Halifax film screening picks — April 17-23

17 Apr
April 17, 2017

It’s the penultimate week for the Carbon Arc winter-spring season, and there are two screenings this weekend. On Friday it’s the Jane Jacobs documentary by Matt Tyrnauer, Citizen Jane, telling the story of an urban planning from 50 years ago in a way that “just about pulses with contemporary resonance.” On Saturday it’s the 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows, the latest yearly anthology of animated shorts, as usual “bringing the more personal and experimental films from the international festival circuit to larger audiences.”

This Wednesday is National Canadian Film Day, featuring a massive number of free screenings all over Canada, including many, many places in Nova Scotia. For me a couple of the most interesting screenings are happening at out-of-town theatres: Bill MacGillivray’s 1988 Nova Scotian drama Life Classes screens at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool, and Atom Egoyan’s 1997 Cannes Grand Prix winner The Sweet Hereafter is presented by Fundy Cinema in Wolfville.

There are a number of non-NCFD free film screenings in Halifax this week that deserve mention:

Halifax film screening picks — April 10-16

10 Apr
April 10, 2017

As a follow-up director-actor collaboration between French auteur Olivier Assayas and celebrity model-actress Kristen Stewart, Personal Shopper feels like the surprisingly awesome B-side to a smash hit single.  (The A-side in this case is Clouds of Sils Maria, the outstanding 2015 film where Stewart is paired with no less than Juliette Binoche and rather steals the movie.) Personal Shopper pretty convincingly draws unlikely connections between the supernatural, the internet and the fashion industry’s underbelly—as one critic puts it, “an outré yet unexpectedly touching tale of luxury brands and ectoplasm.” Hard to describe, easy to recommend.

Fifty years on from its surprise success, The Graduatean impressive 4k restoration thereof, in fact—is back in theatres for a couple of dates this month, including this Wednesday at Cineplex Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing.  In advance maybe settle into your sofa for half an hour and enjoy this brilliant 2008 long-read making-of piece from Vanity Fair.

Tonight at the Central Library, the Radical Imagination Project is showing Ovarian Psycos, a “concise and intimate documentary” about a Latina bicycle brigade in Los Angeles. Also at the library, Tuesday’s instalment of a featured-director series of films of Nicole Holofcener has Please Give, the 2010 film that explores “the fascinating matter of why some people impulsively give and others compulsively take.” The screening will be introduced by Chris Campbell.

The Dal Art Gallery First Features series continues this Wednesday with Sofia Coppola’s debut The Virgin Suicides, “a poignant portrayal of white middle class suburbia, where the cloying summer humidity is a metaphor for the claustrophobic atmosphere created by parents who are terrified of their children’s potential to become adults.”

This Friday, Carbon Arc has a 7pm screening of David Lynch: The Art Life, a “cockeyed, oblique attempt to get closer to the worldview of David Lynch.” Carbon Arc is really excellent at bringing in the most recent acclaimed releases, and this is the latest example—a film that opened in New York just this past weekend.

This Sunday in Wolfville, Fundy Cinema will be screening the Maud Lewis biopic MaudieI fully expect it will be playing Halifax by then as well which has now moved in at the Oxford.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Monday (Apr 10) — Ovarian Psycos, Central Library, 6:30pm, free, presented by the Radical Imagination Project. Joanna Sokolowski & Kate Trumbull-LaValle, USA, 2016, 72 minutes.
    • Tuesday (Apr 11) — Please Give, Central Library, 6:30pm, free, introduced by Chris Campbell. Nicole Holofcener, USA, 2010, 87 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Apr 12) — The Graduate, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6.99. Mike Nichols, USA, 1967, 105 minutes.
      The Virgin Suicides, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Sofia Coppola, USA, 1999, 97 minutes.
    • Friday (Apr 14) — David Lynch: The Art Life, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7.
      Jon Nguyen, Olivia Neergaard-Holm & Rick Barnes, USA, 2017, 90 minutes.
      The Graduate, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, $6.99. Mike Nichols, USA, 1967, 105 minutes.
    • Sunday (Apr 16) — The Graduate, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:15pm, $6.99. Mike Nichols, USA, 1967, 105 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screenings this week:
    • Tuesday (Apr 11) — I, Daniel Blake, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $10. Ken Loach, UK/France/Belgium, 2016, 100 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Apr 13) — I Am Not Your Negro, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Raoul Peck, USA, 2016, 95 minutes.
    • Sunday (Apr 16) — Maudie, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Aisling Walsh, Ireland/Canada, 2016, 115 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — April 3-9

03 Apr
April 3, 2017

This Friday, Carbon Arc has a 7pm screening of the Swiss/French animated feature My Life as a Zucchini, which has gathered many, many glowing reviews in the past month or two. Céline Sciamma, the writer/director of Tomboy and Girlhood (which have both, sadly, exited Netflix) picks up one of four screenwriting credits here.

Speaking of well-regarded animated features, opening on Friday at Cineplex Park Lane is Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, “an unclassifiable experience that starts like a hormonal riff on Freaky Friday, morphs into an apocalyptic version of Portrait of Jennie, and somehow manages to layer a gender-swapping 12th century tale over the ongoing trauma of 3/11 in the meantime,” as David Ehrlich’s review has it.

Friday’s 9pm Carbon Arc screening is Hamid Reza Ghorbani’s A House on 41st Street, a bourgeois domestic tale that takes its time setting up its tense back-half drama, if this Hollywood Reporter review is anything to go by. This is the latest in a series of Iranian film screenings that has started up in Halifax in the past few months. Note that this film, as with all films in this series, has a higher admission price of $13.

The Dal Art Gallery First Features series continues this Wednesday with Chris Eyre’s Smoke Signals, the first feature written and directed by North American Indigenous filmmakers. Says TCM’s Susan Doll, “when released in 1998, the groundbreaking significance of Smoke Signals almost outshone its considerable strengths as a film.”

Jim Jarmusch’s brilliant Paterson has its final two screenings in Liverpool this afternoon and evening at the Astor Theatre. This Wednesday the Astor has the remarkable documentary Obit, about the New York Times obituary section—the film premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and played Toronto’s Hot Docs as well. In Wolfville on Wednesday, Fundy Cinema offers a chance to see one of 2016’s very best films, Toni Erdmann, which played Halifax for just a single week, about a month ago.

Local film critic Carsten Knox is taking on a new professional opportunity and I’m very much going to miss his weekly Halifax film openings round-up on his excellent blog Flaw in the Iris. I’m glad to hear, though, that he’s going to continue to do his podcast with Stephen Cooke, Lens Me Your Ears. To stay on top of what’s opening and closing I recommend, as does Carsten, giving a Twitter follow to Halifax Cinema, a service which I find absolutely invaluable.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Wednesday (Apr 5) — Smoke Signals, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Chris Eyre, USA, 1998, 89 minutes.
    • Friday (Apr 7) — My Life as a Zucchini, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Claude Barras, Switzerland/France, 2016, 66 minutes.
      — A House on 41st Street, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 9pm, $13. Hamid Reza Ghorbani, Iran, 2016, 86 minutes.
  • South Shore and Annapolis Valley screenings this week:
    • Monday (Apr 3) — Paterson, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 1:30pm & 7pm, $8. Jim Jarmusch, USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Apr 5) — Toni Erdmann, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Maren Ade, Germany/Austria, 2016, 163 minutes.
      Obit, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Vanessa Gould, USA, 2016, 93 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — March 27-April 2

27 Mar
March 27, 2017

“When I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me.”
— Dylan Farrow, Woody Allen’s adoptive daughter, in a February 2014 open letter

I’m not sure exactly how Woody Allen’s expensive image rehabilitation process is going, but it’s been at least no smoother than his directing career. Cafe Society was the first of his last three films to be favourably reviewed, but then six months ago came his tepidly reviewed Amazon Prime series—now it’s back to the vaults for a restored edition of 1979’s Manhattan, which hits Cineplex Park Lane this weekend. Part of me would really love to know the chain of decisions that landed on re-releasing a film that is so particularly emblematic of the intersection between the person and the persona. And indeed another part of me would really love to be able to get past what we now know and return to my original, innocent experience of this, yes, beautiful film. I’m not here to criticize those who choose to attend—I think watching the work on its own terms is both possible and ethically defensible. But it’s too soon for me, and maybe it always will be—what I’m feeling right now is a big ol’ nope.

Now in the category of big, big yes, how about the consistently brilliant Hirokazu Kore-eda, who has built up an incredible catalogue of work—even though, he says, his films are harder than ever to make.  His latest, After the Storm, has gathered his best reviews since 2009’s Still Walking, and Carbon Arc has booked it for this Friday, in just its second week of North American release.  The next night, there’s an encore showing of the popular cats-in-Istanbul doc Kedi—which at the time of writing on Sunday March 26 is already sold out of advance tickets (26 tickets available at the door starting at 6:30pm).

The Thrillema is back on Tuesday with the Brian De Palma nugget Phantom of the Paradise, the “musical rock opera horror comedy film” that crashed and burned everywhere on first release in 1974—everywhere, that is, except Winnipeg, where it was a massive hit. For the last couple of years, as the revival cult has spread, a crowd-funded documentary, Phantom of Winnipeg, has been in the works to tell the story of why Winnipeg so loved this eccentric film.

The Dal Art Gallery First Features series continues this Wednesday with I Shot Andy Warhol, the 1996 debut of Canadian director Mary Harron, featuring Lili Taylor in her signature role as Valerie Solanas—and of course Yo La Tengo briefly playing their favourite band, The Velvet Underground.

Novel Tech Ethics is back this evening with another screening-and-panel event on mental health issues. Tonight’s film is Unbroken Glass, the personal documentary by Dinesh Das Sabu that has been called “a fascinating look into how we are caught between influences of our past and present.” The expert-led panel discussion will touch on schizophrenia, family resilience & coping, living as a cultural minority in America, early parental death, and suicide.

The highlight of out-of-town screenings this week is the 2016 Palme D’Or winning I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach, which plays Fundy Cinema in Wolfville Wednesday evening. As well, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, which hasn’t played in Nova Scotia since its October Cineplex engagements, is back for a couple of Fundy screenings this Sunday.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Monday (Mar 27) — Unbroken Glass, QEII Royal Bank Theatre – Halifax Infirmary (1796 Summer entrance), 7pm, free. Dinesh Das Sabu, USA, 2016, 57 minutes, followed by panel discussion.
    • Tuesday (Mar 28) — Phantom of the Paradise, The Thrillema @ Natural History Museum, 8pm, free tickets in advance and at the door. Brian De Palma, USA, 1974, 91 minutes.
      — Saturday Night Fever, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:25pm, $9.95. John Badham, USA, 1977, 118 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 29) — I Shot Andy Warhol, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Mary Harron, UK/USA, 1996, 103 minutes.
    • Friday (Mar 31) — After the Storm, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan, 2016, 117 minutes.
    • Saturday (Apr 1) — Kedi, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm & 9pm, $7. Ceyda Torun, Turkey/USA, 2016, 80 minutes.
  • South Shore and Annapolis Valley screenings this week:
    • Tuesday (Mar 28) — Lion, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $10. Garth Davis, Australia/UK/USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 29) — I, Daniel Blake, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Ken Loach, UK/France/Belgium, 2016, 100 minutes.
    • Friday (Mar 31) — Hidden Figures, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7pm, $10.
    • Saturday (Apr 1) — Paterson, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Jim Jarmusch, USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
      — Hidden Figures, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7pm, $10.
    • Sunday (Apr 2) — Paterson, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Jim Jarmusch, USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
      — Queen of Katwe, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Mira Nair, USA, 2016, 124 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — March 20-26

20 Mar
March 20, 2017

Bruce McDonald’s summer-of-’76 Cape Breton road movie Weirdos, “a tender but never sappy memory piece” that premiered at TIFF (and locally at AFF) last September, has arrived at Cineplex Park Lane, hot on the heels of Daniel MacIvor picking up the Best Original Screenplay trophy at the Canadian Screen Awards last Sunday. Tara Thorne in last week’s issue of The Coast says “Weirdos was the first film made under the newly structured provincial tax credit system, shot in beautiful black and white by Becky Parsons all around Nova Scotia in the autumn of 2014″—a bit of a strange way to frame the film’s production story, to be fair. In fact, as producer Mike MacMillan related at AFF in Halifax, the film was originally set to be filmed in the summer, when our provincial premier, in foolishly uninformed fashion, based on a discredited economic theory, and contradicting his own explicit promise, gutted the province’s film tax credit system. When the funding basis for the film disappeared overnight, the shooting schedule had to be delayed until fall, which in turn prompted the shift to black and white, in order to conceal any visible signs of fall foliage. But this indeed is a lovely look for the film, and the CSA-nominated production design by Matt Likely is downright heroic in my book—absolutely nails the details of 1970s Nova Scotia.

Tuesday, Cineplex Park Lane has a 40th anniversary screening of Gene Siskel’s favourite film, Saturday Night Fever, the definitive John Travolta vehicle that indeed has a production history worth reading.

The Dal Art Gallery First Features series continues this Wednesday with The Seventh Continent, the 1989 debut of Michael Haneke to which “all the icy gloom of Code Unknown, The Piano Teacher, and Caché can be traced back.

The last of three “Fashion Forward” film screenings Thursday at Art Bar +Projects is The Fifth Element, the apeshit crazy 1997 sci-fi film that “allowed costume designer Jean Paul Gaultier unleash his imagination in a series of hyper ostentatious garments that took inspiration from the designer’s haute couture collections.”

Friday, Carbon Arc returns from March Break hiatus with the eco-doc Call of the Forest: the Forgotten Wisdom of Trees.

If you missed Jackie during its brief Halifax run, Fundy Cinema in Wolfville gives you a second chance with a couple of screenings this Sunday.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Tuesday (Mar 21) — Saturday Night Fever, Cineplex Park Lane, 7pm, $9.95. John Badham, USA, 1977, 118 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 22) — The Seventh Continent, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Michael Haneke, Austria/France/Germany, 1989, 108 minutes.
    • Thursday (Mar 23) — The Fifth Element, Art Bar +Projects (1873 Granville St), 6:30pm, free. Luc Besson, France, 1997, 126 minutes.
    • Friday (Mar 24) — Call of the Forest: the Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Jeffrey McKay, Canada/Germany/Ireland/Japan/USA, 2016, 82 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screenings this week:
    • Tuesday (Mar 21) — Moonlight, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $10. Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.
    • Sunday (Mar 26) — Jackie, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Pablo Larraín, USA/Chile/France, 2016, 99 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — March 13-19

13 Mar
March 13, 2017

Well, the award-season tide of brilliant films arriving in our town has subsided, but many of the best are still here in theatres, including, in a pleasant surprise, Paterson and I Am Not Your Negro still at Cineplex Park Lane. As well, Moonlight is still at the Oxford, so maybe all of that eases the pain of Carbon Arc‘s March Break hiatus.

This Thursday at Art Bar +Projects there’s a free screening of Blade Runner, the evergreen (if overcooked and blemished by elements of noir-imported misogyny) sci-fi feature that will be followed by this summer by the long-belated sequel Blade Runner 2049. 2007’s so-called “Final Cut” of the 1982 release came back to UK theatres a couple of summers ago, which occasioned this beautiful custom trailer by the British Film Institute. This is the second of three “Fashion Forward” film screenings on the theme of predicting the future of fashion, in anticipation of Dialect, the NSCAD Fashion Show, on April 17.

The Dal Art Gallery First Features series continues this Wednesday with My American Cousin, the 1985 coming-of-age drama by Sandy Wilson that is “definitely deserving of its status as a Canadian classic.”

Halifax film screening picks — March 6-12

06 Mar
March 6, 2017

You don’t often see two films as excellent as Paterson and I Am Not Your Negro playing Cineplex Park Lane at the same time, but that is the case right now, at least until Thursday. Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, “a movie that’s filled with poetry and that is a poem in itself,” is perhaps my favourite film of 2016, built from the poetic foundations of Ron Padgett and William Carlos Williams, while Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro is one of the most original documentaries in years, featuring a “startlingly muted and emotional performance from the oft-boisterous” Samuel L. Jackson, and constructed entirely from the words of the great writer James Baldwin, in a way that “captures all that’s galvanizing and forceful about Baldwin’s words and demeanor.”

Moonlight has moved in at the Oxford, and it makes me happy to think that many more people will see it as a result of its Best Picture win at the Oscars, making it the first film by a black director, the first LGBT film, and the lowest-budget film (in adjusted dollars) ever to win. But perhaps its win should not have been so surprising, as this carefully-thought-out pre-awards prediction piece demonstrates.

Jordan Peele’s groundbreaking “social thriller” Get Out seems to be accumulating new thought pieces by the day. I particularly enjoyed one from Richard Brody of The New Yorker, who says that “Peele recaptures and reanimates the spirit of the films of Luis Buñuel.”

Fire up the orgasmatron—this Thursday at Art Bar +Projects, NSCAD University and the Atlantic Film Festival are presenting Barbarella, the 1968 camp-psychedelic sci-fi classic that presents Jane Fonda (and cast) in a series of trickily-executed outfits by Paco Rabanne that have left an indelible mark on fashion, and a title character that when viewed “from a contemporary angle, where female characters are still often expected to conform to male-dictated ideals of sexual desire… starts to look almost progressive.” This is the first of three free film screenings on the theme of predicting the future of fashion, in anticipation of Dialect, the NSCAD Fashion Show, on April 17.

While Carbon Arc is on March Break hiatus for a couple of weeks, the Dal Art Gallery First Features series continues this Wednesday with The Element of Crime. This 1984 debut from Lars Von Trier is a highly stylized film that bears little resemblance to his later minimalism that began with the Dogme 95 movement—it suggests that he could have been the next Terry Gilliam.

This Sunday in Wolfville, Fundy Cinema has a couple of screenings of Julieta, the film that has had many critics talking about Pedro Almodóvar’s return to form, including The Guardian’s Mark Kermode.

Halifax film screening picks weekend extra — March 3-5

03 Mar
March 3, 2017

I’ve never posted a weekend extra edition of my weekly picks before, but in the two years I’ve been doing this there’s never been this many great films playing Halifax at once. And though The Salesman and Toni Erdmann have already come and gone, Paterson and I Am Not Your Negro have arrived, and (drum roll! the envelope please! no not that envelope…) Moonlight is back to a full slate of screenings at the Oxford.

If Moonlight was, by far, my favourite among this year’s Oscars Best Picture noms, Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson is for sure my favourite 2016 film that wasn’t nominated (though it has accumulated various other awards for the film, the screenplay, and Adam Driver’s acting). Easily one of Jarmusch’s greatest films, it pulls off one of the hardest film challenges I can think of, which is to make the act of writing poetry, and poetry itself, cinematic. “Paterson manages to convey the inner workings of the creative process like few films before it,” says Tirdad Derakhshani. I really can’t put it better than that. Paterson starts today at Cineplex Park Lane.

(Just a reminder for poetry lovers that Fundy Cinema in Wolfville this Sunday has A Quiet Passion, the new Terence Davies directed biopic about Emily Dickinson as portrayed by Cynthia Nixon.)

You don’t often see documentaries playing at Park Lane but there aren’t many documentaries that arrive with the social significance and ecstatic reviews of the Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro, which opens there today—”bursts with fierce urgency, not just for the long-unresolved history it seeks to confront, but also in its attempt to understand what is happening here, right now.”

Speaking of Oscar nominations, tonight at 7pm Carbon Arc has the Best Foreign Language Film nominee from Sweden, the “morbidly funny and moving” A Man Called Ove, a crowd-pleaser that pleased me as well at its Atlantic Film Festival screening. That’s followed at 9:30pm by another notable from September’s AFF, Werewolf, the made-in-Cape-Breton substance-abuse drama that is returning for just its second Halifax screening, following four sold-out screenings at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film’s director, Cape Breton native “the fearless Ashley McKenzie,” will be present for a Q&A.

I saw Jordan Peele’s brilliant “social thriller” Get Out on Sunday and I’m still buzzing from it. If you’ve already seen it, check out his guest appearance on this week’s NY Times’ Still Processing podcast with Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham for a very entertaining and revealing conversation.

Halifax film screening picks — February 27-March 5

27 Feb
February 27, 2017

I can’t remember the last time that most of the Oscars Best Foreign Language Film nominees were playing Halifax the very week of the awards, but that’s indeed now the case. Last week I recommended the category winner, Asghar Farhadi’s excellent The Salesman, and that’s now been displaced from the Oxford by one of my favourite films of 2016, the slow-build-to-over-the-top comedy Toni Erdmann, “an old-fashioned comedy of manners reimagined as a game of chicken” that, between an unforgettable karaoke performance of “The Greatest Love Of All,” the best nude scene of the year, and the whole Kukeri suit weird-out, you will not soon forget.

As well among the Oscar foreign-language noms, this week you can catch just a single screening (Friday 7pm) at Carbon Arc of A Man Called Ove, a classic all-the-laughs, all-the-feels crowd-pleaser that pleased me as well at its Atlantic Film Festival screening. That’s followed at 9:30pm by Werewolf, the made-in-Cape-Breton substance-abuse drama that continues to get festival bumps, most recently a couple of weeks ago at the Berlinale, where it earned excellent notices. The film’s director, Cape Breton native Ashley McKenzie, will be present for a Q&A.

Speaking of Cape Breton, did you know that Quentin Tarantino’s favourite slasher film of all time was shot in Sydney Mines? The Thrillema is back with the exploitation classic My Bloody Valentine, a film so distinctly Canadian that it “seems to give a nod to Goin’ Down the Road.” This was originally scheduled for February 13 but has moved to Tuesday due to the blizzard we experienced.

I can’t say enough good things about Get Out, the wholly original directorial debut from Jordan Peele, of Key & Peele fame that is now playing a number of local Cineplex screens. This “gloriously twisted thriller that simultaneously has so much to say about the state of affairs in post-Obama America” is something special, delivering scares, laughs, and insight in equal generous measure. Not to be missed.

Cineplex Park Lane this week has some screenings starting Wednesday of Sailor Moon R: The Moviethe most highly-regarded instalment of the long-running Japanese manga adaptation. The 1993 release has been given a fresh, more accurate English dub and will play with the original theatrical short, Make Up! Sailor Guardians and “exclusive extras.”

The Dal Art Gallery on Tuesday concludes its February Black Music Biographies series with the HBO TV bio-pic Bessie, with Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith, and also continues its First Features series on Wednesday with the signal debut of Gillian Armstrong, My Brilliant Career, a “a quintessentially Australian story, set in a quintessentially Australian context,” featuring Judy Davis in her “breakthrough performance as the bolshy, budding writer.”

Fundy Cinema in Wolfville this Sunday has another story of a woman writer—a real-life one in this case. A Quiet Passion, the new film from Terence Davies, gives us the life of poet Emily Dickinson as portrayed by Cynthia Nixon, who impressed many critics and indeed me a couple of years ago with her stellar turn as the terminally-ill mother of James White. Fundy also has a Wednesday screening of surprise Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight, which has returned to Halifax at Park Lane, but so far only for 3:40pm screenings (as of blog-posting—surely they will add more times?). The other notable out-of-town screening is Tuesday evening in Annapolis Royal at the King’s Theatre, which is presenting Julieta, the latest well-reviewed film from Spanish master Pedro Almodóvar.

Tonight at the Central Library, the Radical Imagination Project has the Halifax premiere of The Crossing, a first-hand documentary account of the perilous journey made by a group of Syrian refugees, which played last year at the Lunenberg Doc Fest as well as at Hot Docs. The free screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Afua Cooper, Fazeela Jiwa, and members of the Halifax Refugee Clinic.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Monday (Feb 27) — The Crossing, Central Library, 6:30pm, free. George Kurian, Norway, 2015, 55 minutes, followed by panel discussion.
    • Tuesday (Feb 28) — Bessie, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 5pm, free. Dee Rees, USA, 2015, 115 minutes.
      My Bloody Valentine, The Thrillema @ Natural History Museum, 8pm, free advance tickets. George Mihalka, Canada, 1981, 93 minutes.
      — The Girl with All the Gifts, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:20pm, regular pricing. Colm McCarthy, UK, 2016, 111 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 1) — My Brilliant Career, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Gillian Armstrong, Australia, 1979, 100 minutes.
    • Thursday (Mar 2) — The Girl with All the Gifts, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:20pm, regular pricing. Colm McCarthy, UK, 2016, 111 minutes.
    • Friday (Mar 3)  — A Man Called Ove, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Hannes Holm, Sweden, 2015, 116 minutes.
      Werewolf, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 9:30pm, $7. Ashley McKenzie, Canada, 2016, 79 minutes, director Q&A to follow.
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screenings this week:
    • Tuesday (Feb 28) — Julieta, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $10. Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 2016, 96 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 1) — Moonlight, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.
    • Friday (Mar 3) — La La Land, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7pm, $10. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 128 minutes.
    • Sunday (Mar 5) — La La Land, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 2pm, $10. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 128 minutes.
      A Quiet Passion, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 124 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — February 20-26

20 Feb
February 20, 2017

After a ten-week run at the Oxford, Manchester by the Sea has moved out to Bayer’s Lake and made way for another of 2016’s very best, The Salesman, the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee that has seen accelerating media attention and ticket sales since its director, Asghar Farhadi, announced that he will not attend the Oscars this Sunday, due to Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

The Dal Art Gallery continues its First Features series on Wednesday with a key film of the New German Filmmakers movement, The Second Awakening of Christa Klages, the directorial debut of Margarethe von Trotta. When the film first played New York in 1979, Vincent Canby took an extremely positive view in the Times, calling this tale of a young woman who robs a bank to finance a day-care centre “a didactic film, but… never smug in the manner of a film that knows all the answers.” Before that, on Tuesday, the Gallery continues its Black Music Biographies series with Cadillac Records, for those of you like me who can never get enough Jeffrey Wright: “The man is equally credible as a statesman and a bluesman. If that’s not range, what is?

If we’ve learned one thing over the last many years it’s that the Brits are better prepared for zombies, so fans of the genre will be happy to note that Cineplex Park Lane this weekend has some limited screenings of the next UK zombie sensation The Girl with All the Gifts.

This is an excellent week for documentary screenings:

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Tuesday (Feb 21) — Cadillac Records, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 5pm, free. Darnell Martin, USA, 2008, 109 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Feb 22) — The Second Awakening of Christa Klages, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Margarethe von Trotta, West Germany, 1978, 89 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 24) — Kedi, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm & 9pm, $7. Ceyda Torun, Turkey/USA, 2016, 80 minutes.
      The Girl with All the Gifts, Cineplex Park Lane, 7pm, regular pricing. Colm McCarthy, UK, 2016, 111 minutes.
    • Saturday (Feb 25) — Sharkwater, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:30pm, free (donations for WWF Canada). Rob Stewart, Canada, 2006, 89 minutes.
      — The Girl with All the Gifts, Cineplex Park Lane, 10:15pm, regular pricing. Colm McCarthy, UK, 2016, 111 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 26) — The Girl with All the Gifts, Cineplex Park Lane, 6:50pm, 9:25pm, regular pricing. Colm McCarthy, UK, 2016, 111 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screenings this week:
    • Tuesday (Feb 21) — A Man Called Ove, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $10. Hannes Holm, Sweden, 2015, 116 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Feb 22) — The Eagle Huntress, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Otto Bell, UK/Mongolia/USA, 2016, 87 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 26) — La La Land, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 128 minutes.