2013 log (2-3-4)

(23 Feb) finissant(e)s (2013, Rafaël Ouellet) 63
[ Part documentary, part fiction, part experimentation, this fifth feature from the Québécois filmmaker follows a small group of Dégelis teenagers during the summer between the end of high school and the beginning of the rest of their lives. It’s sometimes amusing, sometimes touching in the way it reminds us of what it was like to go through that. The best thing about it is probably the use of music by Man an Ocean, which gives the whole thing a more lyrical, haunting feel. ]

(8 Mar)   Crazy, Stupid Love. (2011, Glenn Ficarra & John Requa) 71
[ Here’s a witty, funny, touching romantic comedy with many things going for it. The plot is twisted and unpredictable enough, the characters are fun and, most of all, the cast is top notch: Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon… It’s just a treat to spend time with them.  ]

(15 Mar)   Le Horse Palace (2013, Nadine Gomez)
[ In the heart of Montreal’s Griffintown stands this ancient horse stable, pretty much the last of its kind. This thoughtful, lyrical documentary captures the look and feel of it, introduces us to the fascinating characters who dwell there and takes a snapshot of the rapidly transforming neighbourhood around it. A touching portrait of an anachronistic way of life. ]

(19 Mar)    Goon  (2012, Michael Dowse) 73
[ They’re clearly selling this as a 21st century “Slap Shot,” but to me, what really attracted me more than the whole hockey aspect is the film’s impressive comedic pedigree. Here we have the director of cult classic “FUBAR”, Michael Dowse; one of the writers of “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express”, Evan Goldberg; plus the always fun Jay Baruchel acting as co-writer, co-producer and co-star. Together, they’ve taken the nonfiction book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey and made it into a ridiculously brutal and outrageous flick that’s also really kinda sweet, when you get past all the violence and foul language (not that those aren’t enjoyable!). As played by Seann William Scott, Doug “The Thug” Glatt is endearingly naive and awkward when he’s not beating the crap out of opposing goons, not unlike Adam Sandler in “The Waterboy”. I loved the cute/goofy fling between Doug and Alison Pill’s puck bunny, his uneasy friendship with Marc-André Grondin’s hard-partying, womanizing star player, as well as his somewhat respectful rivalry with Liev Schreiber’s aging enforcer. There’s a shaggy-dog quality to “Goon” which might bother some, but it kept me engaged, I laughed a lot and yeah, I got some cheap thrills out of the bloody brawls on the ice.  ]

(28 Mar)    21 Jump Street (2012, Phil Lord & Chris Miller) 65
[  Buddy-cops meets high-school comedy in this rather enjoyable movie inspired by the ‘80s TV show about undercover police officers investigating crimes involving teenagers. The best thing about it is probably the chemistry between odd couple Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, who really play well off each other.  ]

(1 Apr)    Spring Breakers (2013, Harmony Korine) 91
[  I haven’t been this excited about a movie in quite a while. Not because I have this big fancy auteurist thing going on with Harmony Korine. Let’s be honest: I went in for the young hotties in bikinis partying it up. Film doesn’t have to be all about serious and important, there’s a place for naughty fun, too. There’s plenty of that in “Spring Breakers”, but it’s also got more than a little something to say if you’re willing to listen. With its unblinking depiction of the search for the American Dream at its most aggressively superficial, it sometimes comes off like a 21st century “Easy Rider” (with scooters!), or like “Scarface” if it had been directed by Terrence Malick and if it featured as much titties as guns. Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine star as college girls in their early 20s who take the trip to Florida during spring break to indulge in a whole lotta sex, drugs and dubstep, getting in all kinds of trouble along the way, much of which involves a gangsta rapper nicknamed Alien, played with sleazy bravado by James Franco. Part MTV, part experimental cinema, “Spring Breakers” adopts an impressionistic, unchronological, quasi non-narrative style. Filled with stimulating visuals and trippy editing, plus an evocative ambient score by Cliff Martinez, the film is an artsy snapshot of generation of empty thrill seekers, whose YOLO lifestyle is taken to the extreme. It’s sure to remain one of the best movies of 2013.  ]

(5 Apr)    Holiday in the Sun (2001, Steve Purcell) 12
[ Just like in “Spring Breakers”, this Olsen twins flick is about young girls having a wild time during spring break, which includes riding scooters and…  That’s actually all those two movies have in common. No sex, drugs, booze and guns here! Mary-Kate and Oshley instead spend their time innocently flirting with boys, swimming with dolphins, riding jet skis… It’s basically a big infomercial for the gorgeous Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, with barely a plot, shoddy direction, hammy acting… For what it’s worth, it also features the debut performance of Megan Fox. ]

(12 Apr)    Revolution  (2013, Rob Stewart)
[ In this follow-up to “Sharkwater”, documentary filmmaker Rob Stewart goes beyond wanting to save sharks and takes on the cause of the oceans, which are endangered as whole. Furthermore, it’s humanity itself which could face extinction if we lose the oceans. The film follows Stewart as he follows one idea then another, which takes him around the world as he meets various environmentalists and discovers that there are all these different things that could spell our doom… We also get to admire lots of amazing images of nature along the way, which makes us truly wish this wouldn’t all be disappearing. Stewart makes an effort to include notes of hope, but it’s hard not to wonder whether it’s too late to save the planet…   ]

(13 Apr)    Shark Attack 2 (2000, David Worth) 21
[ This sequel lacks the badass action scenes of the original and star Casper Van Dien is sorely missed. What’s left is a pretty run of the mill shark movie, yet another “Jaws” knockoff marred by poor writing, generic direction and weak acting. The one thing that sort of works about it is the use of real shark footage – those beasts are impressive to look at!  ]

(19 Apr)    Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002, David Worth) 60
[ The third and best film in the epic “Shark Attack” trilogy is most notable for the highly enjoyable lead performance by John Barrowman, as well as for the twist involving the titular megalodon, a giant prehistoric shark that can swallow people whole! Good times. ]

January / May – June – July