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Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2017: ‘Do Donkeys Act?’ and ‘Flames’

Do Donkeys Act? (DIR. David Redmon, Ashley Sabin) Do Donkeys Act? takes an animal that is not usually afforded much dignity – the donkey – and gives movie goers an opportunity to let the animals speak for themselves (without speaking). The film takes its audience to visit various donkey sanctuaries around the world, where donkeys that have been subjected to abuse or neglect are cared for, healed, and allowed to relax and retire.

Reviews

First Round Down

My introduction to filmmaking duo Brett Butler and Jason Butler was imperfect.  Prior to the release of their indie Mourning Has Broken, I interviewed Brett.  He was an all-around standup guy who was grateful for when he and his brother won Ingrid Veninger’s “1K Challenge”, granting them access to make their dark comedy starring character actor Robert Nolan.

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2017: ‘Birth of a Family’ and ‘Pecking Order’

Birth of a Family (DIR. Tasha Hubbard) Birth of a Family follows four siblings, three sisters and a brother, who were taken from their mother and placed in separate families during the “sixties scoop” – a period of three decades in Canada that saw tens of thousands of indigenous children removed from their homes and sent to live with non-indigenous families throughout North America.  Now middle aged, the siblings meet for the first time and attempt…

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2017: ‘Gilbert’ and ‘Integral Man’

Gilbert (DIR. Neil Berkeley) I expected to laugh while watching Gilbert, but I certainly didn’t expect to be misty-eyed and charmed by foul-mouth comic Gilbert Gottfried.  Just as Private Parts showed an identifiable side to shock jock Howard Stern, Neil Berkeley’s Gilbert shows Gottfried’s tenderness while staying true to the comedian’s relentlessly profane wheelhouse.

Reviews

The Bye Bye Man

You may giggle at that title – we all have.  It’s hard to take seriously, especially since so many stoney faces in the trailer say it without a speck of irony.  As one of those jokesters who mocked the title and has now seen the movie, I advise readers to not write this film off just yet.  The Bye Bye Man has a main attraction that deserves your attention.

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2017: ’78/52′ and ‘Motel’

78/52 (DIR. Alexandre Philippe) It’s a testament to Alfred Hitchcock’s talent as a filmmaker that he directed the shower scene from Psycho and he is still known for things other than that;  any other director would have simply become known by that singular sequence.  Even though, that particular scene may well be the single most studied, analyzed and deconstructed scene in the history of cinema and, as a part of this tradition, there is Alexandre…

Reviews

Raw

There is a horror renaissance going on right now that everyone should be excited about.  The genre has struggled to keep up with the horrors of the real world and has returned to top form;  with many of the best films of the last few years coming from the auteurs of screams.  One of these films, a film which made this critic’s top ten list last year, is Julia Ducournau’s Raw, which is finally getting…