Author: Ada Wong

Review: In Search of Israeli Cuisine

Michael Solomonov, award winning chef and owner of Israeli restaurant Zahav in Philadephia, takes audiences on a zig-zagging journey through the country where he was born and finds his inspiration. Along the way we discover the diversity of this small land, see the vast array of local ingredients, meet the diaspora who coexist through religious ties, come to understand how the political landscape infiltrates all aspects of life, and bond through shared and combined recipes that have spawned a new food movement as we go…In Search of Israeli Cuisine. If the expanding shelves of Middle Eastern cookbooks in stores,...

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TJFF 2017 Review: Monsieur Mayonnaise

Artist and B-horror Filmmaker Philippe Mora ventures into his own past as he traverses Europe retracing the footsteps of his parents journeys through WWII and the Nazi occupation in France and surrounding countries. He chronicles his mother Mirka’s family as they are taken and then subsequently released from a concentration camp, as well as his father’s efforts to rescue Jewish children from the south of France. Director Trevor Graham uses a whimsical blend of different mediums to weave together the Mora family’s memoirs. From live documentary footage, to Philippe’s paintings and comics, to a mash up of recreations, home movies, and other historical film footage....

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Review: First Round Down

In First Round Down, former hometown hockey hero/hitman/pizza delivery boy Tim Tucker (Dylan Bruce) finds himself back home to take care of his kid brother after his parents’ passing. He’s in a rut delivering pizzas and being unable to emerge from the shadow of his former glories, but all this begins to change the day he makes a delivery to his old flame Kelly (Rachel Wilson). Between getting reacquainted with his former coach (aka Kelly’s dad) leading up to the league’s reunion game and festivities, pining for his former girlfriend (much to the displeasure of her current fiancée), and the re-emergence of his former boss...

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Review: The Dinner

Two couples arrive at a fancy restaurant for a dinner together, former history teacher Paul Lohman and his wife Claire, who are almost instantly overshadowed by Paul’s politician brother Stan and his wife Katelyn as they make their grand entrance. We soon learn that this divide is but a sliver in the columns of tension that exists between all parties at this meal. As we move through each dinner course, backstories are revealed, and through a series of flashbacks the audience slowly learns the grim and catastrophic reason why these couples have been forced to meet. It’s not unusual...

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Canadian Film Fest 2017 Review: #AnAmericanDream

Making its Toronto debut as the opening film of this year’s Canadian Film Fest, #AnAmericanDream is the latest offering from Ken Finkleman, who is best known for his television series The Newsroom. #AnAmericanDream is a dark comedic journey, rife with social commentary and sardonic parodies, about a gullible young man as he journeys through the perils (or is it mainstays?) of modern day American society. #AnAmericanDream is reminiscent of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, in which something happens, then something else happens, and something else after that, but without much meaning or consequence overall. Supporting characters and events are...

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Review: Paula

Paula chronicles the short but dynamic life and career of Paula Modersohn-Becker, one of the pioneers of Expressionist painting. From her early days as a headstrong student in Worpswede, where she met husband and fellow artist Otto Modersohn, to her extended stays in Paris in the early 1900s where she was said to have produced her most compelling works. Similar to that of her career, the film Paula seems to meander and even stagnate in its earlier portions as it struggles to find significance and meaning. It is only in the final third of the movie that viewers will...

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Review: Sadie’s Last Days on Earth

Sadie Mitchell is a 16-year-old who struggles with anxiety, which reaches crippling levels after a school project in which she learns that the end of the world is near. She spends her days alternating between stockpiling for the apocalypse and trying to salvage her friendship with former best friend Brennan. When she forms an unlikely friendship with doting schoolmate Jack, who finds her idiosyncrasies quirky as opposed to neurotic, what starts out as the road to regained happiness quickly descends into total teenage torment. Michael Seater’s script is really smart, often too smart. While brimming with wit and sardonic humour delivered in rapid fire dialogue, the overall tone of Sadie’s Last Days on Earth is a bit too self aware. The characters come off almost a bit smug, as if to say ‘look at us, we’re so quirky and weird it’s cool’. While Seater’s target audience might proudly see reflections of themselves in Sadie and the cast, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that most teenagers are simply not that profound. Sadie’s Last Days on Earth can be a fun viewing experience, but clearly targeting a very specific demographic. While teen angst transcends many age groups in contemporary cinema, the specific references and conversational cadences will leave some puzzling. To those on the outside looking in, the film is like Noah Baumbach meets a meme machine. Seater directs a strong cast, Sadie’s Last...

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