Sex Tape for adults, Planes for kids and The Purge for the ghouls among us
Howard gets stories like that between songs when he does soft interviews with many of the artists and also with an overworked and underpaid stagehand and a woman living nearby who complains there's "only bang bang music" in the festival. Political and career issues mingle shapelessly. Eddie Vedder complains about corporations and lobbyists. Jay Z talks of the need to "teach people about self worth." Everybody has "genius-level talent" he says. Good message. Might be better from a guy not quite as rich as he is. Visiting the Brooklyn apartment where he grew up, he points across to a nightclub he owns. How inspiring is that? Howard has just announced he’s about to make a second documentary. It’ll be about the Beatles. (Rio on Broadway) 3 out of 5
BORGMAN: Here’s something rare. An original. You can compare it to other films, but only in part. Nothing major sticks very long, probably because it’s too mysterious and refuses to sit inside a box we’re familiar with. It just doesn’t do what you expect and yet it doesn’t seem that far out of the ordinary either. It’s elusive and a study of evil without explanation.
Borgman may or may not be the devil. We first find him rooted out of an underground chamber like an animal. He arrives at rural home looking like a homeless man and promptly gets a punch on the nose by the man of the house and sympathy from the wife. She secretly puts him up in a guest house. From then on he repeatedly intrudes into their lives and into their house, later summoning two pairs of associates, including two murderous women. The gardener is the first to get it.
Alex van Warmerdam from Holland has crafted a twisted tale of menace that grabs you early and won’t let go. He doesn’t explain much easier and certainly doesn’t resort to a sort of karma blowback against the upper class. Just an examination of evil without purpose, darkly humorous at times, never gross but fascinating all the way. (VanCity Theatre) 4 out of 5)
LAWRENCE & HOLLOMON: (Here’s what I wrote back in Sept. at VIFF):
This one, set in Vancouver, is not subtle at all. And its humor is often overdone and abrasive. But it also has plenty of stretches where it settles down and gives us a faceoff between two classic personality types. And coming as it does from a play by Morris Panych, although much opened up with new characters and settings, you know there’s an off-the-wall ending.
Daniel Arnold, who also helped adapt the script, plays Hollomon, one of those office nebbishes. Ben Cotton, as Lawrence, is that overbearing type who struts and boasts that he’s salesman of the month, two times in a row. He claims to have “acumen” and decides to coach Hollomon “to take more risks ... get on the train.” Some of it is clever, like the scene where he orders him to never again mention that his favorite color is periwinkle. Some of it is broad and clunky. There’s a lot of black humor as the bombastic Lawrence suffers payback. Mixed but mostly a hoot. (VanCity Theatre) 3 out of 5
WISH I WAS HERE: Zach Braff from TV’s Scrubs directed and co-wrote (with his brother) this his second film as a comedy. No wait. It’s become a boy’s own fantasy. Now it’s a family making-do drama. Now a tearjerker and a search for spiritual values for our times. The film floats around all these plot lines and tones and not particularly deeply around any of them. There’s more sit com than Woody Allen here.
Braff plays an actor who hasn’t worked in a while, whose wife (Kate Hudson) brings home the family income from a job she doesn’t like and whose father (Mandy Patinkin) pays to send his two kids to a chic Jewish school. That all ends. Dad’s money goes to cancer treatments; Braff proves inept as a home-schooling teacher and his brother Noah (Josh Gadd) wants to remain estranged. The rabbi denies Braff charity but offers sage advice: “God wants you to provide for your family.” Translation: “Stop this acting business if it can’t support you?” Can Braff turn around from his self-indulgence? There are many funny bits, a few heartfelt moments and a lot of meandering from incident to incident. They just don’t combine into anything particularly potent. (Park Theatre) 2 ½ out of 5