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Now screening: Entourage, Love & Mercy, Insidious

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Satyajit Ray’s trio of tales about a young boy’s growing up in India has not been shown here since 1997. Film scholars, makers and critics from Pauline Kael to Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Wes Anderson have praised all three as masterworks of world cinema. But they’ve been unavailable because the negatives were destroyed in a fire. They’ve now been digitally restored from various sources, re-subtitled and after playing New York get their Canadian debut at the Cinematheque. Pather Panchali (1955) Aparajito (1956), and The World of Apu (1959) take the boy from his village to a holy city and on to maturity and a love story. Ravi Shankar wrote and played the music.  A must-see for serious film goers.  Each film plays four times between now and Tuesday. Check the website http://thecinematheque.ca/ for more information.


SUNSHINE SUPERMAN: You’ll probably feel your pulse pounding when you watch the antics in this documentary. These people are base-jumping, which means they leap off tall buildings, cliffs or things, freefall for a time and finally open a parachute for a hopefully safe landing.

 

It’s an extreme sport and apparently growing. A new version does away with the parachute in favour of a wing suit that seems to simulate flying squirrels. This fascinating film is about the old days — the 1970s and '80s — when Carl Boenish did it for the “feeling of power and joy” it gave him. He jumped off places like El Capitain in Yosemite Park and a TV tower in Houston and filmed it all for a series of short documentaries. “I feel like Superman,” he says in an old clip. “He was nuts,” somebody says affectionately. We see a lot of jumps, including some re-creations by the film’s director, Marah Strauch, and a 1984 record-setting leap Boenish took for a David Frost TV special. Two days later he died jumping off a mountain he had previously rejected for the stunt. The film’s mood switches from the fun to the colossal danger and still manages to promote the sport. The highlight is a long wing-suit flight to the Hollies song, The Air that I Breathe and it’s rhapsodic. The title song by Donovan plays in the end credits.  (VanCity Theatre) 3 ½ out of 5 

 

SOME KIND OF LOVE: This very personal documentary by Montreal cinematographer and sometimes director Thomas Burstyn is about family. Close. Distant. Estranged. Loved. Shunned. No matter. Eventually they all come up. It’ll have you thinking about the various meanings and variations of family. Burstyn, with his wife Barbara Sumner Burstyn, set out to show us his aunt Yolanda Sonnabend, a famed artist and stage designer living in a cluttered house in London England. He also finds there her brother Joseph, a prominent AIDS researcher in New York (he coined the term 'safe sex') but now he sits in the kitchen talking like a grump about the house, his sister, her messy stuff and her dementia. She says it’s a “complete disaster” that he’s moved in but they’re family and they put up with each other.

Burstyn recalls more: that they both had lived in South Africa after their parents escaped from Warsaw; that heir father was a poet and then a businessman; that Yolanda had been a woman of style and mystery with a streak of bitterness because her step mother put her into a boarding house when she was 11. And, out of the blue, that Burstyn hasn’t spoken to his own brother in years. It’s a swirl of thoughts and often heartrending but doesn’t really come to a conclusion. It just happens. Like life, I guess. Both filmmakers will do a Q&A opening night via skype. (Also at the VanCity Theatre) 3 ½ out of 5    

 

INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 3: The first two revived the haunted house film with bumps and startles and spooky fun. This one tells us what happened before them but with less success. There’s a new girl in danger (Stefanie Scott), a father played by Dermot Mulroney and a new director, Leigh Whannell, who wrote these films and also appears in them. The continuing character, the psychic Elise played by Lin Shaye, is the most interesting. She’s trying to quit the psychic game but sees that the girl, who’s been trying to contact her dead mother on her own, needs help.

Seances feature large in this one and we learn a major truth. Speak to one spirit that way and they can all hear you. Interesting idea and sure enough The Man Who Can’t Breathe is soon appearing as a spectre in the girl’s bedroom and various other dark rooms. Elise has to go into the spirit world she calls “The Further” to confront him. Oddly she also has to confront the woman spirit who she battled in film number 2, a cluttering digression. The pace is slow, there are a couple of jokes that don’t belong, and the spell never really takes hold. Good jump startles, though, always pounded our way with a loud musical thump.  (International Village and suburban theatres) 2 out of 5


SPY: Melissa McCarthy is getting the best reviews in three movies for this Bond-Bourne knockoff. She’s a CIA office worker who is sent on an undercover mission to Paris after her colleague (Jude Law) goes missing and another (Jason Statham) is compromised.  She has to deal with a Bulgarian arms dealer (Rose Byrne) and prevent a global disaster. We’ve seen that threat in a lot of movies recently but this one is said to be very funny thanks to McCarthy.  (Scotiabank and suburban theatres)

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Locally-filmed The Predator, a mommy blogger’s Simple Favor and bad blood Under the Tree

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A vengeful mom, a demonic nun and Michael Caine’s memories of the swinging 60s

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