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.


bd7444b7cb6c2613ce10ed7aec8ef563Well, I told you it was going to be a slow weekend for the movies. But Guardians of the Galaxy came out on top once again, earning $10.2 million to stay ahead of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – which took second place with $6.5 million.

Marvel’s magnificent space jerkbags have now pulled in $294.6 million at the domestic box offfice; by this time next week it will have broken $300 million and be on its way to hitting the same number in foreign sales. (It’s currently at $291.6 million; it’s going to happen.)

But this is a TIFF weekend, and TIFF weekends are about TIFF stuff. So my NOW interview with Anna Kendrick, who is just goddamn fantastic in The Last Five Years, is obviously the best thing you will read about that weekend.

I also talked to Jake Gyllenhaal about Nightcrawler. He’s cool too.

And The Festival Held Sway Over All

the-captive__140516072155The first full day of TIFF is upon us, and back-to-school time means another slow week at the box office, so there isn’t much happening in the world beyond the Lightbox. Only three films are opening today, all of them of modest scale:

The Captive: Booed at Cannes! Not screened at TIFF! But thanks to a canny release strategy, it’s TIFF-adjacent. I haven’t seen it myself, but boy did Glenn hate it.

Life After Beth: In which Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza play young lovers who won’t let a little thing like decomposition get in the way of their affections.

Welcome to New York: Abel Ferrara’s take on l’affair de Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal is grimy, intense and despairing — if maybe a little too static.

Oh, and also I wound up talking to Robert Downey, Jr. yesterday morning; that was fun. And if you’re still looking for TIFF movies to see, the TFCA website has a whole mess of recommendations from Toronto’s finest film critics. And also me.

Begin, Again

coverWell, it’s about that time. Back into the gaping maw of TIFF, where I run from one thing to the next thing for eleven straight days until my head falls off. You know, the usual.

Really, though, the worst is past. Yeah, the festival is a meat grinder, but working for NOW means all the really impossible deadlines have been met and made possible. Our TIFF issue is on the stands now with Glenn’s fine, fun Benedict Cumberbatch interview at its center; I chatted with Wet Bum writer-director Lindsay MacKay, and we ran a good chunk of the 35 reviews I’ve filed to date. And there’ll be more to come in the days ahead, of course.

And there’s non-TIFF stuff too. An interview with Abel Ferrara, whose Welcome to New York takes us where The Wolf of Wall Street was too classy to go, and a Q&A with Matthew Gray Gubler, who gets to be very silly in the underwhelming zombie romance Life After Beth.

I do these things out of love. I have a great gig, you guys.

The Unkindest Week of the Year

878a9403648fd7215d0f6a7067001edeTIFF DEADLINE SIX WORDS SORRY SORRY

As Above, So Below: Scary caverns. Late press screening. Dunno.

The Calling: Surprisingly solid homegrown thriller. With acting.

The Congress: Wish you hadn’t done that, Ari.

Lawrence and Holloman: Two Vancouverites switch lives. Hilarity … ensues?[Glenn]

Life of Crime: Elmore Leonard, moderately twisted. And fun.

Swearnet: The Boys leave the Trailer Park. [Phil]

Also, Ghostbusters is back for a 30th anniversary reissue; I’ll be writing about that later today in my NOW web column. And I’ll see you guys next week, when my brain isn’t leaking out of my ears.

Oh, but keep an eye on NOW’s TIFF site. You never know when we’ll be updating that sucker.

The Final Girl

cover_3352NOW’s TIFF preview issue is on the stands, and it’s my second cover in a row because I’m just not working hard enough, frankly.

Our featured performer is Maika Monroe, who’s poised to rule Midnight Madness with her performances in The Guest and It Follows. And then there are various capsule reviews and my annual festival picks, because that is just what we do.

We also flash back to TIFF 2013 for an interview with Daniel Schechter, whose Life of Crime closed the festival last year and opens in town tomorrow. Symmetry!

Oh, and over at MSN Canada, I talked to Ray Wise about Twin Peaks, Fan Expo and Twitter. That was fun.

My other other gig.