RUSTIC ORACLE – Review by Carol Cling

It’s bad enough not knowing. Even worse than not knowing, however, is not understanding. That’s the haunting lesson learned by the young protagonist of the Canadian drama Rustic Oracle. The movie dramatizes a chilling statistic: Indigenous women represent 4 percent of Canada’s population, but make up a quarter of the country’s missing and murdered cases. (And at least half of all sex-trafficking victims.)

Read more

THE GOLDEN ARM – Review by Carol Cling

The Man With the Golden Arm — the 1955 drama with Frank Sinatra as a trying-to-kick-the-habit junkie — was serious business. The women of Golden Arm are anything but. A raucous romp that premiered at last year’s pandemic-struck SXSW Festival, Golden Arm plays like a mash-up of comedic variations.

Read more

MY TRUE FAIRYTALE – Review by Carol Cling

After more than a year of harrowing pandemic heartbreak, A True Fairytale’s arrival couldn’t be more timely. Its heart is clearly in the right place, yet the movie sometimes undercuts its impact through a largely one-note approach. Throughout, too many characters exchange too much in-your-face, on-the-nose dialogue, revealing too many things they already know.

Read more

SENIOR MOMENT – Review by Carol Cling

True to its title, this genial exercise in audience-pleasing never rises above its modest expectations. Then again, like its golden-age protagonists, it doesn’t have much to prove. Take former Air Force and NASA flyboy Maj. Victor Martin (trusty, blustery William Shatner). His days in the cockpit may be over, but he’s never lost his zest for piloting sports cars and ogling bikini-clad babes.

Read more

NIGHT OF THE KINGS – Review by Carol Cling

Never underestimate the power of a spellbinding story. It just might save your life. Ask Scheherazade, whose enchanting Arabian Nights tales lasted a thousand and one nights. Or ask Roman, whose life — like Scheherazade’s — depends on keeping the king captivated by the stories he spins. That’s the premise of Night of the Kings, an unusual but effective mix of visual fantasy and stark prison drama from writer-director Philippe LaCote.

Read more

HOPELESS ROMANTICS – Review by Carol Cling

The triumph of hope over experience. That’s how 18th-century English writer Samuel Johnson characterized a second marriage. It’s also a good description of the comedy-drama Hopeless Romantic. Judging by the title, you know what to expect. But you keep hoping for the best anyway.

Read more

OUR FRIEND – Review by Carol Cling

Too bad Charles Dickens has dibs on the title Our Mutual Friend. It would have worked perfectly for Our Friend – which played at Toronto International Film Festival 2019 as The Friend.. The latter is what Matthew Teague titled his Esquire magazine article about his wife’s losing battle with cancer – and their best friend’s role in helping them deal with the agonizing reality. This screen adaptation adaptation ricochets through the years so relentlessly you need a spreadsheet to chart who’s who, who’s where – and why they keep saying things everybody already knows.

Read more

GUNDA – Review by Carol Cling

Victor Kossakovsky’s wordless, black-and-white documentary offers an up-close-and-personal view of farm life — from the perspective of its four-, two- and (in one case) one-legged creatures. As a mama sow searches for the runt of her litter, you may say “Awwww.” That is, until the parent plants a hoof atop her newborn offspring. It’s a signal not to expect any endearing anthropomorphism. From the Three Little Pigs to Babe, movies have endowed porcine protagonists with distinctive personalities. Gunda’s pigs may display definite behavior patterns, but there’s nothing human about them.

Read more