Lego’s second has less charm, Paterson enthralls and John Wick just goes on shooting
There’s also a very funny one from Spain called Timecode and a charmer from Hungary called Sing. In that one a young girl is accepted into a school choir but told not to sing. I’m very pro a Swiss film called La Femme et la TGV in which a woman waves at a train that runs by her house every day and starts trading letters with the engineer. There’s a magical feel to this one until the train is re-routed and the woman, played by the still-busy Jane Birkin, moves fast to react. The director, Timo von Gunten, is one to watch. He’s just been hired for a big heist movie. (VanCity Theatre, 10 days between now and March 4)
DO NOT RESIST: Once tonight at the Cinematheque or at noon on Feb 18 at the VanCity Theatre you can catch an absolutely riveting film about modern policing in the US. Starting, and later returning to Ferguson, Missouri’s demonstrations cum riots of three years ago, it analyzes how police forces have become militarized. Initially a post 9-11 response, it is propelled by federal grants of money and equipment formerly used in Iraq but now surplus. So towns with few or no murders can get armored vehicles. We’re along for a couple of raids on private homes that look exactly like news footage from the Iraq war.
The film clearly shows that much of the police action is against blacks. It’s the strongest essay I’ve seen yet about that part of America’s racial sickness. FBI director James Comey testifies about “warrior cops”. Nobody can explain why local police forces could be issued bayonets. And a university professor is especially chilling. He talks up predicting criminal tendencies, even, and this is not a joke, before the person is born. It’s an extremely well-made but unsettling documentary. 4 ½ out of 5
DANCER: Here’s a most engaging documentary about the bad boy of ballet. Sergei Polunin was the youngest ever principal dancer at the London Royal Ballet and then quit after getting into hard living and cocaine. He’s now a star in Russia after making a comeback with an internet video that went viral. The film tells why all this happened. Best of all it shows his rich talent in some nifty clips of his gymnastic-powered dancing.
He’s from the Ukraine where his parents sacrificed for his art but ultimately damaged him when they divorced. We get all the details, the regrets and the hurt, from him, his mother and father and associates. We hear how important family was to him, how he became prone to tantrums and in one clip how he felt a “prisoner to” his body and his “urge to dance.” It’s quite an intimate portrait but not complete. He quit London twice, not once and lawsuits followed. That’s not mentioned. There’s no sign of any romantic entanglements, only hints. Possibly. Dance enthusiasts will enjoy this film. (Park Theatre) 3 out of 5
BELOW HER MOUTH: Recall please the lesbian love story Blue is the Warmest Color that came from France four years ago. Here’s another one both similar and different , from Toronto. It’s not as good in content or craft but the sex is much more graphic and the basic story line is similar, but quite ordinary. Girl meets girl, feels twinge of excitement but is slow to admit she’s falling in love. To get there she has to overcome a lot of inhibitions. There’s also the problem that she’s already engaged though her guy is away briefly and she’s procrastinating with the wedding arrangements.
She’s a fashion editor played by Natalie Krill, a former dancer at the Goh Ballet Academy here in Vancouver. Her lover is a sturdy roofing contractor played Erika Linder, a model from Sweden who is often seen in fashion magazines. Both show a lot of themselves in the many steamy sex scenes. But the gradual advance of their relationship is shown with a warm sensitivity probably because the film was made by an-all-female crew, from the director April Mullen on down. The basic story, conventional though it is (Do you suppose the fiancé will walk in sometime?) also has an agenda. Accept and be open about it, it says. The message is stronger than the filmmaking. (International Village and a few suburban theatres) 2 ½ out of 5