|Ryan, the NFB's 2004 Oscar winner, is one of a dozen films to win Academy Awards for the organisation. |
Photo from the production, courtesy of Copper Heart Cut, Inc. and the NFB.
(Ireland/UK/Greece/France/The Netherlands/USA, 118 min.)
Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, Writ. Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, John C. Reilly, Olivia Colman, Léa Seydoux
|Short Sighted Women (Rachel Weisz) and David (Colin Farrell) in a scene from the film The Lobster by Director Yorgos Lanthimos. Courtesy of Mongrel Media|
“Have you decided what kind of animal you would like to be if you don’t make it?” asks The Hotel Manager (Olivia Colman).
“A lobster,” replies David (Colin Farrell).
“A lobster is an excellent choice,” she responds.
The Clan (El clan)
(Argentina/Spain, 108 min.)
Dir. Pablo Trapero, Writ. Pablo Trapero, Julian Loyola, Esteban Student
Starring: Guillermo Francella, Peter Lanzani, Lili Popovich, Gastón Cocchiarale, Stefanía Koessl
|Photo courtesy of Fox International|
Argentina’s The Clan, not to be confused with Chile’s The Club, is bold, intense filmmaking. This powerful drama, Argentina’s Oscar submission in the most recent race, invites the audience into the home of a family of entrepreneurs. Like the clan behind Tony Soprano, the Puccio household draws loyalty along bloodlines and raises the bar for small family businesses. We’ve seen stories of kidnappings and revolution in Latin America before, ranging in films from Missing to No, but writer/director Pablo Trapero breathlessly and rivetingly presents an underworld in which the business of taking lives is a deliciously evil endeavour.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
(USA, 151 min.)
Dir. Zack Snyder, Writ. Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Godot, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter, Jeremy Irons
The title Batman v. Superman implies a winner, but the reality is that everybody loses with this film. The much anticipated showdown between the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel comes three Batman movies and two Superman reboots later in the new era of comic book movies, and this $250 million dollar opener for yet another goddam superhero franchise leaves Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill holding the hot potato long after everyone else has passed it on. Put Batman and Superman together and all this film yields is a huge steaming pile of BS.
Read the Cinemablographer review here.) The film comes to home video on April 1 from Search Engine Films and lucking readers have a chance to win a free download. Answer the trivia below for your chance to win!
The Little Prince
(France/Canada, 108 min.)
Dir. Mark Osborne Writ. Irena Brignull, Bob Persichetti
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Mackenzie Foy, Riley Osborne, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Albert Brooks, Paul Giamatti, Benicio Del Toro
Canadian animated features are few and far between. There’s an impressive catalogue of shorts and stuff coming out of the NFB and pockets of independent innovators, but the costly venture of feature-length animation leaves a sparse field in the Canuck canon with notable exceptions like Asphalt Watches and The Legend of Sarila. Sometimes, Can-Con collaborations yield remarkable gems like the 2003 Oscar-nominated co-pro and Canadian Genie winner The Triplets of Belleville. Going big requires a pooling of resources, especially for a project that requires so much detail and dedication, and the flight of fancy The Little Prince is another step forward.
|Céline Bonnier in The Passion of Augustine. |
Photo courtesy of Les Films Séville
A bit more capsule catch-up with the diverse trio of Chi-raq, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and Deadpool. Don’t miss Chi-raq!
(USA, 127 min.)
Dir. Spike Lee, Writ. Spike Lee, Kevin Willmott
Starring: Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, John Cusack
Spike Lee delivers his best film since 2002’s 25th Hour with the ferociously poetic Chi-raq. This film is an ingenious exercise in rhythm and poetry as Lee and co-writer Kevin Willmott adapt the Greek play Lysistrata to the contemporary warzone of urban Chicago. The actors speak in rhyming verse as they confront the escalating gang violence in the city, which has reportedly taken more American lives than the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined during the same period. It’s more accessible than, say, a Shakespeare film that borrows the Bard’s verse and it’s all thanks to Lee’s bold in-your-face approach.
Knight of Cups
(USA, 118 min.)
Written and directed by Terrence Malick
Starring: Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Teresa Palmer, Imogen Poots, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley
The press notes for Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups indicate that the director shot the film without a conventional screenplay and I hate to say it, but it shows. While Knight of Cups doesn’t offer the same rambling shots of people twirling in the wheat fields à la To the Wonder, the film essentially plays like a feature-length collage of B-roll footage. Actors improvise in eye-catching locations and Malick’s team draws out something miraculous in the editing room. There is still a lot of twirling, though, and ample shots of actors frolicking, running, and wandering as the impressive cast puts ample trust in Malick’s vision and explores the creative process. There’s an aimlessness to this act of Malickian meandering though, since Knight of Cups doesn’t have a fully formed idea behind it, like an essay that ‘explores’ rather than ‘argues,’ so the filmmaker’s cinematic philosophy and visual poetry don’t inspire the same sense of wonder one sees in his stronger efforts The Tree of Life and The Thin Red Line. One can call Knight of Cups total BS, an odyssey into the soul, or an exercise in vulgar auteurism, and the film is open enough to allow all three flavours. Take your pick.
(Canada/Germany, 96 min.)
Dir. Florian Cossen, Writ. Elena von Saucken, Daniel Schacter
Starring: Alex Ozerov, Bea Santos, Krista Bridges, Sebastian Schipper
|Alex Ozerov stars in Coconut Hero. |
Search Engine Films
What’s the recipe for a coconut hero? Rum? Whipped cream? Donuts? Sugar?
Nope, nope, and nope, but there’s a little of the latter.
Born to Be Blue
(Canada/UK, 95 min.)
Written and directed by Robert Budreau
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie, Stephen McHattie, Janet-Laine Green
There’s something very Tax Shelter Era-y about the co-Canadian biopic Born to Be Blue. This dramatization of American jazz sensation Chet Baker casts Hollywood star Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) as the music icon alongside American up-and-comer Carmen Ejogo (Selma) in a Sudbury-shot film that draws upon Canuck resources—natural, cultural, and financial—to make a film that bares a strong resemblance to Hollywood products. The difference between Born to Be Blue and Canuck commercial aspirations of the 1970s and 80s, however, is that it’s actually good.
|Room leads the Canadian Screen Award nominations. |
Photo: Caitlin Cronenberg / Elevation Pictures
-Becomes the first non-Canadian to win since Bruce Beresford for Black Robe (1991)
Actor in a Leading Role:
-Calls Christopher Plummer a legend, has the cutest speech of the night
Actress in a Leading Role:
★Brie Larson, Room
-A no-show, but adds a Candy to her Oscar
-A no-show, but adds a Candy to her Oscar
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Actress in a Supporting Role:
★Joan Allen, Room
Best Original Screenplay:★Remember, Benjamin August
Adapted Screenplay:★Room, Emma Donoghue
Achievement in Costumes:
Achievement in Cinematography:
Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design:★Room - Ethan Tobman, Mary Kirkland
Achievement in Film Editing:
Achievement in Make-up:★Room, Sid Armour, Jennifer Gould
Achievement in Music – Original Score
Achievement in Music – Original Song
Achievement in Overall Sound
Achievement in Sound Editing
Achievement in Visual Effects:
Ted Rogers Award for Best Documentary Feature:
Achievement in Cinematography – Documentary
Achievement in Editing – Documentary
Best Documentary Short★Bacon and God's Wrath- Sol Friedman
Best Live Action Short★She Stoops to Conquer - Zack Russell, Marianna Khouri
Best Animated Short★The Ballad of Immortal Joe - Hector Herrera, Pazlitt Cahlon
Discovery Award(Festival film with budget under $250 000)
★Winner: Mina Walking
Best First Feature Award★Winner: River - Jamie M. Dagg
(Canada/Laos, 95 min.)
Written and directed by Jamie M. Dagg
Starring: Rossif Sutherland, Sarah Botsford, Douangmany Soliphanh, Aiden Gillett
Rossif Sutherland keeps on running in River, but the film doesn’t move towards any heavenly body. This brisk yet sluggish chase move just keeps going as newcomer Jamie M. Dagg, winner of this year’s Canadian Screen Award for best first feature, recycles clichés in a thriller that shows much promise despite its overall unevenness. The film literally runs out of gas—twice—as Sutherland runs and runs without really getting anywhere. River is also hustle, no flow.
|Jacob Tremblay as Jack and Brie Larson as Ma in Room. |
Photo by Caitlin Cronenberg, courtesy of Elevation Pictures
More capsule catch-up! Full reviews will return soon.
(Canada, 103 min.)
Dir. Ricardo Trogi, Writ. Louis Morissette
Starring: Louis Morissette, Julie Perrault, Christine Beaulieu, Patrice Robitaille
Quebecois filmmaker Ricardo Trogi (1987) usually delivers when it comes to commercial comedies, but his latest film Le mirage is a bit of an odd duck. The film is as slick assembled as Trogi’s films tend to be, but something’s a bit off in this well-intentioned portrait of male alienation in contemporary suburbia.
Playing catch-up with some capsules!
The Passion of Augustine (Le passion d’Augustine)
(Canada, 103 min.)
Written and directed by Léa Pool
Starring: Céline Bonnier, Diane Lavallée, Lysandre Ménard, Pierrette Robitaille
London Has Fallen
(UK/USA/Bulgaria, 99 min.)
Dir. Babak Najafi, Writ. Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo
Pip pip, motherfuckers! The London Bridge might be falling down, but Gerard Butler can save the world by teatime. Butler returns as butt-kicking Secret Service agent Mike Banning, the dedicated officer sworn to protect American President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) from disaster. London Has Fallen follows the enormously successful Olympus Has Fallen in which Banning risked his skin to save the POTUS, but one doesn’t need to have seen the first film to enjoy the second. London Has Fallen brings nonstop action as it unleashes a cartoonishly extravagant web of chaos and calamity on the regal English city. It’s wonderfully ridiculous no-holds-barred entertainment.
|William Shatner in A Christmas Horror Story, an Entertainment One release.|
The nominees in the feature film categories are:
(Canada, 90 min.)
Dir. Jason R. Goode, Writ. Andre Harden
Starring: Jamie Bamber, Marie Avgeropoulos, Aleks Paunovic, Stefanie von Pfetten
|Jamie Bamber, Stefanie von Pfetten, Marie Avgeropoulos, and Aleks Paunovic star in Numb. |
Photo by Jan Kiesser, courtesy of A71.
Hey, Leo: you think it’s cold up here in Canada? You say you froze your buns off while shooting The Revenant? Well, you haven’t experienced true Canadian winter like these four kids have.