April 2014

Does It Float?

Does It Float?: The Dirties

Matt Johnson’s impressive and ambitious feature film debut The Dirties is making its way onto Blu-ray and DVD after earning plenty of well-deserved accolades – including winning the Scotiabank Jay Scott Prize for the top emerging artist at January’s Toronto Film Critics Association Film Awards. The Dirties is an unsettling and unflinching look at bullying through a struggling perspective.  The first-person view follows Johnson and his friend Owen (both using their real names, but taking on different on-screen…

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: Deep Rooted

The Last Season (DIR. Sara Dosa) By: Gesilayefa Azorbo It’s often said that there’s nothing stronger than the bonds of brotherhood forged between fellow soldiers.  Regardless of place of origin or beliefs, the experiences that form one’s life as a soldier are often common across borders, with a mutual understanding that often transcends other differences. The Last Season is ostensibly a film about a mushroom hunt.  The town of Chemult, Oregon, population 135, is also home to…

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: Hunky-Dory Heartbreak Doc

Sleepless in New York (DIR. Christian Frei) By: Addison Wylie There’s narration – nay – lots of narration in Christian Frei’s Sleepless in New York from lonely people who have been dumped.  The voiceovers wear thin after a while, but they do serve a purpose. The doc is a film that gets “the break-up” right.  Frei is fortunate to have received good applicants from his open casting call (street-laden flyers inviting heartbroken souls to participate), and those…

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: Help Me, Help You

The theme of human connection has never been so prevalent.  The latest technology seems to be fastening people away from face-to-face interactions, and Spike Jonze’s Her made it clear as to what path the human race could possibly fall into. Filmmaker Tony Shaff has made a documentary that tries to follow suit. But, can he stick his landing? Hotline (DIR. Tony Shaff) By: Addison Wylie Hotline has an intriguing dynamic.  Tony Shaff’s documentary focuses on those conversations that…

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: Everything is Political

Shield and Spear (DIR. Petter Ringbom) By: Parker Mott “Everything is political”, a group of South African artistes extol as mantra in Shield and Spear, which has its world premiere at Hot Docs.  This saying is called, in conventional wisdom, “The Activist’s Argument”;  it also resembles Ai Weiwei’s line that “art is politics” from his documentary Never Sorry (the latest documentary on the provocative Chinese artist, The Fake Case, is also at Hot Docs).

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: A Doc with Braaains

Just as other festivals offer a “Midnight Madness” selection, Hot Docs hopes to bring in the same crowd with its Nightvision screenings. These documentaries feature brazen topics and massive cult followings;  films that are certainly unlike any other.  An added bonus is the discounted price of films screening after 11:00 p.m.  For a cool $7, treat yourself to some of these neat docs. If you’re into horror, you should give Alexandre Philippe’s doc a shot. Doc of the Dead (DIR. Alexandre Philippe)…


The Other Woman

By Parker Mott It’s hard to watch The Other Woman without bringing into the equation James Toback’s remarkable 1997 feature Two Girls and a Guy, a talk-heavy, one-room dramedy about two women (played by Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner) who discover they are dating the same man (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) and then conspire to make him suffer for his cheating ways.  The movie found ingenuity in the shameless rationale of its male…

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: Age is No Misfortune

Growing old should never be looked at as a negative. It should be thought of as a way to celebrate. The ladies featured in the following documentaries have found a way to stay young at heart and hold onto their impassioned looks at life. They have ambition and simply run with it; knowing that their actions will make a difference and perhaps make people smile. Divide In Concord (DIR. Kris Kaczor) By: Gesilayefa Azorbo If documentary…

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: Fittingly Framed

Crime often features some prime subjects for documentarians. The stories sometimes serve up a ruthless criminal, unbelievable twisty pasts, and layers upon layers of aggressive activity with hopes that justice will prevail. The docs are even more riveting because none of this is fiction. This year’s festival isn’t without a few crime docs. Let’s take a look at a couple of them. Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger (DIR. Joe Berlinger) By: Addison Wylie…


Brick Mansions

By: Addison Wylie Recently, I reviewed the humdrum action flick In The Blood.  It was escapist entertainment that didn’t work because the filmmaker in charge couldn’t wrangle an action film.  He understood the music, but didn’t necessarily know how to play the song. After having watched Brick Mansions, I feel the need to follow-up with my analogy.  Brick Mansions is that musician who knows the music, can perform the song, but has no desire to…