Festivals: Hot Docs Reviews

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Hot Docs 2017 Review: 78/52, An Endearing, Insightful Study of a Single Masterstroke of a Cinematic Legend

At the end of the Summer of 1960 audiences and fans of British auteur Alfred Hitchcock and his already stellar filmography scurried into cinemas to watch his new film, Psycho. Riding a growing wave of popularity, hot on the heels...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: BRIMSTONE & GLORY, Where Cinematography Induces Euphoria & Panic

Do you remember that sequence in Beasts Of The Southern Wild when everyone runs around shooting fireworks at each other in the Bayou? The glorious dance of the visuals and music grasp at the essence and the onslaught of life's...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: SHINERS, Making A Living With Polish

Opting for nothing less than an examination of the purpose and philosophy of 21st century labour -- in short, how and why do we work in an era of automation and disposable consumerism? -- Stacey Tenenbaum's re-evaluation of the humble...

Hot Docs Review 2017: RAMEN HEADS, Slurp-tastic Food Porn

What is it about ramen, Japan's robust working man's (be it salaryman, artist or labourer) meal of broth, noodles and pork, that makes its practitioners and enthusiasts become philosophers and seriocomic poets? Cinema has only encouraged this, as Itami Jûzô's gonzo, fussy,...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: HOBBYHORSE REVOLUTION Revels in the Intensity of Youth

Dressage, in equestrian terms, is the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance. It factors significantly into Selma Vilhunen's documentary on the most curious of Finland subcultures, one involving hobbyhorses and (mostly)...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: ALL THAT PASSES BY THROUGH A WINDOW THAT DOESN'T OPEN

I have a particular fondness for movies set on trains or in railyards, and also for documentaries about labour. Thus, it should come as no surprise, that Martin DiCicco's All That Passes By Through A Window That Doesn't Open caught...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: PACMEN Is Exquisite Schadenfreude

How many people have selfies taken with Dr. Ben Carson on their phones that they will probably never look at again? For a few shining moments, the former neurosurgeon whose stab-to-scalpel story was adapted into a television movie starring Cuba...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: DO DONKEYS ACT?, Perhaps the Strangest Piece of Animal Activism Ever Made

"Plunge into the intrinsic range of unfamiliar expressions, inside this wild sanctuary that offers a sonorious glimpse into the reveries, melodies, and rhapsodies of a great donkey orchestra." What will undoubtedly be the strangest film I catch at the 2017...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: THE ROAD MOVIE, Chaos Reigns On Russian Byways

If you have spent any time lost in the YouTube wormhole, you have probably seen some of the crazy car accident footage that has been uploaded and archived by witnesses, usually from cheap cameras mounted at the front windshield of...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: LET THERE BE LIGHT Illuminates That To Play God, One Must Collaborate

There is something magnificent about human endeavours that require several lifetimes to achieve. The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona was started in 1888 by architect Antoni Gaudí, but he will have been dead for 100...

Hot Docs 2016 Review: ANGRY INUK Recontextualizes Activism

"Martha Stewart does not live here," reads a sign in the home of lawyer, seal skin seamstress and economic activist Aaju Peter. The feminist icon you have probably never heard of, from her abode in the capital city of Nunavut,...

Hot Docs 2016 Review: BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN And The Wisconsin Justice System

If you have not heard of the Slenderman at this point, trust me that your kids have. He is a tall thin man in a suit usually seen looming in the background of locations where children play or blending into...

Hot Docs 2016 Review: HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE Beautifully Mixes Craft And Emotion

The famous Serenity Prayer of american theologian Reinhold Niebuhr is as follows:  "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Jay...

Hot Docs 2016 Review: TICKLED, A Tale From Which It Is Difficult To Squirm Away

Tickled is a documentary about power when one is the 'tickler'. Tickled is a documentary about the sudden whiplash from silly to terror when one is the 'ticklee'. Tickled is David Farrier's investigative reporting magnum opus, a deeply engaging ride-along...

Hot Docs 2016 Review: BROTHERS Says A Lot About Parents

In Aslaug Holm's gorgeously shot documentary on her own children - make no mistake, this is no home movie, but a rigorous 16mm film production by a veteran filmmaker - a recurring image is laundry hanging out on the line...

Hot Docs 2015 Review: The "Fuckery & Shenanigans" Of FINDERS KEEPERS

What would you do if you acquired a storage locker and all its random contents, only to discover one such item consisted of a barbecue containing a human foot? I guess the answer largely depends on who you are. If...

Hot Docs 2015 Review: UNBRANDED, Wild, Wild Horses Couldn't Drag Us Away

Four Texas A&M University graduates choose one hell of a in-between-school-and-real-life adventure, opting to adopt a dozen or so wild mustangs, train them, and make a 3000 mile journey from the Arizona-Mexican border up the spine of former 'wild west'...

Hot Docs 2015 Review: DEEP WEB Examines Justice On The Electronic Frontier

The 21st century is a foreign country. If you had asked someone in the 1989 what the charming fantasy adventure The Princess Bride, and slacker time travel history lesson, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure had in common, you would likely have...

Hot Docs 2015 Review: DRONE And The Terror Of "Point And Click" Warfare

Here in the 21st century, we find ourselves sliding down the slipperiest of slopes. As the paradigm of warfare undergoes yet another significant metamorphosis, one of remote assassinations, or as one drone pilot succinctly puts it, "just point and click."Tonje...

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...