In Short

blart-2-560x560Friday movie roundup time! Busy finishing the Hot Docs supplement! Six-word reviews! Go! Go! Go!

Beyond the Reach: Michael Douglas hunts a dude! Meh. [Glenn]

The Dead Lands: Maori martial arts make serious impact. [Rad]

Desert Dancer: Rosewater plus Footloose equals pandering junk.

Dior & I: Fashion is hard! Buy our clothes! [Sabrina]

Monkey Kingdom: Tina Fey narrates generic animal documentary.

Paul Blart, Mall Cop II: Paul Blart goes to Vegas. Swell.

True Story: Jonah Hill. James Franco. Calculated bullshit.

Unfriended: Internet ghosts! Someone call Kiyoshi Kurosawa! [Rad}

Also, something called The Road Within is apparently playing in town. No idea. Just heard about it. Will investigate.

Murdoch’s Little Helper

Karen-Page-600x300… well, okay, that’s a deeply unfair reading of what Deborah Ann Woll does on Marvel’s new Daredevil series. But she gets into that, and more, in a Q&A that’s just gone up on the NOW site. Check it out, why not.

And if you’re of a mind, maybe check out Daredevil too. It’s not quite the modern classic that Netflix and social media would have you believe, but it’s a good show with a strong sense of character. That ought to be enough, right?

Episode Five!

Kristian-Bruun-2-300x239Multi-Pass-the-fifth-element-1742871-516-271Tuesday brings a shiny new episode of Someone Else’s Movie to your ear-holes — or at least to your podcast software of choice.

This week, my guest is Orphan Black‘s Kristian Bruun, who’s championing Luc Besson’s unapologetically goony sci-fi adventure The Fifth Element. You guys are going to get tired of hearing me say how delighted I am by the unpredictability of my guests’ choices, but what can I say? It’s the truth.

Anyway, this was a fun episode. You can find it right now on iTunes and Stitcher, or get it straight from the website. So do that! And enjoy it!

Also, Orphan Black‘s third season starts this Saturday on Space. It’s a great show and Bruun is terrific in it, so it was, like, triply wonderful to have him on the podcast. Go #CloneClub!

Treasure, Buried

03-movie-review-clouds-of-sils-maria.w529.h352.2xI have no idea why Clouds of Sils Maria is opening now instead of last Christmas. It’s fantastic, and should have been competing for Oscars and stuff while the iron was hot. Instead, its North American distributors left it on a shelf to roll out now, as counterprogramming to Furious Seven and the latest Nicholas Sparks thingie. Whatevs, as the kids say; at least you can finally catch up to it if you missed it at TIFF, right?

Other movies are opening as well. They are not as good.

Clouds of Sils Maria: Olivier Assayas’ latest casts Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart as a fading movie star and her harried assistant — and then springboards that relationship into a glorious study of identity and power dynamics. And if that doesn’t hook you, Chloe Grace Moretz turns up as Katniss Everdeen, or something.

Cut Bank: A bunch of small-town jerks screw each other over for a fortune in Matt Shakman’s low-rent thriller, which is just a riff on ideas Joel and Ethan Coen really should have copyrighted by now.

Danny Collins: Crazy Stupid Love screenwriter Dan Fogelman makes his directorial debut with this road picture about an aging rock star (Al Pacino, somehow) on a journey of discovery. Glenn says it’s worth seeing for the cast, which also includes Bobby Cannavale, Annette Bening and Christopher Plummer.

The Longest Ride: I don’t do Nicholas Sparks movies, so Rad had to. Poor Rad.

Relative Happiness: A good idea and a strong lead performance have nowhere to go in Deanne Foley’s East Coast comedy about a B&B owner (Melissa Bergland) trying to keep herself grounded in the weeks before her sister’s wedding.

Road Hard: Adam Carolla turns his midlife crisis into a movie about an aging comic whose career dries up unexpectedly. Glenn thinks he nearly pulls it off.

The Salt of the Earth: Photographer and activist Sebastiao Salgado is appropriately honoured in this Oscar-nominated documentary, co-directed by Wim Wenders and the subject’s son Juliano. It’s good.

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet: Jean-Pierre Jeunet applies his gift for manic whimsy as insistently as possible to this adaptation of Reif Larsen’s children’s book. Hey, at least Rick Mercer gets an IMDb credit out of it.

See? Now go buy a ticket for Clouds of Sils Maria.

So Much Done, So Much Left To Do …

shaun-the-sheep-film-still-640-480This week’s NOW is overstuffed with film festivals — to the point where we couldn’t even include a couple of nifty director retrospectives in the print edition, and had to save them for tomorrow’s web column. (Ruben Ostlund at the Lightbox, and Hal Hartley at the Royal. Check ‘em out.)

In the paper, though? You’ll find my pieces on this year’s Images, TIFF Kids and Cinefranco festivals — and believe me, that’s plenty. Get stuck in.

Episode Four!

web-arts-profile-ce24573fimgresIf it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Someone Else’s Movie — and this week, actress Tommie-Amber Pirie brings us Mike Nichols’ 1990 showbiz dramedy Postcards From the Edge into the basement, the better to discuss Meryl Streep’s intuitive performance and the lessons she took from the movie’s satirical-but-not-really examination of Hollywood’s treatment of women.

You can find the show on iTunes, or get it right here. Or you could do both, I guess, but that seems like a lot of work.

A Pretty Good Friday, All Things Considered

Bh_j6t6CUAEbgNYIt’s a holiday weekend, and even though we all know Furious Seven is going to make a billion jillion dollars, eight other pictures are opening against it. May the gods have mercy on their souls.

Cast No Shadow: Christian Sparkes’ East Coast coming-of-age story is one of the week’s two Canadian features to be undermined by miscasting and an undercooked script. Coincidence? Absolutely!

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me: James Keach’s documentary about the legendary singer’s last tour, which followed Campbell’s revelation of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, is a hair on the mawkish side (as Glenn points out) … but when it works, it works.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter: With this mournful study of a depressed young woman clutching at salvation through hope and cinema, the Zellner brothers deliver a slightly more true story than the Coens did with Fargo — although, like Fargo, it’s ultimately a complete fiction. See the movie, you’ll understand.

Furious SevenVROOM vroom rmm rrmmm rrrrrrmmm rrrrrrrrmmmmm RRRRRMMMM RMMMMM RRRRRRRRRRMMMM RRRRRRRRMMMMM. (Because it doesn’t matter what I say.)

Last Knights: A fantasy-tinged medieval action movie with Clive Owen and Aksel Hennie should be fun, right? Well, hold on there a minute.

Ned Rifle: Hal Hartley wraps up the trilogy he began with 1997’s Henry Fool — and in so doing, brings himself back to his deadpan, minimalist roots. This is a good thing.

Pretend We’re Kissing: Matt Sadowski’s Toronto “non rom com” is week’s other Canadian release brought down by casting and script problems. (And also the fact that it exists in the context of The F Word, which is just better on every level.)

While We’re Young: Noah Baumbach finds the midpoint between The Squid and the Whale and Frances Ha in this snappy, spiky tale of a middle-aged couple who befriend their hipster counterparts. It’s good.

Woman in Gold: Helen Mirren and Tatiana Maslany play the older and younger versions of Maria Altmann, an Austrian woman who sued the Belvedere Museum to retrieve the eponymous Klimt painting, which was stolen from her family during the Holocaust.  It’s not getting the strongest reviews, but Susan thought it was okay.

So, yeah, there are options. But we all know what everyone’s going to see. Oh, unless you want to catch Tron in 70mm. That’s also an option.

Simple Men

cdn.indiewireIn this week’s NOW, I talk to Hal Hartley and Liam Aiken about their latest collaboration, Ned Rifle — the capper to the Henry Fool trilogy, and thus their equivalent of Richard Linklater’s Before cycle.

I also take a look at the aluCine film festival, which has some good stuff in it. Oh, and here’s a look at this month’s Doc Soup offering, The Last Man on the Moon, which premiered last night but screens again this evening. Check it out, maybe?

My other other gig.