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Writer & Historian

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Reviews

Moneyball hits a homer

0
October 18, 2011
Moneyball hits a homer

My wife is not, decidedly and emphatically not, a sports fan. She’d rather watch her garden grow, which it was slow to do this past late-starting summer, than watch a baseball game…even a World Series game. So, when she agreed to join me for a showing of the new movie Moneyball, I was surprised....
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Tree is this year’s big (yawn!) bust

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July 13, 2011
Tree is this year’s big (yawn!) bust

Film-goers might be forgiven for wondering what in the Hell director Terrence Malick has foisted on them with his latest work, The Tree of Life. For the first time in a long while, I felt like asking the theatre to refund my money after watching – and occasionally falling asleep – in this cinematic...
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Dogtooth

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February 20, 2011
Dogtooth

The movies have always been interested in exploring family life and this is even truer with television, but Oscar nominee Dogtooth takes that exploration several steps beyond the normal examination of familial foibles and everyday crises.
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The Social Network

2
February 15, 2011
The Social Network

There wasn’t a single character that I liked in The Social Network, a film about the making of Facebook. Now, maybe I wasn’t supposed to like anyone. But it saddened me to see young people portrayed as greedy, status-seeking, sex-crazed, dope- and booze-addled bimbos and wannabe billionaires.
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Power opera

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February 14, 2011
Power opera

It isn’t really opera unless someone dies, said a friend the other night at the end of a Vancouver performance of Mozart’s last opera, La Clemenza di Tito. Well, no one died although we came close and I came away wondering about the child prodigy’s politics.
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Killing for Coal

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February 6, 2011
Killing for Coal

Few Canadians will have heard of the infamous Ludlow Massacre, a “slaughter of the innocents” at a workers’ tent city in the coalfields of Colorado in the spring of 1914. Fewer still will know that in the footnotes to that show of corporate bullying against miners and their families a familiar name pops up,...
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There is Power in a Union

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February 5, 2011
There is Power in a Union

Celebrated American anarchist Emma Goldman once tried to enter the world’s oldest profession to help pay for an assassination attempt by her sidekick Alexander Berkman, a gesture that was meant to help the workers’ cause. Both attempts failed. Goldman was sent home by her first client, who said she was too inexperienced, Berkman went...
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Made in Dagenham

2
January 22, 2011
Made in Dagenham

Sally Hawkins will be hailed as the British Norma Rae for her stunning portrayal of an unlikely strike leader in Made in Dagenham, the true story of a 1968 strike for equal pay for women. And she deserves every bit of the applause as does the film, although some might argue that it is...
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Barney’s Version

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January 19, 2011
Barney’s Version

The late Montreal writer Mordecai Richler gave us many characters that reveal both the comedy and the tragedy of human relationships, but Barney Padovsky is perhaps the novelist’s crowning achievement in that regard with this masterful creation of a schmuck of schmucks.
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Stolen livelihoods

2
January 11, 2011
Stolen livelihoods

The shameful story of how Japanese fishing families were treated on the North American West Coast is well-known among historians, but Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet brings that story to life through oral history accounts from the very people who experienced that systematic racism.
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Books