play­ing this week

NOW Magazine - - MOVIES -

How to find a list­ing Movie list­ings are com­pre­hen­sive and or­ga­nized al­pha­bet­i­cally. List­ings in­clude name of film, di­rec­tor’s name in brack­ets, a re­view, run­ning time and a rat­ing. Re­views are by Nor­man Wilner (NW), Su­san G. Cole (SGC), Glenn Sumi (GS), and Rad­heyan Si­mon­pil­lai (RS) un­less oth­er­wise spec­i­fied.

The rat­ing sys­tem is as fol­lows: NNNNN Top 10 of the year NNNN Hon­ourable men­tion NNN En­ter­tain­ing NN Medi­ocre N Bomb

Crit­ics’ pick (highly rec­om­mended) Movie the­atres are listed at the end and can be cross-ref­er­enced to our film times on page 36 or on­line at movies.nowtoronto.com

ALL ABOUT NINA (Eva Vives) is a timely drama about Nina Geld (Mary El­iz­a­beth Win­stead), a ris­ing NYC comic whose tough-talk­ing on­stage per­sona ob­vi­ously masks some deep is­sues. When she moves to L.A. and her life and ca­reer are look­ing promis­ing, her de­mons start reap­pear­ing and she be­gins sab­o­tag­ing her­self. Vives’s de­but fea­ture con­tains few nar­ra­tive sur­prises, but she has a real feel for the quirky rhythms of ur­ban life. And Win­stead is a rev­e­la­tion, cap­tur­ing Nina’s mix­ture of bravado and frank­ness and find­ing a depth, pain and vul­ner­a­bil­ity in her char­ac­ter that are dif­fi­cult but cathar­tic to watch. 97 min. NNNN (GS) Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (Drew God­dard) is a real dis­ap­point­ment from writer/ di­rec­tor God­dard, riff­ing on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hate­ful Eight with a hand­ful of strangers (Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, Dakota John­son, Cyn­thia Erivo) ar­riv­ing at the same iso­lated lo­ca­tion and re­al­iz­ing they’re at cross pur­poses. For all the time-jump­ing, per­spec­tive-shift­ing and twist-drop­ping, God­dard’s script is sur­pris­ingly flat, spin­ning its wheels for nearly an hour (and elim­i­nat­ing one of its most in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters) be­fore it even starts, and snuff­ing out its best ideas as it goes along. 141 min. NN (NW) Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema, Imag­ine Mar­ket Square, Queensway, Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity Yonge

BEAU­TI­FUL BOY (Felix van Groenin­gen) 112 min. See re­view, page 34. NN (NW) Opens Oct 19 at Var­sity BE­COM­ING BUR­LESQUE (Jackie English) tells a fa­mil­iar story in the least in­ter­est­ing way, and that’s a shame; there’s both dra­matic and comic po­ten­tial in the story of a re­pressed young woman (Shiva Ne­gar) find­ing her­self through the ex­pres­sion (and the safety) of bur­lesque per­for­mance, but writer/di­rec­tor English – an ac­tor and pro­ducer mak­ing her fea­ture di­rec­to­rial de­but – just can’t put the pieces to­gether in a novel way. 96 min. NN (NW) Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema

BLACKKKLANS­MAN (Spike Lee) is messy and con­flicted in a way that feels fit­ting. The movie is based on a true story about Ron Stall­worth (John David Wash­ing­ton ), an African-Amer­i­can cop who in­fil­trated the KKK. He qui­etly works through an iden­tity cri­sis – fight­ing racists by join­ing them in an act that could be deemed self-hate – and so too does the film. It’s fit­fully funny and fu­ri­ous, mak­ing light and go­ing hard while wa­ver­ing be­tween en­ter­tain­ment and provo­ca­tion. 135 min. NNNN (RS) Canada Square, Kingsway The­atre, Re­vue CO­LETTE (Wash West­more­land) is a biopic of France’s best-sell­ing fe­male au­thor. The film cen­tres on Co­lette’s days mar­ried to the vice-happy Willy (Do­minic West), liv­ing in Paris and ghost­writ­ing his wildly pop­u­lar fic­tion se­ries Clau­dine. Soon she’s tak­ing women lovers and tour­ing with a dance troupe all over the coun­try. We wait pa­tiently for her to dump him (their re­la­tion­ship doesn’t seem cred­i­ble) and start writ­ing un­der her own name. Un­for­tu­nately, just as she does ex­actly that, the film ends. Knight­ley is com­pelling as the wronged writer find­ing her voice, and the les­bian con­tent is rich. 111 min. NNN (SGC) Canada Square, Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Queensway, Var­sity

Crazy rich asians (Jon Chu) is an

in­fec­tiously en­joy­able adap­ta­tion of Kevin Kwan’s best­seller about an Amer­i­can-born Chi­nese pro­fes­sor (Con­stance Wu) who dis­cov­ers her hunky New York boyfriend (Henry Gold­ing) is heir to a huge for­tune when the two visit his na­tive Sin­ga­pore for a wed­ding. Di­rec­tor Chu brings a sunny retro feel to the film’s look, Sin­ga­pore, com­plete with fash­ion and food porn, looks stun­ning. Wu more than holds her own against the im­pe­ri­ous, el­e­gant Michelle Yeoh as Nick’s Tiger mom, but look for a half-dozen comic ac­tors – among them Ronny Chieng, Jimmy O. Yang, Ken Jeong and Awk­wa­fina – to steal scenes. Some sub­ti­tles. 120 min. nnnn (GS) Fox, Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema, Imag­ine Prom­e­nade Mall, Queensway, Sil­verCity Yonge, Yonge & Dun­das 24

First Man (Damien Chazelle) finds

Chazelle and Ryan Gosling fol­low­ing the ex­u­ber­ant La La Land with a project both big­ger and smaller, track­ing eight years in the life of Neil Arm­strong, the first man on the moon. Gosling gives one of his most con­tained per­for­mances, tun­ing out the world like a radio to fo­cus on the task at hand, and Claire Foy matches his quiet com­mit­ment as Janet Arm­strong. And the space stuff is mag­nif­i­cent: see this in IMAX. It mat­ters. 138 min. nnnn (NW) Beach Cine­mas, Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Imag­ine Mar­ket Square, Imag­ine Prom­e­nade Mall, Queensway, Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity Yonge, Sil­verCity York­dale, Var­sity, Yonge & Dun­das 24

Free solo (El­iz­a­beth Chai Vasarhe­lyi, Jimmy Chin) is a doc­u­men­tary about moun­tain climber Alex Hon­nold’s at­tempt to be­come the first free soloist (no ropes, har­nesses or equip­ment) to climb the sheer 3,000-foot El Cap­i­tan rock face in Yosemite Na­tional Park. The cin­e­matog­ra­phy is suit­ably awe-in­spir­ing (co-di­rec­tor Jimmy Chin and the crew are clim­bers them­selves), but the movie’s main draw­back is Hon­nold, who’s not very in­sight­ful about him­self and why he climbs. While the film’s out­come is a given, the scenes are still white-knuckle ex­cit­ing. 100 min. nnnn (GS) Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Var­sity the Guilty (Gus­tav Möller) is a sin­gle-lo­ca­tion thriller about a Dan­ish po­lice of­fi­cer (Jakob Ced­er­gren) work­ing in an emer­gency call cen­tre who re­ceives a cryptic call from a fraz­zled woman (voiced by Jes­sica Din­nage) who’s be­ing ab­ducted. As­ger uses his cop smarts to try and track her down, while also pre­par­ing for an upcoming in­quiry into some un­savoury thing he did on the force. First-time fea­ture di­rec­tor Gus­tav Möller wrings max­i­mum drama from the claus­tro­pho­bic set­ting, con­vey­ing lots with the sound mix. And Ced­er­gren’s bravura per­for­mance will make you ig­nore the plot’s con­trivances. Sub­ti­tled. 85 min. nnnn (GS) Opens Oct 19 at TIFF Bell Light­box hal­loween (David Gor­don Green) nnnn (NW)106 min. See re­view, page 32. Opens Oct 19 at Beach Cine­mas, Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema, Imag­ine Mar­ket Square, Imag­ine Prom­e­nade Mall, Queensway, Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity Yonge, Sil­verCity York­dale, Yonge & Dun­das 24

the happy prinCe (Ru­pert Everett) 105 min. See re­view, this page. nnnn (GS) Opens Oct 19 at Canada Square the hate u Give (Ge­orge Till­man Jr.) adapts Angie Thomas’s YA best­seller with a real ur­gency and rel­e­vance. When a young Black girl (Amandla Sten­berg) wit­nesses the po­lice shoot­ing of a child­hood friend, she’s un­sure whether to re­veal her iden­tity and tes­tify against the white cop or stay silent. Things are com­pli­cated by the fact that the lo­cal drug lord wants her hushed, and her priv­i­leged white friends at school have wild mis­con­cep­tions about the crime. The film­mak­ers strug­gle to fit the novel’s strands into the film, re­sult­ing in some un­der­de­vel­oped char­ac­ters. But key scenes – in­clud­ing the shoot­ing and other ex­am­ples of po­lice bru­tal­ity – are han­dled ef­fec­tively, and Sten­berg’s tran­si­tion from con­flicted girl to an­gry and em­pow­ered ac­tivist is thrilling to watch. 133 min. nnn (GS) Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema, Queensway, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity Yonge, Sil­verCity York­dale, Yonge & Dun­das 24 the house with a CloCk in its walls (Eli Roth) is an all-ages fan­tasy movie about an or­phan who helps his un­cle lo­cate a clock that can bring about the end of the world. 105 min. Canada Square, Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Queensway, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity York­dale, Yonge & Dun­das 24

Juliet, naked (Jesse Peretz) cranks out a lot of ex­haust­ing nar­ra­tive to get Rose Byrne’s Bri­tish mu­seum cu­ra­tor Annie and Ethan Hawke’s broke-down Amer­i­can mu­si­cian Tucker on­screen to­gether. The two make a rom-com pair­ing so dis­tant and un­likely that it takes nearly half the movie’s run­ning time just to get them to share the screen. But Byrne and Hawke are so great to­gether that it makes the long set-up worth­while. 97 min. nnn (RS) Fox, Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema, Re­vue the kinder­garten teacher (Sara Colangelo) is an adap­ta­tion of Na­dav Lapid’s 2014 Is­raeli drama about a kinder­garten teacher who goes too far. Lisa (Mag­gie Gyl­len­haal) moon­lights as a wannabe poet when she’s not teach­ing five-year-olds the al­pha­bet, but her lack­lus­tre haikus can’t dis­tract her from her mun­dane life as a mother to two un­ap­pre­cia­tive teens. So when she dis­cov­ers her stu­dent (Parker Se­vak) could be a lit­er­ary prodigy, she takes it upon her­self to cul­ti­vate his po­etic tal­ent. Gyl­len­haal is cap­ti­vat­ing as an over­worked sub­ur­ban mom, and the chem­istry be­tween her and Gael Gar­cía Ber­nal as Lisa’s po­etry teacher is elec­tric. But the en­ergy of these two ac­tors isn’t enough to keep ten­sion build­ing in the flabby mid­dle sec­tion. 96 min. nnn (Michelle da Silva) TIFF Bell Light­box knuck­le­ball (Michael Peter­son) starts off as a prickly but in­ter­est­ing drama about a city kid (Luca Vil­lacis) spend­ing an awk­ward few days with his grand­fa­ther (Michael Iron­side) at the old man’s re­mote farm, then shifts gears to be­come a snow­bound thriller rooted in jeal­ousy and re­venge. That first half is pretty great, filled with rich de­tail; the sec­ond half throws it all away with the ar­rival of a mur­der­ous weirdo (De­grassi’s Munro Cham­bers), and Knuck­le­ball be­comes just another home in­va­sion pic­ture. Great lo­ca­tions, though. 89 min. nn (NW) Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema Mandy (Panos Cos­matos) is a death­metal dirge star­ring Ni­co­las Cage as a woods­man chas­ing down the cultists who mur­dered his beloved wife (An­drea Rise­bor­ough). The slow pac­ing works against the suf­fo­cat­ing in­ten­sity, but, yes: if you want to see Cage have a chain­saw fight in a movie that’s ba­si­cally a fea­ture-length adap­ta­tion of a paint­ing on the side of a van, this is the movie that gives you that. 121 min. nnn (NW) Re­vue, Yonge & Dun­das 24

MatanGi/Maya/M.i.a. (Stephen Loveridge) gives eye-open­ing con­text to a one-of-a-kind artist. Maya’s refugee story, globe-trot­ting in­flu­ences, DIY art, rise to fame and re­peated clashes with pol­i­tics, me­dia and then the NFL makes for a not-en­tirely-flat­ter­ing artist pro­file like no other. That so lit­tle of M.I.A.’s mu­sic is fea­tured in the doc speaks to how much there is to tell about her story. Di­rec­tor Steve Loveridge, Maya’s friend, does a fine job ar­rang­ing a nar­ra­tive through line in a life and ca­reer that fires in all di­rec­tions. 90 min. nnnn (RS) Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema the new ro­Man­tiC (Carly Stone) 82 min. See re­view, page 32. nnn (NW) Opens Oct 19 at Yonge & Dun­das 24 niGht sChool (Mal­colm D. Lee) doesn’t spend enough time in the class­room with the very funny peo­ple who should be pop­u­lat­ing it. I came to see Tif­fany Had­dish and Kevin Hart… in school. I would pay to see these two stars di­rect their trade­mark rants at vec­tors, Shake­speare or James Bald­win. In­stead the six-man writ­ing team wastes time on la­bo­ri­ous set­ups, ro­man­tic dis­trac­tions and slap­stick buffoonery that sees Kevin Hart get phys­i­cally pun­ished but his tal­ents benched. 111 min. nn (RS) Canada Square, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Queensway, Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity York­dale

the oath (Ike Bar­in­holtz) 93 min.

See re­view, page 33. nnnn (NW) Opens Oct 19 at Sco­tia­bank The­atre the old Man & the Gun (David Low­ery) stars Robert Red­ford as gen­tle­man bank robber For­rest Tucker, who struck up a ro­mance with a wid­owed Dal­las horse- woman (Sissy Spacek) in 1981 after es­cap­ing prison for the 16th time. Writer/ di­rec­tor Low­ery crafts an ex­er­cise in nos­tal­gia for the good old days when Red­ford played out­laws with hearts of gold, and cops and rob­bers re­spected each other, and men were no­ble and women were lov­ing and all sorts of other junk the movies have al­ways sold us. I’m just not sure he knows it’s junk. 93 min. nn (NW) Canada Square, Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Kingsway The­atre, Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Var­sity searCh­inG (Aneesh Cha­ganty) stars the al­ways en­gag­ing John Cho as a fa­ther try­ing to find his miss­ing teenage daugh­ter (Michelle La) by dig­ging through her lap­top, so­cial me­dia con­tacts and any other on­line re­source avail­able. All the ac­tion is re­layed via lap­tops, cellphones and TV screens, but the real in­no­va­tion here is the way first-time fea­ture di­rec­tor/co-writer Cha­ganty uses the short­hand of smart­phones and FaceTime to con­vey com­plex dra­matic beats. 102 min. nnn (NW) Kingsway The­atre, Sco­tia­bank The­atre shark­wa­ter ex­tinC­tion (Rob Ste­wart) mostly avoids the trap of turn­ing into a me­mo­rial project for its di­rec­tor, who died dur­ing its pro­duc­tion in Jan­uary 2017. Un­til its fi­nale, when it shifts into full trib­ute mode, the doc­u­men­tary de­liv­ers a pro­fi­cient assem­bly of the footage shot by Ste­wart and his team as they tracked the ac­tiv­i­ties of com­mer­cial shark-fish­ing op­er­a­tions to ex­pose de­cep­tive prac­tices and en­lighten au­di­ences about the crea­tures Ste­wart spent his adult life try­ing to pro­tect. Some sub­ti­tles. 88 min. nnn (NW) Opens Oct 19 at Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press

Walk, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Queensway, Sil­verCity Yonge, Var­sity, Yonge & Dun­das 24

A Sim­ple fa­vor (Paul Feig) is a Gone Girl knock-off star­ring Anna Ken­drick as a mommy vlog­ger who de­cides to in­ves­ti­gate the dis­ap­pear­ance of her new best friend (Blake Lively) and finds her­self drawn to the miss­ing woman’s hus­band (Henry Gold­ing). Feig has a lit­tle trou­ble find­ing a tone, but he en­cour­ages his stars to riff on the pulpy ma­te­rial and as­sem­bles a fun, en­gag­ing sup­port­ing bench. It’s not a great movie, but it’ll live on Net­flix for­ever. 117 min. NNN (NW) Canada Square, Imag­ine Prom­e­nade Mall, Queensway, Yonge & Dun­das 24

The Sis­ters Broth­ers (Jac­ques

Au­di­ard) stars Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly as sib­ling as­sas­sins track­ing a tar­get (Riz Ahmed) and his trav­el­ling com­pan­ion (Jake Gyl­len­haal) across the West circa 1851. But it’s a Western in much the same way that Au­di­ard’s A Prophet was a prison thriller and Dheepan a refugee drama: it es­tab­lishes its cho­sen genre and then strikes out on its own di­rec­tion. Try not to learn any­thing else be­fore you see it. 121 min. NNNN (NW) Canada Square, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Queensway, Sco­tia­bank The­atre SmAllFooT (Karey Kirk­patrick) is an an­i­mated com­edy about a yeti who’s never seen hu­man be­ings. 96 min. Beach Cine­mas, Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema, Imag­ine Mar­ket Square, Imag­ine Prom­e­nade Mall, Queensway, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity Yonge, Sil­verCity York­dale, Yonge & Dun­das 24

Sorry To bother you (Boots Ri­ley)

is as good as you’ve heard, and maybe even bet­ter – a code-switch­ing satire that’s wholly orig­i­nal in theme and ex­e­cu­tion. If Barry Jenkins’s Moon­light was the art-house break­through and Jor­dan Peele’s Get Out the main­stream smash, Ri­ley’s film is the ec­cen­tric out­lier in the new Black cin­ema: a fre­netic com­edy with fu­ri­ous rage bub­bling just un­der­neath its sur­face. It’s one of the best films of the year. 111 min. NNNNN (NW) Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema

A star is born (Bradley Cooper)

casts Lady Gaga as the in­génue and di­rec­tor/pro­ducer/co-writer Bradley Cooper as the burnout who dis­cov­ers her both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. They’re per­fectly suited to one another, and so is the movie, which wraps a big stu­dio pro­duc- tion around an in­ti­mate char­ac­ter drama. Yes, you’ve seen this movie be­fore. It worked then, it works now. Maybe it’s never worked bet­ter. 135 min. NNNN (NW) Beach Cine­mas, Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Imag­ine Mar­ket Square, Imag­ine Prom­e­nade Mall, Queensway, Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity Yonge, Sil­verCity York­dale, Var­sity, Yonge & Dun­das 24 stu­dio 54 (Matt Tyr­nauer) is a thor­ough ac­count of the 70s disco-era New York City club, told largely from the point of view of sur­viv­ing co-owner Ian Schrager. Di­rec­tor Tyr­nauer gives the club, a straight­for­ward talk­ing head/archival clips treat­ment that is not all that rev­e­la­tory, but full of de­tailed in­sight to all as­pects of the club’s op­er­a­tion and down­fall. The doc grows less com­pelling the fur­ther away it moves from the dance floor. 99 min. NNN (Kevin Ritchie) Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cin­ema, Re­gent The­atre trans­former (Michael Del Monte) is yet another doc­u­men­tary about the tran­si­tion nar­ra­tive, but with a com­pelling twist. Be­fore Janae Marie Krocza­leski came out as a trans woman she was a fa­mous male pow­er­lifter. As such, Trans­former is as much about male body im­age as it is about tran­si­tion­ing, as Janae grap­ples with what it means to be a 250-lbs mus­cle­bound woman who can’t “pass.” Janae is open and vul­ner­a­ble when it comes to her in­se­cu­ri­ties, but Del Monte doesn’t probe deeply into as­pects of the story in­dica­tive of so­ci­etal bias, fram­ing the strug­gle for ac­cep­tance ex­clu­sively as a per­sonal one. We only get a few glimpses of what Janae’s life is like out­side her home and the gym, but for­tu­nately she is as like­able as she is ripped and has no prob­lem car­ry­ing the film. 78 min. NNN (Kevin Ritchie) Opens Oct 19 at Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema 22 July (Paul Green­grass) is a docu­d­rama about Nor­way’s worst ter­ror­ist at­tack. 143 min. Opens Oct 19 at TIFF Bell Light­box venom (Ruben Fleis­cher) is a go­daw­ful mess, re­ally – a stand-alone ad­ven­ture fea­tur­ing Tom Hardy and a bunch of goopy CG ef­fects as the hy­per-mus­cu­lar, adren­a­line-junkie anti-hero cre­ated to be Spi­der-Man’s evil twin. But be­cause Spidey’s not in this movie, Venom has to be the good guy, run­ning around not killing peo­ple un­til he can have a a messy, point­less bat­tle with another near-iden­ti­cal CG char­ac­ter. And sur­pris­ingly, that’s no fun at all. Or maybe not sur­pris­ingly. 112 min. N (NW) Beach Cine­mas, Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Eglin­ton Town Cen­tre, Imag­ine Mar­ket Square, Imag­ine Prom­e­nade Mall, Queensway, Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Sil­verCity Fairview, Sil­verCity Yonge, Sil­verCity York­dale, Var­sity, Yonge & Dun­das 24

white Boy rick (Yann De­mange) con­denses an 80s-era fact-based story about a Detroit teenager who was both drug dealer and FBI in­for­mant into fleet, heart­felt en­ter­tain­ment. The movie fills in every­thing you need to know about the char­ac­ters and their crush­ing so­cial en­vi­ron­ment in tex­tures and at­ti­tude, witty ban­ter and au­then­tic feel­ing. 111 min. NNNN (RS) Fox, Imag­ine Carl­ton Cin­ema, Kingsway The­atre

The wife (Björn Runge) stars Glenn Close as Joan, the wife of a No­bel Prize-win­ning nov­el­ist, Joseph (Jonathan Pryce). The film opens with the cou­ple get­ting word that he’s won the prize and all ap­pears well. But in the run-up to the cer­e­mony in Stock­holm, it’s clear that some­thing’s sim­mer­ing be­neath Joan’s quiet, sup­port­ive de­meanour. Pryce plays the lit­er­ary lion with gusto, while re­veal­ing pa­thetic weak­ness. But Close car­ries the pic, let­ting her si­lence speak vol­umes and then ex­plod­ing with a right­eous rage when she’s had enough. Why doesn’t this woman have an Os­car? 101 min. NNNN (SGC) Cine­plex Cine­mas Em­press Walk, Var­sity

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