Halifax film screening picks — May 30-June 5

30 May
May 30, 2016

Dalhousie University will award an honorary doctorate to filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin tomorrow, and tonight she will be presenting her documentary Trick or Treaty?, in which she “digs into the tangled history of Treaty 9,” at the Central Library. The screening will be hosted by filmmaker Sylvia Hamilton, with filmmaker Catherine Anne Martin offering a traditional Mi’kmaq welcome, and Halifax poet laureate Rebecca Thomas performing a poem. Obomsawin will remain for a discussion after the film.

Cineplex Park Lane has a couple of screenings this week of The Boy and the Beast, last year’s anime hit in Japan from Momoru Hosoda, who might be the current leading candidate for “new Miyazaki”.

This Sunday, Fundy Cinema in Wolfville has the New Zealand film The Dark Horse, which has gathered a large number of positive reviews for its lead performance by Cliff Curtis. The film made the rounds of the 2014-15 festivals but only last month got a North American commercial release.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (May 30) — Trick or Treaty?, Central Library, 6:30pm, free. Alanis Obomsawin, Canada, 2014, 85 minutes.
      — Rocky, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6.99. John G. Avildsen, USA, 1976, 119 minutes.
    • Tuesday (May 31) — The Boy and the Beast, Cineplex Park Lane, 6:50pm, regular Tuesday-discount pricing. Mamoru Hosoda, Japan, 2015, 120 minutes.
    • Wednesday (June 1) — The Boy and the Beast, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:50pm, regular pricing. Mamoru Hosoda, Japan, 2015, 120 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Sunday (June 5) — The Dark Horse, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 8pm, $9. James Napier Robertson, New Zealand, 2014, 124 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — May 23-29

23 May
May 23, 2016

The Dalhousie Art Gallery Wednesday noir series concludes this Wednesday with the 1955 Robert-Aldrich-directed Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer mystery, Kiss Me Deadly, a “jagged, baroque, nightmarish picture captures the paranoid mood of the McCarthy era, the Cold War and nuclear angst.”

Out of town this week, the King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal has a Tuesday screening of the Zhang Yimou picture Coming Home. In Wolfville, Fundy Cinema concludes its Wednesday documentary series with Gayby Baby, and this Sunday has The Brand New Testament, which Carbon Arc screened in March.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (May 23) — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Cineplex Park Lane, 1:30pm, $6.99. John Hughes, USA, 1986, 103 minutes.
      — Rocky, Cineplex Park Lane, 3:50pm, $6.99. John G. Avildsen, USA, 1976, 119 minutes.
    • Tuesday (May 24) — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Cineplex Park Lane, 7:15pm & 9:30pm, $6.99. John Hughes, USA, 1986, 103 minutes.
    • Wednesday (May 25) — Kiss Me Deadly, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Robert Aldrich, USA, 1955, 106 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (May 24) — Coming Home, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal),  7:30pm, $8. Zhang Yimou, China, 2014, 111 minutes.
    • Wednesday (May 25) — Gayby Baby, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Maya Newell, Australia, 2015, 85 minutes.
    • Sunday (May 29) — The Brand New Testament, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Jaco Van Dormael, Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 2015, 113 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — May 16-22

16 May
May 16, 2016

It’s the penultimate week of the Dalhousie Art Gallery Wednesday noir series—this week it’s one of my personal favourites, Charles Laughton’s remarkable, bordering-on-surreal one-off, The Night of the Hunter, a film deliberately “keyed to the basic emotions of love and fear, just as the great silent movies were.”

Cineplex has some 30-anniversary screenings of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off this weekend.

The Lobstera film that truly understands the “existential hellscape of modern dating”—is still at Park Lane, through Thursday at least, and has a Fundy Cinema screening in Wolfville on Sunday.

Halifax film screening picks — May 9-15

09 May
May 9, 2016

There are only three weeks left in the Dalhousie Art Gallery Wednesday noir series—this week’s selection is one of the all-time greats, Jules Dassin’s Rififi, the 1955 film that survived blacklisting to earn recognition as a genuine masterpiece.

Park Lane has booked some additional Prince-memorial screenings of Purple Rain, and with Dartmouth Crossing has some more Classic Film Series screenings of Rocky. Meanwhile the well-reviewed Susan Sarandon vehicle The Meddler has moved in at the Oxford, while The Lobster has hopped over to Park Lane.

It took me a couple of weeks, but I caught up with Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room. I’m not sure if it’s quite as strong as his previous effort Blue Ruin, but it’s an enjoyable-if-gory suspenser that benefits from a helping of Saulnier’s patiently-observed melancholy realism stirred into the genre mix.

In Wolfville on Sunday, Fundy Cinema has Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker in Born to Blue.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (May 9) — Rocky, Cineplex Park Lane, 3:30pm, $6.99. John G. Avildsen, USA, 1976, 119 minutes.
      — Purple Rain, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, $6.99. Albert Magnoli, USA, 1984, 111 minutes.
    • Tuesday (May 10) — Rocky, Cineplex Park Lane, 6:30pm, $6.99. John G. Avildsen, USA, 1976, 119 minutes.
      — Purple Rain, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, $6.99. Albert Magnoli, USA, 1984, 111 minutes.
    • Wednesday (May 11) — Rocky, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6.99. John G. Avildsen, USA, 1976, 119 minutes.
      Rififi, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Jules Dassin, France, 1955, 122 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (May 10) — 45 Years, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $8. Andrew Haigh, UK, 2015, 95 minutes.
    • Sunday (May 15) — Born to be Blue, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Robert Budreau, Canada/UK, 2015, 97 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — May 2-8

02 May
May 2, 2016

The nation-spanning travelling roadshow that is TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival hits Halifax this week, with a week of free screenings at the Central Library. I haven’t seen any of the films that are on offer, but if forced to pick a top three that I hope to see:

There’s also a screening of Les êtres chers, which played Carbon Arc a couple of weeks ago, and Guantanamo’s Child, the Omar Khadr doc, previously screened by CBC in a shortened version—the full version is coming up May 16 on Documentary Channel.

The Dalhousie Art Gallery Wednesday noir series returns this week with The Sniper, a San-Francisco-set psycho-assassin tale directed by Edward Dmytryk.

Across Canada tonight there are screenings of Purple Rain, in memory of Prince—the Halifax screening is at Park Lane. It wasn’t so long ago that The Thrillema screened this, kicking off with a memorable intro.   And this Sunday, Cineplex Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing have Classic Film Series matinee screenings of Rocky.

There are a number of notable films on Cineplex screens this week, including the well-reviewed Green Room, director Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to the remarkable Blue Ruin, and the first English-language film from esteemed young Danish director Joachim TrierLouder Than Bombs.

I can strongly recommend one of last year’s festival favourites, the (really) darkly humorous The Lobster, which has arrived at the Oxford for a Halifax engagement. It is also playing in Liverpool this Wednesday at the Astor Theatre.

In Wolfville, Fundy Cinema has the Chilean documentary The Pearl Button on Wednesday, and the drone thriller Eye in the Sky, on Sunday.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (May 2) — Purple Rain, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, $6.99. Albert Magnoli, USA, 1984, 111 minutes.
    • Tuesday (May 3) — Our Loved Ones (Les Êtres Chers), Central Library, 6pm, free. Anne Émond, Canada, 2015, 102 minutes.
    • Wednesday (May 4) — The Forbidden Room, Central Library, 6pm, free. Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson, Canada, 2015, 119 minutes.
      — The Sniper, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Edward Dmytryk, USA, 1952, 88 minutes.
    • Thursday (May 5) — Guantanamo’s Child, Central Library, 6pm, free. Patrick Reed & Michelle Shephard, Canada, 2015, 80 minutes.
    • Saturday (May 7) — Ninth Floor, Central Library, 4pm, free. Mina Shum, Canada, 2015, 82 minutes.
    • Sunday (May 8) — Rocky, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 12:55pm, $6.99. John G. Avildsen, USA, 1976, 119 minutes.
      The Demons, Central Library, 1:30pm, free. Philippe Lesage, Canada, 2015, 118 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Wednesday (May 4) — The Lobster, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/UK/Greece/France/Netherlands, 2015, 118 minutes.
      The Pearl Button, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Patricio Guzmán, Chile/France/Spain, 2015, 82 minutes.
    • Sunday (May 8) — Eye in the Sky, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Gavin Hood, UK, 2015, 102 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — April 25-May 1

25 Apr
April 25, 2016

This Friday, Carbon Arc‘s final screening before summer hiatus is Francofonia, the latest from Alexander Sokurov, best known for his single-shot wonder Russian Ark. This latest is an essay-film portrait of the Louvre that expands out into “a chatty and occasionally brilliant rumination on art, history and death.” The film is also being screened in Wolfville on Wednesday by Fundy Cinema (which also has two screenings this Sunday of Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa).

The Thrillema is back on Tuesday with another screening bringing cult-film fans and cineastes together—David Lynch’s unique and unforgettable 1977 debut feature, Eraserhead—a film that he says could not even find an audience today if it was being released for the first time—”The midnight movie circuit was what saved or brought a lot of films to the public.”

20th Century Fox are trying to make April 26 Alien Day happen, and so on Tuesday Cineplex Park Lane has a double-header of the first two films in the franchise.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Apr 26) — Eraserhead, The Thrillema @ the Museum of Natural History, 8pm, free advance tickets, donations accepted. David Lynch, USA, 1977, 88 minutes.
      Alien + Aliens double feature, Cineplex Park Lane, 7pm, regular cheap-Tuesday pricing. Ridley Scott, UK/USA, 1979; James Cameron, USA, 1986. 254 minutes.
    • Friday (Apr 29) — Francofonia, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Alexander Sokurov, Germany/France/Netherlands, 2015, 88 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Apr 26) — RoomKing’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $8. Lenny Abrahamson, USA, 2015, 118 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Apr 27) — Francofonia, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Alexander Sokurov, Germany/France/Netherlands, 2015, 88 minutes.
    • Sunday (Apr 24) — Anomalisa, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Charlie Kaufman, USA, 2015, 90 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — April 18-24

18 Apr
April 18, 2016

This Wednesday is National Canadian Film Day, and perhaps the most notable local screening has director Andrea Dorfman on hand for a screening of her 2003 classic (can we say that now?) Love That Boy, the Halifax-shot rom-com that features a teenage Ellen Page in a supporting role.

Carbon Arc’s NCFD screening, pushed to the usual Friday slot, is the sophomore feature from Anne Émond, Our Loved Ones (Les Êtres Chers)—this is a co-presentation with Reel Canada and in fact a free screening. In the late (9:30pm) slot on Friday it’s The Invitation, which is interesting for a couple of reasons: the back story about director Karyn Kusama’s fight to shape her films and get them released is absolutely fascinating, and this is the latest film to try releasing to theatres and to pay-per-view simultaneously. The film itself is getting great reviews and the trailer by itself scared the shit out of April 10’s Carbon Arc audience, as I can testify.

Novel Tech Ethics is back with another screening-plus-discussion event tonight with Concussion, and though the film is in truth neither bad nor great, it’s one of the better issue-analysis films of the past few years, and offers a decent serious Will Smith performance, which is something we don’t get enough of in my book.

Cineplex’s Classic Film Series this week has the only film based on a Rogers & Hammerstein musical not to receive any Academy Award nominations (not sure whether that’s good or bad, because my Oscars feelings are complicated), Carousel, set in Maine, and, um, Heaven. Insert Liverpool FC reference here.

Out of town this week, the Astor Theatre in Liverpool has the raved-about Charlie Kaufman animated feature Anomalisa, nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Oscars, which has yet to play Halifax after being pulled from its Carbon Arc screening by Paramount Studios. Fundy Cinema in Wolfville has the songbird documentary The Messenger on Wednesday, and Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart on Sunday.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
  • South Shore and Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Wednesday (Apr 20) — Anomalisa, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Charlie Kaufman, USA, 2015, 90 minutes.
      The Messenger, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Su Rynard, Canada, 2015, 89 minutes.
    • Sunday (Apr 24) — Mountains May Depart, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Jia Zhangke, China/France/Japan, 2015, 131 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — April 11-17

11 Apr
April 11, 2016

The new Terrence Malick film Knight of Cups has arrived for its Halifax engagement at Cineplex Park Lane, and as with its recent predecessors The Tree of Life and To the Wonder, it is inspiring rapture and contempt in equal measure. In fact I screened this for some friends last month (yes, there is a legit English-friendly German Blu-ray already available) and witnessed the same audience-dividing phenomenon, replicated in my own home. For me what it gives up in terms of character development it gains in its sense of place, succeeding at one of the most difficult tasks for a movie—showing you a Los Angeles you haven’t seen before. The key to this seems to have been guerrilla shooting tactics—which some cast members found rather disconcerting.

There are just three weeks left in the Carbon Arc season before it goes on summer hiatus, and this Friday’s selection, My Golden Days, the latest from Arnaud Desplechin, unlike Knight of Cups, is a uniter, not a divider—in fact it’s the best-reviewed live-action film that the series has programmed so far in 2016. As well, on Friday at the Bus Stop Theatre, there’s a screening of the locally set and shot Noon Gun, which got a nice notice from Carsten Knox at the most recent Atlantic Film Festival.

The Dal Art Gallery Wednesday noir series has another Dalton Trumbo-penned classic this week—The Prowler, directed by Joseph Losey, after which the series goes on a two-week hiatus while the gallery installs a new show.

Out of town this week, there are two highly-rated first features by women—King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal has Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven on Tuesday, and this Sunday, Fundy Cinema in Wolfville has The Girl in the Book by Marya Cohn.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Wednesday (Apr 13) — The Prowler, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Joseph Losey, USA, 1951, 92 minutes.
    • Friday (Apr 15) — My Golden Days, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Arnaud Desplechin, France, 2015, 120 minutes.
      Noon Gun, The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen St, 7pm, $10, advance tickets available online. Casey MacLennan, Canada, 2015, 70 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Apr 12) —Mustang, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $8. Deniz Gamze Ergüven, France/Turkey/Germany, 2015, 97 minutes.
    • Sunday (Apr 17) — The Girl in the Book, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Marya Cohn, USA, 2015, 86 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — April 4-10

04 Apr
April 4, 2016

If there is a more brilliant, engaged, and indeed entertaining politically-conscious filmmaker working today than Pablo Larraín, I’d like to know who that is. His latest, The Club, the story of a covert retirement home for priests forced out of the ministry by scandal, finds him “in fierce command of his craft.” Larraín says that the Vatican isn’t talking about this film because they don’t want to make it more visibleCarbon Arc is presenting it this Friday.

The Dal Art Gallery Wednesday noir series continues this week with the first of two films by famously blacklisted screenwriter Dalton TrumboGun Crazy, directed by Joseph H. Lewis.

The Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group continues its four-day mini-festival of free screenings of Cinema Politica documentaries at The Company House this week. Monday sees the Halifax return of ‘Til the Cows Come Home, Tuesday it’s Out in the Night, the story of the New Jersey 4, and Wednesday it’s the classic—now ten-year-old—NFB documentary Finding Dawn. There are post-screening Q&A/panel/performance events which you can check out by clicking through on the preceding links. As well, on Monday the Radical Imagination Project presents Sylvia Hamilton’s one-hour documentary The Little Black School House, which examines the little-known history of Canada’s racially segregated schools. The director will be on hand for a discussion after the screening at the Central Library.

Out of town you can catch a couple of films that carry my highest recommendation—Jafar Panahi’s Taxi plays at the King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal on Tuesday, and the tragicomic Icelandic rural drama Rams plays the Astor Theatre in Liverpool on Wednesday.

Fundy Cinema in Wolfville has the Argentinian documentary Our Last Tango on Wednesday and the minimalist Norwegian drama 1001 Grams on Sunday, directed by Bent Hamer in a style that Farran Smith Nehme describes as “what might happen if Ulrich Seidl liked people.”

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Apr 5) — Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $8. Jafar Panahi, 2015, Iran, 82 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Apr 6) — Rams, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Grímur Hákonarson, Iceland/Denmark, 2015, 92 minutes.
      Our Last Tango, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. German Kral, Argentina/Germany, 2015, 85 minutes.
    • Sunday (Apr 10) — 1001 Grams, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Bent Hamer, Norway, 2014, 93 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — March 28-April 3

28 Mar
March 28, 2016

The term “cult” gets thrown around in film circles a lot but if there is a more singular film than Hausu that has a more dedicated following, I don’t know what that would be. The 1977 Japanese film is equally credentialed as trash and art and is probably the only film the Thrillema has ever screened that has been blessed with a cine-snob release by Criterion—check it out this Wednesday.

“The first great movie of 2016, as far as U.S. releases go, is an animated picture that was made in 1991,” says Glenn Kenny about this Friday’s Carbon Arc selection, Only Yesterday. The film features a newly recorded English-language dialogue track—this version screens Friday at 7pm, and Kenny says it “keeps the movie intact, Beatles references and cigarette-smoking characters and all.” The original Japanese-dialogue version, subtitled in English, will be screened at 9:30pm.

Carbon Arc also has a 7pm Saturday screening of 2015 Cannes Lions Awards: The World’s Best Commercials, the fun annual release better known as “the Cannes ads” by people who speak one mouthful at a time.

The Dal Art Gallery film series wraps up its three-week series of Tuesday screenings marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, this week with the 2006 Ken Loach opus The Wind That Shakes the Barley, starring Cillian Murphy. On Wednesday the noir series has a “ferocious critique of the media” circa 1950—The Underworld Story, directed by Cy Endfield.

This week in Wolfville, Fundy Cinema brings back the Hitchcock/Truffaut doc on Wednesday and on Sunday has the “shameless royalist fluff” A Royal Night Out, in which a yet-unenthroned Elizabeth is portrayed by the Canadian actress—favourite of the Cronenbergs, new face of Armani makeup, and worthwhile follow on Instagram—Sarah Gadon.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Mar 29) — The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 5pm, free. Ken Loach, UK, 2006, 127 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 30) — Hausu (House), The Thrillema @ the Museum of Natural History, 8pm, free advance tickets, donations accepted. Nobuhiko Obayashi, Japan, 1977, 88 minutes.
      — The Underworld Story, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Cy Endfield, USA, 1950, 91 minutes.
    • Friday (Apr 1) — Only Yesterday, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, English dub 7pm, English subtitles 9:30pm, $7. Isao Takahata, Japan, 1991, 118 minutes.
    • Saturday (Apr 2) — 2015 Cannes Lions Awards: The World’s Best Commercials, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. 2015, 107 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Wednesday (Mar 30) — Hitchcock/Truffaut, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Kent Jones, France/USA, 2015, 79 minutes.
    • Sunday (Apr 3) — A Royal Night Out, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Julian Jarrold, UK, 2015, 97 minutes.