Archive for category: Halifax Screening Picks

Halifax screening picks—February 12-18

12 Feb
February 12, 2018

Faces Places, the “unexpected—and perhaps final—gift from the visionary eighty-nine-year-old director Agnès Varda,” is the film that has given Varda a chance to claim this year’s Best Documentary Feature Oscar, just months after becoming the first female director to receive an honorary Oscar. Carbon Arc will have two Friday screenings of this gem, which I ranked #2 on my top films of 2017. That makes it the best film released in 2017 (#1 on my 2017 list, Zamawon’t be released until this April), and not just in my opinion, but by at least one measure of critical consensus.

On Saturday, Carbon Arc has a special presentation of The Stairs, “a work with deep compassion for those who’ve made their way back from the depths of addiction.” A documentary shot over several years that examines the lives of habitual drug users in Toronto’s Regent Park, it won Best Canadian Film of 2016 from the Toronto Film Critics Association. This screening features a post-film Q&A with director Hugh Gibson, hosted by Natasha Pace from Global TV and featuring Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang.

Fundy Cinema in Wolfville has a great documentary pick as well this Wednesday, with the “instantly recognizable masterpieceDawson City: Frozen Time, a film which is partly about the discovery in the Yukon of several hundred reels of nitrate film from the 1910s and ’20s, decades after they were presumed permanently lost, but has much more to tell about those early decades of the 20th century. “You don’t just watch Dawson City,” Owen Gleiberman wrote in Variety, “You step into it to and draw back a magical curtain on the past, entering a world of buried memory that’s the precursor to our own.”

Another film from my 2017 top ten, The Florida Project, also has Wolfville screenings on Sunday.

The Canadian-Irish co-production The Breadwinner, a story of childhood set in Taliban-controlled Kabul “so urgent and far-reaching that it never settles into the comforts of a coming-of-age story“—and a 2018 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature—plays this Thursday at Cineplex Park Lane, as well as next Wednesday (the 21st) in Wolfville.

Tuesday the Dal Art Gallery continues its Women Filmmakers 1931-1969 series with a “witty and prescient look at early reality TV in Britain,” Simon and Laura, the Muriel Box directed film that “attempts to expose the myth of democracy that television promises.”

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new & notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Tuesday (Feb 13) — Simon and Laura, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 7pm, free. Muriel Box, UK, 1955, 87 minutes.
    • Thursday (Feb 15) — The Breadwinner, Cineplex Park Lane, 5pm, regular pricing. Nora Twomey, Canada/Ireland/Luxembourg, 2017, 94 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 16) — The Breadwinner, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:30pm, regular pricing. Nora Twomey, Canada/Ireland/Luxembourg, 2017, 94 minutes.
      Faces Places, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm & 9pm, $8.75. Agnes Varda & JR, France, 2017, 89 minutes.
    • Saturday (Feb 17) — The Stairs, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm & 9pm, $8.75. Hugh Gibson, Canada, 2016, 95 minutes.
      The Breadwinner, Cineplex Park Lane, 7:30pm, regular pricing. Nora Twomey, Canada/Ireland/Luxembourg, 2017, 94 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 18) — The Breadwinner, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:10pm, regular pricing. Nora Twomey, Canada/Ireland/Luxembourg, 2017, 94 minutes.
  • Wolfville screenings this week:
    • Wednesday (Feb 14) — Dawson City: Frozen Time, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Bill Morrison, USA, 2016, 120 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 18) — The Florida Project, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Sean Baker, USA, 2017, 115 minutes.

Halifax screening picks—February 5-11

05 Feb
February 5, 2018

Carbon Arc programs its first feature-length film of its winter-spring season this Friday with the African sensation Fèlicité, Senegal’s nominee for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Feature, and winner of the Berlinale’s Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, best film at FESPACO 2017 (Africa’s biggest film festival), and six Africa Movie Academy Awards (a new record). Alain Gomis’ cinematic style is “spectacularly multifaceted” (says the New York Times), and its title character’s arc shows a sophisticated understanding of female strength (says TIFF programmer extraordinaire Kiva Reardon).

I haven’t noted any Wolfville screenings for a while, but it is worth singling out this Sunday’s Fundy Cinema screenings of The Other Side of Hope, one of the best reviewed films of 2017, and one that seems to have broadened the appeal of the standout Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki, a man who in the ongoing crisis of global migration seems to have found his moment. Before that, on Wednesday, Fundy has the Cannes Palme D’Or winner (and a good shout to pick up the Foreign Language Oscar), The Square.

Cineplex’s annual Flashback Film Fest continues through Thursday with more films than I can list here—I’ve included a handful below (nighthawk action fans who haven’t yet checked out the 3D conversion of Terminator 2: Judgment Day—”entirely supervised, frame-by-frame, by [James] Cameron” should definitely consider Tuesday’s late screening). My highest recommendations this week for your trip to the multiplex continue to be Oscar nominees Phantom Thread and Call Me by Your Name.

There is a good crop of free screenings again this week:

Halifax screening picks—January 29-February 4

29 Jan
January 29, 2018

Carbon Arc is back! The winter-spring 2018 series of screenings at the Museum of Natural History returns this Friday with the annual Cannes-award commercials showcase, a.k.a. the “2017 Cannes Lions International Festival Of Creativity.” Five consecutive weeks of film screenings have been posted up on the Carbon Arc website, including a February 16 screening of my #2 film of 2017—the amazing Agnes Varda doc Faces Places, which is up for a best documentary feature Oscar.

Also kicking off this Friday at Park Lane is Cineplex’s annual Flashback Film Fest, which as usual is a mixed bag of pop classics that includes a few gems. Friday’s kickoff has The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day back to back in the afternoon, as well as an evening double feature of Coen brothers comedies—Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski. Sunday sees some Super Bowl counter-programming with David Lynch’s still-divisive adaptation of Dune and the recently restored Jackie Chan kung-fu nugget Drunken Master. Family classic The Iron Giant has a matinee early Sunday afternoon.

Before that, on Wednesday, Sageev Oore pops up again at the Music Room with one of his excellent performances of live piano accompaniment of silent films. This show is a $30 ticket.

There’s also a good crop of free screenings this week:

My strongest recommendations this week continue to be Oscar nominees Phantom Thread and Call Me by Your Name, and rep screenings of the classics Charade and A Matter of Life and Death.

  • In theatres, seen & recommended:
  • In theatres, new & notable:
  • Halifax screenings this week:
    • Monday (Jan 29) — Megan Leavey, Central Library, 6pm, free. Gabriela Cowperthwaite, USA, 2017, 116 minutes.
      A Matter of Life and Death, Cineplex Park Lane, 7:15pm, $6.99. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1946, 104 minutes.
    • Tuesday (Jan 30) — A Matter of Life and Death, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:30pm, $6.99. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1946, 104 minutes.
      Christopher Strong, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 7pm, free. Dorothy Arzner, USA, 1933, 78 minutes.
      Charade, Cineplex Park Lane, 7pm, $6.99. Stanley Donen, USA, 1963, 113 minutes.
    • Wednesday (Jan 31) — Sageev Oore – piano w/ silent film, The Music Room, 6181 Lady Hammond Road, 7pm, 2 hours.
      Charade, Cineplex Park Lane & Dartmouth Crossing, 7pm, $6.99. Stanley Donen, USA, 1963, 113 minutes.
      A Matter of Life and Death, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:40pm, $6.99. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1946, 104 minutes
    • Thursday (Feb 1) — A Matter of Life and Death, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:15pm, $6.99. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1946, 104 minutes
      Groundhog Day, Alderney Landing Theatre, 7:30pm, free tickets available from local merchants. Harold Ramis, USA, 1993, 101 minutes.
      — Marianne and Juliane, Modulating Mansion, 2411 Agricola St, 7:30pm, free. Margarethe von Trotta, West Germany, 1981, 106 minutes.
    • Friday (Feb 2) — The Terminator, Cineplex Park Lane, 3pm, $8.99. James Cameron, USA, 1984, 107 minutes.
      Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D, Cineplex Park Lane, 5:15pm, $8.99. James Cameron, USA, 1991, 137 minutes
      — 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival Of Creativity, Carbon Arc Cinema @ the Museum of Natural History, 7pm, $8.75. Various directors and countries, 2017, 112 minutes.
      The Big Lebowski, Cineplex Park Lane, 8pm, $8.99. Joel & Ethan Coen, USA, 1998, 117 minutes.
      Raising Arizona, Cineplex Park Lane, 10:30pm, $8.99. Joel & Ethan Coen, USA, 1987, 94 minutes.
    • Saturday (Feb 3) — Selma, North Memorial Library, 1:30pm, free. Ava DuVernay, USA, 2014, 128 minutes.
    • Sunday (Feb 4) — The Iron Giant, Cineplex Park Lane, 12:30pm, $8.99. Brad Bird, USA, 1999, 87 minutes.
      Dune, Cineplex Park Lane, 10:30pm, $8.99. David Lynch, USA, 1984, 136 minutes.
      Drunken Master, Cineplex Park Lane, 10:25pm, $8.99. Yuen Woo-ping, Hong Kong, 1978, 110 minutes.

Halifax screening picks—January 22-28

22 Jan
January 22, 2018

Two absolutely remarkable films have arrived in Halifax theatres —among the very best of 2017.

Phantom Thread, supposedly the final performance by Daniel Day Lewis (I choose not to believe that), would for sure have been in my top 10 of 2017 if I’d seen it in time. This is a film that will clearly reward repeat viewings… maybe I’ll watch it again this week.

Call Me By Your Name, which you may recall was in my top 10 and my top 5 at TIFF as well, features the perfect coupling of a James Ivory script with Luca Guadagnino’s direction, and maybe the best soundtrack use ever of both Sufjan Stevens and Psychedelic Furs.

As if that weren’t enough, Cineplex has two top-drawer film classics as well. Friday at Park Lane, it’s Powell & Pressburger’s sublime 1946 fantasy-war-romance film, A Matter of Life and Death—”its strangeness makes it a masterpiece.” (So far there is just one scheduled screening but perhaps more will be added. Update: more added!) And Sunday afternoon at Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing, it’s Stanley Donen’s stylish, Hitchcock-inflected 1963 comedy thriller Charade, with an awkwardly-old Cary Grant and a dazzling, Givenchy-clad Audrey Hepburn delivering “the last sparkle of Hollywood.”

This week’s embarrassment of cinematic riches includes many excellent free screenings as well:

Halifax screening picks—January 15-21

15 Jan
January 15, 2018

On Tuesday this week, the Dal Art Gallery kicks off a year-long series of free screenings spotlighting the work of women filmmakers, going back before Triumph of the Will and Olympia to Leni Riefenstahl’s 1932 directorial debut The Blue Light, “a visual tone poem to the mountainside, best appreciated as a silent film with snippets of dialogue.”

The Central Library Wes Anderson retrospective continues this week with Zack Miller introducing Bottle Rocket on Thursday and a make-up edition on Sunday of the previously stormed-out screening of Rushmore, introduced by Kendra Barnes.

The latest from Steven Spielberg, The Post, with a powerhouse cast including Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, is piling up rave reviews, but locally there is at least one dissenting opinion.

Halifax screening picks—January 8-14

08 Jan
January 8, 2018

Another notable film from the past fall’s festival season has arrived in Halifax in time for award-show season—I, Tonya, “Craig Gillespie’s raucous Tonya Harding biopic.”

A live-music accompanied screening of Fritz Lang’s classic 1927 film, Metropolis, is opening a lecture series and closing a music festival on Wednesday at U King’s College’s Alumni Hall. Your cinematic musical improvisors include Lukas Pearse, Amy Brandon, Steven Naylor and Brandon Auger.

We’re still four weeks away from the winter season of Carbon Arc but there are some nice free rep screenings to be had this week, including more Wes Anderson films at the Central Library, with Chris Campbell introducing The Grand Budapest Hotel Thursday evening, and Kendra Barnes cueing up Fantastic Mr. Fox Sunday afternoon. This evening (Monday) at the library you can also catch the Radical Imagination Project‘s presentation of Burn!, featuring Marlon Brando in Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1969 follow-up to The Battle of Algiers. Dr. Larry Haiven will facilitate a post-movie discussion.

Blade Runner 2049 will be released on various optical disc formats next week so tonight’s (Monday’s) screening at Park Lane is probably your last chance to see it on the big screen for some time to come.

Halifax screening picks—January 1-7

01 Jan
January 1, 2018

I finally saw The Shape of Water and I really enjoyed it, more than perhaps I expected and definitely enough to recommend it here. But I honestly just don’t get Guillermo del Toro’s fixation on gore. By his standards, there isn’t much of it here, but there are still a couple of gross-out moments that serve no narrative purpose that I can see—they just add a directorial signature.

I usually only add films to my “recommended” list if I feel I can do so without significant reservation, but I’m adding Molly’s Game only because I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the film so much that the lapse into awkward dadsplaining in the final third didn’t ruin it for me. Reading various women’s responses to the film has been interesting—some like April Wolfe feel that the merits of the first two acts are decisive, while others like Manohla Dargis feel that the whole enterprise is undermined—I find myself alternately entertaining both perspectives.

The Central Library will kick off a series of free screenings of Wes Anderson films this Thursday with Carbon Arc programmer Kendra Barnes presenting Rushmore.

With Blade Runner 2049 being released on Blu-ray/DVD shortly, Park Lane has a couple of screenings this week back-to-back with the 2007 cut of the 1982 original.

Halifax screening picks—December 25-31

25 Dec
December 25, 2017

The Shape of Water, the latest from Guillermo del Toro—and winner of the Golden Lion at Venice—has finally arrived in Halifax. The film has generated a pile of glowing reviews, but also some dissenters including David Edelstein, who calls it “an utterly lovely, complacent movie, too comfortable with itself to generate real dramatic tension,” and Rex Reed, who calls it “Maudie Meets the Creature From the Black Lagoon.”

Halifax screening picks—December 19-24

19 Dec
December 19, 2017

I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is, in the first instance, “a good movie,” but I have to say I’m fascinated by the backlash reaction amongst a vocal minority of fans. The film is being actively review bombed on Rotten Tomatoes, which is being misunderstood to mean that audiences generally don’t like the film, which is completely untrue. And so another weird front opens in the ongoing culture wars.

Like the 1977 original Star Wars, Last Jedi references several other films, especially those of Akira Kurosawa, and takes inspiration from others that are less obvious.  It was shot on film, mostly in 35mm, but with some key scenes on IMAX, so it’s worth taking the trouble to get to Bayers Lake for an IMAX screening.

Perennial seasonal downer-upper It’s a Wonderful Life is back for daily screenings for the next few days, which provides you with the opportunity to compare and contrast with Neptune’s production of the stage adaptation.

Halifax screening picks—December 18

18 Dec
December 18, 2017

Due to a scheduling/logistics issue, I’ll be posting screenings picks for the coming week by 1pm Tuesday, December 19.