The two biggest dumping grounds in the Hollywood release calendar year are the month of August and the six or so weeks after the Oscars, before the big summer blockbusters start showing up toward the end of April. Welcome to the shit show.
The good news is right now we’re also getting the stragglers, foreign releases, and documentaries, too. Sometimes when a studio has no idea how to market a movie, that means something squeezing through we don’t see very often. And every once in awhile we get high-end genre gems like The Girl With All The Gifts and Get Out, both of which arrived last weekend and are still in cinemas.
And how about those Oscars, eh? A lot of deserving winners, and a conclusion that’s never likely to be forgotten. I was thrilled when it turned out Moonlight was the Best Picture winner, since I liked it a lot more than I did La La Land. And Moonlight‘s unprecedented run in local cinemas, coming back again and again, continues with the film reinstalled in the Oxford this week.
Carbon Arc has a couple of terrific choices for Friday night: A Man Called Ove, the Swedish contender for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards
and that’s followed by Ashley McKenzie’s Werewolf, the Cape Breton-shot drama about lovers and drug addicts scraping out a bleak life together.
It’s a powerful, uniquely directed film. Expect big things from McKenzie in the future. Go to the Carbon Arc site for more details on these films, though by the time you read this, the advance tickets will be off sale. If you want to see the them, make sure you show up early for the few available at the door.
The Women Making Waves conference runs from Friday through Sunday in Halifax, full of workshops, screenings, and meetings to highlight female filmmakers, their work, and to promote future opportunities. It’s organized by Women In Film and Television – Atlantic, and you can go here for the full schedule.
On Saturday is the inaugural and introductory Halifax Black Film Festival, which is showing just one film: Maya Angelou – And Still I Rise. It’s a solid documentary—fans of PBS American Masters would have seen it on TV last week—but if you haven’t seen it it’s very much worth your time, and one of the directors, Rita Coburn Whack, will be present for a Q & A. It’s at the Spatz Theatre. For more information, go here.
Speaking of documentaries on African American icons, I have it on good authority that I Am Not Your Negro is a high quality and thoughtful look at the poet and novelist James Baldwin.
Logan will be Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the Canadian mutant, Wolverine. I always liked his commitment to the character, but the films in which he’s been featured haven’t always been very good. The advance buzz for this one, an R-rated drama set in a grim future, is humming.
When I saw Paterson at the Atlantic Film Festival, I really liked it. The Jim Jarmusch picture stars Adam Driver as a bus driver named Paterson, living in Paterson, New Jersey. It’s delightfully weird.
A few movies this weekend opening only in the ‘burbs—no offense, ‘burb dwellers, but this means much less chance of my getting out to see them—include Before I Fall, a young-adult thriller that feels like one part Groundhog Day and one part Final Destination.
Then there’s The Shack, a film with a marketing plan that feels like a bit of a Trojan horse. This is a faith-based drama, where a bereaved father hangs out with incarnations of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. I’ll let you decide, based on this trailer, whether that’s entirely clear. Maybe the presence of Tim McGraw is the tip-off.
Table 19 is a wedding comedy with a pretty fun trailer, and it stars Anna Kendrick, who’s always worth a look, but the buzz for this one has not been positive.
Also in cinemas this weekend, the horror movie Incarnate, the anime Sailor Moon The Movie: The Promise Of The Rose, and the animated musical Ballerina. You know, for kids!