Archive for month: February, 2017

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.