Brian D. Johnson

Brian D. Johnson writes about film and the arts for Maclean’s. He’s also a filmmaker, and director of the annual Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Gala.

James Bond: The evolution of an iconic franchise—and the coolest secret agent of all time

On the eve of Bond 25, Brian D. Johnson looks back at how 007 has changed with the times—from Connery’s droll menace to Craig’s tortured thuggery—while always remaining invincible and immune to any style but his own
Katerina Savard stars in Nadia, Butterfly. (Maxime Cormier/Annie Tremblay Communications)

One Canadian swimmer’s journey to the Tokyo Olympics through the film Nadia, Butterfly

Olympic swimmer Katerine Savard hoped to walk the red carpet at the premiere of her film in Cannes, then make her final bid for gold at the summer games in Tokyo. COVID-19 had other plans.

The great gender divide—and four other trends from the 2020 Oscar nominations

Hollywood is apparently nowhere near as woke as it likes to think it is

The crusade for menstrual equity

At any given moment, about 800 million people around the world are menstruating, many in secrecy and shame. A Canadian feature-length documentary finally gives airtime to menstrual rights.

14 Oscar-worthy films at the Toronto International Film Festival

From Renée Zellweger making a comeback as Judy Garland to Joaquin Phoenix playing the Joker to Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx’s dramatic retelling of a Harvard law graduate’s fight for those wrongfully convicted in the South—the 14 TIFF films you’ll likely see at the Academy Awards

Xavier Dolan’s next act

The 30-year-old Québécois director has made eight films in 10 years. He may have outgrown the ’wunderkind’ label, but he’s got plenty of time to reboot his career.

How a typo created a scapegoat for the AIDS epidemic

A 1984 study planted the seed that would lead the media to falsely demonize Gaëtan Dugas as Patient Zero of an epidemic that would kill more than 700,000 people in North America
Ben Macdonald / Silverback/Netflix
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Sir David Attenborough takes to Netflix to wake up the world

After guiding us through close encounters with wildlife for over six decades, in ’Our Planet’ he sounds the alarm

Will ’ROMA’ make history—or will Bradley Cooper’s snub make ‘A Star Is Born’ the avenging underdog?

The absurdly talented Cooper didn’t nab a nod for Best Director. Can his tour de force catch up to ROMA, Alfonso Cuarón’s stunning achievement?

Tantoo Cardinal finally gets the recognition she deserves

The veteran Cree/Métis actor has spent most of her career in stereotypical Indigenous cameos. Now she’s the headliner.