Filling the Void

As always happens the week after TIFF ends, there’s a flood of fall movies clamoring for your attention at the megaplex. Some of them come straight from the festival; others are just seeing an opportunity and going for it. The result? Chaos, and an excuse for the six-word game.

Battle of the Sexes: Carell! Stone! Riseborough! Tennis! It’s fine.

Beach Rats: Closeted in Brooklyn, longing for understanding.

Big Bear: Bachelor party with a hostage! Brah!

Brad’s Status: Hasn’t Ben Stiller done this before?

Friend Request: Not screened for press. Facebook monster?

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: The second one is dumber and noisier.

The Last Dalai Lama?: Religious figurehead considers his succession plan.

The Lego Ninjago Movie: I don’t know what Ninjago is. [Rad]

Let There Be Light: A very human documentary about scientists.

Rat Film: Baltimore’s rodent problem has deep roots.  [Kevin]

Stronger: Well, it’s better than Patriots Day.

The Time of Their Lives: Joan Collins! Pauline Collins! Road trip!

Trophy: Big game hunting doc. Seems grim,

There we go. Oh, and if you’re in Toronto come down to the NOW tent at Word on the Street between 1 and 2 pm on Sunday. I’ll be there! Probably sweating!

Cleaning Up

TIFF is over, and here is my very last piece on the festival for NOW, looking at whether a splashy Toronto premiere helped or hindered the awards chances of certain films. The answers may surprise you! Or maybe they won’t, I dunno, I try not  to pay too much attention to this stuff.

Also, the end of TIFF marks the start of the fall microfestival season, so here’s a thing on the 10th annual Toronto Palestine  Film Festival, which gets underway at the Lightbox tonight. There’s good stuff in there, and plenty of non-cinematic programming too. Check it out, why not?

All The Creatures Of The Forest

This week on Someone Else’s Movie, academic turned battle rapper Alex Larsen — who just accepted the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award at TIFF for Bodied, the movie he wrote for director Joseph Kahn about his own life — joins me to celebrate Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.

It’s an incongruous choice, to say the least, but it made for a really fun episode, as Alex celebrates Miyazaki while digging into the themes and apparent contradictions that make the work truly fascinating.

Wanna hear it? Of course you do. Subscribe to the show on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play or Stitcher, or you can just download the episode directly from the web. And enjoy!

Let Me Out

Well, we can close the lid on another one. After five weeks of prep, eleven days of festivaling, some 65 features and 40-odd shorts, I am out the other side of TIFF 2017, with the awards roundup to prove it.

Honestly, I’m exhausted. And if you want to hear what I sounded like before I started to catch up on lost sleep, check out today’s episode of the CANADALAND podcast, recorded Friday afternoon. Jesse wanted to talk about TIFF. I’m really curious to hear what came out of my mouth.

Oh, and speaking of podcasts, I forgot to link to this last week, but I did another episode of Jeremy Lalonde’s delightful BLACK HOLE FILMS — this one on Steven Spielberg’s 1941, along with Chris Smets, Warren Sonoda and Marc Winegust. It’s a godawful movie but we had a really good time talking about it, and sometimes that’s enough.

 

It’s Friday, There Are Movies

Running on fumes after a week of TIFF — I think I filed my 60th capsule last night, but I’m honestly no longer sure how numbers work — but here’s the regular release roundup, because I’m just that dedicated.

American Assassin: Michael Keaton is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best thing about this third-rate Tom Clancy knockoff, which stars Dylan O’Brien as a self-taught terrorist hunter recruited by the U.S. government to be their wild card. (Keaton really is good, though.)

Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World: Barry Avrich interviews everyone from Julian Schnabel to Maria Abramovic to take the temperature of the art world. I do not believe he spoke to Robin Thicke.

Hunting Pignut: East Coast writer-director Martine Blue’s feature debut stars Taylor Hickson as a misfit teen chasing the eponymous jerkbag (Joel Thomas Hynes, from Down to the Dirt) after he steals her father’s ashes. Ew.

It Stains the Sands Red: Colin Minihan’s zombie movie sets an interesting challenge for itself, with a Vegas dancer (Brittany Allen) pursued by a single ghoul (Juan Riedinger) as she hikes across the Nevada desert. The second half gets conventional, but that first hour is solid.

Long Time Running: Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier’s look at the Tragically Hip’s final tour plays as a great concert documentary and a crushingly moving farewell to Gord Downie, who is as aware as the filmmakers that this is his chance to say goodbye. I’m really proud of the way this piece turned out.

mother!: Honestly, you need to see Darren Aronofsky’s delirious new venture knowing as little as possible … but I will allow that it feels like the culmination of the cracked-cosmic mode that gave us PiThe Fountain and Noah. Also it’s great.

Anyway, go see something. Thank me later.

Urban Ragers

I think this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie is the shortest one to date, but that’s the price of snagging  talent in advance of a film festival: You never get enough time. (In fact, I recorded an even shorter episode yesterday. which you’ll get to hear in a couple of months.)

But the show is about quality, not quantity, and Ronnie Rowe, Jr. on Mathieu Kassovitz’ La Haine was certainly a quality conversation. … and one that was especially relevant to the subject of Cory Bowles’ vicious little movie Black Cop, in which Ronnie stars. The movie has its world premiere at TIFF tonight and screens twice more over the course of the week; it’s well worth your time, and you can get tickets here if you’re so inclined.

Also, you should listen to the episode. You can get it by subscribing to the show on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play or Stitcher, or you can just download it straight from the web. Do whatever works for you. We’re cool.

Festival, Talk

Hey, look! It’s a bonus TIFF episode of Someone Else’s Movie, as writer-director Molly McGlynn drops in to discuss the iconic cultural artifact that is Sam Mendes’ American Beauty.

Do we look closer? Yes, we do.

Go get it! Subscribe to the show on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play or Stitcher, or download this episode straight from the web. You can listen to it while you’re in the rush line for Mary Goes Round tomorrow, which is also quite good. So maybe do that.

Now It’s On

This is my 30th go-round at the Toronto International Film Festival as a member of the press, and if you think that sounds impressive … well, you just haven’t been doing it long enough. It’s exhausting, is what it is.

Anyway, I’ll be spending the next eleven days watching as many movies as my brain can accommodate, and you can find my reviews right here, along with the rest of the NOW team’s. And here is another list of movies I’m excited about, this one focused on genre entries, which means The Shape of Water and nine movies that aren’t The Shape of Water.

Oh, and check out this year’s TIFF cover story, which is Rad’s really terrific look at the making of the Alias Grace miniseries, and what it means to the people involved. He’s been killing himself on this, and it came out great. Take your time with it.

A Shocking Twist

Yeah, TIFF is bearing down on us, but today’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie is tied to something else happening in Toronto this weekend.

The Lowest of the Low are back in business, dropping their new album Do The Right Now this Friday, September 8th and celebrating its release with a concert at the Danforth Music Hall on Saturday September 9th. And so today’s guest is Ron Hawkins, talking about Carol Reed’s The Third Man. And it’s great. You should check it out.

Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play or Stitcher, or just pull the episode straight from the web. And make a note to come back on Friday for a bonus TIFF episode that is also great, if I do say so myself.

The Longest Weekend

Labor Day weekend is historically the slowest box-office weekend of the year, which has led to distributors treating it as a dumping ground … and offering a clear field for Sony’s 40th anniversary re-release of Close Encounters. So that’s nice.

Blood Honey: A young woman returns home to the family island after many years away, decides her family is up to something. Or are they? It doesn’t matter. You won’t care.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Yep, still a goddamn masterwork. I’ll never get tired of writing about it.

Tulip Fever: Well, if nothing else they finally released it so we can all see it exists.

Anyway, that’s everything. Go see Close Encounters. Totally holds up.

My other other gig.