Halifax film screening picks — February 27-March 5

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.
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