Movies

VIFF 2019: My Favourites From The Festival

Posted by Matthew on October 21, 2019
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Vancouver International Film Festival

Another Vancouver International Film Festival has come and gone and we saw quite a few movies this time around. While there were tons to see, here are my five favourites of the twenty-plus I saw, presented in alphabetical order.

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Review: ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ has exactly no new ideas

Posted by Matthew on October 20, 2019
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Zombieland: Double Tap

I really liked Zombieland. It’s not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination but it has a great cast and a solid premise, and a few big laughs.

It was a surprise hit and made a ton of money so it’s no surprise that it got a sequel. What is surprising is that the sequel feels exactly the same as the original. That’s not always a deal-breaker, but ten years and a radically changed socio-political landscape in this world mean little to no updates in the new film definitely are a dealbreaker.

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VIFF Review: ‘Ford v Ferrari’ offers compelling drama and thrilling​ races

Posted by Matthew on October 20, 2019
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Ford v Ferrari / VIFF 2019

Ford v Ferrari is a lot of things: a showcase for two of our greta actors, one of the best car racing movies ever made, a compelling drama. At its core thought it’s a story of two men completely dedicated to what they do, and doing it in spite of the system they work in and the company they work for always asking them to make concessions.

Make no mistake, _Ford v Ferrari is an underdog story, but Ford isn’t the underdog and Ferrari isn’t the villain. The underdogs are Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, toiling away at making the best car in the world while their bosses are telling them to make the best Ford.

There’s a metaphor for filmmaking in there, somewhere.

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Awesome News: ‘The Batman’ casting updates! Jennifer Hudson is Aretha Franklin! ‘Matrix 4’ is happening and NPH has a part! John Cho was injured!​

Posted by Matthew on October 19, 2019
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Neil Patrick Harris

Welcome to the news for the week of 19 October 2019. It feels like most of the big news is casting news and that The Matrix 4 is a real thing that is really happening. Sam Raimi is in back and the director’s chair and so is Robert Eggers.

All in all,​ it’s been a good week! Let’s take a look!

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Trailer Roundup: ‘Charlie’s Angels’, Downey’s ‘Dolittle’, Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’, and more!

Posted by Matthew on October 16, 2019
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MPAA Green Band

Apologies dear readers as this post comes a day later than planned. Life, as they say, happens. This week we have a healthy crop of freshly harvested trailers for you to feast your eyeballs on. Let’s take a look at the latest for Bombshell, Charlie’s Angels, Dolittle, Frozen 2, Jungle Cruise, Lady and the Tramp, Onward, The Report, and The Turning.

Let’s dive right in!

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VIFF Review: ‘The Whale and the Raven’ is quiet and gorgeous

Posted by Matthew on October 12, 2019
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The Whale and the Raven / VIFF 2019

Whales are among the more majestic animals on the planet. They’re enormous but graceful, and they play an important part in the cultural history of many of the First Nations peoples of BC. In the Kitimat fjord system there are a pair of researchers, Hermann Meuter and Janie Wray, who study the orca and humpbacks who make their homes there, and Mirjam Leuze took cameras to chronicle what they do.

The Whale and the Raven is the result and follows is a slightly meandering but absolutely stunning-to-look-at 100 minutes of footage of the north coast of British Columbia.

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VIFF Review: ‘Synonyms’ is maddening, heartbreaking, frustrating, challenging, and contains a performance you definitely shouldn’t miss

Posted by Matthew on October 12, 2019
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Synonyms / VIFF 2019

Synonyms begins with the protagonist Yoav (Tom Mercier) breaking into a luxurious but unoccupied apartment looking for a place to sleep for the night. The clothes on his back, the few things in his bag, are all of his worldly possessions. After a night in the austere accommodations, he takes a shower and during that shower, someone steals all of his clothes and his bag.

Frantically he runs, naked and dripping wet down the stairs and after the thief but it’s too late, his things are gone. Rather than chase them into the street he returns to the apartment and passes out in the tub, seemingly to wait for death.

This franticness is at the heart of Yoav’s character. He’s in France feeling his past self with the sole, desperate intention to form a new self. But is that even possible?

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Awesome News: Lost Scorsese films, new musicals, a reunion, a spinoff, and more!

Posted by Matthew on October 12, 2019
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Robert-Forster

All the news that is news or at least all the news that I found interesting. That’s called "curation" folks. Let’s dive right into what was going on this week, shall we?

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VIFF Review: ‘White Snake’ is an epic, adult, animated adventure

Posted by Matthew on October 11, 2019
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White Snake / VIFF 2019

Animation is a medium. It’s a weird thing to have to actually write down but to many when you say you’re about to watch an animated film they make a number of assumptions but they all basically boil down to the thought that animation is a genre with its own tropes and conventions but that’s not really the case, is it? Animation is a medium through which we often tell children’s stories but it’s actually perhaps the most expressive film medium, and perfectly capable of telling adult stories.

This fact is exemplified by White Snake, an animated epic from China which has a soft, whimsical animation style but also a dark, violent, and occasionally erotic story to tell.

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VIFF Review: ‘Pain and Glory’ is Amaldóvar’s most deeply personal film

Posted by Matthew on October 10, 2019
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Pain & Glory / VIFF 2019

Antonio Banderas and Pedro Amaldóvar are two of Spain’s biggest film exports and have worked together numerous times. It’s fitting then that in Pain & Glory, the story of an ageing filmmaker in a creative rut who needs address some unresolved issues from his past, Banderas is basically playing Amaldóvar.

He’s not, of course. Not exactly. Banderas is Salvador Mallo, a respected director who was a maverick in his youth and who has settled into more soulful work in his later years who is suffering from debilitating pain and illness. So he’s basically Amaldóvar in this semi-autobiographical film. He’s also transcendently good in the role.

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Poster Gallery: Bad Boys, Burning Cane, Gentlemen, Gentlemen Spies, and Sleep Doctors

Posted by Matthew on October 10, 2019
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Primal

This week we have new posters for Bad Boys for Life, Burning Cane, Free Guy, The Gentlemen, Waves, I Lost My Body, No Time to Die, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Primal, and Doctor Sleep.

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VIFF Quick Reviews: Guest of Honour, In the Tall Grass, Burning​ Cane, and Hard-Core

Posted by Matthew on October 08, 2019
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VIFF 2019

The Film Festival is a busy time and I want to make sure that every film gets its due so in an effort to catch up here are quick review of four films I saw at VIFF but hadn’t had enough time to write about.

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VIFF Review: The Two Popes is fun and funny

Posted by Matthew on October 08, 2019
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The Two Popes / VIFF 2019

When Pope Benedict XVI resigned there was a ripple of disbelief. None had resigned the papacy in 700 years. There was concern that he was being forced out due to his traditional and hardline stances. That his health was failing, or worse yet his mind.

Enter Jorge Bergoglio, a Cardinal from South America who was concerned with the poor and with reforming the church. Bergoglio had commanded a few votes at the previous papal election and Benedict and he disagreed on almost everything but ultimately it was Bergoglio who would next be elected and made Pope Francis.

The Two Popes retells the story of Bergoglio’s life, as he tells is to Pope Benedict in the year leading up to Benedicts resignation. It’s a charming movie, with more than a few good laughs, and two master thespians playing off one another for nearly two hours. In other words: you should definitely see it.

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Trailer Roundup: Adult Dramas, War Films, Festival Darlings, and big action films.

Posted by Matthew on October 08, 2019
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MPAA Red Band

Another week, another mess of trailers. More than I anticipated this week, but in a good way. Heads up there’s a red ban trailer in the mix this week as we look at Ordinary Love, I Lost My Body, The Wolf Hour, Eli, 6 Underground, Free Guy, Birds of Prey, The Personal History of David Copperfield, The Gentlemen, Richard Jewell, The Good Liar, 1917, Zombieland: Doubletap, and Parasite.

Let’s dive in!

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VIFF Review: ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ is one of the most beautiful films you’ll see this year

Posted by Matthew on October 06, 2019
Movies, Reviews / 1 Comment
Portrait of a Lady on Fire / VIFF 2019

In the story of Orpheus and Eurydice after Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies Orpheus is advised that he can head to the underworld to retrieve her. He is told that he must lead her back to the surface world but that he must not look back for her until they are safely returned. As Orpheus crosses the threshold back to the surface he relents and turns back but Eurydice is still below and is then doomed to stay in the underworld forever.

It’s this story that is at the heart of the theme in Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a film as concerned with memory as it is with love. As the three principal women discuss in the film, is Orpheus a fool for looking back when he knows that will seal his love’s fate? Or is he a fool for love who wants to catch a final glimpse of his love exactly as she is in that moment, exactly as he loves her, and forgo putting them both through a second painful death?

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