It’s starting. Though we’ve had a handful of interesting (and good) titles in the first few months of the year, it looks like we’re finally into good movie season with a couple of big titles opening in April. The summer is about to kick off big time and Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) dig into the first batch of “summer” movies.
I always love a little surprise at a film festival but that surprise is usually a little foreign gem and rarely does it manifest as a comedy and a Canadian one at that.
Last year’s VIFF brought both the awesomeness of Welcome to Me (trailer, review) and Preggoland (review). The latter is written and stars Sonja Bennett, a talented Canadian actress who you’ve probably seen gracing either your small screen or the silver screen. She’s been around for a while but her turn here as Ruth, a 30 something woman who fakes her pregnancy, is really star making. Not only is the script funnier and smarter than the concept has any right to be, Bennett has excellent comedic timing and the movie, which also co-stars James Caan and Danny Trejo in an unlikely but hilarious role, is a big winner.
The entire thing is directed by Jacob Tierney and that right there is indication that we’re in good hands, but Preggoland really defies expectation to deliver a great Canadian comedy the likes of which I haven’t seen since Starbuck (review).
I‘ve been a fan of Ruba Nadda since I saw Cairo Time a couple of years ago and when the chance to speak to speak with the Canadian director about her new romantic thriller October Gale came up, I jumped at the opportunity.
I really likedOctober Gale when I saw it at VIFF last year. It’s not the darkest of thrillers but it’s a great story of the hardships of working through loss and features fantastic perfomrances from Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman and Tim Roth.
During our chat, Ms. Nadda and I talk about her recent fascination with thrillers, the art of on-screen chemistry and the difficulties, especially in today’s landscape, of romances that simmer just below the surface.
We’re not really sure where February went but here we are, looking forward to March and all it has to offer which, sadly, isn’t much. And yet Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) do manage to find a few titles to get excited about. As usual.
I’m finally starting to figure out the appeal of Kristen Wiig and all it took was seeing her in a handful of movies where she plays the same sort of character: likeable but somewhat pathetic individuals who, none the less, manage to be less pathetic at the end than at the beginning of their journey. They’re always a little humerous and Wiig is always great but in Welcome to Me (review), Wiig elevates from great to brilliant.
Welcome to Me is uncomfortable to watch. Wiig’s Alice quite obviously suffers from mental health issues and laughing at her antics is a bit icky but the movie somehow tows the fine line between creepy and funny and I came away with a new sense of awe not only for Wiig but for the rest of the cast, particularly Wes Bentley who hasn’t been memorable in years.
I love this movie.
Welcome to Me opens May 8. Fingers crossed it finds an audience that appreciates the genius.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opens in theatres on February 20th and we’ve got 4 double passes to give away for the advance screening on February 18 2015, 7:00pm at SilverCity Metropolis.
When Lou finds himself in trouble, Nick and Jacob fire up the hot tub time machine in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future. Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past… which is really the present, in the sequel from the same team that brought you the original cult hit.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 stars Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott and Chevy Chase.
As mentioned we have 4 double Advance Screening Passes to give away. If you would like to win the passes let us know in the comments your 4 favorite 80’s songs before midnight PST on Monday, February 16. Winners will be chosen from all entries on February 17, 2015.
Director: Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn Producers: Adam Bohling, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn Starring: Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Sofia Boutella MPAA Rating: R Running time: 129 min.
Spy movies have a tendency to feel constricting and demure. Even with all the action and gadgets of Bond, he always feels so serious and like there’s so little joy in his life. I guess that’s part of the appeal of the new Bond – he’s dark and secretive and the movies are gritty. Enter Matthew Vaughn. He seems to have looked at the genre, decided that it’s too boring and stuffy, gave it the finger and set out to deliver an epically rambunctious spy movie that flies in the face of convention, all the while maintaining most of the irreverence offered up by the source material from bad boy comics creator Mark Millar.
This isn’t the first time Vaughn and writing partner Jane Goldman (worth noting a woman has a hand in adapting a successful comic book property – not the first either) have taken on Millar. We all saw how Kick-Ass turned out; Vaughn and Goldman have proven they can aptly adapt Millar’s storytelling style to the big screen and the results in Kingsman: The Secret Service are a clear indication that Goldman and Vaughn should keep adapting Millar properties because the results tend to be spectacular.
Colin Firth goes action star as Harry Hart, the member of a super secret spy organization known as the Kingsmen. A series of events leads the group on a search of a new member and the current members have to provide a candidate. Hart finds his in his past, a young man who goes by Eggsy, newcomer star-in-the-making Taron Egerton, whose father once saved Hart’s life. What follows is a series of training montages as the recruits vie for the single spot on the spy team while Hart and his agency cronies including Mark Strong as Merlin and Michael Cane as Arthur (see the hilarious theme here?) lead the charge against Valentine, Samuel L. Jackson sporting a lisp (in what seems like one of the longest leads to a joke in a movie in some time), a mad genius who is trying to solve the world’s climate problem.
We know how it happened but we don’t really know how it happened. How is it already February? In a slight state of shock, Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd), get off track on Joan Collins and 80s soaps theme songs but along the way we also manage to look ahead to the movies coming out this month!
Director: Bernard Rose (Immortal Beloved, Ivansxtc, The Kreutzer Sonata, Two Jacks) Writer: Bernard Rose Producers: Christian Angermayer, Gabriela Bacher, Rosilyn Heller, Danny Krausz Starring: David Garrett, Jared Harris, Joely Richardson, Christian McKay, Veronica Ferres, Andrea Deck MPAA Rating: R Running time: 122 min.
Coming into The Devil’s Violinist, I had little knowledge about the project besides the fact that it was biopic of Niccolò Paganini, a violinist and composer I knew nearly nothing about. I didn’t recognize the handsome dark haired actor portraying Paganini but Jared Harris is certainly a great talent and let’s be frank, when have I ever been known to pass up a costume drama? Never, that’s when.
The Devil’s Violinist isn’t so much a biography as it is a drama about a musician who we know for a fact was a talented violinist and composer, a man who lived a lavish lifestyle and who was rumoured to be associated with the devil. Writer/director Bernard Rose takes a very short list of facts and weaves a story of mystery, intrigue and of a tortured artist who sells his soul to the devil, enjoys everything the world has to offer – from women to drugs – and eventually suffers for it.
If you’re looking for a biography on Paganini, you had best look elsewhere. Rose’s take on the maestro is so frivolously extrapolated that The Devil’s Violinist is far more fiction than anything else. I went reading about Paganini after seeing the movie only to discover that, among other inconsistencies, he suffered from syphilis and was later treated for tuberculosis neither of which was mentioned in the movie. As for his involvement with the devil… the movie does seem to get that part right. One can’t call this any sort of biography which leads to the question: why use Paganini’s name at all? My thought is that it adds intrigue and frankly, it’s a great excuse to fill the movie with spectacular music.