Author: Adam Sidsworth

Review: Expo 67: Mission Impossible

If you’re interested in Canadian history, watch Expo 67: Mission Impossible, a new documentary about the seminal Montreal exposition during Canada’s centennial celebration. Filled with archival footage of both the behind-the-scenes planning and the actual event, the documentary is an interesting reflection of the ill-advised and hasty planning that almost imploded Expo 67 before it happened. Fortunately for the filmmakers, many of Expo 67’s planners are still alive and are interviewed for the documentary. Interestingly, 1967’s exposition was originally awarded to Moscow, but when the Soviet’s plans crumbled, the exposition was shifted to Montreal, the runner up. The federal government was eager to...

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Review: Landline

What can be said about Landline, a small independent feature from director Gillian Robspierre. This is the writer/director’s second feature, following the her 2009 debut, Obvious Child, which interestingly, also featured SNL alumni Jenny Slate. In Landline, Robspierre has crafted a structurally sound story that hits all the marks, despite its structure as an overly long soap opera better suited for the small screen. Landline follows roughly two months of trials and tribulations of the Jacob family, from Labour Day to Halloween in the mid 1990s. There is Dana (Slate), a woman in her 20s who is bored in her relationship with Ben...

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Review: 13 Minutes

For the 88th Oscar season, Germany submitted two films about its Nazi past for Best Foreign Language Film. Labyrinth of Lies, the much weaker film, was submitted. The other film, 13 Minutes, is finally getting a Toronto release. Based on actual historical events, 13 Minutes tells the story of Georg Elser (Christian Friedel), who in November 1939 planted a bomb in a Munich building in which Adolf Hitler was giving a speech. The title refers to the fact that Hitler left the building 13 minutes before the bomb detonated. The film opens with a frantic scene in which Elser, a young man who recently...

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Review: Manifesto

Manifesto was originally a series of simultaneously screened videos at the Australian Centre of Moving Image in Melbourne, Australia. Each video was a different artist’s statement, and each featured Cate Blanchett performing the statements to dramatized stagings. Director Julian Rosefeldt has since edited each sequence together as a seamless film. It’s not hard to see why Blanchett would be attracted to the project. She has the opportunity to portray over a dozen characters of both genders who speak with various accents. And because each character is essentially articulating an artist statement, Blanchett’s characters look into the camera and speak various philosophical...

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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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