First things first. I screwed up last week—the Friday, March 22 special screening of Minding the Gap is not taking place at Maury Young Arts Centre. Instead, the correct venue is the Rainbow Theatre, Whistler's OG movie house. This is the best doc of 2018 and you don't want to miss it. Tix at zeroceiling.org
Otherwise, the really big news this week is The Dirt, the long-awaited Mötley Crüe movie based on the glam-rock band's best-selling autobiography, finally premieres on Netflix this Friday. And according to Nikki Sixx, the flick is every bit as raunchy, rocking, and real as the 1980s Sunset Strip metal scene it's based on. So, expect sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll, but also violence, addiction, madness, depression, depravity and ... cunnilingus (which is reportedly why MTV refused to make the film after nabbing the rights in 2006.)
Good news is MTV's hesitancy meant director Jeff Tremaine, of Jackass fame, picked up the project in 2010. The Jackass crew's meteoric rise to fame somewhat mirrors the Crüe's, tragedy included, and early word out of L.A. is Tremaine does justice to a book and story that many considered un-filmable and unsellable.
Here in the back row we are cautiously optimistic, the book—told in oral history style with each band member (and a few tangential characters) weighing in with sometimes contradictory accounts of events—is one of the best rock tomes ever penned. Fingers crossed for Friday.
There's no luck needed over at the Village 8 as Us, also opening Friday, is already being heralded as one of the best films of the year.
For his second feature, director Jordan Peele (Get Out) continues in the tradition of intelligent, psychological horror movies with social relevance, then adds a whole crapload of terror.
Us stars Lupita Nyong'o (Black Panther, 12 Years a Slave) as a young woman who returns, with her own family, to a beach resort town that traumatized her as a child. Things start to get weird after her young child wanders off, then a family of creepy, scissor-wielding doppelgangers appears. And they're not looking to cut fresh herbs.
From there, the nightmare intensifies but Peele's script stays smart, and scary. Nyong'o in particular shines (the cast plays both themselves and their evil doppelgangers) and with help of brilliant horror cinematographer Mike Gioulakis [It Follows]) Peele crafts a brilliant, burning horror flick with plenty of subtext that will carry the conversation well beyond the theatre and into multiple viewings. What does it mean when we battle ourselves? Who wins?
On the small screen, it's been a very good week. Everyone is praising Netflix's Love, Death & Robots, an anthology of animated short films, some of which are mind-blowingly awesome. My vote goes to episode 3 The Witness for narrative cohesion and Spider-Verse-esque comic radness, but episode 10 Shape Shifters needs praise for such a simple-cool-unique concept and episode 18 The Secret War looks so good I wish it were a feature. You gotta watch them all (not with your young kids though).
And finally, the winner of Best Short Documentary at last month's Academy Awards is also available on Netflix. Period. End of Sentence. is about a group of women in India who procure a maxi-pad machine and start their own business producing pads.
Social anxiety around menstruation is very high in India and many young women tell stories of dropping out of school rather than deal with the taunting and shame they will get from classmates. The pads offer young women the discretion needed to continue their education.
At just 26 minutes, this one is both a light-hearted and poignant reminder of the freedoms we take for granted here in the West. But wait, access to pads is still an issue in some of Canada's northern (mostly First Nations) communities, where the cost of getting any products, feminine or otherwise, can be ridiculous. There's a charity called Moon Time Sisters doing good work on this front if you are interested. Google 'em.