Tag Archives: bloor cinema

Films To Beat The February Blues at The Bloor Cinema: ‘STAR MEN’ (FEB 12-18) and ‘THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON’ (FEB 26-MAR 4)


Four of the world’s most distinguished astronomers celebrate 50 years of work and friendship with a road trip through the southwestern United States, discussing and exploring the mysteries of the universe. Recapturing youthful adventures and recounting each other’s influences on the most exciting period in astronomy’s history, they share roots from a time following Russia’s launch of Sputnik, when the U.S. accelerated their space program. The four British astronomers spent a formative year together in California in the early 1960s. Star Men looks at how the work of these men has shaped our understanding of the universe and our humble place in it. Tracing the major discoveries in astronomy in the 20th century through these four men, director Alison Rose also explores friendship and mortality-and the fleetingness of our lives played out under the stars.

Director Alison Rose and subject Prof. Donald Lynden-Bell will be in attendance for Q&As at all screenings.

Join folks for a special Family Day screening on Monday, February 15, at 3:30 p.m. Admission is free for those 16 and under.

Co-presented by the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (U of T) and Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics.


A popular hit in our Doc Soup series, The Last Man on the Moon tells the story of Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan. One of only three men who travelled to the moon twice, Cernan’s second trip in 1972 was NASA’s final lunar mission. Now, more than 40 years later, he is ready to share his epic and deeply personal story. It is a tale of fame and burning ambition set against the spectacular environment of space. Combining rare archival material, compelling visual effects and unprecedented access to Cernan and the other former astronauts, The Last Man on the Moon is a stunning look at one person’s role in humankind’s greatest adventure.


Bloor Hot Doc’s Cinema: ‘A Ballerina’s Tale’ (JAN 15-28)

Few dancers make it to the highest levels of classical ballet. Of that already small number only a fraction of them are black women. Misty Copeland, from the small California city of San Pedro, has pulled herself up the ladder at American Ballet Theater (ABT) from the studio company to the corps de ballet to soloist. The only rung in the ladder left to climb is principal dancer aka prima ballerina.

In 2013, after more than a decade at American Ballet Theatre Misty was offered the lead role in Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird to be performed at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, a major coup for a soloist.

The night of her performance Misty danced beautifully. But at the celebration afterwards she revealed she had been performing in great pain. Later Misty found out that she had six fractures in her left shin. Without corrective surgery the shin might one day break. Many doubted she would dance again.

A Ballerina’s Tale is then an intimate look at this artist during a crucial period of her life. The bulk of the film is a cinema verité influenced look at Misty’s journey, from the triumph of Firebird, the painful road back to dancing and to an unexpected third act where Misty not only returns to the American Ballet Theatre stage but emerges as a pop star in the process.

Misty Copeland’s career shines a light on several challenges within the world of classical ballet: the absence of women of color at major companies despite so many gifted black women ready to make the leap; the emphasis on skinny bodies for ballerinas impacts the health of professional dancers and sends a negative message to young fans around the world. Misty, because of her race and her curves, is central to both issues in the classical dance world.

The film climaxes with a landmark performance by Misty in Swan Lake, which is an acknowledgement by American Ballet Theatre that she is back, dancing at the highest level, and the fulfillment of the dream of many to see a true black swan at a mainstream international company. A Ballerina’s Tale is the story of how a great talent and a powerful will combined can open doors within a very cloistered world.


I watched Natalie Portman’s ‘The Black Swan’ years ago and I remember having to walk off that film due to its psychological intensity. Ballet is a beautiful art but full of deep sacrifice.  It was emotional, upsetting and demonstrated a different side of the art that perhaps the general public are not used to observing.  Even though it was a drama – ‘The Black Swan’ did a tremendous job in opening the door to ballet’s shrouded world.

Nelson George’s ‘‘A Ballerina’s Tale’ takes us a step further. It demonstrates a different kind of snapshot into the ballet life of Misty Copeland.  It immediately takes us by the hand and shows us Misty’s back story, her career dedication, sacrifice, determination, emotional and physical pain in a career and art that has a deep history  of restriction in all its various shapes and forms.

With unprecedented access to a ballerina’s dance psyche – A Ballerina’s Tale’ shows us Copeland’s move to New York, her bouts with loneliness, being tasked to lose weight in areas that perhaps Caucasian ballerinas don’t struggle in and date nights with Krispy Kreme donuts.  It is a vulnerable documentary but also riddled with endearing moments of humour.

George’s portrait of Copeland doesn’t harp on being stifled of her career goals because of her race. Copeland is optimistic, driven but also realistic in her goal setting.  She continues to work on her emotional and physical health when last minute hurdles spring up in moments of success. We also see Copeland reaping the benefits of her work through the age of product sponsorship and social media campaigns.  Copeland selectively uses her cultural background to an advantage when her career starts to boom.

‘A Ballerina’s Tale’ is inspiring and does a wonderful job in seeing Copeland in her early years to present.  Copeland in her gentle, calm and relaxed voice is the ambassador leading to usher in the next generation of ballet dancers of colour.


Bloor Cinema: ‘All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records’ (Dec 4 – Dec 10, 2015)

Did the internet kill the record store? The answer is more complicated than you might think, as revealed in this lively and fond history of retail giant Tower Records. Until only recently an unmissable destination in cities across 30 countries, Tower Records was a place where minds met, tastes were tuned and, as shown in the film, an unmistakable ethos of bravado and freedom was fostered. Hear from devotees including Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Elton John (who religiously perused Tower Records every Tuesday), employees who rose to management positions after being hired literally off the street and the charismatic and still-loquacious founder Russ Solomon. With an affectionate touch, actor-turned-documentarian Colin Hanks took seven years to tell this story: both an ode to the cultural institutions of record stores and a cautionary tale of ambition.

Co-presented by Sonic Boom.



An Official Selection at SXSW 2015, ‘All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records’ is a wonderful testament to what record stores used to mean to people.  The smell of vinyl, the grittiness of Tower Records employees and bins overflowing with musical gems brewed an excitement that big box department stores today will never be able to replicate.

‘All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records’ is an ode to the behind the scenes characters and early pioneers who were involved in its inception, what it was like to work in their stores, shop and live the Tower Records lifestyle.  It is a true portrait of what it means to work for a labour of love.

‘Going to work at Tower Records was like going to work with family,’ as said by a ‘lifer’ employee.  Staff even in the present day who have long collected their literal retirement watch demonstrate a raw emotion that is emblematic of a love affair that ran deep within their musical veins.

We are exposed to the blow by blow break down of the music industry and why cd’s were one of the many perpetrators to its demise. It is a painful unravelling made up of the best soap opera odysseys.

The intent of loving, appreciating and savouring music at its essence within the lining of a record sleeve, in a tape cassette wrapper which was just housed in a yellow plastic Tower Records bag was like a Willy Wonka wrapper for adults.  Those types of High Fidelity moments don’t happen anymore with iTunes downloads within the comfort of our own homes.  The sentimentality of records shops, like Tower Records, are now etched into our minds as one of a few things we can officially tell our kids and grandkids about.

Even though Tower Records closed on December 21, 2006 there are currently 85 locations still open in Japan.  Who knew?  Relive some of your own wonderful record store nostalgic moments when watching ‘All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records’ whilst softly chanting ‘No music, no life’.


The Reflektor Tapes: Friday November 13 – 26, 2015 at the Bloor Cinema

The Reflektor Tapes is a fascinating look at the making of Arcade Fire’s critically acclaimed album Reflektor, by award-winning video director and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph (Until the Quiet Comes). This visually-stunning film gives unprecedented access to the artistic process of one of the best bands on the planet, charting the creation of Arcade Fire’s new album followed by their breathtaking live shows at packed arenas in Los Angeles and London. Fans of this mesmerizing group won’t want to miss the never-before-seen interviews, personal moments captured by the band, and unseen footage filmed exclusively for cinema audiences. Rock out at the Bloor to the kaleidoscopic sights and sounds of your favourite Canadian band following its World premiere at TIFF 2015.


You may think you know all you need to know about Arcade Fire.  But you really don’t.  Edwin Farnham “Win” Butler and Régine Chassagne are quite the pair.  Heading up one of the most eclectic and trailblazing bands of the decade – they mix the best musical puddings that entice fans to wear their old prom dress’ to their shows in honour.  The Reflektor Tapes will make us second guess Arcade Fire’s frostiness in media interviews.  The film is transparent and full of unabashed authenticity.  Kahlil Joseph’s black and white portraiture of the band as they create music, take our hand on their road journeys and spill secrets into their craft is refreshing.  The Reflektor Tapes adds to the mystique of Arcade Fire while also satiating us.  Additionally, glimpses into James Murphy’s influence will make LCD Soundsystem fans swoon.  If your feet don’t move during this docu – something is wrong.