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A Fragile Trust

By: Addison Wylie Former New York Times journalist Jayson Blair has misstepped in his career which has cost him lifelong liability.  Blair was dragged through the coals when he was caught plagiarizing in 2003 with numerous works.  His infamous write-up knocked the credibility of the otherwise well-regarded news outlet he worked for, and spun the world of journalism out of control with readers growing increasingly sceptical of print media. Blair’s tumultuous whirlwind is frustrating, but…

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Nicky’s Family

By: Addison Wylie Nicky’s Family is an elementarily formatted documentary using a cluster of different stock footage from the 1930’s, with interviews helping navigate the viewer through a touching real life tale.  It’s a structure that’s very simple and we’ve all seen it before. The documentary also appears to have been shot on substandard video, which leads to a dated image that’s generally murky with visible blemishes.  Furthermore, the overall feeling of Nicky’s Family is…

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The Wagner Files

By: Addison Wylie German music composer Richard Wagner is an enigma of sorts and produced music on a grandiose scale.  Ralf Pleger’s documentary The Wagner Files explains that Wagner’s lengthy compositions caused a stir in the 20th century and went on to be some of the most revolutionary work to exist in the world of music. Richard Wagner is a provocative subject.  His early failures with music erupted anger and vexation in him as he…

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The Crash Reel

By: Addison Wylie Who would’ve expected one of the most important movies of the year to come swooping into theatres during the final weeks of 2013?  Lucky Canadians are currently able to catch Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox – and I highly suggest they do. The documentary addresses a number of issues worth talking about, but it all begins with the stellar success of snowboarder Kevin Pearce.  Pearce was garnering…

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André Gregory: Before and After Dinner

By: Addison Wylie Regrettably, I haven’t seen 1981’s My Dinner with André.  I believe there’s an unwritten law that states that this is a cinematic crime being in the film critic position that I’m in. This also meant that I wasn’t in tune with the work of the classic’s star and co-writer André Gregory.  Gregory is his own renaissance man having taken on duties as a theatre director, an artist, and an actor.  You may have caught…

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The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

By: Addison Wylie The conceptual idea of a philosopher (in this case, Slavoj Žižek) walking audiences through beloved and forgotten films and giving their outlook on the film’s ideological take has potential.  The documentary, however, has to have competent direction and a confident mind at the forefront in order for the project to work.  The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology has neither. Sophie Fiennes’ doc is hitting home runs with most movie goers (it currently holds an…

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Let the Fire Burn

By: Addison Wylie Jason Osder has taken on an anti-talking heads format with his striking documentary Let the Fire Burn and it pays off big time. The filmmaker chronicles the societal shakes that took place in Philadelphia during the late seventies through to the mid-eighties initiated by MOVE.  Members of MOVE would call the collective an organization inhabiting a peaceful, non-violent state-of-mind.  Others wouldn’t hesitate to call MOVE a cult with harassing methods bordering on…

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Bridegroom

By: Addison Wylie Bridegroom is an expansion of a YouTube video titled It Could Happen To You.  The story documented in It Could Happen To You is powerful with how uplifting it is as well as to how unfair it all becomes. Anyone who saw Shane Bitney Crone and Thomas Lee Bridegroom laughing together, holding hands, or embracing each other had proof that true love existed.  It gave people confidence that two levelheaded people could…

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Room 237

By: Addison Wylie Rodney Ascher’s analytical documentary about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is fascinating through and through. The narrated ideas and theories provided by featured fans range from being thought-provoking to farfetched over stretches; but the impassion behind each deconstruction cannot be faked.  Some of the points are built on flimsy foundations, but because these committed fans of Kubrick’s adaptation have put a lot of time and work into proving their meanings (including freeze frames,…

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30 Ghosts

By: Addison Wylie Filmmaker Sean Cisterna and executive producer Avi Federgreen reunite after their likeable road trip romp Moon Point to collaborate in new territory. With 30 Ghosts, Cisterna trails the paranormal investigating life of Kim Hadfield and the rest of her Halton Paranormal Group.  The troupe head out on night long trips to capture suspicious spiritual activity hidden away in the looming shadows.  When she’s not hitting up abandoned houses and taking video proof…