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Peace Out, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Collaborator, Neil Young Journeys and Ice Age

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The film actually starts and between songs returns to Omemee, Ontario, the not-so-far-north town where he lived as a young boy. According to Helpless, all his “changes were there,” although that song isn’t heard until the end credits. Young drives a 56 Ford around town (following his brother Bob) and shows us the old fishing hole, the school named after his father and other sights. He recalls a friend who lured him into minor acts of misbehavior. A quick visit to another hometown, Pickering, is followed with a drive into Toronto and then more music. Only Winnipeg, where his career really started, is missing. Still, it’s a folksy backgrounder and an intimate visit with one our most respected artists. (International Village) 3 ½ out of 5   

 

COLLABORATOR:  For a hostage drama, this one has very little tension. It takes a chatty, low-key approach, more cerebral if you will. You’ll be interested all the way, but not grabbed.

Martin Donovan, familiar from Hal Hartley movies and a lot of TV, wrote, directed and stars as a New York playwright whose latest reviews are scathing (“a writer fading into irrelevancy”). He retreats cross-country to visit his mother in Los Angeles where he re-connects with two people from his past. One willingly, an old flame (Olivia Williams), the other not, (David Morse), a guy he had no time for in school, now an under-achiever, in and out of jail and still living with his mother across the street.

When he comes over with a couple of joints, a few beers and a gun, just wanting to talk, and with police and TV news crews gathering outside, they do talk. They touch on class differences, celebrity, success and failure, a brother’s death in Viet Nam and wasted patriotism. Also, curiously, the craft of writing. There’s an implausible turn in the plot and dialogue that’s often stiff, but the two actors turn it into a spirited sparring match. Donovan, who left New York himself -- he now lives here in Vancouver -- found enough tax credits in Ontario to get this off-beat film made. Sault St. Marie stands in for L.A. (Granville 7) 3 out of 5 

 

And two that I haven’t seen yet …

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD: This is one I must catch as soon as possible. It’s gained a great reputation and is said to be destined for best-of- the-year lists and award nominations.

 

A charming newcomer named Quvenzhané Wallis plays 8-year-old Hushpuppy who is forced to face the world on her own. She lives with her dad in an off-the-grid community in Louisiana but when he gets sick and storms seem to be bringing on the environmental disaster a teacher warned was coming, Hushpuppy sets out to find her mother. An innocent dealing with harsh realities. An uplifting tale of resilience.  Echoes of Mark Twain, Maurice Sendak and Terrence Malick. There’s been a lot of praise heaped on this film, although the Washington Post also saw cultural condescension. That’s been said before about depictions of poor people. As often as not, unfairly. (5th Avenue Cinemas

 

ICE AGE:  CONTINENTAL DRIFT: The immensely popular animated series – almost a billion bucks earned   last time –is back with more.  That may not be such a good thing.  A friend who’s seen it says this chapter is so crammed with new characters that kids will find it hard to follow because it’s so crowded. The core group,  Ray Romano, Queen Latifah,  Denis Leary, John Leguizamo,  voicing Manny, Ellie, Diego and Sid respectively, are back and now joined by Jennifer Lopez, Peter Dinklage, Keke Palmer,  Toronto rapper Drake, TV’s Aziz Ansari,  and others in a variety of subplots.  The main one is kicked off by Scrat, the squirrel whose acorn-hunting   exploits  have previously been only an opening act. This time he cracks the ice shelf and sends our friends drifting away on a floe.  (International Village, Dolphin and many  suburban theatres)

NOTE: The images are movie stills provided by the producers and are therefore the exclusive property of their copyright owners.

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