Sports

Reviews

Nadia, Butterfly

Pascal Plante’s Nadia, Butterfly eerily takes place at the now-cancelled 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and follows a French Canadian Olympian swimmer as she participates in her final event as a professional athlete.  Lovingly directed yet glacially paced, Nadia, Butterfly boasts some excellent performances and cinematography, but struggles to overcome its vague characterizations and meandering screenplay.

Reviews

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

Most people unacquainted with pro surfer Bethany Hamilton (myself included) may only know about her dangerous run-in with a tiger shark, which resulted in her left arm being bitten off (a story adapted in 2011’s Soul Surfer, based on Hamilton’s autobiographical best-seller).  I wholeheartedly recommend Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable to those movie goers.  Not only does Aaron Lieber’s documentary fill us in on Hamilton’s career using stylistic flare, but the film does an exceptional job showcasing…

Reviews

Maiden

By: Jolie Featherstone Maiden opens in the middle of a cold and unforgiving ocean.  Waves as tall as houses tumble and crash.  A preternaturally calm voice is heard over the roar: “the ocean is always trying to kill you.”  The roar continues.  A storm brews in the increasingly agitated sky.  “It doesn’t take a break.”

Reviews

Blackbear

The synopsis of Blackbear vaguely reminds one of the 2006 film Annapolis–a film that, if you recall (and if so, good for you), was marketed as a recruit training film in the vein of A Gentleman and an Officer, but was actually, secretly, a boxing film.  Blackbear is similar: it starts off as a war film, with the two central characters as captives by ISIS, only to quickly become a boxing film within the film’s…

Reviews

The Grizzlies

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.

Reviews

High Flying Bird

Netflix’s sports drama High Flying Bird is exactly the film you expect from Academy Award winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic).  Using the experimental “look” of last year’s underrated Unsane and the foreboding “feel” of Contagion, High Flying Bird gives a fly-on-the-wall perspective of a sports agent (André Holland) as he senses fast-forming cracks in his career during an NBA lockout.

Reviews

Benched

Benched is a no-brainer recommendation for sports movie fans.  It’s charming, funny and, despite its rote concepts, the filmmakers put forth enough effort to give audiences something different.