Olivia de Havilland was more than an actress

She played two off-screen roles that took courage and independence. She was, to put it simply, a woman of genuine substance.

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actressOlivia de Havilland died last weekend at the age of 104. She was often described as the last survivor of Hollywood’s golden age. Making theatrical movies from the mid-1930s to the late-1970s and continuing in television until 1988, de Havilland earned five Academy Award nominations and won Best Actress twice. Not bad going by anyone’s…

Filmmaker chronicles Boushie family quest for legal reform

Award-winning documentary by U of A researcher follows family’s tireless efforts to turn grief into advocacy for change

Filmmaker chronicles Boushie family quest for legal reformTasha Hubbard, a filmmaker and Indigenous studies professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, had been filming with Boushie’s family since 2016. She wanted to document their experience as they sought justice for their loved one through the provincial legal system, and hoped to provide historical and personal context on Indigenous…

Finding new value – and a great back story – in an old film

D-Day the Sixth of June was based on an award-winning novel by Canadian journalist Lionel Shapiro

Finding new value – and a great back story – in an old filmTurner Classic Movies marked the American Memorial Day weekend by showing a string of war films, one of which was D-Day the Sixth of June. Released in 1956 and based on a novel published the previous year, I’d seen it at the local cinema in Dublin, Ireland, more than 60 years ago. Back then, I’d…

A close-up look at J.F.K. on the campaign trail

Primary, a 1960 documentary, shows Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey battling it out in the Wisconsin primary trenches

A close-up look at J.F.K. on the campaign trailI recently came across a gem on the Turner Classic Movies schedule. Called Primary, it’s a 1960 documentary. The film is ostensibly a fly-on-the-wall record of the final days of Wisconsin’s 1960 Democratic presidential primary. In an era with far fewer such contests, it pitted U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts against U.S. Sen.…

Zombie firms a danger in post-COVID-19 economy

Government actions to reduce financial pressure on firms create dangerous conditions over the longer term

Zombie firms a danger in post-COVID-19 economyWe spend double the amount of time on our streaming platforms compared to last year, close to 45.4 billion minutes on Netflix alone in the first few weeks of March 2020. Movie titles such as 28 Weeks Later, Quarantine,  Carriers and I Am Legend have provided an escape from our quarantined hideouts. Unfortunately, such movies about a…

New Netflix parental controls a cure for kids’ prying eyes

Netflix Parental controls provide timely solutions for families at home on lockdown: PIN protocol, maturity ratings, activity logs and more

New Netflix parental controls a cure for kids’ prying eyesThere’s plenty of Netflix binging going on with many people at home on lockdown. Folks perhaps have a guilt-free opportunity to finally binge on Ozark or that most-talked-about, love-it-or-hate-it new series Tiger King. But for parents, the lockdown creates issues around managing TV time. While Mom and Dad are working from home, the kids could…

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance stands the test of time

The classic film takes an unusually nuanced look at the Old West. Heroes aren’t necessarily who you think they are

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance stands the test of timeJohn Ford was an Irish-American film director whose active career began in the silent era and extended into the 1960s. Along the way, he picked up four Academy Awards for best director. Immense talent notwithstanding, Ford had a dark side. He was, to put it mildly, a bully. You might call him a tyrant. Belittling…

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litter

The movie offers a fun-house-mirror examination of our souls and why we've allowed this kind of cultural plundering to go on for years

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litterCats the movie is worse than bad. It is offal. Its director, Tom Hooper, utterly guts the gentle soul of T.S. Eliot’s classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, from which the film is drawn. What’s been dropped at the paying public’s shoes is a cinematic blood sample so horrifying it could make Old Possum’s…

Cheers to Ricky Gervais

Cheers to Ricky GervaisMy wife has always watched two awards shows every year: the Golden Globes and Oscars. Which means, in effect, I watch two awards shows every year. (If you listen closely, you’ll hear the sound of many married men nodding their heads in agreement.) However, there are infrequent moments that make these experiences enjoyable. In particular,…
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