The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne (Matthew Pond, Kirk Marcolina) follows an 81-year-old African-American grandmotherly type who's forced to answer for her 40-plus-year career as a prolific yet unassuming jewel thief. Doris has a lot of good in her - especially her ability to operate with so much confidence before the U.S. civil rights movement - but she's also a master of manipulation and sleight of hand. She's candid, humorous, dangerous, unassuming and somewhat inspirational all at once. The doc's ending comes with a satisfying sting. 73 min.
Rating: NNNN (Andrew Parker)
Opens Jun 20 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. See here for times.
Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre) stars Jenny Slate of Parks And Recreation and House Of Lies as a flailing Brooklyn stand-up comic mining her life for material even as her world falls apart: her boyfriend's dumped her, the bookstore where she works is closing, and she's pregnant after a one-night stand with a nice guy (Jake Lacy) whom the universe seems intent on her seeing again. Writer-director Robespierre's feature debut - considerably expanded from her 2009 short - is a sharply observed character study built around a knockout performance by Slate, who plays against her own bubbly persona to show us a young woman grappling with the fact that she can't be a kid forever. Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, Richard Kind and Polly Draper contribute fine supporting performances, but this is Slate's movie from beginning to end. 85 min.
Rating: NNNN (NW)
Opens Jun 20 at Varsity. See here for times.
Blood Glacier (Marvin Kren) shares some DNA with horror classics The Thing and Alien, but delivers the genre goods with an urgent eco awareness message. In an isolated weather research station way up in the German Alps, three scientists and a technician discover a mysterious red liquid on the shrinking glaciers that begins radically altering the local wildlife. Meanwhile, a politician and her entourage are en route to the station, with who knows what monsters scuttling and flying around them. The plot and characters are hardly original, but Kren manages to create a palpable sense of dread and suspense, and the premise means we never know what a creature will look like, providing an amusing gross-out challenge for the able effects team. 97 min.
Rating: NNN (GS)
Opens Jun 19 at Coliseum Mississauga, Colossus, Eglinton Town Centre, Queensway, SilverCity Fairview, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
I'll Follow You Down (Richie Mehta) shifts the usual perspective of the time-travel movie onto the people left behind, focusing on gifted physics major Erol (Haley Joel Osment), who becomes the caretaker of his shattered mother (Gillian Anderson) after his scientist father disappears. With the help of his grandfather (Victor Garber), Erol tries to figure out how to find his father and get his family out of this darkest timeline - though as his girlfriend (Susanna Fournier) points out, that could mean their relationship might never have happened. It's a nifty idea, and writer-director Mehta really burrows into the metaphor of being trapped in a life you didn't choose. But the concept means the set-up is more interesting than the final scenes, which land with more of a sigh than a bang. 92 min.
Rating: NNN (NW)
Opens Jun 20 at Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
No Tears for the Dead (Lee Jeong-beom) is a Korean thriller that often feels like a derivative attempt to mimic superior offshore actioners like the Die Hard and Bourne films, but writer-director Lee ambitiously (if not successfully) makes that part of the point. The cultural exchange between Seoul, Hong Kong and Hollywood shows up in the multicultural cast, with some English-speaking Korean actors, and Sade on the soundtrack. Main character Gon, a Korean-born Triad assassin who had a tragic upbringing in the States, returns to his homeland for one last mission. The plot is convoluted, but an appealing cast and some grizzly action directed with verve and panache keep things moving. 116 min.
Rating: NNN (RS)
Opens Jun 20 at Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
Uvanga (Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Madeline Ivalu) is a drama about the culture shock experienced by a teenage boy (Lukasi Forrest) when his Quebecois mother (Marianne Farley) brings him back to his father's village in Igloolik to meet his extended Inuk family. Directors Cousineau and Ivalu have created a fully fleshed-out narrative rather than the skeletal structure of incidents that made up their previous picture, Before Tomorrow; the characters have complex relationships and long-buried resentments that come boiling to the surface as soon as the visitors step off the plane. The story points get a little soapy, but Cousineau and Ivalu - who also appears in the film as the boy's grandmother - don't push the movie into melodrama; this is a film of small epiphanies rather than big sweeping emotions. And by trusting its actors to deliver them, Uvanga delivers a series of modest, genuine moments. Some subtitles. 86 min.
Rating: NNN (NW)
Opens Jun 20 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. See here for times.
The Rover (David Michôd) is a less gripping crime picture than Michôd's debut feature, Animal Kingdom, so you may find your attention roving over the sunbaked Australian outback. It's 10 years after an economic collapse, and the exhausted Eric (Guy Pearce) is drinking in a bar when his car is stolen by a group of robbers who've fled a crime scene. Eric pursues them with a demented, single-minded fury, and when he meets Rey (Robert Pattinson), one of the robbers' brothers left for dead at the crime scene, he finds out where they may be hiding. The shootout scenes are well staged, some haunting sequences suggest the chaos of the new economy, and you can sense Michôd reaching for some statement about guilt and loyalty. But mostly the film consists of Pearce squinting menacingly, and that's not enough to hold it together. 102 min.
Rating: NN (GS)
Opens Jun 20 at Varsity. See here for times.
Jersey Boys (Clint Eastwood) sucks. The original stage version cannot be as lifelessly realized, as jarringly overacted, as narratively clumsy or as musically inept as the film producer-director Eastwood has made of it. This is a turgid, exaggerated, painful experience, crushingly dull at two and a quarter hours and utterly tone-deaf to the rhythms of its own music. Told by Franki Valli and the Four Seasons themselves - the characters constantly breaking the fourth wall to tell us, in a dialect that can best be defined as "unreconstructed mook," how t'ree mobbed-up kids from small-town Joisey teamed up with white-bread genius songwriter Bob Gaudio to become doo-wop sensations - the story slouches through all the expected biopic signposts. The performances are almost preposterously theatrical, as if the actors saw the stage show and ran straight to set, doing their best to replicate it beat for beat. I can understand this from John Lloyd Young, who actually did play the role of Valli on Broadway and reprises it here, but the other actors should have known better. 134 min.
Rating: N (NW)
Opens Jun 20 at 401 & Morningside, Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Steeles, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Varsity, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
Think Like a Man Too (Tim Story) opens with Frank Sinatra singing Luck Be A Lady, a soothing sound that is immediately interrupted by Kevin Hart's obnoxious screeching. That's a sign of things to come in this unfortunate Las Vegas set sequel, which takes advantage of Hart's box office clout by promoting his Cedric from comic relief to narrator, focal point and vacuous black hole that sucks up all the air in the room. On paper, Hart's Cedric should remain a supporting player amidst the returning couples whose romantic dramas from the original film are rehashed here. Yet Cedric steamrolls over everyone else's problems with Hart's motor mouth tirades and physical antics. He's like Roger Rabbit aimlessly unleashed onto the set of Dr. Phil. 105 min.
Rating: N (RS)
Opens Jun 20 at 401 & Morningside, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Queensway, Rainbow Woodbine, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale. See here for times.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cosi Fan Tutte Encore is a high-def broadcast of Mozart's comic opera, starring Isabel Leonard, Danielle de Niese. Subtitled. 245 min.
Opens Jun 21 at Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Coliseum Mississauga, Eglinton Town Centre, Queensway, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Yonge. See here for times.
Rigor Mortis (Juno Mak) 101 min.
Opens Jun 20 at Royal. See here for times.