The Paperboy (Lee Daniels) is an in-your-face - and plot-hole-riddled - slice of Southern-fried Gothic about sexually conflicted newspaperman Ward (Matthew McConaughey), who tries to exonerate a racist police chief's killer (John Cusack in decidedly unlovable mode) with the help of Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), who's horny for felons. Sexually violent - the main sex scene is jaw-droppingly disturbing - gory and full of nasty characters, The Paperboy is so trashy that, when you're not turning away, you'll be laughing. But Lee gets great performances from his cast, including Kidman, Macy Gray as the family maid and, surprisingly, Zac Efron as Ward's younger brother. There's an underlying theme of corruption, but that and any other content tends to get eclipsed by style. 107 min.
Rating: NNN (SGC)
Opens Oct 19 at Varsity. See here for times.
Tai Chi Zero (Stephen Fung) turns the standard kung fu origin story about a young man (Yuan Xiaochao) who sets out on a journey of destiny into a wacked-out mashup of westerns, action movies, video games and self-reflexive comedy, borrowing the pop-up aesthetic of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World to introduce characters with on-screen graphics identifying the actors playing them, and illustrates their martial artistry like a commentator drawing football plays with a telestrator. It's inventive and occasionally ingenious, but dear god is it exhausting. And it isn't even a complete narrative, but the first of two parts; the entire film serves as the setup for Tai Chi Hero, coming soon. Subtitled. 95 min.
Rating: NNN (NW)
Opens Oct 19 at Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
Alex Cross (Rob Cohen) is designed to reboot James Patterson's genius FBI profiler - previously played by Morgan Freeman in Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider - as a younger, more action-oriented character, similar to what The Sum Of All Fears attempted by replacing Harrison Ford with Ben Affleck as Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. Alex Cross casts Tyler Perry for an origin story, with Cross as a Detroit homicide cop. Alas, Perry simply isn't up to the role, and director Cohen knows it; I've never seen a movie so eager to cut away from its leading man. Unfortunately, that means spending more time with a pop-eyed, emaciated Matthew Fox as Cross's nemesis, a sadistic assassin who starts hunting our hero after their paths collide on a murder investigation. Cohen manages to orchestrate a couple of energetic set pieces, but the whole thing was doomed from the start. 96 min.
Rating: NN (NW)
Opens Oct 19 at 401 & Morningside, Carlton Cinema, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Steeles, Grande - Yonge, Humber Cinema, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Woodbine, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Mississauga, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale. See here for times.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (Lisa Immordino Vreeland) is undeserving of the fashion icon's favourite terms, like "Pizzazz!" "Marvellous!" "Gorgeous!" Directed by her granddaughter-in-law, the biographical documentary is a facile and often pretentious journey through Vreeland's life. During her time as editor-in-chief at Vogue in the 1960s, Vreeland made blue jeans mainstream and styled Jackie O. Feats to be sure, but this doc lacks the invention and playfulness that made Vreeland so unique. The film is narrated by actors deliverinig phony banter between Vreeland (Annette Miller) and the author of her memoirs, George Plimpton (Jonathan Epstein), but the movie descends into the unintentionally parodic. Much like the magazine she worked at, it's all gloss, no substance. 77 min.
Rating: NN (Kiva Reardon)
Opens Oct 19 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. See here for times.
Caesar & Cleopatra - Encore Presentation is a rebroadcast of the Stratford Festival's acclaimed production of the Shaw play starring Christopher Plummer and Nikki James in the title roles. 138 min.
Opens Oct 18 at Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Grande - Yonge, Queensway, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Yonge. See here for times.
The Last Gladiators - Bare Knuckles Theatrical Tour (Alex Gibney) looks at the NHL's most feared enforcers and explores the career of Chris "Knuckles" Nilan, directed by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Gibney. 90 min.
Opens Oct 24 at Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
Paranormal Activity 4 (Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman) is the third sequel in the found footage franchise about demonic possession and shaking furniture. Screened after press time - see review October 19 at nowtoronto.com/movies.
Opens Oct 19 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Carlton Cinema, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Empire Theatres at Empress Walk, Grande - Steeles, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.