Recent Films

Confidence (in theaters)
Not very good, not even that stylish. Dustin Hoffman plays a pretty interesting character, well he is interesting in playing this character, but after a while, even that starts to feel like scenery-chewing and gets boring. It was fine while watching it, no groans or moans, but within minutes of seeing it I had completely let it go. I wouldn’t bother.

A Mighty Wind (in theaters)
Definitely funny, worth seeing, but somewhat awkwardly assembled. Check out the official site for some of the deleted scenes which will no doubt appear on the DVD. Some are necessary to explain why various characters appear and react in certain ways. Annoying editing from a master narrative shot to a one-shot, not over the shoulder, documentary interview style. Yeesh. Good improv, including a reference to Nanaimo Bars by Catherine O’Hara. I thought Best In Show was funnier, and more well developed.

Charlotte Sometimes (opening soon)
This is a pretty excellent film – great example of what indie films can be. Real focus on the conversations, things being said the way real people might say them, none of the over-explained Hollywood stuff we are used to. Which means that some details are left for you to ponder, or wonder, or (gasp) discuss with others. I was glad my screening had a discussion afterwards, because I did miss some details, some of which were crucial. I was very struck by the story, the relationships between the characters, and some of it landed very close to home, which drew me in that much more. If the film plays near you, it probably won’t be there for long.

So Close (San Francisco Film Festival)
I think these Hong Kong films coming out are just so amazingly visual, they really feel like comic books come to life, and I don’t mean in the way that films like Daredevil and X2 do, there is some pure comic book essence here in a story of a bunch of women who kick and shoot and break into places and drive around and try to catch each other and get rid of bad guys.

Men With Brooms
I’d been wanting to see this for quite a while. Big hype for this film back in Canada, new songs by the Tragically Hip on the soundtrack and a cameo appearance. Well, it was cute, but very very predictable. A has-been team of curling players gets back together to win the big game, make everyone proud, and hopefully work out all the romance angles as well. Some good Canadiana, and a very fun and silly sort of attitude towards the story that made things pleasantly fun, but it’s not a good movie, by any means.

Shogun Assassin
Not much of a story, a renegade Samurai pushes a cart with his little boy around the countryside avoiding the Shogun’s Ninja. And a lot of highly stylized violence, with blood jetting out of silhouetted, slow-motion, falling bodies. Boring, frankly.

Ghost in the Shell
At one point, a character says something like “I think that I do not understand anything.” (or something) and this just seemed apt. More than simply one of those sci-fi films that leaves everything as nuance, there’s no amount of exposition that would have helped this, it really didn’t make any sense. Artificial intelligence, cyborgs, hacking, blah blah blah. Some nice animation sequences, but not worth the effort of watching it, unfortunately.

My Neighbor Totoro
A classic Japanese animated film, probably mostly for kids. Same folks that did Spirited Away, which everyone should see. Similar plot elements (mysterious passages, little girl heroes, whimsical creatures). Very gentle, somewhat boring, worked with very very minimal subtitles however, probably would be enjoyable by pretty young English-speaking (and maybe not reading) kids willing to listen to Japanese.


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