Category: Reviews

Dignitary – “Quite Like You” (single premiere)

Dignitary – “Quite Like You” (single premiere)

The majority of music fans equate dark alternative rock with gritty UK industrial towns instead of southern California. Los Angeles is known for its sunny climate, after all. Emerging indie darkwave/post-punk band Dignitary certainly has more of a European sound than most L.A. groups, yet there is a brightness in “Quite Like You” that adds to their immediate appeal. They perfectly […]

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Carter Tanton – “Jettison the Valley”

Carter Tanton – “Jettison the Valley”

On March 4th, Carter Tanton released Jettison the Valley, what he considers his first solo record, despite releasing Freeclouds, in 2011, which he considers a “mixtape”. He also has a long history of recording music, beginning with his band Tulsa, with whom he recorded some great EPs before legal troubles ended the band. Tanton was also a member of Lower […]

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Nada Surf – “You Know Who You Are”

Nada Surf – “You Know Who You Are”

Since the release of High/Low twenty years ago, Nada Surf have been releasing consistently great records, and their latest release You Know Who You Are, is another great record in the band’s long catalog. For a long time, the band had a formula to rely on, the combination of singer/guitarist Matthew Caws, bassist Daniel Lorca, and drummer Ira Elliot defined […]

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Poliça – “United Crushers”

Poliça – “United Crushers”

The third record from Minneapolis-based Poliça, United Crushers is out today. It’s an album that we’ve been anticipating for months, as Poliça’s haunting style is nothing short of captivating, thanks to the remarkable voice of Channy Leaneagh. It’s not surprising then that United Crushers is one heavy, emotional, and personal album. Channy Leaneagh’s use of vocal effects is a hugely […]

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Ingrid Bergman, Photographer Unknown. Courtesy: Rialto Pictures/Mantaray Film/Wesleyan Cinema Archives

THE PACKRAT: Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words – film review

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words     director: Stig Björkman (Sweden)     Bright Nights: The 6th Baltic-Nordic Film Festival     Thursday, February 18, 2016, 7:00 pm     River Building Theatre, Carleton University     Every ten years, movie starlet Ingrid Bergman changed her life: countries, husbands, studios, directors and sometimes children. She loved life, and lived it […]

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2 Nights Till Morning – film review

2 Nights Till Morning – film review

2 NIGHTS TILL MORNING     director:  Mikko Kuparinen (Finland)     Bright Nights: The 6th Baltic-Nordic Film Festival (CFI)     Friday, February 19, 2016, 7:00 pm     River Building Theatre, Carleton University)     Oh hey, the perfect one night stand: a couple of buff travellers from far away lands (Finland, France) on a brief Vilnius stopover, conveniently […]

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TICKTICKTICK – Louder Than Bombs – film review

TICKTICKTICK – Louder Than Bombs – film review

LOUDER THAN BOMBS     director: Joachim Trier (Norway) Bright Nights: The 6th Baltic-Nordic Film Festival (CFI)     River Building, Carleton University     Hiding in a dark drama vehicle from Norway, Jesse Eisenberg delivers a staggering performance that tops his ridiculously prolific, yet young career. Sparring with heavyweights Gabriel Byrne and Isabelle Huppert (and excellent newcomer David Druid) , Eisenberg stealthily steals […]

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Shearwater – “Jet Plane and Oxbow”

Shearwater – “Jet Plane and Oxbow”

I discovered Shearwater in 2008, when I asked my good friend Ryan (now lead singer of Seattle’s Sister Girlfriend) to send me some new cool music. He sent me Shearwater’s 2006 album, Palo Santo (Expanded Edition), and warned, in the way that cooler friends often do, that I probably wouldn’t like his voice and that his songwriting would be a little […]

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ERROAR – Roar – film review

ERROAR – Roar – film review

ROAR     director: Noel Marshall     opens January 29th     Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank street     Remember the early days of colour tv, when Sunday afternoons were filled with cheapo Disney vignettes starring rascally vermin getting into all kinds of home alone mischief?  Pesky raccoons in the kitchen? Sly foxes in the den? Silly monkeys in the […]

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Daughter – “Not To Disappear”

Daughter – “Not To Disappear”

Over the last few years, Daughter have reached popularity that lead singer Elena Tonra probably never conceived when she started performing as Daughter in 2010. However, her stark, honest music resonated with many music fans around the world. Their 2013 record If You Leave is an amazing record, and one of the best of that year. In 2016, the London-based […]

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FRANK MEETS ALFIE: Hitchcock/Truffaut – film review

FRANK MEETS ALFIE: Hitchcock/Truffaut – film review

HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT      director: Kent Jones      opens: January 7th, ByTowne Cinema      325 Rideau Street, Ottawa      In 1963, during the frenzy stirred by “Psycho”, fresh French filmmaker Francois Truffaut interviewed Alfred Hitchcock in a series of interrogation style questions. The resulting book became an insider’s bible to movie making 101. It was long, dry, and […]

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NOT FUNNY: I Smile Back – film review

NOT FUNNY: I Smile Back – film review

I SMILE BACK     director: Adam Salky     opens December 11     The Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank Street, Ottawa     Hoping for a rib-tickling hijinx escapade with razor sharp witticisms from Sarah Silverman? Not happening. Instead, “I Smile Back” slaps audience faces awake with a desperate housemom coke binge scene. Its realism is disconcerting, and quite shocking. […]

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Wild Life – film review

Wild Life – film review

WILD LIFE (VIE SAUVAGE) director: Cedric Kahn Tuesday, December 8th, 7pm Bytowne Cinema, 325 Rideau Street, Ottawa Living off the grid sure sounds romantic, but unfortunately in real life, living off the land, romance is not top priority. “Wild Life” traces a drastic family separation when the mother decides to escape a communal hippie culture she no longer believes in. […]

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EXCRUTIATING: Entertainment – film review

EXCRUTIATING: Entertainment – film review

ENTERTAINMENT    director: Rick Alverson opens December 5th    Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank Street, Ottawa This, without a doubt, will be the toughest watch of 2015. Terrible stand up comedians have their place, and can offer entertainment value in some form or another. Enter Greg Turkington, who as his alter ego Neil Hamburger has been mastering the craft of truly unremarkable, offensive, […]

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SNAPPING JAMES: Life – film review

SNAPPING JAMES: Life – film review

LIFE    director: Anton Corbijn    opens December 4th    Troubled photographer. Moody, genius actor. LIFE magazine. Sounds like cinema bonanza. Almost. Dennis Stock’s iconic still of a sopping wet James Dean wading through Manhattan is a grand piece of art, and former NME photog Anton Corbijn attempts to translate that magic on to a moving screen. Corbijn has tread similar waters […]

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BLACK AND WHITE – James White – film review

BLACK AND WHITE – James White – film review

JAMES WHITE    director: Josh Mond    opens: November 28th    The Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank Street, Ottawa It’s all about James. James White is a young, upper middle class New Yorker, eager to party, easy to anger. He is hard to like, but easy to pal around with. James is a happy drunk, but only for a minute. James is […]

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THE FINNISH LINE – The Grump – film review

THE FINNISH LINE – The Grump – film review

THE GRUMP    director: Dome Karukoski    Finland, 2014, 104 minutes    30th European Union Film Festival    ByTowne Cinema, 325 Rideau Street, Ottawa    Sunday, November 29, 2015, 3:50pm    In the 1976 Olympics Lasse Viren cemented his place as the premier long distance runner in world with a 5,000 and 10,000m double, matching his 1972 feat. Not much has […]

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I WANNA BE A COWBOY – Cowboys – film review

I WANNA BE A COWBOY – Cowboys – film review

KAUBOJI (COWBOYS)    director: Tomislav Mršić    Croatia, 107 minutes    30th European Union Film Festival     ByTowne Cinema, 325 Rideau Street    Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 6:55pm Small town, local theatre productions can be utterly delicious in their awfulness. Now imagine such a venture featuring a band of Croatian misfits stumbling to produce a western play. Not as far fetched […]

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MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE – The Sinking of Sozopol – film review

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE – The Sinking of Sozopol – film review

THE SINKING OF SOZOPOL    director: Kostadin Bodev    30th European Union Film Festival    Monday, November 23, 2015, 8:45 pm    ByTowne Cinema, 325 Rideau Street    Be prepared for a soaking. This is one wet film. There is rain, there is ocean, there is vodka. Ten bottles worth in fact. When Chavo returns to the seaside village of […]

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Bonnie and X – Baby(a)lone – film review

Bonnie and X – Baby(a)lone – film review

BABY(A)LONE    director: Donato Rotunno    Luxembourg, 2015, 90 minutes    Friday, November 20, 7pm    ByTowne Cinema, 325 Rideau Street    30th European Union Film Festival    The kids are not alright. “Baby(a)lone” is an unsettling primer about disenfranchised youth dealing (poorly) with contemporary first world problems. It is also a very good looking piece of cinema. Like a kiddie version of Bonnie […]

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