What to watch (and what to skip) in the theatres this week

Now that the Oscars are a distant memory, we’ve revived the Your Weekend Film Roundup, with an assortment of low-season indie curiosities and gems.

To start with, we note that Captain Marvel isn’t the only female-centred film out there. We offer Canadian filmmaker Danishka Esterhazy’s topical sci-fi Level 16  (Rating: A Minus), a drama about a 16-year-old girl,  Vivien (Katie Dougl as) and her best friend, Sophia (Celina Martin) in the boarding-school/prison where inmates are trained to be passive, sweet and uncurious. Our reviewer, Thom Ernst, compares this smartly-scripted dystopian drama to Black Mirror and A Handmaid’s Tale.

Level 16: A girls’ school they’d approve of in Gilead

Level 16: A girls’ school they’d approve of in Gilead

From Iceland, whose main exports are sweaters, cod and quirk,  comes Woman at War  (Rating:: B) which introduces us to Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir), choir director by day, bow-wielding eco-warrior by night. This off-beat crowd-pleaser is slated for a Hollywood remake, with Jodie Foster reportedly attached to direct and star.

On the subject of remakes, Julianne Moore and John Turturro star in Gloria Bell  (Rating: A-minus) in which Chilean director Sebastián Lelio preserves the warmth and charming awkwardness of his own 2013 Spanish language, hit, Gloria, says our reviewer, Kim Hughes. Moore stars as a divorced middle-aged women with an unquenched enthusiasm for love and disco dancing. It’s celebration of a woman who, even if she gets her toes stepped on, keeps on dancing.

Romantic perseverance is the theme of Five Feet Apart  (Rating: B-minus) about  two teens with cystic fibrosis who are not allowed to be physically close to each other. Kim Hughes praises the gifted young stars, Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse, but is less enthusiastic about the script for this “watchable weepie” 

We have a couple of movies about people who, to steal from Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch, have passed on, are no more, have ceased to be, are stiff, bereft of life – in short, are dead. To Dust  (A-minus) is a kind of buddy-movie, in which a widowed Orthodox cantor, Shmuel (Son of Saul’s Géza Röhrig) asks a college science prof (Matthew Broderick) to help him understand what exactly has happened to his wife’s corpse.. Reviewer Jim Slotek calls it an “odd, dryly funny, existential and slightly blasphemous.”  Jim also reviews Quebec director, Denis Côté’s new film, Ghost Town Anthology, a contemplative chiller about a small town that’s dying, and then starts filling up with its population of the walking dead, who are less interested in scaring the living than passively watching the dwindling population.

On this week’s podcast, we talk about Captain Marvel  vs. the anti-feminist internet trolls and have a clip of  Bonnie Laufer Krebs’ interview with Marvel’s Lashana Lynch. We also talk about Steven Spielberg’s beef with Netflix and offer some ideas about how we’d cast the movie about the college admission scandal.

Have a great weekend.