I told you this week was going to be busy — though with only twelve films opening, I guess it’s not that insane. Shall we dive right in?
Across the Line: Stephan James (of Selma and Race) is terrific as a Nova Scotia hockey prodigy whose future is threatened by family pressure and racial tensions in the feature debut of music-video wunderkind Director X.
Barbershop: The Next Cut: I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to see how this fits into the DC Cinematic Universe! [UPDATE: Rad‘s into it.]
Colonia: Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl co-star in Florian Gallenberger’s cult thriller (which is to say, a thriller about a cult), which kinda whiffed at TIFF and arrives in theatres with virtually no fanfare now.
Criminal: Another Ryan Reynolds brain-swapping movie so soon after Self/Less? Well, sort of — though this one plays more like a mirror image of Face/Off, focusing on a convict (Kevin Costner) who’s implanted with the memories of a murdered FBI agent and drawn to the dead man’s family. Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman are in it, too, so technically it’s also the weirdest JFK reunion imaginable.
The Dark Horse: Cliff Curtis — last seen as Jesus himself in Risen — gets a rare leading role as a bipolar chess prodigy who becomes an unlikely mentor to a troubled teen (James Rolleston). Rad liked it.
The Jungle Book: Jon Favreau brings the Disney classic to life, sort of, with a blend of live-action and CG that inadvertently finds the ceiling of this whole Disney remake experiment.
The Measure of a Man: Rad found diminishing returns in Stephane Brize’s grim study of a newly unemployed middle-aged man (Vincent Lindon). I agree: Lindon is terrific, but the movie stacks its deck a little too heavily.
Miles Ahead: Don Cheadle makes a great Miles Davis, but not a great Miles Davis movie. Which is a shame, honestly, because I really hoped this would work.
Prisoner X: In which Michelle Nolden and Romano Orzari make angry faces at one another because they’re trapped in a no-budget sci-fi thriller with half an idea and zero sense of how to execute it.
Regression: Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson (hey, her again!) unpack a thorny but ultimately wildly unsatisfying mystery in Alejandro Amenabar’s deeply flawed period thriller.
Robin and Mark and Richard III: Mark McKinney decides he wants to go through Shakespeare boot camp, and enlists Stratfords’s Robin Phillips to teach him how to perform one of the playwright’s most complex characters. Glenn is intrigued by the potential.
The Saver: Imajyn Cardinal plays a Montreal teenager desperately trying to create a new life for herself in the new drama from Marion Bridge director Wiebke von Carolsfeld.
A Sunday Kind of Love: Geordie Sabbagh’s low-key romantic fantasy doesn’t quite work, but it’s worth catching (maybe on demand) for a delightful turn from Wynonna Earp star Melanie Scrofaro.
Transfixed: Susan finds much to appreciate in Alon Kol’s documentary about trans activist Martine Stonehouse and her partner John, whose lives are even more complicated than you might think.
There, that’s everything. Oh, except for this thing I wrote about the possibility of AMC creating texting sections in movie theatres. (Short version: It is terrible and must be smothered in the crib.) And you still have the weekend to enter NOW’s National Canadian Film Day contest — you could win two tickets to next Wednesday night’s screening of Scanners and see me host a Q&A with star Stephen Lack! That sounds cool, right? Sure it does.