Halifax screening picks — September 25-October 1

25 Sep
September 25, 2017

The Oxford Theatre has closed, the film festival is over, but it’s not all bad news for Halifax film lovers… Carbon Arc is back! The fall season of the cinema series opens with the Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot vehicle The Midwife, a film that, in timely fashion, is “about attaining the wisdom that comes from forgiveness and the acceptance of those things — namely the past and the future — that none of us can control.” Online advance tickets have already sold out, but a limited number of tickets will be reserved for purchase at the door.

Wednesday the Cineplex Studio Ghibli retrospective continues with the Japanese-language version of director Hayao Miyazaki’s classic debut, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, playing at Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing.

Long Time Running, the new documentary by Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier that charts the 2016 goodbye tour of The Tragically Hip, is “deeply sad and positively triumphant” and “everything we need it to be,” says Norm Wilner. It’s exclusively at Cineplex Park Lane.

David Gordon Green has had a strange, zig-zagging directorial career but his latest, Stronger, a Boston Marathon bombing aftermath story, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany, seems like it might be worth a look.

  • In theatres, notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Wednesday (Sep 27) — Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Japanese w English subtitles, Cineplex Park Lane, 4pm & 7pm, Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $12.95. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 1984, 124 minutes.
    • Friday (Sep 29) — The Midwife, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Martin Provost, France/Belgium, 2017, 117 minutes.

Halifax screening picks — September 22-24

22 Sep
September 22, 2017

Long Time Running, the new documentary by Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier that charts the 2016 goodbye tour of The Tragically Hip, is “deeply sad and positively triumphant” and “everything we need it to be,” says Norm Wilner. It’s exclusively at Cineplex Park Lane.

David Gordon Green has had a strange, zig-zagging directorial career but his latest, Stronger, a Boston Marathon bombing aftermath story, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany, seems like it might be worth a look.

Sunday the Cineplex Studio Ghibli retrospective continues with the English dub of director Hayao Miyazaki’s classic debut, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, playing at Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing.

Halifax screening picks — September 14-21 (film festival edition)

14 Sep
September 14, 2017

The Atlantic International Film Festival runs September 14-21. Here are the ten films that I am most interested in (*asterisks indicate that I’ve already seen and I’m recommending personally):

 

Halifax screening picks — September 11-13

11 Sep
September 11, 2017

I’m in Toronto right now, enjoying the 2017 edition of TIFF, so I’m posting a brief update covering the next three days. Before the Atlantic International Film Festival kicks off in Halifax on Thursday, I’ll post another update with some festival picks.

Word has definitely got around about the final screenings at the Oxford Theatre—at time of writing, with three days of film programming left, all remaining screenings are sold out, except for a Tuesday screening of the very best film of the lot, City Lights. The Oxford will be such a tremendous loss that it’s hard to contemplate.

Also on Tuesday at the Central LibraryZack Miller introduces the remarkable 2002 film City of God.

I’ll be back soon with my festival picks.

Halifax screening picks — September 4-10

04 Sep
September 4, 2017

The impending closing of the Oxford Theatre is a terrible loss to film lovers, a knife to the heart, as Carsten Knox puts it. While Wolfville, Liverpool, and Annapolis Royal, to name a few Nova Scotia towns, still have well-used historic theatres as cinematic venues, Halifax can’t seem to manage it, and if it can, it hasn’t been given a chance.

The theatre will be seen out with a number of classic film screenings starting this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Today, local Cineplex theatres are turning Labour Day Monday into Miyazaki Monday, with screenings of My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Castle in the Sky—check the Monday listings for Cineplex Park Lane, Dartmouth Crossing, and Lower Sackville.

On Tuesday at the Central Library, the Featured Director series of free screenings of Stanley Donen classics continues with Zack Miller introducing On the Town, the film that opened the door to location-based musicals.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is back in a sparkling restored 40th anniversary edition, while the film can be restored, its cultural moment is very much history. And speaking of culture and history, Yiddish cinema is back, and now is your opportunity to catch “a rare example of Yiddish neorealism” on local screens in Menashe.

Halifax screening picks — August 28-September 3

28 Aug
August 28, 2017

Good Time marks the emergence of the filmmaking Safdie brothers into the mainstream, sort of, and the certification of Robert Pattinson as a ridiculously talented actor (if Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars, among others, didn’t convince already). It’s the quintessential almost-can’t-watch-but-can’t-look-away film, but my recommendation this week is that you watch, while it’s still here. I can also highly recommend as a post-screening listen this episode of the Film Comment podcast featuring Pattinson, the Safdies, co-writer Ronald Bronstein, and FC editor Nicolas Rapold at a sneak preview in NYC.

The Trip to Spain is garnering positive reviews, though not at the level of its essential, brilliant predecessors, The Trip and The Trip to Italy, but this review by David Ehrlich has me hoping for another fine instalment. But honestly it doesn’t matter—if Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon decide their next collaboration entails reading their grocery lists, I am here for it.

I’m also here for the 3D conversion of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, even though I am historically not a fan of digital post-conversion. As the 3D trend continues to recede, director James Cameron’s 2010 words about quickie conversions now seem prescient: “They will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.” But this post-convert was no quickie, employing a team of more than 1,400 artists and technicians working for a year.

On Tuesday at the Central Library, the Featured Director series of free screenings of Stanley Donen classics continues with Zack Miller introducing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, known for its remarkable dance numbers.

This Wednesday the Cineplex Studio Ghibli retrospective continues with the Japanese version (subtitled in English) of Castle in the Sky playing at Dartmouth Crossing and Park Lane.

Halifax screening picks — August 21-27

21 Aug
August 21, 2017

It’s a good week in Halifax for fans of Japanese animation. At Park Lane you can see In This Corner of the World, a coming of age tale set in pre-war Japan, and based on a manga that ran from 2007 to 2009. Nerdist.com says that, according to the press notes, director Sunao “Katabuchi and his team spent years researching how Kure and Hiroshima looked at the time, making sure every building, house on the hill, Japanese naval vessel in the harbor, and even road was historically accurate.” And on Sunday there is another instalment of this year’s Studio Ghibli retrospective, with the English dub of Castle in the Sky playing at Dartmouth Crossing and Park Lane.

On Tuesday at the Central Library, the Featured Director series of free screenings of Stanley Donen classics continues with Tara Thorne introducing Funny Face, featuring a one-off team-up of Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.

David Lowery’s “film of mesmerizing visual ideas and conceptual integrity,” A Ghost Story, continues at Park Lane and also screens Wednesday afternoon and evening in Liverpool at the historic Astor Theatre. Meanwhile the latest demonstration of Steven Soderbergh’s fondness for the caper-film genre, Logan Lucky, is playing just about everywhere.

Netflix Canada picks—2017 festival season tee-up edition

19 Aug
August 19, 2017

Some of the hottest directors in world cinema will be screening new work at festivals next month. Here are some defining films by key directors of the season that you can watch right now on Netflix.

Whatever you think of the Atlantic Film Festival renaming itself after the part of the shark that you have to clear when you jump it, you have to like Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name as the pick for 2017’s closing gala—the Italian/American/Brazilian/French co-pro in English, Italian, and French is very much on message with the addition of “International” to the festival name. In North America, Guadagnino perhaps first came to public attention with 2009’s I Am Love, and then convinced Tilda Swinton to return for the wonderful A Bigger Splash by promising her she wouldn’t have to speak.

The newly rebranded festival in Halifax has also booked Mary Shelley, the new film from Haifaa al-Mansour, director of Wadjda, the first feature film in history to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. As fascinating as the production story may be, the film itself is a triumph of narrative skill, brilliantly balancing realism and idealism with a young protagonist you won’t soon forget.

Fans of Sean Baker’s extraordinary Tangerine were elated to hear this week’s announcement that his follow-up The Florida Project will be screening at TIFF in Toronto next month. Famous in part for being shot on three iPhones, Tangerine is in fact a beautifully shot and directed film: “An overt, outrageous comedy, it follows two transgender prostitutes on a day when one of them has a singing gig and the other is on a mission of vengeance to find her boyfriend and crush him for his various infidelities.

Ruben Östlund’s The Square was a surprise winner at Cannes earlier this year, and now it will be making its North American debut at TIFF. His gloriously biting Force Majeure is a little slice of cinematic near-perfection—let’s hope the ill-conceived American remake never actually gets made.

Finally, Hirokazu Kore-eda has a curveball lined up for TIFF audiences this year in the form of crime drama The Third Murder, but 2015’s Our Little Sister is right in Kore-eda’s sweet spot—a carefully drawn Japanese domestic drama, the sort of quietly gripping, insightful film for which you rarely if ever see a North American equivalent.

 

Halifax screening picks — August 15-20

14 Aug
August 14, 2017

Pretty much everything is on summer hiatus at the moment, but there is another screening of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest on Wednesday.

Halifax film screening picks — August 7-13

07 Aug
August 7, 2017

North by Northwest is one of those rare films that I can’t see too many times—among Hitchcock’s films, there are others that I admire more as works of art, but none that are more purely enjoyable. Cineplex has Classic Films screenings this Sunday at Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing.

The Featured Director series of free Central Library screenings continues with another Stanley Donen classic, the Bob-Fosse-choreographed musical The Pajama Game, introduced by Nick Malbeuf.

Carbon Arc is still off season but is co-presenter/host this Saturday for the Iranian film I’m Not Angry!, “a strong, jittery social drama that captures the frustrations of Iran’s younger generation.”

A local film festival has its last outdoor screenings of the summer this Friday (Meatballs & Strange Brew at the Public Gardens) and Saturday (The Lego Batman Movie at the Dartmouth Crossing Pondside Amphitheatre).