Your Weekend Film Round-Up: What To See (And What To Skip) In The Theatres

By Original-Cin Staff

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Your weekend preview: What to watch (and what to skip) in theatres this weekend

Your Weekend Preview: What To Watch (And What To Skip) In Theatres This Weekend

On screens this week, we have not one but two strikingly original films about women on journeys of discovery, finding their voices. Mouthpiece (Rating: A) is Patricia Rozema's collaborative adaptation - with writer-performers Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava - of the hit two-woman play, in which Nostbakken and Sadava play divided parts of the same person. That person: a young Toronto journalist struggling with grief and anger at the death of her mother and her struggle to fight against internalized feminine stereotypes. Reviewer Liam Lacey says the film is funny, insightful and beautifully performed. 

Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken as dueling psyches in Mouthpiece - the week’s best film sez us.

Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken as dueling psyches in Mouthpiece - the week’s best film sez us.

The Souvenir (B-plus) from British filmmaker Joanna Hogg, is almost a reconstruction of the filmmaker's youthful affair, accurate down to a recreation of her apartment and the use of diaries and letters. The star is Honor Swinton Byrne, daughter of Tilda Swinton (who plays the Joanne's mother) as a young filmmaker, with Tom Burke as the troubled academic with whom she is involved. Our reviewer, Thom Ernst found the film simultaneously mesmerizing and alienating. A Souvenir 2 sequel is already in the works.

For the more mature demographic, there's the romance The Tomorrow Man  (C plus), starring Blythe Danner as an eccentric widow and Lithgow as an apocalypse-obsessed conspiracy nut with whom she becomes entangled. Reviewer Jim Slotek applauds the "grade A' performances of Danner and Lithgow, but says they're forced to act above the level of the material.

Also,The X-Men are back, sort of, in the lackadaisical Dark Phoenix (C-minus)  which features the usual stars (Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy) in a battle against telekinetic turncoat Jean Grey (Game of Throne's Sophie Turner) in what reviewer Thom Ernst ranks as the worst of a dozen X-Men films to date.

Three good documentaries hit the theatres this week: Pavarotti  (B-plus), is director Ron Howard's well-researched biography of the gregarious opera star and showman. In Echoes in the Canyon (B), Jakob Dylan serves as onscreen host for a look at the mid-sixties' Laurel Canyon music scene. And, Framing John DeLorean (B-plus) looks at the bizarre trajectory of famed General Motors exec and auto entrepreneur John DeLorean from golden boy to accused cocaine trafficker, and includes dramatized re-enactments withe Alec Baldwin as DeLorean, taking breaks to comment on his subject.

Also this week, we have a full sushi platter of reviews from the contemporary Japanese films running this month at the Toronto Japanese Film Festival, one of the more audience-friendly film events on the summer calendar.

The Original-Cin podcast returns next week

Have a great weekend.

 

 

Echo In The Canyon: A nostalgic tribute to the bohemian Laurel Canyon melting pot that launched folk rock

By Karen Gordon

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Your weekend preview: What to see (and what to skip) in the theatres

Do you remember when rock was young? Or are you more attuned to when it got older and we started complaining about how they don’t make ‘em like they used to?

In either case, you’ll likely enjoy the Sir Elton John biopic, Rocketman  (Rating: A) starring Taron Egerton and directed by English director, Dexter Fletcher, who earns redemption here, after taking the heat for his salvage job on Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer was fired. 

Reviewer Kim Hughes says this rousing musical, focusing on John’s transition from troubled childhood to sparkle suits and jewel-studded glasses, is bathed in “epic swaths of surrealism and show-stopping numbers.”   

Taron Egerton is ready for his close-up as Elton John in Rocketman.

Taron Egerton is ready for his close-up as Elton John in Rocketman.

Speaking of sacred monsters,  Godzilla: King of the Monsters (C), stomps into theatres this weekend, with an over-qualified cast including Vera FarmigaKyle Chandler, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe and Charles Dance.  Despite reservations about an excess of murky action scenes and expositional dialogue, Jim Slotek gives props to the final smackdown between Godzilla and his three-headed nemesis, King Ghidorah.

We get some more Japanese doubling in the artful but slight 2018 Cannes festival entry, Asako I and II (B), in which a young woman falls for a handsome stranger who dumps her, then meets and settles for his less exciting physical double. 

In this week’s other off-beat international romance,  Karen Gordon reviews and likes the formula-bending charm of Photograph, from Ritesh Batra (of the 2013 international hit, The Lunchbox) )about an indebted young Mumbai street photographer, who fakes a relationship with a middle-class girl to please his granny.  

This week brings two bittersweet Canadian comedies, one from an old pro, one from a first-timer:  Denys Arcand’s The Fall of the American Empire (C), his latest, and most disposable, in a cycle of Quebec farcical satires of modern life that  started with Decline of the American Empire (1986).   Sorry For Your Loss (B-minus)  from first-time director (and Schitt’s Creek story editor) Collin Friesen follows a depressive new dad, Ken (Justin Bartha) who returns to Winnipeg to bury his father and get some crude life wisdom from  friends and family, played by Bruce Greenwood, Kevin McDonald and Lolita Davidovich

Halston, a documentary about the fashion designer of the sixties and seventies (think Jackie, Liza, Bianca) offers a trove of pop culture information though, says reviewer Kim Hughes, the film is marred by the awkward use of a fictional female narrator, who sticks out like a bad seam on an Oscar frock.

On this week’s podcast, we talk about the pleasures of Rocketman, fat-shaming Godzilla and our adventures in sitting on film juries.