Feb. 15, 2012 - Issue #852: The Coffee Issue
The country’s finest?
A look at Canada's top 10 flicks
Of the seven CTT features screening at Metro Cinema over the next two weeks—my apologies for not commenting on the shorts, but I haven't been able to see them—there is at least one film that one might call an underdog: Hobo with a Shotgun, a film that I didn't much care for but which certainly bucks against the likes of Starbuck with its odd fusion of nihilism, sentimentality, low-budget gore and conventional plot structure. Meanwhile, the placement of David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method is a given—it's also awfully close to a masterpiece, though many of my fellow Canadian critics seem to disagree—as is C.R.A.Z.Y. writer/director Jean-Marc Vallee's Café de flore, which has its moments of genuine emotional resonance but pivots on a high-concept structural device that's kind of a load of bullshit. The other two Quebec films, Guy Edoin's Wetlands and Sebastien Pilote's The Salesman are far more worth the spotlight, even if they might not seem quite as ambitious or, let's say, fully realized as Vallee's.
That just leaves Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz, which may require more defending despite the almost unimpeachable stature of the filmmaker at its helm—we'll see what the consensus is when it gets properly released this summer. The biggest problem with Polley's story of a marriage in peril is the lack of chemistry between its heroine, played by Michelle Williams, and both of the men she's torn between—Seth Rogan plays the husband, Luke Kirby the Other Man. Yet I felt that Polley's immense and at times unnerving insights into the intricate network of problems that beset long-term love, along with Williams' typically brave and intelligent performance, more than outweigh the film's considerable flaws.
As for the three remaining CTT features that didn't make it into Metro's series, Monsieur Lazhar has already opened and both Nathan Morlando's Scott Speedman-starring bank robber biopic Edwin Boyd and Guy Maddin's sublimely demented gangster movie Keyhole are sure to secure some sort of proper release later this spring.
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