When it comes to movies, I love to write about the films that may have garnered critical acclaim yet few have seen. These are also films that may win awards but reside in relative obscurity. I’m talking about Canadian films, the sometimes weird and perhaps the most wonderful films of any country on this globe but sadly the least celebrated.
Like many people, I root for the underdog and champion for that charitable cause. And until we as Canadians come to celebrate our own cinema by starting with creating our own star system, obscurity is where these films will stay.
Here is a my pick of some of the 2014 Canadian films that have caught my eye. These movies are already making the rounds in cinemas or on the festival circuit.
WolfCop tells the story of an alcoholic police officer turned werewolf (Leo Fafard), together with his partner he investigate the strange circumstances surrounding his metamorphosis.
World famous but out of work, the cast of the Trailer Park Boys return to the big screen as they attempt to create their own uncensored internet network in Swearnet: The Movie.
Mommy, written and directed by Xavier Dolan, takes place in my dad’s old Montreal neighbourhood of St-Hubert. It stars Anne Dorval as a mother struggling to raise her violent son (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) as best she can, but she finds new hope when a new neighbour (Suzanne Clément) inserts herself into their lives.
Dr. Cabbie is a comedy about an Indian doctor (Vinay Virmani) who emigrates to Canada but finds he is not allowed to practice medicine. As an alternative he continues his practice illegally under guise as a Canadian cab driver.
Guidance is the feature film solo directorial debut from Ryerson graduate Pat Mills. Mills who also writes and stars in this movie plays David Gold, a boozing drug addled washed-up child star. In a last-ditch effort to find work, David fakes credentials to land a job as a school guidance counsellor. David’s unorthodox methods become a hit with the students of Grusin High.
And to keep to the theme of first time directors, Jeffrey St. Jules won the Best Canadian First Feature Film award at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival for Bang Bang Baby. The film follows a small town girl dreaming of becoming a pop star. But her dream may become a nightmare after a leak at a nearby chemical plant might be causing mass mutations among the local population. Jules’ film is a fusion of 1950’s musical and sci-fi.
Please check media for local showtimes, ratings and admission rates.
Cinecenta is located in the thriving community of the University of Victoria (UVic) campus in Saanich. The theatre offers more than a reasonable rate for general admission while giving discounted rates for UVic students, faculty, staff and alumni. Discounted rates are also available to seniors and children 12 and under. Matinées are $4.75 for all seats. Second evening shows at Cinecenta are $4.75 for all UVic undergrads.
The Delay (La Demora)
(Uruguay/Mexico/France – 84 mins)
Director: Rodrigo Plá
Writer(s): Laura Santullo
Cast: Roxana Blanco, Néstor Guzzini, and Jorge Temponi
A single mother with three kids works from home as a tailor for a big textile firm. She is left with taking care of her aging father, who also lives at home. Welfare agencies turn down her request for taking in her father because she is not below the poverty line. One day while returning home with him, she takes a fateful decision, one that, eventually, she will come to regret.
A Gun In Each Hand (Una pistola en cada mano)
(Spain – 95 mins)
Director: Cesc Gay
Writer(s): Tomàs Aragay and Cesc Gay
Cast: Eduardo Noriega, Javier Cámara, Ricardo Darín, and Candela Peña
A comedy centered on eight men in their 40s, all with identity crises.
Located on Salt Spring Island, The Fritz is an up-to-date cinema featuring Dolby Surround Sound, a digital projection system along with everything else you’d expect to find at a cinema in a large city. They offer real butter for their popcorn, Sunday matinées and “cheap” Tuesdays.
Magic In the Moonlight
(USA – 97 mins)
Director: Woody Allen
Writer(s): Woody Allen
Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Eileen Atkins, and Hamish Linklater
A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue.
Sidney’s Star Cinema is located in the heart of Sidney-by-the-Sea. They are equipped with two digital projectors and new comfortable seating. General admission is 9. Discounts are available to students, seniors and children 3 to 13 years. Admission is $6 for everyone on Tuesdays.
(USA – 165 mins)
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer(s): Richard Linklater
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, and Ethan Hawke,
Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason, who literally grows up on screen before our eyes.
Located across the historical Empress Hotel and near Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour, The Vic Theatre has been entertaining movie-goers since 1993. The theatre not only shows foreign to art house films but also screenings of the Victoria Film Festival award winners. The Vic Theatre is one of the yearly purveyors of Victoria Film Festival and Victoria Foodie Film Festival movies.
(USA – 112 mins)
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writer(s): Jonathan Raymond and Kelly Reichardt
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard
Three radical environmentalists look to execute the protest of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam.