The Depths of Winter

Hang on, I'm sure there's a script around here somewhereOkay, things aren’t that bleak this weekend– sure, the studio stuff may tend toward the generic this time of year, but there’s some decent activity on the indie front. Well, half-decent, anyway.

BirdWatchers“: I’m not sure how to describe Marco Bechis’ film about the indigenous Guarani people of Brazil. It’s sort of a public-awareness drama, designed to bring the world’s attention to their status as second-class citizens in their own country, but at the same time it acknowledges the self-destructive behaviour that makes the Guarani complicit in their plight. So let’s call it “provocative”, then.

Oliver Sherman“: Presumably through the goodness of their hearts, three actors I really like — Donal Logue, Garrett Hedlund and Molly Parker — find themselves trapped in Ryan Redford’s paper-thin domestic drama about survivor guilt and PTSD, or something. One of the weakest Canadian films I saw at TIFF last year, and that’s really saying something.

“The Roommate”: It’s been 19 years since “Single White Female” — why not turn that sucker around for the new generation? “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester plays the Jennifer Jason Leigh role, I think; Sony wouldn’t screen it, so I’m going entirely by the poster here.

Sanctum“: FROM EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JAMES CAMERON comes this decidedly one-dimensional survival adventure about trapped cavers. It’s like the “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” of IMAX 3D adventure movies. Or “The Abyss” without the aliens. Or “The Descent” without the monsters or the psychological acuity. It’s like a lot of things, actually. My review will be online later this afternoon.

“The Time That Remains”: Elia Sulieman’s portmanteau of stories about his family’s life in Palestine — which I reviewed when it played the Toronto Palestine Film Festival last fall — finally scores a commercial release. Susan hits the same notes of “yeah, okay” as I did.

Turning 32“: Sixteen years after their NFB documentary series “Turning Sixteen”, directors Robbie Hart and Luc Cote catch up to their subjects to see how life has treated them. Not a patch on Michael Apted’s “Up” series, and the decision to produce this as a theatrical feature rather than another TV series makes for a pretty rushed vibe, but it has its moments.

In other big-screeny news, the fifth volume of the Found Footage Festival lands at the Bloor tonight at 9 pm, and we shouldn’t forget “The Robber” and that Chinese remake of “What Women Want“, which opened yesterday. I’ll be seeing the latter this afternoon, and will link to the review when it goes up, because that is what I live to do. UPDATES: Links are live! (For what they’re worth.)