Archive for month: August, 2017

Halifax screening picks — August 28-September 3

28 Aug
August 28, 2017

Good Time marks the emergence of the filmmaking Safdie brothers into the mainstream, sort of, and the certification of Robert Pattinson as a ridiculously talented actor (if Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars, among others, didn’t convince already). It’s the quintessential almost-can’t-watch-but-can’t-look-away film, but my recommendation this week is that you watch, while it’s still here. I can also highly recommend as a post-screening listen this episode of the Film Comment podcast featuring Pattinson, the Safdies, co-writer Ronald Bronstein, and FC editor Nicolas Rapold at a sneak preview in NYC.

The Trip to Spain is garnering positive reviews, though not at the level of its essential, brilliant predecessors, The Trip and The Trip to Italy, but this review by David Ehrlich has me hoping for another fine instalment. But honestly it doesn’t matter—if Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon decide their next collaboration entails reading their grocery lists, I am here for it.

I’m also here for the 3D conversion of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, even though I am historically not a fan of digital post-conversion. As the 3D trend continues to recede, director James Cameron’s 2010 words about quickie conversions now seem prescient: “They will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.” But this post-convert was no quickie, employing a team of more than 1,400 artists and technicians working for a year.

On Tuesday at the Central Library, the Featured Director series of free screenings of Stanley Donen classics continues with Zack Miller introducing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, known for its remarkable dance numbers.

This Wednesday the Cineplex Studio Ghibli retrospective continues with the Japanese version (subtitled in English) of Castle in the Sky playing at Dartmouth Crossing and Park Lane.

Halifax screening picks — August 21-27

21 Aug
August 21, 2017

It’s a good week in Halifax for fans of Japanese animation. At Park Lane you can see In This Corner of the World, a coming of age tale set in pre-war Japan, and based on a manga that ran from 2007 to 2009. says that, according to the press notes, director Sunao “Katabuchi and his team spent years researching how Kure and Hiroshima looked at the time, making sure every building, house on the hill, Japanese naval vessel in the harbor, and even road was historically accurate.” And on Sunday there is another instalment of this year’s Studio Ghibli retrospective, with the English dub of Castle in the Sky playing at Dartmouth Crossing and Park Lane.

On Tuesday at the Central Library, the Featured Director series of free screenings of Stanley Donen classics continues with Tara Thorne introducing Funny Face, featuring a one-off team-up of Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.

David Lowery’s “film of mesmerizing visual ideas and conceptual integrity,” A Ghost Story, continues at Park Lane and also screens Wednesday afternoon and evening in Liverpool at the historic Astor Theatre. Meanwhile the latest demonstration of Steven Soderbergh’s fondness for the caper-film genre, Logan Lucky, is playing just about everywhere.

Netflix Canada picks—2017 festival season tee-up edition

19 Aug
August 19, 2017

Some of the hottest directors in world cinema will be screening new work at festivals next month. Here are some defining films by key directors of the season that you can watch right now on Netflix.

Whatever you think of the Atlantic Film Festival renaming itself after the part of the shark that you have to clear when you jump it, you have to like Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name as the pick for 2017’s closing gala—the Italian/American/Brazilian/French co-pro in English, Italian, and French is very much on message with the addition of “International” to the festival name. In North America, Guadagnino perhaps first came to public attention with 2009’s I Am Love, and then convinced Tilda Swinton to return for the wonderful A Bigger Splash by promising her she wouldn’t have to speak.

The newly rebranded festival in Halifax has also booked Mary Shelley, the new film from Haifaa al-Mansour, director of Wadjda, the first feature film in history to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. As fascinating as the production story may be, the film itself is a triumph of narrative skill, brilliantly balancing realism and idealism with a young protagonist you won’t soon forget.

Fans of Sean Baker’s extraordinary Tangerine were elated to hear this week’s announcement that his follow-up The Florida Project will be screening at TIFF in Toronto next month. Famous in part for being shot on three iPhones, Tangerine is in fact a beautifully shot and directed film: “An overt, outrageous comedy, it follows two transgender prostitutes on a day when one of them has a singing gig and the other is on a mission of vengeance to find her boyfriend and crush him for his various infidelities.

Ruben Östlund’s The Square was a surprise winner at Cannes earlier this year, and now it will be making its North American debut at TIFF. His gloriously biting Force Majeure is a little slice of cinematic near-perfection—let’s hope the ill-conceived American remake never actually gets made.

Finally, Hirokazu Kore-eda has a curveball lined up for TIFF audiences this year in the form of crime drama The Third Murder, but 2015’s Our Little Sister is right in Kore-eda’s sweet spot—a carefully drawn Japanese domestic drama, the sort of quietly gripping, insightful film for which you rarely if ever see a North American equivalent.


Halifax screening picks — August 15-20

14 Aug
August 14, 2017

Pretty much everything is on summer hiatus at the moment, but there is another screening of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest on Wednesday.

Halifax film screening picks — August 7-13

07 Aug
August 7, 2017

North by Northwest is one of those rare films that I can’t see too many times—among Hitchcock’s films, there are others that I admire more as works of art, but none that are more purely enjoyable. Cineplex has Classic Films screenings this Sunday at Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing.

The Featured Director series of free Central Library screenings continues with another Stanley Donen classic, the Bob-Fosse-choreographed musical The Pajama Game, introduced by Nick Malbeuf.

Carbon Arc is still off season but is co-presenter/host this Saturday for the Iranian film I’m Not Angry!, “a strong, jittery social drama that captures the frustrations of Iran’s younger generation.”

A local film festival has its last outdoor screenings of the summer this Friday (Meatballs & Strange Brew at the Public Gardens) and Saturday (The Lego Batman Movie at the Dartmouth Crossing Pondside Amphitheatre).