So anyway, America is … not doing so good. I wrote some words about it for the NOW website.
First things first: Wynonna Earp is back!
That show I love, made by some really swell people, kicks off its fourth season Sunday night after two years in limbo, and I’ve seen the first two episodes and they’re great and I can’t wait for more as soon as they finish shooting them.
But wait! How are they making television in a plague year? Well, that’s the subject of today’s NOW What podcast, which features Melanie Scrofano bringing me up to speed about culture shock and COVID protocols on the Wynonna set in Calgary. She’s the best, do give it a ilsten.
And if you’re looking for stuff to watch before Sunday night comes around, there’s a new season of Street Food on Netflix, which I reviewed here. And NOW’s handy VOD calendar is packed with options, and even includes a capsule review of Romola Garai’s directorial debut Amulet, which I thought was pretty decent and has enough supernatural creepery to maybe tee up some Earping later in the day.
That’s everything for now. Have a nice weekend! Stay hydrated, it’s gonna be a blast furnace out there.
Every now and then I start a conversation with strangers and end up making new friends.
That’s the way it went with this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, where I ended up bonding with the absolutely lovely Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto over Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s L’Enfant.
In addition to being very talented filmmakers — which people can finally see for themselves, now that their 1991 drama Thousand Pieces of Gold has been restored and reissued after decades in obscurity — they’re also just delightful people, and their insights into the Dardennes’ masterwork will make you feel optimistic about humanity. And honestly, we really need that right now.
… and yes, I know I’ve fallen way behind on the updates. So here’s what I’ve achieved in the last week:
- A list of essential Black cinema from filmmakers who aren’t necessarily as well-known as your Spike Lees, Ava DuVernays and Barry Jenkinses.
- A review of Becky, that movie where Kevin James plays a scary neo-Nazi
- More capsules for the NOW VOD calendar, including a review of the gorgeous new 4K disc of Jaws
- Three new episodes of NOW What: A panel about the push to defund police departments in order to save Black lives, a Hot Docs chat with Nathalie Bibeau, director of the Rogers Audience Award-winning The Walrus and the Whistleblower, and today’s episode about how to protest during a pandemic. Get on ’em!
Christ, I’m tired.
Well, it finally happened: I had to record an episode of Someone Else’s Movie over the phone.
It wasn’t anybody’s fault. Zoom was having an off-day, so Keir Gilchrist now sounds like he’s calling into a radio station from the year 1995. But weirdly enough, it kind of works for the episode, since we’re talking about a movie that reaches seriously into the past: Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog’s 3D exploration of the Chauvet Cave in France, and the ancient paintings discovered within.
Herzog being Herzog, the movie finds rapture in archaeology while also noticing the weird stuff in the corners … which gives us plenty to talk about.
Oh, and there are two new episode of the NOW What podcast ready to jam into your ear-holes right now! My Hot Docs interview with Lulu Wei, director of There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace dropped on Sunday, and today’s episode finds Enzo DiMatteo interviewing placemaker Jay Pitter about public spaces and who gets to use them in a time of self-isolation.
What’s a placemaker, you ask? Listen and find out!
The whole world is on lockdown, but I’m keeping busy: Writing streaming galleries for NOW including this overview of what’s on CBC Gem, the latest installment of Shut-In Cinema and a review of the only new movie “opening” this weekend, Lorcan Finnegan’s high-concept thriller Vivarium.
But I’ve also been making another thing, which finally made it out into the world today: NOW’s brand-new podcast NOW WHAT, a show about how individual Torontonians are coping with life in the age of COVID-19. We’ve had some minor issues with the RSS feed, but you can stream the first episode on Spotify or just listen right here if you can’t see it in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. It’s good! You should listen!
And if you’re too busy to do that right now, don’t worry. You’ll have time.
NOW’s great big End of the Decade package is out, and in it you will find me contributing several things to our list of 50 key events that defined Toronto. It was an honor to write about Jack Layton’s death, a little less of one to write about Rob Ford’s life.
I also ran down the best films of the decade, which I remind you is an entirely subjective list and you should like what you like and nothing matters anyhow because we’ll all be dead someday. But seriously, if you missed The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby you really ought to catch up to that.
Oh! And we built a list of the Best Toronto Movies of the Decade, too. People love lists. I guess I have to accept that.
It’s NOW Readers’ Choice time again, and I have written a few things for the package of winners!
Can you tell which ones are mine? You probably can! They’re all where you expect they’d be! I’m predictable like that!
Anyway, hi. It’s raining out, I’m probably trying too hard to be enthusiastic about stuff.
JFL 42 gets underway today, and I contributed a few names to NOW’s roundup of must-see shows.
And check back tomorrow morning for my review of Between Two Ferns: The Movie, which is screening at the Lightbox tomorrow afternoon as one of those way-fun ComedyCon events! I’d put it up now, but it’s embargoed!
Remember when I talked to Jen Gunter back in June about her upcoming CBC web series Jensplaining? Well, it drops tomorrow, just days after The Vagina Bible arrives in bookshops, so I’ve written an expanded version of our conversation for this week’s NOW.
Read the piece. Watch the show. Buy the book. Jen’s great, and pretty much everything she does is good for someone. I am happy to support this however I can.
Yesterday marked the return of The Beaverton to the airwaves — and to the world, thanks to CTV’s decision to make it available globally via YouTube — which was a nice opportunity to talk to Miguel Rivas and Emma Hunter, who are not really journalists but wildly talented sketch comics and actors.
Oh, and TIFF blasted out its first wave of programming announcements, so I had to spend a few hours making sense of those as well.
Joker is a Gala. What the damn hell.