Archive for month: November, 2017

Halifax screening picks — November 13-19

13 Nov
November 13, 2017

I’ll be honest—as a parent to an autistic person I kind of dread films that attempt to explore neurodiverse characters. It feels like there’s been a flood of such things lately, ranging from shows like Atypical and The Good Doctor, to movies that assign magical-autistic savant-stereotype qualities to a protagonist without fully copping to itBaby Driver leaps to mind. But Friday’s Carbon Arc screening Dina, which, yes, has received some criticism for not foregrounding some key context to the film, has seen some really positive notices not just from mainstream critics but also from at least one prominent autistic writer, so I am in.

Carbon Arc also has a Saturday screening of Brigsby Bear, “a sweet and sometimes delightful melancholic story of a lonely man saved by imagination and love, says the NY Times’ Manohla Dargis, who writes further, “That sounds like a bushel of cornball and might have devolved into pure ick if the director, Dave McCary, didn’t lead from the heart and wasn’t adept at navigating seemingly clashing tones.”

On Cineplex screens, Ai Weiwei’s brilliant Human Flow came and went in a week, but now Park Lane has Todd Haynes’ “vitally personal” Wonderstruck, his first since Carol.

The Dal Art Gallery on Tuesday afternoon continues its “Russian Revolutions” series of free screenings with the universally critically praised 2014 Andrey Zvyagintsev film Leviathan.

  • In theatres, new/notable:
  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Monday (Nov 13) — A Silent Voice, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:40pm, regular pricing. Naoko Yamada, Japan, 2016, 129 minutes.
    • Tuesday (Nov 14) — Leviathan, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 2:30pm, free. Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia, 2014, 141 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Nov 15) — Casablanca, Cineplex Dartmouth Crossing & Park Lane, 7pm, $6.99. Michael Curtiz, USA, 1942, 102 minutes.
    • Thursday (Nov 16) — A Silent Voice, Cineplex Park Lane, 4pm, regular pricing. Naoko Yamada, Japan, 2016, 129 minutes.
    • Friday (Nov 17) — Dina, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Antonio Santini & Dan Sickles, USA, 2017, 101 minutes.
    • Saturday (Nov 18) — Brigsby Bear, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7. Dave McCary, USA, 2017, 97 minutes.

Halifax screening picks — November 6-12

06 Nov
November 6, 2017

Like magic, the calendar has flipped over to November, and suddenly there are good films in commercial cinemas again. In fact there are three films on Cineplex screens in Halifax right now that I can personally recommend—the last time that was true was late March.

  • The Florida Project is Sean Baker’s “brilliant, buoyant, and ultimately heart-wrenching” follow-up to the remarkable debut Tangerine—seemingly drawing a dash or two of inspiration from The 400 Blows, it takes the point of view of its youngest characters in its timely portrayal of impoverished residents of a Florida welfare hotel on the outskirts of Disney World.
  • Human Flow, by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s is “the most necessary and comprehensive documentary to date about our planet’s current refugee crisis,” making brilliant use of mobile phone and drone footage along with more conventional cameras. With due attention to people displaced by the Syrian civil war and by ISIS in neighbouring Iraq, it also has time for Palestinians in Gaza, Mexican migrants on the US border, and the massive refugee encampments of sub-Saharan Africa, spanning 23 countries while crediting 12 cinematographers. I have never seen anything quite like it before.
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer is Yorgos Lanthimos’ grittier, creepier and only slightly more reality-grounded follow-up to The Lobster, playing out at Bayers Lake instead of Park Lane, presumably because of the drawing power of Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman. They are both excellent but the movie very much belongs to Barry Keoghan, whose thought on first read of this script was “This is weird. This is really really weird.

Carbon Arc this Friday has Columbus, the debut feature from a well known name, ok, pseudonym in cinephile circles—Kogonada, master of the supercut. “Few performances—and few films—glow as brightly with the gemlike fire of precocious genius.” Note that at time of writing, there were only twenty advance tickets left. And then I bought one of them.

It’s impossible to tell from the Dal event listing who exactly is organizing and presenting this Thursday’s discussion and screening of Unrest, the doc about ME/CFS, a.k.a. chronic fatigue syndrome, but the film has had such excellent critical notices that I’ve chosen to feature it as a pick.

Friday and Saturday, Cineplex Park Lane has the animated Japanese manga adaptation A Silent Voice, a story of bullying and tables turned that has been widely critically praised. Not everyone agrees on its merits, it must be said.

Hey, have you ever heard of this film Casablanca? I guess it’s pretty good and you can see a matinee on Sunday at a couple of Cineplex locations.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Thursday (Nov 9) — Unrest, Marion McCain Building (Scotiabank Auditorium), 6135 University Ave, 6:30pm, free. Jennifer Brea, USA, 2017, 98 minutes.
    • Friday (Nov 10) — Columbus, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $7—advance tickets sold out, some available at the door. Kogonada, USA, 2017, 104 minutes.
      A Silent Voice, Cineplex Park Lane, 9pm, regular pricing. Naoko Yamada, Japan, 2016, 129 minutes.
    • Saturday (Nov 11) — A Silent Voice, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:30pm, regular pricing. Naoko Yamada, Japan, 2016, 129 minutes.
    • Sunday (Nov 12) — Casablanca, Cineplex Dartmouth Crossing, 12:55pm & Park Lane, 1pm, $6.99. Michael Curtiz, USA, 1942, 102 minutes.

the death of Pasolini: remembrance and reconstruction

02 Nov
November 2, 2017

42 years ago today, the great filmmaker and intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini was killed under circumstances that perhaps will never be fully clarified, beaten and then run over by his own car. This will be the first time the anniversary of the tragic and violent event has passed since the death of the only person ever convicted for his murder.

Just three years ago, a comparatively minor but related injustice occurred when Abel Ferrara’s remarkable film Pasolini, in which Willem Dafoe gives a spot-on portrayal of Pasolini’s last days, showed at the major festivals but failed to gain distribution in North American theatres. This likely had something to do with Ferrara’s angry stand-off with his distributor over the final cut of Welcome to New York, the directorial cut of which is reported to have been an uncompromised take on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair. In the UK, it took an intervention by the British Film Institute to get the Pasolini film into theatres, and a Blu-ray release from the Institute to get it into homes. No such white knight came to the film’s rescue in North America, so you need a European-region-compatible Blu-ray player if you want to see it (incidentally, the BFI disc is currently very reasonably priced at Amazon).

As I look back over my past blog posts about Pasolini films, it occurs to me that I never did blog my impressions of his last two features Arabian Nights and Salò—I guess it’s too late to do first impressions, but I hope before the end of the year to blog some second or third impressions of those films, if only to satisfy completist tendencies.