Well, here we are. Summer is winding down, TIFF screenings are starting up and distributors are rolling out their smaller, less marketable pictures. Which isn’t always a bad thing, as you’ll see.
American Ultra: Adventureland‘s Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart reunite for a comic thriller about a stoner doofus who discovers he’s a government assassin, and has to muder a whole bunch of people before they murder him. It’s The Bourne Identity through a heavy weed haze, and it’s a lot smarter about itself than I expected.
The Amina Profile: Susan finds Sophie Deraspe’s examination of the Syrian gay-girl blogger as complicated and worthwhile as she did when it played at Hot Docs.
Bang Bang Baby: Jane Levy is a young woman whose sheltered small-town existence becomes a baroque Lynchian pastiche in Jeffrey St. Jules’ feature debut, which Glenn liked a lot more than I did.
Being Evel: Rad boils Daniel Junge’s documentary down to one key question: Is Evel Knievel a great asshole, or the greatest asshole? The answer may surprise you! (But it probably won’t.)
Charlie’s Country: Avant-garde director Rolf de Heer and frequent collaborator David Gulpilil deliver a contemporary character study of an Aborginal man living on the fringes of Australian culture. It’s very subtle, and very powerful.
Fort Tilden: Nicely positioned opposite Mistress America, Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers’ indie road movie dissects hipster entitlement (embodied by Clare McNulty and Bridey Elliott) with a really, really sharp blade.
How to Make Love Like an Englishman: Pierce Brosnan is a philandering academic who finds himself drawn towards a partner’s older sister (Salma Hayek). Director Tom Vaughan specializes in well-cast disappointments (Starter for 10, Extraordinary Measures); based on Susan‘s review, he’s still following his bliss.
Hitman: Agent 47: They made another one! And I’m hearing not-awful things! But not from Rad, who didn’t go for it.
Mistress America: Noah Baumbach’s latest fizzes with the same prickly carbonation of personalities and desires as Mr. Jealousy, only in present-day Manhattan. Greta Gerwig continues to rock, but it’s Lola Kirke who rules.
Sinister 2: Wait, that was this week? I had it opening on the 28th. Also, Glenn liked it.
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine: Alex Gibney makes another cult-of-personality documentary, this time about Apple — and the total prick who co-founded the company and drove it to greatness.
Phew. And now I will spend the entire weekend gorging on TIFF screeners. Hashtag the struggle.