Author: Kristal Cooper

Review: The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne

To look at sweet little octogenarian Doris Payne, you wouldn’t know that she’s an international jewel thief with a 60-year career that’s netted her about $2 million – but she is, and she’s about to be made to answer for her life of crime. Accused of walking into Macy’s jewellery department and walking out with a diamond ring, Doris is about to stand trial and perhaps face up to 5 years jail time. Her defense – that wasn’t her on the surveillance camera footage and the eye-witness accounts have been coloured by her notoriety in the papers. Doris insists...

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Review: Teenage

Before the 1940s, the term “teenager” did not exist – there was simply a sort of void between childhood and adulthood that wasn’t really addressed. In his pseudo-experimental doc about the onset of the teenager, Director Matt Wolf works from a book on the subject by Jon Savage, compiling scores of archival footage of young people from the beginning of the twentieth century right up until 1945, as well as some 16mm recreations, and overlaying them with narration detailing the wildly varying experiences of four almost-adults from various points in history – from flapper to Hitler youth to pre-civil...

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Review: The Human Scale

As Torontonians, we’re very well-versed in the idea of overcrowding whether it be while trying to share the narrow streets with cyclists, streetcars and automobiles on our morning commute or as we see high rise condo towers taking over our skylines. This is a problem shared by many other large cities in the world and Danish city planner Jan Gehl is trying to do something about it. As he sees it, the way to plan for a population that is set to double over the next 40 years is to re-design cities on a smaller scale with a human element...

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Review: After Tiller

After Dr. George Tiller was murdered by anti-choice activists in 2009, the number of US doctors able to do late term abortions dwindled to four. A contentious issue even amongst pro-choice supporters, these third-trimester abortions often come to the aid of women who are in impossible circumstances, yet because they occur after the 24-week mark when a baby may have a chance of surviving outside the womb, the doctors who perform the procedures are in constant threat of being targeted as Dr. Tiller was. The film examines the issue further and looks at why these four doctors continue to...

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Review: Good ‘Ol Freda

Amongst all of the many stories of what it was like to live in, around and be part of Beatle-mania, there remains one account that’s long gone untold. Freda Kelly began working as the secretary to Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, in 1962 when she was 17-years-old. She landed the job after dropping out of school at 16, getting a position in a typing pool and spending her lunch hours watching the yet-to-be discovered group play at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. She became friendly with John, Paul and George (Ringo had yet to join the band), who...

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Review: A People Uncounted

When Cher playfully sang about “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” back in 1971 there’s no way she could have known that despite the colourful depictions of the Romani people we’re used to seeing in film and on stage, they’re a people that have quickly become the most persecuted in the European Union. The film tells the story of the monumental tragedy suffered by the estimated half million Roma who were systematically murdered by the Nazis during WWII. Through harrowing accounts by the survivors (one by a man who suffered terrible medical experiments at the hands of the infamous Nazi “doctor”...

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Get your romance on: fun facts about TIFF in the Park 2013

One of the best things about summertime in Toronto is the annual outdoor celebration of cinema otherwise known as TIFF in the Park. Celebrating its fourth year as the outdoor film festival that no self-professed cinemaniac would dare miss, TIFF in the Park returns to its home at David Pecaut Square (directly west of Roy Thomson Hall) starting on July 3 and will screen a film starting at dusk every Wednesday night for the rest of the summer. Oh yeah, and did I mention that its free? This year the theme is one that should inspire passion in all who...

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