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By Anne Brodie

Friendship’s the thing in Pamela Aldon’s ribald and hilarious Babes, starring co-writer Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau as two best buds as they become mothers. Dawn (Buteau) is married with a toddler and is expecting another child any second now. Eden (Glazer) is deeply single, preferring Dawn’s company and her own to anyone else’. Their bond is tight, unbreakable. Dawn goes into labour uin a fancy restaurant, Eden inspects her parts in front of everyone- she’s an extremely open person – and rushes her to the hospital. An elderly hunched man on a cane holds the door for them . That’s just one of the many subtle sight gags that run through this explosively funny, often blue and coarse and amusing tale. Eden’s on the subway and meets a charming, tuxedo’d Claude (Toronto’s own Stephan James) they share the 500 dollars worth of sushi she wound up with, they spend the night together and she becomes pregnant. Sadly, he dies the next day by choking on an almond in a bit of risky humour.  Eden frightened and Dawn’s busy being a double mom; Eden helps out by babysitting showing the toddler The Omen. There’s a rift, Dawn won’t allow Eden to move in and complications, albeit funny, pile up as she waits to give birth. This uplifting couple of hours isn’t interested in art and goes full throttle on two exuberant girls living their lives with humour and energy. It’s guileless and sweet and those blue jokes seem somehow so right.  The actors have exceptional comic chemistry and a kind of matched, wacky choreography that adds to the fun.  In theatres.

Anishinaabe filmmaker/documentarian Lisa Jackson’s Wilfred Buck follows the Cree Elder and astronomer whose life story is a study in extreme contrasts. Buck was a wild boy and teenager who told his story in the memoir “I Have Lived Four Lives”; he suffered the indignities and racism like so many indigenous Canadians; his youth was spent in trauma and acting out the pain of losing his entire family in racist Canadian government actions.  He was alone and joined a crowd of kids who robbed, drank, drugged, beat people, and generally created chaos out of that same deep anger and pain. It was a phase that lasted decades. He underwent 20 unsuccessful rehab stints and continued to run amok, living rough, subsisting on the gains of theft, an outsider along with fellow outsiders who also came with the same emotional baggage.  He describes himself as “fresh out of the bush, partly civilized, colonized, displaced”. Today, Buck holds two university degrees and travels widely to discuss his specialty, Indigenous astronomy and cosmology. He shares the stories told in the stars and skies, the birthplace of indigenous spirituality, and authored the books Tipiskawi Kisik: Night Sky Star Stories (2018), the semi-autobiographical I Have Lived Four Lives (2021) and Kitcikisik (Great Sky): Tellings That Fill the Night Sky (2021).  He mentors countless indigenous young people, he teaches traditional skills like building sweat lodges, officiating traditional ceremonies, leading pow-wows, and being there. He had an audience of Harvard science professors eating out of his hand. He’s colorful, charming, a great storyteller.  Catch this remarkable portrait of a one-of-a-kind teacher,  from the NFB, at  Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.

True crime thriller Murderesses aka Morderczynie is a gripping female-centric Polish miniseries series set in Warsaw, a character study that follows a community police officer Karolina (Maja Pankiewicz) and her mother and sister whose husband and father has been missing for a year.  While Karolina presses her superiors to work harder to find him and bring him home, they resist.  Strange because he was a legendary, highly decorated investigator. Karolina continues the family legacy graduating with honours, but as the only woman in the unit and is subjected to deep misogyny.  She’s tough with them and just as tough on the streets.  Swimming is her respite and source of strength, as she is detached from her mother and sister as she focusses on her private investigation into her father’s disappearance.  A psychic tells the family their father is alive and water is involve, then a flooded garage turns us on our heads.  The series looks at cultural differences; everyone smokes and drinks heavily. There’s rarely a sequence without smoking.  Strange in this day and age. The six-parter is an adaptation of Katarzyna Bonda’s bestselling true crime book and streams now on Viaplay.

The 34th annual edition of the INSIDE OUT 2SLGBTQ+ FILM FESTIVAL launches May 24th and runs until June 1st  at TIFF Lightbox and online within the province.  Megan Park’s award winner My Old Ass opens the festivities exploring bisexuality and starring Aubrey Plaza, Maisy Stella and Maddie Ziegler.  The fest closes with Karen Knox’ We Forgot To Break Up, with Lane Webber, Daniel Gravelle, June Laporte, Hallea Jones and Jordan Dawson, set in Toronto’s independent music scene.  In all 106 films, from 2SLGBTQ+ filmmakers from 25 countries, 30 features, and five world premieres.  For the full lineup and ticet information go to

A few noteworthies:

Unusually Normal, by Colette Johnson-Vosberg. Three generations of Canadian women in the same family are gay. With 170,000 TikTok followers, they take us inside their home to redefine normal.

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A Mother Apart, directed by Laurie Townshend stars Jamaican-American poet and LGBTQ+ activist Staceyann Chin who “radically re-imagines motherhood. Her mother abandoned her but forgiveness is a powerful force. 

Sisters, by Susie Yankou, looks at the revelation in Lou’s life. She has a best friend but always wanted a sister. When her father dies, she discovers she does!

Rookie, directed by Samantha Lee finds a student forced to join the volleyball team; there she encounters a rival and things get intense fast. Seems something else bonds them.

Julia Jackman’s directorial debut, Bonus Track, is a romantic coming-of-age comedy in a story by Josh O’Connor, concerns a boy who wants to be a rock star. O’Connor stars with Joe Anders, Josh Cowdery, Samuel Paul Small, and Jack Davenport.

Extreme Unique Dynamic, “the (likely) first-ever and (possibly) award-winning meta-Asian-stoner-coming-of-age-bromantic-dramedy by Harrison Xu”. Couldn’t have said it better!

nanekawâsis, am absorbing documentary about nêhiyaw artist George Littlechild.



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