See, Hear, Read: the seven releases you absolutely should not miss in February
When Atom Egoyan rolls camera, even the most lurid stories feel like high art. His new movie, Devil’s Knot, tackles the sensational true-crime tale of the West Memphis Three, a trio of Arkansas teenagers accused of murdering three eight-year-old boys in a grisly satanic ritual. It’s Egoyan’s buzziest project yet, with a big budget ($15 million), big stars (Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth) and lots of pulp appeal. It’s also textbook Egoyan, a kind of spiritual sequel to The Sweet Hereafter that ruminates on the seismic impact of loss in a small town. Sure to earn awards-season hype is Witherspoon, who sports feathered Farrah bangs as the bereaved mother of one of the victims. The getup is camp, but her performance—first hysterical, then ravaged—is a poignant picture of unfettered grief.
Robyn Doolittle, the plucky Toronto Star reporter who helped crack the Rob Ford scandal, continues to milk her story in Crazy Town, a brazen page-turner about her adventures in Fordlandia.
Between Pacific Rim and Total Recall, Toronto has become a magnet for robot-centric blockbusters. The latest addition: RoboCop, a $120-million remake of the 1987 cult classic, starring Joel Kinnaman as the titular cyborg.
Kiefer Sutherland and Kit Harington (a.k.a. Jon Snow, the adorable bastard of Westeros) star in the swords-and-sandals epic Pompeii, filmed in Toronto last summer. Harington was a regular at the hedonistic meat den Parts and Labour during the shoot, though you’d never know it from his glistening abs.
On the subject of gladiatorial warfare, MasterChef Canada, a spinoff of the cutthroat American cooking showdown, premieres with tyrannical Toronto chef Claudio Aprile and O&B impresario Michael Bonacini in the judges’ chairs.
Smooth operator Matt Dusk, known for his Sinatra swagger and husky pipes, releases Matt Dusk Sings Call Me Fitz, a soundtrack from Jason Priestley’s raunchy TMN series.
Independence, the new novel from author Cecil Foster, is a sweet coming-of-age romance about two 14-year-olds in ’60s-era Barbados; it’s best enjoyed with a piña colada in hand and Rihanna on the stereo.