Author: Amanda Clarke

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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TJFF 2017 Review: Mandala Beats

Israeli bassist and producer Yossi Fine has always drawn on his European and Caribbean heritage in his music. As an adult, he discovered that his great grandmother was Indian. An invitation to an Indian music festival allows him to explore his newly discovered Indian roots through music. Mandala Beats blends cool reggae rhythms with classic Indian beats to create an entertaining exploration of culture through music. Director Rebekah Reiko has created something that plays like an intellectual concert film. The music is fantastic and she lets that drive the film forward. However, what really elevates the film is the...

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Hot Docs 2017 Review: Integral Man

If you’ve ever taken a university level calculus course, you’ve probably encountered the work of James Stewart. The most published mathematician since Euclid, Stewart has made a fortune writing the calculus textbooks with the violin on the cover. Integral Man examines Integral House, an 18,000 square-foot private residence in Rosedale, that Stewart commissioned. Paradoxically, Integral Man is both too long and too short. An impressive feat for a film that runs only 60 minutes. James Stewart was a man of substance. Sadly the film that bears his name has very little. Director Joseph Clement fills the film with images...

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Review: Strangers on the Earth

Every year thousands of people walk the trail of the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage across Spain to the shrine of the apostle St. James. Despite its religious beginnings, now the people who undertake the pilgrimage come for all kinds of reasons. Some do it for an interesting vacation. Some were inspired by the film The Way. Some seek spiritual guidance or are searching for meaning. There are as many different reasons to hike the 600 km trail as there are people who walk it. Director Tristan Cook has taken this route with his film Strangers on the Earth. It...

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Review: Their Finest

The year is 1940. England has just suffered a massive defeat at the hands of Nazi Germany at Dunkirk with tens of thousands dead. There is a ray of hope. In the midst of the chaos, two sisters sail their small boat to Dunkirk to save as many soldiers as they can. They become heroes in the evacuation that saved hundreds of thousands of troops, giving hope to the defeated Allied troops. Or at least, that’s how the British propaganda machine is selling it. Their Finest follows Catherine Cole (Gemma Arterton), born Catrin Pew, a comic writer hired by...

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Human Rights Watch Festival 2017 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...

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