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Sunday, January 16

Movies: Ghostface is back; Belle meets the Internet and some Cold War history

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First, some elements to take into account. Dennis Hopper’s Lost Movie Unexpectedly, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, it is now at the Vancity Theatre. He directed it in Vancouver and many say it is his masterpiece.

The Cinematheque has three functions more than MAD., the award-winning coming-of-age film that brought Quebec’s Jean-Marc Vallée to our attention. and the Hollywood one. He did Wild Y Dallas Buyers Club down there. Unfortunately, he passed away last month. The film was out of circulation for a long time because the rights to the music had expired.

Iran’s shooting down of that Ukrainian plane two years ago has made headlines due to an anniversary and some court rulings. On Saturday afternoon, the Río Theater projects a film on the subject called broken by the wind. Joseph Akrami, an opponent of the regime, did it to focus on the victims and their families. He and a grieving father will speak later. Admission is free, by donation only, but you must RSVP.

And in other places, we have these…

Scream: 2½ stars

Prism: 3½

drunk: 3

Italian studies: 2

SCREAM: Twenty-five years after the first and 11 years since the last, here’s another Ghostface killing spree. That’s number five overall, not with Wes Craven directing this time but very much in his style by a couple of acolytes, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. They have enhanced the meta feel with lots of references to what came before, to other horror movies and the rules they follow and with characters who know the genre and analyze it. One calls this a “requel”, related to but not exactly a “sequel”. It’s immensely smart and entertaining until it spirals out of control in a flurry of violence at the end. That’s also entertaining, of course, for the fans who are introduced to the movie.

Courtesy of Paramount Films

It has new characters, a couple of estranged sisters, boyfriends, and others, in addition to the so-called “legacy characters” that have been present in all the movies. They are played by Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette. They’re drawn back in to help solve this latest terror, which we’ve been told all along is caused by someone with close connections to them. Like in a murder mystery, the killer is among them. Just take out the suspects and see who’s left. Actually, it’s not that easy. The disclosure of an important new piece of information is needed. However, we are hooked by the search and the smart, often funny and self-aware comments that keep coming. (Scotiabank, Marine Gateway, Dunbar and many suburban theaters). 2½ of 5

BELLE: At times, this wonderful animated movie from Japan feels like a modern update of Beauty and the Beast. His name alone hints at that. But this is much more. It is a dazzling journey through the meta-universe that exists on the Internet and the reaction of a young woman. Suzu becomes Bella when she enters through a fictional portal called U. Here, she is too shy to sing in public. There, she’s a huge star singing soaring ballads to stadium-sized audiences as lights flash and fans cheer wildly.

Courtesy of GKids

It is a wish fulfillment and an antidote to the trauma she suffers from losing her mother years before. Mom had tried to save a child who was drowning. Suzu will face a rescue mission of her own. The character you become in the metaverse reflects your mood and self-image. So who is this giant beast that keeps breaking in? He is being chased by an offensive security officer who yells, “Reveal the beast.” Belle senses that there is a story like hers there and sides with her. It’s a rescue and optimistic take on the internet (“Live like another you. Change the world,” he says) and with crowds, a castle, stars and his song sung on the back of a leaping whale, a spectacularly visualized film. from Japan’s latest animation star, Mamoru Hosoda. Belle received a 14-minute standing ovation in Cannes (International Village and suburban theaters). 4 of 5

THE JUMP: For me, this is the best new movie this week, but it will take me some work to find it. Not in Victoria, where it sounds at the Vic, but in other places. Three virtual cinemas in Ontario and Quebec have it. Here is the Link at The Hyland in London, Ontario. Why get in trouble? Because it’s a great history lesson, a whiff of nostalgia, and a really good story. It has several twists, one after another, and first-hand memories of several of the people involved.

Courtesy of the movies we like

It dates back to 1970, the height of the Cold War, and begins, as it often does, with Walter Cronkite. Later, there’s Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and others and a big surprise, a short visit to Canada. A fishing disagreement off the US East Coast had led Russians and Americans to meet on a US Coast Guard vessel. A Lithuanian sailor jumped from his ship to another and asked for asylum. He recalls that he was fed up with Soviet control and was drawn to American consumer goods. The American captain desperately tried to get Washington to tell him what to do and finally succeeded: send him back. The Russian guards manhandled him right on the American ship and when that made the news, it was a scandal. Nixon had to respond. Gerald Ford had to deal with it, and in a new interview, Henry Kissinger praised him for it. The sailor, who we see revisiting the same place where he was beaten, was played by Alan Arkin in a TV movie and on his way home he was sentenced to 10 years in Siberia. But more twists came, one so big you’d write it off in a work of fiction. They changed everything, cast some doubt on the sailor, and illuminated both the reality and the absurdity of the Cold War. Extraordinary. (The Vic and virtual.) 4½ of 5

PRESIDENT: Zimbabwean politics provide multiple storylines for this engaging documentary. Robert Mugabe was overthrown by the military. They promised free elections but failed to deliver under the presidency of Emmerson Mnangagwa. So hopes were high when a valid challenger woke up the crowd four years ago. Nelson Chamisa looks a bit like Eddie Murphy, but has been compared to Nelson Mandela. Curiously, Mugabe endorsed him, though that appears to have been out of spite for the men who fired him.

Courtesy of Route 504PR

The film is a dynamic study of the Chamisa campaign. There’s a lot of drama, like when we heard him say on the phone, “Oh my God. Do not tell me that. There is moxie when your people face the electoral commission. There is corruption, as when your people find polling stations that report more votes for your opponent than the total number of votes cast. There is outrage when the army shoots crowds with water cannons and even live bullets. “Looks like a second hit,” we hear. And there is a lot of tension when the electoral commission takes a long time to announce the results of the elections. Director Camilla Nielsson takes us straight to the side in this climactic contest. (Vancity Theatre.) 3½ of 5

PRISM: This documentary has an intriguing thesis and method. He argues that the very technology used to make movies discriminates against black people. Cameras and film were invented by white people, calibrated for white skin, and therefore people of color don’t look good on film. When they are in the same scene as whites, they look dark. Here are examples where you can barely make out the blacks. And also examples of blacks photographed correctly because they are alone.

Courtesy of The Cinematheque

Photos, film clips and a Skype discussion open up the subject and then take it further: equating it with colonization. An van Dienderen is an art researcher from Belgium, Eléonore Yameogo and Rosine Mbakam are filmmakers from Africa and challenge the argument that technology is neutral. Mbakam says: “I didn’t know who I was. I swallowed the poison that I am nothing.” One was called Hottentot Venus. The North, where the cameras come from, they say, is different from the South. It represents “power” and “domination”. They speak passionately, but is it inherent racism they are talking about? The solutions they offer seem easy enough to institute. (Cinematheque.) 3½ of 5

SHEEP: This movie doesn’t accomplish what it seems to want to do, but it holds you back and entertains you nonetheless. It seems to be a warning about the evils of drug trafficking, a “crisis” according to the script at the beginning and at the end. But for the 100 minutes or so, he doesn’t mention it. Instead, we get a concise, stripped-down, and highly involving survival thriller. It is set in the desert near San Diego, California, sometimes in the small town of Borrego Springs.

Courtesy of Saban Films

A botanical researcher (Lucy Hale) sees a minor plane crash, finds the injured pilot (Leynar Gomez), and soon discovers he was transporting drugs from Mexico. He takes her prisoner; she buys his freedom by offering to show him the way through the desert and they have to learn to trust each other. A local sheriff (Nicholas Gonzalez) is looking for them. His daughter (Olivia Trujillo) wants to help him because she met the botanist before, and the man waiting to receive the drugs gets angry. Everyone is going to interact, up close or from a long distance, and the tension builds nicely as one or the other follows tire tracks and footprints in the sand. There is also a shootout in a rocky canyon and a fire. Writer/director Jesse Harris didn’t give us much in the way of character building, but there’s a tradeoff in adventure. (In digital format and on demand at various sites). 3 of 5

ITALIAN STUDIES: I could never firmly handle this film. She was just as stunned as the central character: a published writer played by Vanessa Kirby. He wanders aimlessly around New York City, striking up conversations here and there, mostly with teenagers, about this and that, their perceptions of the world and how people perceive them. They are talkative and thoughtful, but nothing is established. Are you listening to them as research for a novel you want to write to follow the collection of short stories mentioned in the title? It’s not clear.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

“Erin spent most of her life lost in herself”, she has written and perfectly describes this film. He forgets about his dog tied up outside a hardware store. They ask him: “Are you a Jew?” and replies, “I don’t know.” A character hides marijuana in the card case of library books and smokes it with it. She goes to a loud concert and is attracted to a singer named Lucinda, but then can’t find her. And no one knows her. When she walks alone, she says in voiceover: “I don’t remember who I am. Where am I supposed to go? Have you lost your memory? Probably. How? I’m not sure. Writer-director Adam Leon gives us atmosphere, not answers. (VOD on Rogers, Shaw, Telus, Cineplex and other sites). 2 of 5

Reference-www.nationalobserver.com

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