min.) Dir. Rob Garver Most film critics can name the review that got them hooked. For me, it was Manohla Dargis’s review of A History of Violence for the New York Times. It was a marvel to read a New York based critic who completely understood the film’s decidedly Canadian sense of humour. Reading Dargis’s review was as much of a thrill as watching the film, if not more. She dug into the film, studied it within the context of its production, and celebrated David Cronenberg’s subversive elevation of a potboiler by playing

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‘Botero’ a Family Affair

Botero (Canada, 84 min.) Dir. Don Millar The art of Fernando Botero has a peculiar, if distinctive, shape. His paintings, drawings, and sculptures share virtually the same figures and traits. They feature rotund characters in classically styled portraits. Think the Mona Lisa with three chins, chubby cheeks, a pear-shaped figure, and an overall doughy personality. Botero, the documentary by Don Millar, argues that the Colombian-born painter and sculptor is the most famous artist working today. But does this claim mean that Botero is any good? Millar obviously adores Botero. His documentary is the work of a true fan. He clearly has

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‘Chasing Einstein’: Into the Unknown

Chasing Einstein (USA, 80 min.) Dir. Steve Brown, Timothy Wheeler Albert Einstein’s equation of E = MC2 might be the most famous scientific theory of our time, but does it add up? Chasing Einstein, by Steve Brown and Timothy Wheeler, follows a field of dedicated researchers eager to add to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Voices ranging from New York Times columnists to haughty vloggers have questioned Einstein’s theory. They suggest that Einstein’s theory in which energy and mass are equal generally holds up, but they also argue that there must be more to the equation. Chasing Einstein follows this line of inquiry. For the chorus of

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‘Golda’: When a Leader Prefers Not to Choose

Golda (Israel/Germany, 88 min.) Dir. Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir, Shani Rozanes Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir makes two especially memorable comments in the archival excerpts of Golda. She says that she barely slept while holding the top office from 1969-1974. Meir reveals that these sleepless nights were of her own choosing. Worried that she might miss some major news while resting, she advised her underlings to call her intermittently throughout the night. One can only wonder what the course of history might have been had the late Meir been well rested while decided the fate of the world. The second

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‘Nomad’ and a Wondering, Wandering Herzog

Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (UK, 86 min.) Dir. Werner Herzog “The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot,” says Werner Herzog in Nomad. The indefatigably prophetic director quotes himself while relating his book Of Walking in Ice to his latest film. The book recounts Herzog’s trek on foot from Munich to Paris to visit a dying mentor. Herzog’s new film evokes a journey both different and similar. He embarks on a nomadic quest to honour the life of his late friend, Bruce Chatwin, thirty years after the journeyman’s death. The film might be Herzog’s most personal film to date. It’s

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Molly Ivins Doc Proves Everything’s Bigger and Better in Texas

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins (USA, 93 min.) Dir. Janice Engel You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl. Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins pays tribute to a late journalist from the Lone Star state who was bigger and better than many of her peers. Media buffs and newshounds will enjoy Janice Engel’s portrait of Ivins and the standard of journalism she embodied. The film celebrates the life and work of a voice that captured the attention of readers across America. With her thundering

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‘Highwire’ Review: Balancing Canada/US Relations

Highwire (Sur la corde raide) (Canada, 82 min.) Dir. Claude Guilmain Living in the shadow of the United States of America, Canadians may often feel, or be likened to, a little sibling. But perhaps living next door to a bully is also a reality that Canadians quietly acknowledge. The situation might be more obvious today with a bigger and louder bully in the sandbox, yet the Canadian-American relationship is a special bond that every Prime Minister must stickhandle. Claude Guilmain’s timely documentary Highwire examines the delicate balancing act of asserting Canada’s place in the world while respecting its neighbouring ally. The film

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RIDM Review: ‘Present.Perfect’

Present.Perfect. (USA/Kong, 124 min.) Dir. Shengze Zhu In 2017, over 422 million Chinese followed online “anchors,” linking up to their “showrooms.” The “anchors” are video bloggers live-streaming whatever is going on in their lives and minds at any given moment; the “showrooms” are streaming platforms. Zhu Shengze’s two and a half hour extravaganza draws from 800 hours and ten months of online showrooming. She focuses on twelve anchors with a few of them taking on hefty roles in the film while others appear only fleetingly. Except for one of the anchors, the stars of Present.Perfect. are eccentric, damaged, disabled, or all three.

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