How does one end up in a cult? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at some point. How does someone end up entirely under the sway of another person’s will? The Shrink Next Door can’t answer that question for everyone, but it can answer it for Marty Markowitz, a successful but anxiety-ridden new york businessman who ended up in the thrall of his psychiatrist for nearly thirty years.
As with many shows that are based on real-life, the story is almost too much to be believed. Markowitz (played by Will Ferrell), struggling with his business and an ex-girlfriend, seeks therapy from Dr Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf (Paul Rudd). Herschkopf’s methods immediately stand out as skirting the line of professional ethics –he literally tells off the ex-girlfriend, in person, while Marty stands there nearly helpless– but Marty is enamoured. “People take advantage of you,” Herschkopf says, “but not anymore. I am going to take care of you.”
It wouldn’t be a series of things didn’t get weird. These eight episodes of television chronicle just how deeply Herschkopf ingratiated himself into Marty’s life, and serve to showcase excellent performances from stars Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell.
Continue reading “Review: ‘The Shrink Next Door’ is a showcase for Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell”
Horror is one of the essential genes we have, even though it’s treated as an afterthought by awards bodies and film snobs. It is one of the genres of film that sees the most creativity and one that, when deployed right, can shine light onto areas of our world in more interesting and relatable ways.
Where’s Rose is one of these.
Continue reading “Raindance ’21 Review: ‘Where’s Rose’ is creepy, socially relevant horror”
The workplace is a lovely place to set a story. It is a place with multiple people, with various characters and, depending on the job, there are plenty of things to do or ignore. All Sorts, a quirky new romantic comedy set in a data management company, falls into the latter category.
Continue reading “Raindance ’21 Review: ‘All Sorts’ is a delightfully absurd workplace comedy”
Stop me if you have heard this one before: a young man is bullied at school. His home life is broken thanks to absent parents (one physically, one emotionally). Miserable, he runs away from home and finds a magical thing that helps him regain his self-confidence and fix his life.
This is The Drowning of Arthur Braxton. His mother is gone, his dad is an alcoholic, and while hiding in an abandoned Edwardian bathhouse, he finds a young naked woman who turns out to be a water nymph who is destined to fall in love with him. If you think that there will be some twist that makes this more original than the other “boy finds magic fixes life” stories you’ve read, I’m here to warn you that there isn’t.
Continue reading “Raindance ’21 Review: ‘The Drowning of Arthur Braxton’ has noble intent but misses the mark”
A preacher says grace with his family. He has a kind voice and is revered by his wife and young son. Their pleasant dinner is interrupted by a knock at the door from the preacher’s past. The stranger on the other side, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sporting two gold pistols, joins them at the dinner table. The preacher begs, but the stranger shoots him and his wife several moments and then uses a razor to carve a cross into the young boy’s forehead.
This is the opening to The Harder They Fall; it sets the stage for a film that will all at once be a revenge picture, a colourful and bloody action picture, a history lesson, and a damn good time at the movies.
Continue reading “Review: ‘The Harder They Fall’ is a bloody good time”
The cinema of the pandemic remains an ongoing thing, which is appropriate given that the pandemic itself does as well. This time out, another character piece shot in gorgeous black and white follows the cast and crew of a film after they have been sent home in the early days of lockdown.
Continue reading “Raindance ’21 Review: ‘A Bird Flew In’ is a beautifully shot and well-acted drama”
Rawson Marshall Thurber has had an interesting career as a director. His films aren’t terribly inventive; they often wear their influences on their sleeve and often get by on the fact that he works with charismatic casts.
His latest, Red Notice, a globe-trotting heist action movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot, is no different.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Red Notice’ coasts on the strength of its cast”
There are a few basic premises for films that are simply pure, and two of them are the road trip movie and the boy and his dog movie. You can find countless examples of each, and I am sure they have been mashed up before as well. That’s the case again in Finch, a road trip story starring Tom Hanks and an adorable dog, but that also happens to be set after the end of the world and co-starring your latest favourite movie robot of the year.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Finch’ has Tom Hanks in fine form on a post-apocalyptic road trip with a naive robot and a dog”
There are many fundamental truths in this world, and one of them is that creative people will create. Tyler (William Magnus Lulua), a boy growing up on northern BC’s Tsilhqotʼin reserve, makes films. He borrows household items from the community to use as props and screens them in a makeshift open-air cinema. When his latest film is only attended by a handful of people, many of whom then leave to go to bingo night, Tyler decides he needs to make something more personal.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Portraits From A Fire’ comes of age through filmmaking”
In the United Kingdom exists a system of child welfare. That is to say, like all first world countries, there is a governmental body whose sole task is to look out for the wellbeing of children. The UK government has a strict system, and one outcome of children being removed from a family is forced adoption. Forced adoption is exactly what it sounds like: if the state deems the parents unfit, they will adopt the children out to a family they believe are.
This practice has generated fierce criticism, especially from those who believe that the system errs far too often on the side of adopting the children rather than reuniting the family. Spoiler alert: Listen is made by people who share this belief.
Continue reading “Raindance ’21 Review: ‘Listen’ is heavy-handed, but heart-wrenching”
Expectation, thy name is Dune. Years in the making and then delayed for an entire year thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dune has the weight of expectations hanging over it. Director Denis Villeneuve is an accomplished visionary with a clear eye for details and world-building alike, but how can the story of Dune –a famously dense work– be adapted into a movie?
Continue reading “Review: ‘Dune’ is a vast, beautiful film that loses sight of its emotional core”
Only five months ago, Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead premiered on Netflix and gave us a dumb but fun heist movie set amid a zombie apocalypse. While reception of the film was mixed (I liked it!), most people agreed that Matthias Schweighöfer’s character, a safecracker named Dieter, a highlight.
Netflix must have liked him too because they gave actor Matthias Schweighöfer a bunch of money to direct this prequel cantered on his character. You know what? It was money well spent.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Army of Thieves’ is a fun heist movie”
No good comes from denying the self. If it seems like a thing easier said than done, that’s because it is. Living in a trailer park with his abusive father and staring down a road or petty crime and everything that follows, Wildhood is the story of a young man who is in so much self-denial that he is dying his hair blond in an effort to distance himself from his indigenous heritage, and that’s before he even begins to examine his sexuality.
Continue reading “FNC ’21 Review: ‘Wildhood’ is a tender coming of age tale”
Young love set against a backdrop of crime is a tale as old as time. In The White Fortress, the story is set in modern-day Sarajevo and follows a young man called Faruk (Pavle Čemerikić) as he navigates the current realities of growing up poor in the politically divided city.
Continue reading “FNC ’21 Review: ‘The White Fortress’ sets young love among a divided city”
A young woman returns to her small, rural community and begins to effect change. It’s a setup as old as the movies themselves and one we love to return to because so much can be mined from this kind of setup. In Bootlegger, a young woman returns to the reserve she called home as a child and begins a campaign to open up the sale of alcohol, free the community from some amount of the oppression they face.
It’s a gorgeously shot and very Canadian story.
Continue reading “VIFF ’21 Review: ‘Bootlegger’ is a gorgeously shot story of findings one’s place”