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Jay Stone and Katherine Monk movie reviews and profiles. Movies new to streaming / DVD.
Reviews of Canadian movies and filmmaker profiles by Katherine Monk and Jay Stone.

Interview: Ethan Hawke and director Andrew Niccol zero in on Good Kill

Reunited for the first time since Gattaca, the actor and the filmmaker are raising questions -- and their fair share of hell -- with a new movie that takes the viewer inside the new theatre of war: climate-controlled trailers parked on U.S. soil By Katherine Monk TORONTO – As the Obama Administration faces mounting pressure to disclose the grisly details of drone strikes on civilians across the Middle East this week, a new movie threatens to blow the whole unmanned aerial vehicle program sky high. It’s called Good Kill, and unlike the handful of documentaries that have already taken the drone strategy to task for its arm’s length summary executions of suspected terrorists, it’s a dramatic film starring solid Hollywood stars Ethan Hawke, January Jones and Canada’s own Bruce Greenwood. Writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, S1mOne, Lord of War, The Host) says he wasn’t looking for controversy when he started researching the subject and speaking to former drone ...
4Score

Movie Review: Seymour – An Introduction

Ethan Hawke steps behind the camera to direct a lovely, purposefully small movie that gently dusts the edges of existential angst as it animates the life of pianist Seymour Bernstein
2Score

Movie review: Hot Pursuit yields tepid results

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara do their best to inflate sagging entry in the bosom buddies comedy genre, but the results are tepid at best
4Score

Movie review: Going Clear — Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Alex Gibney's latest non-fiction film proves perfectly creepy as it strips L. Ron Hubbard's cupboard bare, and shows us Tom Cruise as marionette mascot
3.5Score

Movie review: Far from the Madding Crowd

Carey Mulligan and Danish director Thomas Vinterberg combine forces to bring the perfect practical touch to Thomas Hardy's pastoral classic, writes Katherine Monk

New on DVD Blu-ray and VOD this week: Fifty Shades, Mr. Turner, Selma and more

Dakota Johnson body-paints Fifty Shades of meh, Mr. Turner finds brilliance with Mike Leigh's detailed strokes, Anna Kendrick's Last Five Years feels like eternity and David Oyelowo leads slow march to selfhood. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) Two stars out of five. Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden, Callum Keith Rennie. Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Running time: 125 minutes. MPAA Rating: Restricted It’s bad – and not in that sexy, forbidden, taboo-breaking good way. This adaptation of E.L. James’s inexplicable bestseller features some of the most self-conscious sex scenes since Eyes Wide Shut, only without the rubbernecking thrill of seeing Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in boudoir mode. Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele, a college student who interviews a secretive billionaire in his soaring office tower in the first scene, only to end up on her back, front and side by the climax. It’s all endlessly kitschy and impossibly ...
4Score

Movie review: Brett Morgen’s Montage of Heck

  The beautiful, broken life of the late Nirvana frontman is transformed into a creative examination of the artistic impulse and the soul-crushing force of fame in the new documentary, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck    
4Score

Canadian Must-Sees: Roadkill

No. 1 Canadian Must-See: Bruce McDonald and Don McKellar made Canadian history with this subversive story that pays vague homage to Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle, Hinterland Who's Who and the Canadian Shield ROADKILL, also known as MOVE OR DIE (1989)   4/5 Directed by Bruce McDonald Starring Valerie Buhagiar, Gerry Quigley, Larry Hudson, Bruce McDonald, Don McKellar, Shaun Bowring, Joey Ramone. Running time: 80 minutes. MPAA Rating: PG-13 Shot in grainy black and white, this satirical look at all things Canadian opens with a spoof of the Canadian wildlife service’s ubiquitous Hinterland Who’s Who film reels that featured 60-second vignettes on different animal species -- and a very melancholy flute line. The first thing we see is the furry face of a “northern cotton-tailed rabbit” twitching his cute little bunny nose, followed by the ominous sound of screeching tires and a honkin’ huge internal combustion engine. Valerie Bughiar stars as Ramona, a lowly ...
2Score

Movie review: Age of Ultron drains power

Director Joss Whedon takes a big stick to the over-stuffed piñata of Marvel Comics' characters and successfully empties out all the candy, but leaves a landscape strewn with plastic wrappers and the promise of a pounding headache  

Sonja Bennett’s big trip to Preggoland

Interview: The Vancouver-based actress says she turned to writing to kickstart her acting career, but found a whole new passion for putting words on the page when she started to explore society's 'bizarre' worship of breeding   By Katherine Monk VANCOUVER – “I was turning into the actress cliché,” says BC actor Sonja Bennett, offering up a full confession of her life before Preggoland, the new movie from Jacob Tierney that she not only wrote, but also stars in alongside James Caan and Danny Trejo. “I could feel myself becoming very ungrounded. I was spinning and was feeling all these things that I never felt before – like jealousy towards my peers, and I thought: Oh god. I can’t be that person. Yet I am turning into that person.” Before she was overwhelmed by self-loathing, Bennett did something drastic: She stopped. Putting a halt to the career she’d spent the last decade building since her breakout performance in 2002’s Punch, written and directed ...