Archive for month: March, 2016

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.

Halifax film screening picks — March 21-27

21 Mar
March 21, 2016

Carbon Arc has had some real success this winter bringing in highly-touted films early in their release cycle, notably a high-demand sold-out screening of Embrace of the Serpent, which returns for a second showing this Friday, and, in the early slot this FridayThe Brand New Testament, which has yet to be released widely, though it turned heads at multiple festivals last year, including Cannes.

The Dal Art Gallery film series continues its three-week series of Tuesday screenings marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, this week with Michael Collins, directed by Neil Jordan, and starring a pre-action-movie-cliche Liam Neeson. On Wednesday the noir series has one of the all-time great films, The Third Man, featuring Orson Welles’ late and unsurpassed entrance.

Tuesday at the Bus Stop Theatre there’s a free World Water Day screening of Fractured Land, a top ten audience favourite from last year’s Hot Docs festival. This screening is sponsored by the Halifax chapter of the Council of Canadians and attendees are invited to stay “for a discussion with opponents to Alton Gas Storage’s planned project to use water from the Shubenacadie River to hollow out salt caverns, discharge the brine waste back into the Shubie, and use the caverns to store natural gas.”

If you have somehow managed to avoid finding out about the big plot twist of 10 Cloverfield Lane—or perhaps even if you haven’t—do go see it.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Mar 22) — Michael Collins, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 5pm, free. Neil Jordan, France/Ireland/UK, 1996, 133 minutes.
      Fractured Land, The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen St, 6:30pm, free.  Damien Gillis & Fiona Rayher, Canada, 2015, 75 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 23) — The Third Man, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 8pm, free. Carol Reed, UK/USA, 1949, 108 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 25) — The Brand New Testament, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Jaco Van Dormael, Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 2015, 113 minutes.
      — Embrace of the Serpent, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 9:30pm, $7. Ciro Guerra, Colombia, 2015, 125 minutes.
  • South Shore screening pick for this week:
    • Sunday (Mar 20) — Son of Saul, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. László Nemes, Hungary, 2015, 107 minutes.

Jimmy’s Hall; ’71 (Netflix Canada picks)

17 Mar
March 17, 2016

It’s been gratifying to see Brooklyn garner Oscar attention and a nice run at the box office; I’ll concede that as a portrayal of Irish emigration to America in the 1950s, it’s a romanticization—but an intelligent one. But two of last year’s better films have, from a historical point of view, more to say about the Irish generation that preceded, and the one that followed.

Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall, the story of the 1933 deportation from Ireland of communist activist Jimmy Gralton, has been criticized somewhat for not being up to Loach’s usual high standard (and certainly not the equal of his other Irish-historical classics The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Hidden Agenda). But if in some ways it is too tidy a narrative, it has much to offer on its own terms, including Andrew Scott bringing more to a small role than you would suspect from his schticky turns as Sherlock‘s Moriarty and Spectre‘s Denbigh, and Jim Norton in a fully three-dimensional portrayal of a repressive Catholic priest.

Netflix Canada, by the way, has one other Ken Loach film at the moment—Route Irish, which like Jimmy’s Hall, was in the Palme d’Or competition at Cannes, but which has nothing to do with Ireland.

71, the spectacular directorial debut of Yann Demange, is a portrayal of some of the most violent conflict that took place in Belfast, not from the distanced view of the leaders, but from the embedded viewpoint of a young British soldier accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets, as he tries to find his way to safety. The film is intensely suspenseful throughout and the violence is quite graphic at times—but presented in a sure-handed way that belies its first-picture status.

Halifax film screening picks — March 14-20

14 Mar
March 14, 2016

Carbon Arc is in the second week of a two-week March Break hiatus, but the Dal Art Gallery film series is back this week with two films from the 1940s. Tuesday sees the kickoff of a three-week series of screenings marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, starting with Odd Man Out, directed by Carol Reed (The Third Man), and starring James Mason as a wounded nationalist on the run after a failed bank robbery. On Wednesday the noir series resumes with one of my favourite Akira Kurosawa films, Stray Dog, starring “an impossibly young Toshiba Mifune” as a detective in post-war Tokyo.

Tonight’s Dal Art Gallery screening of the documentary Life Off Grid is already sold out.

My curiosity’s been piqued by a Chinese film that opened in Halifax on Friday—the “exhilarating, bizarre, good-hearted, blatantly obvious sci-fi-fantasy-slapstick eco-fable” Mei ren yu (The Mermaid), which is out at Bayers Lake this week, and features “weaponized sea urchins, incredibly delicious roasted chickens, man-octopus self-mutilation and other comic oddities.”

I’m not a huge fan of Paolo Sorrentino—pretty much everybody liked La Grande Bellezza better than I did—but I can’t let this Sunday’s Wolfville screening of Youth go without mention, because, well, Diego Maradona.

Halifax film screening picks — March 7-13

07 Mar
March 7, 2016

If you watch just one film this week, may I recommend Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, which plays Wolfville this Sunday with the Nova-Scotia-set Daniel Boos short Bound. This is the third—and perhaps the most audacious—film that the Iranian master has managed to film since he was banned from filmmaking in 2010 for political dissent. If you can’t make it to Wolfville to see it on the big screen, be sure to check it out on Netflix (it was added on March 1).

Carbon Arc is on a March Break hiatus for two weeks, and the Dal Art Gallery film series pauses this week as well, but is back March 16.

I’ll be honest—I’m not really into musicals.  With a couple of exceptions for childhood nostalgia (The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins) and pure originality (Les Parapluies de CherbourgSouth Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut) they just don’t float my boat. But speaking of boats floating, did you know that for seven years, until The Sound of Music was released, South Pacific was the all-time box-office champion of Rogers & Hammerstein musicals? It was also the biggest earning film of 1958, and this week it’s back at some Cineplex screens for multiple showings.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (Mar 7) — South Pacific, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6. Joshua Logan, USA, 1958, 157 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 9) — South Pacific, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6. Joshua Logan, USA, 1958, 157 minutes.
    • Sunday (Mar 13) — South Pacific, Cineplex Oxford & Dartmouth Crossing, 12:55pm, $6. Joshua Logan, USA, 1958, 157 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley and South Shore screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (Mar 8) — The Second Mother, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal),  7:30pm, $8. Anna Muylaert, Brazil, 2015, 112 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Mar 9) — 45 Years, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Andrew Haigh, UK, 2015, 95 minutes.
    • Sunday (Mar 13) — Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Jafar Panahi, 2015, Iran, 82 minutes.