Guy Maddin – Keyhole (2011)

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Visionary Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin takes viewers on a surreal journey into the psyche of a desperate gangster backed into a dangerous corner in this surreal, psycho-sexual take on Homer’s Odyssey. Late one night, a group of gangsters shoot their way into the living room of a large house and wait anxiously for the arrival of their leader, Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric). Ulysses has a knack for getting out of tense situations, and with the cops all around his cohorts need him now more than ever. But when Ulysses arrives with a teenage girl and a bound young man in tow, some of his henchmen start to think it’s time for a new boss to take over. An already tense situation turns downright surreal as Ulysses begins venturing through the labyrinthine house in search of his wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini), who remains locked in her room somewhere on an upper floor. Meanwhile, Hyacinth’s father offers cryptic commentary on the unfolding events, and the harder Ulysses searches for his wife the more secrets he begins to uncover about his eccentric family. Continue reading

Roman Kroitor & Colin Low – Universe (1960)

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Synopsis:
A triumph of film art, creating on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space, this film was among the sources used by Stanley Kubrick in his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Realistic animation takes you into far regions of space, beyond the reach of the strongest telescope, past Moon, Sun, and Milky Way into galaxies yet unfathomed. Continue reading

Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson – The Forbidden Room (2015)

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Synopsis
A never-before-seen woodsman mysteriously appears aboard a submarine that’s been trapped deep under water for months with an unstable cargo. As the terrified crew make their way through the corridors of the doomed vessel, they find themselves on a voyage into the origins of their darkest fears. Continue reading

Atom Egoyan – Remember (2015)

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Atom Egoyan’s ongoing search for his own best form makes no real breakthrough in “Remember,” a state-hopping Nazi-hunt mystery that puts a creditably sincere spin on material that is silly at best. At worst, tyro writer Benjamin August’s screenplay is a crass attempt to fashion a “Memento”-style puzzle narrative from post-Holocaust trauma. Toggling variables of disguised identity and dementia, as Christopher Plummer’s ailing German widower travels across North America in search of the camp commander he recalls from his time in Auschwitz, the pic is riddled with lapses in logic even before a stakes-shifting twist that many viewers might see coming. Crafted in utilitarian fashion by Egoyan, “Remember” does little to earn the poignancy of Plummer’s stricken performance — though that asset, plus a button-pushing premise, could attract reasonable interest from older arthouse auds. Continue reading

Rafaël Ouellet – Gurov and Anna (2014)

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Ben is a failed writer-turned-academic whose ‘happily ever after’ has begun to feel more like ‘the end’. He immerses himself in Chekhov’s story ‘The Lady with the Dog’, a permanent fixture on his syllabus, about an affair giving way to true love. When his wife, Audrey, goes to Paris to meet with the publisher of her first novel, Ben begins an affair with Mercedes, a budding writer herself. The affair soon spirals out of control, and while Ben, Audrey, and Mercedes are each ready to go to extreme lengths to save their own skin, none can escape unscathed. Continue reading

François Bouvier – Paul à Québec (2015)

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Paul is a cartoonist who lives with his girlfriend and their little daughter in Montreal in the summer of 1999. His in-laws, the Beaulieus, are a large, joyful clan composed of siblings, grandchildren and a much loved patriarch named Roland who constantly reminds Paul that he has yet to marry his daughter. When Roland fades with ill health, the family bands together and Paul projects his own devotion by doodling several portraits of his ailing father-in-law. Continue reading

Alan Zweig – Vinyl (2000)

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Alan Zweig investigates the wacky world of record collecting. An odd film made by a Toronto filmmaker who interviewed record collectors in their homes and in their favourite haunt – the record store. For those who enjoyed High Fidelity and thought that Nick Hornsby’s novel was a rip off of their life story, wait until you see this one! The director’s thesis is that record collectors are obsessive compulsive and are using this pursuit to make up for something that is inherently missing from their lives. Continue reading