Halifax film screening picks — September 26-October 2

26 Sep
September 26, 2016

The Atlantic Film Festival is over for another year, but Carbon Arc is back with a fresh fall season of screenings. Up first this Friday: Chevalier, “a brilliantly contained and sublimely ridiculous send-up of competitive male egos from a refreshing female perspective“—that of Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari.

The Cineplex Classic Films series is bringing the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds back to the big screen for October, but if you prefer to see it on a pay-what-you-can basis—with snacks by Lemon Dogsthis Wednesday’s Thrillema screening might be just the (free advance) ticket. The film is by no means in the top tier of Hitchcock’s oeuvre but it is certainly one of his most iconic, in no small measure due to Tippi Hedren’s classy performance and Edith-Head-designed costumes.

Cineplex Park Lane is also continuing its Star Trek 50th anniversary screenings this Thursday with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country—the final film to feature the entire classic Star Trek cast—featuring the directorial return of Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), and Christopher Plummer rocking the Klingon makeup and Shakespeare quotes. Incidentally, this nice little clutch of September Trek-film screenings at Park Lane is nothing compared to the bloody big deal that TIFF is making of this anniversary, this fall in Toronto.

Speaking of Shakespeare, Dal Art Gallery’s Wednesday evening free screenings of Shakespeare films continues with Laurence Olivier’s first performance of Shakespeare on screen in the 1936 Paul Czinner adaptation of As You Like It.

The Radical Imagination Project is also back with another series of social-issue doc screenings for the fall, starting Monday with the very crowd-sourced Every Cook Can Govern, the story of the Afro-Trinidadian historian, journalist and socialist C.L.R. James.

Out of town, on Tuesday, King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal has Sing Street, while Fundy Cinema‘s Wednesday screening is the extremely well-reviewed new technology doc from Werner Herzog, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World. On Sunday, Fundy has director Rebecca Miller’s Maggie’s Plan, featuring Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, and Julianne Moore.

  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (Sep 26) — Every Cook Can Govern: The Life, Impact & Works of CLR James, Central Library (Lindsay Room), 6:30pm, free. Ceri Dingle and Rob Harris, UK, 2016, 121 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Sep 28) — The Birds, The Thrillema @ Museum of Natural History, 8pm, free advance tickets. Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1963, 119 minutes.
      As You Like It, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Paul Czinner, UK, 1936, 96 minutes.
    • Thursday (Sep 29) — Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:50pm, $6.99. Nicholas Meyer, USA, 1991, 110 minutes.
    • Friday (Sep 30) — Chevalier, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece, 2015, 105 minutes.
    • Sunday (Oct 2) — The Birds, Cineplex Park Lane, 1pm & Cineplex Darmouth Crossing, 12:55pm, $6.99. Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1963, 119 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Sep 27) — Sing Street, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $8. John Carney, Ireland/USA/UK, 2016, 105 minutes
    • Wednesday (Sep 28) — Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Werner Herzog, USA, 2016, 98 minutes.
    • Sunday (Oct 2) — Maggie’s Plan, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Rebecca Miller, USA, 2015, 98 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — September 19-25 (Atlantic Film Festival edition 2)

19 Sep
September 19, 2016

There is much to be said for the small-city film festival experience. Yes, you have to put up with some pretty excruciating pre-film commentary at moments (like when a staffer asks audience members to put up a hand “if you’ve heard of the auteur theory”). Yet the continuing miracle of the Atlantic Film Festival is that it keeps bringing in some of the absolute cream of the festival circuit, albeit to a largely under-appreciative local audience, who really only turn up in big numbers if there is a local rooting interest. Unlike at TIFF, there is really next to no effort involved in getting into screenings of the hottest international films, which constantly makes it feel like an absolute bargain for the dedicated cinephile. Here is a very partial, incomplete list of some of those films that should be worth checking out in the final four days.

All of those films are evening screenings, but there are interesting films playing in the earlier time slots, as well, and some NSCAD profs are hosting discussions after select 4pm screenings—check it out here.

It’s been a bit under the radar to this point, but the Dal Art Gallery Wednesday evening free film screening series has started up again, and the fall theme is Shakespeare—adaptations of, and films about, “chosen for manageable durations as well as their overall quality.” This week’s pick is the 1935 Max Reinhardt Hollywood production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Out of town, on Tuesday, King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal has last year’s Cannes Palme D’Or winner Dheepan, while Fundy Cinema‘s Wednesday screening is “India’s first female buddy comedy,” Angry Indian Goddesses. On Sunday, Fundy has the Meryl Streep vehicle Florence Foster Jenkins.

Halifax film screening picks — September 12-18 (Atlantic Film Festival edition 1)

12 Sep
September 12, 2016

The Atlantic Film Festival—challenging films, challenging website. OK most of the films aren’t really that challenging, but the new website is an act of digital sadism that I haven’t seen the like of in some time. That as may be, I have braved the digital frontier to come back with a dozen picks for the weekend phase of this year’s edition:

Before the festival kicks off on Thursday, on Wednesday night at Cineplex Park Lane you can get a virtual taste of the big-city festival experience with a special premiere of the new Oliver Stone political thriller Snowden, where the film is followed by a live-via-satellite Q&A featuring Stone and the film’s subject, Edward Snowden.

There are some pretty excellent screenings out of town this week as well: on Tuesday, King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal has Terence Davies’ Sunset Song, while Fundy Cinema‘s Wednesday documentary screening is Hockney. On Sunday, Fundy has one of the better films from last year’s festival: Simon Stone’s excellent update of Ibsen’s The Daughter.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Sep 13) — Sunset Song, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $8. Terence Davies, UK/Luxembourg, 2015, 135 minutes
    • Wednesday (Sep 14) — Hockney, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Randall Wright, UK, 2014, 112 minutes.
    • Sunday (Sep 18) — The Daughter, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Simon Stone, Australia, 2015, 95 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — September 5-11

05 Sep
September 5, 2016

This pre-festival-season time of year tends to be a bit of a dumping ground at the movies, but a happy exception to that is Hell or High Water, the heist drama featuring Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges, that is currently one of the ten best reviewed films so far this year. “As the brothers head toward Oklahoma, the resigned ranchers and deserted strip malls they encounter speak to a vanishing way of life, their journey becoming a parable of corporate exploitation and bleed-them-dry greed,” says Jeanette Catsoulis.

Starting Thursday, fans of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds can rejoice that there will be a few Cineplex Park Lane screenings of One More Time with Feeling, a film that, as Andrew Pulver (covering it at the Venice Film Festival) has it, exceeds its album-promotional purposes to become “an undeniably moving contemplation of shattering loss.” Note that there is premium pricing for these screenings at $14.95 a ticket.

This week there are also Park Lane screenings of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

This Saturday, AFCOOP is presenting a free screening of the highly regarded documentary The Academy of Muses at the University of King’s College KTS Lecture Hall.

Out of town this week, Indignation gets a Wednesday Cinema Series screening at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool, and on Sunday, Fundy Cinema in Wolfville has Love & Friendship.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
  • Annapolis Valley and South Shore screening picks for this week:
    • Wednesday (Sep 5) — Indignation, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. James Schamus, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.
    • Sunday (Sep 11) — Love & Friendship, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Whit Stillman, Ireland/USA, 2016, 92 minutes

Halifax film screening picks — August 29-September 4

29 Aug
August 29, 2016

Tuesday at the Central Library the August series of free screenings of Coen brothers films wraps up with Hail, Caesar!, this year’s fantastic entry in the ever-building Coen canon. Presenting this week is Chris Campbell—NSCC Screen Arts faculty member, blogger, and, yes, a constantly informative Twitter follow.

In fact every day is like Tuesday this week at the movies—it’s the ass end of the summer, frankly, and Cineplex is cutting you some slack by offering cheap-Tuesday prices, Monday through Friday this week.

  • Halifax area screening pick for this week:
    • Tuesday (Aug 30) — Hail, Caesar!, Central Library, 6pm, free. Joel & Ethan Coen, USA, 2016, 100 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening pick for this week
    • Tuesday (Aug 30) — Love & Friendship, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $8. Whit Stillman, Ireland/USA, 2016, 92 minutes

Halifax film screening picks — August 22-28

22 Aug
August 22, 2016

Cineplex Park Lane has a few 25th anniversary screenings this week of Thelma & Louise, a film that holds up well, a little too well, as Megan Garber puts it, because its “fundamental fact… that ultimately drives its plot, and the one that makes it feel so disappointingly fresh today—is the women’s recognition that they can’t trust the law, because the law doesn’t trust them.”

Park Lane has a large number of other special screenings this week, including what may or may not be the “director’s”/final cut of Close Encounters of the Third Kind this Friday night—programmed simultaneously with the third instalment of Indiana Jones, in an act of seemingly in-joke-esque scheduling. This is truly the week of peak Indy for Cineplex, as there are screenings of all three chapters of the original trilogy (see below for timings—the whole trilogy plays in order this Saturday). There is also a Wednesday screening of Unlocking the Cage, the new animal rights documentary. The reviews have been mixed-to-good for this one, but at minimum a new doc by D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus is always notable, it seems to me.

Tuesday at the Central Library the August series of screenings of Coen brothers films continues with A Serious Man, a film that is probably, no, definitely, in my top three Coen films ever. Your host this week is the always fun film fan-and-maker, CBC columnist, and Coast contributor Tara Thorne.

The latest release from stop-motion animation studio Laika has arrived, and the reviews are the best yetKubo and the Two Strings is “clearly made by people who understand that the border between classic children’s stories and horror lies deeper in the neighborhood of the latter than we might assume.”

If you missed the Halifax engagement of Swiss Army Man, there’s a chance to see it this Wednesday at the historic Astor Theatre in Liverpool.

Halifax film screening picks — August 15-21

15 Aug
August 15, 2016

Indignation is screening at Cineplex Park Lane, and with its strong reviews it seems to be another step in the (in her words) “slow, long upward climb” of Toronto actress Sarah Gadon, who has quite transcended her Cronenberg-it-girl beginnings. It’s also the directorial debut for the longtime screenwriting partner of Ang Lee, Professor James Schamus, Ph.D., of whose work I am a longtime fan—yes, even his under-appreciated Hulk movie.

The Thrillema is back this week with 1999 horror milestone The Blair Witch Project, a film that seemed like an aberration and a gimmick on its release, but not so much now—”its influence wasn’t immediate, but delayed until technology caught up with it.” There is a regular Thrillema presentation on Wednesday at 8pm, and on Thursday, a slightly earlier screening paired with a meet-and-greet with Jordan of The Night Time Podcast and Earl Lattie of Paranormal Investigations Nova Scotia (PINS).

David Huddleston, portrayer of “big dons or capos and tempestuous men,” and best known for the title role in The Big Lebowski, died on August 2. On Tuesday at the Central Library, as part of an August series of screenings of Coen brothers films, you can revisit this classic with Kendra Barnes—an incredibly knowledgeable programmer with Carbon Arc, and a good Twitter follow to boot.

Cineplex’s August Indiana Jones revival continues with more screenings of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and this Friday at Park Lane, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the first in a series of intended final episodes that will soon outnumber the preceding films. Originally intended as an apology for Temple of Doom, the film brings back for me teenage opening night memories, thanks to the film breaking and burning in the middle of the nail-biting tank chase scene. But I digress.

Halifax film screening picks — August 8-14

08 Aug
August 8, 2016

Captain Fantastic has arrived at Cineplex Park Lane, accompanied by generally strong reviews—notices that consistently point up an excellent turn by Viggo Mortensen. “Mr. Mortensen, whose intensity has the sting of possession, has a way of making you believe his characters can do whatever they set their minds to,” says Manohla Dargis of the NY Times.

Park Lane is keeping its Indiana Jones retrospective rolling with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a sequel that due to its dark content inspired the creation of the PG-13 rating.

The Atlantic Film Festival’s family-friendly summer outdoor screening series wraps up this Saturday at the Pondside Amphitheatre in Dartmouth Crossing with David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, and a whole bunch of Muppets in Labyrinth. “Childhood has been this way forever: wonderful and hard and full of horror. Labyrinth just helps us remember what, deep down, in the dark, we’ve always known.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:

Halifax film screening picks — August 1-7

01 Aug
August 1, 2016

This week offers a Spielberg throwback double whammy, with the great Raiders of the Lost Ark screening on Friday and Sunday, preceded by the less-than-great Jurassic Park on Wednesday.

The Atlantic Film Festival’s family-friendly summer outdoor screening series continues this Friday outside at Grand Parade with Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Fantastic Mr. Fox, and also on Saturday at the Pondside Amphitheatre in Dartmouth Crossing with a singalong (lyrics on screen) screening of Frozen.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Wednesday (Aug 3) — Jurassic Park, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:25pm, $6.99. Steven Spielberg, USA, 1993, 127 minutes.
    • Friday (Aug 5) — Fantastic Mr. Fox, Grand Parade, 9:10ish, doors open at 8:10pm, free. Wes Anderson, USA, 2009, 87 minutes.
      Raiders of the Lost Ark, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, $6.99. Steven Spielberg, USA, 1981, 115 minutes.
    • Saturday (Aug 6) — Frozen, Pondside Amphitheatre (Dartmouth Crossing), 9:10ish, doors open at 8:10pm, free. Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee, USA, 2013, 107 minutes.
    • Sunday (Aug 7) — Raiders of the Lost Ark, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 12:55pm, $6.99. Steven Spielberg, USA, 1981, 115 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — July 25-31

25 Jul
July 25, 2016

Closet Monster is here for Pride Week and hopefully beyond. The Newfoundland coming-out story, a first-time directorial effort from 26-year-old Newfoundlander Stephen Dunn is yet to be released in the US (due August 19), but has garnered rave reviews in its festival run, including this from the Hollywood Reporter—”Autobiographical but also singularly imaginative, this formally exuberant bildungsroman plays like a Gregg Araki film with a dash of Cronenbergian psychosomatic body-rebellion thrown in.”

The Thrillema is back this week with an excellent alt-art-trash nugget, Zombi 2, so titled because the 1979 Luico Fulci directed film was created as a sequel to Zombi, which was actually George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead as re-edited by Dario Argento and re-scored by Goblin. Oft-reviled for its shark-eating zombie and eyeball-piercing scenes, Zombi 2 features “enough worm-ridden zombie flesh, horrendously fake yet appalling gore, and completely superfluous female nudity to make this a winner.”

The Atlantic Film Festival’s family-friendly summer outdoor screening series continues this Friday outside at the Central Library with a definitive Miyazaki anime classic, 1997’s Princess Mononoke.

Out of town this week, King’s Film Society in Annapolis Royal has Dark Horse, the Welsh race horse documentary, “a feel-good story enlivened by the fact that there’s no overly sentimentalized hokum to be found,” and the Astor Theatre Cinema Series in Liverpool brings back Luca “I Am Love” Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (July 25) — A Place in the Sun, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7:00pm, $6.99. George Stevens, USA, 1951, 122 minutes.
    • Wednesday (July 27) — Zombi 2, Museum of Natural History, 8pm, free advance tickets. Lucio Fulci, Italy, 1979, 91 minutes.
    • Friday (July 29) — Princess Mononoke, Central Library (outdoors), 9:30ish, doors open at 8:30pm, free. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 1997, 133 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (July 26) — Dark Horse, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal),  7:30pm, $8. Louise Osmond, UK, 2014, 85 minutes.
    • Wednesday (July 27) — A Bigger Splash, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Luca Guadagnino, Italy/France, 2015, 124 minutes.