Fantasia Festival Review: Marygoround

In “Marygoround,” one woman undergoes a transformation that changes the course of her life. This black comedy drama was directed by Daria Woszek with a script by Woszek, Sylwester Piechura, and Aleksandra Swierk. The Polish film follows a woman named Mary who undergoes treatment for menopause and experiences some surprising side effects. It definitely is a unique and sometimes strange film, but it is an interesting look at a late sexual awakening.  Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: Marygoround

Retrospective Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

If you’re looking for the perfect summer film, look no further than “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (2018). The sequel to the first “Mamma Mia” (2008) film takes us back to a beautiful Greek island with both returning and new cast members who look like they’re having the time of their lives. It’s a film full of friendship, summer love, cute boho outfits, and Lily James dancing and cartwheeling through a field. Maybe being stuck in quarantine makes the idea of moving to a Greek island on a whim even more appealing.  Continue reading Retrospective Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Pride Month, Restrospective Review: Love, Simon

“Love, Simon” is not only an adorable high school rom-com but also made history as the first major Hollywood studio film about a gay teenage romance. The 2018 film was directed by Greg Berlanti and largely centres around the main character Simon coming out as gay. Many films about the LGBT+ experience are tragic or focus on the discrimination that they face, but this movie is more your typical teen film with angst rather than tragedy.  Continue reading Pride Month, Restrospective Review: Love, Simon

Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: The Virgin Suicides

You wouldn’t imagine a film titled “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) would be beautifully atmospheric and dreamlike. Or maybe you would if you knew it was written and directed by Sofia Coppola who is known for brilliantly capturing an atmosphere with her films whether it’s the 1990s in Los Angeles with “The Bling Ring” (2013) or our collective memory of a lavish queen with “Marie Antoinette” (2006). Coppola’s directorial debut is a tale about five young girls who commit suicide and perhaps more poignantly, the neighborhood boys who are obsessed with them. For as much as it’s a film about mental health and girlhood, it’s also about collective memory and the impact that a few people can have on a community.  Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: The Virgin Suicides

Review: Bombshells and Dollies

“Bombshells and Dollies” (2020) is a charming new documentary looking at the lives of women who take part in the pinup culture, centred around one year’s contestants at the most well-regarded pinup contest. Pinup fashion, which refers to primarily 1940s and 1950s style, has seen a resurgence in the past couple of decades. The women featured in this documentary could pass for having lived in the times of their grandmothers when they’re all dressed up were it not for some of their tattoos, cell phones, and wild hair colours. Dan Halperin wrote and directed this fascinating look at a subculture that many may not know about.  Continue reading Review: Bombshells and Dollies

Animated April: Spotlight on Princess Anna from “Frozen”

When Disney’s “Frozen” came out in 2013, it truly seemed like a cultural reset. Disney parks were flooded with little girls in Elsa dresses and you couldn’t escape hearing Idina Menzel singing “Let It Go” even if you wanted to. While Brenda Chapman had directed “Brave” the year before, “Frozen” marked the first time that a Walt Disney Animation Studios film was directed by a woman. Jennifer Lee also wrote the script, along with co-directing, and it seems fitting that a film so focused on the love between two sisters would be the first at the studio to have a female director.

However, while the character of Elsa got all the glory, her younger sister Princess Anna has been majorly overlooked. Voiced by the talented and sunshine-y Kristen Bell, Anna has a character arc just as touching as Elsa’s throughout “Frozen” and its sequel “Frozen II” (2019).  Continue reading Animated April: Spotlight on Princess Anna from “Frozen”

Animated April: Spotlight on Merida from “Brave”

Merida from Pixar’s “Brave” (2012) is perhaps one of Disney’s most overlooked princess. Which is strange considering she’s one of the best role models and her existence is one of the biggest milestone achievements of the whole group. “Brave” is set in the Scottish Highlands and follows a young princess who would rather practice her archery than listen to her mother’s lessons. She defies their customs and refuses a betrothal, leading her to make a deal with a witch to change her mother. But when her mother is actually changed into a bear, she sets about reversing the spell and fixing their strained relationship. Merida is voiced by Kelly Macdonald, while Queen Elinor is voiced by Emma Thompson. Continue reading Animated April: Spotlight on Merida from “Brave”

Women’s History Month: Clara Bow

Many women have been called “The It Girl” throughout the past century, but it’s Clara Bow that the term was created for. The actress who helped define what it meant to be a flapper in the 1920s played a shop-girl who wins the heart of her employer in the 1927 box office hit “It” and soon was being called “The It Girl.” Bow had “It” in spades: that sex appeal and vivacious charm that defined the modern woman. And yet, for all her success, Bow had a challenging life and struggled with mental health problems. She once said: “All the time the flapper is laughing and dancing, there’s a feeling of tragedy underneath. She’s unhappy and disillusioned and that’s what people sense.”  Continue reading Women’s History Month: Clara Bow

Women’s History Month: Mary Pickford

Earlier this year, “Miss Americana” (2020) was released on Netflix. The documentary delves into Taylor Swift’s status as “America’s sweetheart” and the pressures it puts on her. What it also shows is how this perception of her sometimes masks what a brilliant businesswoman she is and how she’s built her own empire from the ground up. But Swift isn’t the first curly-haired blonde to be called “America’s sweetheart” and whose impressive business acumen is often overlooked. 

Mary Pickford might be best known as the original ingénue and the “girl with the curls,” but she was also a founder of the United Artists film studio and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was one of the most powerful figures in the early days of Hollywood and achieved so much in her eighty-seven years. Not only beautiful and talented, she learned to negotiate pay raises for herself to reflect her wild popularity and became a producer of both her own and other films.  Continue reading Women’s History Month: Mary Pickford

Review: Onward

Pixar’s latest offering, “Onward,” is more than just your normal magical animated film; it’s a touching tale of brotherly love that deals with grief, learning to believe in yourself, and the awkwardness of your teenage years. Directed by Dan Scanlon, who previously worked on “Monsters University” (2013) for the studio, the movie feels both cleverly unique and markedly Pixar. 

“Onward” is the story of brothers Ian and Barley, elves who live in a world in which modern technology has replaced magic long ago. It resembles our normal world, but populated by magical creatures from sprites to cyclops. While older brother Barley is obsessed with the magical past and the game Quests of Yore, Ian is just trying to celebrate his 16th birthday and not make a fool of himself in front of his classmates. When a special birthday gift offers Ian the chance to meet the father who passed away while he was still a baby, the two must go on a real quest of their own.  Continue reading Review: Onward