Author: Jordan Adler

Review: Short Term 12

Grace (Brie Larson) and Mason (John Gallagher, Jr.) are two counsellors at Short Term 12, a foster-care facility for underprivileged youth. Along with a new caretaker, Nate (Rami Malek), the counsellors try to build a community among the teens that have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their families. Among these volatile teens is Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), a loose-lipped suicide risk entering the shelter. Meanwhile, aspiring rapper Marcus (Keith Stanfield) has second thoughts about leaving this temporary home behind. While Grace and Mason struggle to deal with these teens’ personal issues, they have to deal with a bigger arrival...

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Reel Asian Review: The Kirishima Thing

What would happen if a high school’s star athlete just disappeared? The Kirishima Thing does not show the character in its title, but how his absence from school over a week affects his peers. Without him, the popular kids, who play sports and do not engage with after-school clubs, do not know how to respond. The athlete’s girlfriend Risa (Mizuki Yamamoto) and best friend Hiroki (Masahiro Higashide) walk around lost and adrift. Meanwhile, with the top jock out of the picture, the teens at the top of the social rung start talking with the passionate, if unpopular music and...

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Review: Random Acts of Romance

Random Acts of Romance looks at the lives of seven Canadians shuffling in and out of crazy relationships – and whose lurid tales of love and lust keep bumping into one another. David (Robert Moloney) and Holly (Laura Bertram) are newlyweds starting to get tired of their life together. He is a successful businessperson, but she feels trapped and needs an emotional rescue. Meanwhile, Matt (Zak Santiago) and Dianne (Amanda Tapping) are another couple in a ruined relationship. He is a laid back cook trying to get an online degree but failing to pay the bills, leaving Dianne to...

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Review: Last Vegas

Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) are lifelong friends who grew up together on the streets of Brooklyn. When Billy finally commits to getting married years later to a much younger woman, Lisa (Bre Blaire), the four jet off to America’s Playground to throw the groom a bachelor party. During their fraternizing in Las Vegas, Sam looks for a lady to spend the night together with; Archie tries to hit it big at the blackjack table; while Billy and Paddy both fall in love with lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen). Imagine...

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Great books about cinema that every film buff should own

Whether they focus on a great director, a watershed moment in cinematic history or just feature juicy behind-the-scenes drama, these books about cinema are essential reads for anyone with an interest in film culture. For Movie Critic Wannabes: 5001 Nights at the Movies, by Pauline Kael Before Roger Ebert became America’s most beloved film critic, there was New Yorker reviewer Pauline Kael. Her acerbic wit and deep insight gained her a following of film fans around the world. Rookie filmmakers would request that she see their film, as a rave from Kael could catapult a small film into must-see...

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REEL Indie 2013 Review: The Legend of Jimi Lazer

Rock star Jimi Lazer (Robbie Beniuk) is the lead singer and guitarist of gospel band Lazer Us. He made a deal with a witch to sell his firstborn child for fame and a guitar that can make him as famous as Jimi Hendrix. However, living under that curse, he disappears and does not show up for his band’s gig. 27 years later, a mysterious man finds Lazer and makes a deal with him to rekindle his old group for a show in Toronto. However, Lazer must first reconcile with the band mates that he abandoned and rebuild his guitar,...

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The author as auteur: when famous novelists write for the movies

In the Coen Brothers’ 1991 drama Barton Fink, the title character (played by John Turturro) is an acclaimed playwright in New York. His agent recommends that Barton fly off to Hollywood so that he can make more money. In Los Angeles, the head of the movie studio assigns Barton the job of writing a B-movie boxing film; however, when he sits down to write the picture, Barton cannot get past the first few lines of description. Several authors have found allure in the promise of making big money by drafting Hollywood screenplays, but Barton’s struggle to find a creative...

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