Author: Jordan Adler

Review: The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers

The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers is the first of two documentaries based on Ambassador Yehuda Avner’s best-selling book (the second is set for release in 2014.) Avner served as chief aide and speechwriter for four of Israel’s prime ministers. The Pioneers focuses on his time with Israeli leaders Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir. Avner narrates his journey from joining a Jewish youth movement as a boy to serving the heads of Israel. He stood by Eshkol and Meir’s sides as they dealt with two of the region’s most difficult battles: the Six Day War in 1967 and the Yom...

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The Year in Movies: year of the young adult role model

In the recent surge of young adult fiction, from the popular Hunger Games series to John Green books, the main characters are virtuous and positive thinking. Some are headstrong fighters, both mentally and physically. Others use their intelligence and compassion to help their friends. The popularity of YA books, merged with a strong selection of young adult actors, are pushing indie and mainstream studios to embrace teen protagonists. While teen movies still have a fondness for putting its characters into stale stereotypes, a variety of excellent films in 2013 gave hope for more complex young characters on the big...

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Review: Insurgence

Insurgence goes right to the main streets of Montreal during the 2012 protests which became known as the “Maple Spring.” Cinematographers join university students at the front lines as they fight the Liberal government’s imposed tuition fee hike for Quebec schools. They begin documenting a revolution of proud students celebrating the right to education and hoping to spread the word. At first, the marches seem rather tame and uneventful–besides some drum beating, cheering is scant among the tens of thousands. It seems more like a block party than a political protest. Later on, as the students spar with authorities,...

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Planet in Focus 2013 Review: Last Call

If the world was going to end in 30 days, would you start to act on the 29th? Last Call tells the story behind “The Limits to Growth”. “The Limits to Growth” was a seminal American book from 1972 that stirred up debate. The book’s four authors asserted that if the world continued to grow its economy and rely on industry at its current rate, the planet would soon be unable to sustain itself. Last Call looks at the book’s authors, who continue to raise awareness about the impending finite state of the world. The documentary shows them standing...

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Review: God Loves Uganda

A searing and shocking documentary, God Loves Uganda explores how the gospel of peace spread by American Evangelical groups in Africa ultimately spawns hatred and violence. The missionaries from the International House of Prayer (or IHOP) that fly to Uganda believe their words and the power of Christ can “slay the hardest of hearts.” As a result, countries like Uganda lead a spiritual revival; however, their preaching stirs up another kind of violence, as far-right lessons about the destructive nature of homosexuality set off a firestorm. Uganda’s government is now considering an anti-gay bill that will force the death penalty...

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Planet in Focus 2013 Review: A River Changes Course

A River Changes Course is a documentary that focuses on three families living in rural Cambodia struggling to harvest, catch fish and make a decent living. In a tropical jungle in the north, a poor family has to plant to survive in a remote wasteland, as companies encroach on nearby land to cut down trees. Without rain, the harvest will dry up and leave the families poor and hungry. In a nearby river, a father and son must deal with trapping a diminishing fish population, and the young boy must quit school to help feed his family. In a...

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Behind the curtain: a look at Toronto’s independent cinemas

Toronto is a terrific city to see movies. Even in a time where the multiplex has laid many great theatres to rest, a few prime cinemas still show a wide variety of art-house, classic, foreign and Canadian films. As part of our look at independent film, Toronto Film Scene takes a look at five of Toronto’s independent theatres, from movie palaces more than 100 years old to new landmarks of cinema culture. The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema The Bloor has been one of Toronto’s favourite moviegoing destinations for nearly 100 years. It opened as the Madison in 1913, became...

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