Friday, December 05, 2014

top 2014 films | dec 5 + 6 etc | force majeur + babadook

The YEFF is upon us. Lots of the year's top films show up on local screens from mid-November through mid-January, and year-end Top Ten lists appear to help ferret out the best films we've missed during the rest of the year.

Two that may be showing up on such lists are Force Majeur and Babadook. Both onscreen today and tomorrow at the Vancouver International Film Centre (aka VanCity).

(aka TURIST, 2014, Sweden, Ruben Ostland)
fri dec 5 @ 8:20
sat dec 6 @ 4:45
mon dec 8 @ 6:30
thu dec 11 @ 8:20
sun dec 28 @ 3:45

VIFC: "If you enjoyed the psychological intensity of Denmark’s The Hunt you must check out this riveting Swedish drama, another film about a middle-aged man whose world crumbles around him. In this case the inciting incident is an avalanche at a ski resort. It’s a near-miss for Tomas, his wife Ebba, and their two young children. But their narrow escape is over-shadowed by Tomas’s instinctive urge to run for his life without a second thought for his family. It’s a sight Ebba just can’t shake… Tomas, for his part, is inclined to deny it ever happened. “It’s very interesting,” he says. “You have your perspective, but that’s not how I experienced it.” Unfortunately this belatedly brave stab at historical revisionism can’t persuade his wife to love him or his kids to trust him, and over the next few days the ski holiday comes to resemble a kind of three-star purgatory of humiliation, dejection and rejection for all concerned, but especially the red-faced patriarch. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Force Majeure is how funny it is. Admittedly the humour is rather uncomfortable, especially if you’re a husband and father and not entirely confident of how you’d react if push came to shove and a wall of snow, ice and rock was hurtling down on your head*, but fast-rising writer-director Ruben Ostlund (Play, 2011) has fashioned what amounts to a comedy of manners here – or perhaps the opposite, because there’s nothing like a brush with mortality to make good manners look irrelevant."
* the avalanche, incidentally, is a cameo from Whistler-Blackcomb’s snowpack, and very impressive it is too.

"An ice cold knockout. Brilliantly perceptive and frostily funny." Aaron Hills, Village Voice

"Damning, frequently hilarious study of imploding male ego." AV Club

"Visually stunning. Emotionally perceptive." Variety

(2014, Australia, Jennifer Kent)
fri dec 5 @ 10:35
sat dec 6 @ 10:15
fri dec 12 @ 10:40
sat dec 13 @ 10:30
sat dec 27 @ 9:30

VIFC: "The most impressive debut feature of the year also happens to be the scariest. This tale of an anguished single mom (an incredible performance from Essie Davies), her monstrous six-year-old, and the storybook bogeyman who terrorizes their home is guaranteed to chill you to the bone.
Jennifer Kent is clearly well schooled in horror movies. The Babadook at different times will remind you of Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, of Rosemary's Baby and Repulsion, Poltergeist, Don't Look Now, Paperhouse and Candyman, The Shining, Psycho and The Exorcist. Yet she has synthesised these influences into something organic and original, a movie that is at once a psychological study of mental breakdown and a grisly fable, a film about grief and parenthood that is also a movie about horror movies — why we are drawn to confront the darkness, and why we shrink from it."

"What's been delivered here is a potent brew of psychological terror mixed with a genuinely spooky story, making The Babadook easily the best horror movie of recent years."
George Byrne, Irish Independent

"Manages to deliver real, seat-grabbing jolts while also touching on more serious themes of loss, grief and other demons that can not be so easily vanquished."
Scott Foundas, Variety

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