Category Archives: Movies

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.

Lonely Secrets

Can you believe I’ve been making Someone Else’s Movie for nine years? I can’t. But it’s true! Last week marked the ninth anniversary  of the launch, and I was so caught up in other things that I barely noticed.

It’s still the thing I enjoy most about my career, and while there was a time that I considered stopping with episode 500, I’ve decided to keep going. As long as it’s still fun, and as long as it results in episodes like the one I released today, why would I quit?

Today, I’m joined by Teresa Sutherland, who wrote The Wind and made her feature directorial debut last year with the very creepy Lovely, Dark, and Deep. And Teresa brought on one of the cultiest cult movies of this new century, Joel Anderson’s remarkable 2008  mockumentary Lake Mungo — a film that was barely released outside of its native Australia, but has captivated pretty much everyone who’s managed to stumble across it, Teresa and myself included.

And so we leapt in, discussing the elements of family trauma and otherworldly natural spaces that connect the film to Teresa’s own  movie — which is freshly available on digital and well worth your time, by the way.

Where to listen? Surely you know by now: Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while obsessively rolling back and forth through old camcorder footage in search of … well, you’ll know it when you see it.

And then catch up on your Shiny Things! Last week, I looked at a trio of new releases: Warner’s 4K editions of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and The Color Purple (2023 musical version) and Criterion’s Blu-ray of Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. Style and substance! Subscribe now or I won’t be responsible for you getting cultural scurvy.

Skater Boy

On this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, I’m joined by actor and filmmaker Cody Lightning, whose directorial debut Hey, Viktor! is arriving in theaters across Canada this Friday after bouncing around the festival circuit for almost a year, with stops at TIFF, ImagineNative and Canada’s Top Ten. (In Toronto, we’re delighted to have it back at the Lightbox. Tickets available here!)

It’s a goofball delight, with Cody playing a less secure version of himself desperate to restart his acting career by mounting a sequel to 1998’s Smoke Signals by any means necessary, abetted by his well-meaning but hapless producer pal Kate. (She’s played by Hannah Cheesman, who received one of the film’s three Canadian Screen Award nominations last week; Cody scored the other two, for lead performance in a comedy and sharing a screenplay nod with Samuel Miller.)

Anyway, it’s a lot of fun and you should see it. But first, listen to Cody discover Mystery, Alaska, the almost entirely forgotten 1999 dramedy about a small town that goes nuts when their beloved hockey team is picked for an exhibition match with the New York Rangers. I can honestly say I hadn’t thought about this movie in at least fifteen years, but that’s the beauty of the podcast: Everything comes back around eventually.

You know how this works: Find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web for the long early-morning ride to the rink.  It’s a fun one!

And then you can catch up on your Shiny Things, in which I am very pleasantly surprised by the magic of Paul King’s Wonka and less surprised to discover Stephen King’s miniseries version of The Shining has not aged especially well. Not that it was ever that good in the first place, of course. You’ve subscribed, right? Come on, it’s just polite.

Oh, also, I’m probably not supposed to tell you this but next Tuesday night’s Secret Movie Club will be an especially memorable one. Grab those tickets while you can.

Park Life

I’ve been producing Someone Else’s Movie for nine years, and today’s episode is number 490. Somehow it’s taken this long for someone to pick Jurassic Park.

I am, honestly, shocked. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster is the very definition of a pop classic, in that you would be hard-pressed to find an adult human who hasn’t seen it, and doesn’t like it. (Even if you don’t love it, you almost certainly don’t hate it.)

So when writer-director Michael Lukk Litwack — whose delightfully odd lo-fi sci-fi rom-com Molli and Max in the Future is now playing in theaters across the U.S. and soon to be available on VOD across North America — said he wanted to tackle it, I had to triple-check my back catalogue to make sure no one had done it before. I was sure we had. But nope! It was all his, and honestly? I’m glad it worked out this way.

Want to listen? Of course you 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 helicopter ride to Isla Nublar. It’s a fun one.

And then go catch up on Shiny Things! This week I wrote about Warner’s new 4K edition of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion and the excellent new Criterion Blu-ray set of Eric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons. You can subscribe right here if you haven’t already, and if you haven’t already I don’t know how else to entice you. I work really hard on this thing! Jeez!

Then and Now

On this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, I get to talk to a guest I’ve been chasing for a while … and the conversation is everything I hoped it would be.

For like a decade and a half now, Michaela Watkins has been an acerbic, vulnerable, magnetic presence  in shows like Casual and The Unicorn and The Dropout, in movies like Enough Said and You Hurt My Feelings and Sword of Trust and Werewolves Within, even on two seasons of Saturday Night Live — and at last, someone’s built a feature film around her.

Two someones, actually! Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart, who cast Watkins as the eponymous empty-nester in Suze, a modest but charming project that’s playing in theaters across Canada right now.

And because Watkins is a sharp, interesting person, she wanted to revisit Martha Coolidge’s Valley Girl, the 1983 teen romance that helped shape what ’80s movies were going to be — but arrived early enough that it still has its own weird energy. It’s hard to explain in a paragraph, but we hash it out over the course of the episode, while also talking about the ways in which the film influenced Watkins’ own personal development, and what it means to have come of age in a decade that wasn’t quite as progressive as teen girls needed it to be.

You can find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and play it on the car stereo while you neck with that hot new bad boy. It’s a good one, I promise.

And then you get to catch up on your Shiny Things, now that I’m getting back to a regular publication schedule. Last week I tackled Sony’s latest Columbia Classics 4K set and spun up new editions of Darkman, FootlooseTenacious D in The Pick of Destiny and the Gate movies, and of course there’s almost two years of back issues waiting to be discovered. Subscribe right here if you haven’t already … and if you haven’t, why haven’t you? It hurts my feelings.

Spinning Out

In this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie, it’s my pleasure to welcome writer-director Meredith Hama-Brown, whose knockout first feature Seagrass is kicking off its North American theatrical run this Friday after a prizewinning tour on the festival circuit … which, ahem, started at TIFF in September.

In Toronto we’ve got it at the Lightbox, and Meredith and cinematographer Norm Li will be joining me for an intro and Q&A at the 2:30 pm show on Sunday the 25th. (You can grab a ticket for that right here, by the way.)

I’ve gotten to know Meredith a little bit over the last year, and I was especially excited to learn she wanted to talk about The Red Shoes, the 1948 masterwork from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger about art, life, death, commitment, fear, rage and passion – which are all the same thing at one point or another, no? It’s a glorious movie, and Meredith came to it very recently, so she offers a great perspective on the movie as an immediate, immersive experience that’s also an acclaimed cultural artifact. Plus, I get to tell her about Peeping Tom.

You can find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and listen to it while you practice, practice, practice.

And then go read the only edition of Shiny Things I managed to write last week, which dives into the discs of Priscilla and The Marvels and finds two very different movies. One of them is kind of great, though. And remember, subscribing is still the best way to make sure each new missive reaches your inbox once I get back to my previous publishing schedule.

Oh, and if you’re reading this on Tuesday this month’s Secret Movie Club is happening tonight … and we’ll be showing something really quite remarkable. A few tickets are still available; take a flyer and join us!