Media Matters Archive

Three Indie Gems to Watch For

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October 11, 2018 Vic Thiessen

The 2018 Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF) was not as good as last year but still featured a number of excellent indie films, including two from Canada (which understandably has many films in the festival, but rarely does so well). The big surprise for me was the extraordinary coincidence of having three of my favourite five films of the 2018 EIFF concerned with senior high school classes (I’m generally not a big fan of high school films), though they could hardly be more different. Here is a brief look, in the order in which I liked them.   The Silent […]

Four documentaries by Errol Morris

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October 3, 2018 Jerry L. Holsopple

Knowing what the truth is in a given situation seems to be particularly challenging, with news organizations being called false, and totally opposite narratives both being claimed as truth. I suggest a dosage of documentary films by Errol Morris for an antidote. He is fascinated by how we discover the truth. He believes there is an historical truth, even when it is hard to find. He suggests, “It is often said that seeing is believing. But we do not form our beliefs on the basis of what we see; rather, what we see is often determined by our beliefs. Believing is […]

Juliet, Naked

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September 27, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith

Author Nick Hornby has made a nice living writing about male characters that seem to muddle through life with either a misguided purpose or little purpose at all. High Fidelity, About a Boy—and even Hornby’s memoir Fever Pitch—move along those thematic lines. All of those books became the basis of movies (Fever Pitch twice, in fact—one British and one American adaptation) where the protagonists fail to live up to others’ expectations of them. Juliet, Naked is Hornby’s latest story to hit the big screen. While it follows similar patterns of the other Hornby-based movies, Juliet differs in that the characters […]

Peppermint

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September 21, 2018 Carmen Andres

  I was a huge fan of Alias, a television series that ran in the early 2000s starring Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow, an international spy recruited out of college who is highly skilled in spy craft and self-defense. The series was well crafted with complex characters, moral dilemmas and twisting plots, receiving numerous awards and nominations. And, personally, I enjoyed seeing a strong female character as the lead in the action genre. So I was thrilled when I heard that Garner, now 46 and a mother of three, was returning to what looked like a similar role in Peppermint, […]

Blindspotting

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September 13, 2018 Vic Thiessen

In last week’s film review, Jerry Holsopple praises and highly recommends Spike Lee’s new film, BlacKkKlansman. I agree completely, but this summer saw the release of what I think is an even better independent film featuring an African-American writer and protagonist: Blindspotting. Unlike BlacKkKlansman, Blindspotting has received very little attention and has not been widely distributed. In Winnipeg, Blindspotting played for one week in late August, in a cinema at the edge of town, and I was the only person in the theatre when I watched this profound and insightful film. The theatre next door, meanwhile, was full for what […]

BLACKkKLANSMAN

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September 6, 2018 Jerry L. Holsopple

Imagine a black rookie cop in Colorado Springs, infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan, by posing as a white supremacist in the 1970s. If this wasn’t based on a true story, not even Spike Lee could get us to enter fully into this film, BlacKkKlansman. Lee masterfully connects the past and present without missing a beat. The film opens with a scene of tattered Confederate soldiers in “Gone with the Wind.” This nostalgia segues to a white supremacist leader practicing a speech and finally cuts to Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) walking into the Colorado Springs Police Department to apply for […]

Minding the Gap

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August 30, 2018 Gordon Houser

Many documentaries have in mind the point they want to get across and make the film fit that notion. A few let themes unfold as they present a narrative. Minding the Gap is one of the latter—and one of the best documentaries to emerge this year, when there are many good ones out. Bing Liu both directs the film and appears in it. It begins by showing skateboarders in Rockford, Illinois, with the camera (held by Liu who is himself on a skateboard) following the graceful, acrobatic skills of the young skateboarders. The music—neither intrusive nor overly dramatic—fits perfectly with […]

America’s Got Talent

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August 24, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith

In my review about The Voice show four years ago, I declared that I no longer believe in guilty pleasures. If I legitimately like something that most people – or even I – deem to be low brow, I embrace it. The truth is that I haven’t watched The Voice much since that column. That is probably because I only have room in my life for one reality TV show, and for the past two seasons that show has been America’s Got Talent.  Unlike talent-specific shows such as singing-based shows The Voice and American Idol, or dance shows like So […]

Christopher Robin

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August 17, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

When I first heard about the new Disney movie Christopher Robin, I imagined a biopic of sorts about the real-life Christopher Robin Milne. A.A. Milne’s son inspired the Pooh stories and loved them as a boy, but he grew up to have a love-hate relationship with his father’s work and his role in the books. It turns out, Marc Forster‘s Christopher Robin is entirely fiction and bears no resemblance to the real Christopher’s adult life. All the animals of the Hundred Acre Wood gather to say farewell to Christopher Robin as he leaves for boarding school. Christopher promises Pooh he’ll […]

Eighth Grade

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August 10, 2018 Vic Thiessen

Do you remember eighth grade? I remember it all too well. For me, it was the most difficult year of my life, especially in terms of relating to my peers. But I cannot begin to imagine how much worse that year might have been if I had been a girl in our age of social media. That’s the premise of Bo Burnham’s debut film (he wrote and directed), Eighth Grade, which stars Elsie Fisher as 14-year-old Kayla Day. Kayla, in her final weeks of middle school, is trying to navigate the daily experience of being shunned or ignored by her […]