The Canada Day/Independence Day holidays split this week’s release schedule with two films -- the blockbuster, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and a much-anticipated new horror film, Midsommar – opening on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
Jim Slotek reports that Spiderman: Far From Home (B minus) finds everyone’s favourite web-slinging teen, Peter Parker (Tom Holland), at an awkward stage in a movie that resembles an eighties’ teen comedy shoe-horned into the ongoing Avengers’ never-ending battle to save the universe. With Samuel L. Jackson) as Nick Fury, Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio and, as Peter’s crush, MJ, actress-singer Zendaya.
Director Ari Aster’s debut feature, Hereditary, was a literate horror tragedy with a tour-de-force turn by Toni Collette. Reviewer Karen Gordon reports that Midsommar (C plus) – a tale of a group of friends who find themselves in the midst of a Swedish pagan cult – is a bit of a sophomore slump, despite Aster’s talent and the performance of actress, Florence Pugh.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (B-plus) received a couple of awards at Sundance. It’s director Joe Talbot’s tragi-comic tale of a young black man, Jimmie (Jimmie Fails, who collaborated on the story) and his best friend, Mont, trying to reclaim his childhood home, a fairy-tale Victorian mansion in ‘Frisco’s Filmore district. Set against the brutal gentrification of the Golden Gate city, the film is a scattershot but moving tone-poem to displacement, with soulful cinematography and an eclectic score.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (B plus) is a documentary celebration of the 88-year-old Nobel Prize-winning author of Beloved. It’s most compelling when Morrison, who emanates warmth and wisdom, talks about her struggle to find a language and form to counter the “master narrative.”
In this week’s podcast we talk about the imminent demise of Mad Magazine and our favourite movie parody titles, the best movies of the 2019 year so far and preview the feminist sailing doc, Maiden. Have a great weekend.