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The same, but different

The same, but different

Apr 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • The truth will out. The surprise in romantic drama The Face of Love (due out on the 18th) is that it takes so long to arrive. Annette Bening plays Nikki, a designer still grieving the loss of her husband Garrett (Ed Harris) five years earlier. One day, she spots a dead ringer for Garrett and tracks the stranger down...

It’s eerie in Finsterworld

It’s eerie in Finsterworld

Mar 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • The annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (www.womeninfilm.ca) takes place at Vancity Theatre from March 6-9. The fest opens with BC director Karen Lam’s supernatural thriller Evangeline, a genre that organisers say is under-represented by women directors. It also includes the intriguing drama...

A heroine’s journey and other feats

A heroine’s journey and other feats

Feb 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • The annual Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival is not just about mountains and it’s not just about film. The fest, which launched in North Vancouver in 1998, includes films and guest presentations on a whole bunch of outdoor adventuring activities over its nine-day run, including snowboarding, kayaking,...

Dreams of fame and glory

Dreams of fame and glory

Dec 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Few sporting heroes have had as precipitous a fall from grace as Lance Armstrong. He’d beaten cancer and gone on to win seven Tour de Francetitles and the Livestrong charity he founded had generated hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer survivors. But after years of aggressively fending off doping accusations,...

Fan-funded films

Fan-funded films

Nov 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Retiring VIFF artistic director Alan Franey said he was amazed only four 35-mm films screened at this past fest. Two years ago, he never expected digital projection to be adopted so quickly. Technology is also fast reshaping the way films are funded. Crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, which launched a...

Saving ourselves

Saving ourselves

Oct 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • How does humanity deal with the threat of annihilation of itself and the biosphere? Three documentaries at the Vancouver International Film Festival offer very different responses. In The Expedition to the End of the World (Ekspeditionen til verdens ende), Danish director Daniel Dencik follows a crew of artists and...

Our VIFF – global, local, loveable

Our VIFF – global, local, loveable

Sep 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • This has not been the easiest of years for the Vancouver International Film Festival to prepare for. The closure of the Empire Theatres Granville 7, which had provided the Festival with multiple screens in an affordable, central hub for 11 years, presented organizers with a challenge. Fast forward to...

Toeing the party line

Toeing the party line

Aug 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Political reporter Sean Holman’s 43-minute documentary, Whipped: The Secret World of Party Discipline, is now free online at www.cpac.ca (Search for Whipped.) Holman’s self-narrated piece looks at how BC’s political party culture stifles public debate and democracy. It’s the kind of insightful and...

Campy comedy flies high

Campy comedy flies high

Jul 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • With his high-flying comedy, I’m So Excited (5th), Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar is back in the campy, over-the-top comedy territory of his early career. When a passenger flight, on its way from Spain to Mexico, experiences landing gear problems, the preening stewards (Javier Cámara, Carlos Areces, Raúl...

The best of Hot Docs

The best of Hot Docs

Jun 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Rather than viewing films from in front of the screen, I spent last month mostly behind the camera. I was shooting climate scientist Andrew Weaver’s successful bid to become Canada’s first Green elected to a provincial legislature for my documentary Running on Climate. However, while I haven’t been able to...