As Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of confederation this year, many of us have become reflective of what this country means to us. As we search for our collective identity as a nation, we often have a tendency of remembering only the positive moments that dot our history. What the documentary In the Name of All Canadians does is show us the sometimes ugly reality for some of this country’s citizens. Commissioned by Hot Docs and told through a collection of six short films, the film takes a look at how Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms changed our course as a nation and ensured certain protections. However, what happens when those laws fail us?
It’s time for the 27th edition of the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival and I’m back reviewing a selection of the films screening during this year’s event. This is always a highlight for me among the many film festivals that Toronto hosts throughout the year. It always promises to showcase some of the best offerings in LGBT cinema.
We are back again for the 2017 edition of the Hot Docs Film Festival reviewing films, and keeping an ear to the ground to see what has audiences buzzing. Last year’s festival screened two of the nominees for the 2017 Best Documentary Feature Oscar including the eventual winner OJ: Made in America, so there’s no doubt that once again the year’s best docs will be on full display.
The Western has enjoyed enduring popularity for decades. Its heyday was probably the 1960s but that hasn’t stopped many directors from continuing to try their hand at the genre. Ti West is the latest director to give it a go, departing from his usual suspense and horror fare that he’s known for. His new film In the Valley of Violence is a classic revenge story starring Ethan Hawke in his second Western of the year. It’s the kind of story that has been done many times so it’s bound to be difficult to find a fresh angle that breathes new life into it. Unfortunately for West, he is unable to find that spark that gives us something fresh and exciting, instead producing something that feels like it has been done before and better.
One of the best vampire films of the past decade was an indie film called Stake Land. It tied together a gritty, desperate post-apocalyptic world with a solid road trip story of survival and frightening vampires that carried zombie-like tendencies. The film was a great alternative to the more popular Hollywood vampire films such as the Twilight franchise. So when it was announced unexpectedly that a sequel to the hit film had been finished without anyone outside the production team even knowing it was happening, anticipation immediately skyrocketed. Dan Berk and Robert Olsen return us to this world in the follow-up titled The Stakelander. However, while they have put forth a noble effort, this one fails to live up to the incredibly strong original.