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Showing posts from May, 2019

Docs, Biopics, and a Lousy Long Shot

Kudos to the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel for showing the documentary The Eyes of Orson Welles on May 13, and hopefully it will be shown again.   It’s the creation of filmmaker and film historian Mark Cousins, best known for his 2011 15-hour series The Story of Film: An Odyssey . There’s no better guide and Cousins, narrating in his distinctive Irish-Scots brogue, probes Welles’ complicated cinematic genius through the legacy of the artist’s numerous sketches and paintings—a lifetime obsession yielding clues to his influential visual sense.               This is still NHL playoff season (even with no Canadian teams since the first round) and an excellent hockey documentary is the Canada-U.S.-Russia coproduction The Russian Five ( ) which tells the story of how, in the last years of the Cold War, star players from the Soviet Union’s elite Red Army team led by Sergei Federov (military officers, some with vulnerable families) defected to play with th

Avengers: Endgame--A Satisfying Epic - Guest Review by Randy Cyrenne

Avengers: Endgame ( ) Sitting through the lengthy Avengers: Endgame , I reflected on what other critics had been saying of the film. Terms like “epic masterpiece” were being bandied about. Part-way into the film, I caught myself musing, “Is this really an epic masterpiece?” The movie starts as a slow burn, and for a while the story feels anything but epic. It is personal, introspective, and even a bit slow. There’s not much real action for a while, as the catastrophic events of the previous film are dwelt on, and we see the effects that the trauma has had on the various cast members. (The presented effects are strangely realistic, showing that one can never know how one will deal with trauma until it happens. The results can be surprising.) Eventually, a plan emerges to reverse the tragedy that has befallen the universe. The somewhat melancholic (through still frequently funny) story shifts into being an amusing heist film for a while, an

Knocking the House, Grace, Grizzlies, and High Life

The juggernaut of Avengers: Endgame may be sucking up most of the space at the multiplex.   But it’s heartening to see an impressive Canadian film The Grizzlies getting a decently wide release. And read on for the best new documentary addition on Netflix.   As well, an update to my previous post—the superb South Korean drama Burning is also now streaming on Netflix.   Knock Down the House ( ) Look no further to see why Netflix has become a game changer for documentary film.   Since May 1 this inspiring feature is available on the streaming giant, thereby accessible to millions. Writer-director-producer-cinematographer Rachel Lears goes behind the scenes of insurgent grassroots campaigns challenging party bosses and establishment U.S. Congressional Democratic incumbents (‘rich white dudes in suits”, none of whom agreed to be interviewed) with ties to corporate interests. The focus is on strong women from diverse backgrounds, including several i