A vengeful mom, a demonic nun and Michael Caine’s memories of the swinging 60s
Beside him we get the key personalities of the time. In old and sometimes new talk clips, Paul McCartney, Twiggy, David Bailey, Marianne Faithful, Roger Daltrey, Mary Quant, Vidal Sasoon and many others describe the life they saw and lived. “Suddenly people saw the working class had talents among them,” says McCartney. “Anyone with talent could be a part of it,” says Lulu. The film documents liberation on several fronts and then admits to the damage that excess and drugs caused in the scene. It’s not the definitive document, but it is wonderful as an overview and a recall. Terrific film clips from back then are beautifully and vibrantly edited to flow right along with the new interviews. And also in there is a great batch of the hits, from The Animals to Donovan, the Stones to the Zombies. (VanCity Theatre, starting Monday) 3 ½ out of 5
MINDING THE GAP: About half way through this fascinating documentary, both the director, Bing Liu, and one of his subjects realize that making it is a form of therapy. They have a lot of stuff to work their way through, some of it normal, like one pal’s “anxiety about not feeling like a grown up.” Some of it more troubling.
Liu videotaped his skateboarding friends in Rockford, Illinois, and himself, when they were young cruising brazenly down the streets, jumping over hydrants, violating no trespassing rules and then again 10 years later to see how they’ve progressed. They open up to him both times. “It’s a family thing,” one says about their group skateboarding. “No one else is looking out for us.” It’s also an escape at times, from abuse at home, strict or gone-away fathers, sometimes just loud arguments between parents. “Really unnerving,“ one says. “Almost scarring.” One of the three is now a father himself and constantly arguing with his girlfriend about sharing responsibility. “We have to fully grow up and it sucks,” he says. She says he hits her, which may be another example of problems drifting down through the generations. What’s he passing on to his child? The film raises thoughts like that repeatedly. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be representative of youth in general these days but it is an intimate reading of the life of these guys. (VanCity Theatre also starting Monday) 3 out of 5
TULIPANI: It bears the subtitle “Love, honor and a bicycle”. That pretty well sums up much of the plotline and suggests how charming and lightly entertaining the film might be. It is all that but too bad that they had to spoil it all at the very end. More on that below.
The story is intriguing to follow because it’s told in several levels of flashback. A young woman in Montreal (Ksenia Solo) starts it when her mother dies and she sets off to take her ashes to southern Italy where she was from. She’s told that’s not her real mother. Another woman picks up the story when a police inspector (veteran Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini) comes to investigate an old disappearance. The connection is pretty murky but it starts with a young man (Gijs Naber) fed up with the rain in Holland bicycling to Italy and starting a tulip farm. A woman he got pregnant before he left shows up too and suddenly there are two women in his life. Worse, the local Mafia boss demands money. The farmer won’t pay and proclaims that only if you’re afraid of him, can he control you. Instead of doing more with that concept, the film, believe it or not, gets off the world’s biggest fart joke. Until then it was rich with the feel of rural Italy and had me entirely engrossed. Suddenly it undercut everything. This is an international co-production with Canadian and Dutch money, filmed mostly in Italy, but also in Lithuania and Hamilton, Ont. (International Village) 2 ½ out of 5
And two that weren’t previewed here but have opened:
THE LITTLE STRANGER: There was great anticipation for this one as a prestige horror movie based on a celebrated novel and starring good people like Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson and Charlotte Rampling. Gleeson’s character had to visit the crumbling manor where Rampling and Wilson live and be beset by old secrets. Polite and subtle say the positive reviews. Boring and not scary says the negative ones. The Seattle Times identified “An atmosphere of lingering, musty dread.”
GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD: Religion, grief, country music and stock car racing come together in this story of a young war widow who struggles financially to raise her daughter and then gets help when she meets a rowdy race car driver. It’s a faith-based movie directed by Harold Cronk, who made both God is Not Dead movies. And it’s a film version (a loose one apparently) of a 20-year-old hit song by Rascal Flatts. “A narrative hodgepodge” says a Los Angeles Times review.