With movie theatres reopening, and then closing and then who-knows-what, there is comfort in knowing that, thanks to streaming and video-on-demand, we can all program our own double (or triple, or quadruple) bills at home. Here are this weekend’s best new at-home releases.
Dreamland, VOD Don’t let the odour of Dreamland’s mouldering shelf life dissuade you: Despite the fact that this Margot Robbie crime thriller was first screened at the Tribeca Film Festival back in April, 2019, the fact that general audiences are only seeing it now is just one of those funny release-shift things. Visually idiosyncratic, narratively compelling and featuring a tricky lead performance from Robbie as one half of a Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque duo, director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s Dust Bowl saga is well worth your stuck-on-the-couch time.
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist, Shudder A case of honesty in titles, director Alexandre O. Philippe’s new documentary is exactly what it says it is: For about an hour and a half, we get an excitable and erudite William Friedkin walking us through the whys and hows of his Oscar-winning cultural touchstone. Philippe is an old hand at these kinds of behind-the-scenes tours thanks to his previous dissections of Psycho and Alien, which are smart and slick enough to elevate them from mere DVD bonus-feature material. But his film gets a significant boost from his lead subject, who is as gifted and charming an oral storyteller as he is a filmmaker.
Death and Sickness, CBC Gem Like many of us, Sook-Yin Lee has been enduring a very intense pandemic. Unlike most of us, the actor/director/mainstay of Canadian arts decided to put her experiences to film. Together with musician and new quarantine companion Dylan Gamble, Lee filmed Death and Sickness, which is endearingly impossible to classify. Part visual essay, part psychedelic home video, part tribute to the life of her late friend Adam Litovitz, the production is surprising, heartfelt and discombobulating. But above all, it is intensely intimate – an up-close, ground-level look at how two people moved from one to another during a moment of profound confusion.
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