Archive for month: June, 2016

Halifax film screening picks — June 27-July 3

27 Jun
June 27, 2016

Probably the biggest divider of opinion so far of this year’s films (other than the rather less gory if similarly beauty-obsessed Knight of Cups) is The Neon Demon, the latest from Nicolas Winding Refn. Says Andrew O’Hehir: “Whether you think it’s a brilliant feminist commentary or misogynistic softcore porn is entirely up to you.”

Another of this week’s adds to Halifax theatre screens has gathered rather more consistently positive reviews: Maggie’s Plan, the New-York-set rom-com directed by Rebecca Miller and featuring a rather tasty cast that includes Bill Hader, Ethan Hawke, Greta Gerwig, Julianne Moore, and Maya Rudolph—and, in a cameo as singer of a Quebecois cover band, Kathleen Hanna.

This evening you can catch the last screening in the Cineplex Classic Films series of the David Lean/Noel Coward classic Brief Encounter, at Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing.

Wednesday’s Cinema Series pick at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool is Avril et le monde truqué, a.k.a. April and the Extraordinary World, a highly-regarded animated feature which I don’t believe has screened in Nova Scotia since the Atlantic Film Festival last September. The festival’s summer outdoor series kicks off at Dartmouth Crossing this Saturday with an outdoor screening of Shrek—it looks like it’s gates open at 7pm, screening at 8pm, although it’s really hard to tell from the information provided so far.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (June 27) — Brief Encounter, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6.99. David Lean, UK, 1945, 86 minutes.
    • Saturday (July 2) — Shrek, Pondside Amphitheatre, Hector Gate (Dartmouth Crossing), TBD, free. Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson, USA, 2001, 90 minutes.
  • South Shore screening pick for this week:
    • Wednesday (June 29) — Avril et le monde truqué, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Christian Desmares & Franck Ekincia, France/Belgium/Canada, 2015, 106 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — June 20-26

20 Jun
June 20, 2016

This week, Cineplex Park Lane has a handful of screenings of Ali, the 2001 Muhammad Ali biopic much noted for Michael Mann’s direction and Will Smith’s acting, but also criticized (despite its length) as a reductive take on a complex persona. (For a more focused view of a key period of Ali’s life, you might want to check out Bill Siegel’s excellent—and much shorter—documentary The Trials of Muhammad Ali, which I see is on Mubi for another 15 days.)

I finally caught up with Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship, and I’m recommending it, despite some reservations. Kate Beckinsale is excellent, Chloe Sevigny maybe not so much, Tom Bennett is simply absurd, and there are perhaps a few too many moments when characters are mere tokens for their essential qualities rather than responding humanly to their situations. But it’s all a good laugh and at 92 minutes never has a chance to get boring.

There’s just one screening this week in the Cineplex Classic Films series of the David Lean/Noel Coward classic Brief Encounter, and it’s this Wednesday, 7pm, at Dartmouth Crossing.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (June 20) — Ali, Cineplex Park Lane, 6:30pm & 9:40pm, $6.99. Michael Mann, USA, 2001, 157 minutes.
    • Tuesday (June 21) — Ali, Cineplex Park Lane, 3:45pm, $6.99. Michael Mann, USA, 2001, 157 minutes.
      — The Boy and the Beast, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:40pm, regular pricing. Mamoru Hosoda, Japan, 2015, 120 minutes.
    • Wednesday (June 22) — Brief Encounter, Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6.99. David Lean, UK, 1945, 86 minutes.
    • Thursday (June 23) — Ali, Cineplex Park Lane, 6:30pm, $6.99. Michael Mann, USA, 2001, 157 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley screening pick for this week:
    • Sunday (June 19) — The Meddler, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 8pm, $9. Lorene Scafaria, USA, 2015, 100 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — June 13-19

13 Jun
June 13, 2016

Another week, another festival! Following on the heels of a successful tenth edition of HIFF this week is the fifth edition of OUTeast, Atlantic Canada’s only exclusively LGBTQ+ film and video festival. There’s an extensive program this year but perhaps the most artistically daring selection is the real-time drama Paris 05:59—”while some hetero audiences will unquestionably feel sidelined by the explicit orgy, the loss is theirs.”

The documentary section of the program includes a couple of notable Hot Docs selections: Strike a Pose, which catches up with Madonna’s Blond Ambition dancers some 25 years on, and Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, which documents the role that hysterical homophobia played in a false gang-rape conviction in 1997.

On Sunday, the final day’s program features the French lesbian romance Summertime, and a directorial debut from SNL’s Chris Kelly, Other People, which garnered a nice notice in The Guardian, and sounds like a funnier James White.

In theatres this week you can catch Whit Stillman’s Jane Austen confection Love & Friendship, which is a riding a wave of glowing reviews, and which I frankly cannot wait to see. And this Sunday, Cineplex Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing have the sublime David-Lean-directed Brief Encounter, a truly peerless film—”the best romantic film of all time.

Out of town this week, on Wednesday the Astor Theatre in Liverpool has The Meddler, and Fundy Cinema in Wolfville has The Man Who Knew Infinity.

Halifax film screening picks — June 6-12

06 Jun
June 6, 2016

HIFF, the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival, is here for its 10th annual iteration, and once again, along with well-curated showcases for short films, there are some brilliantly chosen features. One of the most notoriously tricky to program is Portuguese director Miguel Gomes’ Arabian Nights trilogy. At 382 minutes in total length, its US distributor decided to release the three parts in consecutive weeks this past December. At the Directors’ Fortnight—the art-film showcase that runs in parallel with the Cannes festival—it showed on consecutive days, but there is also an argument for showing the whole thing in succession, as TIFF did last year (with two one-hour breaks), and as HIFF will do this Sunday at 3pm 1pm—PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE. The film is not an adaptation of the Arabian Nights in any strict sense, but rather takes its structure as a framing device for stories of austerity policies and their consequences in contemporary Portugal. Props to the festival for making this screening absolutely free—note that this will take place at 1649 Brunswick Street, unlike the rest of the week’s screenings at Deep Water Church on North Street.

Another highly anticipated feature is Don’t Blink: Robert Frank, an ambitious portrait of one of the world’s greatest photographic artists—and a part-time Nova Scotian at that. As well, you can catch the riskily shot-on-location Mina Walking, which won the Canadian Discovery Award for its story of a 12-year-old street-seller girl in Kabul, and the highly experimental 88:88 by Isiah Medina—another Canadian first feature, one that has been making “ripples to reckon with.”

The Thrillema returns this week with 1982’s George-Romero-directed, Stephen-King-written “anthology of human phobias,” Creepshow.

I deserve a slap on the wrist for failing to note last week that A Bigger Splash, Luca Guadagnino’s follow-up to I Am Love, is in town—it was at the Oxford last week, but has now moved over to Cineplex Park Lane.

Out of town this week, the King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal has a Tuesday screening of the documentary Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, a film built out from rediscovered long-missing interview tapes. In Wolfville, Fundy Cinema this Sunday the John Carney’s latest musical delight, Sing Street.

  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
  • Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
    • Tuesday (June 7) — Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal),  7:30pm, $8. Lisa Immordino Vreeland, USA, 2015, 95 minutes.
    • Sunday (June 12) — Sing Street, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 8pm, $9. John Carney, Ireland/USA/UK, 2016, 105 minutes.