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Deadpool high up Vancouver's viaduct, Zoolander back again and a Canadian kid classic remade

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Snowtime is a charming, brightly-animated re-make of a Canadian classic. In 1984 it was live-action and called The Dog Who Stopped the War. Its highly-emotional ending made it a popular family film for years and kick started a long series of other titles, collectively called Tales for All. Now it’s speedier and in 3-D but with lower energy and with less punch in its cathartic climax. The story is still an allegory about war and still feeds youthful fantasies. Kids in a small town stage a mammoth snowball fight centered on an elaborate fort that the genius among them has designed. One army defends it; the other attacks. Peace proves boring. Only war keeps the interest. Other insights about conflict emerge, including how hard it is to agree at meetings and how young ones are used as pawns. The war also splits a budding romance. The ideas may be too sophisticated but the fort, the battles and the kids’ characters will resonate. Sandra Oh is one of the voice actors. (Silver City Riverport, Langley and Mission) 2 ½ out of 5

THE VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL is on for the next nine days with a truly impressive line up of both films and speakers. They include two star climbers, Kevin Jorgeson on the first day and Leo Houlding on the last. Also John Vaillant. He’ll be talking Monday about Hadwin’s Judgement, the film based on his book the Golden Spruce. He says the film told parts of the story that was off-limits for his book.

There are outdoor films about subjects I hadn’t heard about before, balloonskiing, for instance, or slacklining which looks like tightrope walking.

Untethered and a couple of other films chart a slackline movement that is said to be exploding in BC.

Others include Snowman, which was named best mountain film at Whistler and A Last Stand for Lelu which shows a First Nation protest against an LNG terminal near Prince Rupert.

For more visit www.wimff.org or pick up the well-laid out supplement that came in The Courier on Thursday.  VIMFF is on at four theatres, The Rio, The Cinematheque,  Centennial Theatre, North Van and the Inlet, Port Moody. 

NINA FOREVER: Filmmakers have been sending us some very imaginative horror films recently. Last year there were It Follows, The Babadook and this one, which arrives only now, though it played the film festival back in Sept. Chris and Ben Blaine, a couple of brothers from England, explore the delicate problem of creating love with a partner still haunted by memories of his ex. Literally.

 

Holly (Abigail Hardingham) bears the predicament when she strikes up a relationship with Rob (Cian Barry) who works at the same grocery story. She knows full well he’s been suicidal after his girlfriend died in a car crash. They get along fine but first time in bed, the ex shows up too. Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) rises up out of the bed sheets still spattered with blood and insists she is not an ex. “Introduce us,” she says. It’s a dark comedy but can’t stay zeroed in on that tone. It wanders and fails to fully exploit the absurd situation it has imagined. Nina refuses to be reasonable “because I’m dead.” Even then, she says, “I’ve kept my standards.” Holly tries a radical solution which only makes things more uncomfortable. The ending seems too-easy a way out but this horror film is light, out of the ordinary and absorbing. (VanCity Theatre, three times this weekend) 3 out of 5  

Also now playing …

HOW TO BE SINGLE: Four women and several men look for the right way to live as singles in New York City. The story is from Liz Tucillo who wrote for TV’s “Sex & the City” and the self-help book He’s Just Not That Into You, both dealing with much the same issues.

 

Rebel Wilson is the actor who impresses in this one as the office colleague who mentors a newcomer to the city (a bland Dakota Johnson) on how to get drinks and one-night stands. Her advice and gung ho demeanor are very funny. Leslie Mann is amusing as a baby doctor who doesn’t want one of her own. They all appear far too self-absorbed.  I won’t rate it because I only saw part of it. I’m told that nothing much happens the rest of the way, just lifestyle incidents, although a Toronto Star review refers to “a whirl of mating and dating.” (International Village and many 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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