Wise Men Say

This week on Someone Else’s Movie, producer and distributor Avi Federgreen — whose Indiecan Entertainment just released its 100th feature, Monolith — drops in to talk about a movie I legitimately did not expect him to choose.

Specifically, he picked Some Kind of Wonderful, the movie John Hughes and Howard Deutch made after Pretty in Pink and which is basically Pretty in Pink with the genders flipped and a better ending.

Avi being Avi, the conversation also veers into the problems facing Canadian cinema — which is a subject that’ll come up again this week, as it happens — but I think you’ll see how the connections work, even with the rain delay.

Where can you get it? Why, simply subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play or Stitcher, or download it directly from the web. And then you can enjoy it, and you will be happy. People should be happy.

Ugly America

This week on the NOW site, I catch up with fellow Ryersonian Jason Jones — we were there at the same time, just a building away from each other — about his convulsively funny TBS comedy The Detour, which just launched its third season up here on the Comedy Network.

Have you seen the show? You probably haven’t seen the show. You should see the show. It’s kind of amazing, what he’s doing.

Also, I’m all over the audioscape this weekend: You can hear me discussing Oscar’s apparent embrace of horror — or at least genre — on CBC’s Day 6,  and on the indie side, Rad asked me to be the first guest on his brand new podcast, which he has yet to officially name. We talked about the Oscars too.

Ah, it’s the weekend. Listen to everything!

The Chill Settles In

Hey, here’s a fun fact: Two of this week’s openings have a Wynonna Earp connection. Birdland is the movie Melanie Scrofano was shooting when she auditioned for the show, and Badsville is directed by April Mullen, who helmed a number of season-two episodes, and stars Tamara Duarte, who played the revenant bartender Rosita in some of them.

… anyway, I think that’s cool.

Ava: Susan sees promise in Sadaf Foroughi’s first feature, which looks at (young) women’s issues in contemporary Tehran. I thought it was decent, too.

Badsville: I haven’t caught up to this, but it involves a biker gang disrupted by the power of love or something. Anyway, Rosita’s in it.

Birdland: Peter Lynch’s glossy, time-skipping mystery plays with early-Egoyan erotothriller tropes in a fun way, though I also expect that critics who weren’t around for Next of Kin and Family Viewing may not fully appreciate the joke. But the actors are definitely in on it.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool: Susan really likes Annette Bening’s work as Gloria Grahame in Paul McGuigan’s not-quite-a-biopic, which tells the story of Grahame’s final days and her relationship with the much younger Peter Turner (Jamie Bell).

Free Lunch Society: Kevin finds some merit in Christian Tod’s look at the minimum-basic-income movement, if not quite enough to sustain a feature.

Hollow in the Land: Dianna Agron is very good at not being Jennifer Lawrence, but the rest of Scooter Corkle’s plodding B.C. thriller is not nearly as good as Winter’s Bone. It’s a quandary.

The Insult: Ziad Doueiri’s allegorical drama about a dispute between a contractor and a mechanic that escalates until Beirut itself hangs in the balance returns to Toronto sporting a shiny new Oscar nomination for Best Foreign-Language Feature. So that’s nice.

The Maze Runner: The Death Cure: The first Maze Runner was so bad that I swore never to review another one. Upon hearing that this third and presumably final installment is 142 minutes long, I felt very good about this decision.

Midnight Return: The Story of Billy Hayes and Turkey: Sally Sussman’s look at the making of Midnight Express and its legacy of cultural insensitivity has some great stuff, and some stuff that’s not great at all. (Opens Tuesday at The Royal.)

Monolith: Katrina Bowden is basically the whole show in Ivan Silvestrini’s ticking-clock thriller about a woman trying to get her child out of a super-secure SUV … in the middle of Death Valley.

I also wrote things about The End of the F***ing World, a fun, dark UK series now running on Netflix. It’s fun and dark! You should watch it.

That’ll be the day.

This week’s guest on Someone Else’s Movie has the most imposing resume of anyone who’s ever done the show: In some five decades as an actor, Stephen McHattie has racked up credits on everything from Kojak and Starsky and Hutch to The X-Files and Orphan Black, and that’s just a sampling. Remember Pontypool? Yeah, that’s the stuff.

This week he’s in Peter Lynch’s avant-garde Toronto mystery Birdland, which gave me the chance to put him on the podcast. And Stephen swung hard, picking John Ford’s revolutionary Western The Searchers and really digging into it — after some gentle coaxing, that is.

Wanna listen? Of course you do. Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play or Stitcher, or download it straight from the site. And giddy up.

People in Pieces

I came out for Steven Soderbergh as my favorite American director last year, so you can imagine how stoked I was to learn that, in addition to returning to feature filmmaking last year with Logan Lucky he’d also directed a six-part dramatic miniseries for HBO.

It’s called Mosaic, it runs all week on HBO and HBO Canada starting tonight, and I wrote some words about it for NOW. And don’t worry, there are no spoilers. I don’t even reveal who gets murdered!

Hello, Movies Are Bad Now

Seriously, this is the kind of week that leaves one weary with disappointment. Go see Paddington 2. It’ll make you feel hope again.

Den of Thieves: Christian Gudegast makes his directorial debut with a shameless riff on Michael Mann’s still-untouchable Heat, and as much as I like Gerard Butler and Pablo Schreiber, Al and Bobby they are decidedly not. (Also, Heat was never boring.)

The Final Year: Okay, this isn’t bad or anything. But it’s a documentary about the last year of Obama’s foreign-policy team that tries to use Trump’s election as a third-act twist, which is just plain bizarre given that Obama’s former secretary of state was the woman running against him.

Forever My Girl: Jessica Rothe — such an unexpected delight in Happy Death Day — stars opposite Alex Roe in a tale of abandonment and reconciliation that was somehow not written by Nicholas Sparks. Poor Rad.  Poor, poor Rad.

Hostiles: Scott Cooper’s big, heavy Western has a fantastic cast and gorgeous locations, and doesn’t do anything with either. But if you want to see what actors do when they’re not given any direction at all, do check it out.

In the Fade: Yeah, the only good movies opening this week are TIFF titles. And thought Fatih Akin’s latest has been getting mixed reviews, Susan is staunchly on the thumbs-up side, arguing that Diane Kruger’s performance powers through any of the script’s issues.

The Road Movie: Dmitrii Kalashnikov’s dashcam tour of a chaotic Russia made a buzzy debut at last year’s Hot Docs, but Kevin doesn’t think there’s all that much to it.

12 Strong: What’s that? Den of Thieves doesn’t satisfy your craving for beefy, bearded actors lugging around heavy weapons? Well, Mr. Jerry Bruckheimer has a movie for you, and it comes coated in a sheen of post-9/11 jingoism! Whee!

… yeah, go see Paddington 2. Or see it again. Whatever works.

“And of course Alice goes back there all the time.”

Sunday marked the second anniversary of Alan Rickman’s death, and guess what? I’m still not over it.

Which is why, when Halifax blogger, screenwriter and podcaster Carsten Knox said he wanted to tackle Anthony Minghella’s Truly Madly Deeply on his episode of Someone Else’s Movie, the episode turned out to be a little more personal than either of us expected … perhaps because I knew Minghella a little, and I’m still not over his death, either.

Anyway. It’s a great conversation about art, love and mortality and I think I only choked up twice. We recorded it when Carsten was in town early last summer, and this seemed like the perfect time to release it.

Care to listen? Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play or Stitcher, or download it directly from the web. And, well, enjoy it.

Be Like Bear

Not planning to binge on Canada’s Top Ten this weekend? Well, there’s other stuff to see.

Aida’s Secrets: Filmmakers Alon and Shaul Schwarz untangle the story of two brothers separated at birth — and by the legacy of the Holocaust. They loved it at Hot Docs last year.

The Commuter: At no point does Liam Neeson punch a train, which is a slight disappointment. And Jaume Collet-Serra’s latest high-concept actioner never quite matches Non-Stop‘s giddy panic. But it’s a fun couple of hours.

Happy End: Michael Haneke’s latest, about a family in Calais dealing with more than their share of bougie discontent, occasionally feels like it was written by throwing some index cards at a wall … but Isabelle Huppert, Mathieu Kassovitz, Jean-Louis Trintignant and hey-that’s-Toby-Jones all came to play.

Mountain: Kevin is not terribly impressed by Jennifer Peedom’s look at mountaineering culture. I have not seen it myself, but he’s usually pretty perceptive about these things.

Paddington 2: Okay, we don’t need a sequel to Paul King’s wonderful family film. But he made this one too, and honestly it’s just as much of an eccentric, inspirational delight. Plus, Hugh Grant. And Brendan Fecking Gleeson.

Proud Mary: There was no press screening for what sure looks like a remake of Gloria starring Taraji P. Henson. The director’s last film was the godawful London Has Fallen, so I am not exactly stoked for this. 

Eh, it’s going to be a cold and miserable weekend. Go see the little bear.

My other other gig.