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Ruben Östlund's Palme D'Or winning satire of the art world and Andrey Zvyagintsev’s peek into a Loveless Russia address issues of social responsibility in our generic age of self-absorption
By Katherine Monk
TORONTO — One man was lying face down on a street grate to keep warm. He wore no shoes. His feet were blistered and gangrenous black. He was eating what appeared to be a discarded salad with his hands, dirty, swollen, cracked. I walked by him, and about a dozen other bodies wrapped in soiled sleeping bags, on my way to festival headquarters on King Street where the freshly laid red carpet curls out its tongue, anticipating the glitterati.
As a Vancouverite, walking past homeless people is routine. Turning a deaf ear to the person with the glazed eyes and a feeble hand stretched into the moving stream of sidewalk treading humanity is such a regular exercise, it doesn’t even register. It’s considered part of the urban experience.
Yet, on day one ...
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Film: Sundance Film Festival
Movie about Barack and Michelle Obama's first date takes the frame off the official portrait to paint a tender picture of two people falling in love
By Katherine Monk
PARK CITY, UT — There’s a good chance this year’s Sundance Film Festival will be defined by a larger, and perhaps more honest, discussion about race in America. And if it is, we can look at Richard Tanne’s debut feature Southside With You as a beautiful example of a paradigm shift.
It’s not just an accessible romance starring two rising African-American stars in Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers, it’s a fictionalized take on the first date between would-be First Lady Michelle Robinson and a young Harvard law student named Barack Obama.
We knew the two met at a corporate law firm. We knew she was his advisor. And we knew she wasn’t eager to get involved with a junior, fearing it would erode her professional edge and play into white expectation.
The rest became the ...
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Movie Review: Bridge of Spies
Cold War thriller warmed over: Tom Hanks shuffles his favourite deck of characters to take on the role of a real life insurance lawyer who ends up tangled in the concertina wire of East-West tensions
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Though the set-ups take forever and Ed Helms's performance is just plain irritating, there's enough humanity in this vehicle to make us care as it drives American family values into a brick wall -- with Griswold results
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Asif Kapadia allows his camera to become an emotional confessional to his subjects in the profoundly moving Amy, a documentary portrait of another musical luminary prematurely darkened by a deep love deficit
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Alicia Vikander finds the fire-hardened spirit of noted pacifist Vera Brittain in a sentimental take on Testament of Youth, the bestselling classic about the endless tragedy of war
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Disney Pixar takes a long walk down an infinite pier of personal identity in Inside Out, an animated tour of developmental psychology that captures the pain of growing up using primary colours and Amy Poehler's voice
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The first-time feature director from small town Ontario dives into the deep end with a coming-of-age story focused on a young woman with body image angst and her quest to stay under the surface without drowning
By Katherine Monk
From the time she was seven years old, Lindsay Mackay told her parents she wanted to be a doctor. A self-confessed “science and math nerd,” she excelled at solving equations and found comfort in the predictability of the ‘right answer’ being found in the back pages of an appendix.
But something strange happened in Grade 11 – and though it didn’t directly involve a new bra size, a dramatic deflowering or mutant superhero ability – it did recalibrate her inner sense of destiny.
“I had this great English teacher who taught me to believe in my own voice,” says Mackay, who just celebrated her 30th birthday. “Through her, I discovered storytelling, and it changed my life.”
From a stubborn dedication to empirical problem solving, ...
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Movie Review: Welcome to Me
Kristen Wiig pulls off the impossible as a mentally ill lottery winner in Shira Piven's dark satire set in the selfie-obsessed post-Oprah age