Starring: Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Quintessa Swindell
Stop me if you’ve seen this one before: a hollow shell of a man, sitting alone in a mostly empty room, writing in a journal, accompanied by a voiceover narration. Yes, you’re watching a Paul Schrader film – more specifically, you’re watching Master Gardener, the third film in Schrader’s unofficial “man in a room” trilogy. The first was the excellent First Reformed, starring Ethan Hawks and dealing with a man’s crisis of faith in a doomed world. The second was 2021’s The Card Counter with Oscar Isaac as a gambler hiding from the world and his past. Now, with Master Gardener, Joel Edgerton stars as a man caught between his regretful past and his future.
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson, Rich Sommer, Cary Elwes, Michael Ironside, SungWon Cho, Michelle Giroux
Director, co-writer, and star Matt Johnson does something simple but effective in the early-goings of his newest film BlackBerry: he shows the titular device’s first prototype being put together. With most films in its genre, the product is shown as almost perfect from the beginning, as if it was destined to be great from the beginning. Johnson portrays the painstaking and frantic process of its creator Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) Frankenstein-ing the BlackBerry prototype together from various electronics in the waning hours before its first pitch. The rest of the film doesn’t necessarily revolutionize similar films based on fictionalized retellings of corporate disruption, but it’s a small indication that Johnson is dedicated to what really matters within the story.