It is a very strange week for the movies. The 800-pound gorilla of the week, Kong: Skull Island, is a giant-monster movie unlike any other before it … and you could say the same about all of the counterprogramming, too. Let’s check ’em out, shall we?
Hello Destroyer: Kevan Funk’s hockey drama takes a cerebral approach to a brutally corporeal subject, and it’s pretty effective … though I do think it would be even more effective at a tighter running time.
Kong: Skull Island: Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who made The Kings of Summer and directed the pilot of You’re the Worst, brings his specific weirdness to a giant-monster movie with a whole bunch of interesting actors. And it kinda rules.
The Last Laugh: Ferne Pearlstein’s documentary picks up on an idea Alan Zweig first explored in When Jews Were Funny: Is it possible to make jokes about the Holocaust, and are Jewish comics in an especially good position to do so? Susan considers her own response to the question in her review, which is also interesting.
The Last Word: Susan has so much love for Shirley MacLaine’s performance in Mark Pellington’s obituary comedy that she’s willing to forgive a number of its weaknesses. (Me, I’m wondering what Mark Pellington — of Arlington Road and The Mothman Prophecies — is doing making comedies.
Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming: There’s a precision to Ann Marie Fleming’s delicate animated drama that belies the casual affect of its hero, an intensely self-conscious young woman (voiced by Sandra Oh) whose trip to a poetry festival in Iran becomes an investigation into her own history. And it’s lovely.
That’s everything, right? Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for coverage of the Canadian Screen Awards on Sunday night, or check back on Monday for the winners. Never bet against Xavier Dolan, is all I’m saying.