Hi Movie Fans,
Movie Monday is still in limbo, we won't be opening again anytime soon as this COVID pandemic rolls on, but here are a few more good things to watch (your feedback and suggestions back welcome).
World's Biggest Family, 44 min, 2014
My suggestion a while back, a great Canadian comedy, Starbuck (on Prime Video), is bought to you on CBC Gem as a documentary about the ramifications for offspring of sperm donor parenting.
"A personal story where the filmmaker discovers his bio-dad was an anonymous sperm provider who secretly used his own sperm without informing his patients. The number of siblings is growing, all sired by the same man." more
How To Be At Home, 4 min, 2020
from MM fave Andrea Dorfman: "Lean into loneliness - and know you're not alone in it. Filmmaker Andrea Dorfman reunites with poet Tanya Davis to craft tender and profound animation on the theme of isolation, providing a wise and soaringly lyrical sequel to their viral hit How to Be Alone." more
Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton, 118 min, 2017
An ultimate surfing story from body surfing to riding above the waves on foils. Fearless or foolish? Stunning cinematography and strong storyline. on Prime Video
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, 91 min, 2016
Largely responsible for the explosion of bold American television in the 1970s, writer/producer Norman Lear's name is synonymous with the sitcom. With unprecedented access to Lear, his work and his massive personal archives, American Masters - Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You combines stories from his turbulent childhood and early career with his groundbreaking TV success (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude) and social activism. Netflix
High Steel, 13 min, 1965
A short documentary from NFB
Offering a dizzying view of the Mohawk Indians of Kahnawake who work in Manhattan erecting the steel frames of skyscrapers. Famed for their skill in working with steel, the Mohawks demonstrate their nimble abilities in the sky. As a counterbalance, the viewer is also allowed a peek at their quieter community life on the Kahnawake Reserve, in Quebec. Truly a remarkable look at a wild way to make a living. Free on NFB more
Randy Bachman Talks 'Bachman', 53 min, 2010
Documentary, Beatles Inspiration & More a great interview with Bachman in 2019, as usual Randy telling terrific band. Brilliant repartee with NY host Ken Dashow. view
Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap: Every Song Tells a Story, 86 min, 2014
"Filmed in Winnipeg, the city that inspired many of his anthemic songs, Randy Bachman weaves together the chart-topping hits of the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive with the often-humorous stories that brought the songs to life." Bachman is just a terrific storyteller. more
Ghost Town, 103 min, 2008
After surviving a near death during a hospital procedure, our protagonist, a surly dentist (Ricky Gervais) finds himself able to see ghosts who are looking for his help to move on. Greg Kinnear is terrific as usual in this one. A favourite of mine. Pg13 Worth a rental from PicAFlic or on iTunes. trailer
Nobody's Perfect: The Making of Some Like It Hot, 49 min, 2001
Behind the scenes and retrospective of one of the great comedies. Great interviews, especially with Tony Randal. more
Chihuly In The Hotshop, 90 min, 2008
Seattle based master Dale Chihuly reunites with some of the world's best glassblowers who have been important in the development of many of his most well known series. Highlights from a week of masters 40 past collaborators blowing and sculpting glass. So many different style, mesmerizing!!
Free to Watch Without a Subscription IndieFlix more
The Booksellers, 99 min, 2019
Here's a fun and thoughtful watch about the curious characters who inhabit the world of New York antiquarian book dealer world. Highly recommended by Winnipeg Cinematheque's Programmer.
Free with commercials on CBC Gem. more
Grease Paint, 84 min, 2013
"When Joey Thurmond, quits the police force to perform as a clown, he recruits his family and puts his life's savings into the show. However, pressures mount when his acrobat is threatened with deportation and schedule puts a strain on the relationship with his son." This look at clowning generally and the challenging life on the road with a small circus. It really entertains, with trills, chills, and drama.
Free through GVPL Hoopla. more
My research assistant found that they were still on the road this year (till COVID struck) with an even more amazing show. more
LA NOUBA,, 78 min, 2010
Speaking of circus! I was led down the YouTube wormhole to the ''60min [for some reason 78min long] SPECIAL #10 | Cirque du Soleil | LA NOUBA, VAREKAI, QUIDAM. You'll run into a few ads and distractions. I found the first 26 minutes featuring highlights of La Nouba all I could handle - in a good way. It's spectacular! more
The Goes Wrong Show, 30 min, 2020
The conceit is: A British amateur theatre troop puts on a play each week. Things go wrong. Clever writing, amazing prat falls, set design, timing and humour all done live before an audience. Bite sized 30min episodes that will dazzle and delight. On Prime Video: Like "90 degrees":
And A Trial To Watch more
Becoming Labrador, 70 min, 2018
Here's a glimpse into the lives of Filipino immigrant workers living in Canada.
Beautifully shot and touching.
In the stark Labrador interior, a growing number of Filipino workers have recently landed in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, travelling halfway around the world for jobs they hope will offer their families new opportunities and a better life. Becoming Labrador follows a handful of those women and men as they make a place for themselves in Labrador while dealing with the unexpected costs of living far from their family. A collaboration between three directors, Rohan Fernando, Tamara Segura & Justin Simms. Justin Sims* as director of photography. Free from our NFB
Hard Light, 55 min, 2011
Justin Sims made this wonderful, thoughtful film about life in Newfoundland's outport culture and our modern world through the thoughts and work of Michael Crummy.
Free to watch on NFB
Margaret's Museum, 114 min, 1996
One of my all time favourite films and another look at lives lived in the Maritimes. Adapted from Sheldo Currie's novel The Glace Bay Miners' Museum, this poignant period romantic drama looks at a small mining town in 1940s Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Helena Bonham Carter is brilliant as a 'snot-nosed scrub woman' who has lost family members to the pits. A tall, bag pipe playing Scot arrives in town and goes to work as a dishwasher. Can he resist the only well-paying but dangerous job in town, so they can have a life together? It's about the high price of coal. Pg Hard to find on the web but good old Picaflic has it.
The Show Must Go On: The Adam Lambert Story, 84 min, 2019
Here's a documentary that might be considered a sequel to Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) the dramatization of the career of Freddy Mercury and Queen. The Show Must Go On: The Adam Lambert Story follows on after Freddie's death, a giant 70's ad 80's rock band stumbling after the loss of it's front man, finally finding a powerhouse talent in former 'Idol' contestant Adam Lambert. Terrific performance footage and interviews. On Netflix.
The Legacy Of A Whitetail Deer Hunter, 83 min, 2018
I love a good mocdoc and this one is just fun and a surprise around every corner.
This Is Spinal Tap, 82 min, 1884
Of course the greatest mock- documentary ever is This Is Spinal Tap. "This Is Spinal Tap" shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on the charts, including everything from its complicated history of ups and downs, gold albums, name changes and undersold concert dates, along with the full host of requisite groupies, promoters, hangers-on and historians, sessions, release events and those special behind-the-scenes moments that keep it all real. R
Rent it on iTunes
Incident At Loch Ness, 94 min, 2004
And seeing Werner Herzog in Incident At Loch Ness is pretty great too. A doubtful and reluctant maker of many films and documentaries reluctantly gets drawn in to a search for the famous monster. Pg13 more
Seriously though: Two of my favourite biographical docs celebrating men of letters their work and their relationships, both Canadians:
Shut Up And Say Something, 82 min, 2017
Acclaimed spoken word artist Shane Koyczan prepares for his most personal poem yet as he embarks on a journey to reconnect with the father he never knew.
I love this film; it's about a local hero, his heart is wide open, the film is full of his extraordinary art, and we follow him on a dangerous quest.
Available by signing up (free) to Knowledge Network more
Al Purdy Was Here, 91 min, 2016
Al Purdy Was Here is a tribute documentary to Purdy, a Canadian literary icon but also a throwback to a time in this country when culture and arts played a more significant role. Mixing a ton of incredible archival footage with a contemporary story about restoring Purdy's old A frame cabin as a writer's retreat. With performances by Doug Paisley, Sarah Harmer, Tanya Tagak, Joseph Boyden, Jesse Zubot Bruce Coburn and others, and readings by Gord Downie, Gordon Pinsent, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Leonard Cohen and more - this is a feast of Canadiana, all paying tribute to a true legend! Lovingly directed by Brian D. Johnson, longtime movie critic for MacLeans.
A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, 109 min, 2019
"Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America's most beloved neighbour." (we spell it with a ‘u')
How could our most trusted actor playing our most genuine, trusted person go wrong? Happily this screenplay got it right. Rated PG
Where To Watch: Streaming on Amazon Prime, also available for purchase on Apple TV.
Another look at this very influential man is Won't You Be My Neighbor apparently coming soon to Netflix, but I liked BEAUTIFUL DAY much better.
The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open, 105 min, 2019
Two Indigenous women from vastly different backgrounds find their worlds colliding on an East Vancouver sidewalk when brutality and fear drives one of them out from her home and into the cold rain. As this intimate yet challenging encounter develops, what began as violent and terrifying, tentatively expands as the women's shared imagery and cultural experience weave a fragile bond between them. Both women now must face their own unique struggle as they navigate the complexities of motherhood, class, race, and the ongoing legacy of colonialism.
The makers effectively utilized a filmmaking style of telling the story in real time, as if it's the raw experience, unedited. A thoughtful film that aced top prizes at last year's TIFF and Vancouver Film Festivals as well as MM 's lineup.
Where To Watch: For a limited time, The Body Remembers is available on Apple TV for free (either via your Apple TV box or on Apple TV (formerly iTunes) app on any Mac/PC Platform) as well as CBC Gem with ads.
This Mountain Life, 87 min, 2018
On Knowledge Network. This beautiful, thoughtful film was one of our best attended and most satisfying presentations last year. A BC-made documentary. "High in the snowy peaks of BC, adventurers, nuns, artists and photographers feel the draw of the mountains so strongly that their lives must revolve around it." We had a packed house and lots of appreciative responses when we showed this homegrown film last fall. PG
Where To Watch: Free to watch and share on the Knowledge Network channel! more
Crosby Stills Nash And Young: Fifty By Four, 164 min, 2014
It's long, very detailed with lots of great photos and context of this ever changing loosely connected bunch of "Alfa males" madly making some of the best music that we boomers could call the soundtrack of our impressionable decades. "The incredible story of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, featuring exclusive interviews, rare performance footage and more. This is CSNY's story, a journey of breakthroughs, breakdowns, break-ups and incredible music. Featuring exclusive interviews, seldom-seen footage, classic and rare performances, and contributions from those who worked closely with CSNY across the years." Rated G
Where To Watch: Currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
The Tournament: The Power Of Community, 22 min, 2020
About a bunch of spunky kids playing para ice hockey and a blog about the making by the director/dad. Not rated
Where To Watch: This and many other NFB docs are free to stream at the NFB website!
Crip Camp, 52 min, 2020 available on Netflix
This compelling film was highly recommended to me by Bonnie Sherr Klein, herself a filmmaker (Not A Love Story, and Shameless is her story about joining the disability movement.Shameless: The Art Of Disability - this one at more
) One doesn't ignore a tip like this. We were not disappointed! trailer
About a camp that empowered many its campers to reach beyond their identities as 'disabled' to become shakers and movers in the movement for concrete access to full lives.
Some of the folks in the film, particularly Judy Heumann, were inspirations and role models for her when Bonnie was coming out disabled. article
An audio response
to the film you'll want to hear by some of the participants in the film more.
Life's A Twitch, 30 min, 2002
Another terrific short film about someone "living strong" with a disability: Life's A Twitch.
Free to watch on NFB's site
A terrific "calling card" film (a first film to show an aspiring director can do it. She could!) This short documentary is a quirky ride into the world of Duncan McKinlay, a man with Tourette Syndrome. At 7 he noticed what he called a devil in his head that made his life hell. In his teens, it wasn't a question of whether to kill himself, but when. At 19, when he was finally diagnosed, Duncan made researching TS his life path. He's come to understand that his strange ticks are release triggers for the high energy charging through him. At 27 he's a virtuoso at channelling this energy. He's just finished a doctorate in psychology. He's in nationwide demand for his workshops that enlighten and boost the spirits of the 100,000 across Canada who have Tourette's.
Shark Tale on Netflix, 90 min, 2004
A vegetarian shark disappoints his mobster dad (beautifully styled after and voiced by Robert deNiro) by not being a voracious shark like his brother. Lots of great characters from Rastafarian Jellyfish to a pufferfish voiced by Martin Scorsese and a nice theme of acceptance is brought forward through inventive high jinx on the reef. PG
Haida Modern, 85 min, 2019
Haida Modern free to watch Knowledge Network for a few weeks, don't miss this opportunity
In the 50 years since he carved his first totem pole and saw it raised on Haida Gwaii, Robert Davidson has come to be regarded as one of the world's foremost modern artists. This gorgeous film by MM visitors in the past Charles Wilkinson and partner Tina Schliessler, (Peace Out, Oil Sands Karaoke, and Haida Gwaii: On The Edge Of The World - all well worth a watch) celebrates Davidson, his outstanding work in several mediums and the long, rich tradition he is a shining part of. A wonderful showcase for Davidson's art in a context that shows a documentarian's high art as well.
"Understanding Black Stories" from Cineplex on line Films like Just Mercy, The Hurricane
and more - sadly topical and plentiful stories reflecting the Black struggles in America - can be rented Free:
(I had trouble accessing these on Safari browser - but Chrome works well)
The Hurricane, 146 min, 2019
A 1999 classic from Norman Jewison with a great performance by Denzel Washington - well worth revisiting
Story about 1960s world middleweight boxing champion Rubin "Hurricane" Carter--a man whose dreams of winning the middleweight boxing title were destroyed when he was arrested along with another man for the murders of three white men in a New Jersey bar. Wrongfully accused, Carter and John Artis were convicted and sentenced to three life terms in prison, where Carter decided to channel his frustration and despair by writing his own story from his cell. Although his autobigraphy, "The Sixteenth Round," did get published, Carter remained behind bars, finding inner peace by withdrawing from the outer world and the national interest which surrounded his case (including impassioned pleas from Bob Dylan and Muhammed Ali and others). Years later, an alienated American youth living in Canada, Lezra Martin, found direction and purpose for the first time in his life after reading Carter's book, and began corresponding with him… this eventually lead to a full-time campaign to get Carter released. [Lezra became a lawyer and practices is Kamloops BC!] trailer
Brian D Johnson's article
that follows up the story.
Just Mercy, 137 min, 2019
A new release. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley. One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian, who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds-and the system-stacked against them.
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds, 59 min, 2017
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds - an hour long documentary about this groundbreaking and much revered album, celebrating Brian Wilson's genius. On Prime Video. trailer
Love and Mercy, 121 min, 2014
And follow up with this terrific feature film about Brian Wilson's life: Love and Mercy: trailer
Only $1.99 on iTunes!
Never Surrender, 95 min, 2019
A sweet doc about the making and ensuing fandom of Galaxy Quest. Such a feel good piece about a film that just needed to happen 95min
on Prime Video.
For those with a short attention span there is this Youtube version
- 22 minutes.
You are going to want to see the original of this film, considered by some to be one of the perfect films and also the best (or at least second best after IV) of the Star Trek films - also on Prime.
Typewriter Artist, 4 min, 2007
Here is a short and amazing item from a friend of MM: Typewriter Artist, Paul Smith more
And a gallery and further history of this remarkable man and his art: more
American Made, 115 min, 2017
Tom Cruise does a great turn as Barry Seal, a TWA pilot, who is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States. That spawned the birth of the Medellin cartel and eventually almost brought down the Reagan White House with the Iran Contra scandal. One of the more bizarre secret maneuvers of the American gov't, illustrated with a highly entertaining film. more
Netflix has it.
Article about the real Barry Seal: more
"While Cruise's character executing missions for the government adds a sort of patriotism to it all, in real life Seal was first and foremost a drug smuggler."
A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story, 90 min, 2008
Now another kind of story: A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story The inspiring true story of a man who left a lifetime in an institution to emerge as an international hero for people with disabilities. I stumbled across this documentary on line many years ago. It was late one night, I got hooked on the first few minutes and it kept me up till well into the wee hours. It remains one of the most affecting stories I know and one I've featured a couple of times at MM. Free to watch and pass around
His story was told as a feature, "Bill" with Mickey Roony in the lead role. Barry Morrow who you'll meet in the film went on to write that screenplay and the story and co-writing of Rainman, all inspired by the community of people with disabilities Morrow met through his association with Bill Sackter. more
The Hecklers 1993 & Nothing Sacred 2003 - Canadian Political Cartooning
Both NFB'S The Hecklers
and Nothing Sacred
shine a light on the talented artists who create political cartoons whose work is usually given short shrift. Their cartoons are as important as the written word in any newspaper editorial. They must be protected at all costs. As John Diefenbaker states at the beginning of the film, "A picture is worth a thousand words, a cartoon, well done, is worth a thousand pictures." Free to enjoy at NFB.
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, 114 min, 2013
Many of us missed this in the theatres but it is a delightful, unpredictable ride, a 2013 American adventure comedy-drama film directed, co-produced by and starring Ben Stiller.
When Walter Mitty's job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. And he is blessed/curse with aa active imagination! With Ben Stiller (director and lead), Kristen Wiig, appearances by Shirley MacLaine, Sean Penn. G iTunes has it.
Made You Look: A True Story of Fake Art, 94 min, 2020
Investigates and exposes the events, high-society characters and con artists that brought such a bizarre and sudden end to what was one of the world's best-known art galleries M. Knoedler & Co. A really absorbing watch. Lots of talking heads but such interesting ones, well edited.
* And complimented by a great interview with the director that adds a lot (just scroll down on the CBC Gem site).
Free on CBC Gem
(several sets of commercials to wade through, just like network tv watching)
There Are No Fakes, 113 min, 2019
... and an excellent homegrown doc on the same topic:
There Are No Fakes is a Canadian documentary feature last fall at Movie Monday, even more intriguing, compelling and available - from TVO (TV Ontario) - free
about the film.
Harry and Snowman, 129 min, 2015
Dutch immigrant, Harry deLeyer, journeyed to the United States after World War II and developed a transformative relationship with a broken down Amish plow horse he rescued off a slaughter truck bound for the glue factory. Harry paid eighty dollars for the horse and named him Snowman. In less than two years, Harry & Snowman went on to win the triple crown of show jumping, beating the nations blue bloods. They were famous for their day and traveled around the world together. Their chance meeting at a Pennsylvania horse auction saved them both and crafted a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Eighty-six year old Harry tells their Cinderella love story firsthand, as he continues to train on today's show jumping circuit.
GVP Library's Hoopla has it - another free service
The Song and the Sorrow NFB, 43 min, 2018
Gene MacLellan (February 2, 1938 – January 19, 1995) was a Canadian singer-songwriter from Prince Edward Island. Among his compositions were "Snowbird", made famous by Anne Murray, "Put Your Hand in the Hand, "The Call", "Pages of Time" and "Thorn in My Shoe". Elvis Presley, Lynn Anderson, Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez and Bing Crosby were among the many artists who recorded MacLellan's songs. Musician Catherine MacLellan, the daughter of Canadian singer/songwriting legend Gene MacLellan, grew up surrounded by her father's music. He died of suicide when she was 14. Two decades after his loss, Catherine is finally ready to confront the hurtful mystery of her absent parent and embrace his musical legacy.
Now available free from NFB here
Wild Rose, 101 min, 2010
Wild Rose Jessie Buckley delivers an unforgettable, star-making performance as Rose-Lynn Harlan, a rebellious country singer who dreams of trading the working-class streets of Glasgow for the Grand Ole Opry of Nashville. Fresh out of prison, Rose-Lynn juggles (but drops some balls) her menial job, two children, and concerned, doubting mother, as she pursues her bold ambition of a one-way ticket to musical stardom. With the support of her boss, Rose-Lynn embarks on a life-changing journey that challenges her sense of self and helps her discover her true voice. We showed this on Victoria's "Snow Day" this year show had a small audience for such a great show. On Prime Video.
Starbuck, 74 min, 2011
A fun French Canadian story about a prolific sperm bank donor whose progeny come home to roost. He's not terrifically good at other things but his 'speciality' is now a huge complication (142 of his off-spring have looked him up) in his not so ambitious (loser) lifestyle. What's a middle aged boy to do? Pg13 On Prime Video.
Forgetting Dad (another kind of Dad story), 83 min, 2010
A week after a traffic accident a 45 year old man suffers total amnesia leaving five kids without the father they grew up with. Sixteen years later the eldest son embarks on a journey to find out why his dad's memory never returned. A curious tale, start to finish. On Prime Video.
Two For One, 77 min, 2011
When transgendered Adam helps his baby-crazy ex-girlfriend Miriam artificially inseminate, they wind up in bed together-and they both get pregnant. Now Adam must grapple with his identity, feelings for Miriam, and learn what it means to be a man. Fun and thoughtful too. Directed by Maureen Bradley here in Victoria, (you'll recognize some locations). Rent it from NFB
Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, 94 min, 2010
A fascinating and deeply moving account of the romantic and creative partnership between storyboard artist Harold Michelson and his wife, film researcher Lillian - a talented and generous couple once considered to be the heart of the industry. They became the film industry's secret weapons. Nobody talked about them, but everybody wanted them. Harold visioned the imagery Lillian made sure the details were right.
For sixty tumultuous years, Harold and Lillian weathered personal and professional setbacks while working on hundreds of films, many of them now classics, including The Ten Commandments, The Apartment, The Birds, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, Rosemary's Baby, Fiddler On The Roof, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Scarface, Full Metal Jacket. Although the couple was responsible for some of Hollywood's most iconic examples of visual storytelling, their contributions remain largely uncredited.
Through an engaging mix of love letters, film clips and interviews (including candid conversations with Harold and Lillian, Danny DeVito, Mel Brooks, and Francis Coppola), home movies, and rare production art, Harold and Lillian lovingly chronicles a remarkable relationship and two extraordinary careers spanning six decades of movie-making history.
Netflix has it here
Snowman, 82 min
"From childhood, Kevin Fogolin dreamed of living and working in the mountains. After breaking the shackles of small-town expectations, his dream comes crashing down in a helicopter avalanche bombing mission gone horribly wrong. In the aftermath, Kevin and his childhood friend, freeskiing icon Mike Douglas, are forced to confront the risks and rewards of following their passion for the mountains. Set in British Columbia's rugged Coast Mountain Range, SNOWMAN is a familiar tale of dreaming big and a life where the greatest risk is not daring to dream at all."
About two Campbell River friends who just loved the snow growing up and made it their life work. A gorgeous, exciting, thoughtful, BC made film with a strong, highly personal story buddy story tying it together. We showed it at MM with Mike Douglas, filmmaker and adventurer in the film, with us in person. Available from iTunes.
Another for us arm chair mountain adventurers: The North Face Presents: Lhotse
In 2018, Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison completed the first ski descent of the 27,940-foot Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world, one right beside Everest. view free more
Making of The Blues Brothers, 55 min, 2011
Blues Brothers is a terrific watch any time but great way to do COVID time. We just dug into a wonderful Special Edition of this seminal comedy/musical. It's essentially a musical with some car crashes and explosions to hold it all together. For a couple of hours be oblivious the woes of the world while joining the boys on "a Mission from God".
The Stories Behind the Making Of The Blues Brothers
is a real treat and can be watched free on youtube
Safe at Home: An Evening with Orson Bean, 85 min, 2010
From MM friend Beck Peacock: "Orson was first of all a great storyteller. Here is a performance that has both funny and tragic elements, full of quick turns, as he relates important transitions from his boyhood and on.
Orson died as he was crossing Venice Blvd and was hit by two cars. He was running to catch a play at the Pacific Resident Theatre in which his wife was performing. Oddly, it's also where "Safe at Home" was staged.
Somehow I think that Orson would be OK with the manner of his death - full of surprise and irony." Be patient with his opening standup jokes. He gets down to some solid storytelling. We found it very engaging. A pro entertainer. view
Maudie, 115 min, 2016
CBC television recently featured Maudie
as one of its Saturday Night at the Movies offerings but well worth watching on iTunes. This bio pic about Maude Lewis is terrific and a favourite at Movie Monday, shown twice. trailer
Watch also an NFB doc about Maude
Amarok's Song - The Journey to Nunavut, 75 min, 2011
This doc is a really great slice of Inuit life, past and 1998 present. It touches on church and residential school influence - and includes a raunchy legend! I enjoyed the watch. more
NFB: "In this feature-length documentary, three generations of the Caribou Inuit family come together to tell the story of their journey as Canada's last nomads. From the independent life of hunting on the Keewatin tundra to taking the reins of the new territory of Nunavut on April 1,1999, we see it all.
The film is the result of a close collaboration between Ole Gjerstad, a southern Canadian, and Martin Kreelak, an Inuk. It's Martin's family that we follow, as the story is told through his own voice, through those of the Elders, and through those of the teens and young adults who were born in the settlements and form the first generation of those growing up with satellite TV and a permanent home." Free on NFB.
What Happened Miss Simone?, 102 min, 2015
Another Movie Monday selection for your self-isolation! ABOUT: On stage Nina Simone was known for her utterly free, uninhibited musical expression, which enthralled audiences and attracted life-long fans. But amid the violent, haunting, and senseless day-to-day of the civil rights era in 1960s America, Simone struggled to reconcile her artistic identity and ambition with her devotion to a movement and abusive relationships. Culled from hours of autobiographical tapes, this new film unveils the unmitigated ego of a brilliant artist and the absurdities of her time. Late in her life it was recognized that she struggled with bipolar disorder. At the height of her fame Simone walked away from her family, country, career and fans, to move to Liberia and gave up performing.
Currently streaming on Netflix. Click and enjoy! more
The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, 95 min, 2016
If you are at all interested in the life of Broadway musical productions, the glory of success and the heartbreak of failure, this will please. It does have an eventual happy ending. Made by a member of the original cast! This film from acclaimed theatre director Lonny Price charts the journey of the original cast of Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" in the 30-plus years since the musical debuted on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre in 1981
A Movie Monday featured doc! If you have a Netflix account, you can stream it now!
Chomavision, 52 min, 2010
, my own opus. I'm really keen to get feedback on it as mentioned when it went out first.
I've had some great responses about this project since sending it out, especially from my cousins and friends. I welcome your responses. more
Stories We Tell, 108 min, 2012
Sarah Polley's brilliant exploration of her own roots through a creative interrogation of family members. free at NFB's site
Comedy tonight! These free youtube segments have made Gary Gulman my fave standup. Love this guy. Unfortunately the Great Depresh feature is not currently available in Canada. But this conversation about the standup comedians' art 'stands up' well on its own!
The Great Depresh: A Conversation About Depression from HBO, 37 min, 2011
: To celebrate the premiere of The Great Depresh, Gary Gulman joined Executive Producer Judd Apatow and comedians Maria Bamford and Patton Oswalt for a benefit show and Q&A benefiting Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services at Largo in Los Angeles. Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh is now streaming on HBO.
I admire the way comedians know how to use a mic, nailed to their chins. And these guys share beautifully! And they react so well to each others' jokes. more
Gary Gulman, 8 min, 2010
I love this clip too, not the least because Gary is performing as musicians are getting ready for their set to follow on the same stage, practically doing their sound check as he is delivering his captivating material. What a pro!! more
Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh , 4 min, 2019
And here talking about "the job"
of comedy: more