Thursday, September 3, 2015

Into the Forest

CF Sep 23 9:30pm | In brief: Two sisters (Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood) struggle to survive in a remote country house after a continent-wide power outage, in this gripping apocalyptic drama from director Patricia Rozema (Mansfield Park, I've Heard the Mermaids Singing).

Ramblings:   Harrowing. Grueling. Not sure I "enjoyed" this movie very much. I wouldn't want to subject anyone else to this either. Tells an interesting story about what might happen if we lost the power grid but it wasn't much fun watching Ellen Page make soap or identify forest plants.


CF Sep 23 7pm | In brief: In the early 1950s, a young Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan) crosses the Atlantic to begin a new life in America, in this exquisitely crafted adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Colm Tóibín.


Prisoner X

CF Sep 23 4pm | In brief: On a cold January night, a young man is found unconscious at the wheel of a crashed vehicle near the US-Canada border, and a lump of weapons-grade Uranium is recovered from the trunk. He is immediately thrown into a high-security prison and tortured relentlessly for months. But apart from a few vicious-sounding curses in an unknown language, he utters nothing. Then one day out of the blue, he gives his interrogators a list of astronomical coordinates of upcoming Supernova explosions over the next 140 years. The very next day the first of those celestial events occurs exactly as predicted, sending shock-waves through the security establishment. The man in custody is no ordinary terrorist; he's a time-traveler from the future! Ramblings:  

How to Change the World

CF Sep 23 11:30am | In brief: In 1971, a group of friends sail into a nuclear test zone and their protest captures the world’s imagination, giving birth to Greenpeace and defining the modern green movement. Media savvy from the beginning, these pioneers captured their seat-of-their pants activist adventures on 16mm film. From this vivid archive and sly narration by Robert Hunter (an early guiding force of the organization), director Jerry Rothwell has created a thrilling, sometimes terrifying film. When youthful energy comes up against the complexities of a growing organization, and idealism meets compromise, the group find their battle to save the planet forces them also to fight each other. Rothwell’s insightful film is also a vibrant, moving reflection on the struggle to balance the political and the personal. Ramblings:

Un homme idéal (A Perfect Man)

CF Sep 22 9:30pm | In brief: It starts out innocently enough. After all, where’s the harm in rescuing a dead man’s diary—a work that was destined, without his intervention, for a landfill? And anyway, he’s the one who recognized the diary’s potential as a novel, so why shouldn’t he sign the work as his own? Thus begins the meteoric rise of young Mathieu Vasseur (Niney), a heretofore-unpublished author eking out a living at his uncle’s moving company. Mathieu rides the wave as literature’s “Next Big Thing,” with growing concern over the mounting pressure of expectation for a second novel. But Mathieu has more urgent matters to attend to, including Alice (Girardot), a woman the old Mathieu could have only dreamed about. His desperation to keep his secret safe will leave him feeling like a man dispossessed of his own life. No matter—if this is the cost of genius, so be it. With a tip of the hat to Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, this sun-drenched thriller is elevated by the immersive performance of Pierre Niney, who has had a meteoric rise of his own, culminating in a 2015 Best Actor César for Yves Saint Laurent. Ramblings:


CF Sep 22 7pm | In brief: A nursing-home resident (Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer) sets out to exact vengeance on the man who murdered his family seven decades earlier, in this compelling thriller from master director Atom Egoyan. Ramblings:

One Floor Below

CF Sep 22 3pm | In brief: In this brilliantly executed slow-burn thriller from Romanian director Radu Muntean, a family man who witnessed the prelude to a murder determines to keep his mouth shut and mind his own business — until the possible killer turns up at his door one day and begins to ingratiate himself into the lives of his wife and son.

Ramblings:  Perhaps I dozed off when the defining moment in this film happened, but I really could not figure out why I wanted to watch this as I followed the arcane politics and procedures of changing ownership of automobiles in Romania.

The Man in the Shadows

CF Sep 22 Noon | In brief: Based on the experiences of the screenwriter and millions of people around the world, a newlywed photographer is stalked by a dark man in a brimmed hat who follows her in her nightmares. Sanity slipping, she meets a mysterious man claiming to know the shocking secrets of the Hat Man. It can happen to anyone. It can happen to you.

Ramblings:  Well, it has never happened to me nor to anyone I know.

Victoria (Eins Zwei Fünf Acht)

CF Sep 21 8pm | In brief: A beautiful young Spanish nightclubber in Berlin becomes wheelwoman for a quartet of bank robbers, in this stunning heist thriller shot in a single extended take. Ramblings: Yes, this 138-minute film was made as one extended take and the acting is quite interesting to see but ultimately the story was not worth the time it took. And that's 138 minutes of the audience's life that could have been put to better use. 

Papa ou maman (Daddy or Mommy)

CF Sep 21 4 pm | In brief: When parents come to divorce, it’s never easy to decide who’s going to obtain the children’s watch. But for Vincent (Lafitte) and Florence (Foïs), it’s not really the issue—neither of them want to! According to the judge’s decision, the kids have three weeks to decide who they want to stay with. Without them knowing, the parents will struggle not to be the “chosen one.” Ramblings:

Deep Web

CF Sep 21 1:30 pm | In brief: Deep Web gives the inside story of one of the most important and riveting digital crime sagas of the century - the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht, the convicted 30-year-old entrepreneur accused of being 'Dread Pirate Roberts,' creator and operator of online black market Silk Road. Deep Web explores how the brightest minds and thought leaders behind the ‘Deep Web’ are now caught in the crosshairs of the battle for control of a future inextricably linked to technology, with our digital rights hanging in the balance. In addition to being the only film with exclusive access to the Ulbricht family, Deep Web features the core architects of the ‘Deep Web’; anarchistic cryptographers who developed the ‘Deep Web’s’ tools for the military in the early 1990s; the dissident journalists and whistleblowers who immediately sought refuge in this seemingly secure environment; and the figures behind the rise of Silk Road, which combined the security of the ‘Deep Web’ with the anonymity of cryptocurrency.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mr. Right

FC:PoW Sep 19 6:30pm | In brief: Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell and Tim Roth star in this wild action-comedy about a young woman who falls in love with a sweet-natured hitman. Ramblings:... Fun to watch with quite a few funny scenes but it is a noisy frenetic film with no real redeeming qualities. It will make a great date movie for twenty-somethings. 

45 Years

FC:LB3 Sep 19 3pm | In brief: Starring British acting legends Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, 45 Years is writer-director Andrew Haigh's much-anticipated follow-up to his acclaimed indie hit Weekend. It is an immensely moving and nuanced portrait of long-term love and marriage. Ramblings:

Son of Saull (Saul fia)

FC:LB3 Sep 19 Noon | In brief: October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer (Röhrig) is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial. Octobre 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau.


Al Purdy was Here

FC:LB3 Sep 19 9am | In brief: By turns elegiac and celebratory, this documentary tribute to the late, great Canadian poet Al Purdy features readings, reminiscences and performances from some of the greatest names in Canadian letters and music. Ramblings:... 


FC:RTH Sep 18 9:30pm | In brief: Roland Emmerich (Anonymous) directs this drama about the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, which became a milestone in the LGBTQ rights movement in North America.

Ramblings: Pretentious and melodramatic soap opera. Does a disservice to the people who took part in the Stonewall riots and the GLBTQ community. Not recommended viewing for anyone. This is what happens when a director (& possibly writer) who's used to doing films like "Independence Day" tries to do a story that is much more nuanced. He says it's a "personal" film -- but he misspoke -- it's nothing personal at all. Tie up all the loose ends and make all the characters stereotypes.

Les êtres chers

FC:LB3 Sep 18 3:30pm | In brief: The second film from award-winning writer-director Anne Émond (Nuit #1) is a decade-spanning family epic that chronicles the fortunes of a Québécois clan after the suicide of its patriarch.

Ramblings: Story is a series of vignettes taking place over several years. Not very believable. Can't figure out any of the main characters reasons for doing what they do. We are meant to empathize -- can't do it. The ending should have come much sooner. The story just goes on and on.

Dark Horse

FC:LB3 Sep 18 1pm | In brief: Filmmaker Louise Osmond follows the story of a group of friends and neighbours in a small Welsh town who pool their modest resources to invest in a racehorse they dub Dream Alliance, and soon find themselves breaking social barriers by competing against some of the wealthiest horse owners in the UK.

Ramblings: Excellent story, beautifully told. Documentary has all the ups and downs of a story, but it's all true. Will be well-received by any Film Circuit group.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Last Cab to Darwin

LB3 Sep 17 3pm | In brief: In this adaptation of the successful stage play by Reg Cribb, a 70-year-old taxi driver diagnosed with terminal cancer undertakes a 3,000-mile journey to visit a pioneering physician in Darwin.

Ramblings: Great cast. Great story. Deals with euthanasia in such a way that there's much to talk about after the screening.

My Internship in Canada

Ry Sep 17 Noon | In brief: In this satirical look at the vagaries of Canadian politics from Oscar-nominated director Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar), an independent M.P. suddenly finds himself thrust into the parliamentary spotlight, and it’s up to his young Haitian intern to help the hapless backbencher navigate the complexities and pitfalls of Parliament Hill.

Ramblings: Could only have been made in Canada. US won't/can't Americanize this one. Hilarious look at Canadian politics.


SB4 Sep 16 9:15pm | In brief: Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, The Lunchbox) stars in this dramatization of the notorious “Noida Double Murder Case,” which set off a media frenzy around the world in 2008. Ramblings:...

Closet Monster

LB2 Sep 17 3:45 pm | In brief: An East Coast teenager and aspiring special-effects makeup artist (Connor Jessup, Blackbird) struggles with both his sexuality and his fear of his macho father, in this imaginative twist on the coming-of-age tale from first-time feature director Stephen Dunn.

Ramblings: Absolutely stunning first feature. Coming of age movie with a difference. Does not beat you over the head. Great music. Superb acting. Exceptional story.

The Ardennes

LB3 Sep 17 1:45 pm | In brief: Two bandit brothers, one fresh from prison, the other eager to escape their criminal past, form a potentially explosive love triangle with the ex-con’s ex-girlfriend, in Robin Pront’s Cain vs. Abel update. Ramblings:...

Desda Alla

LB3 Sep 16 11:15 am | In brief: Newcomer Lorenzo Vigas’ first feature explores issues of social stratification through the story of a wealthy man who pays young men to endure a kind of contact-free abuse, only to find unexpected intimacy with one of his companions. Ramblings:...

Guantanamo's Child: Omar Kdadr

Bl Sep 16 9 am | In brief: Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen who was captured by American forces in Afghanistan in 2002 and spent a decade imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, tells his own story in his own words, in this documentary portrait from directors Patrick Reed and Michelle Shephard.

Ramblings: An incredible documentary that should be required viewing for anyone who has an opinion on Omar Khadr and our mission in Afghanistan. Why is our Canadian government using our tax money to fight against our citizens? British prisoners in Guantanamo were returned to their home country without incident many years ago. Why is Canada so slow to release this young man and why did the Canadian government and CSIS persecute him and refuse to help him? Many questions. Not many satisfactory answers.


Ry Sep 15 8:45 pm | In brief: French provocateur Gaspar Noé (Enter the Void) continues to push the envelope with this 3D melodrama featuring explicit, unsimulated sex. Ramblings:...


SB13 Sep 15 4pm | In brief: A tough cop targets the tyrannical heir to a mega-corporation in this hard-hitting thriller from South Korean cult auteur Ryoo Seung-wan (Crying Fist, City of Violence). Ramblings:... Not worth it. Lots of graphic violence. Only one stuntman was injured during the filming according to the director. Lots of people laughed but I didn't get the humour. It was supposed to expose mega-corporations but exposed little and showed police brutality even more.