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film review

Also opening: The devastating Beanpole and conflicted The Invisible Man

This week’s new releases

Beanpole

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Liana Mukhamedzyanova/Courtesy of TIFF

  • Directed by Kantemir Balagov
  • Written by Kantemir Balagov and Aleksandr Terekhov
  • Starring Viktoria Miroschnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina
  • Classification 18A; 130 minutes

Rating:

3.5 out of 4 stars

Beanpole, Kantemir Balagov’s second directorial effort, is loosely adapted from Svetlana Alexievich’s The Unwomanly Face of War. It follows two severely traumatized women in 1945 Leningrad. Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko) is a kind but awkward nurse prone to seizing up, while the charismatic Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina) has returned from fighting on the front lines to news that’s beyond horrific. Both women attempt to rebuild their lives by relying on each other, though in very different fashions and with results that will simultaneously compel and repel audiences. (Opens Feb. 28 at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto)

Disappearance at Clifton Hill

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Ian Watson/Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

  • Directed by Albert Shin
  • Written by Albert Shin and James Schultz
  • Starring Tuppence Middleton, Hannah Gross and David Cronenberg
  • Classification 14A; 100 minutes

Rating:

3.5 out of 4 stars

Director Albert Shin’s delightfully twisty new mystery Disappearance at Clifton Hill focuses on Abby (British actress Tuppence Middleton) as she returns to Niagara Falls to settle family affairs. As Abby falls into a rabbit-hole conspiracy involving a missing boy, greedy developers, French-Canadian magicians and a local podcaster played by David Cronenberg (!), Disappearance at Clifton Hill becomes just as thrilling and disturbing as its titular strip of haunted houses and fading-fast motels. (Opens Feb. 28)

Emma

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Focus Features

  • Directed by Autumn de Wilde
  • Written by Eleanor Catton, Jane Austen
  • Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Mia Goth, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy and Josh O’Connor
  • Classification PG; 125 minutes

Rating:

3.5 out of 4 stars

The latest Emma is a millennial – in the best possible sense. As Jane Austen wrote, she’s handsome, clever and rich, but also restless, underemployed and skeptical of love. There’s an ill-timed nosebleed that is the very definition of #awkward. Like its titular 20-year-old, the film may be a touch fond of itself here and there. But there is redemption in the end. (Opens Feb. 28)

The Invisible Man

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures/Universal Pictures

  • Directed by Leigh Whannell
  • Written by Leigh Whannell, Ed Solomon, David S. Goyer, Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone, H.G. Wells
  • Starring Elisabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge
  • Classification 18A; 125 minutes

Rating:

2 out of 4 stars

The Invisible Man takes on H.G. Wells’ oft-mined novel and reorients it more literally toward a narrative wherein scientific ingenuity is just one of many tools of abuse. Director Leigh Whannell’s revisionist take centres on Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss), a woman who manages to leave her physically and emotionally abusive relationship. But she goes on to be further subjected to abuse when her former partner, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a highly successful optics specialist and tech company founder, fakes his own death in order to torment her as an invisible entity. (Opens Feb. 28)

Also: What’s new and noteworthy to stream

Two shows and a film to watch on Crave, Amazon Prime and Acorn TV this weekend.


This weekly guide was compiled by Lori Fazari, with reviews from Barry Hertz, Johanna Schneller, Sarah-Tai Black and Lara Zarum.

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