Disasters

960Well, I’ve somehow ended up reviewing every movie opening this week. It’s been … interesting. Shall we dive in?

Aloha: Cameron Crowe’s latest is a shapeless, formless void of bad ideas, underdeveloped characters and improbable plots. Also, I think Bill Murray is playing Hank Scorpio.

Big Muddy: Jefferson Moneo’s first feature is a nicely prickly pulp story, anchored by a vivid Nadia Litz performance. Good supporting work from James LeGros and Stephen McHattie, too.

Debug: David Hewlett jumps behind the camera for a deep-space thriller that never quite works, even as you’re admiring the economy and invention of the production.

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story: The man inside the Muppet(s) gets his due in a loving documentary. It may not be great cinema, but it’s a hell of a story. And bring tissues.

I’ll See You in My Dreams: A late-life romance for Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott sounds like a fine idea for a movie, doesn’t it? I guess it still could be.

Results: Andrew Bujalski goes mainstream, sort of, with a dramedy starring Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders and Kevin Corrigan. It’s plesant and inoffensive, but I wish it had more to offer than that.

San Andreas: By contrast, I expected nothing from Brad Peyton’s summer disaster movie and came away pleasantly surprised by the casting and character work. You never know.

Survivor: Pierce Brosnan chases Milla Jovovich around London in a terrible cat-and-mouse thriller. Still has more laughs than Aloha, mind you.

When Marnie was There: Another year, another delicate children’s story from Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki would have to be awfully selfish to shutter the place simply because he’s retiring; they’ve proven they’ll manage just fine without him.

There you go. Enjoy your weekend. Don’t see Aloha.

Movers, Shaking

dwayne-johnson-carla-gugino-san-andreasIn this week’s NOW, I talk to Carla Gugino about San Andreas (which is better than you might expect) and  Sam Elliott about I’ll See You in My Dreams (which is not).

There’s also a chat with Nadia Litz and Jefferson Moneo about their prairie noir Big Muddy, which finally lands a commercial run following its TIFF premiere. Oh, and I contributed the usual film preview to our Hot Summer Guide

Also, there’s this. I have kind of a weird job.

Elevenses

faithdraw 3632_5If I’m being honest, this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie was really just an excuse to talk to Faith Erin Hicks in person about stuff, instead of geeking out back and forth on Twitter.

If I’m being really honest, though, it was because Faith chose Tremors as the movie she wanted to champion, and who wouldn’t want to talk about that? So off I went for the first remote recording of the show — I think the sound is okay, but please let me know if you don’t — and the resulting episode can be found right here, and also on iTunes and Stitcher.

Oh, and I almost forgot: I’m on someone else’s podcast this week, too! Matt Price invited me to pick a horror movie for his show, Let’s Scare Matthew Price to Death, and I went with Alien because, well, no point in half-measures. That episode went up earlier this week, and you should listen to it. It’s good!

A Pause Amidst the Fury

rs_1024x759-150202061348-1024-Tomorrowland-JR-2215While Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road slug it out for box-office prominence in their second week — and my money’s on Furiosa — the studios tee up a pair of other, less-assured contenders and the indies scramble for whatever screens are available. Here’s what’s what:

Banksy Does New York: The English artist’s month-long residency in the five boroughs is captured in a new documentary, which Jose enjoys but doesn’t rate as highly as Exit Through the Gift Shop.

The Face of an Angel: Like most of the TIFF press corps, Rad was underwhelmed by Michael Winterbottom’s metafictional take on the Amanda Knox murder case. Dangit.

Poltergeist: Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt in a remake of the Spielberg/Hooper classic? Sign me up! Except that Fox declined to screen it for the press, so … um … UPDATE: I saw it. It’s bad.

Saint Laurent: I pulled the first YSL biopic, so Rad got to take the other one … which sounds like it was just as underwhelming, except 45 minutes longer. So, I win?

Tomorrowland: Brad Bird’s love of exceptionalism and alternate-reality production design makes this massive sci-fi adventure a constant delight, even if it doesn’t fully come together the way I think he wants it to. But as I say in the review, I’d rather watch a movie with too much on its mind than not enough.

Welcome to Me: Kristen Wiig fully commits to the dark, dark role of a bipolar woman who wins the lottery and buys her own talk show … but the movie around her just isn’t functioning on the same level.

So, yeah. That’s your weekend. Basically, if Tomorrowland doesn’t appeal to you just go see Mad Max: Fury Road. In 2D, like George intended.

The World of Tomorrow

urlThis week’s NOW is mostly taken up with the Inside Out film festival — and I contributed a few things to that cover package, as well as some reviews — but as a result, there’s not much happening in the film section proper.

However, look to the website and you’ll find my Q&A with Matthew MacCaull, who has a key role in Tomorrowland that I wouldn’t dream of spoiling for you. So read the piece without fear of spoilers, and see the movie this weekend. It’s not the best thing Brad Bird’s ever done, but it’s good, and it has some really wonderful things rattling around in it.

Ten! Great Success!

kivaborat-posterWell, Someone Else’s Movie tips into the double digits today — and into a little more social engagement than usual, I guess — with a brand-new episode in which my actual friend Kiva Reardon takes a deep dive into the transgressive madness that is Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles did something great with this movie, and almost a decade later Kiva will help you understand exactly how great that something was. I’m just along for the ride, really.

You can get it on iTunes and Stitcher, or straight from the source. Is nice! You like!

Summer, Sorta

maxresdefaultWe’re racing to close next week’s paper early — thanks, long weekend! — and there are a lot of movies opening this week, so how’s about another round of the six-word game?

Ben’s At Home: Man stays in, finds love anyway.

Dancing Arabs: An Arab kid grows up in Israel. [Glenn]

Good Kill: Hawke, Niccol: Drones are bad, mmkay?

Hard to Be a God: Cannes sensation opens unscreened. Wanna see. [Limited run starts tomorrow at the Royal, if you’re looking.]

Iris: Albert Maysles’ final subject. That’s enough. [Sabrina]

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck: Grunge’s first martyr, profiled in full. [Carla]

Mad Max: Fury Road: Holy crap, this is great. Seriously.

Pitch Perfect 2: Kind of unnecessary. Which is aca-awkward.

SpringBefore Sunrise, with a monster. Sweet.

Wet Bum: Lindsay MacKay’s debut: Heartfelt, tender drama.

That’s everything! Oh, except for this piece I wrote about the idiotic response from men’s-rights assholes over Charlize Theron having a substantial role in Mad Max: Fury Road. The comments should be … well, whatever the opposite of “thoughtful and amusing” is, I guess.

Anyway, have a good weekend! And if you’re so inclined, go see Fury Road. It’s great, and a strong opening weekend will piss off some really stupid people!

Furiosa, George

v1NNM0uThis week’s NOW puts me back in a hotel suite with George Miller, with whom I never get tired of talking — especially when it’s about a Mad Max movie.

(Fun fact: This time around, I’m as old as he was the first time he met me — back when he brought Augusto and Michaela Odone to Toronto for Lorenzo’s Oil. I have kind of a weird life.)

You’ll also find my Q&A with Good Kill‘s Andrew Niccol and Ethan Hawke, which took place at TIFF. It’s their third collaboration in two decades, and they’re swell … even if the movie isn’t their best work.

Oh, and the Church of Scientology sent us a threatening letter. I guess I’m controversial.

Episode Nine: Theatrical Tie-In

lindsayratcatcher dvdThis week on Someone Else’s Movie, writer-director Lindsay MacKay — whose first feature Wet Bum opens at the Lightbox on Friday — chose to talk about Lynne Ramsay’s 1999 drama Ratcatcher. 

The result, in my entirely unbiased opinion, is an interesting dig into Ramsey’s aesthetics and MacKay’s own approach to impressionistic treatments of emotional stories. Maybe listen and see if you agree?

You know how this works: iTunes, Stitcher, direct download. Enjoy!

My other other gig.