While the majors try to outgame each other with allegedly beloved properties and the elevator pitch of Life, some genuine depth sneaks out in a couple of this week’s smaller releases. Do read on, and see what’s what.
CHIPS: Dax Shepard attempts to replicate the 21 Jump Street magic with a barely remembered ’70s cop show instead of ironically appreciated ’90s cheese. It does not work.
Life: Gravity + Alien = good-enough entertainment in Daniel Espinosa’s slick, very nicely cast creature feature. Although in retrospect, I would rather Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal had swapped roles.
O, Brazen Age!: Alexander Carson’s first feature follows a handful of Toronto friends through their quarter-life crises — and makes potentially familiar material feel new and challenging by adding an unexpected spiritual streak. I dug it.
Personal Shopper: Olivier Assayas and Kristen Stewart reunite for an exploration of alienation, sublimated grief and haute couture in contemporary Paris. I really dug it.
Power Rangers: The goofy import monster-fighting show gets a big-screen upgrade, somehow roping in class acts like Elizabeth Banks and Bryan Cranston. But if they can’t appeal to Rad, who grew up with the original series, then who is this movie even for?
The Second Time Around: Susan finds a lot to like in Leon Marr’s low-key tale of two older people (Linda Thorson and Stuart Margolin) who fall for one another at an assisted-living facility.
Wilson: The latest attempt to translate Daniel Clowes’ misanthropic vision to the big screen has its moments — most of them courtesy of Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern — but it’s stiff and inert, and desperately missing the alchemy of Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World. More’s the pity.
And that’s everything, except for a reminder that the Canadian Film Festival wraps up tomorrow night with the premiere of Filth City, and that will be a hell of a party.
Alternately, you could catch the first Toronto screening of Sofia Bohdanowicz’ Never Eat Alone just down the block at the Lightbox. That’ll be good too.