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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

Armory Films / Roadside Attractions

The Peanut Butter Falcon

  • Written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz
  • Starring Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson and Zack Gottsagen
  • Classification PG; 93 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars

The Peanut Butter Falcon is a modern take on Mark Twain’s depiction of Huck and Jim floating down the Mississippi, on the lam from their past and other preconceptions. The connections between the actors are as organic as anything you’re likely to see in a film this year, and it’s a wonderful piece of art as a result. (Opens Aug. 23)

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts /Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films

Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles

  • Directed by Max Lewkowicz
  • Written by Max Lewkowicz and Valerie Thomas
  • Starring Sheldon Harnick, Harold Prince, Austin Pendleton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Fran Lebowitz, Chaim Topol, Harvey Fierstein and Stephen Sondheim
  • Classification PG; 92 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars

In this documentary, Lewkowicz looks at Fiddler on the Roof through the lens of the turbulent New York of the 1960s, when social conventions were being challenged. Toes will tap, a tear or two might be shed – a complex story about a deceivingly complex musical is adoringly told and ultimately simplified in Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles. (Opens Aug. 23)

Courtesy of TIFF

Tigers Are Not Afraid

  • Written and directed by Issa Lopez
  • Starring Paola Lara and Juan Ramon Lopez
  • Classification 14A; 83 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars

Sicario by way of Pan’s Labyrinth – but not at all as misbegotten as that sounds – Issa Lopez’s magical-realist blood-bath Tigers Are Not Afraid is one of the best surprises of the summer. The filmmaker has such a strong command of mood, character and performances – especially impressive given the age of her cast – that her world quickly, seductively overwhelms. (Opens Aug. 23)

Courtesy of Mongrel Media


  • Directed by Victor Kossakovsky
  • Written by Viktor Kossakovsky and Aimara Reques
  • Classification G; 90 minutes


3 out of 4 stars

Drivers race across Siberia’s frozen Lake Baikal but fail to take into account the moved-up thawing season, and into the water they go. Without any narration or talking heads, Victor Kossakovsky’s cinematic globe-trotting documentary dazzles us with doom. Aquarela is about the beauty and peril of water. (Opens Aug. 23 in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal)

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Ready or Not

  • Directed by Thurop Van Orman
  • Written by Peter Ackerman
  • Featuring the voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Leslie Jones
  • Classification PG; 96 minutes


3 out of 4 stars

The tale of a young bride struggling to survive her wedding night with the in-laws from literal Hell (that’d be Satan devotees) is assembled from the best pieces of better movies. But Ready or Not is still energetic, inventive and bloody enough to permissibly coast on its influences’ fumes. (Opens Aug. 21)

Courtesy of TIFF

Touch Me Not

  • Written and directed by Adina Pintilie
  • Starring Laura Benson
  • Classification N/A; 123 minutes


2.5 out of 4 stars

In this docudrama, director Adina Pintille traces the awakenings and obsessions of four people across the sexual spectrum in Touch Me Not. Exactly where they stop playing themselves and start acting a part is deliberately, sometimes maddeningly unclear, and Pintille always seems just beyond the reach of true insight. (Opens Aug. 23 at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto)

The Canadian Press

Angel Has Fallen

  • Directed by Ric Roman Waugh
  • Written by Robert Mark Kamen, Matt Cook and Ric Roman Waugh
  • Starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Piper Perabo and Nick Nolte
  • Classification 14A; 127 minutes


2 out of 4 stars

After being framed as a key accomplice in the plot to kill the President who adores him, beefy protagonist Mike Banning simultaneously sets out to clear his name and save his country from a clear and present danger. Angel Has Fallen is all stunts, clichés and plot holes big enough to drive a tractor trailer through. Despite Gerard Butler’s best efforts, there’s no thrill to this thriller. (Opens Aug. 23)

Shayne Laverdiere/Courtesy of Entertainment One

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan

  • Directed by Xavier Dolan
  • Written by Xavier Dolan and Jacob Tierney
  • Starring Kit Harington, Jacob Tremblay and Natalie Portman
  • Classification 14A; 123 minutes


1 out of 4 stars

Quebec director Xavier Dolan is an artist apparently unconstrained by chronological time. Most of The Death and Life of John F. Donovan makes little sense, chronological or artistic. It’s a self-indulgent project by a famous gay artist that does not probe the intersection of homosexuality and celebrity so much as it whines about it. (Opens Aug. 23)

This weekly guide was complied by Samantha McCabe, with reviews by Stephen Rodrick, Barry Hertz, Kate Taylor and Brad Wheeler.