Marvel’s latest is sucking up all the oxygen at the megaplex this week — and rightly so, because it’s delightful — but there’s plenty of counterprogramming, if you’re interested. And some of it is even decent.
The Dinner: Oren Moverman tackles Herman Koch’s semi-satirical novel about two couples having a heavy conversation over a lavish meal … and Glenn is very disappointed.
First Round Down: Ever wonder how a remake of Grosse Pointe Blank would play if it was situated in the world of Canadian junior hockey and the filmmakers didn’t actually understand why Grosse Pointe Blank works? Well, wonder no more. But Dylan Bruce makes the most of a starring role.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: James Gunn and his group of space jerks return for another round of interstellar mayhem, and boy oh boy is it fun. It’s also a little more melancholy than you might expect, which is totally a good thing.
I Am Heath Ledger: The latest of those dead-celebrity documentaries applies its familiar structure to the story of Heath Ledger, who appears to have been a decent guy who died far too young but left tons of video behind. I still think this format is ghoulish and superficial, but whatever. Spike viewers love it.
I, Daniel Blake: Last year’s Palme d’Or winner is Ken Loach at his Ken Loachiest, preaching to the choir with a contrived working-class-hero narrative. That said, Dave Johns is very good in it and Hayley Squires is terrific — and Loach orchestrates some very strong moments even as he steers the narrative towards its predetermined conclusion.
Jackie Boy: Cody Campanale’s no-budget drama about an awful person (Alino Giraldi) who might be trying to be less awful undermines its powerful talent with some very wobbly choices. Rad feels the same way about it as I did when I saw it at the Canadian Film Festival last year.
Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent: Michelle was very happy with Lydia Tenaglia’s documentary about the creator of California cuisine. I haven’t had time to see it, but now I’m hungry.
The Sandwich Nazi: Yup, there are two documentaries about restaurateurs opening today — and yes, Vancouver deli owner Salam Kahil would absolutely call himself a restaurateur. Among other things.
And there you go. It’s okay if you just see Guardians of the Galaxy, by the way. God knows I’m eager to see it again.