Author: Amanda Clarke

Review: Tickling Giants

“It’s about holding authority accountable, regardless of who’s in charge.” This is the statement that has defined Bessem Youssef’s comedic career. He lives to tickle the giants. To be a constant annoyance to those in power. It’s the reason he left a successful career as a heart surgeon to host Al Bernameg(literally The Show), Egypt’s first political satire. In his weekly broadcasts, Youssef dissects the country’s political leaders, mocking, but also encouraging his viewers to never be complacent. Asking for people to always question and hold those in power accountable. Director Sara Taksler knows she’s working with a dream of a subject....

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Review: The Beguiled

When we think of seduction on screen, the first thing that comes to mind is the femme fatale of film noir. A beautiful woman whose existence threatens the stability of the rational world of man. The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola’s latest, owes a great deal to this noir tradition of the seductress, except this time, it is the rational world of woman that is threatened by the male seductor. In the middle of the American civil war, Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) has kept her young students safe in a secluded Virginian boarding school. They fill their days with farming, interspersed...

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Review: Werewolf

Inspired by a homeless couple traveling door to door to mow lawns, Werewolf follows twenty-somethings Nessa (Bhreagh MacNeil) and Blaise (Andrew Gillis). Enrolled in a methadone recovery program, they struggle to get clean, navigate their relationship and try to make enough money to live. Taking her cue from her central characters, Ashley McKenzie’s debut feature is rough around the edges. There is no attempt to stay neat and tidy, throwing classical filmmaking out the window in favour of off-centred closeups and extensive use of off screen space. In many ways, the film’s style makes it difficult to connect with...

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Inside Out 2017 Review: Sisterhood

When Sei (Gigi Leung) finds out about her old friend Ling’s (Jennifer Yu) death, she returns to Macau for the first time in fifteen years. There, she relives her youth (played by Fish Liew) with Ling in flashbacks, remembering their friendship, the home they built together and the son they raised. Tracy Choi’s Sisterhood is a beautiful portrait of female friendship. It is also not quite like anything else. While there have been many films made about similar subject matter, Sisterhood provides an ambiguity that adds a new depth. The relationship between Sei and Ling can be read multiple ways,...

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Inside Out 2017 Review: Free CeCe

In 2011, CeCe McDonald was walking with some friends when they were attacked. While defending herself, CeCe accidently stabbed one of her attackers, leading to his death. Charged with murder and incarcerated in a man’s prison, CeCe’s story sparked a grassroots campaign fighting for her release. There is little doubt that CeCe’s identity as a black, trans woman was the reason for her inhumane treatment by her attackers and the legal system. Free CeCe calls to attention the fearful realities of living as a trans woman of colour and acts as an extended call to action to end the...

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Inside Out 2017 Review: Signature Move

On the surface, Zaynab (Fawzi Mirza) is the perfect daughter. She supports her mother, Preveen (Shabana Azmi), who spends her free time watching Pakastani soap operas and peering through her binoculars looking for the perfect husband for Zaynab. This plan derails when Zaynab walks into a bar and meets Alma (Sari Sanchez), falling head over heels instantly. Combined with her secret wrestling lessons, luchadora style, Zaynab must juggle everything in search of her signature move. With so much going on, Signature Move could have been a hot mess. There are not many filmmakers who could balance a wrestling focused romantic comedy about mother/daughter relationships, but...

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Review: Paris Can Wait

If you are looking for a nice cinematic diversion this weekend, you could do worse than Paris Can Wait. This is the simple tale of Anne (Diane Lane), whose high flying producer husband (Alec Baldwin) has left her in the company of his French colleague Jacque (Arnaud Viard) to drive across France from Cannes to Paris. It’s a light and breezy film, the biggest conflict being Jacque’s inability to take the direct route. Director Eleanor Coppola has filled her film with stunning shots of the picturesque French countryside. There is also a healthy dose of food porn as our intrepid travellers...

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