REVIEW: The Look of Silence [2015]


“If we didn’t drink human blood, we’d go crazy” Just when you thought a documentary couldn’t get more harrowing than Joshua Oppenheimer‘s look at murderers in The Act of Killing, the director gives editorial power to their victims in The Look of Silence. The descriptive label “companion piece” is apt because they both exist in […]

REVIEW: Les glaneurs et la glaneuse [The Gleaners and I] [2000]


“There’s no shame, just worries” What makes Agnès Varda such an integral voice in cinema is her colloquial way of engaging subjects. Everything appears as though unplanned when she visits locales believed to align with her current topic so as to capture unknown truths and adventure. None of her work does this better than Les […]

REVIEW: Meet the Patels [2015]


“If you wanted to get married you’d be married” The title Meet the Patels seemed strange for a movie about an almost-thirty year old Indian-American (Ravi Patel) allowing his parents to commence the process of an arranged marriage for him over the course of a year. I knew we’d obviously meet his family since Dad […]

REVIEW: Listen to Me Marlon [2015]


“Get people to stop chewing” The above line pertaining to audiences and their popcorn is but one gem of many spoken by acting legend Marlon Brando into a tape recorder. Others—original or quoted—like, “Life’s but a walking shadow,” “You are the memories,” or “Acting is surviving,” each provide a glimpse into his introspection and warring […]

REVIEW: Les plages d’Agnès [The Beaches of Agnès] [2008]


“I feel pain everywhere” I think it should be a new rule that documentaries about filmmakers can only be made if the subject him/herself directs. How could you not want this enforced after watching Agnès Varda‘s Les plages d’Agnès [The Beaches of Agnès]? It surely helps that the Frenchwoman is candid, funny, and fearless when […]

REVIEW: All Things Must Pass [2015]


“No music, no life” There’s no better hook for Colin Hanks‘ feature-length documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records entitled All Things Must Pass then the opening lines of text he and screenwriter Steven Leckart utilize: “In 1999, Tower Records had sales of over one billion dollars. Five years later, they filed for […]

REVIEW: The Notorious Mr. Bout [2015]


“You hope the rope is rotten and the noose breaks” I enjoyed Andrew Niccol‘s Lord of War when it came out in 2005. It was a fast-paced, enjoyable ride down the rabbit hole of the illegal arms trade, but I had no idea Nicolas Cage‘s character Yuri Orlov was based on a real life “Merchant […]

REVIEW: Mur murs [1982]


“That’s part of the beauty. It’s going to change.” What’s there to do while you’re in Los Angeles? Shoot a couple films, of course. That’s exactly what French auteur Agnès Varda decided to do in 1981 with her fictional narrative Documenteur and documentary Mur murs. The latter proves a very down and dirty point and […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Dragstrip [2015]


“So hike up your pants and tighten your shoes. We’re going racing soon.” The Toronto International Film festival programmers are selling Daniel Claridge and Pacho Velez‘s short documentary Dragstrip as an “exhilarating blast of raw Americana”, but I’m not sure if it isn’t actually evidence of our affinity with the mundane instead. Shot at the […]

REVIEW: Meru [2015]


“The best alpinists are the ones with the worst memory” You have to be a little bit crazy to mountain climb. If I didn’t know from experience, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi‘s documentary Meru definitely explains why. I draw the line at hiking, so while I’ve summited Mt. Algonquin and Mt. Adams, I’ll never […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Ninth Floor [2016]


“The individuals were all part of a mosaic” The 1969 Sir George Williams Affair seems like something we should all know about. It occurred only a year after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and proves a defining moment in race relations throughout Canada, yet it’s taken over four decades for someone to document what happened […]