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.

Halifax film screening picks — February 13-19

12 Feb
February 12, 2017

Last week, Jackie came and went at Cineplex Park Lane; this week, perhaps an even bolder bio-pic by Pablo Larraìn, Neruda, plays Friday only at Carbon Arc. The creativity of these two films, writes David Fear, “gives credence to the growing notion that, by taking a more fragmented, expressionistic route, you actually get closer to nailing the complexity of a life famously lived.” Neruda was Chile’s entry this year for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

On Saturday, Carbon Arc has the Iranian film Inversion (presented in partnership with the Phoenix Cultural Center of Toronto—note the higher ticket price of $13). The film by Behnam Behzadi screened at last year’s Cannes festival in Un Certain Regard. “Nothing that happens in Inversion is overstated or even overtly dramatized, yet there’s an invisible tension that pulls us through the movie,” says Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman.

Tonight Cineplex Park Lane has the surprisingly well-engineered 3D conversion of Titanic (1997)—an actually watchable digital re-do for which Cameron spent over 60 weeks in 2011-12, going through the more than 260,000 frames of the film and giving notes. The original 2D version will screen at Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Park Lane Valentine’s throwback is The Princess Bride, about which Cary Elwes spilled quite a few production secrets a couple of years ago with a book about the making of the film.

The Dal Art Gallery continues its First Features series on Wednesday with the remarkable debut of Derek Jarman, Sebastiane, which it bills as “one of the first LGBT films—and perhaps the only one in Latin.” “One of a kind, it’s compulsively interesting on many levels,” says Time Out NY. Before that, on Tuesday, the Gallery continues its Black Music Biographies series with the HBO TV bio-pic Bessie, with Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith.

Fundy Cinema in Wolfville on Wednesday has The Red Turtle, a Studio Ghibli production—by the Dutch-British director Michaël Dudok de Wit—that doesn’t follow the house style and yet bears Ghibli’s “strong sense of color, philosophy and symbolism” such that it has now been acknowledged with an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. On Sunday, Fundy has 20th Century Women, so this might be the best viewing opportunity for Haligonians who missed it.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Monday (Feb 13) — Titanic (3D), Cineplex Park Lane, 7pm, $6.99. James Cameron, USA, 1997, 195 minutes.
    • Tuesday (Feb 14) — Bessie, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 5pm, free. Dee Rees, USA, 2015, 115 minutes.
      The Princess Bride, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:15pm, $6.99. Rob Reiner, USA, 1987, 98 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Feb 15) — Titanic (2D), Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6.99. James Cameron, USA, 1997, 195 minutes.
      Sebastiane, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Derek Jarman & Paul Humfress, UK, 1976, 85 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 17) — Neruda, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Pablo Larraín, Chile/Argentina/France/Spain, 2016, 107 minutes.
    • Saturday (Feb 17) — Inversion, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm & 9pm, $13. Behnam Behzadi, Iran, 2016, 84 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screenings this week:
    • Wednesday (Feb 15) — The Red Turtle, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Michaël Dudok de Wit, France/Belgium/Japan, 2016, 80 minutes.
      — La La Land, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 1:30pm & 7pm, $8. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 128 minutes.
    • Thursday (Feb 16) — La La Land, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 128 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 17) — La La Land, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 128 minutes.
      — Manchester by the Sea, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7pm, $10. Kenneth Lonergan, USA, 2016, 137 minutes.
    • Saturday (Feb 18) — La La Land, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 128 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 19) — La La Land, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 1:30pm & 7pm, $8. Damien Chazelle, USA, 2016, 128 minutes.
      20th Century Women, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Mike Mills, USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
      — Manchester by the Sea, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7pm, $10. Kenneth Lonergan, USA, 2016, 137 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — February 6-12

06 Feb
February 6, 2017

At long last the un-bio-pic Jackie has arrived in Halifax, featuring a performance by Natalie Portman that is “a brilliant reproach to every biopic that believed putting a pretty brunette in a pillbox hat was enough,” as well as unsettling, jagged, and glissing music by Mica Levi that is even more impressive than her dissonant score for Under the Skin. The first English-language feature for the gifted Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín, it subtly calls back to previous films like No and The Club, but owes little obvious debt to previous Kennedy films. And, as Manohla Dargis has proposed, it is also a remarkable riposte to Christopher Hitchens, who was repulsed by Jackie’s self- and myth-construction. “She married John F. Kennedy; she also helped invent him.

There still hasn’t been a Halifax screening of Maliglutit (Searchers), the new film from Zacharias Kunuk—who is still best known for the 2001 Caméra d’Or (Cannes first-feature prize) winning Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner—but thanks to Fundy Cinema you can see it this Wednesday in Wolfville. Not a remake per se of John Ford’s The Searchers, but a film that unapologetically uses it as source and outline, it played recently at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto, where Kunuk and TIFF programmer Jesse Wente also did live commentary during a screening of Ford’s original.

A number of film series continue in Halifax this week:

20th Century Women, the moving Amarcord-influenced gem from Mike Mills, is no longer playing Halifax, but it can be seen this weekend in Liverpool at the Astor Theatre.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Monday (Feb 6) — Pulp Fiction, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:30pm, $7.99. Quentin Tarantino, USA, 1994, 154 minutes.
    • Tuesday (Feb 7) — Miles Ahead, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 5pm, free. Don Cheadle, USA, 2015, 100 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Feb 8) — Ivan’s Childhood, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet Union, 1962, 94 minutes.
      Shallow Grave, Cineplex Park Lane, 8pm, $7.99. Danny Boyle, UK, 1995, 92 minutes.
      Trainspotting, Cineplex Park Lane, 10pm, $7.99. Danny Boyle, UK, 1995, 92 minutes.
    • Thursday (Feb 9) — Pulp Fiction, Cineplex Park Lane, 7pm, $7.99. Quentin Tarantino, USA, 1994, 154 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 10) — Tanna, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Martin Butler & Bentley Dean, Australia/Vanuatu, 2015, 100 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screenings this week:
    • Monday (Feb 6) — Hidden Figures, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 1:30pm & 7pm, $8. Theodore Melfi, USA, 2016, 127 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Feb 8) — Maliglutit (Searchers), Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Zacharias Kunuk & Natar Ungalaaq, Canada, 2016, 94 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 10) — 20th Century Women, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Mike Mills, USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
    • Saturday (Feb 11) — 20th Century Women, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Mike Mills, USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 12) — 20th Century Women, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Mike Mills, USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
      — Manchester by the Sea, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Kenneth Lonergan, USA, 2016, 137 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — January 30-February 5

30 Jan
January 30, 2017

Carbon Arc is back! The exquisitely-curated series of weekend screenings returns to the Museum of Natural History this Friday with (as usual) one of the best-reviewed films of the past months—Ira Sachs’ follow-up to Love is Strange, Little Men, “a deceptively slight movie which brings us towards the revelation that life is disappointment, and that happiness comes in being ready for it.”

Also this Friday, Cineplex kicks off Flashback Film Fest (does exactly what it says on the tin, now rebranded from the comparatively vague name “Great Digital Film Festival”) with a Coen brothers double bill: the unimpeachable Fargo, and the recently restored Blood Simple. Saturday night features 1997’s Starship Troopers, now slated for a forthcoming remake that will hew closer to the original novel, an idea that the original’s director Paul Verhoeven finds repellent. “The novel was fascistic and militaristic… You feel that going back to the novel would fit very much in a Trump Presidency.Troopers is of course the ruthlessly violent capstone of a science fiction thematic trilogy that grows increasingly direct in its parallels of near-future societies with Nazism (beginning with Robocop in 1987 and continuing with Total Recall in 1990). Sunday your Super Bowl counter-programming is the recent 4K remaster of Michael Mann’s Heat, the De Niro v Pacino event film that continues to exert considerable influence on action filmmakers, notably Christopher Nolan and the Russo brothers.

The First Features screening series at the Dal Art Gallery continues this week with the seldom-seen debut feature from Stanley Kubrick—Fear and Desire. This hour-long film will be paired with the half-hour doc The Seafarers, which mentions Halifax, and which might have led to him making a second film specifically about Halifax.

A couple of top-drawer docs are showing this week.  This evening at the Central Library, the Radical Imagination Project is screening “Nettie Wild’s clear-eyed documentaryA Place Called Chiapas, the highly regarded 1998 film that offered plenty of insight but no clear answers about the Zapatista uprising in response to NAFTA in 1994. This Sunday at the library, it’s Mina Shum’s Ninth Floor, part of 2015’s TIFF Canada’s Top Ten, and a fearless interrogation of racism in Canada as well as a resurfacing of a remarkable, forgotten moment in the nation’s history.

There are plenty of quality films screening out of town this week as well: Manchester by the Sea, Hidden Figures at the Astor in Liverpool, and Arrival at King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal. Lion is playing the Astor on Wednesday and Fundy Cinema in Wolfville on Sunday.

  • In theatres, notable:
  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Monday (Jan 30) — A Place Called Chiapas, Central Library, 6:30pm, free, presented by the Radical Imagination Project. Nettie Wild, Canada, 1998, 89 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Feb 1) — Fear and Desire, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1953, 62 minutes (+ 30 minute doc The Seafarers).
    • Friday (Feb 3) — Little Men, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Ira Sachs, USA, 2016, 86 minutes.
      Fargo, Cineplex Park Lane, 7:30pm, $7.99. Joel & Ethan Coen, UK/USA, 1996, 98 minutes.
      Blood Simple,  Cineplex Park Lane, 10pm, $7.99. Joel & Ethan Coen, USA, 1984, 99 minutes.
    • Saturday (Feb 4) — Starship Troopers, Cineplex Park Lane, 10pm, $7.99. Paul Verhoeven, USA, 1997, 129 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 5) — Ninth Floor, Central Library, 2pm, free. Mina Shum, Canada, 2015, 82 minutes.
      Heat, Cineplex Park Lane, 8:30pm, $7.99. Michael Mann, USA, 1995, 170 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screenings this week:
    • Monday (Jan 30) — Manchester by the Sea, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 1:30pm & 7pm, $8. Kenneth Lonergan, USA, 2016, 137 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Feb 1) — Lion, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 1:30pm & 7pm, $8. Garth Davis, Australia/UK/USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 3) — Hidden Figures, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Theodore Melfi, USA, 2016, 127 minutes.
      Arrival, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $10. Denis Villeneuve, USA, 2016, 116 minutes.
    • Saturday (Feb 4) — Hidden Figures, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Theodore Melfi, USA, 2016, 127 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 5) — Lion, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Garth Davis, Australia/UK/USA, 2016, 118 minutes.
      — Hidden Figures, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Theodore Melfi, USA, 2016, 127 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — January 23-29

23 Jan
January 23, 2017

“The personal is the political, as second-wave feminists liked to say, and so it is in 20th Century Women,” says Manohla Dargis in her strong NY Times review. The third feature from Mike Mills—husband of Miranda July—is now playing at Cineplex Park Lane, and I have it on good authority that you should make it a priority.

The First Features screening series at the Dal Art Gallery continues this week with the debut feature by a director who embodies cinema itself—Federico Fellini’s The White Sheik, co-written with co-luminary Michelangelo Antonioni, no less. There hasn’t been a DVD release of this one since the now-out-of-print 2003 Criterion—used copies of which are going for as much as US$79 on Amazon—so this free screening is pretty much the deal of the month.

One of the most insightful film reviews I’ve read in a while is this take on Martin Scorsese’s Silence by Toronto critic Adam Nayman. On the topic of whether the film constitutes cultural ammo for the right wing, he writes: “The idea of holding a film set in the 17th century accountable to present-tense attitudes is as small-minded as it gets—the rich irony being that the themes Scorsese is getting at here do in fact very much apply to the here and now.” Paramount has added hundreds more screens this past weekend (though not in Halifax, where it is exclusively at Scotiabank Theatre in Bayers Lake), but box office receipts continue to fall, so I’d encourage you to get out and see it on the big screen while you still can.

It has also been playing this past weekend at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool, which venerable institution has added a series of upcoming weekend engagements for currently critically-acclaimed releases: Manchester by the Sea, Hidden Figures, La La LandFundy Cinema in Wolfville has Cameraperson on Wednesday and The Edge of Seventeen this Sunday.

  • In theatres, new and critically acclaimed:
  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • Halifax area screenings this week:
    • Wednesday (Jan 25) — The White Sheik, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Federico Fellini, Italy, 1952, 88 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (Jan 23) — Silence, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 1:30pm & 7pm, $8. Martin Scorsese, USA/Taiwan/Mexico/UK/Italy/Japan, 2016, 161 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Jan 25) — Cameraperson, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Kirsten Johnson, USA, 2016, 102 minutes.
    • Friday (Jan 27) — Manchester by the Sea, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Kenneth Lonergan, USA, 2016, 137 minutes.
    • Saturday (Jan 28) — Manchester by the Sea, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Kenneth Lonergan, USA, 2016, 137 minutes.
    • Sunday (Jan 29) — The Edge of Seventeen, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Kelly Fremon Craig, USA, 2016, 99 minutes.
      — Manchester by the Sea, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Kenneth Lonergan, USA, 2016, 137 minutes.