I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the bloodsucking thrills of “The Last Voyage of the Demeter,” the Satanic Panic of “Satan Wants You” and the action adventure of “Heart of Stone” and the adult drama “Passages.”
I join CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to talk about the bloodsucking thrills of “The Last Voyage of the Demeter,” the Satanic Panic of “Satan Wants You” and the action adventure of “Heart of Stone” and the adult drama “Passages.”
“Passages,” a new Paris-set erotic relationship drama from LGBTQ+ director Ira Sachs, now playing in theatres, is the story of an intolerable narcissist made tolerable by the lead performance from Franz Rogowski.
German actor Rogowski plays Tomas, a self-involved filmmaker fresh off the set of his latest movie. Controlling and uncompromising, his marriage to long-time partner Martin (Ben Whishaw) is beginning to fray around the edges. At the wrap party for the film, Martin doesn’t feel like dancing, so Tomas hits the floor with Agatha (Adèle Exarchopoulos). They dance, they flirt and spend the night together.
The next morning Tomas returns home to an understandably upset Martin. “I had sex with a woman,” Tomas says. “Can I tell you about it?” Martin is unenthusiastic as Tomas describes his “exciting” night with Agatha. Martin writes off the one-night stand as Tomas blowing off some steam. “This always happens when you finish a film,” he says, but their bond unravels further as Tomas becomes smitten with Agatha. He quickly moves in with her, leaving Martin high and dry.
When Agatha announces she is pregnant, Tomas feels the weight of his actions.
“Passages” is a study of toxic behavior. Tomas is brusque, unscrupulous, self-absorbed; concerned only with his own feelings and pleasure. It’s a trick to create a monster, a character devoid of any emotional intelligence, and yet still set him up as the object of desire. Rogowski slithers through the film, using magnetism to manipulate Martin and Agatha, drawing both into his tumultuous world. It’s an impressive performance, equal parts maddening and mesmeric.
Rogowski dominates the film, but Whishaw and Exarchopoulos are given latitude to be more than just victims of the charismatic Tomas. He is their weakness, but neither are weak characters. Both have scenes that display their strength and lives outside of Tomas’s toxic circle.
“Passages” feels like a throwback to the erotic relationship films of the 1980s and 90s. It is an adult, sexual film with a couple explicit scenes, but more than that, it is explicit in its emotional complexity.
As befits the story of a couple that spent almost four decades together, “Love is Strange,” a new drama starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, takes its time telling the story.
Lithgow and Molina are Ben and George, a painter and music teacher who, after thirty-nine years together, make it official. Marriage brings with it one unexpected consequence, George loses his job at a Catholic school because he has now officially come out of the closet. The sudden reduction in salary forces the pair out of their Co-Op building and home of twenty years. As they look for a new place they’re forced to live separately, coach surfing with relatives until an apartment they can afford comes available.
“Love is Strange” is a simple, beautiful, restrained, funny and moving movie anchored by two astounding performances. Co-writers Ira Sachs (who also directed) and Mauricio Zacharias blend humour, pathos, love and real estate in a story that is driven by the characters, not the plot.
Everything you need to know about Ben and George is conveyed in the simple glances, the unspoken ballet of their day-to-day lives, and Lithgow and Molina are completely convincing as a couple who have shared love and life. On their first night together in ages they’re forced into bunk beds. Inviting George down from the top bunk Ben says, “I have missed having your body next to mine too much to have it denied to me for the reasons of bad engineering.” It’s funny and touching, a testament to the love that permeates the film’s every frame.
Sachs takes his time, lingering on scenes, allowing the performances to revel in the moments that make up the story. It’s a pleasure to spend time with these characters, but be warned, their story packs an emotional wallop.