Bad Friday

urlA couple of really, really terrible studio pictures are landing in theatres today, and at least one of them is probably going to open very well. So go see The Overnight instead, or Inside Out, or maybe you can still catch Fury Road somewhere? Thanks, you’re the best.

Eden: In an epic, decades-spanning drama, Mia Hansen-Love re-creates the rise of electronic dance music through the eyes of a character (Felix de Givry) modeled on her own brother Sven.  I don’t know whether it ultimately holds together, but it’s always interesting.

Glass Chin: Corey Stoll and Billy Crudup give great performances in Noah Buschel’s slick pulp drama, which doesn’t quite deliver on its own promise. That said, if you’re a fan of either actor by all means check it out.

The Great Museum: Susan is rather enamoured of Johannes Holzhausen’s direct-cinema tour through Vienna’s Kunsthistorische Museum, and I can see why — for process nerds and art admirers, it’s the closest thing to going there in person.

Max: All-American entertainment is rarely as cynical as Boaz Yakin’s reactionary boy-and-his-military-working-dog movie, of which Warner really oughta be ashamed. (Really, Max is the sort of movie where endangered kids are shown to have a working cell phone, and then refuse to use it to call for help. So, yeah, screw it.)

The Overnight: Patrick Brice’s couples comedy is a symphony of awkwardness and empathy, and all four of the leads — Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrech — are excellent. You should check it out.

7 Minutes: Jay Martin’s low-rent heist thriller operates on a sliding moral scale that grows more annoying as it plays out, and the scrambled chronology isn’t as clever as it thinks it is. Also, not enough Jason Ritter, but I say that about everything.

Ted 2: Seth MacFarlane’s latest is just so freakin’ bad, you guys. So, so bad. Like, worse than the time I had to deliver that crate of gefilte fish to Hitler!

There, you’re set. And honestly, if all you take away from this week’s roundup is “Don’t see Ted 2,” you’re going fine.

Role Players

maxresdefaultIt’s been nearly six years since I last spoke to Adam Scott — and in that time he joined Parks and Recreation and completely altered the course of his career by playing an utterly unambiguous, pure character (and playing it perfectly).

Before that, Scott was the go-to guy for unreadable, morally cloudy characters. He goofs around with that in Torque, and a self-aware version appears in Step Brothers, and he works a similar vibe in Passenger Side. And he returns to it in The Overnight, a thorny couples comedy that opens tomorrow. We discuss it in this week’s NOW.

This week’s paper also includes my TIFF interview with Mia Hansen-Love about her new film Eden, and a look at TIFF’s latest Summer in Italy series.

Also, among the online stuff, Glenn and I collaborated on an obit for James Horner and I wrote this silly Summer Cage Match thing. You go with what the day gives you.

Sweet, Sweary Sixteen

This week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie may be our funniest to date. It’s certainly the one with the most laughter, since Marilla Wex has what I can best describe as a hair-trigger giggle, and it proves infectious as we talk about Matthew Vaughn’s somewhat self-aware Bond sendup Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Please do check it out, whether by iTunes or Stitcher or direct downloadery. I promise you’ll be laughing too.

Inner Chaos

insideout-social1Movies …

So … so many movies …

Deli Man: Erik Greenberg Anjou’s agreeably shaggy documentary explores the cultural legacy of the Jewish delicatessen in North America. If you aren’t hungry when you it starts, you will be when it ends.

Dope: Rick Famuyiwa whiffs another one, trying to juggle far too many stylistic and tonal balls and eventually scattering all of them to the corners of the screen. But the soundtrack is pretty great.

Inside Out: Pete Docter took six years to follow Up … and every moment of that time was worth it, because this is one goddamn magnificent motion picture. Don’t bother with the 3D if you don’t want to; it works just fine flat.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles: Chuck Workman’s Cliff’s Notes version of Welles’ accomplishments never takes the time to revel in the late auteur’s prodigious talent, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re cramming half a century of cinema into an hour and a half.

Mangiacake: Glenn is not in the least enamoured of Nate Estabrook’s indie feature, set in Toronto’s Italian-Canadian community. But I promise you it can’t possibly be as bad as the movie directly below.

No Depo$it: Self-proclaimed auteur Frank D’Angelo would be Toronto’s Tommy Wiseau if his movies were the good kind of bad. Instead, he’s just a guy who makes terrible movies and four-walls them into theatres. Please don’t encourage him.

Porch Stories: Set over the course of one not-that-eventful day in a Toronto neighbourhood, Sarah Goodman’s dramatic debut may be small, but it contains multitudes. And also, Shawn Micallef.

Testament of Youth: Kit Harrington and Alicia Vikander radiate their superstar charisma at one another in James Kent’s WWI drama; Rad is happy to see Vikander dominate the picture, but thinks she deserves a vehicle more worthy of her talents.

Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman: Adam Carolla’s hagiographic look at Newman’s other, apparently more fulfilling career feels an awful lot like a vanity project produced to celebrate someone who really didn’t give a shit about being celebrated. Which is too bad, really.

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead: Australian zombies! Everywhere! Kill ’em as vividly as possible! The rest of the movie will figure itself out, right?

And that, I believe, is everything. I’m heading out to Los Angeles this morning for a thing, but really, I’ll be back before you know it. Go get some sun, would you?

Fifteen and Counting

Goodmanmeeks-cutoff3That bonus episode of Someone Else’s Movie is online, featuring Sarah Goodman on Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff. It is a good episode, and you can find it at all the usual spots: your iTunes, your Stitcher, your direct download.

Sarah’s movie Porch Stories is opening in Toronto tomorrow, and it’s very good. We talk about it in this week’s issue of NOW, where you’ll also find me interviewing Phyllis Smith, who plays Sadness in Pixar’s marvelous Inside Out, and John Waters, who brings his one-man show This Filthy World back to Toronto on Monday night for Pride Week.

I also wrote a thing about NXNE’s film component, for I am nothing if not comprehensive.

Go on, get to it!

Fourteen, For A Start

AriGosling It’s a special week for listeners of Someone Else’s Movie, who’ll be enjoying not one but two full-length episodes of the podcast. I mean, why not?

Today, Orphan Black‘s Ari Millen brings Henry Bean’s 2001 psychodrama The Believer into the basement, bringing an actor’s focus (and some interesting personal history) to what might have been a problematic title. Check it out, won’t you?

iTunes. Stitcher. Direct download. Pick your delivery mechanism, they’re all solid.


chris-pratt-velociraptor-jurassic-worldAnother week where I’m on top of almost everything, but this time it didn’t feel like quite so much of a chore. Except for the Israeli senior-citizen bank-heist picture, I guess. That was terrible.

Hunting Elephants: This is the terrible Israeli senior-citizen bank-heist picture. It screened at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival last year. It should not have resurfaced.

Jurassic World: Much like its genetically-engineered Big Bad, Colin Trevorrow’s update/reboot/remake is a hybrid of a number of different creatures — part Steven Spielberg and part James Cameron, with a little P.T. Barnum thrown in. It’s a fun ride, but it’s a little on the mechanical side.

Live From New York: I can’t totally discount Bao Nguyen’s superficial look at forty years of Saturday Night Live, because  there’s plenty of fun stuff in here. That said, it’s really superficial, and ignores huge chunks of the show in order to bang a couple of very specific drums. (Did you know Lorne Michaels is an undying genius with his finger on the pulse of American politics?)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: This Sundance favourite is being marketed as the next Little Miss Sunshine or (500) Days of Summer, and some of it does feel as affected and calculated as those earlier films. But Olivia Cooke and Thomas Mann are so good as the conflicted leads that I was willing to forgive an awful lot of indie affectation.

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence: Roy Andersson wraps up his stylized Swedish trilogy with another series of droll, wonderful slow-burn sketches … and then goes somewhere truly horrible. Brace yourselves.

Slow West: John Maclean’s deconstructionist Western makes full use of Michael Fassbender’s magnetism and presence (which are two different things, I swear), and also gives Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn some fun things to do. Check it out.

Some Kind of Love: Thomas Burstyn increasingly contentious documentary finds the filmmaker investigating his own aging relatives, and discovering some uncomfortable truths about blood being thicker than water. Susan is all for it.

The Wolfpack: Crystal Moselle’s documentary about six New York kids whose love of cinema got them through some dark family times comes fully packaged with a great story … though the execution’s a little on the problematic side. Still worth a look.

Come back a little later for today’s web column, in which I check out two more film festivals kicking off in town this week. Because it never freaking ends.

Relationship Pictures

me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl-13231-largeBefore we all lose our collective minds over Jurassic World, let’s take a moment to consider all of the other stuff coming to Toronto screens this week, all of which I write about in this week’s NOW.

There’s TIFF Cinematheque’s Luo Li series, which gives a local filmmaker a much-deserved spotlight. And there’s the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, which is, um, not having the best year.

I also talked to some folks! Here’s my interview with Slow West writer-director John Maclean, who was also this week’s guest on Someone Else’s Movie; here, from Hot Docs, is a Q&A with Crystal Moselle, director of The Wolfpack.

And here is a chat with Olivia Cooke and Thomas Mann, a couple of very talented young actors who keep Me and Earl and the Dying Girl from collapsing under the unbearable lightness of its affectations. Seriously, they’re great together. But you can totally wait for the Blu-ray.

Lucky Thirteen

MacleanChinatown-006 “You know what happens to nosy people? Hah?”

This week, for the first time, somebody picks a stone classic for Someone Else’s Movie. That classic is Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, and that somebody is writer-director John Maclean, whose film Slow West opens in Canada on Friday.

(Slow West is really good, by the way. Here, check out Maclean’s short film Pitch Black Heist. It makes a nice appetizer.)

Maclean started out as a musician before he was a filmmaker; you may recognize him from The Beta Band. Which makes him the first guest on the show to have opened for Radiohead.

iTunes. Stitcher. Direct download. Hit it.

My other other gig.