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Bond shoots again, Suffragettes fight the power and a boy named Theeb tops them all

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MISS YOU ALREADY: A woman’s picture, chick flick, whatever you call it this is a weepie. For two reasons: the story being  performed and the quality of the film. It’s about life-long friendship but doesn’t give us a lot of scenes showing it working. It’s about strains on friendship but uses such maudlin events to illustrate you’ll likely to turn away. It does have the courage to explore the impact of cancer but pretty well lets it take over the film. 

 

Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette are good as the two friends. They’re in London and have been close since Drew’s family moved there from the US and Toni befriended and defended her in grade school. They shared everything and lost their virginity about the same time. Now Drew is trying have a baby with so little success that her husband goes off to work on an oil rig to earn money for fertility treatments. Toni is diagnosed with cancer, gets her hair cut off and breasts removed. Her husband loses interest. She gets angry, demanding and finally loose (with a young barman). Can the friendship survive? Can a trip to Bronte country help? Maybe not if they argue loudly and Drew slips on the moor hitting her pregnant belly on a rock. It seems so manufactured especially when death and birth are so closely juxtaposed. Catherine Hardwicke directed the first Twilight film and a better tale of female friendship, Thirteen. (International Village and two suburban theatres) 2 ½ out of 5

Three film festivals …

VJFF: Vancouver’s Jewish Film Festival is on until Thursday at the 5th Avenue Theatre. That’s got to be a bit counterproductive because the theatre now bars anybody under 19. Teens should be a prime target for some of these films. Five show the need for co-operation between Jews and Palestinians and another one almost does. Dough is a popular comedy about a Muslim apprentice in a Jewish bakery who accidentally drops his pot into the dough and finds sales booming.

There are films about abortion activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler, singer-actor Theodore Bikel and Claude Lanzmann relating how he made his Holocaust magnum opus, Shoah. For more see www.vjff.org

VAFF: The 19th Vancouver Asian Film Festival is on through the weekend at The International Village. They’re showing 37 films (short and feature) grouped into nine programs dealing broadly with Asian identity, both personal and cultural. Visit www.vaff.org for more information.

Almost three quarters are in English, as is the one I’ve seen,THE TREE INSIDE  written and co-directed by Michelle Kim here in Vancouver. This is a highly personal work based on her own experiences. Her film character can’t seem to keep a romantic relationship going for more than a few months or weeks. When she quite by chance gets linked to a new man --a teacher (Casey Manderson) who asks her to pretend for a few minutes that they’re a couple so he can escape a couple of annoying students—a new liaison starts up.

 

Can it keep going? The film follows it for a whole year, using the backdrop of the trees through the seasons to mirror its changes. That looks fine but means more to Kim than me. I found other true glimpses of Vancouver more telling. You see lots of the sights, the beach, forest trails, the public market, and hear a great conversation with a guy about to tear down a heritage home. And the lovers carry on a superb argument. He accuses; she judges, exactly as real couple do. That’s the highlight for me. Some of the story is disjointed and the sound is sometimes ragged. But the city looks wonderful.  2 ½ out of 5

VIMFF: This is a brief early tip to the annual Mountain Film Festival in case you want to catch the opening film on Thursday. It’s called Jumbo Wild and documents the long battle over a proposed ski development in a still-wild valley in the Kootenay region. The battle has been fierce and the film was well-received at VIFF. It plays at the Rio Theatre. There’s more information about it and the festival at http://www.vimff.org/

 

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