Friday, March 9, 2018

March Pick: Game Night

As an antidote to the tediousness of this gruesome winter, I'm thinking that something a bit lighter than our usual fare will be therapeutic, so I've chosen Game Night. Described as a modern-day screwball comedy that pranks the audience along the way, the movie stars Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman. Judging by the trailer (link below), it promises to be a lot of fun.

We'll see the film at the Yonge/Dundas Cineplex on Tuesday, March 13, for the 1:50 screening - meeting, as usual, about 20 minutes earlier near the box office.

SYNOPSIS: Bateman and McAdams star as Max and Annie, whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's charismatic brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it's all part of the game...right? But as the six uber-competitive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they begin to discover that neither this "game" -- nor Brooks -- are what they seem to be. Over the course of one chaotic night, the friends find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they've ever had...or game over.



Sunday, January 28, 2018

February pick: The Post

Sorry if any Movie Club members have already seen The Post, but no new movies we'd be likely to enjoy will arrive in time for our February 6th outing. So our best choice is a film that's been out for two or three weeks. I'm sure it'll be a treat - especially for anyone who remembers the real-life 1971 incidents on which the movie is based.

We'll see The Post at the Yonge/Dundas Cineplex on Tuesday, February 6, for the 1:50 screening - which means we'll try to arrive about 20 minutes earlier. I will hover near the box office until it's time to go in. As always, if you don't spot me or any other Movie Club members, just go in and see the movie on your own.

SYNOPSIS: An American political thriller set in 1971 and directed by Steven Spielberg, The Post (the now-legendary Washington Poststars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. She plays Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major newspaper in the U.S. and he plays famed executive editor Ben Bradlee. Their unlikely partnership is at the heart of this true story about journalists attempting to publish classified documents known as the Pentagon Papers. It was a stunning expose of the 30-year cover-up of the U.S. government's involvement in the Vietnam War. The two lead characters struggle to overcome their differences as they risk their careers -- and their freedom -- to help bring long-buried truths to light.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

December: The Man Who Invented Christmas

After seeing the dazzling trailer for The Man Who Invented Christmas, I believe this is an ideal pick for our December outing (even though I'm not a big fan of Christmas). 

Starring Dan Stevens (Matthew in Downton Abbey) and Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge, it's a - possibly true, possibly not - tale of how Charles Dickens wrote his timeless holiday novel. 

Here's how Stevens describes the film: "It is a magical realist story based on some truth about the period of time Charles Dickens spent in the run-up to publishing A Christmas Carol. I just thought it was a really fresh take on that whole world. Particularly in England, Dickens is placed on a pedestal. But the guy was, by turns, quite playful and childish and at times, a quite dark and not very pleasant man.”

The movie was directed by Bharat Nalluri (who also did the unforgettable Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) from a screenplay written by Susan Coyne, based on a non-fiction book of the same name by Les Standiford. Below is a terrific story about Coyne, a Torontonian who's racking up a track record that's beyond impressive.




WHERE & WHEN: We'll see The Man Who Invented Christmas on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Yonge/Dundas Cineplex for the 1:35 screening. As always, we'll try to gather near the box office about 20 minutes earlier. For the benefit of new members who don't know how to recognize me, will stand near the up escalator with some kind of Movie Club I.D. - but only until 1:25. As always, if you don't see me or other club members, go in and see the film on your own. 

Those who wish to nosh & natter afterwards will meet at the bottom of the escalators by the windows near the exit. Then we will walk to the nearby Spring Rolls restaurant (staying on the north side of Dundas, crossing Yonge, walking west on Dundas about half a block). 

N.B. NOTIFY ME no later than noon on Monday, Dec. 4, if you plan to join us so I can make a reservation for the correct number of people. N.B. Please do NOT notify me unless you're sure you will come to the restaurant. I say this because it's very embarrassing for me when I turn up with a reservation for, say 10 people and only six show up - as happened last month and several months before that. Gotta tell you, it's making me grumpy - and we don't want that, now do we?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

November: Murder on the Orient Express

Poster of the movie Murder on the Orient Express

Our November pick is a remake of the 1974 film version of Agatha Christie's famous novel Murder on the Orient Express. We will see it at the Yonge/Dundas Cineplex on Tuesday, Nov. 14, for the 1:50 screening - gathering near the box office about 20 minutes earlier.
SYNOPSIS: What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. Thirteen strangers are stranded on a train, where everyone's a suspect. 
STARRING: Kenneth Branagh, who also directed, as Hercule Poirot. Also among the 13 suspicious characters are: Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe and Johnny Depp.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

October Pick: Victoria & Abdul

Victoria and Abdul Poster

So, when I first chose our October pick, Victoria & Abdul, I was delighted that the timing of its Toronto release worked for us. Then they changed the date. So I switched us to Battle of the Sexes (depiction of the while-the-whole-world-watched 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs). 

Well, now that it's been confirmed that V&A will arrive in time for our October outing. So I'm switching back to V&A. Judging by its hilarious trailer, and knowing that "Queen" Judi Dench's performances are always must-see, this movie will be even more of a delicious treat than BoS - though I'm definitely going to see that one too.

SYNOPSIS: The extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria's (Academy Award winner Judi Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen's Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favor with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.

NOTE: If you're a fan of Eddie Izzard, as I most definitely am, you'll enjoy his outrageous (what else?) performance as Victoria's outraged son, "Bertie," who's champing at the bit to become king. 



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

September Pick: Tulip Fever

We're heading to the Netherlands back in the 1600s for our September outing to see Tulip Fever.  As the author of the bestselling novel of the same name explains in an interview below, it was a time when a craze broke out for betting big on which tulips would blossom first - red, white, orange, striped? 

Christoph Waltz, at his vexatious best, stars as a wealthy man who decides to have a portrait painted of his beautiful young wife, played by Alicia Vikander (who was terrific in The Danish Girl and Testament of Youth). The handsome young artist he chooses (played by Dane DeHaan) turns out to be irresistible to her. And the ever-watchable Judi Dench plays a nun who never hesitates to give advice.

The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 but, for various reasons, took a long time to be released in cinemas. Rumours say that these included funding problems and censorship threats due to a surfeit of sexiness - which we'll judge for ourselves.

WHEN & WHERE: We'll see Tulip Fever on Tuesday, September 5, at the Varsity Cinema (Manulife Centre at Bay & Bloor) for the 1:30 screening - gathering, as always, near the box office about 20 minutes earlier. 

SYNOPSIS:  An artist falls for a young married woman while he's commissioned to paint her portrait during the tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.


INTERVIEW with Tulip Fever author:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

July Pick: The Big Sick

Summer's finally here, so how about a comedy for our July pick? The Big Sick, which we'll see at the Varsity Cinema (Manulife Centre, Bloor & Bay) for the 1:15 screening, is a comedy, yes. But according to multi-star reviews even in media outlets that don't sprinkle them around unless they have to, it's a comedy with some serious themes. Check out the synopsis and trailer below to see what I mean.


Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after one of his stand-up sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he's never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.