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Chloe meets Greta, Ruben Brandt steals art and Jean-Luc Godard ponders the state of the world in his Image Book

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Some of his images are manipulated with ultra-bright colors maybe to hide the pessimism behind them. The world is in a mess he seems to be saying and art, rather than heal it, has helped it become that way. He’s on about the harm caused by capitalism and inequality. “Society is based on shared murder,” he says rather cryptically at one point. War doesn’t end with victory and “war is therefore divine.” The film is sprinkled with nuggets like that and there’s film to support them. One chapter defends the Arab world which he says the west insists on maligning and he invokes an entirely fictional country to talk about imperialism. Some think Goddard is hectoring. I think he’s free associating, in a kaleidescope. (VanCity Theatre) 3 out of 5

CLIMAX: I haven’t been a big fan of Gaspar Noé. He’s from France, known as an adulte terrible for the twisted ideas in his films and widely celebrated for his visual style. With this film I’ve warmed up to him. There’s energy that never sags, intensity that grabs you and a propulsive momentum. I’m not sure what it’s in aid of, what it means, but it is compelling to watch. A dance troupe is holding auditions and after a long montage of interview clips with the applicants, we get a five-minute sequence of dancing. It’s wild, undirected and vigorous, a party it seems. That’s a sign of what’s coming.

There’ll be lots more dancing, driven by techno-beat hits from a DJ, and short interludes as various dancers talk and reveal their characters. One guy wants to sleep with every woman in the room. Two guys trade very intimate sexual advice and quite a bit of boasting as they laugh happily. Two women discuss the rights and wrongs of having an abortion. One woman has brought her young son and has to watch out for him. They’re all going to be in peril soon because somebody has spiked the sangria with LSD. The film simulates an acid trip perfectly, floating gets surreal, then dark and angtsy. People wander the halls and backrooms. The mood is orgiastic; then turns anarchic. Fights break out when woozy types accuse others of drugging them. The filmmaking by Noé is flashy and playful (the film starts with the end credits and runs the opening credits in the middle) but it’s not easily ascertained if he’s actually trying to say something with it. (VanCity Theatre) 2 ½ out of 5 

Also now playing …

A STAR IS BORN ENCORE VERSION: It only got one of the eight Oscars it was nominated for but here it is again, slightly altered. It’s got 12 extra minutes, mostly extended music sequences. Three of Lady Gaga’s songs are longer. She also sings to Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine in a wedding scene, he’ll sing “Too Far Gone” in his studio and both will be seen composing a brand new song called “Clover”. Usually deleted scenes like that show up on the DVD. The film has grossed over $420 million worldwide. You can find this version at International Village and Cineplex theatres in Coquitlam and Langley.    

APOLLO 11: We’ve just had First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong and the moon landing back in 1969. Now here’s a documentary recalling the mission again but with something special. NASA took high resolution film of the venture, filed it away in a warehouse and never showed it to anyone. Until now. Director Todd Douglas Miller got it from NASA who apparently didn’t even know what it was. It was in unlabelled cans but proved to be 70-millimetre large-format footage, like the best that Hollywood was using at the time. That’s the centerpiece of this film. It wowed people at Sundance and is opening today in just one location in BC, Langley’s Cineplex Colossus, in IMAX. Next week it’s planned to go wider and I’ll have a chance to review it.  

GOALIE: It’s a Canadian film with the life story of a Canadian legend, and yet it arrives in town with almost no advance word. No previews to enable reviews either. So, just the facts. This is a dramatized bio of Terry Sawchuk one of hockey’s most beloved stars back in the original-six days. Mark O'Brien plays him and Kevin Pollak is Jack Adams, the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings when he was there.

 

Sawchuck’s life was filled with drama, personality clashes and medical problems; perfect it would seem for a movie. This one is based on the book “Sawchuk: The Troubles and Triumphs of the World’s Greatest Goalie" by David Dupuis. Adriana Maggs directed and co-wrote the script with her sister Jane. It’s playing at International Village.

A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL: Tyler Perry wants to move on to more serious acting. He was Colin Powell in Vice. Maybe that’s why this is the last time he’ll play (and direct) the gun-totin’ grandma Madea. She and three other characters he plays find themselves in Georgia for a family reunion. Somebody dies; a funeral has to be arranged and somehow old secrets leak out and cause resentment and hilarity. These films never get previewed around here but they have a following, apparently. 

 

More in New Movies

Two comedies about women at work and a stunning documentary about an Aboriginal artist lead this week

And they’re joined by a musical look back, a fashion industry success story that didn’t last and the hipster zombie film that opened Cannes this year

Two giant sequels and several worthy smaller films reviewed

Including new appreciations of Emily Dickinson and Pavarotti, the real story of auto builder John DeLorean, a British filmmaker inspired to draw on her own life and two oddball seniors falling in love

Doing it like Elton John, looking for justice in Canada, defying convention in Bollywood

Also Denys Arcand’s rant about the evils of money, a compassionate court dealing with sex trade workers and a series coming soon to showcase a celebrated woman filmmaker from France
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