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 …

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!

The Counterprogrammers

cdn.indiewireWith Avengers: Age of Ultron expected to continue Marvel’s box-office domination this weekend, today’s openings are … well, a little less adventurous. But no less impressive, at least in a couple of cases.

Adult Beginners: A Manhattan failure (Nick Kroll) winds up living with his sister (Rose Byrne) and her husband (Bobby Cannavale) in the suburbs. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s nicely observed and appealingly cast. So there’s that.

Being Canadian: Robert Cohen’s winky, pandering documentary about Canada’s perpetual identity crisis (and the jokes his many successful Canadian friends have evolved to cope with same) was one of my biggest disappointments at Hot Docs. Don’t give it your money or your time.

88: I thought I was hard on April Mullen and Tim Doiron’s latest incoherent mess, but check this out. Props to David Berry!

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief: Alex Gibney’s long-awaited behind-the-clam documentary is an excellent start, but you really want to follow it up by reading Lawrence Wright’s book. Assuming you can find it.

Hot Pursuit: As far as I can tell, this is Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara remaking Midnight Run. We sent Rad. I hope he liked it.

Lambert & Stamp: That would be Kit and Christopher, respectively, two Englishmen who managed The Who into superstardom. Susan had some problems with the storytelling, but finds the subject totally absorbing.

Maggie: Henry Hobson’s first feature offers up Arnold Schwarzenegger as you’ve never seen him before — playing a grieving father doing his best to care for his daughter as she slowly succumbs to a zombie virus. The metaphor’s great, but the movie comes up short. Rad explains.

Phoenix: Christian Petzold and Nina Hoss follow the unspoken tensions of Barbara with this deeply Hitchcockian — and deeply pleasurable — post-war thriller, one of  the best films I saw at TIFF last year. Susan agrees.

Sugar Coated: Susan is not impressed with Michele Hozer’s expose about Big Sugar’s attempts to play down (or suppress outright) the danger glucose poses to the health of North Americans. Sounds a lot like Fed Up, to which I had a similar response last year.

Anyway, if you can only see one movie this week, make it Phoenix. Or possibly Going Clear, if that’s something in which you’re interested. Either one would be a good choice. And then come join me Monday night at the Royal for NOW’s free screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, would you? Free popcorn! New digital restoration! What are you, busy?

Episode Eight: The Eightening

012Elan+Mastai_AdaptedScreenplay_EvanNing-676x450HonoredThis week on Someone Else’s Movie, Elan Mastai — screenwriter of The F Word as well as Alone in the Dark and The Samaritan — brings Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming into the basement for an hour of reflection and appreciation.

As a big fan of Baumbach’s myself, I was happy to get the chance to reach that far back into his career. Here’s hoping you enjoy the resulting conversation, too.

As per always, you can find the show on iTunes and Stitcher, or download the episode right here. Please do! It’s lonely sitting all by itself on the server!

My other other gig.