May is going to be a massive month at the movies. The month has a lot to offer: action, explosions, car chases, love stories, dark comedy, sci-fi, indie darlings and capped off with a thriller/suspense film.
Lord of the Flies meets Roald Dahl in Robert Wilson and Jason Lapeyre’s I Declare…
A powerful story based on one family’s survival of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, The Impossible stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor and is directed by J.A. Bayona.
Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons begin their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise. But on the morning of December 26th, as the family relaxes around the pool after their Christmas festivities the night before, a terrifying roar rises up from the center of the earth. As Maria freezes in fear, a huge wall of black water races across the hotel grounds toward her.
Now that the show is back (!!!!!!), I’m afraid I’ve forgotten who died last season. It seemed as if there were a lot of deaths at the end of Season 2, but my mind can’t remember, and so far most of my favorites are accounted for so I can’t be bothered to care.
March was a mixed bag! Audiences were polarized by films like Jack the Giant Slayer, Oz the Great and Powerful, GI Joe: Retaliation and festival darling Spring Breakers. There was no shortage of stinkers: 21 & Over, The Last Exorcism Part II, and The Host. On a positive note, this writer found his first movie to love, Stoker. How does April look? Let’s find out!
Molly Maxwell is the 19th feature film to be developed, produced, and financed under CFC Features, an initiative of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC). Molly Maxwell was written and directed by Sara St. Onge (The Funeral, Lobotomobile, Turkey), marking her feature film directorial debut. The film opened at the Museum of Modern Art’s 2013 Canadian Front series in New York a few weeks back, and recently was awarded the Youth Jury Prize at the BUFF Film Festival in Sweden.
Inspired by a true story, The Sapphires follows four vivacious, young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote mission as they learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertains the U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Cynthia (Tapsell), Gail (Mailman), Julie (Mauboy) and Kay (Sebbens) are discovered by Dave (O’Dowd), a good-humored talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. As their manager, Dave books the sisters their first true gig giving them their first taste of stardom, and travels them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops. The film is directed by Wayne Blair. Reminder: The Sapphires opens in Toronto at the Cineplex Odeon Varsity and VIP Cinema on April 5th.
Hou Hsiao Hsien is a master of cinema. Years he has spent developing and honing his capabilities as a filmmaker. There are only a few contemporary filmmakers out there you can realistically group into this category; Hou Hsiao Hsien is one. Abbas Kiarostami (Certifed Copy, Like Someone In Love), Michael Haneke (Amour, Funny Games), and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Syndromes and a Century) are others. Make no mistake about it, this is a select and rare group of talented individuals, but one that Hou Hsiao Hsien is most definitely apart of.
When Woody Allen released Bananas in 1971, it was greeted with a benevolent review by legendary film critic Vincent Canby of The New York Times, which concluded: “Any movie that attempts to mix together love, the Cuban revolution, the C.I.A., Jewish mothers, J. Edgar Hoover and a few other odds and ends (including a sequence in which someone orders 1,000 grilled cheese sandwiches) is bound to be a little weird – and most welcome.” After the critical appreciation of Allen’s first film, Take the Money and Run, MGM contacted him to make an adaptation of Richard Powell’s comic novel Don Quixote, U.S.A. Allen’s first idea was to turn it into a short story, which got turned down by both Robert Morse and The New Yorker. Consequently, Allen re-wrote the story into a film. If you’ve never seen the film, Bananas, Canby’s synopsis gives you a good idea of the texture of it: pure hilarity. Allen catapults himself out of Take the Money and Run and, gathering both momentum and confidence, pulls off scenes that were too absurdist to try in his first creative endeavor, including the above mentioned scene where Allen goes into town to order food for his whole troupe of rebels and begins with ordering 1,000 grilled cheese sandwiches. This scene is exemplary of Allen’s increasingly bold emulations of his comedic idols: The Marx Brothers; Charlie Chaplin; and Bob Hope. In this case, the sandwich passage is highly reminiscent of the famous Marx Brothers “stateroom scene” where Groucho orders an enormous amount of food (mostly eggs) to his tiny ship cabin in A Night at the Opera.