• Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★½

    Claire Denis has always been hit and miss for me. Some of our films I have enjoyed, others have left me indifferent. Beau Travail is considered one of her best works as well as one of the best films of the 1990s so it was only a matter of time before I would take it in.

    There’s much to be said for this Inside look into the daily life of a French Legion posted in Africa. More than anything, this…

  • Beginning

    Beginning

    ★★★★

    It seemed purely coincidental that I would end up watching two Georgian films in less than one week. Although very different in their mood and thematic structure, both shared what has been previously defined on Mubi as the four essential qualities of a contemplative film: plotlessness, wordlessness, slowness, and alienation.

    I came into this film knowing little other than to expect an inside glimpse of a Jehovah witness community in Georgia. Somehow I was anticipating a critique of this fundamentalist…

  • Labyrinth of Cinema

    Labyrinth of Cinema

    Sadly, I could only endure 30 minutes of this hyper stimulating barrage of colours and sounds and movement to realize that I could not last another 2+ hours.

    I have always had a paradoxical response to such overstimulating movies. They put me to sleep. Tonight was no exception. I need to find something a little slower.

  • Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

    Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

    ★★★★

    Rewatching in preparation for a movie conversation tomorrow night with a few other members of my SoulsStream community.

  • What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

    What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

    ★★★★★

    I am searching for words to describe this exceptional film . . . 

    . . . whimsical, surprising, magical, mischievous, contemplative, gorgeous, simple, spacious, and without question an absolute delight!

    This was a study of humanity offered up on a cinematic platter for the voyeur in each one of us. Witnessing from a close distance the fascinating diversity of human facial expressions, movement of limbs, and shuffling of feet. So many feet!

    If I ever had any doubt that observing…

  • Hell or Clean Water

    Hell or Clean Water

    ★★★½

    An inspiring account of one Newfoundlander who took on a gargantuan task to clean up the ocean bottom almost single-handedly. 

    To think it all started when his girlfriend chastised him for unwittingly throwing garbage out his car window. Which goes to prove that a little education can go along way in chipping away at the ignorance that underlies some of our environmental degradation.

    Kudos to CBC for bringing this small story to light as an inspiration for each one of us to consider our part in making a difference.

  • The Trial of Joan of Arc

    The Trial of Joan of Arc

    ★★★★

    What is it about this story that is so breathtaking, disturbing, and inspiring?

    Bresson has proved himself worthy as a filmmaker to portray the final hours of Joan’s life on the screen. His screenplay is based on the actual surviving records of her trial, making it all the more vivid and disturbing. 

    The courage of a young woman to stand up to the patriarchal church authority with such eloquent confidence remains a story for the ages.

  • Children of Paradise

    Children of Paradise

    ★★★★

    I love story, a comedy, a tragedy. All of the above. Representative of the era when men still dueled to the death for reasons as petty as pride and jealousy disguised as honour and love.

    Reputed by many to be the greatest French film ever made, I was questioning how deserved these accolades were 30 minutes in. I was almost overwhelmed by the frenetic, boisterous, and cacophony of these early scenes, hardly able to keep up with the rapidfire verbosity…

  • The Last Days of Disco

    The Last Days of Disco

    ★★★

    If there was a film designed to represent the “sophisticated” (read “shallow” and “vapid”) social life of yuppies that frequent disco clubs, this might just be it. 

    How would you like to base your self-esteem almost exclusively on your “ eligibility” for admission to disco clubs? Oh to know that your job security might just depend on your ability to gain entrance to same clubs for your employers?

    I can’t believe how fortunate I was to escape this social scene!…

  • Pickpocket

    Pickpocket

    ★★★★

    Paul Schrader said that Pickpocket has been the most influential film in his creative life. The lead character in Pickpocket was his inspiration for Robert De Niro‘s lead role in Taxi Driver, Scorsese‘s infamous film for which Schrader was the screen writer.

    I love Bresson’s work but I have to confess that I found this film hard to track with it’s elusive lead character and almost staccato, robotic pacing of his character. I was tired and was getting quite impatient…

  • The Year of Living Dangerously

    The Year of Living Dangerously

    ★★½

    A very young Mel Gibson lives life dangerously in Indonesia during a communist uprising against a president who is not caring for his people.

    I am not one to criticize the work of a filmmaker as gifted as Peter Weir, but somehow I found the suspense unconvincing and the attempt to create a element of mystique fall a bit flat. Even the romance between Gibson and Sigourney Weaver did not captivate me.

    Some movies hold their age well but this didn’t happen to be one of them.

  • Lilies of the Field

    Lilies of the Field

    ★★★½

    A fun movie with a mischievous relationship that develops between a black Baptist labourer and a Catholic nun superior from Berlin with a heavy German accent. 

    I suspect that in 1963 this movie would have been considered progressive in terms of black power, accentuated by the fact that Sidney Poitier was the first black to ever win Oscar for best actor in this movie.

    This evening we assembled our three brothers in our three separate locations across BC and Alberta to watch this movie “together” in honour of Sidney Poitier who died yesterday at age 94.