By Liam LaceyRead More
Dad Joke Alert.
Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger once decided it was time to change their tough guy images and make a movie in which they would achieve cultural acclaim by playing great composers.
“Yo, I’ll be Beethoven,” mumbled Sly. “Je serai Mozart,” responded Jean-Claude. Arnie, of course, growled, “I’ll be Bach!”
Now Arnie is back, along with James Cameron (producer and story-writer) and Linda Hamilton in Terminator: Dark Fate (Rating: B) which, says Jim Slotek, is the best of the uneven sequels since 1992’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Deadpool director Tim Miller directs in a story involving two timelines and the battle over a young woman (Natalia Reyes) in the most female-centric of the series so far, somewhat marred by the “CG meltdown” in the last act.
Motherless Brooklyn (B-plus) freely adapted from Jonathan Lethem’s novel director and star Edward Norton, is a stylish, political film noir, set in 1950s New York. Norton plays a private investigator with Tourette Syndrome, dedicated to solving the murder of his boss (Bruce Willis), with Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a community lawyer and Alec Baldwin as a Robert Moses-style corrupt city planner in a lengthy risk-taking drama that reviewer Jim Slotek says is well worth the ride.
Tony and Grammy-award-winning Broadway star, Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman, in Harriet (B minus), in what reviewer Karen Gordon says is a moving and ambitious, if occasionally melodramatic, account of the famous abolitionist, directed by Kasi Lemons.
Winner of the People’s Choice Documentary Award at TIFF 2019, Feras Fayyad’s The Cave (A) shot in an underground hospital in the Syrian city of Al Ghouta, follows a young woman pediatrician, in what reviewer Kim Hughes says “may be may be the saddest, most infuriating” film ever made about the ravages of war on children.
The winner of the top Golden Bear prize at Berlin earlier this year, Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s free-wheeling black comedy, Synonyms (B-plus) follows the misadventures of Yoab (Tom Mercier) a bullish young former Israeli soldier who runs away to Paris in a rejection of his Israeli identity in a deliberately outrageous dismantling of the Israeli macho mystique.
The TIFF six-week retrospective, News from Home: The Films of Chantal Akerman, is a rich survey of the late avant-garde feminist filmmaker, whose work so often featured an apartment kitchen. Liam Lacey describes Akerman’s most famous intimate-epic, Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai de Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, as “pretty much the Citizen Kane of feminist, avant-garde cinema, and films about sex and housework.”
Have a spotless weekend.
By Jim Slotek, Liam Lacey, Kim Hughes and Karen GordonRead More
By Kim Hughes and Liam LaceyRead More