Category Archives: DVD

Acting Out

Lars Von Trier: Genius or jerkoff? It’s a question I’ve struggled to answer for decades now, and on this week’s Someone Else’s Movie I get just a little closer, since director Kristoffer Borgli chose Von Trier’s 1998 Dogme project The Idiots for the podcast.

The Idiots was, at the time, seen as Von Trier’s most provocative work — though it’d later be surpassed by Antichrist and The House That Jack Built — and I have never been all that fond of it. But Kristoffer saw it at just the right time, I guess, and it’s certainly influenced his work as a filmmaker, which is provocative and weird in its own specific way. (Have you seen Dream Scenario? You should really see Dream Scenario.)

Give it a listen! Subscribe at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while annoying people in the public space of your choice.

And then you should get caught up on your Shiny Things, since last week I went deep on Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and the new Criterion edition of Claude Chabrol’s La Ceremonie, as well as the label’s new Janus Contemporaries imprint. Subscribe already!

Oh, Yorgos

Yorgos Lanthimos never steps in the same river twice. Or he never casts the same spell. Or — well, you get it. The guy mixes it up, shuffling tones and genres as the mood strikes him to interrogate social structures and find humanity in the most absurd situations; his latest, Poor Things, up-ends the Frankenstein archetype by making the monster the smartest person in the room, and letting both her and the audience understand that the scientists trying to control and possess her are, well, dipshits.

This week on Someone Else’s Movie, actor and filmmaker Liz Whitmere — whose new short Cold makes its world premiere this Saturday at the Blood in the Snow film festival — joins me to dig into what’s still Lanthimos’ strangest film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the 2017 drama where Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan face off on an almost mythological level over guilt and culpability, with Farrell’s family hanging in the balance.

Is it a post-Haneke wallow in arch misery porn, or an Ostlundian comedy so bleak no one dares to laugh? Maybe it’s both! I don’t know! But Liz has ideas, and they’re good ones. Give her a listen! Just make sure you’ve already seen the movie, because we spoil the crap out of this one.

Subscribe at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while you sit at home waiting for your eyes to stop weeping blood.

And then you can catch up on your Shiny Thingses! Last week I reviewed Imprint’s new special editions of The Orphanage and Bug — both great — and Warner’s excellent 4K restoration of The Fugitive, which really holds up thirty years on. Julianne Moore being even more self-righteous than Harrison Ford is kind of amazing, honestly. Why haven’t you subscribed yet? You’ve already missed the Oppenheimer giveaway, you know.

Males, Bonded

This week on Someone Else’s Movie, my guest is documentary filmmaker and impact producer Chrisann Hessing — whose new feature We Will Be Brave just had its Toronto premiere at Reel Asian, and screens again next Friday, November 24th, in the Regent Park Film Festival.

Chrisann’s film takes a look at the efforts of the Good Guise, a group of Toronto men dedicated to forging a better path in their communities for themselves and others, rejecting the pull of toxic masculinity.

And the film she picked for the podcast is also about toxic behavior, sort of: It’s What We Do in the Shadows, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s goofball mockumentary about vampire flatmates crabbing at each other in Wellington, New Zealand. And it was an absolute pleasure to bounce around the movie and its spinoff TV series with her … even if we had to do it in the middle of a November thunderstorm.

Join us, won’t you? Subscribe at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web to enjoy as you wait with your pals outside that high-end club that’s never going to let you in.

And then you can catch up on your Shiny Thingses! Last week, I wrote about the joy of seeing Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up get a boutique UHD release from A24, and checked out the new 4K restorations of Fargo and Scrooged from Shout Studios and Paramount, respectively. Have you subscribed? Why won’t you subscribe? It’s good for you, dammit!

It Never Goes Away

In this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, I welcome writer-director Kyle Armstrong — whose new film Hands That Bind just landed in theaters and on digital in the US and Canada — to discuss a film he can’t get out of his head: Lodge Kerrigan’s excruciating 2004 drama Keane, starring Damian Lewis as a man in a perpetual state of crisis.

And I know where Kyle is coming from: Keane has haunted me too, ever since I saw it nearly twenty years ago, both for Lewis’ layered, tormented performance and Kerrigan’s refusal to tell us exactly what’s going on inside the character’s head. It’s a masterful film, and the circumstances of its production are plenty interesting too; we get into all of that in the course of the episode. So you should listen to it — and then catch up to Kyle’s movie, to see if you can detect the echoes.

To get it, just subscribe at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while you pace around the nearest bus depot.

You should also catch up to the latest editions of Shiny Things: Most recently, I reviewed Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One, Blue Beetle and Strays, now that they’re all on disc, and sunk into Arrow Video’s excellent new 4K restoration of Peter Weir’s Witness.

Which, if you’re a subscriber, you already knew! But if you’re not, well, you can fix that easily enough. Really, this doesn’t need to be a thing.

Happy Horny Halloween

So here’s the thing: Walerian Borowczyk’s La Bete is neither spooky nor scary. It’s a silly, bordering-on-campy tale of a fancy lady who has sex with a Bigfoot, or something, and in 1975 it was a modest art-house sensation for its graphic depiction of the above, and also all the masturbating. It’s not a horror movie, but it is a perfect Halloween choice, which is probably why Sebastian Back wanted to bring it to his episode of Someone Else’s Movie.

And so here we are, with a mostly serious conversation about why Borowczyk’s silliest production has endured for almost fifty years, and why it’s impossible to take seriously while also carrying some sort of compelling weight inside it. This is a story Borowczyk needed to tell, on some level, and you can sort of feel that while you watch it.

We also talked about whether you can separate nudity from sexuality, which is a question Sebastian ponders in his own film, Verona, which is opening theatrically in Toronto on Friday and playing in Landmark theaters across Canada on Monday.  It’s a moody, atmospheric work, and the young actor Kat Khan is terrific in it, so check that out if you can.

And check out the podcast too, of course! You can subscribe in all the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it the next time you go walking in the forest wearing something diaphanous. If that’s what you’re into, of course.

And then you should catch up on Shiny Things, which this week features my auteurist consideration of Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s first film, Passion, and Ben Wheatley’s latest, Meg 2: The Trench as well as that consideration of the Mission: Impossible franchise I’ve been meaning to write all summer.

Subscribe now so you don’t miss my review of Dead Reckoning: Part One when it drops later this week. I have thoughts.

Christmas Comes Early

Yes, yes. it’s Halloween next week but this week on Someone Else’s Movie it’s all about candy canes and life lessons as we carve out the big slice of holiday ham that is Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square.

Hey, that’s what Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, co-writers and co-stars of the very silly, very charming Dicks! The Musical, wanted to talk about, and I go where the guests want to take me. And it never hurts to spend some time with Dolly Parton, even  if she’s playing a goofy angel out to stop Christine Baranski’s Scroogey villain from selling an entire town to developers. It’s a very silly movie. But as Josh says, the songs do slap.

Get on it! Subscribe in all the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and blast it from the speakers of your Santa float. And go see Dicks!, because lunacy like that is a special and precious gift, and the Sewer Boys need all the friends they can get.

And of course there’s always Shiny Things, which last week tackled Barbie and The Last Voyage of the Demeter in one mailing and the new 4K editions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Videodrome, because that is how I roll. Have you subscribed? You should subscribe. Dolly would, I bet.

Welcome to the ’90s

Hey, look! Back to normal!

And this week on Someone Else’s Movie, I’m joined by longtime casting director and now first-time writer-director Jennifer Cram, whose weird, spiky comedy Sick Girl — starring Nina Dobrev and Brandon Mychal Smith, who are both very good in it — arrives in US theaters and on demand across North America this Friday.

And Jennifer wanted to talk about a touchstone of her own, Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites, the Gen-X comedy which marks its 30th anniversary next year and features some truly great actors shrugging their way through what’s basically a prototype version of Friends. But … are Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke giving two of their best performances in the middle of it all? Yes they are!

Join us, why not? Subscribe in all the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web, burn it to a CD and listen to it on your Discman. No school like the old school, after all.

And then, get caught up on your Shiny Things! Last week I reviewed the intermittently entertaining Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and dug into the new 4K releases of Rosemary’s BabyThe Exorcist and Ring; there’s a lot more coming this week, including a certain hot pink blockbuster that I was very likely the last person on earth to see.

… I’ve been busy, all right? Anyway it looks spectacular in 4K. Trust me.

A Brief Disruption

Hey, look! The server crashed but it’s back up and now I have even better security! Hopefully no one noticed, but if you did I’m sorry for the interruption.

And hopefully you’re also a subscriber to Someone Else’s Movie, because in that case you’ll already have the episode of the show that went out on Tuesday, featuring How to Fail As a Popstar creator, producer and co-star Vivek Shraya discussing her love for the 1992 Kevin Costner-Whitney Houston blockbuster The Bodyguard, which coincidentally provided the impetus for last week’s guest, Carolyn Taylor, to launch her docu-comedy show I Have Nothing.

I swear these things were not coordinated.

If you aren’t a subscriber, but you’re a regular visitor to the blog, you know the deal: Subscribe in all the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web. But if you’re a regular visitor to the blog, why aren’t you a subscriber? That’s weird. I think it’s weird.

You should also be subscribing to Shiny Things, because I’m back to a regular publication schedule there and I just covered the arrival of PreyLokiStar Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Picard in physical editions, which is an overall good thing, and the impressive new special editions of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Cross of Iron and Carlito’s Way. And there’s so much more coming! So subscribe! Jeez!

Upward Mobility

The ’80s are back, and I’m soaking in them.

This week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie sets it up, as my guest Carolyn Taylor — whom you’ll know from Baroness Von Sketch Show, and a dozen other things — brings Colin Higgins’ 1980 comedy 9 to 5 to the show, unpacking its only slightly satirical take on workplace sexism at the dawn of the Reagan administration (and celebrating the combined farcical power of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton) as I try to figure out how it connects to her six-part Crave reality series I Have Nothing. (Spoiler: It doesn’t, but you should watch the show anyway.)

You can find the podcast in all the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it in the break room.

And then you can join me for a trip through ’80s American genre cinema at the Lightbox on Friday, where I’m launching my very first series for TIFF Cinematheque: The Disreputables, a look at films that used their pulp status as cover so they could tackle the very real social and political issues of the day, and predict where the world was going. Movies like RoboCop and The Stuff and C.H.U.D. and The Running Manyou get it, right?

It all kicks off this Friday at 6:30 pm with Kathryn Bigelow’s Blue Steel, a film that gives Jamie Lee Curtis one of the best roles of her career as a rookie cop stalked by a maniac with a  stolen gun — and not so incidentally digs into the misogyny and authoritarianism baked into Hollywood action movies of the time. We’ve got a 35mm print. It’s going to be a great night.

The ’80 also pop up in Shiny Things, since Criterion’s splendid new Blu-ray edition of La Bamba is one of several restorations I reviewed over the weekend; I also covered Orson Welles’ The Trial and Shout! Studios’ new 4K edition of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, if you’re curious. That column was only for paid subscribers, though, so if you want to read it … well, you know what you need to do, right?

Step by Step, Rung by Rung

I’ve been sitting on this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie for a while; there were some issues with the audio that took a long time to figure out, but the good news is I eventually found an approach that worked. You might hear the tiniest hint of a buzz in the background, but that should be the worst of it. Also it turns out a slight sense of things being just a little off is thematically appropriate to the film under discussion.

So this week, finally. enjoy Tenzin co-directors Michael LeBlanc and Josh Reichmann digging into the murk of Adrian Lyne’s metaphysical 1990 thriller Jacob’s Ladder, and find that it’s entangled with their debut feature in several intriguing ways. And I manage to come to terms with my general resentment of Lyne’s movie over the course of the conversation, so that’s nice too.

You can find it in in the usual locations —  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it on the chiropractor’s table. Whatever feels right.

And then go check out Shiny Things, because boy have I been busy with that. Over the last few days I finally got through those celebratory Imprint boxed sets of Gene Hackman and Walter Hill, and there’s more to come — so subscribe already, jeez.