Twilight Breaking Dawn, Melancholia, Buck and other new movies in Vancouver
BUCK: A fine movie for anyone who likes horses, or animals in general for that matter. It shows how one man treats them properly; trains them without whips, but with respect. The star of this documentary is a horse handler named Buck Brannaman, a man so laconic and easy going you might find yourself thinking of Gary Cooper. You should recall the movie The Horse Whisperer. He inspired it, advised on it and saved a crucial scene by knowing more than the professional trainers. Robert Redford calls him a “no nonsense guy,” a description that fits perfectly what we see him do in a series of horse clinics. He can get these animals to walk, stop and turn at the exact pace he sets, without inflicting pain. He suffered enough of that himself from an abusive father and embraced a gentle training method he likens to properly raising children. There’s a tragic sequence with an orphan horse that never learned to behave but most of the film is sunny, touching and lightened with wry humor. (VanCity Theatre) 4 out of 5
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A MATTER OF TASTE: A documentary for foodies about a man who served up creations like "eel, violets and chocolate," "espuma of calf brains and foie gras," and "beer and truffle soup” and was praised with three stars by the New York Times. That was Paul Liebrandt at age 24. Since then he’s had an up and down career in the Big Apple’s tough restaurant scene. Director Sally Rowe spent more than a decade tracking it and focuses her film on the tense lead-up to a visit and taste test by a food critic who can make or break careers. (VanCity
SUPERHEROES: Think the amateur crime fighters in movies like Defendor or Kick-Ass are total fiction? Or the news story from Chilliwack this week about three teens dressing as comic-book characters to “troll” for sexual predators just a one-off oddity? Think again. It seems there are people all over willing to don spandex and imaginary identities to patrol the streets for baddies.
This entertaining, often amusing, documentary, originally made for HBO, gives us a glimpse of over 40 of them and a closer visit with a few.
Mr. Xtreme has a Justice League with only one member. But he’s recruiting. The generically-named Super Hero drives a red Corvette. Master Legend surveys a city skyline from a rooftop and proclaims “This is the town that I defend.” In a rare scene of actual crime fighting, Dark Guardian confronts a New York drug dealer who yaps back defiantly. Some spend more time just doing good deeds on the street. Vancouver’s contribution, for instance, Thanatos, helps people on the downtown eastside wearing a death mask and a long coat. The film lets them explain themselves and doesn’t judge. A psychologist says they’re “not necessarily any crazier than you or I” but a police spokeswomen has a list of concerns and Stan Lee of Marvel Comics appears a little bemused. (Pacific Cinematheque) Note: Thanatos will attend Sunday night and take questions. 3 1/2 out of 5
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EVERYDAY SUNSHINE: THE STORY OF FISHBONE: A fresh take on some common rock and roll themes: bands split by infighting and bands that failed to make it big. Plus a new extreme: a kidnapping charge on a leader for forcibly bringing back a player who walked out. That and much more drama swirls around Fishbone, the Los Angeles band once touted by other musicians and critics as the next big thing. It didn’t happen, although they had a major record deal, Spike Lee directed a video and their live shows were legendary. This film charts their struggles all the way. Six friends from south central Los Angeles bussed to a white high school formed the band in 1979 and played a goodtime ska/reggae/rock/soul hybrid with a goofy stage presence. Friction started when the Rodney King riots brought a mood change. One member wanted to get serious; one was called a dictator for resisting change and the clown of the group developed a creepy alter ego, Dr. Mad Vibes. Many changes of personnel and record labels later, the band is still going and celebrated by Tim Robbins (“unique”), Flea (“magic”) and Gwen Stefani (“we were all influenced by them”). (Pacific Cinematheque) NOTE: Co-director Lev Anderson will attend Friday night. 3 out of 5
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