October Rain

Only a dozen movies opening this week? Why, that’s nothing! (And there’s also that restoration of Howards End arriving at the Varsity, because we’ve been good.) Shall we?

American Pastoral: MacGregor adapts Roth, makes a mess. [Glenn]

The David Dance: A haunted man falls in love.

Driving with Selvi: Learn to drive. It’ll heal you. [Opens Saturday.]

Fire at Sea: The refugee crisis, up really close. [Glenn]

The Hotel Dieu: Psychological thriller from St. Catherines. Cool.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back: Tom Cruise likes being in charge.

Keeping Up with the Joneses: Jon Hamm makes a great spy.

Mean Dreams: Teen drama from Citizen Boyd director. [Susan]

Ouija: Origin of Evil: Wait, the Oculus guy made this?

The People vs. Fritz Bauer: Post-war drama follows Nazi hunter.

Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween: Wait, Tyler Perry still makes these?

Yarn: Craft workers rejoice, it’s a documentary!

Phew! And now to dive back into next week’s bounty …

Into The Cyber

If you pick up this week’s NOW, you’ll notice all the cool stuff — like my pieces on this year’s ImagineNative and Planet in Focus film festivals — has gone online, where stories can run longer than 450 words.

That’s one upside to our new Digital First strategy, and we’ll be putting a lot more cool stuff online going forward, because it’s 2016 and nobody reads physical papers but me apparently.

So go ahead and bookmark that — and keep an eye on this blog for links to my stuff as it drops. Because I would never leave you hanging.

Ids Unleashed

Hey, remember when I went to New York earlier this month? It was all for you guys! And the proof of that is in this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, in which the remarkable Jean Grae settles in for a conversation about the importance of David Fincher’s Fight Club to her creative process, and how she’s living its lessons as best she can.

Open your mind and give it a listen. You can find it at all the usual places: iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, the website. You may not decide to rethink your personality or anything, but I do believe you’ll enjoy yourself.

Setting Sail

It’s funny, this week didn’t seem especially busy when I started making this list …

The Accountant: “Okay, but what if being autistic actually gives you superpowers?” Ben Affleck is terribly miscast as the eponymous avenger in Gavin O’Connor’s boneheaded thriller, though I honestly don’t know who could have made it work.  Edward Norton, ten years ago? Maybe? But probably not.

American Honey: Andrea Arnold’s latest has been dividing critics ever since its Cannes premiere — and its length kept me from seeing it at TIFF, since it inevitably ran over into something else I needed to see — but Rad digs it, so I’m in.

Art Bastard: Victor Kanefsky’s documentary profiles Robert Cenedella, who may or may not be the bastard of the title. (He probably is, though.)

Christine: Antonio Campos’ latest stars Rebecca Hall as TV reporter Christine Chubbuck, who committed suicide on-camera in 1974. Jake likes it, and I’m hoping its arrival at the Lightbox means we can look forward to Robert Greene’s documentary Kate Plays Christine turning up there soon as well.

Complete Unknown: Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz make the most of the opportunities Joshua Marston’s new drama offers them; the result is a fascinating and occasionally incisive walk-and-talk picture that may not stick the landing, but tugs on the brain in just the right way.

Kevin Hart: What Now?: Kevin Hart’s latest concert movie — which let Rad down pretty hard — stands to top the box-office this weekend. Sorry, Ben Affleck; he’s just better at giving the people what they want.

Long Way North: Animator Remi Chaye’s directorial debut — after working on The Secret of Kells and The Painting— is a glorious Arctic adventure that deserves a much wider theatrical release than it’s getting.

Tower: Keith Maitland’s experimental documentary restages the August afternoon in which Charles Whitman laid siege to the University of Texas through digital rotoscoping … which, while certainly an intriguing choice, didn’t totally work for me.

Unless: Alan Gilsenan’s adaptation of the Carol Shields novel stars Catherine Keener as a mother who finds her long-lost daughter (Hannah  Gross) living homeless and mute in front of Honest Ed’s. Susan found things she liked, but isn’t sure it’s entirely successful.

There, that’s everything. Now to cut next week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, which — trust me — could not come at a better time.

Peak Microfest

In this week’s NOW, I take a look at the intriguing new direction of the Reelworld film festival, which has decided to step up its activism in its sixteenth year. It’s a good look for the fest, and I kinda hope we see this happening more often.

I also check out the Toronto After Dark festival in a web piece, and tomorrow I’ll have something on BRAFFTV and CineIran, which are also happening this weekend.

Really, though, who has the time to attend all of these? How does one get anything done?

Shark Week

Well, it finally happened: After a year and a half, somebody picked Jaws for Someone Else’s Movie.

Better still, it was Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, star of Kim’s Convenience and an all-around great guy, so this week’s episode is an instant favorite.

What else do you need me to tell you? Go listen! It’s available on iTunesGoogle Play and Stitcher, or straight from the site. It’s two people talking about Jaws for an hour. There’s nothing better.

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Hi there! I’m still in New York, collecting some absolutely stellar episodes of Someone Else’s Movie — seriously, last night’s was a blast and this afternoon’s looks to be equally entertaining — but it’s Friday, there are movies opening, and you need my help right now. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: Ron Howard turns hundreds of hours of Fab Four footage into a celebration of the band at its peak; Susan approaches it from the perspective of Howard’s target audience, and mostly like what she sees.

The Birth of a Nation: Nate Parker’s robust, righteous telling of the Nat Turner story has some undeniably powerful moments — but it’s just as undeniably a self-mythologizing hagiography. Even before the troubling news of his past rape charge surfaced, watching this movie was a really uncomfortable experience. The guy lights his abs.

Denial: Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall square off in this very theatrical retelling of David Irving’s libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt. Rad — who somehow had time to file a bunch of reviews while working on this week’s fantastic cover story about the gender gap in Canadian cinema — isn’t taking the bait.

Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four: Did you know that, before those hokey but not wholly awful Tim Story movies, there was an even hokier attempt to bring Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s super-team to the screen? This movie does, and it’ll tell you all about it, at length, like a guy at a bar who doesn’t realize he’s repeating himself on every single anecdote.

The Girl on the Train: Tate Taylor takes Paula Hawkin’s very English bestseller and somehow turns it into a plodding, laughable American thriller — and this despite a truly committed performance from Emily Blunt, who deserves so much better than this. My review will be up later today, but … well, that’s really all there is to it.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life: I know literally nothing about this movie, beyond the fact that it is opening today.

Off the Rails: Adam Irving’s documentary follows New York resident Darius McCollum, who claims that his compulsion to impersonate officials of the New York City transit system is a result of his Asperger’s syndrome. And Irving is a little too sympathetic to his subject, which grows more grating over the course of the picture.

The Stairs: Full disclosure: I know Hugh Gibson socially. But that doesn’t mean I’m not wowed by his powerful look at harm-reduction workers in Toronto’s Regent Park, whose efforts to help drug users and sex workers be safer and healthier are informed by their own experiences. Go see this. It’s important.

Two Lovers and a Bear: Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan are the lovers in Kim Nguyen’s magic-realist fable; Gordon Pinsent, apparently, is the voice of the bear. Rad appreciates what Nguyen is up to, but doesn’t connect to it.

There you go! That’s the weekend. Enjoy the long weekend, Canada, and I’ll see you on Tuesday with a really, really, really great new episode of Someone Else’s Movie. Like, really great. You’ll see.

Case Workers

In this week’s NOW, I talk to Hugh Gibson (who is also this week’s guest on Someone Else’s Movie, because sometimes the stars align just the right way) about his powerful new documentary The Stairs, which opens at the Lightbox tomorrow after wowing audiences at TIFF.

You’ll also find my thoughts on Motley’s Law, another really strong doc that made its Canadian premiere last night at Doc Soup; there’s one more screening tonight at 6:45 pm, so if it sounds at all interesting you should definitely catch it while it’s here.

And now I’m off to New York for a couple of days. Work stuff. Trust me, you’ll be glad I went.

Undiscovered Country, Unexpected Episode

Today’s Someone Else’s Movie was supposed to be a bonus show episode dropping later this week, but schedules are fluid things, maaaan.

And it’s just as well,  because now Hugh Gibson‘s take on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country gets a proper release window and a full week at the top of the page rather than a few short days. It’s a great conversation, ranging through 50 years of the franchise and taking in a few other cultural touchstones as well, and while the connection to Hugh’s excellent documentary The Stairs (which opens Friday at the Lightbox; please go see it) may be tenuous, art is a continuum and filmmakers can find inspiration in the oddest places.

Check it out on  iTunesGoogle Play and Stitcher, or get it straight from the site. I expect you’ll enjoy this one even if you’re a green-blooded hobgoblin!

My other other gig.