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Annette Bening does Chekov, Melissa McCarthy goes back to college and DOXA offers up another gem

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Her movie cuts between terrific film clips taken back in the 1980s of dancers on roller skates gliding some amazing routines and then several of them recalling those days in recent interviews. Most of them are black (Venice was a rare beach where blacks could gather) and their leader was the ultra-cool guy known as Mad. He had escaped south Los Angeles where the gangs ruled and became the teacher and role-model among the skaters. For them it was self-expression. For the big crowds that gathered it was a good show. But the Rodney King riots changed it all. People were spooked and the cops and new municipal regulations all but ended it. And what do you know, gentrification arrives too. Even with a few gaps in the story line, the film builds into high drama. (Sunday evening, VanCity Theatre) 4 out of 5

REVENGE:  To put it simply, that’s exactly what this film is about but with an important extra. It’s a salute to the strength of women. You see it amply present in the blonde played by Matilda Lutz who wreaks her vengeance after a rape. Along the way she survives being pushed off a cliff, being impaled on a tree that she falls on, patching herself up with saran wrap or a beer can that she cuts open and heats up in a bonfire and soothing her pain with a bit of peyote. More far out is how she manages to stay alive with all the blood she loses. She leaves a long, wide path of it to be followed. It’s a fantasy; big, colorful, kinetically edited and intent on pushing an attitude not necessarily to make sense.

 

Almost immediately, she evolves from a sex-kitten spending a weekend in a desert house with a married man (Kevin Janssens) into a force of retribution. That’s after two hunting buddies show up; one assumes she’s available and takes her. The host won’t punish him though; he tries to kill her instead. She’s not about to play victim and armed with one of the rifles and a hunting knife gets into a long, tense pursuit among the sand dunes. It culminates back in the house with two rooms and a hallway streaked with blood. It’s extreme but stylish and fun. The director, Coralie Fargeat, is French but the film is in English. (Rio Theatre) 3 out of 5  

ICE BLUE: Another mother-daughter tale just in time for Mother’s Day, but different. It’s a gothic, with a mother who is said to have died some time before but shows up anyway to talk to her daughter. Don’t tell anyone, she cautions. Well, who would believe her anyway; not dad who reveals how she died, not the angry girl at a party who says mom slept with her dad and drove him to suicide. Maybe, Christian, the young bad boy who lures her out of the house where she’s been home schooled and kept out of sight.

 

So, there’s a lot happening but not all of it that makes a lot of sense. Oh, and the water in the lake is toxic and killing the beavers her dad is raising, and the raccoons. This odd bit of Canadiana is from Alberta, filmed in Okotoks, and was created by Sandi Somers, who until now has been making short films. The best I can make of it is to see it as a fever dream by a teen who’s  been cooped up too long. “You’ve hidden my whole life from me,” she yells at her dad. Actors from Vancouver are prominent : Michelle Morgan is the mom,  Sophia Lauchlin Hirt, the girl, and Charlie Kerr, the boyfriend. (The film is playing at The Landmark Theatre in New Westminster) 2 out of 5  

Also now playing …

BREAKING IN: This 3rd film directly timed to Mother’s Day I haven’t seen but hear mixed reports about. Gabrielle Union stars as a mother locked out of her own house while home invaders hold her two children hostage. Nothing will stop her from rescuing them, the publicity blurb says. “A very bland thriller,” a friend who saw it tells me, although I did overhear two elderly ladies says they’re still shaking from all the tension in it. (International Village and 3 suburban theatres)

More in New Movies

Widows of criminals doing it for themselves, the seed of modern politics and the perils of war reporting

Also an ingenious take on the migrant crisis, and a second appreciation this year of Ingmar Bergman that adds to what we already know from the first

Melissa’s forgeries, Rami’s dead-on Freddie Mercury and a cult classic re-imagined

Also: a bit of opera (real with Maria Callas and fictional in Bel Canto) and an ode to BC’s chief geographical feature in This Mountain Life
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