Author: Amanda Clarke

Review: 20th Century Women

Mike Mills has a very distinctive style of filmmaking. He likes collages and voice overs and always makes sure to firmly establish the time and place of his work. All this is there in 20th Century Women, but it also marks a departure. This film is much more conventional than his previous work, but it still retains his characteristic biting wit and charm. Set in the 1970s, the film follows three women, Dorothea (Annette Benning), Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and Julie (Elle Fanning) as they attempt to navigate their own lives and help to raise Dorothea’s teenage son Jamie (Lucas...

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Review: Hidden Figures

The story of the space race is a familiar one. The Russians and Americans were locked in the Cold War and desperate to prove their superiority by being the first one to launch a man into space and ultimately send someone to the moon. Hidden Figures gives us another rendition of this well-trodden story, but from a point of view that we haven’t been privy to before. Unknown to many, NASA hired a great number of women of colour in the 1950s. They had their own segregated unit and checked many of the organizations calculations. Hidden Figures focuses on...

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Review: The Second Time Around

The Second Time Around is a simple little tale set against the grand soundtrack of the opera. The film follows Catherine (Linda Thorson), an elderly woman who loves music and dreams of seeing the opera at the Scala Opera House in Milan. When she has a bad fall and breaks her hip, Catherine is forced to move into an assisted care facility where she meets Isaac (Stuart Margolin). The two bond over their mutual love of music and begin to explore the possibilities of a romantic relationship. At its core, The Second Time Around is about longevity and the beauty of age....

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Review: Jackie

The assassination of John F. Kennedy serves as the catalyst for Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, but the former president is quickly eclipsed by the presence of his wife. This film is about Jackie. From the opening moment, she makes it clear that she is the one in complete control of the story you are about to hear. She looks directly into the camera and tells the reporter from Life Magazine “I will be editing your story. Just in case I say something I didn’t mean to.” It is an unsettling beginning to a biopic that refuses to follow convention. In many...

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Respecting the experience: interview with The Other Half director Joey Klein

Speaking to filmmaker Joey Klein, it is clear he brings a great deal of respect to his work. His debut feature, The Other Half, tackles the serious subject of mental illness, featuring one protagonist that has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Films that take on mental illness often do so with very little consideration for the flesh and blood people who deal with mental illness in their daily lives, either their own or that of a loved one. This is something that Klein took great pains to avoid. Klein adamantly believes that “if you are going to take on...

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Review: The Other Half

It’s a familiar story. A down on his luck man meets a pretty young thing who is full of life and teaches him how to live again. You can be forgiven for rolling your eyes at yet another film that relies on the Manic-Pixie Dream Girl trope. Emily’s (Tatiana Maslany) introduction in The Other Half paints her as the textbook embodiment of the trope. She’s a quirky, free spirit. She pushes Nicky (Tom Cullen) to move past his anger and start to feel happy again. This sets Emily up nicely to be Nicky’s saviour and lift him to the Hollywood...

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Review: The Eagle Huntress

The key to a good documentary lies with the subject. Pick the right one, and half the job is done. With Aisholpan, director Otto Bell has hit the jackpot. She is an open and driven young woman, fueled by her genuine enthusiasm and love for the golden eagles. Despite her spectacular accomplishments at a very young age, Aisholpan keeps focused on her goal of becoming a full-fledged eagle huntress. Eagle hunting is a long-standing tradition among the Kazakh people, passed down through generations, usually from father to son. Thirteen-year-old Aisholpan’s father is an eagle hunter and she has always...

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