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film review

Also opening: The four-star Sorry We Missed You tackles how the gig economy preys upon society’s most vulnerable

This week’s new releases

  • Sorry We Missed You is a deeply sad and essential evisceration of the gig economy
  • Pixar’s Onward is a delightful family-friendly answer to Lord of the Rings
  • The Steve Coogan-headlining runway-to-reality satire Greed is actually good
  • The Way Back makes room for a basketball court full of clichés
  • Netflix’s Spenser Confidential moves and feels like a TV movie writ-large
  • Wendy is yet another retelling of J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan
  • Canadian sex and misery drama Lie Exposed is pornography for dummies
  • Run This Town is as regrettable as Rob Ford’s Toronto City Hall scandals
  • Also: Your best streaming bets for this March 7-8 weekend

Sorry We Missed You

Sixteen Films

  • Directed by Ken Loach
  • Written by Paul Laverty
  • Starring Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood and Rhys Stone
  • Classification 14A; 101 minutes


4 out of 4 stars

Sorry We Missed You examines the world of predatory zero-hour contracts, and how the new normal of precarious employment through the gig economy can destroy an otherwise solid family. Frequent collaborators screenwriter Paul Laverty and director Ken Loach follow up their 2016 Palme d’Or winner I, Daniel Blake with a story that is so of the moment, it will be looked back on as the first of its kind to tackle the dangers of how the gig economy preys upon society’s most vulnerable. (Opens March 6)



  • Directed by Dan Scanlon
  • Written by Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley and Keith Bunin
  • Featuring the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Classification G; 109 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars

Like other Pixar hits such as WALL-E, Up, Monsters Inc. and the Toy Story series, Onward is a delightful family movie that packs an emotional punch. And manifests itself in a physical afterthought. Onward tells the story of teenage elf brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt), who embark on a quest to connect with their dead father and rediscover the magic forgotten by the modern, suburban world they live in. (Opens March 6)


Amelia Troubridge/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

  • Written and directed by Michael Winterbottom
  • Starring Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher and David Mitchell
  • Classification 14A; 104 mins


3 out of 4 stars

Filmmaker Michael Winterbottom has a knack for choosing the storytelling mode that best suits his material – in Greed’s case, it’s a rhizomatic structure as complex as the sprawling economic shell game it explains. As it follows the exploits of self-made retail billionaire Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) leading up to his Gladiator-themed birthday party, the satire dissects the way layers of glamour, capitalism, vanity and celebrity interconnect and maintain the fast-fashion supply chain’s garment worker exploitation. (Opens March 6)

The Way Back

Richard Foreman/The Associated Press

  • Directed by Gavin O’Connor
  • Written by Brad Ingelsby
  • Starring Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal and Michaela Watkins
  • Classification 14A; 108 minutes


2.5 out of 4 stars

The Way Back is not a basketball movie. It’s a grief/booze/recovery movie. But it follows a familiar playbook: Our hero is down at the tip-off, up at the halftime buzzer, has a rough third quarter and then drives hard to the end – though the film dearly hopes that its big finish is not the one you expect. Throughout, Affleck does his best acting in years – charming where he can be, a jerk when the story requires it. (Opens March 6)

Spenser Confidential

Daniel McFadden/Film 44 / Courtesy of Netflix

  • Directed by Peter Berg
  • Written by Sean O’Keefe and Brian Helgeland
  • Starring Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke and Alan Arkin
  • Classification R; 111 minutes


2 out of 4 stars

Premiering on Netflix is far from a black mark these days – why, the uber-team of Scorsese and De Niro did the same not three months ago – but it only takes five minutes of Spenser Confidential to realize we are far from Irishman territory. The new comedy-thriller, extremely loosely based on the books of novelist Robert B. Parker, moves and feels like a TV movie writ-large. The action is muted, the production design lacklustre, and the momentum engineered for frequent bathroom breaks and other household distractions. (Available to stream on Netflix starting March 6)


Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

  • Directed by Benh Zeitlin
  • Written by Benh Zeitlin and Eliza Zeitlin
  • Starring Devin France, Yashua Mack and Shay Walker
  • Classification PG; 112 minutes


2 out of 4 stars

With his second film Wendy, Wes Anderson contemporary Benh Zeitlin seems to be falling into a different sort of loop – a rerun that’s more rote than refined. It doesn’t help that Zeitlin chose, as his long-in-the-works follow-up to 2012′s come-from-nowhere sensation Beasts of the Southern Wild, to make yet another retelling of J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan, a story by now as familiar as one’s own shadow. (Opens March 6 in Toronto, March 13 in Montreal and Vancouver, and March 20 in other Canadian cities)

Lie Exposed

Dana Ross/Courtesy of Mongrel Media

  • Directed by Jerry Ciccoritti
  • Written by Jeff Kober
  • Starring Leslie Hope, Bruce Greenwood and David Hewlett
  • Classification 14A; 85 minutes


1 out of 4 stars

Lie Exposed is a new Canadian drama that uses tintype photography as the connective narrative tissue to tell a half-dozen stories of romantic dissatisfaction. The film’s dominating thread follows Torontonian Melanie (Leslie Hope), an alcoholic who ditches her husband Frank (Bruce Greenwood) for Los Angeles – every Canadian actor’s dream! – where she begins an affair with a near-wordless tintype photographer (played by the film’s screenwriter, Jeff Kober). (Opens March 6 in Toronto and Vancouver)

Run This Town

Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

  • Written and directed by Ricky Tollman
  • Starring Ben Platt, Mena Massoud, Nina Dobrev and Damian Lewis
  • Classification R; 93 minutes


1 out of 4 stars

Yeah, it’s not good. Writer/director Ricky Tollman has turned the true story of Rob Ford’s crack video into a fake cris du coeur for millennials. The scandals of the late Toronto mayor are now just background; Run This Town’s plot focuses on the tribulations of three twentysomethings itching to break into journalism and politics, but disheartened that there’s no room for them. Or perhaps they are quietly, day-to-day running journalism and politics, yet getting no credit for it. The movie wants to have it both ways, but proves neither. And that’s only one of its problems. (Opens March 6)

Also: What’s new and noteworthy to stream

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

This weekly guide was compiled by Lori Fazari, with reviews from Nathalie Atkinson, Aparita Bhandari, Sarah Hagi, Barry Hertz, Johanna Schneller and Lara Zarum.