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Showing posts from October, 2018

Three More TIFF Selections Plus Three Other New Releases

Three More TIFF Films and Three Other Recent Releases
White Boy Rick(U.S.) This is multiplex fare that didn’t really merit the fillip of festival exposure.Nonetheless, based on a true story, it is aggressively directed by European Yann Demange and benefits from good performances.The “Rick” in question (played by Ritchie Merritt) is the teenage son of shady gun-dealing dad Richard Sr. (Matthew McConaughey) when he is recruited as a drug-busting informant by several FBI agents.The grim scene is the industrial wasteland of 1980s Detroit in which Rick’s own sister Dawn (Bel Powley) is a junkie. Rick gets used, in over his head, trapped and thrown to the wolves.In 1987 at age 17 he received an absurdly long 30-year prison sentence for selling cocaine. (The real Rick was paroled in 2017 and the movie ends with a voice recording from him.)It’s all rather sleazy and another sad lesson of the casualties from the failed “war on drugs”.B+
The Old Man & the Gun(U.S.) Helming this captivating true…

An amazing documentary on Jean Vanier and l'Arche

Jean Vanier and Summer in theForest           On October 26 the National Gallery hosted a very special event—the Ottawa premiere of director Randall Wright’s moving and insightful documentary Summer in the Forest, a UK/France/Palestine co-production that profiles renowned Canadian-born Catholic humanist Jean Vanier (http://www.jean-vanier.org/en) and the work of his “l’Arche” communities for people with disabilities, a movement of acceptance and loving joyful hope that has spread around the world. (More information on the film and availability at: http://www.summerintheforest.com/.) Introductory remarks by Senator Jim Munson, a longtime advocate for people with disabilities, were followed by a video message from Vanier himself, who turned 90 last month.For decades he has lived simply in the original l’Arche community at Trosly-Breuil adjoining a forested area in northwestern France. As he expressed his message: “We live in a world where people want to hide behind walls when we need to b…

Check out my reviews of a number of films from the Toronto Film Festival

Notes from TIFF 2018 Ides of October
I arrived for the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival mid-way, much later than usual due to heavy demands organizing the 29th One World Film Festival.It was a Tuesday, the 17th anniversary of 9/11, another Tuesday.Nearing the TIFF headquarters Bell Lightbox, a group of activists were handing out pamphlets advocating Catalonia’s struggle for independence from Spain because September 11 is also “La Diada”, Catalonia’s National Day.Not the best coincidence perhaps. I finally started writing these notes on October 8 (Canadian Thanksgiving Day), a week to the day after the anniversary of Catalonia’s controversial “illegal” independence referendum in which 90% of Catalans voted “yes” but based on a turnout well below 50%.As populists everywhere claim to speak for “the people” fed up with the status quo, who are “the people”?It seems what “the people” want is often far from clear. Back to the TIFF selections, what follows are notes on the 27 features I m…