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Documentaries

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    In the Works: Returning to Kurelek's Maze

    Bob Young and his two sons were lured into making successive films about The Maze artist William Kurelek, reports Bill Desowitz:It's easy to get sucked into The Maze, the surreal and nightmarish Bosch-like painting that Canadian artist William Kurelek (1927-1977) created as a mental patient in England in 1953. Comprised of 17 panels, it's a naked glimpse into his troubled mind. The Maze is so powerful and dynamic, in fact, that it ensnares you more like a movie or graphic novel than a painting. No wonder award-winning director Bob Young (The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, The Eskimo: Fight for Life) was inspired to document Kurelek's complex life...

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    More Than Just Funny: How Women Took Comedy by the Balls

    On a weekend in which the multiplex was mainly a man’s world, Matt Brennan's "Now and Then" column this week focuses on news from the small screen. With Bridesmaids now available on DVD and a flurry of funny women hitting network TV, he got to wondering: are we in a golden age of women in comedy? Trailers below:I know. You already have seven problems with this column and all you’ve read is the teaser. So let’s slow down and lay out some of the assumptions I’m working with here: first, that women are funny, and not only to other women, despite what Christopher Hitchens might have to say on the subject; and second, that I recognize there are pr...

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    Michael Moore Talks Here Comes Trouble, Mel Gibson, Oscars, Politics, Georgia, and Bobby Kennedy

    I first met Michael Moore back in the heady days when he made his name as a documentary filmmaker with 1989's Roger and Me by putting himself into the story of the downsizing of the GM plant in his hometown of Flint, Michigan.

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    Orgiastic Odyssey: Mark Cousins' The Story of Film

    On the last days of the Toronto Film Festival, Meredith Brody settles into a fifteen-hour orgy of film history. If I wasn’t already a rabid cinephile, exposure to Mark Cousins' orgiastic The Story of Film: An Odyssey would turn me into one. I’d been looking forward to seeing the two-day screenings, eight hours on Saturday and seven on Sunday, since I caught a scant hour of it in Telluride, shown on an ordinary flat screen in a back room of an art gallery. But, over two days immersed in its entirety, I’m overwhelmed by its richness, depth, and philosophy. Cousins’ pleasing Irish brogue seduces as he narrates the entire 15 hours, a personal ta...

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    Toronto Wrap: Best of Fest, Oscar Boosts, Winners and Losers

    The trick with the fall film festivals is to gauge expectations going in vs. what was actually achieved. Various distributors launched their fall slates, and watched with pleasure or horror at how their movies were received by audiences and critics. Oscar contenders either moved forward in the award...

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    TIFF Deal Round-Up: Neil Young and Panahi Films, Killer Joe, Awakening, God Bless America, Incident

    While the Toronto Film Festival has not been a hotbed of dealmaking activity, many buyers are negotiating behind the scenes for smaller acquisitions that won't send rockets into the stratosphere. Here's a round-up of recent TIFF deals (UPDATED):

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    TIFF 36 Day Five: 9/11, Deep Blue Sea, Cardboard Village, Beloved, 11 Flowers, Demme & Young

    Meredith Brody remembers 9/11, scarfs up more screenings, and enjoys a dulcet Toronto evening with Neil Young.

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    TIFF 36 Four: Friends with Kids, The Oranges, Americano, Damsels in Distress, Palin, Paradise Lost

    Meredith Brody runs the Scotiabank gamut from relationship dramedy Friends with Kids to the latest installment of doc Paradise Lost.

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    Film in the Decade Since 9/11: From Superheroes to Westerns, What Came After

    This week's “Now and Then” column started out comparing and contrasting two movies about assassins — Hanna (Joe Wright, 2011) and Léon: the Professional (Luc Besson, 1994)—and ended up ruminating on 9/11. Trailers below:Life and culture are too messy to be divided into easy categories like “Before” and “After,” but for all the continuities in the way films are made and viewed, a long view of the last decade reveals some important, if subtle, shifts. Watching the network news coverage of September 11 to prepare for this column, I was reminded of how much we didn’t know that day, how much our fear stemmed from no longer being able to control th...

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