The Inspirations

You may have noticed I don’t do too many interviews for NOW these days , but sometimes the stars align. This week finds me talking my head off — and they’re all really great conversations.

In the print edition, I talk to John Boyega, whom you may have noticed being awesome in Attack the Block and the new Star Wars movies, about his role in Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. The movie has some pacing issues, but Boyega is amazing in it, offering a whole new side of himself we’ve never seen before. So, you know, make a note of that.

But that in no way is all: Later today, you’ll see my web Q&A with Al freaking Gore, accompanied by Participant Pictures honcho Jeff Skoll, on their new documentary An Inconvenient Sequel, and another one Jenny Slate, who’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite people, on Landline, which reunites her with Obvious Child‘s Gillian Robespierre and wound up having even more resonance than either of them expected.

So, yeah! People have stuff to say! Go find out what it is!

Canada Day

It’s Wednesday, so therefore it must be time for another one of my Harbourfront Free Flicks screenings!

I know, I’m a broken record on this. But honestly, when the series ends we slide right into TIFF, and does anyone really want that?

Anyway, this week we have another all-Canadian delight: Philippe Falardeau’s My Internship in Canada, a charmingly weird 2015 comedy starring Patrick Huard as a Quebec politician who winds up holding the deciding vote on a war resolution, and finds himself pressured on all sides, and torn between his hawkish wife (the very funny Suzanne Clement) and their pacifist daughter.

It’s a great little movie and I’m very happy to be able to screen it tonight. Here, check out my TIFF 2015 interview with Falardeau, Huard and Clement and see if that doesn’t pull you down to the waterfront.

Show starts at 8:45 pm! Hope to see you there!

Surveillance Tapes

On this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, director William Oldroyd — whose Lady Macbeth just opened at the Lightbox last weekend, and is quite good — drops by to discuss Michael Haneke’s Caché. Neat, huh?

It’s the first time anyone’s brought a Haneke film onto the show, so naturally the conversation ranges across his entire filmography. I think you’ll enjoy it, even if you share my opinion that Haneke is an incredibly uneven filmmaker. (That said, Caché is one of his very best, and I was delighted to be able to talk about it.)

You know the drill, right? Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play oStitcher, or download it directly from the web. Everybody’s doing it! Be like everybody!

Also, I made my glorious return to the Toronto Mike’d podcast yesterday as part of his Kick Out the Jams program. Jams were indeed kicked, and you can listen to me doing the aforementioned kicking right here. Enjoy!

Something To Tide You Over

Stephen King is back on  the cultural landscape in a big way thanks to Stranger Things riffing on half of his books, and Sony’s big-budget, all-star movie of The Dark Tower opens this week, with Warner’s remount of It coming in September.

This is therefore the perfect time to dig into King’s filmography and deliver the definitive ranking of almost three dozen screen adaptations of his work, leaving out material written directly for the movies (and, ah, plumb forgetting about The Night FlierThe Langoliers and Kimberly Peirce’s disappointing Carrie remake).

What can I say? It’s a living.

Shrouded in Mystery

No paper this week, but we do have movies opening even if Sony declined to screen two of them. Here’s what’s what!

Atomic Blonde: Charlize Theron and John Wick co-director David Leitch join forces for an ultraviolent ’60s spy movie. And James McAvoy is in it! Sounds like a recipe for fun. Rad found some parts of it (specifically,  Theron) more enjoyable than others (everything else).

Broken Mile: Toronto filmmaker Justin McConnell goes the gimmick route with a real-time chase picture constructed as a single take. At least it’s an hour shorter than Victoria.

The Emoji Movie: Gee, I wonder why Sony didn’t screen this one. UPDATE: Rad saw it. For the kids.

Lady Macbeth: I liked William Oldroyd’s austere drama about a 19th century sociopath (Florence Pugh) — a lot more than Susan did. Like, a lot more.

Mubarakan: Arjun Kapoor plays identical twins — one raised in London, one in Punjab — in Anees Bazmee’s Bollywood import, which Sony dropped into regional release at the last minute.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World: Catherine Bainbridge’s documentary celebrates the influence of Native American musicians on blues, soul and rock ‘n roll. It’s a knockout.

Or you could just see Dunkirk, I guess. Have you seen Dunkirk?

Life Lessons

It’s Wednesday, so I’m gearing up for another Free Flicks screening at Harbourfront Centre. It’s getting a little monotonous, isn’t it?

Well, tonight we do something really different, presenting Ann Marie Fleming’s Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming — an animated drama about a young woman who travels from Vancouver to Iran for a poetry festival, and discovers far more about herself than she ever imagined she could.

With voices provided by Sandra Oh, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Don McKellar and Ellen Page, and Fleming employing a nifty visual strategy, it’s as odd and beautiful a film as I’ve ever been able to book for this venue . (Here’s my NOW review from earlier this year.) I really hope people come out to see it. That means you, too.

Oh, and also TIFF held its launch conference yesterday and I wrote some stuff about it. Whatevs.

Dark and Dangerous

This week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie is a little shorter than usual. My guest chose a short film; I should have seen that coming.

The guest is Dave McKean, an illustrator, artist and filmmaker I’ve admired for decades; the film is Street of Crocodiles, a 1987 short work from the Brothers Quay that remains one of their oddest and most disturbing works three decades later.  And we had a really good chat about it.

Wanna join us? Subscribe to the show on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play oStitcher, or download the episode straight from the web. And enjoy! Try not to have nightmares, though. Just try.

On the Beach

While the world is arguing over whether to see movies in 70mm or wait for them to turn up on Netflix, at NOW we pay attention to the movies themselves. Well, shut up, world! Here’s what’s opening!

The Black Prince: Kavi Raz’ historical drama tells an epic tale of a kingdom shaken and a throne deferred. Rad is not in the least on board with it.

Dawson City: Frozen Time: Bill Morrison’s latest archival mix tape — created almost entirely from hundreds of reels of nitrate film discovered in the Yukon — is a sizzling, sputtering dream. Give in to it. 

Dunkirk: Christopher Nolan’s WWII picture is a stunning technical accomplishment — like all of Nolan’s films,  I suppose — and also the leanest, sharpest thing he’s made since Memento, an experience that puts you on the beach, in the air and under the water and pulls you out breathless and rattled. And yes, see it in 70mm.

A Ghost Story: This might be the quietest, saddest film we see all year. At least, I hope it is. David Lowery, Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara — who last collaborated on Ain’t Them Bodies Saints — reunite for a metaphysical drama that only wants break your heart. 

Girls Trip: “Not into Dunkirk? Come see Queen Latifah and Regina Hall go wild in New Orleans!” I mean, as counterprogramming goes it’s not the worst idea. Susan liked it.

Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan: Kathleen finds much to admire in this documentary about the eponymous dancer. I hope to get to it eventually.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: Luc Besson is back in Fifth Element mode for a dazzling, 3D tale of space nonsense that Rad found reeeeeeally annoying, and which I did not realize was two and a quarter hours long.

The War Show: Susan is entirely on board with Obaidah Zytoon’s ground-level look at Syria’s civil war, following Zytoon’s activist friends from 2011 and 2013 as the country tears itself apart around them. I really want to see this, too.

Phew. Okay, now I have to go talk to Al Gore and Jenny Slate. Hope you all have interesting days planned too!

Here’s To You, Morty

Tonight’s Harbourfront Free Flicks screening arrives under a bit of a cloud: Yeah, Meatballs is still a beloved ’70s summer-camp comedy with a breakout Bill Murray performance, but it’ll play differently for a Toronto audience after the passing of Harvey Atkin.

Atkin — who played camp owner and genial punching bag Morty — had a long and varied career as an exasperated authority figure, turning up in everything from Cagney & Lacey to Barney’s Version over the decades. And his honking voiceover defined Toronto furniture clearing house Leon’s in hundreds of TV spots, which likely made him more money over the years than any of his acting gigs. It was always nice to see him pop up in a thing, and he’ll be missed.

Anyway, the movie’s still funny and Morty isn’t so prominent in the narrative that Atkins’ screen presence will grow melancholy. Come on down and raise a glass of bug juice to his memory with me. We’re starting around 8:45 pm.

My other other gig.