Movies

Hot Docs Review – Broke [Rosie Dransfeld, 2009]

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


A few things about being broke that I have noticed over the past few months

1. You will eat a three-year-old box of Kraft Dinner and you will enjoy it.
2. You will always find money for alcohol.
3. Being home beats the shit out of getting up and going to work.

This movie, BROKE, was really good. It is a Canadian doc about an Edmonton pawnshop owner and the daily running of his business. They filmed it basically by putting a camera and sound guy in the pawnshop and filming what went down.

I found myself laughing out loud several times. The arrogant, rude, yet innocent things that come out of the pawnshop owners’ mouth are priceless. It was enjoyable for several reasons. First, you are interested in the clientele that come into pawnshop. Their stories, their haggling, their various states of intoxication. Priceless. Second, I was interested in the relationship between the Jewish pawnshop owner and his helper friend. Third, there was a narrative arc that brought us full circle. Yes, this movie was pretty spectacular. Great editing and a killer concept will leave you thinking ‘why didn’t I think of this?’

I am giving it a 4.5 out of 5. Why not a 5? Well, because the music was horrible. Imagine a bible thumping after school special from the 1980’s, then imagine music worse than that. Although the music was used sparingly, when it did come on, all I could think was “Who the crap chose this?”

You have one more chance to see Broke. It scored a repeat screening this Sunday night. I suggest you get your ass out and see it.

9:45 Sunday, May 10th – Innis Town Hall *plays with The Man Behind The Log

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