Weekend Movies: Point and Shoot, The Homesman, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and more

Point and Shoot (Marshall Curry) finds documentarian Curry (Street Fight, Racing Dreams) turning a narcissists self-glorifying adventure videos into a.


Point and Shoot (Marshall Curry) finds documentarian Curry (Street Fight, Racing Dreams) turning a narcissists self-glorifying adventure videos into a fascinating hall of mirrors. Sheltered Baltimore kid Matthew VanDyke gave himself a crash course in manhood by motorbiking across Africa in search of adventure, and eventually ended up embedding himself with rebel forces out to depose Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 Libya. Its a triumph of Currys editing more than anything else the filmmaker distills hundreds of hours of VanDykes footage into a narrative and forces his subject to confront that narrative in a post-facto interview that becomes the spine of the documentary. Curry also gives us enough room to understand that VanDyke is perhaps not the most emotionally mature individual, which tempers our impulse to write him off as another adrenaline junkie out to make a name for himself in the stupidest way possible. Some subtitles. 83 min.

Rating: NNNN (NW)

Opens Nov 21 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. See here for times.

The Homesman (Tommy Lee Jones) is a flawed but fascinating study of despair on the American frontier, as a Nebraska settler (Hilary Swank) enlists a claim jumper (director Jones, who also co-wrote the screenplay) to take three women (Miranda Otto, Grace Gummer, Sonja Richter) whove suffered mental breakdowns back to civilization on the other side of the Missouri River. Jones depicts mid-19th-century America as harsh and hostile, an alien terrain working to undermine any attempts to tame it. His film feels just as unruly and tonally uncontrolled, shifting from sombre drama to broad comedy and back again. Hes assembled an amazing supporting cast, including John Lithgow, Barry Corbin, James Spader, William Fichtner, Tim Blake Nelson, Hailee Steinfeld and Meryl Streep, though most of them appear for only a few minutes. 122 min.

Rating: NNN (NW)

Opens Nov 21 at Canada Square, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Francis Lawrence) is very thin on energy. The third instalment of the Hunger Games franchise begins with games winner and now budding rebel Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) holed up in District 13, where rebels prep for the revolution against the Capitol and evil President Snow (a slimy Donald Sutherland). District 13 leaders want Katniss to be the Mockingjay, the public face of the rebellion. She wont agree unless they rescue her (maybe) main squeeze Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) from the clutches of the Capitol. The pic lacks action, but a sequence in which the communications team develops propaganda ads featuring Katniss is a fascinating meditation on ad industry tactics. Theres also increasing sexual tension between Katniss and homeboy Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Philip Seymour Hoffman RIP appears to be sleepwalking through his performance. Julianne Moore, too, is strangely flat as District 13s president. Its Lawrence who drives this thing, and shes riveting. Otherwise, Mockingjay, well made though it is, definitely keeps the franchise in a holding pattern. 123 min.

Rating: NNN (SGC)

Opens Nov 21 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Cineplex VIP Cinemas Don Mills, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande – Steeles, Humber Cinemas, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Varsity, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.

Hermitage Revealed (Margy Kinmonth) dutifully and unimaginatively recounts the history of the Russian institution, from its founding by Catherine the Great in 1764 to the present day, when contemporary art shares space with Old Masters and priceless antiquities. The story of the Hermitage, housed in the Winter Palace, is anything but boring. It was almost burned down during the fire of 1837, was stormed during the October Revolution and survived several wars. Under Stalin, dozens of curators were sent to gulags. As one talking head rightly points out, the Hermitage is part of the countrys soul. But all of this could be found in a Wiki entry. Rather than focus in on the Rembrandts, Leonardos and Titians, writer/director Margy Kinmonth uses time-lapse photography and follows a young boy frolicking up and down the halls, banal decisions that provoke eye-rolling. Some subtitles. 82 min.

Rating: NN (GS)

Opens Nov 21 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. See here for times.

Low Down (Jeff Preiss) is the true story of Amy-Jo Albany, whose father, Joe, was a jazz pianist and a fairly heavy heroin addict. It opens in 1974, when they lived in a fleabag hotel in downtown L.A. It wasnt fun. John Hawkes as Joe and Elle Fanning as Amy-Jo are both magnetic, fascinating performers, and they can hold the screen when nothing at all is happening. The problem is that for much of Low Down, nothing does. Joe hangs with his friends, Amy-Jo pushes back against her fathers unreliability, and thats pretty much it. Director Preiss, who spent decades working as a documentary cinematographer (he shot the gorgeous Chet Baker documentary Lets Get Lost), ensures that the film has a perfect period look. I just wish I cared about what was happening in the frame. 114 min.

Rating: NN (NW)

Opens Nov 21 at Carlton Cinema. See here for times.

Horrible Bosses 2 (Sean Anders) is a sequel to 2011s breakout comedy about three friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) dealing with employers from hell (the new bosses include Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine). Screened after press time see review in next weeks issue. 108 min.

Opens Nov 26 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Carlton Cinema, Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Cineplex VIP Cinemas Don Mills, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande – Steeles, Humber Cinemas, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.

The Metropolitan Opera: Il Barbiere di Siviglia is a high-def broadcast from the Met of Rossinis comic opera, starring Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee and Christopher Maltman. 205 min.

Opens Nov 22 at Beach Cinemas, Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Cineplex VIP Cinemas Don Mills, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Eglinton Town Centre, Queensway, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge. See here for times.

National Theater Live: Of Mice and Men – Encore is a high-def broadcast of the Broadway revival of Steinbecks classic drama, starring James Franco and Chris ODowd. 150 min.

Opens Nov 23 at Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Cineplex VIP Cinemas Don Mills, Coliseum Scarborough, Queensway, SilverCity Yonge, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.

Penguins of Madagascar (Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith) is a Madagascar sequel in which a group of penguins form a super-spy team. Screened after press time see review in next weeks issue. 92 min.

Opens Nov 26 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande – Steeles, Humber Cinemas, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.

The Pharaohs Daughter Bolshoi Ballet Encore is a broadcast of a live performance from the Bolshoi of the Egyptian-themed ballet. 175 min.

Opens Nov 20 at Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Queensway, SilverCity Yonge, Yonge & Dundas 24.

Women Who Flirt (Pang Ho Cheung) is a Chinese romantic comedy about a woman who flirts to win back the love of her life. Screened after press time see review in next weeks issue. 96 min.

Opens Nov 26 at Coliseum Scarborough, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.

WWE Survivor Series 2014 is a live high-def match featuring WWE superstars. 180 min.

Opens Nov 23 at Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Eglinton Town Centre, Queensway, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.

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