Reviews - Page 90

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

Review: ‘The Other Side of Everything’

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The Other Side of Everything (Serbia/France/Qatar, 100 min.) Dir. Mila Turajlic   Mila Turajlic’s The Other Side of Everything is two things: on one level, it’s a first-person doc about a daughter’s relationship with her mother; on another, it’s the story of modern Serbia. The person who makes that move possible is Srbijanka Turajlic, the director’s mother, who is a retired engineering professor and stalwart democratic political activist. The film begins with a locked door. The Turajlic’s apartment, we are told, was divided by the Communists when they came to power after World War II; their family was bourgeois and

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Review: ‘The China Hustle’

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The China Hustle Dir. Jed Rothstein Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)   You saw The Big Short, right? Of course you did. And you came away with two thoughts: they ought to do something about this, and they won’t. Well get ready to think those thoughts all over again when you see Jed Rothstein’s brisk new doc The China Hustle. In case you’ve forgotten, short-selling is what happens when investors figure out that stocks are overvalued: they borrow shares in the company in question, sell them at the current rate, release a report showing that the company is overvalued, watch

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Review: ‘The Final Year’

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The Final Year (USA, 89 min.) Dir. Greg Barker Programme: TIFF Docs (World Premiere)   Sometimes with documentaries it is painfully obvious that the film that ends up in theatres is not the film the makers thought they were making. And The Final Year, Greg Barker’s new film about the last year of the Obama administration, is, for painfully obvious reasons, possibly the phenomenon’s epitome. Barker’s focus is on the foreign policy team of Secretary of State John Kerry, Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. He gets decent access to them, following the

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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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