We’re In The Pipe, Five By Five

This week on Someone Else’s Movie, the show gets its first crack at James Cameron courtesy of Lost Girl and Killjoys creator Michelle Lovretta, and her selection of Aliens.

This was such a blast to do, and not just because it distracted me from an awful summer cold. Michelle is funny and insightful, qualities you’ll also find in her work — did I mention Killjoys starts its second season this Friday, July 1st, on Syfy and Space? — and it was great to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cameron’s kickass sequel this way.

You can find the episode in all the usual places: iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or straight from the show site. So do that! And enjoy!

Towards An Uncertain Future

Kate and I are moving next week, so updates may get spotty over the next few days. But don’t worry, there’s plenty for you to watch if I go dark. Just look at what’s arriving this weekend, for example!

Free State of Jones: The road to Hell is paved with movies like Gary Ross’ prestige misfire — a film that insists so hard on its own realism that you can almost feel the makeup and wardrobe teams just out of frame, itching to touch up Matthew McConaughey’s authentically distressed shirt collar before the next take. (Also, the script is terrible.)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Sam Neill and Julian Dennison are mismatched bush adventurers in Taika Waititi’s Kiwi coming-of-age dramedy, a nice companion piece to the goofy melancholy of Boy.

Independence Day: Resurgence: Twenty years later, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin follow up their summer smash with a craven attempt to turn a one-off into a franchise. Honestly, you’ll feel sorry for being so mean to Jurassic World. (My review will be up later this afternoon.)

Look Again: Magic glasses allow a lonely man to judge the souls of anyone he meets in Daniel O’Connor’s oddball comedy, opening out at the Kingsway. Rad enjoyed it.

The Neon Demon: Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest is old wine in a preposterously ornate bottle, riffing on De Palma, Mann and Argento/Bava with a slice of Schrader’s Cat People thrown in for good measure. And if it was any good, that’d be cool. But it isn’t.

The Shallows: Blake Lively runs afoul of a hungry shark while surfing in Mexico in the latest exercise in restricted narratives from Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra. Honestly, you don’t want to know any more than that. 

Three: Johnnie To’s also working with a restricted narrative, limiting the action of his latest Hong Kong thriller to a hospital where a surgeon, a cop and a gangster find themselves at cross purposes. 

Tickled: David Farrier and Dylan Reeve go down a rabbit hole of psychosexual weirdness when they investigate the apparently totally legitimate sport of Competitive Endurance Tickling. Try to see it cold.

And there you go! And now to go pack the LaserDiscs. Pray for Mojo.

Taika Returns

In this week’s NOW I chat with Taika Waititi, whose swell new movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople opens tomorrow.

We’ve spoken before, and you’ll be happy to learn that even though he’s directing Thor: Ragnarok now — which is kind of a big deal — he remains as cheerful and open to oddball lines of inquiry as ever. He was especially happy to hear that I wasn’t interested in Marvel spoilers, and in a bit that didn’t make the final piece, revealed that he spent most of his time on the Wilderpeople set bugging Sam Neill for Event Horizon stories.

(Fun fact: Neill doesn’t remember anything about that movie.)

Anyway, read the piece, then maybe see the movie. Like I said, it’s swell!

A Big One

I’ve been sitting on this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie for months — and it’s been killing me, because Dana Gould is someone I’ve long admired, and spending an hour-plus talking with him about Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove was an absolute blast.

We also get into the Star Wars franchise a bit; it was a natural digression and I couldn’t resist keeping it in. No jury would convict me.

It’s at all the usual spots: iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, the show site. You know the deal.

“Homer, that’s your solution to everything!”

Kinda feels like the world is spinning down to nothing, doesn’t it? Fortunately, one of the year’s best movies is opening this week … along with one of the worst, just so we can better appreciate the high.

Central Intelligence: The life of a mopey forensic accountant (Kevin Hart) is up-ended when he’s contacted by an old classmate (Dwayne Johnson) who says he’s a CIA agent out to save the free world. Rawson Marshall Thurber’s latest is The In-Laws reconfigured around a high-school reunion instead of a wedding … and it’s kind of charming.

De Palma: Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s loving docu-interview plays like a perfect supplemental feature for TIFF’s new retrospective, though be warned: It’s got major spoilers for just about every movie it mentions.

Finding Dory: If you absolutely must make a sequel to a beloved stand-alone Pixar property, this is the way to do it — by reassembling the original team and digging deeper into the themes and characters. I’m genuinely in awe of what Andrew Stanton has accomplished here.

Genius: Susan is profoundly disappointed in Michael Grandage’s prestige drama about the working relationship between Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and his editor, Max Perkins (Colin Firth) — and especially with Law’s over-the-top performance.

No Stranger Than Love: Nick Wernham’s misbegotten rom-com — in which Alison Brie sees Colin Hanks swallowed by a mysterious hole in her living-room floor — is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years. Like, you feel bad for the crew that had to show up for work every day because they must have known.

Raiders!: I was not as high on Tim Skousen and Jeremy Coon’s termite-art doc about kids mounting a shot-for-shot remake of Lucas and Spielberg’s classic as Glenn. But don’t let that stop you.

Tempest Storm: Nimisha Mukerji’s latest doc examines the life of an unlikely feminist icon, and is very good at what it does. If you missed it at Hot Docs, definitely check it out at the Bloor this weekend.

The Witness: The coverage of Kitty Genovese’s 1964 murder rocked New York and launched a thousand think-pieces. Fifty years later, her brother Bill digs into what really happened.

And there you have it. Back to packing.

Great Zeus’ Butthole!

10644872_10202512517488667_8068637196478625512_n5f766459-8d9d-4f61-847e-9c2cbb3da49eThis week on Someone Else’s Movie, director Allan Ungar — whose ’90s throwback actioner Gridlocked arrives on disc and VOD today — goes all in on Michael Bay’s The Rock, which marks its 20th anniversary this summer and my god do I feel old.

It’s an interesting roll through contemporary action cinema, and lines up quite nicely with the conversation I had with Gabriel Carrer about Point Break last year.

You know what to do: Find it on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher, or get it straight from the source. Get going!

The Slog Begins

Hmm. This week’s release slate includes sequels to The Conjuring and Now You See Me  … but aren’t magicians known as conjurers? Huh? We are through the looking glass here, people.

The American Dreamer: In 1971, Lawrence Schiller and L.M. Kit Carson followed their buddy Dennis Hopper around as he finished The Last Movie and rapped about whatever crossed his mind. This is the result.

The Conjuring 2: James Wan, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return for another round of ’70s hair and modern scares. It’s two and a quarter hours long. I’m out; Glenn‘s tapping in. [Review up later this afternoon.]

Khoya: Rad really wanted to like Sami Khan’s drama about a Canadian man (Rupak Ginn) searching for his birth parents in India, but found its reach exceeded its grasp.

Koneline: Our Land Beautiful: Susan swooned for Nettie Wild’s gorgeous documentary at Hot Docs, and she’s just as high on it now. I support this decision.

Maggie’s Plan: Rebecca Miller’s latest is a romance of sorts starring Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke. I like all of these people but still haven’t managed to catch up to the damn movie. Susan likes it, though.

Now You See Me 2: The title — not just uninspired, but genuinely insulting given the potential for audience-flattering — tells you everything you need to know about how low Jon M. Chu’s sequel sets its sights. Lizzy Caplan’s having a great time, though.

Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt: Susan really likes Ada Ushpitz’ documentary about one of the foremost writers on the Holocaust. It’s on my list.

Warcraft: Duncan Jones’ expansive, expensive Tolkien knockoff isn’t as terrible as you may have heard … but as a very wise penguin once said, Lord, it wasn’t good.

And that’s everything! Well, except for all the film festivals in town this week, and the Roberto Minervini retrospective at TIFF, which I’m featuring in this week’s web column. Remember when the summer months meant everything slowed down for a bit?

Festivalia

There are three film festivals opening in town this week, and I throw myself upon all of them in the pages of NOW. What, I’m supposed to just cover two of them?

So here I am writing about the Toronto Japanese Film Festival, and the Female Eye Film Festival, and the Italian Contemporary Film Festival — all when I should really be concentrating on packing, because we’re moving at the end of the month. But I am nothing if not dedicated.

Also I’m an idiot.

My other other gig.