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Amour is cinema art, Quartet, The Last Stand and Camera Shy entertain

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THE LAST STAND: Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger still has it. But he’s been smart in his comeback. He’s playing an old guy, a cop who left the noise of Los Angeles for a sleepy town in New Mexico, down near the border, where he is the sheriff.  After his political wars, family scandal and divorce, he probably understands that urge to get away to where it’s quiet. He’s comfortable; even natural in the role.

 

Things don’t stay quiet of course. Not far away, In Las Vegas, the FBI is transferring a South American drug kingpin under super-high security. His cronies free him with an elaborate escape plan and send him driving south in a souped-up car. (He’s a race car driver on the side, so speeds of 197 mph are common).  Other cronies are at the border building him a makeshift crossing but to get there he has to come through Arnold’s town.  This is a modern western complete with guys shooting from roof tops and the lone prisoner in the town jail deputized to help in the coming battle. The scenes of gun play, under the direction of Jee-woon Kim of South Korea, are massive and excessive, a gun-lover’s dream. It’s also, and this is hard to say these days, a good example of how exciting gun action in the movies can be. This one gets silly at times but with great scenes like the escape,  the pursuit and a car chase through a cornfield, it works. (International Village and many suburban theatres) 3 out of 5 

CAMERA SHY: A low-budget wonder from Vancouver that’s inventive and very funny.  And doesn’t show at all that it was made for only $300,000. Its strength is the concept itself and the clever script that brought it to life. A corrupt city councilor (yes here in Vancouver), played by Nicolas Wright, is pushing a new casino. For his efforts he gets an invitation to enter federal politics and his comeuppance. A cameraman starts following him filming everything he does, starting in a motel room where he’s having a bit of sex with his secretary. Only he can see the guy and that drives him to bouts of paranoia.

 

His life starts cracking apart. His wife leaves him. The developer he’s been helping won’t come up with the money he needs. He accidentally kills his secretary’s boyfriend. But he keeps seeing  the cameraman and a psychologist attributes that to Klapstock Syndrome, a malady director Mark Sawers and his co-writer Doug Barber dreamt up.  The councilor then realizes he’s actually in a movie and he’ll just have to write his way out of his predicament. Meta like a Charlie Kaufman film, with quirky humor like the Coen Brothers and lots of local references and sights, Camera Shy is terrific light entertainment.  (VanCity Theatre) 3  out of 5

Playing in tandem with …

THE END OF TIME: Or maybe before there was time. Creation stories all over the world start there. Many languages use the same word for time and weather. Maybe time didn’t matter to the ancients.  That would make our obsession with the clock, punctuality and other aspects of time relatively new. Maybe even a burden.  It’s thoughts like those that occupy Peter Mettler of Ontario in this new film, which the Toronto Film Festival has put on its Top 10 Canadian list for 2012 but is likely to prove elusive to many. That’s because there’s no story. There is only contemplation on the subject of time. It’s delivered through narration, a few talking heads and many eye-catching images. 

 

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