Antarctica: A Year On Ice

Posted to Facebook on November 17, 2014 ·

Tonight’s movie screening with the Arthouse Film Festival was ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE. It’s a documentary about spending a year on the continent, as told by New Zealander Anthony Powell. He repairs satellite dishes at and around McMurdo Station. Anthony shot the footage for this movie over the course of 10 years, using self-made camera mounts and many cameras over the years. What you see are time lapse movies of the area, you also get to see the sky, stars, and Southern Lights.

While the majority of this movie shows amazing visuals of what it’s like to live down there, there’s a focus on the lives of the people who spend their time there year-round. The stations there are heavily populated during the Summer, and more or less go into maintenance mode for the rest of the year. Naturally, their Winter is our Summer, and this base has 4 months without sunlight.

If you are interested at all in Antarctica, see this movie, and see it in a theater, sit close to the screen. It’s unbelievable. It’s definitely my favourite documentary from this season of the AFF, so far.

The movie opens November 28th. Don’t miss it!

Check out the link below, it contains clips from the film, but they don’t compare to seeing it on the big screen.

St. Vincent

Originally posted to Facebook on November 16, 2014

Saw St. Vincent tonight. The trailer is cut to imply the movie is a comedy, and while there are comedic elements, it’s more of a drama. After separating from her husband, a woman (Melissa McCarthy) and her son move into a home next to the one occupied by the titular character, Vincent, a cranky, down on his luck, older man, nicely played by Bill Murray. She is forced to hire him as an afternoon babysitter, which leads to several misadventures in Vincent’s life. He’s not entirely the horrible person he turns out to be, and we get to discover many things about him that have made him the ‘bawdy misanthrope’ (as one reviewer described him) that he’s become.

The son, Oliver, is played by apparent newcomer Jaeden Lieberher. IMO, he’s a little too eloquent for the child he plays. Naomi Watts plays Daka, the pregnant Russian exotic dancer with the heart of gold (yes, exactly) really saves this from becoming a much sadder movie.

I did enjoy this film, and do recommend it if you’re in the right mood. Do not be fooled by the idea it might be a comedy.


Originally posted to Facebook on November 11, 2014 ·

Tonight’s movie at the Arthouse Film Festival was Wild, the story of a woman who goes on walkabout along the Pacific Crest Trail, after enduring some personal loss. She underestimates the trip, but learns to adjust. This movie is the adaptation of the best-selling book. Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the book about her real-life adventures. As she walks the trail, there are frequent flashbacks to what got her there, and it’s all pretty engaging. At the forefront of those is Laura Dern, who plays Reese’s mother. She was really good in her role. Along the way, music is half-remembered, and there’s a lot of it, but it never overpowers the story.

I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I was expecting the bubbly Reese, but there’s no trace of it here. She’s a far better actress that I’ve given her credit for in the past. This movie was shot on location, perhaps 90% that way, and the scenery is incredible. The personal interplay is interesting and engaging.

At the screening, Urs Hirschbiegel, the associate director, was present to tell us tales of things behind the scenes. He said that the story was shot in linear order, which isn’t usually done,, mainly to give the actors the flow to evolve with their characters as the story progresses. He’s worked with the director, Jean-Marc Vallée, on several movies, including Dallas Buyer’s Club. The two are currently shooting their next movie, Demolition, in NYC.

Wild opens generally on December 5th.

Big Hero 6

Originally posted to Facebook on November 8, 2014.

Saw Big Hero 6 last night. The film is based on a comic book, and revolves around a boy named Hiro, who teams up with his brother’s fellow students (and the balloon-y robot his brother created) to stop the person who stole one of his inventions and killed his brother. Good interplay between the characters, and a story that holds together. I saw it in 3D, which was not my choice, and it’s definitely not necessary for you to enjoy the film. Worth seeing.

BTW, Scott Adsit (Yes, Hornberger!) voices the robot Baymax.