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nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up

Melissa Kent/National Film Board of Canada via The Canadian Press

  • Directed by Tasha Hubbard
  • Classification PG; 98 minutes

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Tasha Hubbard’s nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up will sear itself into your consciousness. What starts off as a detailed look into the 2016 Saskatchewan farmland killing of Colten Boushie, and the outcry that resulted after Gerald Stanley was acquitted of second-degree murder in the 22-year-old Cree man’s death, turns into an intimate portrait of generations-long grief. (Opens May 31 in Toronto, Regina, Edmonton and Vancouver; June 5 in Winnipeg; June 6 in Sudbury)

Rocketman

Paramount

  • Directed by Dexter Fletcher
  • Written by Lee Hall
  • Starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden and Bryce Dallas Howard
  • Classification 14A; 121 minutes

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Rocketman really isn’t a biopic on Elton John but a musical "based on a true fantasy,” according to the tag line. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, scripted by Billy Elliot screenwriter and playwright Lee Hall and starring Kingsman actor Taron Egerton, Rocketman is Broadway razzle-dazzle of the best kind. It’s sentimental here and big-tuned there – grim and glamorous at turns, offering two hours of earworms and eye candy. Is it exactly true? No. Do we care? Not at all. (Opens May 31)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

  • Directed by Michael Dougherty
  • Written by Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields
  • Starring Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown
  • Classification PG; 131 minutes

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters hits Peak Stupidity, in a good way. Director Michael Dougherty’s sequel to 2014′s giant-lizard reboot – marking the 36th time the big boy has been seen onscreen since 1954 – is everything your stupid inner child could hope for. Monsters take over the world, fight with each other to the death and destroy countless cities in the process. (Opens May 31)

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Photograph

Joe D’Souza/Courtesy of Amazon Studios / Mongrel Media

  • Directed and written by Ritesh Batra
  • Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra and Farrukh Jaffar
  • Classification PG; 110 minutes

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The Mumbai-set Photograph is a gentle romance cleverly told, and not without humour. Rafi (played by Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a stoic tourist-trap photographer whose bachelorhood is of great concern to friends, relatives and random cab drivers. When Raffi’s grandmother comes to visit him, he comes up with a fake girlfriend (Miloni, a shy stranger) to keep the old woman at bay. (Opens on May 31 in Toronto and Vancouver; June 14 in Montreal)

Halston

The Orchard

  • Directed by Frédéric Tcheng
  • 105 minutes

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Charting celebrity designer Halston’s early career through to his death in 1990, at the age of 57, from AIDS-related cancer, Halston offers the usual biographical mix of news clippings, sketches and original interviews. Director Frédéric Tcheng also brings in contact sheets and shows archive interview footage on a series of vintage TV monitors to reinforce the designer’s unparalleled genius in shaping his image.

The Fall of the American Empire

Courtesy of Entertainment One

  • Written and directed by Denys Arcand
  • Starring Alexandre Landry, Rémy Girard and Maripier Morin
  • Classification R; 127 minutes

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Denys Arcand’s latest film begins promisingly in a cheap Montreal restaurant where a depressive philosophy PhD explains to his girlfriend that only stupid people can be happy. As he tactlessly theorizes, her imploding face registers her disillusion with their future. It’s a darkly amusing opening that is classic Arcand, yet two hours later, The Fall of the American Empire ends listlessly with an earnest montage of the city’s homeless Inuit. Somewhere along the way the masterful Quebec satirist has lost his bearings. (Opens May 31)

Ma

Photo Credit: Anna Kooris/Univer/Universal Studios

  • Directed by Tate Taylor
  • Written by Scotty Landes
  • Starring Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis
  • Classification R; 99 mins

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Director Tate Taylor’s newest effort, Ma, centres around the idea of an emotionally unhinged black woman (Octavia Spencer, cast here in the titular role) who becomes violently obsessed with a group of mostly white teens. The film is at its best when it goes full camp. Unfortunately, more often than not, Ma settles into its lack of a refined generic vision and stalls out just before it’s able to hit most of its horror talking points squarely on the head. (Opens May 31)

The weekly film guide is compiled by Lori Fazari.

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