Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press

Alison Gillmor

Winnipeg Free Press


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Recent articles by Alison:

Downton sequel adds sunny setting to familiar, fan-pleasing, frock-filled formula

Comfortingly predictable, this second Downton Abbey movie does what it ought to do, with writer Julian Fellowes providing some cosy fan service and director Simon Curtis keeping everything light and luscious looking. Like the last movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era feels more like a glorified Christmas special than a fully developed feature film. → Read More

Environmentally-friendly building a functional, comfortable, healthy space for its employees

This Earth Month, a lot of us are thinking about the buildings where we live and work and how they can be made more sustainable and energy efficient. As our province’s electrical power and natural gas provider, Manitoba Hydro thinks about these things a lot, so when it came time to construct its new downtown headquarters on Portage Ave., the provincial Crown corporation looked to innovative… → Read More

Rock’s hack crack no excuse for Smith’s shocking slap

There was a concerted push to make the Oscar broadcast less boring this year. Still, Will Smith slapping Chris Rock live on network TV was probably not the way the Academy meant to go. “The Slap,” which occurred after Rock made a joke directed at Smith’s wife, immediately launched a social media storm and about a thousand hot takes. → Read More

Volodymyr Zelenskyy a true servant of the people

In these last terrible days in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has captured the attention of the world. Most of us now know that before Zelenskyy became the president of Ukraine, he played the president of Ukraine on a TV comedy, which sounds like a postmodern joke but has now become a deathly serious punchline. → Read More

The journey is the destination in movie’s long, slow drive

Moving, melancholy, mysterious, this Japanese art-house film has been quietly building momentum on the festival circuit and just this week became an Oscar front-runner, with nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best International Feature.That makes for perfect timing for Drive My Car to open on the big screen at Cinematheque. → Read More

Wild about Wildwood Park

In popular culture, planned suburban subdivisions are often used as a kind of visual shorthand for conformity and rigidity, for the slow death of the soul. Suburbia, at least according to the movies and TV, is bland, beige and uniform. → Read More

Aaron, you have some ‘splainin’ to do!

In this behind-the-scenes biopic, writer-director Aaron Sorkin follows a fraught week on the set of the iconic 1950s TV show I Love Lucy.Like many of Sorkin’s projects, Being the Ricardos is a clever — and frequently interesting — exercise. → Read More

Eaton’s department store was a one-stop shop, a social hub and an architectural gem

This month’s Landmarks looks at a ghost of Christmas past. The Eaton’s department store on Portage Avenue no longer exists as a bricks-and-mortar building, but it lives on in many Winnipeggers’ hearts and minds, especially at this time of year. → Read More

Circular condo building looks spacey, but shape is grounded in practicality

I’m always interested in buildings that get nicknames. Usually these monikers indicate affection, occasionally the opposite, but they always mean people are paying attention. → Read More

Jason Reitman’s addition to the Ghostbusters franchise has its moments, but never feels necessary

In the original Ghostbusters, Bill Murray talks up the bright future of the ghostbusting business: “The franchise rights alone will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.” That’s also the modern Hollywood creed, but back in 1984, the Ivan Reitman-directed flick came off as refreshingly anti-franchise. → Read More

Précieux-Sang church fuses together modernist design and religious renewal

On my way to visit l’ Eglise du Précieux-Sang in St. Boniface, I got lost. There was road construction, and I somehow missed my turn. → Read More

Luxuries, amenities put to many uses during life of Academy Road building

The Uptown Lofts, once the Academy Uptown Lanes and before that the Uptown Theatre, remind us that buildings can have long, varied and sometimes unexpected lives. The recent mixed-use renovation, which combines commercial spaces and residential apartments, is sleek, clean and contemporary, but it rests on layers of local memory and architectural fantasy. → Read More

The Fort Garry Hotel hearkens back to a more glamorous time

When you’re wedged into a middle seat on a packed airplane, sustained only by bad coffee and a packet of pretzels, glamorous travel can seem like an impossible dream. But around the turn of the 20th century, luxury train journeys across Canada involved roomy sleeping berths, white-linen dining service and observation cars with expansive windows that framed the changing views. → Read More

Curvy, confident Winnipeg Clinic appears to be reaching for a better tomorrow

Nicknames can be a sign of fondness and familiarity, so it means something that people often affectionately call the Winnipeg Clinic “the Jetsons building.” Most Winnipeggers love this modernist downtown building, with its swoopy canopies and slanted corner windows. → Read More

Art exhibition explores Canadian cities' chameleonic ability to fill in for world metropolises on film

Maybe you’ve seen the 2005 film Capote, in which the story moves from glamorous cocktail parties in Manhattan to a terrible crime at a windswept Kansas farmhouse. The project was filmed in Manitoba, with the Fort Garry Hotel, the Manitoba Legislative Building and Stony Mountain Penitentiary standing in for locations in mid-century America. → Read More

Confusion Corner sign fails as directional aid, but shows Winnipeg quirkiness

Last Sunday, I went for my vaccination at the RBC Convention Centre. From my parking spot on Edmonton Street all the way to the chair where I sat to get my jab, I was guided by a series of signs, directional arrows, desks with numbers, stanchions with dividers and — a recent COVID-19 design feature — paths on the floor made by circles indicating a two-metre distance. → Read More

The Handmaid's Tale all dressed up but has no place to go

The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian vision of a fundamentalist regime in which women are treated as chattel, blazed onto screens back in 2017 with ferocious topical energy, focused visual style and incendiary work by Elisabeth Moss as the handmaid June. → Read More

Assiniboine Park has long provided visitors the chance to commune with nature

Here’s what I observed on a perfect spring day in Assiniboine Park last week: I saw people biking, jogging and walking their dogs (so many good dogs). I saw the Assiniboine River at low ebb and perennial plantings in the English Garden pushing up toward the April sun. → Read More

Restaurants put best foot forward with takeout options

New downtown resto Poké Mono specializes in poke bowls, a modern version of the traditional H... → Read More

Pembina Highway packed with places for pizza, produce and Persian platters

This week we look at Fort Garry, with a focus on the eateries and stores along the Pembina strip. In recent years, familiar landmarks have been joined by a welcome wave of Asian and Middle Eastern restaurants — sushi joints, tea houses, ramen specialists, donair and kebab takeout places, Korean barbecue — many feeding hungry University of Manitoba students. → Read More