Wonder Woman and some POWs in Land of Mine reflect on war while tragedy hits a jazzman
Roland Møller, as the sergeant leading the project, bears the moral quandary. “This is my land” he yells at the young men. To him, making them clear land mines is small retaliation for the occupation. Gradually though, after conversations them and several deaths, he softens. He sees that they’re young and scared and maybe victims too, in that they were also pressed into war against their will. They only want to go back home. He eases up on them but how long can that last? The film won awards in Europe and was an Oscar contender because of the strong acting and the grip it has on us as it explores the ethical issues. (VanCity Theatre) 4 out of 5
I CALLED HIM MORGAN: This is much more than the usual story of a jazz player who becomes a junkie. It is that, sure, almost typically so in part. Lee Morgan was a brilliant trumpet player, discovered when he was still a teenager by Dizzy Gillespie, played with Miles Davis and others and was a prolific recording artist himself. His hit The Sidewinder is said to have saved the Blue Note record company from bankruptcy. But he got onto heroin, almost destroyed his career and was saved by a good woman. Later, early in 1972, she shot him dead.
How it came to that has long been a mystery. Colleagues like Wayne Shorter and various players in his bands have great recall for details as they talk about him in the film. Not about his relationship with Helen More though. They assumed they were in love and devoted to each other because they were always together. The film tells the real story, through parallel bios of the couple and most notably her own words. She gave a long interview not long before she died and it’s apparently heard here for the first time. She called him Morgan and “this little boy.” She took him in when she found him walking without shoes. He had pawned them to buy drugs. She tells exactly what happened with their common law marriage. It may not be complete and is surely one-sided but it is high drama. Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin gets it across with vibrant editing, generous doses of music and terrific intimate memories from people who were there. (VanCity Theatre. Rev Gary Paterson, the jazz vespers host at St Andrew's Wesley Church, will introduce the final screening on Thursday.) 4 out of 5
CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE: The books are big sellers and this film captures the anarchic silliness in them. That’s great for the fans, whether they’re 10 years old now or looking back nostalgically. But I’d say be careful. How much potty humor and how many fart jokes do you want, even when they’re delivered with great imagination as they are here? How early do you think kids need to learn to fight authority?
George and Harold (voiced by Kevin Hart and Nelson, B.C. native Thomas Middleditch) are good buddies. They both laughed at the word “uranus” in class, have been inveterate pranksters ever since and write their own comic books about a superhero in underpants (because that’s what they all seem to wear). They get their school principal (Ed Helms) to turn into that character by hypnotizing him and then watch the fun grow into hyperactive chaos which they can turn off and on. Meanwhile, a new science teacher (Nick Kroll, talking like Einstein) works to drive all humour out of the school because students always laugh at his name. Poopypants. See what you’re getting? It’s a kids’ perspective. This film, based on the first four of the 12 books, mostly panders to young boys. They dislike school. Teachers are all boring drones and the principal is mean. The brightest pupil is a whiney snitch and brownnoser. Enough with that anti-education attitude. It seems that in the later books you get more fantasy with the absurdity. (International Village, Marine Gateway and many suburban theatres) 2 ½ out of 5