|Podz (centre) with Dolan and Castonguay on the set of Miraculum|
(USA, 117 min.)
Dir. Paul Feig, Writ. Katie Dippold
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans.
Summer movie season cranks up the heat! A fun, brazen comedy hits the multiplex this weekend amongst the sea of returns and redids. The Heat, Paul Feig’s follow-up to the 2011 smash hit Bridesmaids, boasts more rowdy fun from the ladies. Bridesmaids took the R-rated comedy, which was beginning to look tired after one serving of American pie too many, and brought it back to life by having a troupe of female comedians deliver some of the wildest dirty jokes in some time. It was also a really smart comedy, which made it as much of an anomaly. The Heat takes another staple of the guy-movie canon, the buddy cop movie, and introduces its first set of mis-matched female leads. The Heat might not be on par with the raucous raunchiness of Bridesmaids, but this odd-couple comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy is solid laugh-out loud entertainment.
How to Make Money Selling Drugs
(USA, 96 min.)
Dir. Matthew Cooke, Writ. Matthew Cooke, Grant Jolly (story)
Narrated by: Matthew Cooke
There’s only one season left of Breaking Bad, so entrepreneurs who want to get rich or die trying need some schooling if they want to be the next Heisenberg. As any follower of the exploits of Mr. Walter White knows, it’s a tough process to go from minor player to Kingpin. Or, as the bald man in the pork pie hat might say, it takes a lot of work to go from fearing the knocks to being the guy who knocks. If you want to be the danger, you have to learn how to make money selling drugs.
The Front Line
(South Korea, 133 min.)
Dir. Hun Jang, Writ. Sang-yeon Park
Starring: Ha-Kyun Shun, Soo Go, Je-hoon Lee, Ok-bin Kim.
The first Korean Film Festival in Canada’s capital began with the Ottawa premiere of The Front Line, a film that offers film buffs a historical account of a pivotal period in Korean history and a good snapshot of the strength of contemporary South Korean cinema. The Front Line, which was South Korea’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film race for the 2011 Oscars, is a war film of impressive scope. Featuring some excellent battle sequences and a potent tale on the futility of war, The Front Line makes a worthy stand to kick-off this week’s fête for Korean cinema.
|Frances Ha is the best film so far this year.|
2013 has already reached its midpoint. It seems to be going by so quickly, but the seasons of festivals and Oscar goodies can’t come soon enough. These movies could be a welcome relief to cinemas since 2013 hasn’t been an especially good year for films so far. Perhaps it was inevitable that the new crop might suffer in comparison to the endless stream of strong films that came out in 2012. I still haven’t given a five star review, although I was tempted to upgrade Frances Ha, which is far and away the best film to be released this year, when I saw it a second time.
World War Z
(USA, 116 min.)
Dir. Marc Forster, Writ. Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos.
Joe the moviegoer is like a helpless child stranded amidst the zombie apocalypse of World War Z. The zombie flicks just don’t stop swarming the multiplex. Summer after summer, movie after movie, Joe joins the masses and gets sandwiched between a family of four, in which mom smuggles a bag of cellophane wrapped goodies into the theatre and passes them to the kids whilst dad makes inane comments and eats nachos. Cheap Tuesday is Doomsday at the multiplex in summer movie season, especially when the masses show up for redundant cash-grabs like World War Z.
The Lone Ranger
(USA, 149 min.)
Dir. Gore Verbinski, Writ. Justin Haythe, Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Ruth Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, William Fitchner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, and Helena Bonham Carter.
“Hi-ho, Silver! Away!” Summer movie season continues with the rollicking redo of the classic western series The Lone Ranger. Times have changed and so has the entertainment business, and the adventures your granddaddy used to listen to on the radio for free are now mashed into one epic widescreen adventure for a whopping thirteen bucks a ticket. One doubts that a movie has provided so much bang for your buck since Cloud Atlas, and The Lone Ranger guarantees a solid few hours of harmless escapism. It’s a hoot if you never take it too seriously.
The Bling Ring
(USA, 88 min.)
Written and dir’d by Sofia Coppola
Starring: Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, and Leslie Mann.
|Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Katie Chang|
and Claire Julien in The Bling Ring, an eOne Films release
The Bling Ring is the film Spring Breakers wanted to be, but wasn’t. Smart, stylish, and satirical, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring captures the excess and aimlessness of the current generation. The satire is so spot-on in The Bling Ring that it’s almost impossible to notice. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Random Acts of Romance
(Canada, 87 min.)
Dir. Katrin Bowen, Writ. Katrin Bowen, Jillian Mannion, and Kevin McComiskie
Starring: Sonja Bennet, Laura Bertram, Katharine Isabelle, Robert Moloney, Zak Santiago, Amanda Tapping, Ted Whittall.
Love makes people do all crazy sorts of things. Or is it sex that makes people wacky? The rules of attraction fly out the window in Katrin Bowen’s screwball sex farce Random Acts of Romance, an intimate ensemble dramedy that plays this Friday at the Female Eye Film Festival.
(Canada, 86 min.)
Written and directed by Shandi Mitchell
Starring: Billy Campbell, Ryan Doucette, Brian Downey, Shawn Doyle, Gary Levert, Neil Matheson
Did you ever see the Alfred Hitchcock movie Lifeboat? The classic is one of The Great Director’s better flicks, as Hitchcock offered a suspenseful tale of shipwrecked survivors clinging to life in the ocean, trapped with one of the very Nazis that sunk their ship. The 1944 thriller holds up to this day, but one suspects that Mr. Hitchcock would have tipped his hat to writer/director Shandi Mitchell in appreciation of The Disappeared.
|The Front Line opens the Korean Film Festival|
|Catherine Martin appears at CFI's 'Enlightened Screen' June 20|
Screening in the third installment of “The Enlightened Screen” are:
(Canada, 90 min.)
Dir. Dominique Cardona, Laurie Colbert; Writ: Dominique Cardona, Laurie Colbert, Margaret Webb
Starring: Nicola Correia Damude, Patrick McKenna, Claire Lautier, Christine Horne, Maya Ritter, Marco Grazzin.
What a charmer Margarita is! It’s easy to see how this delightful Canadian production won over audiences at last year’s Inside Out Film Festival in Toronto, and managed to do the same at festivals in America and Europe. This international crowd-pleaser, which plays like an indie relative of Mary Poppins with a LGBT twist or like Canada’s answer to The Kids Are All Right, is sure to receive a warm reception when it opens this month in Ottawa and Toronto.
micro_scope released a trailer today for their latest production Gabrielle, which is the newest film to be produced by Luc Déry and Kim McCraw, the Oscar nominated producers of Incendies and Monsieur Lazhar. (And last year's equally good Inch'Allah.) Gabrielle is directed by Louise Archambault, whose credits include the feature Familia and a segment from 2011's The National Parks Project. The film stars Gabrielle Marion-Rivard and Incendies star Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, along with Alexandre Landry, Benoit Gouin, Marie Gignac, Isabelle Vincent, Sébastien Ricard, and Vincent-Guillaume Otis. The film's synopsis, described by my rough translation, is as follows: 'Students Gabrielle and Martin are madly in love. However, their friends do not allow them to realize their love, as Gabrielle and Martin are not quite like the others. Determined, they will face the prejudices to expect to live a love story that is anything but ordinary.'
|A Long Way Down should be first on your reading list!|
(USA/UK, 116 min.)
Dir. Zal Batmanglij, Writ. Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling
Starring: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Julia Ormond, and Patricia Clarkson.
The West seems to have it all. The countries on this side of The Prime Meridian have a sizable share in the wealth, power, and privilege of the world. One percent of the population wields more influence than the other ninety-nine. Fortunes are made, empires are built, and profits soar for some, while others lose. Such powers come with equal responsibilities, though, and the majority might not always remain silent as it sits and deals with a mess that allows few to prosper.
(USA, 108 min.)
Dir. Richard Linklater, Writ. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn't think he'd remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it, there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn't see me at all, but I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl.
-Bernstein (Everett Sloane), Citizen Kane
What does it mean to chase the one that got away? Mr. Bernstein’s nostalgic monologue in Citizen Kane—one of the film’s best—is a classic ode to a kind of love that seems to exist only in the movies. The unattainable girl on the ferry, the one that got away, serves as a quintessential catalyst in the cinema’s quest for happily ever after.
|Cate Blanchett as Jasmine Photo by Merrick Morton|
© 2013 Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Blue Jasmine will be released July 26 from Sony Pictures Classics. Mongrel Media will distribute the film in Canada.
|Mary Spencer Shadow Boxing|
|Barbara Sukowa in Hannah Arendt|
(South Korea, 104 min.)
Written and directed by Kim Ki-duk
Starring: Cho Min-soo, Lee Jung-jin.
The press notes for Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta begin with the following note, which appears on a page unto itself thus stressing its overall significance in the grand scheme of the film:
‘Pieta’, meaning ‘pity’ in Italian, is an artistic style of a sculpture or painting that depicts the Virgin Mary sorrowfully cradling the dead body of Jesus. The Virgin Mary’s emotions revealed in ‘Pieta’ have represented the countless pains of loss that humans experience in life that are universally identifiable throughout centuries. It has been revived through master artists such as Michelangelo and Van Gogh.
|Photo courtesy the NFB|