Of Families and Flights

Two of the year’s best documentaries open today, along with one of the biggest Oscar contenders. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

Antiviral“: Brandon Cronenberg’s exercise in bio-horror is so derivative of his father’s work — however unconsciously — that it almost feels mean to point it out. But it is what it is, and what is is isn’t very good.

Argo“: In  a solid recovery from the overblown action of “The Town”, Ben Affleck turns a clandestine CIA operation into a zippy heist movie with a bonus layer of Hollywood satire. And don’t worry about the Canadian angle; that’s just a ginned-up controversy meant to score web hits during TIFF.

“Here Comes the Boom”: If this is the best of the “unlikely MMA fighter” pitches that crossed Kevin James’ script, American cinema is in serious trouble. At least that’s Rad‘s take.

Herman’s House“: Angad Singh Bhalla’s documentary tells a strong story but can’t find a way to work around the unavailability of its central character. I know, I know, no one else seemed to mind. But I’m right.

The Imposter“: Bart Layton’s sinewy documentary reconstructs a missing-persons case that became an international labyrinth of deception. See it knowing as little as possible.

“Keep the Lights On”: It sounds like “Forty Shades of Blue” director Ira Sachs has rebounded after the airless “Married Life” with something a little more potent — and, says Glenn, more honest. Looking forward to seeing it.

Nobody Walks“: Ry Russo-Young’s insufferable tale of well-to-do white folks dicking each other around stars Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Krasinski, all of whom I quite like. And who names a teenage girl Kolt? Oh, right, Lena Dunham.

Seven Psychopaths“: I thought Martin McDonough’s “In Bruges” was a hair precious, so I was one of the few critics who wasn’t disappointed by this enjoyable post-Tarantino trifle. Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken are knockouts, but Colin Farrell does a fine job of holding the center.

“Sinister”: A hidden cache of footage leads a true-crime author (Ethan Hawke) down a black hole of horror in the latest slow-burn scary movie. Glenn is unimpressed.

Stories We Tell“: Sarah Polley’s third film feels like the movie she’s been trying to make all along — a simple marital study packing an outsized emotional wallop. It just happens to be her own family she’s dramatizing.

And there you go. Also, the Bloor is screening Ken Loach Michael Apted’s entire “Up” series in two matinee screenings Saturday and Sunday. Never seen ’em? What are you waiting for?

(Also, don’t compose blog posts at three in the morning, kids.)

Leave a Reply