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

Guy Maddin – Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (2003)

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It’s time for hockey! There’s no telling what will happen when the Winnipeg Maroons’ own star player Guy becomes embroiled in the twisted lives of Meta, a vengeful Chinoise, and her hairdresser/abortionist mother Liliom. Innocent Veronica, caught in the middle, is treated to both services! Meanwhile poor, dithering, cowardly Guy can only stand by and watch. Continue reading

Lisa Cholodenko – High Art (1998)

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AMG: Lisa Cholodenko wrote and directed this lesbian-themed drama, winner of the 1998 Sundance Film Festival’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Ambitious photography magazine associate editor Syd (Radha Mitchell) has a ho-hum relationship with James (Gabriel Mann). Investigating a ceiling leak, she enters the apartment of her neighbor, retired photographer Lucy Berliner (Ally Sheedy), who lives with former Fassbinder actress Greta (Patricia Clarkson), a heroin addict. The friendship between the worldly Lucy and the naive, insecure Syd ripens into an affair, one destined to change the lives of both women. Continue reading