This Is North Preston is a spinning top. One moment, you’ll have your mind made up about what the documentary is presenting only to have your opinion changed a few more times. I was so gobsmacked by the end that I was almost inclined to rewatch the film to see if my opinion would change again – I dare you to find a more riveting documentary than this.
A feature-length story being dissected into individual short films is a concept full of possibilities, only to be expanded on when three filmmakers sign up to shape the narrative. Canadian thriller Ordinary Days take a swing at this challenge but, unfortunately, produces weak results.
By: Trevor Chartrand You’ll be hard pressed to find a more Canadian film than The Grizzlies; the inspiring true story of an impoverished Nunavut community battling mental illness by creating a sports team. Over ten years in the making, this long-time passion project of director Miranda de Pencier is a not only a well-made dramatic film, but also a small taste of the type of media representation First Nations and Inuit citizens deserve.
Hellmington centres on Detective Samantha Woodhouse, distressed over the recent death of her father and tormented by a forgotten yet mysterious case of the disappearance of a former high school classmate. In order to piece together the puzzle of the latter, Samantha reconnects with her past while she’s in town for the funeral; including meeting old acquaintances and people who were close to her late dad.
Gary Burns’ Man Running, which modestly premiered at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival, follows Jim (Gord Rand) as he participates in a 24-hour marathon. The laborious journey he takes is vertiginously interspersed with flashbacks and hallucinations, suggesting a double struggle for the main character: one physical, one emotional.
Through Black Spruce, most of the time, is on the right track. Unfortunately, its disappointing streaks are during the final stretch of the film.
Wylie Writes’ Short Film Showcase acknowledges exclusive screenings of short films across Canada. Short-form filmmaking is sometimes overshadowed by larger projects or, worse, ignored completely. With this showcase, Wylie Writes wishes to not only provide a unique opinion for filmmakers, but to also spread awareness of these special screenings for our loyal readers.
Possibly influenced by Rachel Getting Married and August: Osage County, writer/director Roz Owen makes her feature film debut with Trouble in the Garden, a condensed drama about a family’s black sheep returning “home” to unexpectedly face her conflicted past.
The best choice made about 52 Words for Love concerns its release date. Whoever decided to release this movie on Valentine’s Day deserves a big box of chocolates.
Circling back to the achievements he made wth his breakout doc Sharkwater, filmmaker/conservationist Rob Stewart checks in in the status of sharks in his final film Sharkwater: Extinction. The documentary, however, takes on a parallel meaning because it’s not only a swan song to an endangered species, it’s also a touching goodbye to Stewart and his career in activism.