Bright Nights: Baltic-Nordic Film Fest Returns to Ottawa

Marie-Josée Croze and Mikko Nousianinen star in 2 Nights Till Morning.
Photo courtesy of the Canadian Film Institute.
Ottawa’s annual Winterlude film fest gives cinephiles in the 613 a few reasons to strap on their skates and glide down the Rideau Canal. Make sure to stop at Carleton University after getting a Beavertail, since the Canadian Film Institute’s annual Bright Nights: Baltic-Nordic Film Festival promises a week of world cinema from the wintry nations to the east. This year’s festival has another impressive class of films with Iceland’s Oscar submission Rams playing alongside the Ottawa premiere of Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words, a feature doc about Sweden’s greatest cultural export next to IKEA. Add Joaquim Trier’s heavily acclaimed Louder than Bombs, and film buffs already have three reasons to brave the cold before diving into the line-up. PS: There’s also a Finnish feature starring own Marie-Josée Croze if folks want to keep it Canadian this winter!


PPZ's Blade Not as Sharp as Its Wit

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
(USA, 108 min.)
Written and directed by Burr Steers
Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Douglas Booth, Jack Huston, Charles Dance, Lena Headley
Bella Heathcote (left) and Lily James (right) in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an Entertainment One release.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single film in possession of a good zombie, must be in want of some gore.

Contest! Win Tickets to See 'Race' Across Canada!

The race continues! Stephan James (Home Again) stars as in Race, the incredible true story of runner Jesse Owens who defied Hitler and became an icon by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics. Race opens in theatres February 19 from eOne Films, but lucky readers across Canada may win tickets to sneak peeks! Answer the trivia below to win!


Take 'My Wife', Please!

Your Money or Your Wife
(Canada, 75 min.)
Written and directed by Ian Macleod
Starring: Craig Brown, Meredith MacNeill, Annie Valentina, Brian McWarren, Josh Macdonald
Lionel: “We’re like Canadian gentlemen robbers. Have you ever seen the movie Foolproof?”
Annie: “I Love that movie.”
Mike: “That movie’s crap. Canadian movies are garbage.”


Hail, 'Caesar'!

Hail, Caesar!
(USA, 106 min.)
Written and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Alison Pill, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill.
Josh Brolin stars in Hail, Caesar!
Universal Pictures Canada

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen are a curious pair. Two Hollywood outsiders and kids from the indie crowd, they’ve built a canon of singular films while rising in the ranks of critical esteem, festival circuit pedigree, and Oscar-worthy laurels. They might have four Academy Awards to their names, but they haven’t sold out or buckled to Hollywood. (Yes, they’ve done re-writes for films like Unbroken and Bridge of Spies, but everyone needs to eat.) The Coens, if anything, flip the bird to Hollywood the more it embraces them: their comedy gets blacker, their violence gets bloodier, and their philosophy gets denser. Filmmakers achieve a rare level of freedom and anonymity when they’re as consistently good as the Coens are, and their latest film Hail, Caesar! is one wacky comedy that throws pie all over Tinseltown’s face.


New Trailer for Jean-Marc Vallée's 'Demolition'

Jean-Marc Vallée and Jake Gyllenhaal on the set of Demolition.
VVS Films.
A new trailer and images are out for Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition! Vallée’s latest film stars Jake Gyllenhaal in an incredible performance as Davis, a man who breaks down and rebuilds his life piece by piece following the unexpected death of his wife (Heather Lind). The film co-stars Naomi Watts as an unconventional ally and Chris Cooper as Davis’s disapproving father in law. The film makes its US Premiere at SXSW next month before opening in theatres April 8 from VVS Films.

Contest! Win '99 Homes' on Blu-ray! (Contest Closed)

Catch one of 2015’s best performances when Michael Shannon’s intense turn in 99 Homes comes to home vid. After earning Best Supporting Actor nominations from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Awards, plus a win from the LA Film Critics, readers have another chance to catch this powerhouse performance. (With great work by co-stars Andrew Garfield and Laura Dern as the cherry on top.) 99 Homes comes to Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on Tuesday, February 9 from VVS Films, and lucky readers have a chance to win a copy of the film on Blu-ray. Answer the trivia below for your chance to win 99 Homes!


Contest: Win Tickets to the Canadian Premiere of 'Race' in Toronto! (CONTEST CLOSED)

The race is on! Stephan James (Home Again) stars as in Race, the incredible true story of runner Jesse Owens who defied Hitler and became an icon by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics. Race opens in theatres February 19 from eOne Films, but lucky readers in Toronto may win tickets to the Canadian Premiere with stars Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, and other special guests in attendance! Answer the trivia below to win!


Oscar-Nominated Live Shorts Programme a Downer

Ave Maria
This year’s Oscar-nominated Live Action Shorts are a bit of a downer. They’re heavy films. Grouped together, they make for a rather dreary film experience. The films all bring worthy subject matter, though, which helps one differentiate from the current of sameness that runs throughout some of these five nominees. There’s no clear standout, but there’s much to admire… even if the shorts are more to be admired than enjoyed.


SAG Awards Tonight: The Race's Decisive Moment?

The cast of Spotlight
eOne Films

The Screen Actors Guild Awards are tonight and they could prove to be a decisive moment in this year's Oscar race. The top prize for Outstanding Cast is arguably a two-way race between The Big Short and Spotlight given that they're the only two Best Picture nominees--and the only two SAG nominees that didn't inspire a collective Whaaaat? when the contender for Outstanding Cast were read and left The Martian, Brooklyn, Steve Jobs, The Hateful Eight, Carol and other superior ensembles unsung.


Screenie Shorts: 'World Famous Gopher Hole Museum', 'Quiet Zone', 'In Deep Waters'

World Famous Gopher Hole Museum
This second round of Screenie shorts offers a trio of documentaries. The non-fiction front of the Canadian Screen Awards nominees is strong on both the short and feature-length ends of the spectrum. Bacon and God’s Wrath is a tough one to top, but there’s at least one worthy contender in this group!


Screenie Shorts: 'BAM!', 'Carface', 'Roberta' and 'Blue Thunder'

Photo courtesy of the NFB.
This shorts nominees at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards include several films that thrive with vibrant musical energy. These films sing with jazzy beats, soulful numbers, cracked-out vibes, and hilarious ditties. They’re a terrifically original bunch of films.


'Corbo', 'Passion of Augustine' Lead Quebec's Jutra Nominations

Les films Séville
The nominations are out for Les prix Jutras. Honouring the best in Quebecois cinema, the Jutras exclusively honour Quebec-made films released theatrically in the province this year. The Passion of Augustine and Corbo lead the nominations with 10 nods, respectively, while Canada's Oscar submission Felix and Meira grabs five. Notably absent in many major categories is Philippe Falardeau's My Internship in Canada, while Elephant Song gets a bunch of below the line nominations plus a nod for lead Xavier Dolan.

Les nominations!


'The Daughter' is Unnervingly Powerful

The Daughter
(Australia, 96 min.)
Written and directed by Simon Stone
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Paul Schneider, Ewen Leslie, Miranda Otto, Anna Torv, Odessa Young, Sam Neill
A hidden gem from last year’s festival circuit rises to the surface. The Daughter is a superbly acted drama that leaves a viewer guessing long after its final image cuts to black. In the vein of Ray Lawrence’s Lantana, this atmospheric tragedy is a tightly structured film about secrets and lies that devastate a family. This haunting feature directorial debut from Simon Stone, who previously appeared in Eye of the Storm and the terrific Jindabyne, is another example of the sharp and substantial filmmaking coming out of Australia these days. Stone’s tense chamber piece simmers with a minimalist’s ingenuity.


'Dirty Grandpa' Parties Like It's 1965

Dirty Grandpa
(USA, 102 min.)
Dir. Dan Mazer, Writ. John Phillips
Starring: Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza, Jason Mantzoukas, Julianne Hough, Dermot Mulroney
Photo courtesy of VVS Films.

It’s so freezing this winter that the old folks are getting a little stiff! The tabloids have yet to tell us if Robert De Niro needs the little blue pill to bring the heat, but the veteran actor sure seems excited in his latest film Dirty Grandpa. Dirty Grandpa takes the hijinks of Last Vegas and amps it up a notch as De Niro plays horny old man Dick Kelly who decides to head south when his wife dies and leaves him single for the first time in decades. When Dick hits spring break, Dirty Grandpa parties like it’s 1965.