All posts by Norm Wilner

Mothers and Daughters

Yeah, yeah, Father’s Day just happened — but you know how it works on Someone Else’s Movie, the guest picks the film.

And it turns out that Shayelin Martin, who stars in Wild Goat Surf as a teenager determined to surf in the Pacific, is a massive theater kid, and Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia! is her go-to comfort movie … so we were off on a bouncy, ABBA-inflected conversation about Amanda Seyfried’s ebullience, Pierce Brosnan’s bellowing and the  absolute joy of Meryl Streep enjoying herself in front of a camera.

We talked about some other stuff too, but I’m not going to spoil it all for you. You can find the podcast at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or just download the episode directly from the web, and listen to it while spying on the three men who might be your dad. (See? It’s Father’s Day after all.)

Regrettably, the Shiny Things publication schedule has slowed again, so all I got out last week was is a look at Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and The King Tide, a great big kaiju blockbuster and a tiny, eerie drama. But there’s a lot more coming. Have you subscribed? It helps if you subscribe.

Love and Madness

Yep, just as I figured, this week’s post is a little late. I did manage to get this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie out on time, but everything else has been jostled by the peak of my programming cycle and [waves vaguely in the direction of Oakville].

So hopefully you’ve already heard and enjoyed my conversation with Trevor Anderson, the writer and director of the excellent new drama Before I Change My Mind, on his very favorite film: Pedro Almodovar’s 1987 breakout Law of Desire.

If you’ve seen both films, the connections are pretty clear; if you haven’t, congratulations! You get to discover two terrific, genre-defying queer films just in time for Pride. (Seriously get on them; they’re both available on digital and on demand, though discs of Law of Desire are increasingly hard to find.)

You can find the podcast at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — directly from the web, and listen to it while you pace back and forth in the lobby during your latest premiere.

And then go catch up on Shiny Things! Last week I wrote about the pure frustration that is Sony’s Madame Web and a quartet of recent Arrow catalogue releases — Joe Carnahan’s Narc, Anthony Mann’s The Tin Star, Peter Yates’ Murphy’s War and Sidney Lumet’s Night Falls on Manhattan — that all seem to be saying the same things about he-man heroism, even though they’re operating in very different modes. That’s the stuff I live for, you know?

Join the Army!

I can’t believe I’ve been making Someone Else’s Movie for nine years now and this is the first time someone’s wanted to talk about Josie and the Pussycats. Or maybe I can, since Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont’s delightful 2001 satire still hasn’t received the respect it deserves.

Fortunately, Ally Pankiw is in the Pussycats’ corner. She loves it wholeheartedly, in fact, and was delighted to learn it was available for her episode of the podcast. And so we could talk about it the way she experienced it as a kid, a blot from the blue, and as an unlikely source of inspiration for her work writing Schitt’s Creek and directing that one episode of Black Mirror (“Joan is Awful”) and the first season of Mae Martin’s Feel Good.

(Ally’s new film, I Used to Be Funny, is also very good, and it starts rolling into theaters across North America this Friday. Don’t miss out.)

You can find the podcast at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while standing in line to buy whatever shiny new thing you suddenly want to own.

And speaking of Shiny Things, are you caught up on your reading? Last week, I covered the new releases of Kung Fu Panda 4 and Bob Marley: One Love, and the new 4K releases of Peeping Tom and American Sniper, two films that tell very different versions of the same unpleasant story. C’mon, subscribe already.

Also, given the uncertain publication schedule here, I should also let you know that next Tuesday, June 11th, is the date of the next See the North screening, and we’re featuring LIlies, an essential work of queer Canadian cinema now beautifully restored in 4K and presented in the company of director John Greyson and writer-star Michel Marc Bouchard. Tickets are still available — and free. Come on out, why don’t you?

The Haunted

You have likely never heard of Conor McPherson’s The Eclipse. And that’s okay; it was barely released on this side of the Atlantic, and never really found a larger audience on VOD or disc.

But those of us who have seen McPherson’s claustrophobic study of an Irish widower (Ciaran Hinds) who starts seeing ghosts have never been able to shake it.

I’m one of them, and so is Chris Nash, my guest on this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie. And while Chris was a little worried he wouldn’t have enough to say about the film — especially as it relates to his own first feature, the fairly brilliant revisionist slasher movie In a Violent Nature — he found his stride quickly enough, because when you’re talking about something you love you never run out of words. That’s the thing I love the most about the podcast, honestly.

So go give it a listen, and then go find The Eclipse. And see Chris’ movie as well, because what he achieves there is easily as interesting as what McPherson did in his film.

You can find the podcast at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while you zone out as a blowhard author talks about himself for hours on end.

And then maybe catch up on Shiny Things, because I did quite a lot of writing over the last week, starting with the duelling releases of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two and David Lynch’s original-formula Dune, and then tackling new editions of Del Toro’s Crimson Peak, Proyas’ The Crow, the Chiodos’ Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Schrader’s Affliction. And there’s more to come, I swear. Have you subscribed? Please subscribe, it makes me feel less alone.

Oh, and if you’re reading this on Wednesday the 29th, there might still be tickets left for my conversation with Emma Seligman for the Toronto Teen Film Festival.  I know, I know. I am old. But festival founder Dafna Winer asked me to sit down for an hour with the director of Shiva Baby and Bottoms to talk about her signature brand of anxious comedy, and honestly there’s nothing else I’d rather do. We hit the stage at 5:30 pm, it’s just $10, and at the time of this writing there were like fifteen tickets left. It’ll be fun! Come down!

The Stars at Night

On this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, I’m joined by documentary filmmaker and generally incredible artist Lisa Jackson — whose new film Wilfred Buck is now making its way onto screens across Canada,

Lisa’s film is a study of the eponymous Cree elder, who credits his interest in Indigenous cosmology with giving him a purpose after a lifetime of trauma. (It’s very good, and you should see it.)

Perhaps not by coincidence, Lisa chose another story that relies on understanding an elaborate, mysterious mythology: Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, the 2001 fable that won Studio Ghibli its first Oscar and further entrenched Miyazaki as a global legend in animation and world-building … though I still can’t get over that time he was a dick to his translator.

We get that out of the way in the first few minutes, and the rest of the episode is a fun stroll through impossible worlds and the challenges of making movies in Canada — you know, the usual sort of thing that comes up when discussing enchanted buffets and hungry goblins.

You can find the podcast at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while you’re cleaning up the ghost spa. So go do that!

And then catch up to the latest editions of Shiny Things, in which I run through recent horror titles Night Swim, Lisa Frankenstein and  Monolith and tackle the appeal of Mean Girls — both versions! — now that Paramount’s released both the 2004 original and the 2024 musical adaptation in spiffy 4K editions. Will “fetch” finally happen? Subscribe and find out!

Late Life Crisis

Yep, here we go, it’s time to start the next five hundred episodes of Someone Else’s Movie. And who better to have with me than actor and filmmaker Caitlyn Sponheimer, whose spiky new coming-of-age drama Wild Goat Surf is now playing in Toronto and Vancouver?

… well, no one, that’s why she’s here. And also because Caitlyn wanted to talk about Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, which stars Toni Servillo as a jaded celebrity journalist who finds himself questioning his life’s work on his 65th birthday and is the only one of the director’s films that I’ve actually enjoyed from start to finish.

It’s also the only of one his that Caitlyn has seen, so that made for a fun jumping-off point as I tried to explain my loathing of Il Divo to somebody who had no idea what I was talking about.

Come along for the ride! You can find the podcast at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it as you wander the streets of Roma, wondering whether all that decadence has truly nourished your soul.

Also, if you’re reading this on Tuesday you may still be able to snag a ticket for tonight’s See the North screening of Sook-Yin Lee’s Octavio Is Dead! The show starts at 6:30pm, with Sook-Yin in attendance for the intro and a post-screening Q&A. Let’s hang out, Toronto!

Number 500, Somehow

I know, I know. Milestones are meaningless. But five hundred episodes of Someone Else’s Movie ain’t nothing — it’s nine years of work that I’m truly proud of, a project I wasn’t sure would survive the pandemic but which would up evolving into a magnificent octopus of cinematic conversation with artists from all over the world. Every time I worry about burning out or running low on new guests, someone else comes along to engage fully with the concept and I’m reminded just how rewarding it can be to engage with artists about art.

This week, it’s Sara Canning, an actor you’ve seen in all sorts of film and TV projects over the last decade and a half, and with Christian Sparkes’ Sweetland and Sean Garrity’s The Burning Season rolling out across the country this month, it seemed like a perfect time to have her on the show.

And Sara picked a great title: Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene, the 2011 Sundance breakout that introduced us to Elizabeth Olsen as a young woman hiding out with her sister (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law  (Hugh Dancy) after losing two years of her life to a charismatic cult leader (John Hawkes). It’s a chilling examination of PTSD as experienced by someone who’s only beginning to understand the trauma she’s carrying, and Sara remains in awe of Olsen’s mesmerizing intensity and Durkin’s intuitive storytelling.

Join us, won’t you? Subscribe to the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download it directly from the web and listen to it in a vain attempt to distract yourself from intrusive memories.

And then you should catch up on Shiny Things, where this week I threw some love at Nancy Savoca’s Dogfight, a film that’s long been due for a proper celebration and which finally gets one in a new Criterion Blu-ray release. Subscribe right here, won’t you?

Also, if you’re making plans for next week, you should know this month’s free See the North screening is Sook-Yin Lee’s Octavio Is Dead!, a loose and mournful exploration of gender roles, identity and the legacies parents leave to their children that offered both Lee and star Sarah Gadon the chance to try something radically different with their respective skill sets.

Come on down! 6:30 pm, Tuesday May 14th.  Tickets still available, at least at the time of this post. Sook-Yin will be joining me for a post-screening Q&A, so that’ll be fun too.

Soho After Midnight

This week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie is a little on the short side, since I could only get Ned Benson during a highly regimented studio press day.

But having gotten to know Ned when he brought The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby to TIFF back in 2013, I knew he’d pack as much of himself into a twenty-minute window as humanly possible — and when he said he wanted to talk about Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, I knew we’d be just fine.

That’s because there’s an inherent excitement to any conversation about Scorsese’s 1985 comedy of errors: The thing moves like a freight train, racing alongside Griffin Dunne’s hapless office drone, who heads downtown for a date and almost immediately winds up accused of murder, burglary and who knows what else, pursued through the urban wasteland of pre-Giuliani Manhattan by a delightful ensemble of character actors. So we hit the ground running.

Also, the press day was for Ned’s new film The Greatest Hits, a bittersweet magic-realist romance starring Lucy Boynton, David Corenswet and Justin H. Min, which I wrote about in Shiny Things  earlier this month. It’s now streaming on Hulu in the US and Disney+ everywhere else, and you should see it.

For now, though, go listen to Ned’s SEMcast! It’s waiting for you at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web so you have something to listen to as you try to outrun your own angry mob.

And then catch up on your Shiny Things! This week I filed three thousand words on Scorsese’s The Departed and Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy, which came along just when I needed a hit of peerless commercial moviemaking. Subscribe so you don’t miss the next fun thing I write about!

Somewhere, My Love

Winter may finally be behind us, but this week on Someone Else’s Movie, I’m spending a little more time in the cold.

It’s for a good cause, though! Documentary filmmaker Ken Wardrop has a new movie, So This is Christmas, making its North American premiere at Hot Docs on April 30th,  about the efforts of five people to make it through a difficult holiday season, and it’s as compassionate and kind as the rest of his work so I’m happy to boost the signal.

And Ken picked a big one: Doctor Zhivago, David Lean’s equally gargantuan follow-up to Lawrence of Arabia, with the same epic sweep but putting the geopolitical struggle in the background, the better to play up the appeal of Omar Sharif and Julie Christie making grown-up goo-goo eyes at one another while Russia burns. Or freezes, I guess.

It’s a nice wide-ranging chat about aesthetic influences and artistic methods, and while neither of us sings “Lara’s Theme” at any point you should know we were thinking about it the whole time. Go listen!

You know the deal: Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it as you stare across the bleak Siberian wasteland, wondering if you will ever again see your beloved.

And then you can catch up on Shiny Things, where this week I wrote about Paramount’s physical releases of the fourth season of Star Trek: Lower Decks and all of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, just in case the whole streaming thing doesn’t pan out. You’ve subscribed, right? All the cool kids are doing it.

Cheers to a Real One

On this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, I’m joined by veteran screenwriter Paul Laverty — a dyed-in-the-wool British socialist and a genuinely lovely fellow who’s written nearly all of Ken Loach’s films since 1996 — including his latest and last, TheOld Oak, which is now playing in theaters across North America, including the good ol’ TIFF Lightbox.

Paul wanted to talk about a movie that’s very much in tune with his own belief that art should illuminate and move, as well as entertain, so he chose The Golden Dream, Diego Quemada-Diez’ 2013 migrant drama about three young people who embark on a dangerous train ride from Guatemala to America in the hopes of finding a better future. This was a really good conversation, touching on all sorts of things related to Paul’s own work, and I’m very happy we got to have it.

So join us! Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it as you hunker down on a long journey of your own.

And then catch up on Shiny Things! The haunted swimming pool had to wait, because Ned Benson’s The Greatest Hits premiered on Hulu and Disney+ over the weekend and that was far more important.  If you’re already a subscriber, you know why … and if you aren’t, jeez, I’m begging here.

Also! If you’re reading this on Wednesday the 17th, you might still have time to grab a ticket for TIFF’s free National Canadian Film Day screening of Philippe Falardeau’s La Moitie Gauche du Frigo, aka The Left Side of the Fridge, at the Lightbox at 4 pm. Made in 2000, it’s an extremely clever mockumentary that predicts pretty much everything about today’s hustle culture  and the gig economy — or maybe it didn’t predict anything, and that stuff was always on us. Philippe will be joining me for a Q&A after the show, so that’ll be extra fun. Tickets are available right here! And I said it was free, right?