A shiny new Robert Pattinson, a skewed Bruce Lee and some not-for-kids animation
We’ve got six new films this week and two others that weren’t previewed. One is Terminator 2, the Schwartzenegger-James Cameron classic from 1991. It’s back newly converted into 3-D but I don’t know why. The original is one of the best action films ever made and only needed 2-D.
The other is All Saints, a faith-based film with a true story from Tennessee. John Corbett stars as an ex-salesman turned pastor who is told to wind up a failing church so that the land can be sold to a developer. Instead of complying, he takes in refugees from Burma and saves the church. Variety gave this one a very positive review. You’ll have to get to Coquitlam or Langley if you want to see for yourself.
And these are the other six films:
Good Time: 3 ½ stars
The Girl Without Hands: 4
Birth of the Dragon: 2
The Fencer: 3 ½
The End of the Road: 3 ½
The Only Living Boy in New York: 2 ½
GOOD TIME: When a movie is built on an anything-can-go-wrong plot like this, there’s every chance you’re in for surprises. And you are; they keep coming, lots of them. But the biggest surprise is the performance by Robert Pattinson. The former Twilight heartthrob drops the sleepy persona of those films, heads to New York and becomes a type-a guy on a mission. He’s needs money to get his brother out of jail. He’s largely responsible for him being there –one of the many things that go wrong during one intense day and night—and he’s excessively protective of his mentally-challenged sibling. That part’s not fully explained though it propels this speeding-truck of a film.
He rescues his brother from a psychiatrist, then involves him in a bank robbery, which results in him dowsed in paint and injured. Yet with every misstep, he improvises a way back. When he sneaks the wrong guy out of hospital he finds an upside: a chance to get the money the bail bondsman demands which his girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) refuses to help with. That takes us on a drug search in an amusement park, all dark until the lights come on. The script carries on like that, jumping from mishap, to recovery, to mishap. Even though the logic strains a few times, the film is highly engrossing. Brothers Benny and Josh Safdie directed, with Ben also playing the brother. (International Village) 3 ½ out of 5
THE GIRL WITHOUT HANDS: This is not one of those cleaned-up animated folk tales for children. It's from one of the Grimm Brothers’ lesser-known stories and keeps all the rough stuff. Violence. Nudity. A girl is described as "too clean ... I want her dirty." That's the devil talking. He's tricked her father into giving her to him for a river of gold. Now her purity becomes a snag and dad is told to cut off her hands. She, the dutiful daughter that she is, allows it. Then she runs away, gets help from a river god and charms a prince. And that's still only half way through the story, a mere 6 pages long on paper and liberally adapted and filled out here. There’s much more peril to come.
Most striking is the artwork. The drawings are done in watercolor washes, often transparent and minimal in details. The sound meanwhile is rich and complex. Together they get across the greed vs goodness, purity vs chicanery themes far better than most animated films. It’s magical and poignant, made in France by director Sébastien Laudenbach. His previous work was in short films. This one is a bit slow a few times but the strength of the images make it move. (VanCity Theatre) 4 out of 5
BIRTH OF THE DRAGON: Bruce Lee fans were upset with it at the Toronto Film Festival last year. It’s been re-edited but is likely not much better at pleasing them. If you don’t know a lot about him or the martial arts he taught and performed in the movies you might enjoy it. Several demos and matches are well-staged and the story is involving. The problem is much of it is fiction and by the end it’s absurd.