Film Category

I had the good fortune of seeing Human Flow this month courtesy of our local film festival. The theatre was packed on a nondescript Wednesday night and the film did not disappoint. In it, filmmaker and artist Ai Weiwei paints a very dramatic and very human picture of the insane scale of the current refugee crisis. Despite the fact that stories of refugees regularly appear in my news feed, I had no idea of the true magnitude of the crisis. Over 65 million people around the world have been forcedRead More
The ridiculous amount of cold and wind and rain that suddenly arrived on my Edmonton doorstep this fall inspired me to peruse the latest releases on Netflix instead of taking a trip to the theatre. And so, this month, I watched First They Killed My Father. The movie is based on the memoir by Loung Ung and her experience as a child during the Cambodian genocide under the rule of Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Directed by Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie, herself an adoptive mother of a Cambodian child, oneRead More
Just when you thought you couldn’t handle another romantic comedy, along comes The Big Sick to prove you wrong and redeem your faith in this worn-out genre. The film is based on a real-life story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon (who, coincidentally, wrote the script together). Pakistan-born comedian and uber driver Kumail (played by himself) and grad student Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) navigate the modern-day challenges of dating in ways that are both heartwarming and hilarious. They form a romantic attachment after she “woo-hoo”sRead More
Maudie is equal parts frustrating and lovely. Its characters are simple, but complex. My heart was rooting for the two protagonists to “live happily ever after”, and yet I’m not sure I can say whether or not they actually did. Based on actual events, this movie focuses on the bleak love story of famous Canadian artist Maud Lewis, and her unlikely rise to folk art fame. It opens with Maud (Maudie), played by Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins, sitting forlornly on the porch swing of a stately house. She hasRead More
I’ll be honest: I did not expect to like Wonder Woman. I’m not typically a big fan of superhero movies. I’ve actually never read a Wonder Woman comic or seen the 1980s Lynda Carter series on TV. I’m not necessarily the target audience for summer blockbusters. But oh, let me count the ways I loved this movie! Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Diana’s strength and innocence, fearlessness and faith was pure bliss. I also now know what all the fuss is about regarding Chris Pine. Not only is he Mr. McDreamyRead More
Gifted is a heartwarming, if somewhat formulaic movie, that follows the story of a spirited young math prodigy Mary (McKenna Grace) and her hunky slacker uncle turned-father-figure Frank (Chris Evans). Frank stepped in as Mary’s guardian when his sister, Mary’s mom, committed suicide. They were eking out their somewhat unconventional life in a beachside town and happily living under the radar, until Frank decides it is time for Mary to start school. It is at school where her precociousness is noticed by the school administration and trouble soon follows. TheRead More
First things first – don’t let the title of this movie fool you on this one, dear readers. This is not a kid-friendly period piece remake of Dr. Doolittle or a real-life action version of Zootopia. Instead, this cinematic gem offers a new perspective on the extremes of World War II. Based on a combination of both Diane Ackerman’s non-fiction book of the same name and the diaries of Antonina Żabińska (published in Poland as Ludzie i zwierzęta, translated as: People and Animals in 1968), The Zookeeper’s Wife starts inRead More
I’ll admit I was excited to hear about the brouhaha that was the announcement of the Best Picture Award at this year’s Academy Awards. I mean, if a live broadcast of a multi-million-dollar production with Hollywood’s best and brightest can’t nail the delivery of their grand finale, doesn’t that give us all permission to embrace our own imperfections? I saw La La Land in the theatre last month with the intention to write a review for this column… but the whole thing was just plain ‘blah blah land’ for me.Read More
Grab your tissues, folks, because even though you know what to expect from the main plot points of Lion, you’ll be caught off guard by this beautiful and evocative film. Based on the real-life story (and adapted from the book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley), Lion tells the dramatic and heart-wrenching tale of five-year-old Saroo. Born into a poor but happy family in rural India, Saroo gets separated from his older brother at a train station and accidentally ends up trapped and alone on a decommissioned passenger trainRead More
Hidden Figures is a delight from beginning to end. I just got home from watching it in a packed theatre on a Friday night (which ended with the viewers applauding, myself included) and I can barely type out my praises fast enough. The ‘based on a true story’ movie features three African-American women who were ‘computers’ for NASA during the great race to space era. Before IBM mainframes, PCs, and iPads, there were humans sitting in rooms with pencils and papers cranking out calculation after calculation to determine how toRead More