Category Archives: Culture Shock

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!

Hell, Yeah

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.

Parenthood

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.

Check it out! Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher and get the episode immediately, or download it directly from the web. And then watch Thousand Pieces of Gold. It’s very good.

… and yes, I know I’ve fallen way behind on the updates. So here’s what I’ve achieved in the last week:

Christ, I’m tired.

Way Down in the Hole

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.

Wanna listen? Why not?  Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher and get the episode immediately, or download it directly from the web. Sorry about the fuzz.

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!

At Home By Myself, With You

The whole world is on lockdown, but I’m keeping busy: Writing streaming galleries for NOW including this overview of what’s on CBC Gemthe 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.

The Long Decade Closes

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.

Also, I forgot to post links to our December roundups for Netflix, Amazon and Crave, so here they are. Sorry!