Category: Movies

Studio 54 Documentary opens in Toronto and Montreal


Liza Minelli, Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol and Halston at Studio 54. Photograph by Adam Schull.

Where: Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West; Toronto & Cineplex Odeon Forum Cinemas, Montreal
When: Opens October 12, 2018
Cost: General Admission is $11.50 at Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema and can be purchased at

Details: Glamour, greed and thumping tunes put Studio 54 at the epicenter of 70s hedonism – a place that not only redefined the nightclub, but also came to symbolize an entire era. Its co-owners, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, two friends from Brooklyn, seemed to come out of nowhere to suddenly preside over a new kind of New York society. Now, 39 years after the velvet rope was first slung across the club’s hallowed threshold, director Matt Tyrnauer’s (Valentino the Last Emperor, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, Citizen Jane) feature documentary Studio 54 tells the real story behind the greatest club of all time.

For 33 months, from 1977 to 1980, Studio 54 was the place to be seen in Manhattan. A haven of hedonism, tolerance, inclusion and acceptance as well as glitz and glamour.  Attracting a steady stream of celebrities including regulars like Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Jones and more the club was very hard to gain entrance to and impossible to ignore, with news of who was there filling the gossip columns daily. Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, two college friends from Brooklyn, succeeded in creating the ultimate escapist fantasy in the heart of the theater district. Rubell was the outgoing bon vivant who wanted to be everybody’s friend and was photographed with every celebrity du jour who entered the club and Schrager was the behind-the-scenes creative mastermind who shunned the limelight. Studio 54 was an instant success and a cash cow, but the drug-and-sex-fueled dream soon imploded in financial scandal and the club’s demise.

With unprecedented access to Schrager, who tells the whole unvarnished story for the first time, and a treasure-trove of rare footage, director Matt Tyrnauer’s Studio 54 constructs a vivid, glorious Disco Noir portrait of a phenomenon, and tells the story of two friends who stuck together through it all.

**Running time:  98 minutes**

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Celebrate 40th Birthday of The Cabbagetown Festival 2016!

Where: Parliament Street from Wellesley south to Gerrard, and Carlton Street from Berkeley to Parliament
When: September 10-11, 2016
Cost: Free Admission

Details: The Cabbagetown Festival returns once again, this year celebrating its historic 40th Birthday showcasing the very best of what the community has to offer. Pedestrians will enjoy delicious food from local restaurants, one-of-a-kind artisan vendors, a Children’s Fun Zone, a free morning of Pancakes, Classic Car Show and more! Festivities begin Saturday at 11am and continue until 10pm. The fun returns Sunday at 11am, winding down at 7pm.

Opening Ceremonies begin on Sept 10 at 11:30am at the corner of Carlton and Parliament. Hear the music, share the excitement and taste a special macaron presented by Daniel et Daniel with Fair Trade Jewellery. One lucky macaron holds the key to a limited edition 40th anniversary cabbage pendant from Fair Trade Jewellery.

Live music will continue over the two days with an eclectic group of bands playing up and down Parliament. Acts include the St. Jamestown Youth Steel Orchestra, Vincent Soars, Zed Head with Neil Chapman, Project Phoenix, Jim Heinemann Trio, Turbo Street Funk and more. TDot Batu will be closing the festival – they are a tightly knit Afro-Brazilian percussion batucada inspired by the power and dedicated to the study of the rich rhythmic tradition born out of the fusion of samba and reggae from Salvador, Bahia.

The Kids Zone is located at a new  location this year – on Carlton, between Parliament and Berkeley. The Bouncy Castle, reptile show, arts and crafts table, balloon sculptor, face painting, a climbing wall and hopscotch will keep them active. Free popcorn will be provided both days of the festival.

More Info:  @Cabbagetown_BIA

The NFB Heads to TIFF 2014

Me and My Moulton, (14 minutes), September 10, 11 and 12 @ Scotiabank Theatre, Short Cuts Canada Programme 6

It’s that time of year again when film stars descend upon the city for The Toronto International Film Festival (September 4-14, 2014). This year, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will be showing seven films at TIFF: two features, three shorts, and two restored 3D classics.

The most recent documentary from Canada’s First Nations filmmaker, Alanis Obomsawin, is Trick or Treaty?  The first aboriginal filmmaker to be selected in TIFF’s Masters programme, her film examines the current-day discussion around a controversial 1905 land rights agreement, set against the backdrop of the recent Idle No More movement. Veteran documentarian Paul Cowan teams up with Palestinian animator Amer Shomali to co-direct the Intuitive Pictures/NFB co-production The Wanted 18. Screening in the TIFF Docs Programme, this animated-live action hybrid doc is about a group of residents in Palestinian who smuggled 18 cows to their homeland in 1987.

The Short Cuts Canada Programme features three new titles. Oscar winner Torill Kove (The Danish Poet) is back with the autobiographical short Me and My Moulton, about a seven-year-old girl’s desire to fit in. Co-directed by Quebec husband-and-wife team Denis Poulin and Martine Époque, CODA is a technologically enhanced dance film set to Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” The film draws on advanced digital technologies to offer a new vision of dance in cinema utilizing motion capture (MoCap) and particle processing. Toronto’s Randall Okita makes his first foray into full-on animation filmmaking with The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer, a visually haunting short film about two brothers who share the scars, though not the memories, of an untold history that has driven them to existential extremes.

And to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of groundbreaking animator Norman McLaren (founder of the NFB’s animation studio in 1941), two landmark films from the NFB vault have been restored. Early experiments in stereoscopic filmmaking, Around Is Around (1951) and O Canada (1952), will screen in eye-popping 3D.

For more info visit

Prisoners – Movie Review

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Marie Bello, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano
153 minutes
Opens September 20, 2013

**** stars out of five

Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is facing every parent’s worse nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) is missing … along with her friend, Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons). As minutes turn into hours panic sets into the rural New England community. The only good lead turns out to be a mentally challenged young man, Alex Jones (Paul Dano). Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests the prime suspect but has to release him due to a lack of evidence. It is then that Keller decides to take the law into his own hands.

Why See It?
With its star cast of exceptional actors, along with an edgy storyline, this mystery crime thriller grips the audience from beginning to end. Action packed with a few disturbing twists and turns – the 2 1/2 hour movie doesn’t let go. There is already a lot of media buzz about the central theme of Prisoners. It makes you ask the question, “How far would you go to protect your family?” Also, as the plot unfolds you realize that most of the central characters are a prisoner of some type of crippling circumstance. A true blockbuster jaw dropper.

Remembering Freddie Mercury

I sat motionless and in awe throughout a premiere screening of the North American digitally restored and remixed 1986 documentary film, Hungarian Rhapsody – Queen Live in Budapest, the final glimpse of and cinematic proof that Freddie Mercury was, is and always will be a giant in the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll.

Prowling the stage like a caged panther, turning loose his manic energy and unforgettable piercing falsetto, Freddie enthralled an audience of over 80,000 loyally delirious fans and seduced them with a larger than life magnetism that most performers can only beg for.  These fans must be boasting to their children and grandchildren that God chose them to be in the same crowded room with Freddie in Hungary, for Queen’s final concert during the 1986 “Magic” tour.

The film begins with a 25 minute prologue in which we get to know Queen’s other founding members (Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon) and delight in the mischievous nature, transparent complexity and humble soul that was Freddie. He was not without a sense of irony. When replying to a reporter’s rather idiotic question, he shot back, with just the perfect mix of sarcasm and tragic foreshadowing, “Who wants to live forever?”

It is heartbreaking that in surrendering to AIDS in 1991, Freddie’s life and career was extinguished at its height, yet comforting that his outstanding musical contribution and legacy will forever burn on.

“We are the champions, my friends ……” for witnessing greatness and cherishing the memory of a rising star who bared his soul with every performance and in every song.

The CD, DVD and Blu-Ray of this historic concert are to be released in November, 2012 through Eagle Rock Entertainment. Will also be available at HMV, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Vladimir Bondarenko

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