VIFF capsule reviews part three: Leviathan, The Fool, Still Life and Men, Women & Children

Today is the last day of the Vancouver International Film Festival, and I regret to say I didn’t catch as much of it as I’d hoped. Of the sixteen days that the festival ran, there were six when I simply didn’t make it into town, and on a few of the others I was lucky to catch a single film. But no matter. Here are a few more capsule reviews, one of which is for a film that will get a “repeat screening” over the weekend.

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J.K. Simmons is playing a what in Terminator: Genesis?

The latest bit of casting news for Terminator: Genesis — the working title for the fifth film in the cyborg-assassin-from-the-future series — has me confused.

The Hollywood Reporter says J.K. Simmons is in talks to play “a weary and alcoholic detective who has followed a bizarre case involving Sarah Connor and robots for more than three decades (since 1984, which, not coincidentally, is the year the original movie, directed by James Cameron, was released).”

So, wait, in the timeline of this movie, it’s at least 2014 — maybe 2015, which is when the film comes out — and the war with the machines hasn’t even started yet?

To recap: In the timeline of the first two films, Judgment Day took place in 1997, but by the end of the second film, Sarah Connor and her son were able to prevent the nuclear bombs from flying — at least in that year. Then, in the third film, Judgment Day took place in 2004 — this time thanks to a computer-virus-spreading Terminator that came back in time from the 2030s to make sure the war happened.

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Review: Juno (dir. Jason Reitman, 2007)

junoWho could have foreseen that 2007 would be the year of the unplanned pregnancy at the multiplex? And who could have foreseen that, as the year progressed, the films dealing with this topic would be increasingly bold in expressing their implicitly pro-life — not “anti-choice,” but certainly pro-life — sensibilities?

First there was Waitress, which starred 30-ish Keri Russell as a married woman who learns that she is bearing the offspring of her neglectful, even abusive, husband; deeply ambivalent about the pregnancy itself, she simply states that she recognizes the child’s “right to thrive,” and that is that. Then there was Knocked Up, in which Katherine Heigl played a single up-and-coming journalist in her 20s who keeps her baby partly because she is repulsed by her mother’s suggestion that she “take care of” the pregnancy now and have a “real baby” at some point in the future.

And now, there is Juno, which is arguably the funniest and most meaningful of the lot. The film stars Ellen Page as the youngest mother of them all, a whip-smart high-school student named Juno MacGuff who discovers that she is in the family way after a single sexual experience with her best friend and bandmate, a semi-dorky track star named Paulie Bleeker (Superbad’s Michael Cera).

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