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Andrew Haigh’s fantasy drama All Of Us Strangers packs an emotional punch strong enough to fell a person. It seems mundane enough at first. Andrew Scott is Adam, a writer working on a script in his high-rise London apartment; he looks out on the vast sky and bustling city below, but his thoughts are somewhere else. He encounters another tower resident Harry (Paul Mescal) keen to be with him. Andrew’s unsure but eventually, loosened by stimulants, consents to sex. Suddenly Adam walks into a rural scene which morphs into a suburban street and to his childhood home. His work has turned his mind back in time; he longs to see it. He is welcomed by his mother and father (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) who appear as they were when he was little. He seems little to them; they treat him like a boy, constantly fussing and taking his temperature. He’s overwhelmed by emotion. Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s impassioned The Power of Love indicates his longing; they died in a car crash when he was the age he was that day. Back with Harry, he says they are always on his mind, the void he can’t fill. They left him home alone that night and there was black ice on the road. He visits them again as they’re preparing to leave the house. Fraught conversations, edged with that persistent anxiety cut us to the core. Haigh’s innovation in story and production makes it all seem somehow possible, some way of tying up early hurts that are familiar to all of us. The emotional sweep of the film is unexpected and powerful, so nimbly acted and realised that it seems to be happening to us. Plan on recovery time. Theatres

No one seems to know where Malaysian “businessman” Low Taek Jho aka Jho Low is. His last known location, years back, was the Arctic Circle. If anyone does know, they’re staying silent. Jho has good reason to hide. The “playboy” who paid the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Bradley Cooper, Robert de Niro, Kanye West, Meghan Fox, Miranda Kerr and others to spend time with him, lived large – XXX large – with money from the people of Malaysia. The dirty details of his shenanigans and those who helped enrich him and themselves are revealed in Cassius Michael Kim’s documentary Man on the Run now on Netflix. In 2009 Malaysia established 1MBD, a sovereign wealth fund with borrowed money. In 2015 British journalist Clare Rewcastle-Browne blew the lid off his theft through documents also leading to Malaysian Prime Minister / Finance Minster (same man) Najib Razak, his grasping wife Rosma, and a network of enablers that allowed Jho to siphon off billions. The numbers of billions are shocking, beyond the imagination of us po’ folk. One theft of many involving foreign governments was a whopping, eye-watering $910B. Like pondering the size of the universe. Not so ironically, Jho used the stolen money to finance DiCarpio’s film about criminal greed The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s one thing for a man to rob a country blind but quite another to ensnare a network of enablers from Saudi Arabia to Hollywood and Asia. Lawsuits are flying, and the two-time PM of Malaysia is in jail after having given a lengthy, juicy interview for the doc. Not a single Hollywood celebrity sat for an interview. And Jho is nowhere to be found.

Dan Levy follows up the much-loved, multi-award-winning comedy series Schitt’s Creek which he co-wrote, produced, starred in, and occasionally directed with something completely different. Good Grief! in select theatres and on Netflix now concerns Marc a gay man in his adopted city of London navigating the harsh realities of the sudden death of his husband Oliver (Luke Evans). Surrounded by besties Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel) Marc has their caring enveloping warm hugs and words to encourage him and remember Oliver. Veteran Brit stars Celia Imrie and David Bradley make brief but powerful appearances at this time of sadness, all the action set against a romanticized, jolly Christmas season in London. Months after Oliver’s death, their joint lawyer (Imrie) tells Marc that Oliver bought a flat in Paris and he needed to deal with it. He had no idea. He and his pals head to Paris and discover that it is Oliver and his lover, Luca’s lovenest. Marc handles the news by going inside, unable to express his new reality; he considers reasons to forgive Oliver selflessly and allows homeless Luca to stay with them. A major shift in tone for Levy, and he shows promise and sensitivity as a filmmaker. However, an excess of dialogue with little breathing room or comic relief feels too heavy. Emma Corrin contrasts in a brief appearance as a screeching, knitting performance artist and the 80′ – 90s’ emo soundtrack is fab.

Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan’s shattering NFB documentary Ever Deadly spotlights Taqaq’s performance, throat singing in concert, intercut with the harsh, otherworldly environs of Canada’s Cambridge Bay (Iqaluktuuttiaq), Nunavut where she grew up and remains today when she’s not on global tours. The Inuk performance artist’s concert is something to behold. I’ve seen videos and single performances but never a full concert and I’m not sure my heart could take that emotional spiritual and a cultural grand slam. But I’d like to try. Her music and personal, daily life on the shale shores of our northern Arctic coast are the primary focuses, but we learn of her activism from MMIWG to defending the seal hunt – a tradition and necessity for people living on the land. But it is ever deadly, extremely dangerous, she says, walking over the shale and expressing her appreciation of the shimmering sound it makes, promising to add it to her next album. Through her elders, we learn of the Great Relocation when the Canadian government lured the Inuit population to new locations, promising food, education, and care only to find none of it. The government took ownership of their land for its natural resources. Taqaq is a member of the Order of Canada and won the Polaris Music Prize and JUNO nods for her singing, avant-garde compositions and songwriting, although “song” seems too tight a definition for the ecstatic, pain-filled, gorgeous soundscape she produces. What an experience. In English, Inuktitut now on Kino Lorber DVD and TVOD.

Are you psyched for Season 3 of Son of a Critch? Well, help arrives Jan 9. on CBC and CBC Gem as Mark Critch’s beloved memoir-inspired series set in Newfoundland throws open the gates. The Critch family finds father Mike and son Mike Jr. (Colton Gobbo) suddenly competitors on the local radio station. Mike Jr., now calling himself Mike Campbell, expands his youth-oriented show with local live events – he’s a hit and the ladies love him. Dad is wholeheartedly happy for him, proud, not jealous. Meanwhile, Mark (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) and Fox are getting along – for now. No-nonsense but loving mother Mary (Claire Rankin) the feminist in a house dress is the glue that holds the Critch bunch. Pop – the one and only Malcolm McDowall – is whipped by winds of cash and national TV comes calling. Our American neighbors love the series on the CW and it routinely gets 93 – 100 on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Corp also launches a new season of Run the Burbs starring creator Andrew Phung and Rakee Morzaria with its signature, modern, often sarcastic but warm look at suburban living. Ep 1 finds the family in need of ready cash and extra space to accommodate that freeloading father-in-law so they declutter and throw a garage sale. Unfortunately, something precious to Camille is inadvertently sold to a mean neighbour which ramps up some neighbourly hostility but also sends her on a new career path. Learn secrets to the art of eating Asian buffet, plot to find a family doctor, you know, a day in the life. Relatable, and funny; Morzaria and Phung’s comic chemistry sparkles.

Martin Scorsese’s heartbreaking historical epic Killers of the Flower Moon lands on Apple TV+ on January 12, just a week away. One of my most admired films of ’23 has won 200 awards nominations, available to audiences who prefer to screen at home. Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins and Jillian Dion, are a tight ensemble in this fact-based piece about misogyny money, racism, and murder on the 1920s Oklahoma Osage Nation. The Osage people were oil-rich, but a series of murders plagued the community for at least twenty years, a period known as the Reign of Terror. Much to be learned about human nature in this beautifully made ode to the victims, and sadly, a recurring theme in society ever since. Scorsese outdoes himself while newcomer Lily Gladstone takes our breath away.



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