Archive for month: January, 2017

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.

Halifax film screening picks — January 16-22

16 Jan
January 16, 2017

Beautiful, unsettling, and one of the finest religious movies ever made“—Silence, Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating adaptation of the Shūsaku Endō novel, in its physical portrayal of 17th-century Japan is also of the most meticulous reconstructions of a historic period and place that I have seen in years. It carries my highest recommendation. As of this post it is playing only at Scotiabank Theatre in Bayers Lake.

For the winter & spring edition of its Wednesday free screenings series, the Dal Art Gallery has chosen an excellent theme—First Features. It kicks off this week with arguably the greatest-ever directorial debut, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.

Also this Wednesday the Central Library continues its series of screenings of Stanley Kubrick films with The Shining, introduced by Mark Palermo.

This Sunday, in advance of the marking of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, there is a free screening at Dalhousie University’s McCain Building of 2000’s Paragraph 175, “the definitive screen chronicle to date of homosexual persecution under the Third Reich.” The screening will be followed by a keynote and panel discussion.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the latest feature in the Cineplex Classic Films series, a film that continues to be Audrey Hepburn’s most identifiable role, but which is also features a toxically racist caricature as portrayed by the late Mickey Rooney. Cineplex has also brought back Moonlight to Halifax, at the Scotiabank Theatre in Bayers Lake.

Out of town, the Astor Theatre in Liverpool wraps up a multi-day engagement of Moonlight on Monday, and then brings in The Edge of Seventeen for a couple of Wednesday screenings. Fundy Cinema in Wolfville has Arrival on Wednesday and The Violin Teacher on Sunday.

Halifax film screening picks — January 9-15

09 Jan
January 9, 2017

“Do we look or look away? Are we bearing witness or intruding on private emotions? At what point does our concern shade into voyeurism?”—these are the dilemmas that director Kirsten Johnson explores in her film Cameraperson, including what she feels is her betrayal of her own mother. One of the most acclaimed documentaries of 2016, it “unfolds with beauty and purpose — mixing the fluidity of a dream with the acuity of an essay.” If, like me, you missed it when it played Carbon Arc in November, it has been rescheduled to this Wednesday at Liverpool’s historic Astor Theatre.

Incidentally, the Johnson-lensed Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’ acclaimed 2014 doc about Edward Snowden, was added to Netflix Canada on Christmas Day. Also, if you missed the Oxford run of Moonlight, which just picked up the Golden Globe for best dramatic film, Liverpool’s Astor is giving you another chance to see it this weekend (it’s playing this Friday through Monday).

This Wednesday the Central Library continues its series of screenings of Stanley Kubrick films with arguably the finest film ever made about World War I: Paths of Glory, introduced by the inimitable Carsten Knox.

I finally pushed past my feelings about Casey Affleck’s 2010 sexual harassment case and went to see Manchester by the Sea, which indeed is centred on a top-tier performance by Affleck. But the real star of the film for me is the screenplay by under-appreciated genius Kenneth Lonergan, whose understated direction allows his script to shine. The film is still pulling in sizeable audiences at the Oxford, while the other buzz film of this season, La La Land, is unfortunately only playing the Scotiabank Theatre out at Bayers Lake. Let me assure you that it is worth the pilgrimage.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • Halifax area screenings this week:
    • Wednesday (Jan 11) — Paths of Glory, Central Library, 5:30pm, free, introduced by Carsten Knox. Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1957, 88 minutes.
  • South Shore screening picks for this week:
    • Wednesday (Jan 11) — Cameraperson, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Kirsten Johnson, USA, 2016, 102 minutes.
    • Friday (Jan 13) — Moonlight, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.
    • Saturday (Jan 14) — Moonlight, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.
    • Sunday (Jan 15) — Moonlight, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.

Halifax film screening picks — January 2-8

02 Jan
January 2, 2017

“Do we look or look away? Are we bearing witness or intruding on private emotions? At what point does our concern shade into voyeurism?”—these are the dilemmas that director Kirsten Johnson explores in her film Cameraperson, including what she feels is her betrayal of her own mother. One of the most acclaimed documentaries of 2016, it “unfolds with beauty and purpose — mixing the fluidity of a dream with the acuity of an essay.” If, like me, you missed it when it played Carbon Arc in November, you can see it this Wednesday at Liverpool’s historic Astor Theatre. Update: unfortunately the Astor is having projector problems and Cameraperson is cancelled… it has been rescheduled for Wednesday January 11.

Incidentally, the Johnson-lensed Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’ acclaimed 2014 doc about Edward Snowden, was added to Netflix Canada on Christmas Day. Also, if you missed 2016’s best film—I of course mean Moonlight—when it played at the Oxford, Liverpool’s Astor is giving you another chance to see it this weekend (it’s playing this Friday through Monday). Update: due to the Astor’s projector issues, this weekend’s Moonlight screenings have been moved to January 13-16.

This Wednesday the Central Library kicks off a series of screenings of Stanley Kubrick films with the enduring, standard-setting sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, introduced by the always engaging Kendra Barnes.

Cineplex Park Lane this week continues with screenings of The Sound of Music (the restored edition of which looks fantastic on the big screen) and the batshit crazy 1972 disaster film The Poseidon Adventure, which has had an obsessive cult around it for decades now.

Fundy Cinema in Wolfville starts up again this Sunday with Last Cab to Darwin. “Smartly directed by Jeremy Sims, this sweet-hearted film mostly manages to avoid triteness even as it casually packs an emotional punch.” says Daniel Gold in the NY Times.

I finally pushed past my feelings about Casey Affleck’s 2010 sexual harassment case and went to see Manchester by the Sea, which indeed is centred on a top-tier performance by Affleck. But the real star of the film for me is the screenplay by under-appreciated genius Kenneth Lonergan, whose understated direction allows his script to shine. The film is still pulling in sizeable audiences at the Oxford, while the other buzz film of this season, La La Land, is unfortunately only playing the Scotiabank Theatre out at Bayers Lake. Let me assure you that it is worth the pilgrimage.

  • In theatres, seen and recommended:
  • Cineplex Events screenings of note:
  • Halifax area screenings this week:
    • Wednesday (Jan 4) — 2001: A Space Odyssey, Central Library, 5:30pm, free, introduced by Kendra Barnes. Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA, 1968, 149 minutes.
  • Annapolis Valley & South Shore screening picks for this week:
    • Wednesday (Jan 4) — Cameraperson, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Kirsten Johnson, USA, 2016, 102 minutes. Update: unfortunately the Astor is having projector problems and Cameraperson is cancelled… No word yet on any reschedule date.
    • Friday (Jan 6) — Moonlight, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.
    • Saturday (Jan 7) — Moonlight, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.
    • Sunday (Jan 8) — Last Cab to Darwin, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Jeremy Sims, Australia, 2015, 123 minutes.
      — Moonlight, Astor Theatre (59 Gorham Street, Liverpool), 7pm, $8. Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, 110 minutes.