Hot Docs

Hot Docs Review – Short Docs

Posted on by Wade in Everything, Hot Docs | Leave a comment

Man Behind The Log – John Lehmann, 6min

This shortie is about a man in Vancouver who lives behind a log on the beach and is able to sell his artwork for thousands of dollars at a local gallery. The story is told through still photos and video. The photos and video were very crisp and sharp, obviously done in HD. The medium that a story is told in is a very important piece of the puzzle. Here is a story about a broken down homeless man and it looks perfect. It is obvious that John Lehmann is a talented photo journalist, but for this story, I couldn’t get past how perfect the imagery was. Had he shot this film using a Polaroid 600 or on Super 8, I think it would have been much more effective.
3/5

Screenings
1:30, Thursday, May 7 @ Cumberland 2 with Broke
9:45, Sunday, May 10 @ Innis Town Hall with Broke

Pockets – James Lee, 3 min

This movie is three minutes of pure bliss. People carry odd things in their pockets, often very personal things. Hearing the stories behind all these personal objects is really fun. Simple, personal and beautifully shot.
5/5

No more screenings

Carmen – Larry Young, 6 min

A story about a woman who takes care of her sick husband 24/7. It plays out as a story about commitment and true love. It left me with a lot to think about. Here is a woman whos’ life revolves around taking care of her husband. When the movie ended I was left thinking about how much her husband is dependent on her, but also that she is possibly just as dependent on him as he is of her. Hmmmm.
4/5

No more screenings

Steel Homes – Eva Weber, 10 min

After doing some research on Eva Weber I was pretty jacked about seeing Steel Homes. Her pervious work includes The Intimacy Of Strangers, a doc constructed by overheard cell phone conversations. Steel Homes never really got off the ground for me. There were some cool, sterile shots of storage units and all that, but my interest in the subjects and their personal stories never developed.
2.5/5

Screenings
2:00, Wednesday, May 6 @ Cumberland 2 with Diary of a Times Square Theif
7:30, Sunday, May 10 @ Innis Town Hall with Diary of a Times Square Theif

Ma Bar – Finlay Pretsell, Adrian McDowall, 11 min

An older man and his goal to bench press a crap load of pounds, I mean kilos. Powerlifting is a petty popular sport. It was very interesting watching the powerlifter get ready for his lift. The routine, preparations and then finally the lift. Again, another beautifully shot piece where I didn’t connect with the subject or understand why I am supposed to care.
2.5/5
No more screenings

Hot Docs: Action Boys, [Byung-Gil Jung, 2009]

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs, Movies | Leave a comment

action_boys

Toronto – Anyone who follows Asian cinema will know that the past few years has been a tremendous boon for the Korean movie industry. With their flair for melodramatics and a dose of humility, Korean movies have been conquering Asian theatres for years now. Movies like Sassy Girl, Oldboy and The Host are well known internationally and Korean movie stars now are starting to cross over to English cinema (like the dude in Speed Racer). Action Boys is a documentary following several stuntmen all the way from their early days in the school to filming important action sequences in large scale productions. At 118 minutes, it is one of the longest documentaries at Hot Docs, but it is quite good. BlogTo thought it was boring, but I thought it was quite interesting to find some information about these stuntmen, who risk their lives on a daily basis without much of a payoff. The narration is self deprecating and often makes fun of the subjects hopes and dreams. This may sound mean, but as described early on, the documentary maker is also a stuntmen himself, so you get a good glimpse of the camaraderie that exist between these men. Overall, while the documentary is a bit long at times and some of the scenes are unnecessary, it is a good look into a profession that most of us are oblivious to, but at the same time, one that provides a lot of enjoyment in our lives when we are at the movies.

Hot Docs: http://schedule.hotdocs.ca/index.php/2009/film/action_boys
Innis Town Hall, Sunday May 3, 9:45
Cumberland 4, Monday May 4, 4:15

Hot Docs Preview – Cat Ladies [2009, Christie Callan-Jones]

Posted on by Wade in Everything, Hot Docs, Movies | 3 Comments


Cat Ladies. The title says it all. This doc gives us the inside scoop on four crazy cat ladies. Well maybe they aren’t all crazy, but they do all have issues. We all have problems in our lives. Some of us drink, some of us collect cats. What can you do?

The four characters featured in this doc all have varying degrees of cat lady syndrome. The story follows a good arc, keeping you interested until the end and answering the questions in your head as they pop up. It was produced in partnership with TVO, so it did have that made for TV feel, which really didn’t take away from anything.

One of my favourite parts was seeing Tre Smith…again. If you don’t know this guy, he is everywhere when it comes to animal protection issues in Toronto. If there is a raccoon stuck in a fence or dog with only three legs, you can count on Tre coming to the rescue and being the face of the Humane Society. He first got his start on the Toronto based reality show The Lofters (2001), where he lived in a downtown loft with Jennifer Hedger (TSN) and Arisa Cox (E!Online). You may also remember him from an incident last summer when Tre, a Humane Society Inspector, found a dog in the back seat of a car that had its windows cranked shut. After Tre busted out the cars window to rescue the dog, the dogs owner returned. Tre then handcuffed the guy to the car and took the dog to get medical attention. Bystandards then knocked out three of the dudes teeth and pelted him with stones as he stood handcuffed to the car. It was a pretty big deal at the time. Some paint Tre as a villain, I would say he is more of a hero. Anyway, Tre is in this movie, much to the delight of the single female animal loving population of Toronto.

Schedule *Screens with Statistics
6:30 PM, Friday, May 1 – Cumberland 3
9:45 PM, Saturday May 9 – The Royal Cinema
9:00 PM, Sunday May 10 – Cumberland 3

Hot Docs: Soulwax – Part of the Weekend Never Dies [2009, Soam Farahmand]

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs, Movies | 2 Comments

soulwax1

Toronto – Given that I have been dabbling on the outer edges of electronic music in recent times, it would only make sense for me to be interested in the Soulwax documentary “Part of the Weekend Never Dies‘, a rock tour documentary about Soulwax’s travels in the summer of 2006. Many of you might know Soulwax by their DJ names – 2ManyDJs. I guess they are somewhat regarded as pioneers in this new electronic age, according to many people interviewed during the documentary (including LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Peaches, Justice, Digitalism, Erol Alkans among others). The tour that the film was made for, was one where the people in the band Soulwax also did double duties as 2ManyDJs (Soulwax would open, 2ManyDjs would close). It’s a bit convoluted, but the documentary will explain it better.

The documentary was just filmed with one camera (whereas Beastie Boys documentary was filmed with 50) and features many interviews, concert footage and behind the scene moments that is typical of a rock tour documentary. To me, this documentary seemed like one large commercial for a Soulwax concert, but you can say that about any music documentary where everyone they interview sings praises. The editing was pretty interesting, sometimes sloppy as they splice the many many concert shots with the everyday going ons for David and Stephen Dewaele(Soulwax).

Overall, it is definitely a good look into this new age of electronic music, where DJs get treated like rock gods, tour the world over, play to thousands of people all while standing behind some knobs. I don’t think this documentary really differentiates much from other rock tour documentaries, so I guess if you are a fan of music, or soulwax or electronic music, you will probably enjoy this one.

Screening information:
Midnight, Sunday, May 3 at Bloor Cinema
9:30 Pm, Sunday, May 10 at Royal Cinema