Sunday 15 December 2019
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What She Said! with Christine Bentley & Kate Wheeler

Marvel Reveals Its Female Superhero, Ben Affleck and Charlie Hunnam Chase What They Think They Deserve, Double the Martin Clunes and What to Do with Those Kids on March Break 

D.C. has Wonder Woman but Marvel evens the score with the introduction of its first female superhero – Captain Marvel. Brie Larson stars in the titular role in this origins yarn of …well, I don’t want to give anything away but … of something BIG. Larson’s Carol is a creature of nascent power unleashed in a sudden explosive earth-shattering blast. She’s literally torn between an apparent past human life, and present space warrior alien life and uncertain unstable living nightmares spanning all of it, as Carol Danvers, Vers and ultimately Captain Marvel. She faces the split as earth comes under attack. Is her inner circle, human cop (Samuel L. Jackson), alien/ enemy/ally (Ben Mendelsohn), putative father/ enemy (Jude Law) what it appears to be? The greater mystery is Supreme Intelligence/ Mar-“vel” (Annette Bening) who holds the key to the planet’s salvation and Carol’s power. The problem is the relentless jolts-per-second universe of special effects and endless fights, tech overload and turgid robotic friend/enemy roleplay. The characters display recognisable humanity which is the film’s balance but not often enough or convincingly. There’s something dark and empty in all the fanfare and fuss, and it seems aimed solely at an audience that grew up in video arcades. Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck co-wrote and co-directed.

Last week we took you to drug wars in Colombia with Birds of Passage, and this week to Brazil and another gripping drug war drama. J.C. Chandor’s Triple Frontier is nerve shattering and well-constructed, in which four retired Special Forces operatives (Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal) live on the fringes, isolated, psychologically damaged and underemployed. Some reward after risking their lives for decades in service to their country.  One day they vow to get theirs by dusting off their military skills and embarking on a high-risk gambit. They’ll rob a drug kingpin who never leaves his jungle home, locate his hidden millions and get out fast. Things go Pete Tong almost immediately; their plane crashes leaving them to haul a hundred of bags of money over a frozen mountain range as assassins track them.  It’s a bare-knuckle, heart pounding psychological action drama that re-examines our views on getting what we deserve. Chandor lays on nonstops shocks in wildly escalating tension for an unsettling and unrelenting good time.  In theatres now and Netflix March 13.

Toronto filmmaker Charles Officer’s stunning philosophical biography Invisible Essence:The Little Prince examines the intellectual life of French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his ideas on what makes life worthwhile and what led him to write The Little Prince, a treatise on living “disguised as a children’s book”. The internationally acclaimed book concerns an aviator lost in the desert who meets a boy with whom he creates a world of ideas and sharing in order to arrive at the meaning of life itself.  Officer’s films is an intense meditation on Saint-Exupéry, his background and the forces that lead to this landmark book. It’s augmented with painstakingly researched details of his early days, his dream of a just and ideal world and with provocative drawings gleaned from the book and from the author’s papers. Officer travelled to Long Island, Morocco and beyond in search of answers and put them together in this gripping, illuminating and heartbreaking film.

Many are the hordes that make up Martin Clunes’ fanbase. The British actor known best as Doc Martin is an entirely different character from that stuffy curmudgeon in an outstanding new British crime drama Manhunt, on Acorn TV.  Clunes is London Metropolitan police detective DCI Colin Sutton, a brainy, soft-spoken a man of kindness and human understanding, who seems saddened by the crimes he investigates. A French girl is found dead in a city park, the latest in a series of murders of young women.  The latest in high tech devices and networking must save the day because there isn’t a shred of evidence. Sutton’s wife tells him he must spend more time with their daughter as community tensions rise when a tabloid raises the specter of a serial killer. It’s compelling viewing on so many levels, including its stunning cinematography and recognisable London locations. Doc Martin fans, Clunes will be back in Port Isaac, Cornwall this summer and fall to shoot Series 9 as the curmudgeon.

Compare Martin Clunes in Doc Martin:

Martin Clunes in Manhunt:

APTN’s comedy hit series CAUTION: May Contain Nuts is now available in 360-deree film tech to “immerse viewers” – literally – in six new episodes.  VR Comedy Sketches virtual reality sketches stars all the characters from the show interacting directly with fans. And what will they find in this high-tech comedy universe?  A clown family, pirates living in a shopping mall, the crew of a futuristic spaceship and more.  Producer Camille Beaudoin says viewers aren’t just watching, they are “actually becoming a character in the sketch and the action happens to them and all around them.” Go to with goggles available at APTN TV and indigenous radio stations or straight up, with the season five première this weekend on TV, online and YouTube.

Mary Poppins Returns gave us hope, laughs, music and fun this bleak winter. The sequel to Disney’s beloved original with Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer, Ben Whishaw, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury and Meryl Streep is an eye and heart-ful. Rob Marshall’s gorgeous, “practically” designed animated treasure glories in old school cinema magic with upbeat songs and dances and soul soothing pastels as it takes floating to new heights.  2019’s “feel good” movie is available Tuesday on DVD and digital Tuesday.

Toronto’s Goethe-Institute at TIFF programme presents two African films March 12 at Lightbox.  Something Necessary, Judy Kibinge’s story deals with the aftermath of civil unrest that swept the country after the 2007 elections. Anne’s husband is killed, her farm ruined and her son’s ill. A gang member who involved in the attacks comes to her farm and they begin to explore healing.

Veve, from Simon Mukali, concerns multiple characters in East Africa involved in political intrigue, revenge, love and ambition set against the backdrop of the world of the unregulated stimulant veve. These people must face their motives when they find their lives are entwined more tightly than they think.

Learn about the Institute:

Cineplex Events offers Family Favourites screenings through March Break for a measly $2.99 per screening. From March 11-15, 2019 theatres will offer daily matinee screenings of some of 2018’s great kid friendly flicks.

PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups with the new short Mighty Pups.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald the second of five all new adventures in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Smallfoot is an all-star voice animated feature on a yeti nation that discovers a wild human.

Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch, a study of optimism, green curmudgeons and the folly of stealing Christmas.

Go to for participating theatres and schedules.

by @annebrodie

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