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Deep Throat vs Nixon, Jackie Chan vs the IRA and Olivia Cooke super in a serial killer tale from Victorian times

Also a suspense-cum-horror movie entertains by copying Groundhog Day

VIFF ends tonight but all next week some of its best films will get a repeat play at the VanCity Theatre. There are 22 of them. Check viff.org for more information.

And tomorrow (Saturday) is free movie morning at Cineplex Theatres, officially called Community Day. Doors open at nine and you don’t need tickets.  For more on that go to their unwieldy website. They make it hard to find what’s playing and where but not entirely impossible.

Other than that. It’s back to the regular movies new in theatres:

Mark Felt: 3 stars

The Foreigner: 2 ½

The Limehouse Golem: 3

Happy Death Day: 2 ½

Marshall: --

BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE) --

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women: --


MARK FELT: This film with the grandiose subhead “The Man Who Brought Down the White House” is a worthy companion piece to All the President’s Men but hardly its equal. That one is one of the great political thrillers of all time, letting us watch Woodward and Bernstein expose the Watergate scandal. This one shows what was going on inside the FBI at the time, a lot of arguing and conspiring, but with less drive and urgency and no attempt to reference any parallels to today’s White House vs FBI battles. 

Liam Neeson, is Felt, the associate director who was passed over for the top job and became the shadowy informant in a parkade,  known as “Deep Throat.” Oddly, this film shows very little of his whistleblowing and leaves some doubts about his motives. He wanted to protect the bureau’s independence while the newly installed director, L. Patrick Gray (Marton Csokas), was toadying to the White House by hobbling the investigation with time limits and restrictions. Only in a postscript do we learn that in a different case, Felt was convicted of civil rights violations. So what exactly was he so loyal to?

Neeson plays him well as a steady, decent man dealing with some major office politics and on the side, family issues. His daughter has run off to live in a commune and his wife (Diane Lane) is dissatisfied. In another postscript, we learn she later committed suicide. It seems there’s a deeper drama here than we get. This film also ends too fast. There’s bubbling intrigue and bam, suddenly Nixon resigns. I remember it differently. (International Village) 3 out of 5  

THE FOREIGNER: I was OK with Jackie Chan when he came to rumble here in Vancouver pretending it was the Bronx. But to see him get drawn into the troubles in Northern Ireland is a bit much. Especially since the troubles aren’t on right now.  But here he is sparring with Pierce Brosnan, the former James Bond, now playing a government official and former IRA leader. A bomb has killed Chan’s daughter; a group called The Authentic IRA claims responsibility and Brosnan in an interview on TV claims to know nothing about them.

 

Jackie, playing a Vietnamese ex-soldier, thinks he does know and after asking nicely but being refused, stalks Brosnan to get the information he wants. He sets off explosions of his own, one in a washroom, a loo in local parlance, and when some guys chase him into the woods, foils them with some well-set booby traps. He also endangers Brosnan’s plans to pardon some old IRA associates. The political story isn’t very clear. It comes from a novel, The Chinaman, published 25 years ago. No wonder the film seems so out of its time. Chan still fights well, Brosnan has settled into older distinguished roles and the director, Martin Campbell, with two Bonds and a scorned super hero film in his past has made a competent but unexceptional action film. (Scotiabank, Marine Gateway and suburban theatres) 2 ½ out of 5

More in New Movies

Reviews: Sweet Virginia is noirish, The Dancer, flashy, and two films on Indigenous issues

Also what a Big Time architect is doing locally and three more good ones from the European Union Film Festival

Three Billboards, a must see, plus rumpled Denzel strutting his stuff and Pixar’s new one

Also, Dickens writing a classic, two road trips, one bitter, one whimsical, and new films from most of the European Union Countries. Guess which one is missing.
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