Choked, Slammed

Yup, way too many movies opening this week. I just got up, and I need a nap.

Chokeslam: Silicon Valley‘s Amanda Crew is the least convincing wrestler since Oliver Platt, but the script is what really undoes this overstuffed dramedy.

David Lynch: The Art Life: The cultiest of cult directors discusses his early life and his artistic journey in this enthralling docu-portrait from Jon Nguyen (who made the less satisfying Lynch a decade ago) and co-directors Rick Barnes and Olivia Neergaard-Holm.

The Devout: Connor Gaston’s intimate drama about parenthood and faith has some excellent ideas, and watching it fail to do anything with them is awfully frustrating.

Frantz: Susan is as big a Francois Ozon fan as they come, so when she says his latest — a black and white drama about death and mourning in post-WWI Germany — is undistinguished, that’s a major statement.

Giants of Africa: Toronto documentarian Hubert Davis tags along with Raptors GM Masai Ujiri to his basketball camps for African teens. Rad respects the mission but wishes the film had dug a little deeper.

Gifted: Chris Evans demonstrates that he’s basically Captain America all the time now, slugging it out in court so his genius niece can have a normal life in Marc Webb’s polished family drama. Totally derivative, but entirely watchable.

Going in Style: Zach Braff remakes Martin Brest’s fondly remembered oldsters-rob-a-bank comedy with Michael Caine, Alan Arkin and Morgan Freeman. Rad saw it; his review will be up later today.

Growing Up Smith: Newly arrived in America’s heartland, a boy from India tries a little too hard to assimilate in Frank Lotito’s immigration comedy, which drops into the Carlton today.

I Called Him Morgan: Kasper Collin’s examination of the 1972 murder of jazz great Lee Morgan got a lot of attention at TIFF last year … but Rad wasn’t a fan.

Smurfs: The Lost Village: Sony reboots their successful-but-dreadful franchise as a purely CG comedy, removing the humans and bringing something like gender parity to the land of Peyo. Rad says it even works, kind of. 

Song to Song: Terrence Malick does his Terrence Malick thing, gliding alongside Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling (among others) as they couple and decouple in the Austin music scene.

Your Name: Matoko Shinkai’s body-swapping anime has been getting stellar reviews on the festival circuit; now it’s opening in Toronto with no advance notice whatsoever. I hope to see it soon.

And that’s everything, I think. Plus TIFF Kids, of course, and tonight’s One Brave Night marathon at the Revue. Look, if things were quiet I’d just complain about having nothing to do.

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