Hot Docs Preview: Becoming Bond [Josh Greenbaum, 2017]

Posted on by Paul in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

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Becoming Bond is a light hearted, entertaining film about the life of George Lazenby, the man who became known for famously taking on the role of James Bond for one film and one film only before giving it all up.

Told through a series of reenactments and narrated by Lazenby himself, it tells the tale of his early life, how he made his way up from car mechanic to salesman to male model and eventually, to somehow bluffing his way into replacing the departing Sean Connery in one of the most iconic film roles around.

While he spins a good tale, one gets the sense that Lazenby must be embellishing his story for effect to at least some extent. He’s got enough charm to pull it off though and the performance by Josh Lawson as Lazenby as well as cameos from Jeff Garlin, Jane Seymour, Jonathan Slavin, and Jake Johnson make for an entertaining watch.

Screenings:
Wed, May 3 @ 8:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Thu, May 4 @ 3:45 PM, Isabel Bader Theatre
Fri, May 5 @ 7:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Hot Docs Preview: Tokyo Idols [Kyoko Miyake]

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

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Tokyo Idols is an absolutely fascinating documentary about “idols”, a Japanese music phenomena mostly consisting of young girls dressed up in costumes and performing J-pop songs. Following both the Idols and their fans, the documentary presents the story of idol obsession from both sides, and how closely the two are intertwined.

There are some wow moments in this documentary and it sheds light on subculture in a culture that for the most part, is mostly closed off to worlds like ours. It’s a riveting piece and will spark all types of conversations among those who watch it.

Highly recommended

Screenings:
Mon, May 1, 9:15 PM @ Scotiabank, Cinema 4
Wed, May 3, 10:30 AM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Sun, May 7, 10:00 AM @TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Hot Docs Preview: Living the Game [Takao Gotsu, 2017]

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

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With the emergence of e-sports over the past decade, it was only a matter of time before a documentary came out about it.

Living the Game is a film that follows the lives of several professional Street Fighter players. It’s an interesting tale focusing heavily on two very different personalities and how they tackle the struggles of being a professional gamer (there are five gamers featured, but two are heavily featured). What I found interesting is that the tale told could theoretically be about any sport, as it dives through struggles with training, maintaining a balanced life and also needing to sort out what happens after their careers are finished. The director does a great job highlighting both the good and the bad, making it a real struggle that the audience can connect with even if they don’t play video games.

Screenings:
Tue, May 2 @ 8:30 PM Scotiabank Theatre 4
Thu, May 4 @ 8:45 PM Scotiabank Theatre 7
Sun, May 7 @ 6:15 PM Scotiabank Theatre 3

CMW Review: B-17, Zoobombs, April 22, Silver Dollar

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Is is possible to feel nostalgia for something that hasn’t even gone away yet? If so, that would explain why I made the kind of dumb decision to stay out til late night/early morning on the last full night of CMW to take in the last few acts of the night. After all, only nostalgia for the days when a 4:00 am last call and bands playing almost all night long seemed more appealing than an early night in with a good book could explain why I’d be willing to stay out ’til all hours. That and the fact that the Silver Dollar will soon be no more than a memory.

Following sets earlier in the night from Japanese Breakfast, Liam Betson, and others, B-17 took to the stage for the 2:00 am slot. The Toronto psych rockers gave a shout out to Dan Burke for “making this shithole the best place in the city for the past 15 years,” adding that they’ve played “literally hundreds” of shows there over the years. The band ran through a raucous set of tunes from their latest album Goodbye before saying their own goodbye to the Silver Dollar. “Alright this is it. The moment that us as a band don’t play here anymore. You’re gonna feel foolish if you don’t dance.” said singer/bassist Clint Rogerson as he introduced the band’s last song, a fantastic version of The 13th Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” A fitting farewell to the Dollar.

Following them for the last set of the night were Japan’s Zoobombs, the undisputed MVPs of Canadian Music Week. Having already played The Silver Dollar earlier in the week (as well as a couple of other CMW shows elsewhere), the band was back for one more show at their Toronto home. After wishing the crowd a good morning, Don Matsuo added, “This is why we love Toronto. 3 am! Such a crowd. Such a stupid crowd.” He’s got a point – it is a bit stupid to take in a rock show at three in the morning, but they absolutely made it worth our while, and if anything’s going to keep you awake at that time of night, it’s The Zoobombs.