Canadian film fans in the National Capital will want to check out Lost Dominion’ Screening Collective’s screening of The Luck of Ginger Coffey when it screens tomorrow night at The ByTowne in a rare 35mm presentation of a hidden gem. Ginger Coffey holds a place in Canadian film history as the 1964 winner for Best Feature at the Canadian Film Awards and as one of the most significant early works to start the conversation of what constitutes a “Canadian film” given its Canadian source material, production company, and setting along with its American director (Irvin Kershner, who went on to direct The Empire Strike Back) and foreign stars, most significantly Robert Shaw.
|Lol, Furious 7 at the Oscars?|
Song of the Sea
(Ireland/Luxembourg/Belgium/France/Denmark, 93 min.)
Dir. Tomm Moore, Writ. Will Collins
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle, Pat Shrott, Jon Kenny
Come explore the world of Cartoon Saloon when the breathtaking animated feature Song of the Sea has its Ottawa premiere today at Irish Film Festival Ottawa. The film carries a nomination from this year’s Oscars, but it would have been a worthy winner. Song is Cartoon Saloon’s latest animated feature following 2010’s equally beautiful The Secret of Kells, and if the animation world worries about a dearth of classically-composed animation given the uncertain forecast of Studio Ghibli, then Song of the Sea shows that this Irish animation house could be the future of the art form. It’s simply one of the enjoyable and most visually striking animated films in some time.
(Canada, 71 min.)
Written and directed by Michael Kainer
Various interviewees in the documentary Patron Saint refer to subject Dr. Janusz Dukszta as “vain.” Other interviewees call him “eccentric,” “narcissistic,” “a force,” "a patron of the arts," and “a closet altruist.” A man such as Dr. Dukszta embodies the facets of all these characteristics: when one has almost one hundred portraits of oneself painted over fifty years, one needs to be a little bit crazy, a little bit vain, and a little bit passionate about supporting the arts.
Life goes by so fast! Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) returns with While We’re Young, starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts, in mature portrait of youth and marriage. The film opens beginning April 3rd from Elevation Pictures, but if you want to attend a sneak peek in Toronto or Vancouver, you are in luck! Answer the trivia below to win tickets!
Cartoonists: Footsoldiers of Democracy? (Caricaturists, fantassins de la démocraties?)
(France, 106 min.)
Dir. Stéphanie Valloatto, Writ. Radu Mihaileanu, Stéphanie Valloatto
The January 2015 murder of satirical cartoonist Stéphane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier arguably makes Cartoonists: Footsoldiers of Democracy? more relevant to audiences than it was when it premiered at Cannes back in 2014. #JeSuisCharlie might not be trending anymore now that the masses have turned their attention to the latest cause, One Direction, but the outcry over Charbonnier’s death and the deaths of his colleagues at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters makes this documentary an urgent essay for anyone who cares about free speech.
Queen & Country
(Ireland/France/Romania, 115 min.)
Written and directed by John Boorman
Starring: Callum Turner, Caleb Landry Jones, David Thewlis, Richard E. Grant, Tamsin Egerton, Brian F. O’Byrne.
Shortly after watching Queen & Country, I hit up the Google to see the year in which Queen Elizabeth II became as Britain’s sovereign. By some fortunate timing, the folks at The Telegraph had just posted a lengthy essay debating whether England should through a roaring party to commemorate the Queen. It turns out that this year marks a landmark for the Queen, for Liz seems poised to become the longest reigning monarch in the nation’s history. Odds are she’ll make it since she’s in excellent health.
|Song of the Sea|
Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery
(Germany, 93 min.)
Dir. Arne Birkenstock
“You don’t have to be a genius to do a painting like that,” says painter Wolfgang Beltracchi as he observes one of his own beautiful canvasses hanging on his studio wall. Beltracchi is a virtuoso with his paintbrush, but he also happens to be a master forger. Anyone can paint a Max Ernst, he implies as he looks upon the “Max Ernst” painting of his own creation. As for whether Beltracchi is a painterly genius or a true artist is another matter, though, as Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery paints an ingenious portrait of the way we perceive art. Beltracchi opens Toronto’s Reel Artists Film Festival on Thursday, and it’s bound to stimulate a healthy debate over what constitutes “real art.” The film provocatively asks if artistic genius resides in technique or in inspiration.
An unlikely pair changes history in the true story of Woman in Gold, which is the latest film from director Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn). Woman in Gold makes its own kind of history as it stars the unlikely pair of Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds as elderly Jewish refugee Maria Altmann and her keen young lawyer, Randy Schoneberg. Woman in Gold opens in theatres on April 3 from +eOne Films, but if you want to attend a sneak peek across Canada, you are in luck! Answer the trivia below for your chance to win tickets!
|Stories We Tell, Incendies, Mommy, and Barney's Version are some of Canada's best films.|
The second year of CineCoup is underway! CineCoup, the latest variation on crowdsourcing, draws audiences into the filmmaking process from the beginning by inviting them to judge the films they’d most like to see in theatres. The contest puts filmmakers through the gamut of the film biz by challenging them to pre-production missions that pitch their projects to the public. The winner gets up to one million in production financing and a release in Cineplex theatres, and the added bonus of a ready-made audience eager to see the film.
|Feast, winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Short|
(Spain/UK/France 115 min.)
Dir. Pierre Morel, Writ. Don MacPherson, Pete Travis, Sean Penn
Starring: Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Jasmine Trinca, and Javier Bardem.
Sean Penn wades into Liam Neeson territory in the ultraviolent new humanitarian revenge thriller and The Gunman. The humanitarian revenge thriller is a strange genre. A do-gooder with a sniper and sweet biceps works on wells as his day job and pumps lead into the machete-wielding and corporate suits by night? That’s weird. A lack of genetic compatibility offers a least one reason for which Craig Kielburger and Arnold Schwarzenegger will never have a child.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent
(USA, 119 min.)
Dir. Robert Schwentke, Writ. Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer.
It’s once more unto the breach for Young Adult fiction. The Divergent series continues with Insurgent, which is a mostly satisfying second instalment of the series based on the books by Veronica Roth. This film sometimes improves on its predecessor now that all the exposition is out of the way—Divergent lays a lot of groundwork—but the fast-paced Insurgent requires full knowledge of the film that came before it. Brush up on why Tris (Shailene Woodley) and company live in a world divided into Factions—Candor, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity, and Abnegation—and you’ll be fine. Tris, a renegade Divergent who embodies the qualities of multiple Factions, is poised to lead the revolution against the oppressive forces of social determination.