A Moment’s Respite

Hey, guess what? There are fewer than a dozen movies opening this week, which means I don’t have to play the six-word game! Isn’t that swell?

Ally Was Screaming: Jeremy Thomas’ slight Calgary drama is a little undercooked, dramatically speaking, but it features some really good performances and a nice visual sensibility. The review explains it all.

Difret: Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s courtroom drama about legally permissible child rape in Ethiopia is of questionable artistic value, but Rad feels its heart is in the right place. 

Miss You Already: Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette are besties battling cancer with laughter and love in the latest from notorious hack Catherine Hardwicke. Glenn did not fall for it.

Of Men and War: Laurent Becue-Renard’s wrenching documentary — also screening next weekend at Rendezvous with Madness — is a devastating look at veterans trying to cope with PTSD. Gruelling but essential.

The Peanuts Movie: Charles M. Schultz’ beloved comic-strip characters get their own CG feature — and Rad liked it! I remain skeptical, but then I’ve never really had much paience for Blue Sky’s stuff.

Spectre: Basically, it’s Quantum of Skyfall, as the Bond reboot sputters somewhat on the conceptual side because Sam Mendes and his screenwriting team are a little too dependent on what’s gone before. I’m always happy to see actors I like (among them Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Rory Kinnear, Andrew Scott and Ben Whishaw) in something that pays well and ups their profile, but I  just wish the end product was a little stronger.

Theeb: Comparisons to Lawrence of Arabia may be a little premature — yes, Naji Abu Nowar’s wartime drama is set in the same place and time as David Lean’s masterwork, but its aims are different and its execution not nearly as refined. But just because something isn’t equal to one of the greatest films ever made doesn’t invalidate it as art, and Susan finds plenty of reasons to praise it. 

There, see? I can still make with the long takes when I have the time.

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