TIFF19 REVIEW: This is Not a Movie [2019]

“This is where the match was lit” The reason Yung Chang picked This is Not a Movie for the title of his documentary on renowned journalist Robert Fisk stems from his subject’s inspiration for pursuing that line of work. Fisk talks about watching Alfred Hitchcock‘s Foreign Correspondent as a boy and thinking its lead led […]

REVIEW: All Is True [2019]

“Perhaps, to some, I was the lark” Sony Pictures Classics announced their deal to distribute Kenneth Branagh‘s latest All Is True after it had already been completed without the usual media fanfare surrounding projects with royal Oscar pedigrees such as one whose cast is rounded out by Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. You shouldn’t, however, […]

REVIEW: Leto [2018]

“Laziness has kept me out of trouble many times” We only recognize it through hindsight, but Americans are spoiled by cultural freedom. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s meant having the opportunity to listen to radio stations, records, and cassettes of music spanning multiple genres and eras. It was all at our fingertips and […]

REVIEW: Rocketman [2019]

“I’ll take care of the rest” When you have an icon like Elton John as your subject, the straightforward biopic formula simply won’t work. We know him as the flamboyantly dressed, rock star pianist with funny glasses and sequins who belts out songs that will either make you tap your feet or cry. And while […]

REVIEW: The White Crow [2019]

“I shall fight fear” While I don’t know anything about ballet, I am familiar with Soviet defection. Being a Buffalonian whose hometown hockey favorite as a kid was Alexander Mogilny means I must. It helps then that director Ralph Fiennes and screenwriter David Hare (inspired by Julie Kavanagh‘s book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life) start their […]

REVIEW: Red Joan [2019]

“That’s a peculiar way of putting it” The government agents within Trevor Nunn‘s Red Joan arrest Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) under suspicion of treason and enthusiastically ask who politicized her because to them only an outsider could have brainwashed someone to act against his/her country on behalf of a foreign enemy. It’s an understandably emotional […]

REVIEW: Ask Dr. Ruth [2019]

“My parents actually gave me life twice” A couple mentions of Dr. Ruth Westheimer as “Grandma Freud” are seen and heard throughout Ryan White‘s documentary

REVIEW: Wild Nights with Emily [2019]

“Sue, forevermore” As evidenced by her poetry and letters, the reclusive spinster Emily Dickinson proves anything but. Through them we learn of her struggles to get published, the rejections endured, and a love shared with her sister-in-law Susan. Why then was the former thought process how we were told to consider her life? Because those […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man [2019]

“Turning poop culture into pop culture” This statistic says it all: 40% of citizens on Earth don’t have toilets. A big part of that number is India and China, but it’s still insane to comprehend as someone from a country that won’t allow homes or businesses to be built without one. It’s the type of […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Willie [2019]

“I’m not done” It was 2003 before a Black hockey player had the honor of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That player was Grant Fuhr, the Stanley Cup winning goalie of the Edmonton Oilers and multiple other teams (including a short stint with my hometown Buffalo Sabres). Because he was far from […]

REVIEW: JT LeRoy [2019]

“I wouldn’t even exist without her” It really is a wild story. Laura Albert, in need of expressing her pain outside of her own identity, creates a fictional version of herself to write three novels as exorcism under “his” name. Who knows if she anticipated the type of acclaim they and “he” would receive, but […]