Posts by Peter Counter

Hot Docs 2014: The Theory of Happiness Review

The Theory of Happiness Canadian Spectrum Gregory Gan’s The Theory of Happiness is a magnetic, upsetting, consistently good looking and compelling documentary about a Ukrainian math cult. A journal of his time spent as a newbie in P.O.R.T.O.S. – a collective based on a spiritual math equation for happiness – this documentary starts off as […]

Hot Docs 2014: Self(Less) Portrait Review

Self(less) Portrait Canadian Spectrum At the outset, Self(less) Portrait is alluring, presenting a collection of French-Canadian interview subjects telling anecdotes and personal secrets, while director Danic Champoux visually plays with forms or darkness and light. There’s a sense of mystery at the top of the film that proves intriguing, but quickly this is revealed as […]

Hot Docs 2014: Out of Mind, Out of Sight Review

Out of Mind, Out of Sight Canadian Spectrum There’s a lot to like about Canadian documentary Out of Mind, Out of Sight: a film about the inmates and staff of Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic-mental hospital in Ontario. Primarily orbiting a single primary subject – schizophrenic patient Michael Stewart – the film paints a […]

Hot Docs 2014: Mad as Hell Review

Mad As Hell Next Mad As Hell profiles a charismatic media personality that doubles as a portrait of the current friction between traditional broadcast media and online video services, painted with the familiar colours of the American political landscape. Cenk Uyger, otherwise known as The Young Turk, dodges a career in law to start a […]

Hot Docs 2014: Hotline Review

Hotline World Showcase Hotline is an emotionally charged and often funny window into the lives of the voices on the other end of the phone line. Filled with interesting people it dodges the pitfall of becoming overly voyeuristic. The few times that actual phone recordings of hotline clients are used, they fit well thematically and […]

Hot Docs 2014: Focus on Infinity Review

Focus on Infinity World Showcase Focus on Infinity asks a lot of its audience. It’s a documentary about the science of space composed exclusively of earthly footage and it offers nothing in terms of scientific discovery or revelation. Between the biblical musings of a former physicist and declarations of craving the unknowable are symbols and […]

Hot Docs 2014: A Different Kind of Boy Review

A Different Kind of Boy Made in Denmark The Danish documentary A Different Kind of Boy isn’t even an hour long, and yet it manages to exude charm, elicits genuine anxiety, and presents a complete, complex picture of a boy with autism and his brother’s attempt to bond with him. Essentially divided into two parts, […]

Hot Docs 2014: 112 Weddings Review

112 Weddings Love, Factually 112 Weddings is misleading in a number of ways, none of them favourable. A personal experiment from long time wedding videographer turned documentary filmmaker Doug Block, 112 Weddings doesn’t examine that many matrimonial ceremonies. It’s just the total career count of wedding videos Block has been commissioned to make as of […]

Hannibal Episode 2.8 Recap

In “Su-Zakana” the cocoon constructed of mystery novel pages, fond pop-culture memories, Hollywood disappointments, and countless other symbols that once encased Hannibal has cracked open, and out of it has come a new and unpredictable kind of butterfly.

Community Episode 5.13 Recap

A clever, emotional, and meticulously constructed parable about Dan Harmon’s return to Community, “Basic Sandwich” is a well earned declaration of victory more than anything, even if it is a little inaccessible.

Game of Thrones Episode 4.2 Recap

“The Lion and the Rose” makes it through the treacherous woods of first act exposition - in the first half, no less - and then celebrates by throwing viewers a party that no one is going to forget anytime soon.

Hannibal Episode 2.7 Recap

The middle hour Hannibal's thirteen episode season, “Yakimono” is tasked with wiping the slate clean for a strong second half story arc. Hannibal Lecter is in complete control and no one, not even characters from the books, are safe from his voracious appetite.

Community Episode 5.12 Recap

Dan Harmon, like a one man Save Greendale Committee, has returned to a ruined school and turned it back into the place we most want to visit on Thursday nights, showing us the difference between stories and sandwiches.

Game of Thrones Episode 4.1 Recap

Between its fantastic bookends, “Two Swords” is everything you would expect from a healthy HBO drama entering its fourth season: statements of intention, an occasional piece of exposition, and a lot of resetting the board for a new game of intrigue, brutality, and maybe even a little glimmer of hope.

Hannibal Episode 2.6 Recap

When Dr. Lecter is plucking the strings and writing the notes, Hannibal is thrilling, unpredictable and disgustingly beautiful to look at. In “Futamono” we get all of that, some meta humor, and the most disturbingly delicious looking human leg eaten on network TV. Also a fun dinner party.

Community Episode 5.11 Recap

“G.I. Jeff” constantly delivers nostalgic 80’s animated fan service, but Community has set a strong precedent for making these fun departures into character exploration exercises, so there is an implied mystery afoot as well: Who is imagining this? Why? And does it matter?

Silicon Valley Preview

HBO’s Silicon Valley is exceptional. The jokes are highbrow and smart without being condescending or pandering, the emotional struggles are hooky without exploiting a central romance, and the episode premises and characters offer fresh takes on comedy staples without seeming overly familiar. But where are all the ladies?

Hannibal Episode 2.5 Recap

“Mukozuke” succeeds in providing the contemplative space that other serial killer centric shows don’t. It’s a case study in what we will let our icons get away with and what makes them different from us and the fictional people they prey on.