Author: Adam Sidsworth

TIFF Kids 2017 Review: On Wheels

On Wheels (Sobre Rodas), a Brazilian film playing at this year’s TIFF Kids International Film Festival, is a rare example of an intelligently executed kids’ film that neither insults its audience nor overstays its welcome. Written and directed by Mauro D’Addio, who’s making his feature-film debut, On Wheels follows the story of Lais, a 12-year-old girl who, when she isn’t in school, helps her mother and grandmother sell coffee and meals at a roadside café. Sadly, Lais has never met her father, nor does she know his identity (it seems he’s a thief). When Lais gets a clue about him, she confides...

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TIFF Kids 2017 Review: Heartstrings

Heartstrings (Le Coeur en braille) is a French film screening at this year’s TIFF Kids International Film Festival. Directed and co-written by Michel Boujenah, perhaps best known for his acting work in French films and on TV, Heartstrings tells the story of two preteens who develop a deep friendship. Marie (Alix Vaillot) is a high-achieving 12-year-old student with little need of friends. She dreams of being a professional cellist and has an upcoming audition to a prestigious music school, except her parents, particularly her father, don’t want her to audition. Marie, it turns out, has a genetic disease that is slowly robbing her...

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Review: The Second Time Around

The Second Time Around is  a very slow-moving, meandering film. But considering its subject–geriatric love in a nursing home–it’s probably purposely so. To a younger audience used to seeing love and sex happen at an immediate pace in film and on TV, this movie will seem very slow. However, if you’re willing to invest the time, this small-budget Canadian flick may be a rewarding pay off. Written, directed and produced by Leon Marr, perhaps best known for his 1986 Genie Award-winning Dancing in the Dark, The Second Time Around visits the aging Canadian demographic as a source of inspiration. In the film,...

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Review: O, Brazen Age

Fans of locally produced and shot films will take pride that O, Brazen Age doesn’t hide that it’s a Toronto produced and set film. Unfortunately, this sentiment isn’t enough to save this film. Written and directed by Alexander Carson, in his feature-film debut, O, Brazen Age shifts its focus on a small group of friends–played by a cast of Toronto actors–living in Toronto’s west end. The friends, most of whom work in the arts, including actors, photographers and artists, are close knit and in different stages in life: some are married with kids, some are in shifting romances and most...

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It’s all about the editing: interview with The Second Time Around director Leon Marr

Leon Marr is perhaps proudest that he was able to finish his newest feature film, The Second Time Around, given the obstacles in financing. I’m meeting with Marr at a busy and loud food court two floors beneath the Varsity Theatre in Toronto, where his film is scheduled to open Friday, March 24, 2017.. (It also opens in Vancouver and Montreal the same day.)  Coincidently, he’s meeting one of his film’s leading stars, Linda Thorson, in front of the theatre’s ticket booth right after we meet.  “She’ll be standing in front of her poster,” Marr said.  (I had the opportunity to speak with Thorson for a...

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Canadian Film Fest 2017 Review: Edging

Edging marks the feature-length directing and writing debut of Natty Zavitz, who as an actor appeared on a few seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation. A small-budget effort, Edging features a tiny cast of young actors who have appeared in a plethora of Canadian TV series. Jordan (Shomari Downer), a young man in his 20s, has taken possession of his new house and is hosting a housewarming party. Jordan, though, is depressed because his long-time girlfriend, whom he met in high school, has just dumped him. So he hides in the garage, avoiding the fun and his new girlfriend, Bree (Parveen Kaur of Saving Hope), and attempting to...

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Review: Ghostland: The View of the Ju/Hoansi

Ghostland: The View of the Ju/Hoansi is a look at the Ju/Hoansi, an ancient tribal culture indigenous to Namibia, in southern Africa. In its opening scenes, the documentary displays text informing us that the Ju/Hoansi (also known as Bushmen), is the oldest culture on the planet, tracing its roots at least 25,000 years; however, in 1990, the Namibian government enacted laws forbidding them from hunting, thus shutting them out from their traditional method of gathering food. The doc doesn’t explain why they’re forbidden from their traditional lifestyle, but it seems to not be the point of the film. Instead, it focuses on a small group of Ju/Hoansi as they sustain an economic existence by putting on a show of their traditional lifestyle for European tourists. The documentary follows, among many people, Xoan and her baby; Chau, who became the first Ju/Hoansi to get electricity and an email account; Tci!xo, who bought a double bed that fills her entire hut; Gao, who has TB and Ui, who looks after a development project for the tribe. The documentary captures many scenes that display a culture in a dichotomous cultural transition. The first scene, for example, shows Ju/Hoansi kids and teens, all of whom are in robes that display body parts (female chests and sex organs) that Western and Western-influenced culture would never allow. The kids stand in front of a chain fence while watching planes...

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