Studying at the University of Winnipeg and later Toronto’s York University, Alison Gillmor planned to become an art historian. She ended up catching the journalism bug when she started as visual arts reviewer at the Winnipeg Free Press in 1992.
Since then, the long-time Winnipegger has covered books, pop culture and food for the Free Press. (Since picking up the Recipe Swap gig, her pastry has hugely improved.)
She has also written for The Walrus, Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, Border Crossings, The Winnipeg Review and the CBC’s arts and entertainment website. As well, Alison has made a fortunate return to her first love, art history, as a contract lecturer at her alma mater, the U of W.
Alison’s favourite beat is the movies, which she has covered, on and off, for over 20 years. She still feels that prickle at the back of her neck every time the theatre lights go down.
Recent articles of Alison Gillmor
Interview with the Vampire, a seven-episode series currently running on AMC, has what every vampire show needs. It has too much.
Too much blood, too much sex, too much violence, too much decadence, too much terrific bone structure, too much absinthe and cognac, too many Art Nouveau fainting couches and Persian carpets, too many silk cravats and rakish hats. In this handsomely designed and executed production, everything is dripping with excess.
That’s what vampires — and the vampire genre — crave. Maybe zombie movies can do that modern minimalist thing. Maybe ghost stories can get stripped down. But vampires require overkill.
Adapting the 1976 novel by Anne Rice, showrunner Rolin Jones (who’s worked on Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights, The Exorcist and Perry Mason) takes the queer subtext of Rice’s book and turns it into glorious, sexy text.
A wickedly funny and unexpectedly warm crime thriller (on Apple TV+, with new episodes dropping Tuesdays), Bad Sisters centres on a close-knit group of Irish siblings, the irrepressible Garvey girls, who decide they need to do something about John Paul (Claes Bang), the odious, abusive husband of their sister Grace (Anne Marie Duff).
In the first episode, we know John Paul is dead. (“He’s Satan’s problem now,” comments a not very mournful mourner.) Dogged insurance investigator Thomas Claffin (Brian Gleeson), with the reluctant help of his half-brother Matt (Daryl McCormack), is looking into the murky facts surrounding John Paul’s demise, hoping to avoid a payout that could sink the family business. “Strange way to meet your end” is as much information as we get about the death.
Through a series of flashbacks starting months before, we also know that the sisters have gone from joking about killing John Paul, to joking-not-joking about killing him, and then to outright planning. But we don’t quite know what happened, and it will be 10 episodes before these two plots converge and we get the big reveal.
With its twinned timelines and mysterious death, its exploration of female solidarity and patriarchal control, its coastal views and really large glasses of wine, this might sound like an Irish reprise of Big Little Lies. But it’s not just the Dublin setting that’s different. Based on the Belgian series Clan and adapted by veteran Irish comedian Sharon Horgan (who also stars as Eva, the eldest Garvey girl, who brought up her sisters after their parents died), the series explores the charm of incompetence. Even when the characters in Bad Sisters are doing pretty bad things, they tend to do them in an endearingly inept way, which makes for an unusual kind of crime series.