Category Archives: DVD

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?

Quirk Can Work

Surprise! It’s a Friday bonus episode of Someone Else’s Movie, because there are two very fine Canadian films opening today and I didn’t want to leave anybody out.

So I am joined by Anna Maguire, an actor and filmmaker I’ve been trying to book on the show for years now, ever since her lovely short Your Mother and I played TIFF back in 2016,  Have you watched that? Go watch that.

Anna stars opposite Hamza Haq in Kim Albright’s oddball comedy With Love and a Major Organ, which premiered at SXSW last year and is opening today in theatres across Canada, so that gave us an excuse to record. And she did not disappoint, picking Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude. You want to talk about oddball comedies? This one defined an entire subgenre, and more than likely gave Wes Anderson the toolkit for his entire career. I am not complaining. Neither is Anna. Give it a listen.

How to do that? Same as always: Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while you plan your next elaborate tableau. Just make sure you’re not really following through with it, of course.

This is the bit where I would ordinarily post a Shiny Things update, but I’m still working on the next edition; it’ll go out sometime this weekend. It might have a haunted swimming pool in it.  If you subscribe, you’ll be the first to know!

Old Haunts

This week on Someone Else’s Movie, I’m joined by writer-director Zarrar Kahn, whose first feature In Flames  is opening across Canada this Friday — and who I got to meet when we screened it at the festival last fall.

In Flames is a brooding, unsettling study of a Karachi medical student who, after her father’s death, finds herself beset by forces she doesn’t quite comprehend … and by others she understands all too well. It applies the rules of a genre film to a contemporary drama, nudging recognizable tropes in interesting new ways to create something that straddles the two disciplines.

As it happens, Zarrar picked another film with a similarly unquantifiable spirit: BeDevil, the first and only feature from Australian artist Tracey Moffatt, a 1993 collection of ghost stories united by themes of disconnection and miscommunication between the country’s Indigenous people and the white settlers who decided to take things over.

Addressing generational trauma, white privilege and colonial legacies in a slippery, unsettling way — and doing it decades before we had the language for those things — it’s a compelling and deeply weird work that takes up residence in your brain and refuses to leave. And Zarrar has some thoughts about that.

Want to listen? It’s easy! Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it in an attempt to drown out the music from the spectral ballroom where those spirits won’t stop dancing.

(Finding BeDevil is a little harder, mind you; it’s currently only available to stream at OVID.tv, or as a Vimeo rental. And only OVID seems to have the new restoration.)

And then go check out the latest edition of Shiny Things, where I spend 2800 words writing about James Cameron’s new 4K editions of Aliens and The Abyss. Which I went out and bought with actual money, because that’s how much I love them. Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!

The Wild One

On this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, I get to hang out with an actor I’ve admired for a while now: Sara Waisglass, a Degrassi alum who broke out — at least for me — in Molly McGlynn’s first feature Mary Goes Round, and went on to steal scenes in pretty much everything she’s done since. I was delighted to see her turn up as Michaela Watkins’ impulsive daughter in the new mid-life comedy Suze, and we set up her episode to mark that film’s arrival on VOD today.

And Sara did not disappoint, suggesting we talk about Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell’s hot-button drama starring Carey Mulligan as a med-school dropout who’s refashioned herself into an avenging angel and Bo Burnham as the nice guy who might offer her a way back to herself … or not.

I had some issues with the film, as you may recall, but Sara was more than up for that conversation … and I’m really happy with the breadth of the episode. So get to it! Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while you’re killing time at a downtown bar, looking for … prospects.

And then, you can catch up on Shiny Things. Not that it’ll take long; this week was pretty quiet, other than a quick check-in on the state of physical media (improving) and my efforts to unpack my own collection after eight months (much improved). But there’s more to come, and if you’re not a subscriber, you might miss it! So subscribe already! I’ve been writing this thing for almost two years now, jeez.

A Hero Emerges

This week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie is … well, it’s just plain fun.

I’m joined by actor Hamza Haq, the Transplant star who’s currently on screens across Canada in Fawzia Mirza’s lovely The Queen of My Dreams, and who’ll be coming back to those screens April 12th when With Love and a Major Organ opens nationwide.

Both films cast him as a romantic lead, but in very different modes: Queen capitalizes on his magnetism by casting him as a full-on dreamboat, while Organ asks him to play someone so withdrawn he’s practically inert. (It’s a comedy, so that’s okay.)

You should check them both out, is what I’m saying. But first, you should listen to Hamza discussing his love for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, the 2005 blockbuster that brought a more grounded approach to the Caped Crusader after a decade of more stylized interpretations, and set a course for superhero cinema as the defining narrative form of the early 21st century in a way the early X-Men and Spider-Man movies couldn’t.

More to the point, Nolan’s movie had a very profound impact on teenage Hamza, which is why he brought it to the podcast — and the result is a delightful conversation about world-building, casting, myth-making and heroes, with Hamza revealing his massive inner nerd right off the bat (no pun intended, I hate puns), reconnecting to his younger self and just generally having a great time. I did too. Like I said, this was a fun one.

What to do? Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it on the secret earpiece inside your cowl.

And then catch up on Shiny Things! Last week, I spent a few thousand words spinning up the new Imprint editions of Mountains of the Moon, Face to Face, The Dresser and Lenny, Shout Studio’s comprehensive 4K boxed set of the American Ring cycle and Arrow’s 4K upgrade of original-recipe Ring director Hideo Nakata’s Dark Water. All good stuff, and there’s more coming. You should probably subscribe, huh.