Author: Jordan Adler

Review: Young and Beautiful

Isabelle (Marine Vacth) is a privileged 17-year-old girl who is also arrestingly beautiful. After she loses her virginity during a summer fling in the south of France, she begins a secret life as a call girl. Taking the pseudonym Lea, Isabelle begins giving her body to older men at high prices. However, her mother Sylvie (Géraldine Pailhas) and stepfather Patrick (Frédéric Pierrot) become suspicious of her strange behavior. The newest film from François Ozon is another thoughtful exploration of lust and desire by the French auteur. Although sexual coming-of-age is a common theme for the director, Ozon’s film is a worthwhile entry...

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Review: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Every day at 10 a.m. in a North London apartment, Alice Herz-Sommer played piano. The 110-year-old woman said this gift of hers to play music made her one of the luckiest people alive. Born in Prague in 1903, Herz-Sommer became a celebrated concert pianist. Her celebrity was so large in Europe that during the Holocaust, the Nazis in charge of the Theresienstadt camp gave her the chance to perform for the prisoners. The resilient musician shares with us her captivating story of hope and horror, as the sound of Chopin’s melodies tried to outlive that of troops marching and...

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Review: Neighbors

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are newlyweds with a baby who have just moved into lovely suburbia. However, their early days of domestic bliss come to a head when a university fraternity moves in next door, led by the charming Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron). The Radners want to raise ther newborn daughter, Stella, in peace and quiet, while Teddy and his debauched buddies have hopes of becoming frat legends by throwing the loudest, raunchiest parties. Cue the warfare between the suburbanites and the sleazy, sex-crazed teens next door. Neighbors is an uproarious comedy that manages to...

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An interview with Kung Fu Elliot directors Jaret Belliveau and Matthew Bauckman

When New Brunswick native Matthew Bauckman took a film production course at the Toronto Film School, his dad sent him articles about a rising filmmaker on the East Coast. That man was Elliot Smith, a professed martial-arts champion taking a stab at making low-budget martial arts movies. His name stuck with Bauckman because the budding filmmaker loved the title of Elliot’s first movie, They Killed My Cat. After working with Jaret Belliveau on the 2011 doc Highway Gospel, Bauckman was looking for the subject of his next film. With Belliveau, the friends decided to tell Elliot’s story. However, the young...

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Hot Docs Review: Children 404

In 2013, the Russian government passed a bill that forbids LGBT youths to promote their lifestyle, known as the “gay propaganda” law. In response, lesbian teen Elena Klimova founded Children 404, an online support group for gay youths in the country. Forty-five teens, including Klimova, agreed to be interviewed or filmed for this documentary. There share their candid thoughts about living in a world of ridicule. At school, they are taunted incessantly. At home, some of their parents deny they exist. It is hard for the teens to come to terms with their place in a society that denies...

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Hot Docs 2014 Review: Kung Fu Elliot

Elliot Scott is a walking contradiction. He is a slim, friendly guy, yet also a kickboxing champion. He is laid back, but works as an independent filmmaker. He dreams of being Canada’s Chuck Norris and the star of a blockbuster action film. Hard at work on his third film, Blood Fight, Scott’s lavish dreams are out of touch with reality. He strains to make a career as a filmmaker work in a tough economy, which interferes with his relationship with directing partner and girlfriend Linda Lum. The deeper in debt our wannabe action hero becomes, the more secrets about...

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Hot Docs 2014 Review: Mad as Hell

In today’s news media landscape, there are not a lot of anchors like Cenk Uygur (pronounced “Jenk You-girh”). The host and creator of The Young Turks, an independent news show with a big audience on YouTube, Uygur has a bombastic screen presence and provocative opinions. Uygur began as a devout conservative, shifted to the left during the “War on Terror” and ended up an independent voice, with harsh views on both major parties. Andrew Napier’s doc is the story of how a Turkish immigrant took on the American media – hoping to “punch the establishment in the mouth” –...

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