The Lure of the Unreal

cdn.indiewireI’m deep into Hot Docs, now that the actual festival has started, but since the world insists on turning …

The Age of Adaline: Blake Lively plays a perpetual 27-year-old in this romantic fantasy from Celeste and Jesse Forever director Lee Toland Krieger, somehow. Rad wasn’t impressed.

Ex Machina: With his directorial debut, screenwriter Alex Garland takes a nifty, evocative idea to the same place he always takes his ideas. Which is a little frustrating, to be honest.

The Forger: John Travolta plays an ex-con drawn into One Last Job so he can spend more time with his dying son. Glenn caught it at TIFF, found it to be okay. So, okay.

Lost River: Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut is as weird and goofy as Ryan Gosling himself. I can’t really recommend it, but he clearly had a hell of a time making it, and when the Blu-ray comes out it’ll make a perfect background visual for this year’s Halloween parties.

Pump: In which we are told, once again, that humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels is bad and we should feel bad. Glenn politely pushes back against the whole preaching-to-the-choir thing.

The Salvation: Look, I’ll watch Mads Mikkelsen grimly murder jerks any day of the week. But you gotta give me a little more than this.

The Water Diviner: Russell Crowe’s directorial debut is, according to Rad, as glum and self-important as Russell Crowe himself. I had to miss the screening because I was waiting on a plumber. (Is that ironic? I think it is.)

… really, though, it’s all about Hot Docs this weekend. Or at least it should be. Check out our minisite and find something to see!

Good One

Tig Notaro coverThis week’s NOW is our special Hot Docs edition, and I got to interview Tig Notaro for our cover. This made me very happy, partly because I’ve been a fan for years but largely because she almost died in 2012, and turned it into some of the most moving, terrifyingly alive comedy I’ve ever heard.

(You can buy that life-changing set on Emusic for just 49 cents. Go do that.)

Anyway, her survival — and the subsequent documentary about that — meant we got to talk, and that was wonderful. (Don’t forget to play the audio clips.) And once you’ve read the cover story, look for my reviews in the Hot Docs minisite; I should have about thirty up by the time you see this, with more to come.

Elsewhere in this week’s paper, I talk to Alex Garland about his directorial debut Ex Machina and say some things about the second National Canadian Film Day. I am a full-service writer.

Episode Six!

DS-2012-wall-shot-465x465 Short-Term12_1I’m going to have to come up with a new way of tagging these, I think. But the latest episode of Someone Else’s Movie is indeed the sixth one, and I like where it goes.

My guest this week is Stephanie Belding, late of Remedy, and she chose Destin Daniel Cretton’s complex, moving ensemble piece Short Term 12 … a film I’m always happy to put back out into the world. (Here’s my NOW interview with Cretton, if you’re curious.)

Episode Six is available right now on iTunes and Stitcher, or you can download or stream it right here. Please enjoy! And even if you don’t want to listen to a podcast, check out Short Term 12 anyway. It’s great.

In Short

blart-2-560x560Friday movie roundup time! Busy finishing the Hot Docs supplement! Six-word reviews! Go! Go! Go!

Beyond the Reach: Michael Douglas hunts a dude! Meh. [Glenn]

The Dead Lands: Maori martial arts make serious impact. [Rad]

Desert Dancer: Rosewater plus Footloose equals pandering junk.

Dior & I: Fashion is hard! Buy our clothes! [Sabrina]

Monkey Kingdom: Tina Fey narrates generic animal documentary.

Paul Blart, Mall Cop II: Paul Blart goes to Vegas. Swell.

True Story: Jonah Hill. James Franco. Calculated bullshit.

Unfriended: Internet ghosts! Someone call Kiyoshi Kurosawa! [Rad}

Also, something called The Road Within is apparently playing in town. No idea. Just heard about it. Will investigate.

Murdoch’s Little Helper

Karen-Page-600x300… well, okay, that’s a deeply unfair reading of what Deborah Ann Woll does on Marvel’s new Daredevil series. But she gets into that, and more, in a Q&A that’s just gone up on the NOW site. Check it out, why not.

And if you’re of a mind, maybe check out Daredevil too. It’s not quite the modern classic that Netflix and social media would have you believe, but it’s a good show with a strong sense of character. That ought to be enough, right?

Episode Five!

Kristian-Bruun-2-300x239Multi-Pass-the-fifth-element-1742871-516-271Tuesday brings a shiny new episode of Someone Else’s Movie to your ear-holes — or at least to your podcast software of choice.

This week, my guest is Orphan Black‘s Kristian Bruun, who’s championing Luc Besson’s unapologetically goony sci-fi adventure The Fifth Element. You guys are going to get tired of hearing me say how delighted I am by the unpredictability of my guests’ choices, but what can I say? It’s the truth.

Anyway, this was a fun episode. You can find it right now on iTunes and Stitcher, or get it straight from the website. So do that! And enjoy it!

Also, Orphan Black‘s third season starts this Saturday on Space. It’s a great show and Bruun is terrific in it, so it was, like, triply wonderful to have him on the podcast. Go #CloneClub!

Treasure, Buried

03-movie-review-clouds-of-sils-maria.w529.h352.2xI have no idea why Clouds of Sils Maria is opening now instead of last Christmas. It’s fantastic, and should have been competing for Oscars and stuff while the iron was hot. Instead, its North American distributors left it on a shelf to roll out now, as counterprogramming to Furious Seven and the latest Nicholas Sparks thingie. Whatevs, as the kids say; at least you can finally catch up to it if you missed it at TIFF, right?

Other movies are opening as well. They are not as good.

Clouds of Sils Maria: Olivier Assayas’ latest casts Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart as a fading movie star and her harried assistant — and then springboards that relationship into a glorious study of identity and power dynamics. And if that doesn’t hook you, Chloe Grace Moretz turns up as Katniss Everdeen, or something.

Cut Bank: A bunch of small-town jerks screw each other over for a fortune in Matt Shakman’s low-rent thriller, which is just a riff on ideas Joel and Ethan Coen really should have copyrighted by now.

Danny Collins: Crazy Stupid Love screenwriter Dan Fogelman makes his directorial debut with this road picture about an aging rock star (Al Pacino, somehow) on a journey of discovery. Glenn says it’s worth seeing for the cast, which also includes Bobby Cannavale, Annette Bening and Christopher Plummer.

The Longest Ride: I don’t do Nicholas Sparks movies, so Rad had to. Poor Rad.

Relative Happiness: A good idea and a strong lead performance have nowhere to go in Deanne Foley’s East Coast comedy about a B&B owner (Melissa Bergland) trying to keep herself grounded in the weeks before her sister’s wedding.

Road Hard: Adam Carolla turns his midlife crisis into a movie about an aging comic whose career dries up unexpectedly. Glenn thinks he nearly pulls it off.

The Salt of the Earth: Photographer and activist Sebastiao Salgado is appropriately honoured in this Oscar-nominated documentary, co-directed by Wim Wenders and the subject’s son Juliano. It’s good.

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet: Jean-Pierre Jeunet applies his gift for manic whimsy as insistently as possible to this adaptation of Reif Larsen’s children’s book. Hey, at least Rick Mercer gets an IMDb credit out of it.

See? Now go buy a ticket for Clouds of Sils Maria.

So Much Done, So Much Left To Do …

shaun-the-sheep-film-still-640-480This week’s NOW is overstuffed with film festivals — to the point where we couldn’t even include a couple of nifty director retrospectives in the print edition, and had to save them for tomorrow’s web column. (Ruben Ostlund at the Lightbox, and Hal Hartley at the Royal. Check ’em out.)

In the paper, though? You’ll find my pieces on this year’s Images, TIFF Kids and Cinefranco festivals — and believe me, that’s plenty. Get stuck in.

Episode Four!

web-arts-profile-ce24573fimgresIf it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Someone Else’s Movie — and this week, actress Tommie-Amber Pirie brings us Mike Nichols’ 1990 showbiz dramedy Postcards From the Edge into the basement, the better to discuss Meryl Streep’s intuitive performance and the lessons she took from the movie’s satirical-but-not-really examination of Hollywood’s treatment of women.

You can find the show on iTunes, or get it right here. Or you could do both, I guess, but that seems like a lot of work.

My other other gig.