The Good Guy

1297227728130_ORIGINALIn this week’s NOW, I cover The Good Lie from a couple of angles. There’s an interview in the paper with Philippe Falardeau, a very nice person who’s about to level up substantially on the world stage, and a web Q&A with stars Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal and Kuoth Weil. (No, Reese Witherspoon is not the movie’s star. The poster is lying to you.)

I also take a look at the second half of TIFF’s Jean-Luc Godard retrospective, and throw a little love at the Goethe Institute’s series looking at the cinematic legacy of the Berlin Wall, a quarter-century after its collapse. I’ll be introducing the first one — Christian Petzold’s excellent Barbara – tonight at 6:30 pm at the Lightbox. Perhaps you would care to join me?

Well Then

the-equalizer-denzel-washington-chloe-grace-moretzAntoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer, which is not a good movie per se but is kind of okay in a sleazy, sadistic sort of way, opened strong with $35 million this weekend.

This means either that people want to see Denzel Washington murder people in ugly ways, or that they’ll show up for pretty much any ’80s television property. Either way, we’ll be getting another one. I hope you’re happy.

In other news, The Maze Runner dropped to second place with $17.5 million — chased closedly by The Boxtrolls, which opened in third place with $17.2 million. This last bit is very encouraging, as The Boxtrolls looks like fun and I really liked Graham Annable when we hung out at TIFF Kids this past spring. Go see that, would you?

After TIFF, The Deluge

BoxtrollsEven with The Guest moving into October, there is a metric crap-tonne of movies landing in your local megaplex today. Here is a rough guide. Take notes.

The Boxtrolls: The third stop-motion feature from Laika (after Coraline and ParaNorman) looked awfully fun when I saw a few pieces of it at TIFF Kids last year. Rad approves of the finished product.

Delivery: What does it take to be an expectant father and an aspiring stand-up comedian? Mark Myers’ documentary explores the question; Glenn is not impressed with the answers.

The Equalizer: Denzel Washington and his Training Day director re-team to reboot a half-forgotten ’80s television series as an ultraviolent revenge fantasy where Denzel Washington straight-up murders people a lot. It’s … watchable.

Frontera: Racial prejudice and hidden agendas collide in this low-rent riff on Crash and Babel, which does at least offer some very good acting here and there.

Hector and the Search for Happiness: Simon Pegg tries mightily to sell Francois Lelord’s bullshit pop-psychology, but dear god does this movie not work. The poor guy just shouldn’t make movies without Edgar Wright or J.J. Abrams around, you know?

Moebius: Korea’s clown prince of transgressive cinema returns with an even more audacious piece of crap.  For future reference, just remember: “If it’s Kim Ki-duk, you won’t give a fuck.”

The Notebook: Arriving all the way from TIFF 2013, Janos Szasz’ WWII drama confronts the horrors of occupied Hungary through the eyes of a pair of orphaned twins. Rad finds some things about it very powerful, others not so much.

Pride: Take the frame of Billy Elliot and actually include the LGBT angle that movie wouldn’t acknowledge, and you get this TIFF crowd-pleaser with a phenomenal cast (including Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton). Susan liked it; I look forward to catching up to it.

The Skeleton Twins: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig give very good performances in the sort of twinkly indie dramedy that you’ve seen a dozen times before. It’s a little problematic.

20,000 Days on Earth: Nick Cave straddles the line between documentary and fantasy in this delightfully strange project, which could possibly be viewed as a companion piece to Holy Motors through the presence of Quantum Kylie Minogue.

And that, at last, is everything. Oh, except for the re-release of Chris Marker’s Level Five opening at the Lightbox today; I’ll be covering that in a web column for NOW that’s going up later this afternoon. So you have something to look forward to. Isn’t that nice?

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Mr. Cave Will See Into Your Soul Now

nick-caveOnce again, this week’s film section was rejigged just before we went to press, when D Films moved the Canadian release of The Guest to October 10th. (Don’t worry, it’s worth the wait.)

So we went with a big splashy Nick Cave thing, tied to tomorrow’s opening of 20,000 Days on Earth at the Lightbox. It’s kinda cool, and anything that gets more people looking for Ghosts … of the Civil Dead is totally worthwhile by my lights.

(Also, for your weekly Jessica Chastain tie-in, Cave co-wrote the screenplay for Lawless, in which she stars with Tom Hardy, her Zero Dark Thirty co-star Jason Clarke and the horribly miscast Shia LaBeouf. Viva Chastain!)

Way To Run That Maze, Maze Runner

Screen-Shot-2014-03-23-at-7.00.49-PMThe Maze Runner, which may not be one of the worst movies of the year but is certainly one of the dullest and dumbest, opened to an impressive $32.5 million weekend, which has already led 20th Century Fox to greenlight a second movie and critics to wonder what the hell is wrong with people.

(It is at this point one remembers that the Twilight movies were pretty frickin’ awful too, and people spent a lot more money on those than they did on this, so I guess we’re … lucky?)

Anyway. That’s the big news for this weekend, which also saw A Walk Among the Tombstones and This Is Where I Leave You making far less of an impression, earning $13.1 million and $11.9 million to place second and third, respectively. So that happened.

Families, Tied

This-is-Where-I-Leave-YouThe first weekend after TIFF is busy, but not insane. Next week, though, that’ll be insane. Trust me on this.

Altman: Ron Mann’s documentary overview of Robert Altman’s life and legacy gives you a good sense of the man’s talent, even if it inadvertently spoils half a dozen of his movies.

Coherence: James Ward Byrkit’s look at a dinner party remixed by a passing comet is one of two excellent little genre pictures coming out this weekend. Don’t wait for the DVD.

Dr. Cabbie: “Actually, Dr. Cabbie was my father. Call me Jeremy. Jeremy Cabbie.” I know nothing about this movie.

Honeymoon: Newlyweds Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway encounter something upsetting in a cabin in the woods in this Cronenbergian creeper from first-time director Leigh Janiak.

Love is Strange: Alfred Molina and John Lithgow are an aging couple separated by circumstance in Ira Sach’s 21st century riff on Make Way for Tomorrow. Susan likes it a lot.

The Maze Runner: Simultaneously fast-paced and boring, Wes Ball’s adaptation of James Dashner’s bestseller plays like the YA version of Lost, if Lost was more interested in chase sequences than character development.

Metro Manila: English director Sean Ellis (best known for the slick Nicholson Baker ripoff Cashback) moves to the Philippines for a heist thriller, and Rad is not buying it at all.

This Is Where I Leave You: Susan really liked Shawn Levy’s all-star dramedy about an estranged family reunited by their patriarch’s passing. Me, I’ll see it for Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stall on the same screen.

A Walk Among the Tombstones: Liam Neeson is a good fit for Lawrence Block’s gumshoe hero Matthew Scudder, but Scott Frank’s plodding thriller does neither the character nor the actor any favors.

And that’s everything. Oh, except for Code Black, a documentary opening in a limited run at the Bloor which I’m covering in today’s web column. (I’ll link to that as soon as it goes up.)

Also, I’ll be helping man the NOW booth at Word on the Street this Sunday; you can find me there from about 1 pm to 2 pm, just hanging out and doing whatever. Booth 191, on the southeast ring of Queens Park Circle just north of Grosvenor. See you there, maybe!

The Disappearance of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

DIYS2The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them – the shorter version of Ned Benson’s two-part masterpiece — was supposed to open in Toronto tomorrow.

To that effect, a shorter version of this interview with writer-director Benson, star Jessica Chastain and producer Cassandra Kulukundis — conducted just after I saw the original cut at TIFF 2013 — was supposed to run in today’s NOW.

But then the release was rescheduled, so we had to restructure the section and now I don’t know what’s happening with the movie. You should read the interview anyway, it’s really good. So is Eleanor Rigby.

 

Almost There

idris-elba-in-no-good-deed-movie-1As the film festival draws to a close, new movies start creeping back into the conversation — including one that just made its world premiere at TIFF precisely one week ago. Shall we look at them?

Dolphin Tale 2: Yep, they made another one. Same dolphin and everything  Andrew is not impressed.

The Drop: It’s a generic crime drama with a weirdly showy performance from Tom Hardy, but dear god that puppy. DEAR GOD.

Little Terrors:  Andrew wasn’t impressed by Maninder Chana’s drama about a young Pakistani-American (Aarman Kabli) sent to jihadi camp either.

No Good Deed: Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson face off in a home-invasion thriller, I think. Can’t be sure because Sony cancelled all the press screenings for fear of revealing a spectacular twist. Suuuuure they did.

Walking with the Enemy: I know even less about this one than I do about No Good Deed, because we only found out about its existence — and its Toronto release — yesterday. Ben Kingsley is in it. So that’s nice.

I’ve got a Conchord to interview and an Avenger’s directorial debut to see today, and then things get a lot easier. Really looking forward to a good night’s sleep one of these weeks, you know?

Some Excitement

Danny-Pudi-as-Abed-in-CommunitySo my neighbourhood had to deal with a modest siege situation last night. But that wasn’t gonna stop me from covering TIFF, dammit — I had screenings to attend! Interviews to transcribe! And you will know the fruits of my labours very soon.

For today, though, here’s an MSN interview with Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of the new-to-disc Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well as a number of terrific episodes of Community (including its pilot!), for which I am eternally grateful. Enjoy.

My other other gig.