The real Steve Jobs, a spy swap by Tom Hanks and our local south Asian gangsters by Deepa Mehta

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Now in this dramatic version, Julianne Moore is the cop and Ellen Page is her car-mechanic lover. Page has been speaking for LGBT rights since she came out last year. Ron Nyswaner, who won an Oscar for Philadelphia, wrote the script. They’ve turned this into a message movie. You know where it’s going all the way and the end brings not much of a catharsis. Stock characters take stereotype sides. A bit too much spark is put in by Steve Carell as the activist, or as he puts it “a middle-class, Jewish homosexual from New Jersey. How about you, sweetheart?” His vamping is funny but quite outrageous. (5th Avenue and Coquitlam) 2 ½ out of 5  

THE FORBIDDEN ROOM:  I didn’t catch it at VIFF because at least two people told me it was long and boring. Now that I’ve caught up to it, I realize that’s their opinion. Not mine. Guy Maddin’s latest (co-directed by Evan Johnson) is trippy fun if you’re in the mood. It’s like a big long dream that bounces from bizarre scenes to even more bizarre ones and doesn’t bother with things like logic. Or story. It has many of those, delivered in fragments and with plenty of absurd humor. A mock film on how to take a bath, gives way to men trapped underwater in a submarine, then to a woodsman determined to rescue a woman from a gang of red wolves, and so on. At every juncture someone has a story or a memory to tell and the film veers off to show it.


Students of the movies will get an extra buzz from the visual style. The film invokes the look and mood of the silents, especially the German expressionism of the 1020s, cheap action films of the 1930s, typically jungle and volcano-island mini-epics, and frequently the trailers for them with their hyper posturing. The large and game cast includes Charlotte Rampling, Roy Dupuis, Udo Kier, Geraldine Chaplin, Mathieu Amalric and Maria de Medeiros. The film is now 15 minutes shorter but I can’t imagine that’s what made the difference. (VanCity Theatre) 3 ½ out of 5

Playing in tandem with …

EADWEARD:  Five Leo awards got this BC production known long before we got to see it. Now that it’s been at VIFF and other festivals and is showing for a week at the VanCity Theatre we can appreciate that it’s a solid piece of work about obsession and determination. 


Eadweard  Muybridge (pronounced Edward) worked in Pennsylvania studying human motion with photo images, mostly of nudes in his later work. He had a line of cameras clicking in sequence and thereby pioneered motion pictures. Michael Eklund plays him as a quiet talker but a volatile perfectionist. A sort of Steve Jobs of his time. His personal life was undone by jealousy. He killed his wife’s lover but was acquitted “by reason of doing the right thing.” It’s a good story, brightly directed by Kyle Rideout and co-written and produced by Josh Epstein who first staged it with a theatre group. Some of the language is too modern for the era and the full-nudity is there too much but the film tells its story well. 3 out of 5 

SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE: Ok, it’s a sex comedy but does it have to be so much about sex? That’s all these people talk about, all the time, candidly and bluntly. It’s not real that way, but it is funny. Jason Sudeikis of SNL fame and Alison Brie from Mad Men carry on a Sally-and-Harry-like relationship that’s chock full of great dialogue and laugh-out-loud lines.


They first meet in college and lose (give?) their virginity to each other. Years later they meet again in a therapy group for sex addicts but it takes the usual long time for them to really see each other. She is trying to attract a doctor friend (Adam Scott playing it gloriously dull and nerdy) and he deliberately sleeps around to prevent any continuing relationships. He’s also got a flirtation with his boss (Amanda Peet). Chief among the raunchy stuff is Jason fingering the opening of a bottle to teach Alison how to masturbate. The film is fresh and honest, if you want it that way. 3 out of 5


These are also new, but I haven’t seen them:

MILK (Born Into This World): We usually only hear about breastfeeding when there’s a public fuss. Toronto filmmaker Noemi Weis went across the world to explore controversies of all kinds about it and fire out a call for action. You get politics, protests,  mothers on five continents talking about how they feed their babies and a look at the aggressive marketing of infant formula by the baby food companies.  Vancouver’s Carolyn Allain co-produced this information-packed celebration of life. It plays Monday at 11:30 a.m. at the VanCity Theatre as part the Movies for Mommies series.

CRIMSON PEAK:  Guillermo del Toro is back into a haunted house. Remember Pan's Labyrinth? Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston star in this one. Apparently the look is better than the story.  (Scotiabank and suburban theatres)

GOOSEBUMPS: R.L. Stine is one of the bestselling children’s authors ever. He’s sold some 400 million books and this film will sell more. The reviews have been good. He’s also the main character, played by Jack Black. It seems the monsters he writes about are real; he keeps them locked up in his books. A boy named Zach accidentally releases them. Family-friendly havoc ensues. (International Village, Dunbar and suburban theatres)

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