Eleven movies are opening today, which seems like an awful lot to cover until you find out several weren’t made available for review (or, in the case of The Promise, were screened but somehow nobody told you). So we muddle through as best we can. Join me, won’t you?
Born in China: Rad finds that the latest DisneyNature release has the same weaknesses as all the other ones — ignoring uncomfortable realities to construct an unchallenging kid-friendly narrative. At least the pandas are cute.
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City: Susan loved Matt Tyrnauer’s doc about Jane Jacobs’ efforts to derail the Lower Manhattan Expressway at TIFF last year. I’m looking forward to catching up to it once I’ve cleared all the other documentaries on my plate.
Colossal: Nacho Vigalondo’s monster movie offers a fantastic Anne Hathaway performance and a really clever concept, but it gets snarled up in some character stuff in the final movement. Still worth seeing, but lower your expectations.
Elsewhere, NY: Toronto director Jeffrey P. Nesker’s Manhattan love triangle has been knocking around the festival circuit since late 2014, and now opens at the Carlton with minimal promotion. So, okay.
Free Fire: Ben Wheatley’s ’70s shootout is a blast in more ways than one, playing with genre conventions and period tics to create a delightfully entertaining feature-length set piece. Everybody’s having the best time. You will too.
The Lost City of Z: James Gray makes a magnificent spectacle out of one man’s obsession in this intimate epic, which will probably fare as well as every other one of his recent movies. Maybe you can help out by, I dunno, going and seeing it.
Menorca: John Barnard’s Manitoba indie has a disreputable vibe that recalls countless direct-to-video productions from the late ’80s and early ’90s, but it doesn’t deliver on that seedy promise. Tammy Gillis is terrific, though.
Phoenix Forgotten: The feature directorial debut of Justin Barber, producer of Barry Jenkins’ Medicine for Melancholy, is …a found-footage thriller about aliens or something? Anyway, no press screening.
The Promise: Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale fight over Charlotte Le Bon as the Armenian genocide rages in the background. I think. This is the one that screened without me.
Strangers on the Earth: Glenn really responded to Tristan Cook’s documentary about the people who walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, so if you’re looking for a contemplative doc with occasional cello music, this will be your jam.
Unforgettable: This is the one where Katherine Heigl gaslights Rosario Dawson because Dawson has the temerity to date Heigl’s ex. No press screening, but Phil saw it. Poor Phil.
Okay, that’s everything. On with the day.