Hot Docs 2010 Recommendations

Hot Docs 2010 begins tomorrow night and I’ve screened eight films so far. I’ll be posting full reviews over the next week. Until then here are some capsule reviews that may help you decide which films to see or avoid.

This is the opening night film which is cute, light-hearted and funny. There isn’t any voice-over narration or scripted dialog. Women and expectant moms will love it. Guys? Maybe not so much. Good.

Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage
I’m not really a fan of Rush but this doc was informative, entertaining and had me purchasing The Spirit of Radio - Greatest Hits (1974-1987) right after the press screening. If you’re a Rush fan then you owe it to yourself to see this film. Excellent!

Shadow Play: The Making Of Anton Corbijn
This is an interesting portrait of Anton Corbijn and does a nice job of explaining why he is so highly revered in the rock community. Very good.

Space Tourists
Who knew that space tourism could be this fascinating. Christian Frei’s film examines all facets of this new industry. I just wanted to know more about the film’s protagonist - American businesswoman Anousheh Ansari’s who pays $20 million for a trip to the international space station aboard a Russian rocket. Beautifully shot. Very good.

Cooking Up Dreams
At times this film plays out like a tourism video but if you like to cook or watch the Food Network then you’ll enjoy this look at Peruvian cuisine. Good.

Anne Perry - Interiors
The less you know about this film, the better it will be. Wow! This is a fascinating look at the storied career of author, Anne Perry. I love the way in which the film is shot. It felt original but the ending falls short. Very good.

National Parks Project: Gros Morne
I love landscape photography. I hated this film. I love beautiful HD cinematography à la Planet Earth but didn’t find it in Peter Mettler’s lens. I love hiking but I didn’t enjoy this film. I love clever editing but was embarrassed by the amateurish editing. The soundtrack in the screener that I watched was weak and felt slapped together. This film could have been great but I found it a chore to watch. Not recommended.

Life With Murder
This is a fascinating look at murder, family bonds and truth. The film does a great job of letting the audience into the mindset of parents dealing with a son convicted of killing their daughter. Incredibly, they stand by their son and support him. At times the film and the interview feel contrived but the ending is very disturbing and difficult to watch. Very good.

Posted in Hot Docs at 11:44 PM