Category Archives: DVD

The Tipping Point

It’s two days to TIFF and everything is chugging along just fine, honest! Unpacking is good cardio! The heat wave has not melted my brain inside my skull at all!

(Honestly, though, moving to a house with modern climate control has been an incredible improvement. I’m still not sleeping well, because after one’s late forties that’s just not a thing, but I’m pretty sure I’m sleeping better than I have in a while. Also: Water pressure! Water pressure!)

Anyway, as I prepare to fire myself into the whirlwind of TIFF 2023, here’s a new episode of Someone Else’s Movie for ya, featuring writer-director M.H. Murray — whose excellent first feature I Don’t Know Who You Are it will be my pleasure to introduce to the world on Thursday night — on Krzysztof Kieslowski’s magnificent 1993 drama Three Colors: Blue. the one where Juliette Binoche goes swimming.

Look, if you’ve never seen it I’m certainly not going to ruin it for you. Go subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and/or Spotify,  and of course you can also download the episode directly from the web and listen to it in the rush line.

And also! Shiny Things! This week I wrote about the manic pixie dream characters that unite Roman Holiday, Weird Science and The Flash — hey, this is my thing — and the next edition will focus on two remarkable new boxed sets from Via Vision’s Imprint line. Are you a subscriber?  You should be a subscriber.

See you around the festival. I’ll be the guy with the unearned air of confidence, trying to figure out how to take over the Talking Heads screening.

Chugging Along

TIFF kicks off in eight days and I am just fine. I really am! We’re settling into the new place, I’m getting back into a good rhythm with Shiny Things and putting the final touches on this other project I’ve got going on with TIFF Cinematheque later this fall. You’ll see.

So why is this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie a rerun? Two reasons: First, it’s a great episode and I thought it’d be fun to revisit one of the very earliest episodes of the show almost eight and a half years later … and second (and probably more relevant), Children Ruin Everything is airing on The CW in the US now, and a lot of people are discovering the exquisite comic exasperation of Aaron Abrams … so why the hell wouldn’t I want to roll his episode back into the world?

Especially when Aaron picked Bill Murray and Howard Franklin’s Quick Change, one of the all-time great comedies of frustration, as a trio of over-it New Yorkers (Murray, Geena Davis and Randy Quaid) rob a Manhattan bank to fund their exit plan only to find they can’t actually leave New York City. It’s a brilliant picture with an absolutely incredible bench of character actors, and Aaron  was just wonderfully accommodating of a neophyte podcaster who wasn’t really sure what he was doing at that point. Not that I’m any more confident now, I suspect.

Anyway, it’s my gift to you all, so go enjoy it! It’s available on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  and of course you can also download the episode directly from the web and listen to it on the way to the goddamn airport.

And then go catch up on Shiny Things, why don’t you? I just published a paid edition looking at Criterion’s splendid new 4K disc of Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams and their Blu-ray edition of Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman, and there’s more coming soon. Subscribe if you haven’t already; you like movies, right? Otherwise, why are you even here?

Normal Service Resumes

So we moved! It was a rough day, but it’s over now and Winnie is just getting used to the idea that she has more floors to explore and protect. (She thinks she’s a watchdog, but honestly? She’s just noisy.)

And now that all of that is over, all we have left to deal with are our full-time jobs and our aging parents — so that’ll be a breeze, right?

Anyhow. I managed to get an episode of Someone Else’s Movie out this week, because sleep is for the weak, so you get to enjoy my conversation with Calgary writer-director Berkely Brady — whose creepy new thriller Dark Nature is now streaming on Hollywood Suite after its spring theatrical run — about what only feels like an incongruous choice: Garry Marshall’s Beaches.

You’ll be happy to know I kept myself from doing my Garry voice, which is pretty good but nowhere near as good as Paul F. Tompkins’ truly majestic interpretation. (This Comedy Bang Bang episode, featuring Gillian Jacobs, may be the hardest I’ve ever laughed at Tompkins’ work — and that’s really saying something.)

So you should check that out, and listen to Berkley’s thoughts on melodrama, the dynamics of female friendship, the cinema of Douglas Sirk and plenty more. It’s right there on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  or download the episode directly from the web and send it to the person who knows you best in all the world. That’d be nice.

And then, eventually, you’ll find that new edition of Shiny Things I’ve been trying to write for the last ten days — the one with reviews of Blackberry and Fast X, and a giveaway for the latter! Keep an eye out for that, and if you’re not already a subscriber … well, maybe you should be? It’s pretty good.

55 (well, almost)

It’s my birthday tomorrow, but … well, if you’ve been keeping up with Shiny Things you know we’re dealing with a lot of stuff, not the least of which is moving across town on Friday.

Don’t worry, we’re managing! Other than the usual existential terror that comes from boxing up nearly seven thousand discs and a very complicated AV system, everything’s been going pretty well. I even had time to release an episode of Someone Else’s Movie this morning.

The guest is director Morrisa Maltz, whose new drama The Unknown Country stars Lily Gladstone (of Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women and Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon) as a young woman driving from South Dakota to Texas after her grandmother’s death, and encountering a series of family members and strangers along the way. And the movie Morrisa picked is Where Is the Friend’s House?, the 1987 breakout of Abbas Kiarostami, a filmmaker who specialized in stories of unlikely journeys.

We unpacked the interesting connections between Kiarostami’s first international success and Morrisa’s movie — which is really good, by the way, and coming to VOD in a few weeks.

So give it a listen! You can find the show on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  or download it directly from the web and burn it to a CD so you can play it in your car.

And then you can catch up to Shiny Things, which I’m hoping to update this week with reviews of Blackberry and Fast X at the very least. I still owe everyone that deep dive into the Mission: Impossible films, but it turns out rewatching six movies with a cumulative running time of nearly fourteen hours is a little tricky right now. Go figure.

Going All the Way

On this week’s Someone Else’s Movie, I’m joined by writer-director Jared Moshe to talk about a film he holds dear to his heart: The Full Monty, the 1997 sleeper about a handful of blokes in Sheffield who decide to try their hands at burlesque.

How did Peter Cattaneo’s international smash steer Jared towards making an emotionally complex sci-fi drama starring the wonderful Judy Greer as a recently widowed mom wrestling with the consequences of using time travel to save her doomed husband from a pointless death? All you have to do is listen! And then go see Aporia, which opens across North America on Friday. It’s quite good.

The rules of physics apply: You can find the show on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  or download it directly from the web, with science.

And then get caught up on the latest editions of Shiny Things, which I’ve finally gotten back on a twice-weekly publishing schedule — for now, at least.

Over the last few days I tackled Criterion’s magnificent restorations of Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott’s Ranown Westerns, found the hidden message of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and looked at the new 4K editions of East of EdenRio Bravo, Enter the Dragon and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s a lot, right? Subscribe and see!

Backseat Driver

This week on Someone Else’s Movie, I’m joined by The Channel writer-director William Kaufman for a ride-along with Michael Mann’s prickly, claustrophobic Collateral, the 2004 thriller that throws Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx together for one grim night driving in Los Angeles.

Collateral is one of my favorite Mann films, all twists and tension. If you’ve never seen the movie, I won’t spoil it for you — but the episode absolutely will, so go catch up before you listen!

Now, when you’re ready you can find the show on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  or download the episode directly from the web like a good hostage. Enjoy!

And then you can check out the latest edition of Shiny Things, where I review Beau Is Afraid and find some curious resonance between Ari Aster’s balls-out tour de force and Peter Weir’s 1998 masterwork The Truman Show, which just got a beautiful 4K restoration from Paramount. Have you subscribed? Why haven’t you subscribed?

Medicine for Melancholy

This week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie is a little more current than most, tackling a movie that’s in theaters right now with a guest who also has a brand-new theatrical release.

The guest would be filmmaker Carly Stone, whose second feature North of Normal is back at the Lightbox this week after premiering at TIFF last fall; based on the memoir by Cea Sunrise Person, it’s a thoughtful coming-of-age story focused on an isolated child slowly realizing her eccentric family might not have her best interests in mind.

And Carly wanted to talk about Celine Song’s Past Lives, the quietly devastating Sundance hit starring Greta Lee as a Korean-born woman who finds herself torn between her American husband (John Magaro) and the boy (Teo Yoo) she left behind, with whom she’s unexpectedly reunited almost a quarter-century after she left home. It’s a movie about regret and hope, and the way every single one of us will inevitably wonder who we might have become had our circumstances be slightly different. It’s short but very sweet, and we’re careful not to spoil the film. Not that we could, really.

You can find the show on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  or download the episode directly from the web like it’s 1999. And if you’re in Toronto, you should grab a ticket to Friday night’s 6:30pm screening of North of Normal at the Lightbox, where I’ll be moderating a Q&A with Carly and friend of the show Sarah Gadon. It’ll be a good evening.

And once you’ve booked that, get yourself caught up on the latest Shiny Things newsletter, where I use the excellent new Imprint boxed set of Roger Donaldson’s The Bounty as an excuse to catch up on the other titles Via Vision has rescued from catalogue limbo and rolled out onto Blu-ray. This one’s for the paid tier, so upgrade your subscription if you haven’t already. It’s five bucks a month! That’s like half a banana!

Late Again

How is it Friday again? I swear I had things back under control. But then other things decided to happen, and then there was this whole other other thing, and oh yeah we’re moving across town in exactly four weeks and so yes, things are still kind of wild.

Look, just pretend everything is normal. From your perspective it probably is! The latest episode of Someone Else’s Movie rolled out right on time, after all, with Emma Hunter (of The Beaverton, Mary Goes Round and three seasons of Moonshine) tackling her wild love for Penny Marshall’s original 1992 comedy A League of Their Own; the only downside to the episode is that the stupid Zoom filter muted her near-hysterical laughter at a throwaway Steel Magnolias joke. But everything else stays in.

The show’s where it always is: You can find it  on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  or download the episode directly from the web. And then go watch the Amazon series, which has some structural issues but is still very, very good. Plus, Kelly McCormack rules.

Also: The publication schedule for Shiny Things has slowed to once a week for the next little while, but it’s still rolling; last week was all about the new-release shelf, with reviews of Renfield, Scream VI and Evil Dead Rise, and this week I’ll be checking out a half-dozen catalogue titles — most of them new to Blu — from Australia’s ever-surprising Imprint line. Subscribe, wouldja? Knowledge is power, and all that.

Okay, back to figuring out exactly how many Blu-rays I own, in case you thought programming a film festival was a challenge.

Bromantic Destinations

On this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, I get to explore the joy of loving weird movies so much you eventually have to make your own weird movie.

That’s because my guest is Mel Eslyn, director of the new Mark Duplass-Sterling K. Brown apocalypse comedy Biosphere, and she wanted to talk about The Catechism Cataclysm, Todd Rohal’s goofy 2011 indie about a couple of guys on a canoe trip who may or may not experience an apocalypse of their own.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what I mean … and if you haven’t, it’s impossible to explain so I won’t even try. Go rent it, you’ll understand. And then come listen to Mel talk about how Rohal’s unique accomplishment may or may not have been a direct inspiration for Biosphere, and also how art resonates with us whether we want it to or not.

Subscribe on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  or download it directly from the web like you were the last person on Earth.

And then you can catch up to the latest edition of Shiny Things, where I revisit Waterworld, Mallrats and National Lampoon’s Vacaion on the occasion of their new 4K special editions. Fun fact: Waterworld and Mallrats were released just months apart in 1995 (by Universal Pictures and its subsidiary, Gramercy, respectively), and while they had almost nothing in common, the Venn diagram of their fan bases in 2023 is almost certainly a perfect circle. I’m in there too. It’s weird. Go read the thing.

Aim High, Kick Higher

The fact that I’m posting this on a Friday morning should give you a sense of how busy this week has been — the marathon of programming has turned into a sprint, and also a wind tunnel somehow? Anyway, I’m grabbing a few minutes to update the blog.

This week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie has been sitting in a hard drive for months, biding its time, waiting for the chance to sneak out into the world.

That’s because Chuck Russell, a longtime genre stalwart whose films include two of my favorite reinventions, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part III: Dream Warriors and The Blob, picked Robert Clouse’s Enter the Dragon, which Warner Home Entertainment has been restoring in 4K for a while now. They’ve finally scheduled the disc for release next month, so here we are!

To be honest, we don’t spend a lot of time on the movie itself; Chuck was more interested in talking about the experience of watching Bruce Lee as a kid, and how Lee’s fight choreography revolutionized action movies for decades to come. Which was fine by me; I always try to let the guest set the mode of conversation in an episode, and free-ranging chats are always a lot of fun. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Subscribe on  Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher and/or Spotify,  or download it directly from the web like the master villain you are. And then go catch up to Shiny Things! I’ve had to slow down the publication schedule in recent weeks, but things should be ramping back up soon; the most recent edition dug into the lovely new Shout! Factory 4K editions of George A. Romero’s Creepshow and Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs, two horror classics that are very much of their time, and all the more fascinating for it.

And if you’re in Toronto, here’s a reminder that V.T. Nayani’s This Place is back at the Lightbox tonight (Friday, July 7th) at 6:30 pm for a special screening with Nayani and co-stars Devery Jacobs and Golshan Abdmoulaie in conversation with Saffron Maeve; tickets are still available right here. It’s really good, and you should go.

Oh, and also I wrote about David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers for a new CBC Arts project about the 50 best films directed by Canadians. It’s a great project, and not just because Rad wrote forty of the capsules and my TIFF colleague Kelly Boutsalis got the #1 slot with Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. Check it out over the weekend, it’s a really fun read.