Author: Adam Sidsworth

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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Review: Born in China

Born in China, released on Earth Day, is a nature documentary following the lives of three animal families: a panda and her cub, a snow leopard and her two cubs, and a juvenile golden monkey outcast by his family. Although the documentary is a Disney co-production, nature’s nastier details aren’t entirely glossed over. Framed by a Chinese legend that states that storks carry life and death as they travel the skies, Born in China offers a barebones plot. The true star is the beauty of China’s majestic nature sights, including the snowy mountainous home of the snow leopards, the bamboo forest...

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Review: The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious, clocking in at two-and-a-quarter hours, is an ambitious action movie that is at least forty-five minutes longer than it should be. The action scenes — the true stars of the movie — will no doubt excite die-hard Fast and Furious fans looking for car chases, muscle cars and chiselled men. The movie opens with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) celebrating their honeymoon in Cuba. While there, Dom has an obligatory road race along the city’s streets with a local hustler. Complete with over-the-top car speeds, dangerous car stunts and fires, it’s the least busy action segment in...

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Review: Chokeslam

What can be said about Chokeslam? Written and directed by Robert Cuffley, this Canadian film contributes more to the cultural landscape than a WWE match. And that’s not setting the bar high. Chokeslam follows Corey (Chris Marquette), a deli clerk living at home with his mother, Janet (an underused Gwynyth Walsh, who provides good comic support). Corey lives in a small prairie town where everybody knows everybody else’s name and story, as evidenced when Corey is robbed at work by Luke (Michael Eklund), whom Corey recognizes behind the ski mask (they went to the same high school). Together they attend Corey’s ten-year high school reunion,...

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