Tuesday, March 27, 2007

NOW PLAYING: Big Screens (Mar 27)

Currently (or very soon to be currently) on screen at Vancouver-area theatres

Updated Mar 27 2007

AMAZING GRACE is – or ought to be – the new buzz-film among Christian movie buffs, and it opened this past weekend at the Fifth Avenue and SilverCities Riverport and Coquitlam. Sure it’s got some melodrama, and the script may be over-written at one or two points, but those are quibbles: the story of William Wilberforce’s struggle to outlaw the slave trade stirred me deeply, and I recommend it. Superb companion piece to AMISTAD.

LIMITED RUN ENGAGEMENTS: Don't miss ADAM’S APPLES (Mar 30/31, Apr 1/2, 5) at the VanCity Theatre, Vancouver International Film Centre. Sounds utterly fascinating. At Pacific Cinematheque, a Saturday matinee of OPAL DREAM, charming kid-friendly Aussie fare that charmed CT Movies editor Mark Moring more thoroughly than it charmed yours truly (2pm, Mar 31). Then at the 'theque, a rare showing of Jacques Rivette's two-part, five-and-a-half hour Saint Joan hagiopic JEANNE LA PUCELLE. When I bumped into Jacques over at Bob's Subs the other day, he said "The two great intimidating films about Joan of Arc, by Dreyer and Bresson, are purely poetic. I was aiming for a more narrative approach - although I hope there are poetic moments." PART I: THE BATTLES is Wed Apr 4 at 7:30, followed by PART II: THE PRISONS on Thu Apr 5 at 7:30. The Joans are available at Videomatica

THE LIVES OF OTHERS (Fifth Avenue and Cinemark Tinseltown) is next on my gotta-see list, a German film about life during the cold war. PAN’S LABYRINTH continues at the Clova and Granville 7 cinemas, the best general release film of 2006 in my opinion: visually brilliant, see it before it leaves the big screens.

The trailer for BREACH (Granville 7) sure did catch my interest, a fact-based story about a man accused of spying against the US government that foregrounds his impassioned (fanatical?) Catholic faith. The fun-looking FIDO (PLEASANTVILLE meets SHAUN OF THE DEAD?), lensed by Vancouver cinematographer and friend of Reel Light Jan Keisser, opened recently to swell reviews and continues at a ton of theatres; Colossus Langley, Paramount Vancouver, SilverCity Coquitlam, SilverCity Mission, SilverCity Riverport, Station Square 7, and Empire Studio 12 Guildford.

The PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS continues at Granville 7 and Eagle Ridge (as well as throughout America, if their constitution is anything to go by). If you've got any compassion, you'll feel for Will Smith's can't-get-a-break eventually homeless single dad; if you've got ulcers, they'll only get worse. There's gospel music in a church shelter that suggests some sort of transcendent Hope, yet I can't help thinking at another level that if this film's got religion, it's pretty much just Horatio Alger materialism. But if you're sceptical about Will, dont be: what chemistry between him and his (on-screen and off-screen) son!

CHILDREN OF MEN stripped out most of what made Anglican P.D. James' most distinctively Christian novel distinctively Christian, but that doesn't stop many Christians (and everybody else) from celebrating it: I loved the dystopian vision of the first third, but the more it became a chase movie, the less it stuck with me - think of it as a sci-fi APOCALYPTO: Tinseltown.

THE QUEEN has reigned almost half a year now, currently enthroned at the Empire Granville 7, Helen Mirren is in ultra-understated mode in a smart, carefully calibrated character study. More royalty at Tinseltown and Park & Tilford: LAST KING OF SCOTLAND borne aloft on the shoulders Forrest Whittaker.

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