Hot Docs Planner: Austerity, Sincerity, and the Muppet Elmo
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Hot Docs Planner: Austerity, Sincerity, and the Muppet Elmo

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Friday! Finally. We should have saved all our TGIF jokes for today instead of using them all yesterday. Rats. But anyways, everybody’s working for the weekend, right? And this weekend is the last weekend of Hot Docs 2011, meaning that you have only a few days to cram in as many documentaries as you can. And, as ever, Torontoist‘s Kiva Reardon, Suzannah Showler, and John Semley have culled together some of their favourite picks, to make sure you cram effectively, if indeed you decide to cram.
If you’ve never been to the furthest borders of Russia’s glorious empire, then “pack your bags” (meaning your ticket) and catch the next flight (i.e. get on the streetcar or walk or whatever) to see Michal Marczak’s The Edge of Russia ( 5 STARS ), your “virtual vacation passport” (meaning, we’re not sure what) to the hoary frontiers of the Motherland. But really, in a fest swamped with general-interest documentaries that play out like school-time, Marczak offers an aesthetically vibrant (if austere) film. Like the Russian frontier, Canadian tunesmith Ron Sexsmith seems to have been in stasis for the bulk of his career, flirting but never quite winning the commercial success he’s longed to achieve. Well if you like Sexsmith’s brand of sincere sad-sackery, then Love Shines ( 3 1/2 STARS ), a new doc about the making of Sexsmith’s latest album, is right in your wheelhouse. And for your daily quotient of Muppetry (doctors say you’re supposed to eat two to three servings of Muppet per day), we have Being Elmo ( 3 1/2 STARS ), the story of how a shy man came alive by climbing inside a little furry monster. (We’re probably making it sound more perverse than it really is.)
For complete coverage, including capsule reviews of most feature films, head over to our handy Hot Docs hub.