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Men in Black 3, Hysteria, Chernobyl Diaries, Barrymore: reviews and previews

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After the expected picture taking and gawking at the silent apartment blocks things start happening. Their van is disabled. Their guide walks off in the dark and doesn’t return. Dogs chase them. A bear appears out of nowhere and shadowy figures seem to be moving in the distance. The film builds the tension nicely by making us wait silently before every next event.   Our tourists spend a lot of time creeping or running down long halls and into dark rooms or ripping back curtains to see what’s behind making noises. Sure they do stupid things, but that’s not what’s most memorable. It’s their situation of helplessness which the film deftly develops. (International Village and many suburban theatres) 2 ½ out of 5

Three others I haven’t seen …

BEING FLYNN: This film got major attention from The New York Times and The Globe and Mail when it came out over two months ago. Now it limps in here without as much as a media preview and into only one theatre. What happened? It seems it never found much of an audience. (It didn’t make any money, you might say).

Robert De Niro and Paul Dano play father and son going through a difficult re-connection after 18 years of estrangement. The father imagines he’s a writer of a class with Mark Twain and J. D. Salinger. He’s also a self-destructive alcoholic and ends up on the street and in a homeless shelter where he finds his son is working. The son, also a would-be writer, is haunted by the question: will he turn out to be like his dad. True story; it’s from a memoir by Nick Flynn called Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. The film was praised for depicting real people although one reviewer called it “detached and morose.” Maybe that’s problem. At least you can watch two acting styles at play: scenery chewing vs underplaying. Can you image which is which? (Denman Theatre)

BARRYMORE: Another chance to study the craft of acting. In this one-man play filmed in a Toronto theatre, Christopher Plummer repeats the performance that won him a Tony, Broadway’s top award.

He plays John Barrymore, the distinguished movie actor of the 1930s, but by 1942 much-worn down by drink. He’s alone on stage ostensibly rehearsing Shakespeare’s Richard III. Instead he reminisces about his life, his family and the art of acting. Based on the play by William Luce, the film is directed by Erik Canuel (Good Cop, Bad Cop). It won a  special jury prize for “Artistic Distinction” at a festival in California and, of course, Plummer this year won an Oscar for Beginners. (International Village)

FROM BENEATH: Want to catch something early? Without buzz or reviews to guide you? This locally-made independent film is getting a one-night-only premiere tonight (Friday May 25) at 8 at the DenmanTheatre. The cost is only $7.

It’s a horror/thriller written and directed by David Doucette about an ill-timed swim in a pond and a bite by a leech-like creature. This screening is to test it before an audience. Unlike with many of these efforts, distribution is lined up. Producer Ashley Morrison-Hamel says the world-wide rights have just been picked up by Maxim Media International which calls itself  the largest world-wide distributor of independent horror and shock films. They’ll give it a limited theatrical release in the U.S., most likely in September, and then put it on Netflix and other video on demand platforms. You can watch a trailer at https://vimeo.com/41373661  and get more information at the film’s website: http://www.frombeneathfilm.com/index.html

NOTE: All images are movie stills provided by the producers and are therefore the exclusive property of their copyright owners.

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