The Counterprogrammers

cdn.indiewireWith Avengers: Age of Ultron expected to continue Marvel’s box-office domination this weekend, today’s openings are … well, a little less adventurous. But no less impressive, at least in a couple of cases.

Adult Beginners: A Manhattan failure (Nick Kroll) winds up living with his sister (Rose Byrne) and her husband (Bobby Cannavale) in the suburbs. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s nicely observed and appealingly cast. So there’s that.

Being Canadian: Robert Cohen’s winky, pandering documentary about Canada’s perpetual identity crisis (and the jokes his many successful Canadian friends have evolved to cope with same) was one of my biggest disappointments at Hot Docs. Don’t give it your money or your time.

88: I thought I was hard on April Mullen and Tim Doiron’s latest incoherent mess, but check this out. Props to David Berry!

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief: Alex Gibney’s long-awaited behind-the-clam documentary is an excellent start, but you really want to follow it up by reading Lawrence Wright’s book. Assuming you can find it.

Hot Pursuit: As far as I can tell, this is Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara remaking Midnight Run. We sent Rad. I hope he liked it.

Lambert & Stamp: That would be Kit and Christopher, respectively, two Englishmen who managed The Who into superstardom. Susan had some problems with the storytelling, but finds the subject totally absorbing.

Maggie: Henry Hobson’s first feature offers up Arnold Schwarzenegger as you’ve never seen him before — playing a grieving father doing his best to care for his daughter as she slowly succumbs to a zombie virus. The metaphor’s great, but the movie comes up short. Rad explains.

Phoenix: Christian Petzold and Nina Hoss follow the unspoken tensions of Barbara with this deeply Hitchcockian — and deeply pleasurable — post-war thriller, one of  the best films I saw at TIFF last year. Susan agrees.

Sugar Coated: Susan is not impressed with Michele Hozer’s expose about Big Sugar’s attempts to play down (or suppress outright) the danger glucose poses to the health of North Americans. Sounds a lot like Fed Up, to which I had a similar response last year.

Anyway, if you can only see one movie this week, make it Phoenix. Or possibly Going Clear, if that’s something in which you’re interested. Either one would be a good choice. And then come join me Monday night at the Royal for NOW’s free screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, would you? Free popcorn! New digital restoration! What are you, busy?

2 thoughts on “The Counterprogrammers”

  1. After having not one but two grammatical mistakes jump out at me while reading David Berry’s entertaining takedown of 88 (I work as a medical transcriptionist; tidying up bad grammar on the fly is just one of my superpowers), I’d like to say how much I’ve always enjoyed not just how you write about movies, your writing style, but also how well you write about them. You, sir, have excellent grammar!

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