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film review

Also opening: The Lodge will leave you feeling moved and terrified

This week’s new releases

Ordinary Love

Courtesy of levelFILM

  • Directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn
  • Written by Owen McCafferty
  • Starring Liam Neeson, Lesley Manville
  • Classification PG; 92 minutes

Rating:

4 out of 4 stars

It’s hard to make a film about the middle of anything, especially a long marriage. The presumption is that if a couple has stayed together long enough, there’s no drama left. The new British film Ordinary Love solves its drama problem by choosing from Tom (Liam Neeson) and Joan’s (Lesley Manville) long marriage the year that Joan is diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer. But don’t be fooled. Although writer Owen McCafferty and co-directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn – themselves a married couple – get all the cancer stuff right, Joan’s disease isn’t the point. The point is to take a good, long look at that rarest of cinematic subjects: the good, long marriage. Manville and Neeson make a brilliant and – thank you, directors – age-appropriate couple. (Opens Feb. 21)

The Lodge

  • Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
  • Written by Sergio Casci, Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
  • Starring Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone, Richard Armitage
  • Classification R; 100 minutes

Rating:

3 out of 4 stars

Not much happens, and it doesn’t all quite make sense, but you will leave moved and terrified. After premiering at Sundance in 2019, the second film by German co-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala follows a similar formula as their breakthrough Goodnight Mommy. The Lodge is another contained chamber piece about two children resentful of a woman who is trying to take the place of their mother. (Opens Feb. 21)

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

  • Directed by Hitesh Kewalya
  • Written by Hitesh Kewalya
  • Starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Jitendra Kumar, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta, Manu Rishi Chadha, Sunita Rajwar, Maanvi Gagroo, Pankhuri Awasthy
  • Classification PG (G in Quebec); 117 minutes

Rating:

2.5 out of 4 stars

Just to get it out of the way – the phrase shubh mangal saavdhan is a mantra of sorts, uttered to announce a marriage. It’s also the title of an earlier movie written by Hitesh Kewalya, in which Ayushmann Khurrana played the lead role of a man dealing with erectile dysfunction, much to the chagrin of his fiancèe, played by Bhumi Pednekar, with a squabbling family providing the backdrop of comic relief. Now Kewalya’s revisiting the title, in a way. But this time he’s not just the writer. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, a Hindi film with English subtitles, is also his directorial debut. The plot is entirely different, while the title is slightly tweaked. The word zyada means extra. And – the way kids use the word these days – is one way to describe the film. It’s just so extra in depicting a story about two gay men in love, and seeking validation from their family. It’s both its drawback and delight. (Opened Feb. 20)

The Call of the Wild

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox/Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

  • Directed by Chris Sanders
  • Written by Michael Green
  • Starring Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Dan Stevens, Karen Gillan
  • Classification PG; G in Quebec; 105 minutes

Rating:

2.5 out of 4 stars

The Call of the Wild heeds a call of the times. It offers a rather multicultural representation of the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush compared with other Hollywood movies set in that time period. Does this latest version of a popular adventure novel actually strike gold, however? That depends on what you went looking for. If you’re after an action-packed adventure film set against turn-of-the-century Canadian wilderness, you’ll likely come away disappointed. If you’re looking for a good ol’ yarn – the kind where bad guys sneer, good guys sigh and a big dog rescues everyone and finds its true self in the process? Jackpot! (Opens Feb. 21)

Also: What’s new and noteworthy to stream

Two shows and a film to watch on Crave, Amazon Prime and CBS All Access this weekend.


This weekly guide was compiled by Lori Fazari, with reviews from Aparita Bhandari, Chandler Levack, Johanna Schneller and Lara Zarum.