Author: Jordan Adler

Review: The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography

Renowned photographer Elsa Dorfman didn’t pick up a camera until she was 28. A decade and a half later, she was one of only five people in the world to have access to Polaroid’s large-size 20”x24”, 240-pound camera. She then made her name taking vivid, large-scale portraits of subjects ranging from poet Allen Ginsberg to her own parents, often against white backgrounds. For this new documentary, Dorfman brings filmmaker and friend Errol Morris on a tour of her studio and archive, as she looks back at more than 50 years of pictures. The B-Side takes its title from a...

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Review: The Hero

Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is an aging movie star, who gets two big pieces of news in one day. The first: he has been chosen to receive a lifetime achievement award for his work in Hollywood westerns. The second: he has pancreatic cancer, and likely only months to live if he does not undergo a procedure. With this sudden announcement, Lee tries to make amends with his distant daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter). At the same time, he begins a relationship with the much younger Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and wrestles with his legacy as a big-screen cowboy. There are a...

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Romance and transgression in Canada: a conversation with film scholar, writer and activist Thomas Waugh

The auditorium buzzes with chatter. Around ten rows of seats are filled to capacity, meaning latecomers are forced to hover at the back of the room. They aren’t going to get a spot, though: this is one of the summer’s biggest cultural events, and nobody is abandoning their seat. Students, scholars, and friends have arrived at Montreal’s Concordia University on a humid summer afternoon to toast Thomas Waugh – known by all as Tom – as he becomes a professor emeritus. Waugh sits near the front of the De Seve Cinema, a room where he has taught numerous undergraduate...

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Looking back at the theatres of tomorrow: the Canadian mega-plex re-evaluated

The theatre was packed, but it would soon be empty. On a cloudy Wednesday afternoon in May 1999, my father surprised me by driving us to the 30-screen AMC in Vaughan, which was set to open that Friday. We were there as volunteers, to hand out ice cream to the guests invited to the theatre’s opening gala. I took full advantage of the opportunity, running through the long hallways and breathing in that new multiplex smell. As a boy of eight, I played around: my father challenged me to see how long it would take me to sit in...

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Review: Beatriz at Dinner

Middle-class Mexican immigrant Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is a massage therapist in southern California. After visiting a wealthy client, Cathy (Connie Britton), Beatriz’s shoddy Volkswagen refuses to start. Cathy invites Beatriz to stay over at her family’s ocean-side mansion for a dinner party she is throwing for her husband (David Warshofsky), some friends, and a hotel mogul, Doug Strutt (John Lithgow). Mingling with the upper classes, Beatriz soon realizes that the billionaire Strutt is a man whose projects she used to protest – and whose very existence is an affront to her ethos as a healer. Beatriz at Dinner was an...

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Review: The Book of Henry

Precocious 11-year-old Henry Carpenter (Jaeden Lieberher) lives in rural New York with his younger brother Peter (Jacob Tremblay) and mother Susan (Naomi Watts). Henry is the guardian of the household, responsible for filing the family’s finances and making money over stocks and bonds while Susan earns tips at a local diner. But the gifted engineer-in-the-making notices that neighbour and classmate Christina (Maddie Ziegler) is withdrawn and sad. The prodigious Henry believes that her stepfather Glenn (Dean Norris) has abused Christina, and so he comes up with a plan to right these wrongs. The Book of Henry is a drama...

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Review: Sacred

A monk spends 1,000 days circling Japan’s Mount Hiei, reciting sutras and reflecting on the past. A young woman in Uttar Pradesh, India uses the colourful Hindu spring festival as a way to start afresh and absolve her sins. Men in Louisiana’s Angola Prison who are serving life sentences turn to religion and become ministers, hoping to change in God’s eyes. These are a few of the faith-oriented stories captured by 40 teams of filmmakers from around the world. This documentary moves between several countries, examining a wide array of fascinating religious rituals Sacred is a frequently arresting look...

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