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Jessica Goddard

Reviews

Shiners

By: Jessica Goddard An intercontinental survey of the state of the archaic shoe shining profession, Stacey Tenenbaum’s Shiners is endearing in its graceful simplicity and ability to shine a spotlight on truly memorable, delightful characters.  Tenenbaum has a genuine gift for seeking out excellent subjects – from the quirky and lovable, to the inspiring and pleasantly puzzling.  All have in common a philosophical attitude towards the work of shoe shining;  whether they consider it a bona…

One-on-Ones

Wylie Writes’ One-On-One with Joyce Wong

By: Jessica Goddard Wexford Plaza was one of the best films of 2017, and it was also a finalist for the Toronto Film Critic Association’s award for Best Canadian Film.  As the film celebrates its home release on digital platforms, I reached out to writer/director Joyce Wong to ask about her feature debut, its universal story, and her personal connection to the film.

Reviews

Charles Manson: The Final Words

By: Jessica Goddard One of last year’s most eagerly-anticipated headlines – the death of Charles Manson – makes this documentary on the notoriously fascinating subject all the more topical.  Narrated by Rob Zombie, Charles Manson: The Final Words uses disturbing files from the original murder investigation, interviews with members of Manson’s cult, and exclusive audio from phone conversations with the aged Manson himself while he was still alive and serving his life sentence at California State…

Reviews

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

By: Jessica Goddard Paul McGuigan’s Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a sappy, sweet, and rich examination of the relationship between Oscar winner Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) and aspiring actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell), some thirty years her junior.  It’s a movie about a lot of things;  their weird but earnest age gap romance, the eccentric persona of the former film starlet, the panic spiral associated with aging, the cutthroat nature of showbiz.

Reviews

Wonder Wheel

By: Jessica Goddard Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel is colourful, melodramatic, deliciously tacky cinematic theatre driven by an intriguing premise and infused with refreshing nostalgia.  It’s visually delightful, and the quirky setting and quirkier characters sustain curiosity even if those characters don’t feel totally real.

Reviews

Wexford Plaza

By: Jessica Goddard When you first hear the plot of Wexford Plaza, you think you’ve probably seen this movie before or know exactly what its angle will be.  But you haven’t, and you don’t.  This 80-minute-long film has everything: humour, relatability, great pacing, precise and controlled energy, and a thoughtful commentary on the reality of our times.

Reviews

A Bad Moms Christmas

By: Jessica Goddard A Bad Moms Christmas, the holiday sequel to last year’s Bad Moms from the same writer/director team (Jon Lucas, Scott Moore) is generally fun, when it’s not trying to force sentimentality.  It wouldn’t be accurate to say this movie takes itself seriously, but its insistence on crossing over into sappiness and raunchiness when it runs out of comedy is lazy and unfortunate.

Reviews

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

By: Jessica Goddard Frederick Wiseman’s Ex Libris: The New York Public Library is a slow and detailed documentary about the vast institution of the New York Public Library (not to be confused with its famous headquarters in Midtown Manhattan).  The film focuses on the NYPL’s many branches and services and functions, offering long samples of footage of what goes on from day-to-day in different branches, ranging from the micro to the macro.  Famous speakers and…

Reviews

Goodbye Christopher Robin

By: Jessica Goddard From the title to the opening scene to the whole conflict at its core, Goodbye Christopher Robin is a movie determined to make you rethink the context in which A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) wrote the beloved Winnie the Pooh stories (then Winnie-the-Pooh).  There’s nothing wrong, in theory, with a biopic about A. A. Milne, but why this movie chooses to focus on A. A. Milne being a bad father who apparently ruined his…