As US forces inhabit Afghanistan in October of 2001 in search of their enemy number one Osama Bin Laden, the US military starts bombarding the country with flyers from planes above promising riches beyond compare for the information/capture of Taliban terrorists. For 22 members of China’s Uyghur minority that just happen to be living in the country after fleeing oppression in their native land, this turns out to be a disastrous turn of events. The Turkish-speaking Muslims are sold to US forces under false accusations and propaganda where they become some of the first accused terrorists illegally detained at Guantanamo Bay. (more…)
Starting this past Friday, January 24th 2014, and running until April 4th, the TIFF Bell Lightbox is launching another major retrospective series, this time chronicling the career of prolific Dutch directorPaul Verhoeven, entitled Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven. After making a string of brilliant and bloody films in the Netherlands that had him proclaimed a national hero, Verhoeven was slammed back down to earth with the critical backlash that erupted from his motocross epic Spetters, which ended up with him packing his bags for Hollywood. Verhoeven would soon become the master of action packed excess with such films as Robocop, Total Recall, and the sexually charged thrillerBasic Instinct. But soon the critical backlash would rear its head in Hollywood as well, sending Verhoeven back to his homeland. (more…)
While training for the 2010 Winter Olympics, champion US snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a devastating accident on the slopes, putting him temporarily in a coma and leaving him with a debilitating brain injury. When he finally recovered both speech and mobility, Kevin shocked his supportive, tight-knit family by announcing that he wanted to return to the sport he loves—despite doctors’ warnings that even the slightest blow to the head would be enough to kill him.
The Crash Reel is an engrossing exposé on the world of extreme sports and more specifically the terrible accident and recovery of Kevin Pearce, known to his fans simply as KP, who before his tragic accident was poised to upset Shaun White for the gold in the Vancouver Olympic Games. The film follows diligently the Pearce family as they try to recover from his head injury that almost cost Kevin his life. Through practice and competitive footage, director Lucy Walker does excellent job of examining the psyche of an athlete and paints a compelling picture of the athlete and the man that Pearce would become.
Invited to document the Stones’ US tour in support of their legendary album Exile on Main Street, Robert Frank forgoes the glamour on stage in favour of the everyday chaos of life in the wings, as the band and their assorted hangers-on (groupies, roadies and journalists) pursue various listless debaucheries to kill the boredom and homesickness of constant travel. Reportedly described by Mick Jagger as “a fucking good film … but if it shows in America we’ll never be allowed in the country again,” Cocksucker Blues remains one of the most raw and unfiltered accounts of life on tour ever recorded.
Director Robert Frank’s unflinching record of life on the road with the Rolling Stones remains one of the most notorious documentaries ever made, and one of the most impossible to see. A legal settlement with the band — who feared that their entourage’s onscreen antics could lead to public embarrassment and/or criminal prosecution — permits it to be screened only in very controlled circumstances (which makes this screening at the Lightbox a priceless rare event). Throughout the film though Jagger and Richards are very protected as whenever something illicit may happen, for example when Jagger goes to snort cocaine through a rolled dollar bill provided by Richards, the camera pans away to other action in the room.
Starting this weekend at the Tiff Bell Lightbox is the new retrospective on the films of Hollywood icon Bette Davis entitled The Hard Way: The Films of Bette Davis. The retrospective covers the entire gamut of Davis’ career and runs until Sunday December 8th.
This weekend featured some of the earlier films from the Davis cannon with Of Human Bondage, The Letter and the scathing behind the scenes Broadway drama that earned Davis Best Actress honors at the Cannes Film Festival in 1951, All About Eve. All About Eve is one of the career defining roles for Bette Davis, she carries the role of Margo Channing of with ease and responds to the manipulations and Anne Baxter’s conniving Eve Harrington aplomb. (more…)
Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival started in 1993, and has evolved and grown into one of the world’s leading festivals showcasing edgy, thought-provoking films, video, media installations, symposiums and panel discussions on Canadian and international perspectives of mental illness and addiction.