Archive for month: December, 2016

Ten of the very best films of 2016 are already on Netflix Canada

31 Dec
December 31, 2016

Why wait for all of the films on year-end best-of lists and award nomination slates to find their way to streaming services? Here are ten of the very best-reviewed films of the year (as measured by Metacritic) that are available right now to watch online.

The Witch

Directed by: Robert Eggers (directorial debut)
Notable performances: Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie the goat
Honours & Awards: Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor (Anya Taylor-Joy), numerous directorial awards
Watch because: the film earns its scares the hard way—by delivering a meticulous recreation of 17th-century settler reality worthy of Terrence Malick.
Trailer and reviews for The Witch

The Lobster

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos (DogtoothAlpsAttenberg)
Notable performances: Rachel Weisz, Colin Farrell’s paunch
Honours & Awards: Jury Prize at Cannes 2015
Watch because: no film demonstrates a deeper understanding of “the existential hellscape of modern dating.”
Trailer and reviews for The Lobster

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Directed by: Taika Waititi (What We Do in the ShadowsThor: Ragnarok)
Notable performances: Sam Neill and breakthrough child star Julian Dennison
Honours & Awards: numerous film festival audience awards
Watch because: if any film meets the definition of “crowd pleaser” on this list, it’s this one. What to watch when you crave a fun ride that doesn’t insult your intelligence.
Trailer and reviews for Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Sing Street

Directed by: John Carney (OnceBegin Again)
Notable performances: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton
Honours & Awards: National Board of Review, USA: Top Ten Independent Films
Watch because: “… this isn’t just a nostalgia trip. It’s an homage to teenage kicks and the urgency of getting them any way you can.”
Trailer and reviews for Sing Street

Green Room

Directed by: Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin)
Notable performances: Anton Yelchin (R.I.P.), Patrick Stewart
Honours & Awards: National Board of Review, USA: Top Ten Independent Films
Watch because: you can come for the stunt casting and stay for the unbearably ratcheting tension. Jeremy Saulnier mixes the groundedness of Blue Ruin with some well-chosen genre touches, and brings no small knowledge of punk rock.
Trailer and reviews for Green Room

The Wailing

Directed by: Hong-jin Na (The ChaserThe Yellow Sea)
Notable performances: Kim Hwan Hee, Kwak Do-won, Jun Kunimura
Honours & Awards: the most trophies (five) at S. Korea’s Blue Dragon Awards
Watch because: it bends about five different horror genres, hits an incredible high midway with a duelling-shamans scene that you won’t soon forget, and still manages to top it all at the end with a suspenseful climax featuring counterpoint between two apparently supernatural figures, one appropriating a Passion gospel text, the other a Resurrection passage. “It also knocked Captain America: Civil War out of the top spot and became the eighth-biggest opening of a Korean-language movie in Korea ever.”
Trailer and reviews for The Wailing


Directed by: Grímur Hákonarson (Summerland)
Notable performances: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson
Honours & Awards: Un Certain Regard prize – Cannes 2015
Watch because: the feuding, sheep-farming rural Icelandic brothers at the centre of this absurd, joyful, melancholy, tragic tale are two characters you won’t soon forget. I picked this as my under-appreciated gem of 2016 in a recent year-end round-up.
Trailer and reviews for Rams

Under the Sun

Directed by: Vitaly Mansky
Notable performances: Lee Zin-mi (the 8-year-old girl & ostensible subject of this doc), the North Korean government handlers who were unaware they were being recorded
Honours & Awards: Budapest International Documentary Festival – Festival Prize
Watch because: this is perhaps the most visually compelling film on the list—Mansky has an Antonioni-esque eye for geometry and modernist architecture. But also because this deconstructed-propaganda film that has been hailed by Trump’s own actually has unintentionally critical relevance to Trump’s movement.
Trailer and reviews for Under the Sun

The Treasure

Directed by: Corneliu Porumboiu (12:08 East Of Bucharest; Police, Adjective)
Notable performances: Cuzin Toma, Adrian Purcarescu
Honours & Awards: Prix un certain talent – Un Certain Regard Cannes 2015
Watch because: …the deadpan comedy of repetition… cleverly lulls us into a rhythm whereby we think we know what is going to happen, only to pull the rug several times.
Trailer and reviews for The Treasure


Directed by: Ava DuVernay (Selma)
Notable performances: many, many progressive talking heads. and Newt Gingrich.
Honours & Awards: 3 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards inc. Best Doc Feature (TV/Streaming)
Watch because: there really hasn’t been a more urgent American documentary in years.
Trailer and reviews for 13th

Halifax film screening picks — December 26-January 1

26 Dec
December 26, 2016

Tentpole/blockbuster franchise films aren’t really my regular beat here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some praise to Rogue One, which for me is the best such entertainment since Mad Max: Fury Road (if not quite its equal, blemished as it is with a couple of needless CGI-based cameos). For me it’s not just a better Star Wars movie than The Force Awakens, it’s indeed the best since The Empire Strikes Back, productively mining rather than simply recycling the first film and its sequels, and dialoguing not just with those films but also with their sources and original context. And thanks no doubt to those Panavision Super 70 lenses used in filming, it’s the first one that screens this impressively as an IMAX conversion. Gareth Edwards, I officially forgive you for your Godzilla remake.

The overwhelmingly well-reviewedhot miracle” that is La La Land has arrived at the Scotiabank Theatre Bayers Lake, and, speaking of musicals, Park Lane has screenings this week of The Sound of Music.

If you didn’t follow your usual Christmas tradition of watching It’s a Wonderful Life this weekend, you can still catch a Boxing Day screening today.

Halifax film screening picks — December 19-25

19 Dec
December 19, 2016

Cineplex Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing have screenings this week of the now-70-year-old It’s a Wonderful Life, and Park Lane wraps up Hughes Fest with a few more screenings of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Home Alone.

Halifax film screening picks — December 12-18

12 Dec
December 12, 2016

If there’s one film that’s had nearly as much acclaim as Moonlight this year, it’s Manchester by the Sea, the latest opus from Kenneth Lonergan, and according to Matt Zoller Seitz, “the funniest movie about grief ever made.” It’s moved in at the Oxford.

Cineplex Park Lane continues its Hughes fest on Wednesday afternoon with a final screening of Home Alone and, starting Friday, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

The Dal Art Gallery’s Shakespeare Wednesdays screening series wraps up this week with Anonymous by Roland Emmerich (yes, that one, questioning the authenticity of Shakepearean authorship to mixed reviews and on no credible basis).

Other screening series that have wrapped until the new year: Carbon Arc in Halifax, Fundy Cinema in Wolfville, King’s Theatre Film Society in Annapolis Royal, and the Astor Theatre Cinema Series in Liverpool.

Halifax film screening picks — December 5-11

05 Dec
December 5, 2016

The Central Library continues its Featured Director screenings of Martin Scorsese films with a Tuesday screening of Raging Bull, introduced by Carbon Arc programmer Zack Miller. And if you missed it at the Atlantic Film Festival, this Saturday Carbon Arc offers you a second chance to catch the John Walker documentary Quebec My Country Mon Pays.

Cineplex Park Lane has the “uncommonly moving teen filmBeing 17 from French director André Téchiné on Tuesday and Thursday, and continues its Hughes fest this week with additional screenings of Uncle Buck and, starting Friday, Home Alone.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • In theatres, new and widely acclaimed:
  • Halifax area screening picks for this week:
    • Monday (Dec 5) — Uncle Buck, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:05pm, $6.99. John Hughes, USA, 1989, 99 minutes.
      If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Central Library, 6:30pm, free. Marshall Curry & Sam Cullman, USA, 2011, 85 minutes.
    • Tuesday (Dec 6) — Being 17, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:10pm & 6:50pm, regular pricing. André Téchiné, France, 2016, 116 minutes.
      Raging Bull, Central Library, 5:30pm, free, introduced by Zack Miller. Martin Scorsese, USA, 1980, 129 minutes.
      — Uncle Buck, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, $6.99. John Hughes, USA, 1989, 99 minutes.
    • Thursday (Dec 8) — Uncle Buck, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:05pm, $6.99. John Hughes, USA, 1989, 99 minutes.
      — Being 17, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:35pm, regular pricing. André Téchiné, France, 2016, 116 minutes.
    • Friday (Dec 9) — Home Alone, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, $6.99. Chris Columbus, USA, 1990, 102 minutes.
    • Saturday (Dec 10) — Quebec My Country Mon Pays, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. John Walker, Canada, 2016, 89 minutes.