Taking The Good With The Bad

As is customary, the studios are banking on their big Thanksgiving pictures continuing to roll on this weekend — though Victor Frankenstein tanked so badly that Fox probably wishes it had something else in the hopper. Still, you can always count on smaller distributors to provide new product …

All Things Must Pass: Colin Hanks looks at the rise and fall of Tower Records in a documentary that’s a lot more interesting in its second half than it is in its first.

Al Purdy Was Here: Brian D. Johnson is a friend, a colleague and the president of the TFCA, so I’m unable to review his excellent documentary about the life and legacy of Canada’s working-class poet. But I’m entirely fine with using words like “excellent” when I talk about it.

The Anniversary: I thought Valerie Buhagiar’s domestic dramedy was a little too muddled for its own good when I saw it earlier this year, but Susan fixed on Deborah Hay’s performance and that seems to have been enough.

Cold Deck: A gambler in over his head. A heist that’ll solve everything. Susan says we’ve seen it before, and done better than this.

Hitchcock/Truffaut: Kent Jones brings one of the most famous film-school texts to vivid life in this wonderful documentary, which might have been even better with a broader selection of talking heads.

I Smile Back: Sarah Silverman commits fully to the role of a disintegrating wife and mother in this otherwise rote indie drama, which confines Silverman’s fantastic performance in a very familiar scenario.

Krampus: A wildly overqualified cast — including Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner and Allison Tolman — screams at lethal Christmas iconography in this unsatisfying horror-comedy.

Legend: And here’s another movie where a great performance is surrounded by mediocrity. This time it’s two performances, technically, since Tom Hardy is playing both of the Kray twins. I just wish Brian Helgeland had found a better movie for his tremendously entertaining work.

Life: Anton Corbijn’s fizzle of a biopic dances around the attraction between a ’50s shutterbug (Robert Pattinson) and his greatest subject, James Dean (Dane de Haan). But Kristian Bruun is in it, so that’s nice.

MI-5: No advance screening for the feature-film spinoff of the long-running BBC series (also known as Spooks). But it stars Kit Harington, so there’s bound to be a lot of longing gazes directed at a secure computer bank, or something.

A Royal Night Out: Sarah Gadon and Diary of a Teenage Girl‘s Bel Powley are Elizabeth and Margaret, two nice English girls sneaking out of the palace for a lark in Julian Jarrold’s historical trifle. Rad‘s seen worse.

The Wannabe: Another week, another movie dumped without fanfare (or even a press release) onto a single Toronto screen. This one’s got the Orion Pictures logo on it, which means … it’s been on the shelf since 1992? That can’t be right.

Phew. Have a good weekend, everybody.

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