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film review

Start your weekend planning early with The Globe and Mail’s guide to every feature film arriving this weekend, from would-be blockbusters to under-the-radar indies

MS Slavic 7

Courtesy of Lisa Pictures

  • Written and directed by Sofia Bohdanowicz and Deragh Campbell
  • Starring Deragh Campbell
  • Classification N/A; 64 minutes

Rating:

3.5 out of 4 stars

Canadian director Sofia Bohdanowicz specializes in slender and deeply affecting narratives that blend documentary and fiction. Her new film, MS Slavic 7, returns to the character of Audrey Benac, an amateur family historian who appeared in Bohdanowicz’s earlier work Veslemoy’s Song and Never Eat Alone, and is a sort of stand-in for the director herself. (Opens Oct. 10 at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto)

Dolce Fine Giornata

Films We Like

  • Directed by Jacek Borcuch
  • Written by Jacek Borcuch and Szczepan Twardoch
  • Starring Krystyna Janda
  • Classification PG; 93 minutes

Rating:

3 out of 4 stars

In director Jacek Borcuch’s Dolce Fine Giornata, Polish Jewish Nobel Prize-winning poet Maria (played compellingly by legendary Polish actor Krystyna Janda) has built a dream life in Italy with her husband and daughter where she does what she wants with little to no consequences. That is, until a terrorist attack shakes Rome and her speech about the act is interpreted as one of support – for the terrorists. (Opens Oct. 11 at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto)

Dolemite Is My Name

François Duhamel/Netflix

  • Directed by Craig Brewer
  • Written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
  • Starring Eddie Murphy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Wesley Snipes
  • Classification R; 118 minutes

Rating:

3 out of 4 stars

Netflix’s new movie Dolemite Is My Name runs through the let’s-put-on-a-show formula with little narrative or stylistic flair, albeit a whole lot of spirit. Almost all of that energy is because of Eddie Murphy, who plays 1970s comedian and wannabe movie star Rudy Ray Moore with so much charm and verve, it was as if the actor’s career depended on it – which it sort of does. (Opens Oct. 11 in Toronto and Montreal, Oct. 12 in Vancouver, and Oct. 25 on Netflix)

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Ben Rothstein / Netflix/Netflix

  • Directed and written by Vince Gilligan
  • Starring Aaron Paul, Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter
  • 122 minutes

Rating:

2.5 out of 4 stars

Even casual fans who have not revisited Breaking Bad in the six years since its conclusion might be lost by El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. However, if you’re a hard-core devotee – the kind that built summer vacations around visiting the show’s New Mexico sites – there are enough delightful moments to keep you content until the next season of Better Call Saul, a more successful stand-alone Vince Gilligan spinoff. (Available on Netflix and at select theatres)

Gemini Man

Paramount Pictures/Paramount Pictures.

  • Directed by Ang Lee
  • Written by David Benioff, Billy Ray and Darren Lemke
  • Starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Clive Owen
  • Classification PG; 117 minutes

Rating:

2.5 out of 4 stars

Gemini Man, like director Ang Lee’s 2016 war film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, was shot in 3-D at 120 frames a second, rather than the standard 24. This produces a crystal-clear, shockingly pristine image as the film follows Henry Brogan (Will Smith), a government assassin who finds himself being hunted by his own clone. (Opens Oct. 11)

Harpoon

775 Media Corp

  • Written and directed by Rob Grant
  • Starring Munro Chambers, Christopher Gray and Emily Tyra
  • Classification R; 83 minutes

Rating:

2.5 out of 4 stars

Harpoon is a brutal little lost-at-sea thriller that gets a welcome boost of surreal and deadpan humour from Brett Gelman as the story’s omniscient and unseen narrator. Gelman’s bone-dry delivery, a perfection of the know-it-all jerks he’s played on everything from Fleabag to Stranger Things, propels writer-director Rob Grant’s survival story every time it stalls, which is often. (Opens Oct. 11 in Toronto)

Matthias & Maxime

Sons of Manual

  • Written and directed by Xavier Dolan
  • Starring Xavier Dolan, Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas and Anne Dorval
  • Classification N/A; 119 minutes

Rating:

2 out of 4 stars

After Québécois filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s English-language debut, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, was met with fire and fury by critics on the festival circuit last year, Dolan shifted his ambitions, returning to Montreal to make an intimate drama akin to his earlier work. Unfortunately, the new film Matthias & Maxime arrives lacking much of the emotional urgency of the Dolan who once captured the international art-house crowd, feeling provincial in more ways than one. (Opened Oct. 9 in Quebec, and Oct. 11 in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa)

The Addams Family

Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

  • Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
  • Written by Pamela Pettler and Matt Lieberman (based on characters created by Charles Addams)
  • Starring Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll and Bette Midler
  • Classification PG; 87 minutes

Rating:

2 out of 4 stars

Animated feature film The Addams Family is geared toward young audiences, favouring a wholesome be-yourself message and visual stimulation over an actual "story.” The film’s writing is unambitious; there’s little to cause adults to smile knowingly. (Opens Oct. 11)

Lucy in the Sky

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

  • Directed by Noah Hawley
  • Written by Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi
  • Starring Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm and Dan Stevens
  • Classification R; 124 minutes

Rating:

1.5 out of 4 stars

Sorta-kinda-not-really based on the true story of NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, who was charged with attempted kidnapping in the wake of an affair with a fellow astronaut, Lucy in the Sky never decides what cinematic orbit it should occupy. Noah Hawley’s directorial debut may have started out as a feminist-forward film decrying the fact that women have to work five times as hard to succeed in the workplace, but it ends up being a movie whose message boils down to, “Ladies be crazy.” (Opens Oct. 11)

Lucky Day

Brooke Palmer/Elevation Pictures

  • Written and directed by Roger Avary
  • Starring Luke Bracey, Nina Dobrev and Crispin Glover
  • Classification R; 99 minutes

A mean-spirited and aggressively dumb neo-noir in the vein of the many Pulp Fiction knock-offs that flooded the market back in the mid-90s, Lucky Day is crassly violent, inexcusably sexist, horribly racist, rampantly homophobic – and that’s just Crispin Glover’s character. (Opens Oct. 11)


This weekly guide was compiled by Lori Fazari, with reviews from Anne T. Donahue, Barry Hertz, Stephen Rodrick, Anna Swanson and Brad Wheeler.