Author: Adam Sidsworth

Review: Murphy’s Law

Peterborough, Ontario, resident Megan Murphy comes from a close-knit family, and it shows. Growing up in front of her family’s home video camera, her family’s home videos, many of which depict Murphy growing up in the ’80s and early ’90s, are the true star of her documentary, Murphy’s Law, an homage to her late father and Ireland. Murphy was evidently particularly close with her father, Marty, a talkative, social, and well-known attorney who died from cancer ten years earlier. When Murphy’s mother subsequently dies, Murphy, who just broke up with her fiance, moves in to her childhood home, where she discovers...

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Review: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

It can be a challenge to fairly review a movie if you aren’t its target audience, and this reviewer certainly isn’t the target audience for Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Fortunately for this reviewer, this adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s series of Captain Underpants books weds a stellar cast with a well-written animated movie. Directed by native-Toronto animator David Soren, who also wrote and directed Turbo for DreamWorks, Captain Underpants  perfectly mixes humour that will appeal to both children and adults. The movie follows grade-school friends George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch), imaginative and creative best friends who live next door to...

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Inside Out 2017 Review: The Untold Stories of Armistead Maupin

At the beginning of the documentary The Untold Stories of Armistead Maupin, Armistead Maupin, when asked if he’s a gay writer, states, “No…I’m a writer who happens to be gay. I write about heterosexuals too.” Interestingly, it’s a stock video from the 1980s, and the journalist who asks the question messes up Maupin’s name, and Maupin, who’s sitting comfortably on the couch in embrace with his romantic partner, calmly corrects the journalist. And that may be an appropriate opening to the documentary, as Maupin may not be a well-known name to a younger Toronto screen-going audience. However, the San Francisco-based author...

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Review: Tommy’s Honour

If you’re a golfer, you can probably attest that golf is a fun, relaxing way to spend a sunny afternoon. You’re outdoors, you’re active, maybe you have a couple of drinks. But unless you love golf, watching it on TV or film has to be as boring as watching paint dry. The new biopic, Tommy’s Honour, about the complex relationship between nineteenth-century golf legend “Young” Tom (Tommy) Morris and his father, “Old” Tom Morris, manages to have just enough drama to carry it through a feature-film length. However, because of a lack of focus, non-golfers will find the film as lacklustre as a televised PGA...

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Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, the latest installment of the Wimpy Kid movies based on the preteen book series of the same name, is not so much a retooling as it is a recasting, since the kids who starred in the original 2012 movie have since grown too old to play the respective characters. It’s not a new idea: Chevy Chase’s Vacation movies recast the kids each movie. But the latest Wimpy Kid recasts the entire family–parents included. But don’t despair, as longtime series director David Bowers has returned to helm a kids’ movie that’s also an effective road movie....

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Review: Urban Hymn

Urban Hymn is a UK-produced drama about redemption and inspiration. Although it covers previously covered territory, it’s an entertaining and rewarding exploration about poverty, crime and the legal system. The film follows Kate Linton (Shirley Henderson of Trainspotting fame), a social worker who naively applies to work at a youth detention centre, where she is in charge of mentoring young female offenders who are rehabilitating into society. When everybody else on her team refuses to mentor violent offender Jamie (Letitia Wright), Kate accepts the challenge and during the encounters discovers that Jamie has a beautiful singing voice. She encourages her to join...

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Hot Docs 2017 Review: Strad Style

Antonio Stradivari was an eighteenth-century Italian violinmaker so famed for his high-quality craftsmanship that his violins are still considered the best ever.  Roughly 500 of his violins–called Strads–still exist, and violinists everywhere dream of playing them. Razvan Stoica, a young violin soloist who tours Europe, is one of them. Through social media he meets American Daniel Houck. Houck claims he can build him a replica of Guarneri del Gesu’s ‘Il Cannone’, one of the most famous and valuable violins in the world; an excited Stoica accepts his offer. Houck is a young man seemingly unlikely to be considered a...

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