What’s new to VOD and streaming this weekend: March 12-15

Everything new to VOD and streaming for the weekend of March 12, including Come True, Night Of The Kings, Jump, Darling and more


NOW critics pick what’s new to streaming and VOD for the weekend of March 12. Plus: Everything new to VOD and streaming platforms.

Come True

(Anthony Scott Burns)

The latest from Our House director Burns is a stylish, hallucinatory and quietly unnerving experience that might actually benefit from being viewed alone in the dark. Julia Sarah Stone (Weirdos, Honey Bee) stars as Sarah, a troubled Alberta teen who enrolls in a sleep study that unlocks something nightmarish in the way she sees the world. Come True moves with the vibrating disquiet of a horror movie, but the horror is entirely internal: it’s about how terrifying it must be to become unmoored from reality, and Stone’s performance is essential to conveying that idea. (She’s becoming one of Canada’s most interesting actors, and Come True gives her the opportunity to stretch in new directions.) As indebted to Douglas Trumbull’s Brainstorm as it is to John Carpenter’s Prince Of Darkness, Burns’s film feels like a voyage through someone’s subconscious in the best possible way: I don’t know that it’ll work on you, but it sure as hell worked on me. I just wish someone had persuaded him to drop the very last shot, which tries to offer clarification about what’s been going on but just muddles things further. 105 min. Now available on digital and on demand. NNNN (Norman Wilner)

Death Of A Ladies’ Man

(Matthew Bissonnette)

Writer/director Bissonnette’s surrealistic drama casts Gabriel Byrne as Samuel O’Shea, a McGill poetry professor who starts experiencing vivid, thematically relevant hallucinations as the result of a malignant brain tumour. Sometimes his dead father (Brian Gleeson) turns up for a chat. Sometimes people around him burst into song. (As the title implies, a certain Leonard Cohen album factors heavily in the storytelling.) And as Samuel starts to withdraw from his family, another element of the story reveals itself – one that should probably be left undiscussed until you see the movie. Death Of A Ladies’ Man manages to go exactly where you’d expect it to go, but it keeps the journey involving; it’s an ambitious, risky study of a narcissist confronting the fact that the world will have no trouble going on without him. Byrne gives one of his best performances in years, undercutting Samuel’s disillusionment with a spark of wonder at every new vision, and Bissonnette – whose credits include the gentle, perceptive sibling drama Passenger Side – anchors the film’s strangest moments in his star’s exhausted humanity, packing the supporting cast with Quebecois heavy hitters like Antoine Olivier Pilon, Pascale Bussières, Suzanne Clément and Jessica Paré. 100 min. Available Friday (March 12) on digital and on demand. NNN (NW)

Night Of The Kings

(Philippe Lacôte)

Shortlisted for the Academy Award for best international feature, the latest from Abidjan-based director Lacôte (Run) is set entirely in the overcrowded La MACA prison in Côte d’Ivoire. As a red moon rises in the night sky, a young convict called Roman (Bakary Koné) spins an epic narrative for his fellow inmates on the orders of the ailing boss (Steve Tientcheu), whom tradition demands must end his own life as soon as he’s too weak to rule. There’s a reason Fernando Meirelles’s City Of God gets a shout-out; director Lacôte similarly spins street-level narratives into intimate epics. Night Of The Kings adds a magic-realist element, putting Koné’s storyteller into a Thousand And One Nights scenario: if he runs out of story before sunrise, his audience will kill him. But so long as Roman keeps spinning the tale of the gangster Zama King, they’re in his thrall – acting out the story, spontaneously creating chants and songs, and making the film feel both contemporary and timeless. Lacôte occasionally throws in flashbacks and even a fantasy sequence to illustrate the narrative, but the movie barely needs them: the sweat and feeling pouring from Koné’s face is more than enough to keep you riveted. 93 min. Subtitled. Available for rental Friday (March 12) at digital TIFF Bell Lightbox. NNNN (NW)

Loro

(Paolo Sorrentino)

You can feel the contemporary resonances in this film about Italy’s boisterous prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. He complains about the constant media attacks with Trumpian paranoia and parlays his political power into massive profit. Played by Sorrentino’s muse, Toni Servillo (sporting a ton of hair dye), he even has sympathetic moments, as when a 20-year-old turns down his advances because he’s too old. It’s 2006, and even though his political career is not yet over, you get the clear sense that the man is in decline. So is his marriage to Veronica (Elena Sofia Ricci). All this would be fascinating but we have to wait an hour before Berlusconi hits the screen. The film is less biopic than an exploration of the social landscape he climbed and the hangers-on who ached to be in his presence. Chief among them is Sergio (Riccardo Scamarcio) who runs an escort service and snorts copious amounts of cocaine. Sergio finally gets an in via Kira (a mesmerizing Kasia Smutniak), who suggests he rent the villa opposite Berlusconi’s home and reel in his target via a mammoth party. Scenes of nubile naked women dancing and stroking each other (thanks to ecstasy) make up more than a half hour, and it’s way too much. Loro has the right indie soundtrack and Luca Bigazzi’s startling cinematography, including a longtracking shot that speaks volumes about class divisions. But most of the film has a one-note quality. It’s bold, wildly profane and some of the images are spectacular – but it doesn’t work. 150 min. Subtitled. Available on VOD platforms on Tuesday (March 16). NN (Susan G. Cole)

Jump, Darling

(Phil Connell)

Aspiring Toronto actor and drag artist Russell (Thomas Duplessie) breaks up with his upwardly mobile boyfriend (Andrew Bushell) and packs up and moves to Prince Edward County to live with his elderly grandmother (Cloris Leachman) in this rambling, unfocused coming-of-age picture. The premise is promising, but Duplessie has an enervating screen presence when he’s Russell – his main character trait seems to be his alcoholism. And although his drag character Fishy Falters sparkles and comes alive, we’re given too little information about her and Russell’s connection to her. In her final screen performance, Leachman displays some great comic timing, but she, as well as local lights Linda Kash and Jayne Eastwood, are wasted in a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be, or say. Even the title, a reference to a character’s figure skating, doesn’t resonate the way it should. 90 min. Now on VOD platforms. NN (Glenn Sumi) 

Available on VOD

Boss Level

Mel Gibson, Frank Grillo, Naomi Watts; directed by Joe Carnahan

Apple TV, Cineplex, Google Play

Come True

Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liboiron, Tedra Rogers; directed by Anthony Scott Burns

Apple TV, Google Play

Death Of A Ladies’ Man 

Gabriel Byrne, Jessica Pare, Suzanne Clement; directed by Matthew Bissonnette

Apple TV, Google Play

Dreamcatcher

Lou Ferrigno, Jr., Zachary Gordon, Adrienne Wilkinson; directed by Jacob Johnston

Apple TV, Google Play

Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman

Documentary directed by Herb Stratford

Hot Docs At Home

Honeydew

Sawyer Spielberg, Malin Barr, Barbara Kingsley; directed by Devereux Milburn

Revue Virtual Cinema

The Inheritance

Andrea Stefancikova, Nick Wittman, Natalia Ryumina; directed by Chad Barager & Kevin Speckmaler

digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Jump, Darling

Thomas Duplessie, Linda Kash, Cloris Leachman; directed by Phil Connell

Apple TV, Google Play

Night Of The Kings

Bakary Koné, Steve Tientcheu, Jean Cyrille Digbeu; directed by Philippe Lacôte

digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Rain Beau’s End

Sean Young, Edward Asner, Christian Stolte; directed by Tracy Wren

LesFlicks

17 Blocks

Documentary directed by Davy Rothbart

Revue Virtual Cinema

Sophie Jones

Jessica Barr, Skylar Verity, Claire Manning; directed by Jessie Barr

Revue Virtual Cinema

Trust

Victoria Justice, Matthew Daddario, Katherine McNamara; direted by Brian DeCubellis

Apple TV, Google Play

Streaming guides

Everything coming to streaming platforms this month:

Netflix Canada

Crave

Amazon Prime Video Canada

Disney+

CBC Gem

Film festival

Female Eye Film Festival

The 19th edition of the festival rolls out three free weekends of programming across two different streaming platforms: the Encore+ YouTube channel, where a selection of features, documentaries and shorts by female filmmakers will roll out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through March 28, with an additional program of international cinema March 26-28 at digital TIFF Bell Lightbox. It all kicks off tonight (March 12) with the world premiere of Roxy Shih’s road movie Pooling To Paradise at 9 pm; the fest also throws a spotlight on a couple of smaller Canadian films that might otherwise pass unnoticed, The Curse Of Willow Song (Saturday, 10 pm, Encore+), Karen Lam’s psychological thriller starring Valerie Tian about a recovering addict trying to figure out if she’s hallucinating or haunted, and Sonia Boileau’s Rustic Oracle (March 26, 10 pm, Encore+), a drama that filters the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women through the eyes of an eight-year-old Mohawk girl (Lake Deslile). And keep an eye out for another world premiere, One (Nine) (March 26, 7 pm, Encore+), a collection of short documentaries about life during the COVID-19 pandemic produced by Toronto’s Ingrid Veninger and featuring segments directed by Mina Shum, Isa Benn, Dorothee Wenner, Shengze Zhu, Jennifer Podemski, Slater Jewell-Kemker, Carmen Sangion, Lydia Zimmerman and Veninger herself.

Through March 28, full schedule at femaleeyefilmfestival.com

Disc of the week

Touki Bouki (Criterion, Blu-ray and DVD)

Djibril Diop Mambéty’s magic-realist 1973 drama about two lovers (Magaye Niang, Mareme Niang) who decide to leave Senegal for France but can’t quite escape their country has been in the Criterion Collection since 2013, when it was released as part of the first World Cinema Project box. This stand-alone release offers the same crisp digital restoration from that edition, and ports over the introduction from Film Foundation founder Martin Scorsese and an interview with filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako (Timbuktu) about the film’s place in the pantheon of African cinema. New to this disc are a remembrance from Mambéty’s family members, musician Wasis Diop (his brother), and Atlantics writer/director Mati Diop (his niece), as well as a new 4K restoration of Mambéty’s 1968 short Contras’ City.

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