Sunday, March 23, 2008

NOW PLAYING: Soul Food Movies onscreen in Vancouver

Just got back from U2 3D at the IMAX theatre downtown.  Now there's an Easter film: listened to 40 on the drive home, I've Eastered.  "I will sing, sing a new song..."  (Not that 40 is in the film, just so you know. With Or Without You closes the concert, so I left the theatre with another near-Biblical phrase running through my head, "And you give yourself away, and you give, and you give, and you give yourself away..."

The movie I've been telling everybody to see is IN BRUGES, which is at the Scotiabank Theatre (damn, I can hardly bring myself to type that: I can't recommend a movie without advertising a fucking bank?!).  The movie's as crude and crass as that sentence, funny as hell, and ends up serious soul food.  I've already seen it twice, in the theatre: I don't do that too often.

ATONEMENT is at Denham Place at 9:10 each night: doesn't completely work, but the opening is complex and well-observed, and what follows has stayed with me and won my admiration in retrospect, though it didn't play well for me while watching.  THE DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY is the most thoroughly cinematic film of 2007, made from an unfilmable memoir: so much for words like "impossible" and "can't" and "wouldn't work."  NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and THERE WILL BE BLOOD hang in there, both stories that tell tough truth in portraying real evil (though I wish the gospel had been something but a sham in the latter: still, should have expected - nobody who makes movies has much time for healing evangelists except maybe Robert Duvall).  

Of course, the soul food feast is at the video stores these days, INTO THE WILD chief among them.  They say IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH does more than just reference David and Goliath in the title, and the flawed apocalyptic actioner I AM LEGEND, which goes out of its way to name-check God. GONE BABY GONE works its way to one heck of an ethical dilemma, I haven't seen AUGUST RUSH - has a pretty "not-quite-bit-almost-straight-to-video" vibe, but I guess it's set in or around a storefront church? Docs: IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON invokes wonder and even some capital-T Transcendence, while LAKE OF FIRE looks at Roe v Wade, church v abortion stuff.  And then there's THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD and I'M NOT THERE, cinematic masterpieces that may or may not contain traces of soul food.  And Danny Boyle's SUNSHINE got overlooked, but I was sad to see it vanish before I could see it: I'll let you know what I think when I get round to it, hopefully soon. And of course it's become obligatory to see JUNO and ONCE, two big-hearted small films that have ended up with huge word of mouth bordering on hype: don't let that put you off, they're terrific little movies, just let them be what they are and enjoy.  Oh, and LARS & THE REAL GIRL belongs on that list as well.

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