Dark, delirious and made under the sign of Scorsese, Rhymes for Young Ghouls is the angriest, punkiest, least "Canadian" Canadian movie you’ll see all year, and an electrifying feature debut from writer-director Jeff Barnaby. "Weed princess" Aila (the sensational Kawennahere Devery Jacobs) is used to looking out for herself on the Red Crow res, but when her old man gets out from prison things only get harder…
"It’s a tough, gritty piece of work, long on the violence but invested with the poetic sensibility you find in a Cormac McCarthy novel or Tom Waits song… [It] marks the arrival of a genuine cinematic intelligence, one sensitive to life’s more intimate, tender, even spiritual moments yet not averse to slamming the sledgehammer as circumstances require."—James Adams, Globe and Mail
’Exhibiting a vivid eye for potent imagery and a striking sense of the downtrodden vitriol [Rhymes For Young Ghouls] is a tremendously rousing film that announces the arrival of an exciting new voice in Canadian cinema." Scott A Gray, exclaim
"It has been years, probably since Xavier Dolan emerged with I Killed My Mother, since a Canadian director has debuted with a movie as impressive as Jeff Barnaby and Rhymes for Young Ghouls." Marina Antunes, Row Three
Lisa Barros D'Sa, Glenn Leyburn
Forget the Troubles and get your "Teenage Kicks" instead! Set in 70s Belfast, this is an appropriately unconventional biopic dedicated to the gregarious godfather of Northern Irish punk, record shop entrepreneur Tom Hooley - the man who launched The Undertones (then gave them away for an autograph).
"An impasssioned, funny and monumentally likeable myth-making comedy." Time Out
Greta Gerwig is delightful - a kind of modern day Annie Hall - in this lovely, deft, funny/sad movie from Noah Baumbach. Frances Halladay is 27, living in New York, and not really pulling things together yet. She’s in the wrong job, and her most intimate friend is her flatmate, who’s moving out. Simultaneously optimistic and melancholy, romantic and unsentimental, it’s the finest comedy of the year.
"An irresistibly lovely, melancholic acknowledgment that love is impossible, and that the more candid a young woman is, the less eligible she becomes in the standard romantic sweepstakes… Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig’s work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema." John Anderson, Wall Street Journal
"There’s an optimism and an empathy in “Frances Ha” that feels genuine and earned.The plot doesn’t build to a gigantic, sweeping climax, but the understated final moments made me happier than any other filmgoing experience I’ve had all year." Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
Barbara Steele became an icon for horror fans with her double role in this Mario Bava’s unforgettable debut feature. She plays both the innocent Katia, and the witch-vampiress Asa Vajda, who returns to life in 1830, 200 years after she was tortured and executed.
Shot in black and white by the former cinematographer, this gothic classic has an extraordinary creepy atmosphere and shots that imprint themselves on the back of your skull, almost with the force of that mask of death which gave the film its original Italian title.
"One of the movies that remain with me probably stronger than anything is Black Sunday… there’s a lot of old films – [Bava’s] in particular – where the vibe and the feeling is what it’s about… [t]he feeling’s a mixture of eroticism, of sex, of horror and starkness of image, and to me that is more real than what most people would consider realism in films…" Tim Burton
Beauty Is Embarrassing is a funny, irreverent, joyful and inspiring documentary featuring the life and current times of one of America’s most important artists, Wayne White. "One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I’ve had this year." Leonard Maltin
"One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I’ve had this year." Leonard Maltin
"White is such a hysterically funny, wacky and weird guy that the documentarian need only train his camera upon him in order to make it entertaining. It is a genuinely hilarious film, but it’s funny because of the pathos too, the sadness in White that makes him want to live everyday to its fullest, to make a silly puppet because it’s fun, and why not today?" Katie Walsh, The Playlist
"This movie ought to be required viewing, not just for Oscar voters but for every aspiring artist wondering how to build a life doing what they love. Beauty is Embarrassing isn’t simply a testament to the talents of Wayne White; it’s a snapshot of the ways in which creativity and the business of daily living can be inseparably fused." Elina Shatkin, LA Magazine
Set on the outskirts of Bradford in Northern England, the second feature from Clio Barnard (The Arbor) follows two young lads, Arbor (Conner Chapman) and Swifty (Shaun Thomas), and their dealings with a local scrap dealer. Boldly cinematic and featuring astonishing performances from the two leads, The Selfish Giant cements Barnard’s reputation as a visionary filmmaker.
"Devastating in its simplicity and honesty, The Selfish Giant is a colossus of feeling." Inkoo Kang, Village Voice
"Boldly, broodingly cinematic… jaggedly moving." Guy Lodge, Variety
"A film of such power and beauty that there will be no escaping it." David Thomson, New Republic
When Matt Berninger, the lead singer of The National, invited his under-achieving younger brother Tom along as a roadie on the band’s European tour, he thought he was doing him a favour. What he hadn’t banked on was Tom filming the whole thing - even as he screws up the most rudimentary tasks asked of him, like catching the tour bus, for example… A tour film like no other, this is oddly touching, very honest, and very funny.
"Poignant and hilarious." NME
"Brutal, hilarious, unexpectedly honest." The Hollywood Reporter
"The best documentary we have seen all year." The New York Observer
Paris, 1911: When a pterodactyl hatches in a museum and begins terrorising the town, clueless detective Caponi (Lellouche) seeks the connection between the prehistoric menace, a mad old professor (Nercessian) conducting resurrection experiments and intrepid reporter Adèle Blanc-Sec (Bourgoin), whose pursuit of ancient artefacts is a desperate personal mission…
A whimsical, madcap action adventure romp in the spirit of Indiana Jones from the director of The Fifth Element, Nikita and Leon: The Professional.
"This is utterly delightful from start to finish, thanks to a witty script, gorgeous production design, enjoyably pacey direction and a wonderful performance from Louise Bourgoin. Highly recommended and one of the best films of the year. Don’t leave before the end credits." Matthew Turner, This Is London
Angad Singh Bhalla
Herman Wallace has spent 40 years imprisoned in solitary confinement in a six-foot-by-nine-foot cell for a crime many believe he never committed. The injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art are explored in Herman’s House, a feature documentary from first-time director Angad Singh Bhalla, that follows the unlikely friendship between Jackie Sumell a New York artist, and Herman Wallace, one of America’s most famous inmates, as they collaborate on an acclaimed art project.
"Conceptually inventive, poetic and original, Herman’s House achieves a great feat in constructing a compelling narrative about a man we never meet and goals that aren’t quite reached… In the end, none can contain this unique and moving story, and we are left with our own imaginations, completely activated by this magnificent film." Ezra Winton, Art Threat
"As powerful as it is heartrending." Serena Whitney, Exclaim
The location of the world’s largest—possibly toxic—gold-mine pit, Guatemala is also the homeland of the Maya and their decidedly holistic cosmology. Frauke Sandig and Eric Black’s kaleidoscopically beautiful documentary follows the daily and ceremonial lives of six articulate young Maya as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of C21 capitalism.
"Of course one cannot simply reverse European history and the creation of the “Self”, which is also tied to liberation from the forces of nature. But one can empathize with a philosophy that does not separate the individual from nature. This different relationship to nature is better described with pictures than with words. Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth does exactly this, with clouds that glow from within, rivers with power one can sense, or mountains, which exude an inner peace. The camerawork creates settings that inspire fascination in a hitherto unknown world."
Peter Gutting, kino-zeit
"It is an exquisitely, achingly beautiful film – wonderfully conceived and sensitively filmed. I particularly appreciated the references to ancestral dreams and memories, sequences that ring truer than any film I’ve ever seen on Maya spirituality… The sequences on the war were particularly poignant. One of the communities I lived in for 6 months was completely wiped out—I still don’t know if anyone survived. It is my sincerest hope that some lived to tell their stories like the wonderful people in this film. What strikes me is the resilience of the Maya in the face of powerful and concerted efforts to destroy or alter it. I was profoundly affected by this film and will carry many of its images with me to the end of my days."
Allen J. Christenson, Author of Popul Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya
Special Panel Discussion will follow the screening with Director Doug Blush (via skype) and in person, Heather Stewart, MDABC Speakers Bureau and Chris Gorman, President of the BC Psychiatric Association Executive and host of radio show about mental health called Beautiful Minds
Eschewing medical explanations and expert opinions, “Of Two Minds” examines the experience of bipolar disorder through firsthand testimony from three people coping with it in varying ways. Following these individuals over a three-year period, helmers Doug Blush and Lisa Klein create three intertwined narratives with additional interwoven strands, tracing fascinating processes of adaptation.
"Intelligent, compassionate." Variety
The great Argentinean actor Ricardo Darin (The Secret In Their Eyes) stars as a taciturn hardware storekeeper, Roberto, who takes pity on a newly-arrived Chinese immigrant, dumped on the side of the road by an unscrupulous taxi driver. No good deed goes unpunished, and Roberto’s solitary life is turned upside down.
"This is a gem of a film that once seen, will never be forgotten." Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile
"It is hardly possible to suggest how involving this story becomes… To a degree unusual in most films, I became involved in the fates of these men…I cared." 4 stars, Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A Spanish Amelie… Delightful… that rare gem." Adam Fresco, Flicks
"Irish step dancing receives exuberant treatment in the superbly crafted documentary Jig. This highly involving film deftly captures the unique physical, emotional and financial aspects of diving into competitive Irish dance, with the participants’ addictive immersion the overwhelming takeaway. […] As for the dancing itself, it’s nothing short of dazzling." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
"Irish step dancing […] receives exuberant treatment in the superbly crafted documentary Jig. This highly involving film deftly captures the unique physical, emotional and financial aspects of diving into competitive Irish dance, with the participants’ addictive immersion the overwhelming takeaway. […] As for the dancing itself, it’s nothing short of dazzling." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
"Amusing, heartbreaking and mind-boggling." The Boston Herald"
"Glorious! Spellbound meets Lord of the Dance." Easy Living
Presented in association with Black History Month, Music for Mandela explores the role music played in the remarkable life of one of the world’s few genuinely heroic politicians. Musical performances include celebrated artist Vusi Mahlasela, Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and new music from the internationally acclaimed Soweto Gospel Choir. Interviews include the legendary BB King, Sean Paul, Estelle, Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins and Mandela’s grandson, hip hop artist Bambatha Mandela.
Live musical tribute performed post screening by Benin musician Yoro Noukoussi.
Candida Brady’s documentary looks at the growing global crisis of trash, highlighting how human health and the environment are threatened by the pollution from burning and discarding waste. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and beautiful: an interplay of human stories and ecological disruption. But it ends on a message of hope: showing how the risk to our survival can be averted through sustainable pathways that provide economic solutions while protecting our air, water and food resources
"Crucial viewing for realists and alarmists both." 5 stars! Joe Neumeier, NY Daily News
"One of the tasks of a lifetime is to become familiar with the great works of Shakespeare," wrote Roger Ebert, in his 4-star review for Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed, full-length film of the Bard’s most enduring tragedy. He continued: "Branagh’s version moved me, entertained me and made me feel for the first time at home in that doomed royal court…. His ’’Hamlet’’ is long but not slow, deep but not difficult, and it vibrates with the relief of actors who have great things to say, and the right ways to say them."
"Not only the best filmed adaptation of Hamlet I have ever seen, but the best cinematic expression that I have come across of any of Shakespeare’s plays." James Berardinelli, Reelviews
"As star and ringmaster, Branagh gets to the heart of Hamlet and goes to admirable lengths to take his audience there, too." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"100% Shakespeare and 100% cinema." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world’s most influential designers. Throughout their long career, their motto has been, ’If you can’t find it, design it.’ From graphics to interiors to products and corporate identities, the film brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.
Part Hitchcockian mystery thriller, part quirky new-wave comedy, this free-wheeling Quebecois audience-pleaser riffs on our brave new digitally interconnected world with nimble wit and an underlying seriousness. A coat-check girl follows a misplaced key into a turpid conspiracy and finds romance - and political engagmnent - en route.
"A genre mashup that keeps audiences amused from beginning to end." Boyd van Hoeij, Variety
Edward A Burger
VANCOUVER PREMIERE - An intimate look at students and masters living in scattered retreats dotting China’s Zhongnan Mountain range today. These peaks have been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor. Filmed on location in China with humor and compassion, presenting the hardships and joy of their everyday lives among the clouds.