In the Darkness, More Darkness

Another dozen movies open in Toronto today, and I’ve reviewed nine of them while still dealing with all the crap flying at us from the Trump administration. I don’t know how people who didn’t live in Toronto during the Ford era are coping, I really don’t.


Alien: Covenant: Ridley Scott continues to shred his legacy with a second pointless prequel to one of the greatest movies ever made. The cast is better this time around, but the script is still really, really dumb.

Alone in Berlin: Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson are a long way from Hogwarts in Vincent Perez’ WWII drama about a German couple moved to resistance after their son dies on the front. It doesn’t really work as a war picture … but as a domestic drama, it packs a punch.

Certain Women: Kelly Reichardt’s latest is a small, precisely observed drama about characters — played by the likes of Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Lily Gladstone and Kristen Stewart — on the brink of major change.  It’s masterful.

Chuck: Liev Schreiber has a lot of fun as the perpetually self-embiggening boxer Chuck Wepner in Philippe Falardeau’s 70s biopic, which played TIFF under the rather better title The Bleeder.

The Commune: Thomas Vinterberg goes back to his roots — both creatively and autobiographically — for a period drama about a middle-aged couple who try to be progressive and open-minded, and pay dearly for it.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul: Rad hits the wall on the apparently popular middle-school series. I admire his fortitude up to this point.

Everything, EverythingJean of the Joneses‘ Stella Meghie tackles her first studio feature, and does a pretty good job with most of it … until it runs smack into the terrible ending of Nicola Yoon’s novel and turns into garbage, wasting fine performances from Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson as it goes. What a bummer.

Fight for Space: Paul Hildebrandt celebrates NASA’s glorious past and addresses its uncertain future in this advocacy doc, which features some great archival footage and some interesting celebrity guests. Godawful music, though.

The Gardener: Once upon a time, a man named Frank Cabot built a magnificent garden outside of Quebec City. This is a documentary about that. It’s pretty good.

The Lovers: Azazel Jacobs’ follow-up to Terri stars Debra Winger and Tracy Letts as an older couple engaging in his-and-hers affairs. Susan found it infuriating.

Tommy’s Honour: Jason Connery’s golf drama tries very hard, but can’t quite hide the fact that the emotional stakes of his period golf drama are pretty thin. (He was still a great SEMcast guest, though.)

Vancouver: No Fixed Address: Fresh from Hot Docs, Charles Wilkinson’s latest looks at the housing crisis in Canada’s most desirable West Coast location. Richard thinks it’s an excellent first step in a larger conversation.

There we are. I’m going back to bed.

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