Hot Docs 2015 Lineup Announced: From The Deep Web To Dark Comedy To Outer Space And Beyond

In Toronto, from April 23rd until May 3rd, the 22nd edition of the sprawling Hot Docs Film Festival will be showcasing documentary films from 44 countries. Going through a documentary lineup of this size is a bit more daunting than a... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

SXSW 2015 Review: WESTERN, A New American Marvel

The Ross Brothers' 2012 film Tchoupitoulas showcased Bill and Turner's proclivity for visually arresting imagery, compelling yet dreamlike narrative flow, and a keen eye for the undercurrents that run below the more obvious stories that have flooded from post-Katrina... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2014 Review: LOVE AND TERROR ON THE HOWLING PLAINS OF NOWHERE

In a sparse corner of Nebraska, as far as possible from the state's cities of Lincoln and Omaha, sits the high-elevation prairie town of Chadron, population 5600.  The town, described as 'politely hanging on' after peaking somewhere in the 19th... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Hot Docs 2014 Review: THE GREEN GIRL Reveals Prolific Actress, Director, And Aviator Susan Oliver

Proving in its own way that most actors of a certain era ended their careers with a guest spot on Murder, She Wrote before quietly going into obscurity, The Green Girl presents its sexy Star Trek hook, that of the... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Hot Docs 2014 Interview: Twitch Talks To The Legendary Alice Cooper

The filmmakers behind Super Duper Alice Cooper dub their work the first "doc opera", and it comes pretty close to living up to that hype. Tracing the remarkable career of the band Alice Cooper (a moniker derived from a... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2014 Review: THE DARKSIDE Upholds the Tradition of Oral History

I learned a new phrase while watching spiritual Australian documentary The Darkside.  To take a 'stickybeak' is to pry around the premises and ask uncomfortable questions. A lady uses this phrase while talking about an Ouija board her and her... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Hot Docs 2014 Lineup Announced: From Pulp to Alice Cooper To Weddings to Zombies And Much More

Toronto's Hot Docs Festival is Canada's largest festival dedicated solely to documentaries. It is perhaps the world's largest too, for that matter. The festival organizers have announced the full film line-up for the upcoming 21st edition, which runs from April 24... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

HotDocs Launchs Inaugural Floating Polar Film Festival With Quark Expeditions

Putting a film festival on a cruise ship is nothing new; Dusty Cohl and company have been putting on The Floating Film Festival for about 20 years, and there are undoubtedly others as well. But the Floating Polar Film Festival, which... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: 12 O'CLOCK BOYS Is A Hell Of A Ride

It's no surprise to long term readers of my reviews that I'm kind of enamoured with David Simon's Baltimore. From Homicide: Life On The Streets, through The Corner and of course The Wire (still perhaps the best programme that has... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: AFTER TILLER Is Important, Vital Look at Late Term Abortion Doctor in US

On May 31, 2009, Doctor George Tiller was murdered while attending his regular Sunday church service. The doctor was one of a handful trained and willing to perform what are almost antiseptically referred to as "late term" abortions, the termination... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: MUSCLE SHOALS Is A Stunning, Soulful Achievement

It's a rare thing, the truly engaging music documentary. You have to have a number of things come together to make it more than just a series of clips from some music you feel palatable. The best films are those... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Twitchvision: Talking IRON MAN 3 and More HOT DOCS!

With Hot Docs winding down this weekend, was time to highlight a couple more faves, from the Ross Brother's 3-hour-epic River, through Caucus, After Tiller, and 12 O'Clock Boys. Full reviews of these to come, so consider these a video... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: THE EXPEDITION TO THE END OF THE WORLD Asks Big Questions in Wide Open Spaces

Specifically, the eponymous End of the World is a place: The northern shores of Greenland that have been inaccessible due to ice-locked waterways, which now, due to changing climes, are open for a mere few weeks a year to such... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Twitchvision: Talking PAIN & GAIN, THE COLONY, and More HOT DOCS Goodness!

Our weekly Twitchvision hit, this time chatting over the phone with stalwart host Scott Laurie about the likes of The Colony and Michael Bay's Goodfellas-lite, Pain & Gain.Hot Docs is in full swing, with a number of full reviews on... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: WE ALWAYS LIE TO STRANGERS

The title is a mouthful, but is a entirely appropriate and poetic link to the film's subject matter, the bizarre Vegas-in-the-Ozarks refuge that is Branson, Missouri.Nestled in the heart of hillbilly country, the town of 10,000 plays home to millions... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE Is Wonderfully Nuanced

Far too often "issue" films play out as mere polemics, dogmatically reemphasizing a given point of view to a receptive audience. I often find these type of films dreary and intellectually barren, a lazy form of near propaganda that does... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Interview: TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE Director Ric Esther Bienstock

Ric Esther Bienstock's documentary about human organ trafficking is both beautifully made and refreshingly sophisticated. I spoke with the Emmy Award winning director as her film is set to make its local debut at Toronto's Hot Docs festival.What I... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL Subverts the Expected TEDtalk Narrative

What exactly is William and The Windmill about?  Is it the story of a resourceful and ingenious young Malawi boy who builds a windmill from available detritus using diagrams in a book so his parents have a way to... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF DORIS PAYNE is Glamorous and Mundane

It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to walk into a jewelry store and pull a pure short-con swindle. Doris Payne, now in her early eighties, remains as wiry and razor sharp as she ever was, pulling one jewel... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: THE MANOR is the GODFATHER of Jewish Strip-Club Owning Family Films

About an hour West of Toronto lies Guelph, Ontario. It's a college town, known for its slightly hippie vibe, strong connection with all things agricultural, and a quaint downtown. Attractions include a local brewery and a nearby Antique Festival that's... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  
 
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