April Goes Out Like A Lion, Too

This week’s NOW feels like it took a month to put together, because it goddamn well did. Here’s a whole whack of Hot Docs reviews — and more will be added throughout the festival, so check back often — along with stand-alone pieces on the epic O.J. Simpson: Made in America and a thinker on the thread of obsessive behavior that runs through this year’s festival.

Oh, but that’s not all. Green Room and Louder Than Bombs are opening tomorrow, so here are my TIFF interviews with the former’s Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin and Jeremy Saulnier and the latter’s Joachim Trier.

Also, I wrote a little preamble for Key and Peele’s Keanu. I’m considerate like that.

Mind the Peanuts

One of my favorite things about doing Someone Else’s Movie is that a guest’s selection will give me the chance to revisit a movie I haven’t seen in forever — or even discover something that’s entirely new to me, as is the case with one of next month’s episodes. (You’ll see.)

This week, for example, Jay Cheel chose Superman III, a film I’m pretty sure I hadn’t even thought about in passing since its first widescreen DVD release a decade and a half ago. It was so fuzzy in my memory that I rewatched it the night before our taping, and … well, let’s just say that it’s gained a certain curative value in the age of the Snyderverse.

Grab the episode at all the usual places —  iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, the show’s own website — and if you’re in Toronto, consider checking out Jay’s documentary How to Build a Time Machine when it makes its world premiere at Hot Docs next week. It’s really good.

Stressful Occasions

The week we close the NOW Hot Docs supplement is as busy as the week before TIFF, and somehow I always forget that. But in a few short hours it’ll be put to bed, all nice and snug; until then, my life is a raging sea and I can’t believe I thought it would be a good idea to put out a bonus episode of Someone Else’s Movie today.

But I did! And it features Kristine Cofsky, a very nice person who co-stars in No Men Beyond This Point, a quasi-dystopian satire opening tomorrow at the Lightbox.

And trust me, you’re going to enjoy listening to her discuss Jonathan Demme’s terrific 2008 family study Rachel Getting Married. So go do that, either on iTunes or Google Play or Stitcher or just downloading it directly from the show’s site like it’s 2003 and we’re just animals.

Also, there are like another dozen movies opening today. What did I do to deserve this, I ask you?

Body: Dan Berk and Robert Olsen’s no-budget thriller traps three friends in a mansion with a corpse and waits for the backstabbing to begin.

The Devil’s Horn: Glenn (mostly) swings to Larry Weinstein’s history of the saxophone. Groovy.

The First Monday in May: Art and trash collide at the annual Met gala, and Andrew Rossi is there to capture it. Rad enjoyed it.

Hello, My Name Is Doris: Sally Field and New Girl‘s Max Greenfield play out a May-November romance, awkwardly. Susan wanted more.

Hockney: David Hockney is a living legend. Randall Wright’s rote documentary doesn’t begin to do him justice.

A Hologram for the King: Tom Tykwer’s Eggers adaptation is a mess of stylistic missteps and forced whimsy, but then Tom Hanks knits it into something warm and even moving. How about that.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War: Rad confirms my worst fears, which is that Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain — two of my very favorite people in the industry — could still wind up in a lame effects picture.

No Men Beyond This Point: Imagine a world without men. Well, except for one. Susan liked it.

Sing Street: John Carney reworks Once as an ’80s period piece, the better to riff on New Romantic singles. It’s sweet, and the songs are swell.

Sold: Gillian Anderson and David Arquette topline Jeffrey D. Brown’s human-trafficking thriller.

Ten Thousand Saints: American Splendor directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini tackle Eleanor Henderson’s sprawling novel about the East Village in the ’80s.

… okay, now back to the Hot Docs supplement. Go listen to the podcast, it’s good.

And On National Canadian Film Day, No One Rested


It’s National Canadian Film Day! Go out and see or do something specific to Canadian cinema! Here, I wrote a thing to get you started, including a ticket link for my very own screening of Scanners at The Royal tonight, which will be wicked cool.

Also, if you’re reading this early in the morning, I’ll be part of today’s Q’s Pop Culture Panel on CBC Radio, at 10am local time wherever you are in Canada. We will not be discussing National Canadian Film Day, which feels like a missed opportunity.

If you’re reading this after 10am, I’ll post a link to the segment as soon as it goes up because I’m a considerate soul, filled with good intentions and probably Timbits.

UPDATE: Here it is! Need more Timbits.

What Goes Around

LeoHey, remember how the very first episode of Someone Else’s Movie was a weird back-and-forth between me and Anne T. Donahue over American Hustle, which she loved and I didn’t?

Well, this week I’m in a similar situation because Sing Street‘s Ferdia Walsh-Peelo chose The Revenant, which he loves and I really didn’t. It’s a different dynamic, because Anne and I know each other and I’d only just met Ferdia, but I think it makes for an engaging episode … if not quite as funny as the American Hustle show. It turns out that “open contempt for the guest’s opinion” is something that doesn’t work in every room.

You know where to find it, right? iTunes, Stitcher or right off the good old web. Go and listen!

A Dozen Options

I told you this week was going to be busy — though with only twelve films opening, I guess it’s not that insane. Shall we dive right in?

Across the Line: Stephan James (of Selma and Race) is terrific as a Nova Scotia hockey prodigy whose future is threatened by family pressure and racial tensions in the feature debut of music-video wunderkind Director X.

Barbershop: The Next Cut: I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to see how this fits into the DC Cinematic Universe! [UPDATE: Rad‘s into it.]

Colonia: Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl co-star in Florian Gallenberger’s cult thriller (which is to say, a thriller about a cult), which kinda whiffed at TIFF and arrives in theatres with virtually no fanfare now.

Criminal: Another Ryan Reynolds brain-swapping movie so soon after Self/Less? Well, sort of — though this one plays more like a mirror image of Face/Off, focusing on a convict (Kevin Costner) who’s implanted with the memories of a murdered FBI agent and drawn to the dead man’s family. Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman are in it, too, so technically it’s also the weirdest JFK reunion imaginable.

The Dark Horse: Cliff Curtis — last seen as Jesus himself in Risen — gets a rare leading role as a bipolar chess prodigy who becomes an unlikely mentor to a troubled teen (James Rolleston). Rad liked it.

The Jungle Book: Jon Favreau brings the Disney classic to life, sort of, with a blend of live-action and CG that inadvertently finds the ceiling of this whole Disney remake experiment.

The Measure of a Man: Rad found diminishing returns in Stephane Brize’s grim study of a newly unemployed middle-aged man (Vincent Lindon). I agree: Lindon is terrific, but the movie stacks its deck a little too heavily.

Miles Ahead: Don Cheadle makes a great Miles Davis, but not a great Miles Davis movie. Which is a shame, honestly, because I really hoped this would work.

Prisoner X: In which Michelle Nolden and Romano Orzari make angry faces at one another because they’re trapped in a no-budget sci-fi thriller with half an idea and zero sense of how to execute it.

Regression: Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson (hey, her again!) unpack a thorny but ultimately wildly unsatisfying mystery in Alejandro Amenabar’s deeply flawed period thriller.

Robin and Mark and Richard III: Mark McKinney decides he wants to go through Shakespeare boot camp, and enlists Stratfords’s Robin Phillips to teach him how to perform one of the playwright’s most complex characters. Glenn is intrigued by the potential.

The Saver: Imajyn Cardinal plays a Montreal teenager desperately trying to create a new life for herself in the new drama from Marion Bridge director Wiebke von Carolsfeld.

A Sunday Kind of Love: Geordie Sabbagh’s low-key romantic fantasy doesn’t quite work, but it’s worth catching (maybe on demand) for a delightful turn from Wynonna Earp star Melanie Scrofaro.

Transfixed: Susan finds much to appreciate in Alon Kol’s documentary about trans activist Martine Stonehouse and her partner John, whose lives are even more complicated than you might think.

There, that’s everything. Oh, except for this thing I wrote about the possibility of AMC creating texting sections in movie theatres. (Short version: It is terrible and must be smothered in the crib.) And you still have the weekend to enter NOW’s National Canadian Film Day contest — you could win two tickets to next Wednesday night’s screening of Scanners and see me host a Q&A with star Stephen Lack! That sounds cool, right? Sure it does.

Reality Reoriented

The Images media festival arrives two weeks ahead of Hot Docs every year, and I love that contrast: While there’s always some documentary programming in Images, it’s always stylized or skewed in some way as to set it apart from the flood of more conventional filmmaking that will follow.

Anyway, it always works out that the Images stuff will arrive a week or so after I’ve started into my Hot Docs screeners, so it feels like a welcome break to pull my head out of one stream and immerse it entirely into the other.

In this week’s NOW, I look at Images (which kicks off tonight with a gallery crawl), and next week we’ll get the ball rolling on Hot Docs. Whee!

Life, Chosen

MatesHey, remember how I was in London last month? Well, I was there to record episodes of Someone Else’s Movie — and now you can hear one!

Recorded in their Hither Green offices, siblings Chris and Ben Blaine, makers of the remarkable horror-tinged love story Nina Forever — now available on iTunes! — dive deep into Trainspotting, the movie that minted Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor, launched half a dozen acting careers and pushed Britpop to the forefront of pop culture.

We had a blast, and I expect you will too. Go listen at all the usual spots: iTunes, Stitcher, the good ol’ webpage. And enjoy!

Waiting It Out

Happy Friday! And sure, it’s cold again, but keep hope alive: Spring’s gotta kick in sometime. And until it does, well, most movie theatres are nice and toasty.

Borealis: Sean Garrity’s latest lets Jonas Chernick (who also scripted and produced) and Joey King play out a delicate father-daughter drama within the skeleton of a road movie. It’s good.

The Boss: Melissa McCarthy brings her chaotic energy to a riches-to-rags comedy that is an unapologetic mess, but is also very funny. So there.

Demolition: Jean-Marc Vallee’s TIFF opener lets Jake Gyllenhaal play a seriocomic solo through grief and loss. I dug it. You might too.

Francofonia: Alexander Sokurov’s latest wants to do for the Louvre what Russian Ark did for the Hermitage. Glenn approves, with some caveats.

Hardcore Henry: A first-person actioner in which the camera assumes the persona of a cyborg, or something, wreaking havoc in the name of vengeance. Glenn ain’t having it.

I Saw the Light: Tom Hiddleston is Hank Williams … in a movie that doesn’t deserve him. Seriously, this is really bad.

One More Time: Amber Heard plays a would-be rocker who’s spent her life in the shadow of her musician dad (Christopher Walken) in Robert Edwards’ generational drama. I’m hoping to catch up to it.

The Pearl Button: Patricio Guzman’s latest meditation on the restless Chilean conscience plays like a weird echo of Embrace of the Serpent, and the stylistic flourishes feel a little like filler. Not his strongest work, you know?

Sleeping Giant: Andrew Cividino’s slippery coming-of-age drama returns to theatres after December’s under-the-radar awards run. If you missed it then, don’t miss it now; it looks great on a big screen.

The Winding Stream: Beth Harrington’s documentary about the history (and future) of The Carter Family features some wonderful music and some amazing archival footage. If you’re even slightly interested, check it out.

And if you think that’s a lot of movies, just wait until next weekend …

My other other gig.