Watch for Stephen Campanelli’s multi-award winning Canadian drama Indian Horse opening next week. It’s based on the book by the late Richard Wagamese and executive produced by Clint Eastwood. It tells the story of First Nations boy Saul Little Horse, heading to Canada’s north with his family where the white man won’t find him. Sadly, Saul is captured by government officials and sent to a residential school. There he is stripped of his “Indian-ness” as thousands were by law from 1876 to 1996. In the brutal system he finds his salvation in hockey and dreamed of being a star player. It’s a profoundly moving story and we have FREE passes for you!
John Krasinski co-wrote, directed and stars in A Quiet Place with his wife Emily Blunt. A global disaster has occurred forcing a family into the wilderness for safety. It comes with a high price, as powerful, savage but deaf monsters lurk and devour anything that makes sounds. It brings incredible complexity to this horror story, especially given the fact his daughter is deaf. Living life trying not to make a sound for fear of quick death is so unnatural that participating is absolutely nerve shredding. This is smart, organic, measured and completely unconventional.
Talk about nerve shredding. How about being Ted Kennedy in 1969, the only viable son of Joe’s to put the family back in office after two assassinations, and you get drunk and drive a car off a bridge killing your female companion? How on earth does that play out? Does it knock the Apollo moon landing out of the headlines? John Curran’s Chappaquiddick follows Kennedy in the days leading up to and following the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopechne in his submerged car in 1969. He got out safely, heard her and failed to rescue her. He and his circle collude to protect him from prosecution on orders from his abusive father Joe Kennedy. Pater is furious that Ted will never be president and Ted’s shame is complete. Jason Clarke brings great vulnerability and believable confusion as Ted proves he’s not up to his brothers’ standards as a human being. Incredible. Truth is stranger than fiction.
Geoffrey Rush delivers a provocative performance as Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti in Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait. It’s Paris 1964 and he’s asked American writer James Lord to pose for him, “just a couple of hours, an afternoon”. Armie Hammer, who is a classic beauty, plays Lord who becomes increasingly disturbed by Giacometti’s emotional demands on his time and personal space. The artist drags out the sessions while Lord is desperate to leave and fly home to his lover in New York. This push and pull, this dance of self-doubt and artistic confusion plays out in an intense and striking couple of hours. Giacometti’s personal life is a mess and Lord’s in danger of being sucked into it. Sylvie Testud and Clémence Poésy play the artist’s wife and mistress and Tucci also wrote the screenplay based on Lord’s memoir A Giacometti Portrait.
Sean McNamara’s The Miracle Season stars Helen Hunt as an Iowa high school volleyball coach who must comfort and strengthen her team following the death of its star. Based on the true story of Caroline “Line” Found they look for ways to honour a girl who was loved, loving and admired and rouse themselves to chase the state championship. As moving as some people might find the film, it seemed to me to fetishize a young person’s death and focus on team sports as the be all and end all of teenage development. William Hurt plays “Line’s” grieving father who lost his wife to cancer just days after his daughter’s death. Many hugs and tears.
Evan Rachel Wood and Julia Sarah Stone are lovers despite a sizeable age difference in Allure formerly known as A Worthy Companion. Both are experiencing emotional difficulties and family breakdown and find common ground together. Her mother’s enforced, rigid lifestyle smothers the 16 year old and general malaise and fear drives the thirty something. Soon their connection becomes sexual on the elder’s coaxing and they decide to live together in secret. But their darkness isn’t tossed aside and indeed it ramps up in light of their secret life and co-dependence. Things deteriorate quickly. A tough watch.
Starting Sunday and running weekly through May 13 is the BBC’s Unforgotten on PBS Mystery. Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar are partners with the knack for solving cold cases. Unforgotten’s initial six part series features a single case, in which a man’s skeleton is discovered in a cellar. It involves a family of high repute, the church and an ordinary middle class family and a firmly held secret. Tom Courtney stars – what a performance!
History detectives will enjoy Hannibal in the Alps on PBS Secrets of the Dead Tuesday night. A team of scientists including Canadians heads to the French Alps to determine whether Carthaginian emperor Hannibal, 49 thousand men, 10 thousand horses and 37 elephants did really cross over the treacherous mountains to reach Rome in 213 BC. Their goal, a surprise pre-emptive attack on Rome in order to crush a rumoured Roman attack on Carthage. A team of experts looks at written eyewitness accounts of the time, soil and rock samples, the anatomy of horses and elephants, weather patterns and land forms. They discovered “resting places” via horse bacteria in soil a metre down, a coin of the time with symbols confirming the trek but why the question is why did Hannibal take elephants? He got the idea in India where war elephants were impressive and intimidating. They are able to walk on any surface due to their foot composition, and crawl on their knees upwards. They also provided a perch for a wooden balcony manned by archers. Absolutely fascinating!
Have a blast watching 300 Years of French and Saunders on BritBox – over the course of thirty years Jennifer Saunders and comedy partner dawn French have taken the Mickey out of just about everything pop culture. Among the targets of their wondrously hilarious satire are Poldark, Silence of the Lambs, Wonder Woman, Rambo, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Ingmar Bergman’s oeuvre, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Handmaid’s Tale. And that’s when they’re not crafting their own unforgettable characters like Giles and Mary from Wiltshire…yikes! …
… This duo is unmatched in characterisation and range. See early iterations of Ab Fab, Stylist to the Old Masters, historic clips and new materials and Joanna Lumley warning “Jennifer stop stalking me, lose my number”. Cool guests include Dusty Springfield and Helen Mirren, plus musical send ups of Sonny and Cher, ABBA, Stevie Nicks and Elton john and Kiki Dee, plus a fun wrap of all the murders their characters committed. Wow!
The Netflix special Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity brings together our fellow Canadian with Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Michelle Wolf, John Mulaney, Michael Che, Michael J. Fox, David Chang, Ike Barinholtz, Chelsea Peretti, The Muppets, Kumail Nanjiani, Jon Lovitz, Jeff Goldblum, Sacha Baron Cohen, Nick Kroll, Post Malone, Chris Hardwick, and Craig Robinson & The Nasty Delicious. Stand-up, sketches and music raise money for good works.
National Canadian Film Day is back! On April 18 theatres, libraries and halls will screen films for fans in cities large and small to celebrate our love of film and our talented filmmakers. No matter where you are, you’re not that far from a screenings; 700 across Canada. How about Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) Presents 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould (guest TBD), and Double Happiness with director Mina Shum in attendance. The Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa Presents Werewolf with director Ashley McKenzie in attendance. REEL CANADA in Toronto Presents “The Masters: a Discussion with Deepa Mehta and Alanis Obomsawin”. Media film in Montreal Presents La Passion d’Augustine (The Passion of Augustine) with director Léa Pool in attendance. Emerging Lens Film Festival in Halifax Presents Brown Girl Begins with director Sharon Lewis in attendance. And here is a complete listing of films screening in Ontario.
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