Archive for month: April, 2018

Halifax screening picks—April 20-22 [weekend edition]

20 Apr
April 20, 2018

You Were Never Really Here, the latest from Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin) features a searing performance from Joaquin Phoenix, an amazing musical score by Jonny Greenwood, and some remarkable directorial choices by Ramsay—and is somehow much less than the sum of its parts. “Nagging in its grimness and, were it not for the rooted presence of Joaquin Phoenix, difficult to believe in,” says Anthony Lane in the New Yorker; “The gravity and force of Mr. Phoenix’s performance and Ms. Ramsay’s direction are impressive, but it’s hard not to feel that their talents have been misapplied, and that there is less to the movie than meets the eye,” says Tony Scott in the New York Times. Well, yeah.

In Monday’s edition of the picks, I mentioned that Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs has set off quite a discussion of the continuing acceptance of Orientalism in Western media. I took in a screening on Wednesday, and I have to say that there was more, not less of this than I was expecting. An actual white saviour empowers the masses to rise up against an Oriental despot at the fulcrum of this plot, but the most shocking moments entail the usage of a mushroom cloud as a kind of glib narrative punctuation. I can’t tell whether ignorance or cynicism is more at fault here, but the former is inexcusable and the latter is pretty tiresome.

In the Fade was absolutely shredded by some critics at the festivals last fall, but there are numerous smart people who really like it, too, so… I dunno? Carbon Arc have picked it as tonight’s (Friday’s) screening, so that is at least a promising sign.

    • In theatres, seen & recommended:
    • In theatres, seen & notable:
    • Halifax screenings this weekend:
      • Friday (Apr 20) — In the Fade, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $8.75. Fatih Akin, Germany/France, 2017, 106 minutes.
    • Wolfville screenings this week:
      • Sunday (Apr 22) —The Shape of Water, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Guillermo del Toro, USA, 2017, 123 minutes.

Halifax screening picks—April 16-22

16 Apr
April 16, 2018

In the Fade was absolutely shredded by critics at the festivals last fall, but there are numerous smart people who really like it, too, so… I dunno? Carbon Arc have picked it as this Friday’s screening, so that is at least a promising sign.

Speaking of divided opinions, the new Wes Anderson stop-motion animated opus Isle of Dogs is here, and it has set off quite a discussion of the continuing acceptance of Orientalism in Western media. I haven’t had a chance to take it in yet, but when I do I will update this post with my own view.

I mentioned last week that I quite enjoyed A Quiet Place, but this dissenting view is very much worth a read.

    • In theatres, seen & recommended:
    • In theatres, new & notable:
    • Halifax screenings this week:
      • Friday (Apr 20) — In the Fade, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $8.75. Fatih Akin, Germany/France, 2017, 106 minutes.

Halifax screening picks—April 9-15

09 Apr
April 9, 2018

The two local-ish screenings coming up this week that have most sharply piqued my interest aren’t in Halifax—they’re in Wolfville. Commence logistical planning…

Ava is the “not so delicate” debut feature by Iranian-Canadian director Sadaf Foroughi that won best first feature film at the Canadian Screen Awards. It’s only had two Halifax screenings (that I can recall), both at festivals, but this Sunday it’s playing twice in Wolfville at Fundy Cinema. Before that, this Wednesday Fundy has a screening of Australian director Jennifer Peedom’s documentary Mountain, replete with “staggering shots” of the mountains that humans climb in search of the sublime, and narration by Willem Dafoe.

Carbon Arc this Friday also has a feature by a woman director, in this case Japan’s Atsuko Hirayanagi, with Oh Lucy!, “an against-the-odds charmer about a woman, a tragic wig and an improbable journey.”

I don’t always take note of short film showcases in this column, but you gotta sit up and take notice when Black Cop director Cory Bowles curates two hours’ worth of some of the best recent shorts by Black directors. The Dal Art Gallery is co-presenting this Thursday’s free  “Black on Both Sides” program with Halifax Public Libraries at the Central Library, where the films will be introduced by local actor, filmmaker, and activist Koumbie.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the latest horror-genre sensation, maybe the first since Get Out, to garner uniformly positive critical reviews as well as big box office. I’m referring of course to John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, which arrived on Cineplex screens this past Friday, and which impressed Jeanette Catsoulis of the NY Times: “You may go in jaded, but you’ll leave elated or I’ll eat my words.” Absolute top-drawer genre picture with nicely curated reference points—War of the Worlds, 28 Days Later, Aliens, The Descent—but very much does its own thing.

    • In theatres, seen & recommended:
    • In theatres, new & notable:
    • Halifax screenings this week:
      • Thursday (Apr 12) — Black on Both Sides, Central Library, 6pm, free. Various directors, 10 short films, total running time 121 minutes.
      • Friday (Apr 13) — Oh Lucy!, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $8.75. Atsuko Hirayanagi, USA/Japan, 2017, 95 minutes.
    • Wolfville screenings this week:
      • Wednesday (Apr 11) — Mountain, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Jennifer Peedom, Australia, 2017, 74 minutes.
      • Sunday (Apr 15) — Ava, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Sadaf Foroughi, Iran/Canada/Qatar, 2017, 102 minutes.

Halifax screening picks—April 2-8

02 Apr
April 2, 2018

Lynn Shelton built her career directing comedy films that embody some of the worst tendencies of American indies—”the kind of movie that prides itself on its dialogue—but then relies on a montage set to gentle strumming to begin the healing.” But then a successful swerve into television altered her approach and now she’s back with… an actually good film? “I’m a completely different filmmaker than I was,” she tells Anne Thompson of IndieWire. “I felt so at ease, and so confident. I didn’t have the same angst. I don’t want to diss my other films, but the process of making them was much more anxiety producing because I hadn’t put in the hours.” The fruit of her labours, Outside In, a post-prison rehabilitation drama, plays at Carbon Arc this Friday.