Tag Archives: films

Mark Webber’s The Place Of No Words

“Where do we go when we die?” It’s a simple question as any, yet not so much, especially for a terminally ill father to answer when asked by his son, who is young enough to still be inundated in the unknowable, lingering perception of whatever came before his birth, a state of innocence engulfed in the abstract, the early stage of images and impressions in which we all existed before ‘words,’ ‘thoughts’ and ‘facts’ eclipsed the feelings and we forgot what it was like to be to feel rooted in the spirit realm. Mark Webber’s The Place Of No Words sets out to tell us an impossibly heartbreaking story in as uplifting, lyrical and compassionate way as possible using fractured prose, fragmented editing and the most convincing visual, allegorical and artistic expression from the perspective of a child that I have perhaps ever seen in cinema. Remember when you were young and certain key, core memories, simple in themselves, contained entire worlds of meaning and significance greater and more profound than could be described? This whole film is structured around a few essential recollections just like that, belonging to a young child named Bodhi Webber, who is playing himself in one of the most naturalistic, inherently inspired, momentous pieces of work you could hope for. Writer director Mark Webber plays himself too as does his wife Teresa Palmer, and we get to see this family unit interact in the same realistic way they no doubt do away from cameras and the result is a captivating, authentic, immersive, deeply dreamlike experience like no other. Mark (in this story) is dying of an unnamed terminal illness, while Bodhi processes, rationalizes and deals with this agonizing metamorphosis the way any child does, by conjuring up a fantasy world to exist in that serves as prism projection of everything around him he’s too young to understand. Much of the film is spent with Mark and Bodhi as two sort of Viking knights, journeying through the lush Welsh countryside on a quest to find ‘Freeka Reeka Sheeka Deeka.’ They encounter a witch, an angelic fairy princess, two wooly ‘dog’ trolls, a knight (Eric Christian Olsen) who fights himself and make their way through a swamp that literally farts and poos geysers of chocolate sludge (such is the mind of a child). What really makes this film special is the editing and overall tone, which is all over the place in the best way possible. The transitions between the fantasy world and hazy real life memories come without warning or traditional plot structure and feel just about as organically synaptic as you can get. The performances, Bodhi in particular, cut deep and the decision to use real family members is something intuitively out of this world. For all it’s whimsy and fantastical charm though, this is an emotionally crippling film and if you’ve lost anyone to illness and are still the least bit raw about it, go into this guarded because it’s downright disarming. I can’t think of another film that uses a central performance, subconsciously felt editing and intense metaphor to place the viewer in a childlike state of mind so well. Brilliant, beautiful, masterful film.

-Nate Hill

Blumhouse’s Freaky

Okay so imagine Freaky Friday but instead of teenage Lindsay Lohan swapping bodies with her mom played by Jamie Lee Curtis it’s teenage Kathryn Newton swapping places with a serial killer played by… Vince Vaughn, of all people. Also just take Friday out of the title and you’ve got Freaky, a super fun, super R rated, whip smartly written horror comedy that is one in a reliable assembly line of stuff being put out by Blumhouse lately. I don’t want to imply that this is just a horror knockoff of Freaky Friday because it’s fiercely it’s own film and has genuine innovation and creativity behind it, starting with casting Vaughn as someone who has to convincingly act like a flustered teenage girl for almost ninety minutes. Let’s just say he succeeds scarily, uncannily well at doing that. An idyllic small town has been home to serial killer The Butcher for years, and one night after infiltrating a Manor filled with ancient artifacts he pinches an old bone dagger with mystical Aztec powers. After stabbing shy high school girl Millie with it, they suddenly wake up in each other’s bodies unwittingly the next morning and cause quite the dose of confusion. Millie is stuck inside the hefty, 50+ year old body of Vaughn, while The Butcher is trapped in petite, blonde Newton and everyone else has no idea what the fuck is happening. It’s a wild concept and they milk it for all it’s worth and then some. The real draw is seeing Vaughn act like a flighty teen and he hits the mark squarely, giving some of his best comedic work in years and clearly having so much fun in the tole. Newton is great too, she gets to rework the Millie character in the killer’s eyes and do this ‘dangerous dark chick’ thing with her wardrobe and mannerisms and get proxy payback against some of the folks who make her high school existence hell including a horde of rapey jock douchebags, a yappy little gossip whore who spreads cunty rumours about her and the world’s most abusive and obnoxious woodwork teacher played by (!!!!) Alan Ruck, who was Ferris Bueller’s homie and I totally didn’t recognize until I looked up the cast just now. The tone of the film is kinda slight overall and never too serious but it doesn’t feel watered down, glossed over or too lame and PG like a lot of teen horror these days, this baby owns it’s hard-R rating loud and proud. There’s a galaxy of very clever and *severely* profane dialogue, some surprisingly mature, sweet and intuitive social satire and relationship dynamics as well as a bunch of extremely gory and downright impressive kills that involve an array of scenarios including table saws, chainsaws, spears, kitchen knives, and an entire *intact* wine bottle fully shoved down some poor bastards throat and *then* smashed, which is a new one for the genre. There’s also a Jason X shoutout kill involving a literal cryo-freezing chamber and I found myself wondering what the hell would would one of those things be doing in a high school, like.. is that some weird American thing? Anyways, if you like your horror fast, furious, super bloody, smart, a smidge self aware and have always had an innate desire to see Vince Vaughn as a hormonally hysterical teenage girl, this’ll be your bag. One of the coolest flicks this year.

-Nate Hill

Stephen King’s Misery

It took me a while to finally catch up with Stephen King’s Misery (as adapted by Rob Reiner) but what spectacularly unsettling horror film, mostly thanks to an almost unbearably intense Kathy Bates. I can picture King during the writing process of this book waking up in a cold clammy sweat from a trauma induced nightmare about some psycho stalker fan (I’m sure he’s had a few), feverishly grabbing pen and paper from his nightstand and scribbling off another chapter. Reiner & Co. capture the cold dread, deafening isolation and mounting hopelessness of the story wonderfully, as unlucky hotshot novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) finds himself injured, stranded and finally ‘rescued’ by super-fan Annie Wilkes (Bates), rushed off to her remote snowy cabin and nursed back to health.. and then some. The great thing about Bates’ performance is she doesn’t make Annie a complete outright monster, there are momentary flashes of something resembling humanity, albeit of a lonely, bitter, misshapen kind. She takes the maniacal behaviour to extreme heights by starting on a slow burn that has us *slightly* on edge and gradually turning the dial up to a deafening roar of obsessive behaviour, delusional fantasies and homicidal volatility. It’s a wicked sharp, playful, very somehow simultaneously in control and unhinged piece of acting, while Caan, in a difficult role, is bed ridden as he bears witness to and takes the full brunt of her tempestuous meltdown. The chilly winter setting is a huge plus, my cup of tea atmosphere indeed and the beautiful snowed in locations make for a splendid visual feast. We spend most of our time with Caan and Bates yet there is a curated supporting cast of memorable folks including Lauren Bacall, Frances Sternhagen, Reiner himself, the late great Richard Farnsworth as a charismatic local Sheriff and the also late great J.T. Walsh as the county’s most inept state trooper. I feel like King took the masochistic route here and heavily projected himself into the role of Paul, the trapped artist forced to plonk out new work on an aggressive timeline not of his own delineation. What trials and hardships is he trying to wrestle out of his mind by telling this story? The crushing doom of a publishing deadline? The vacuous, soul-eating doldrums of writer’s block? The no doubt nerve-wracking, paranoia laced burden of dealing with a fanbase of oddball horror nuts? Who can say. But this feels like a personal story for him, and it’s certainly a very well told, acted and produced film full of deeply shocking moments, icy tension and an antagonist for the ages served up by Bates who, to quote herself, is one ‘cockadoodie’ chick. Great film.

-Nate Hill

The Avengers (1998)

I hate to be that guy that always champions universally reviled films as actually being pretty good, but I have to be honest in my reviews and I really don’t see the big issue with 1998’s The Avengers, but keep in mind I’ve never seen a single episode of the original 60’s tv series. This was some seriously fun, albeit chaotic and unfocused 90’s big budget retro espionage silliness that might not be the most amazing thing, but definitely entertained me for what it has to offer. In this iteration the roles of dapper super spies Emma Peel and John Steed go to Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes, who both look damn sexy in the costumes and have cutesy chemistry with each other that was endearing, they’re an interesting mix and they haven’t done a film together since but I enjoyed the flavour that their pairing projected. They work for an appropriately arch government agency called ‘The Agency,’ run by two veteran cranks given the code names ‘Mother’ and ‘Father.’ The sheepish gimmick of casting Jim Broadbent as Mother and Fiona Shaw as Father is a an amusing if thinly conceived running joke that serves as a cheeky litmus test for the film’s overall saucy sense of humour. Our two heroes must do battle with Sean Connery’s Sir August De Wynter, a de facto Bond villain and all around nut-job who wants to hold the entire world ransom by controlling the weather with a giant machine he’s designed. Cue rampant meteorological destruction in London, elaborate set pieces, glib line delivery and all the big budget production design you can shake a jewel encrusted cane at. Speaking of that, I don’t care what you think of the film itself, there’s just no denying the positively stunning set design, costuming and overall visual flair… this is one seriously good looking movie, starting with its cast. Fiennes rocks that pinstripe suit to the fucking nines, while Thurman has maybe never been sexier in her skinny leather catsuit. Connery has this Burt Reynolds thing going on with his hair which oddly suits him, and speaking of suits he goes through one impressive range of wardrobe bedazzlement here, showing up in everything from full highland regalia complete with a kilt to a Snow White n’ silver custom job to a full on teddy bear costume when he arbitrarily decides to hold a teddy bear board meeting with his nefarious cronies all done up like plush toys. He gets priceless dialogue too, including precious barbs like “rain or shine, all is mine” and seems to be having a right hammy blast with the character. Shaw and Broadbent are old pros and have fun chewing scenery with droll, proverbially plummy cutlery and the cast includes the likes of the lovely Carmen Ejogo, Eileen Atkins as a charming old granny who wastes baddies with a WWII era sub-machine gun, John Wood, Patrick McNee as an accidental invisible man, Keeley Hawes and Eddie Izzard in a Paul McCartney wig who gets one solitary line of dialogue, but I suppose if you’re only gonna give that dude one line it might as well be the film’s single PG-13 F bomb. Ok so this isn’t the greatest movie ever made but it’s most definitely not as bad as the reputation would have you believe, I think the mob mentality snowballed a tad there. Sure it’s inane as all hell, there’s visible editing issues and it doesn’t flow as well as other films of its ilk but hell, if you look up eye candy in the cinematic dictionary you’ll find the drop dead dime-piece of a poster gleaming back at you. Production design, costumes and big sexy action set pieces certainly don’t save a film or shunt it into annals of pedigree but they can certainly make one well worth watching, and on that front I wasn’t disappointed, not even a bit. Sift through the bad press and make your own decisions on film, you’ll be surprised what you find yourself enjoying.

-Nate Hill

Adam Marcus’s Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday might be my favourite film in the Crystal Lake franchise on deliriously excessive shock value and purely deranged artistic inspiration alone; this thing is fucking lovably unhinged. There just comes a time in every franchise where the filmmakers feel the need to shake things up, throw a bit of seasoning into the stew that wasn’t there in previous incarnations (see the wonderful Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6) and the result is often a tributary effort like this where a simple, effective slasher motif has the doors of mythology blasted wide open and we get something really unique and striking. Jason Voorhees is blown to bloody smithereens in the first ten minutes of this film, and rendered all but deceased… or is he? Of course he isn’t, you ninnyhammer, that’s the golden rule of these things. It’s revealed that Jason’s essence, his very spirit itself transcends the physical flesh and can jump between hosts like a murderous parasite, which he does quite frequently on his journey from a big city morgue back to Crystal Lake to kill the sister and granddaughter he never knew he had, and quite frankly neither did we until this uncommonly elaborate script came into being. On his tail is gregarious bounty hunter Creighton Duke (Steven Williams, also awesome in True Detective & The X Files), who believes he can end Jason’s recently esoteric reign of terror and stop the legacy of blood. Much of the Friday The 13th franchise exists as primitive narrative framework for sex, suspense, substance consumption and modest murder special effects with nary a whiff of any real storytelling, supernatural or swanky FX. Not this baby. There are countless super slimy gore effects here, starting with a weird turd/slug thing that Jason passes between hosts to control them and onto some *very* intense kills including a mid coitus, ‘split right down the middle’ machete Hail Mary execution that earns a sly slow clap from the viewer. Crystal Lake now has this bizarre little diner run by a a rampaging matriarchal bull hen called Joey B., played by the great and always under appreciated Rusty Schwimmer. At one point Jason lays siege on her establishment and she arms her inbred bumpkin clan with heavy artillery for a demented firefight that.. well, let’s just say I didn’t think I’d ever see anything like it from this franchise. While there is story, it’s naturally all over the place, kinda like Jason himself and when he does finally show up in his traditional form once again (played by the great Kane Hodder, of course) it’s a cheer out loud moment. The legendary homages to other franchises like Evil Dead and Nightmare On Elm Street are wonderful as ever, and overall this is just so much goddamn fun for any loving fan of the Friday films, provided you employ a healthy level of imagination and capacity for abstract thought so you can play on its level.

-Nate Hill

Remi Weekes’ His House

It’s always neat to see a haunted house film that isn’t just about your average middle class American partridge family moving into a spacious New England manor. Additionally it’s refreshing when said haunted house film doesn’t rely on the usual book of tricks, jump scares, possessions, furniture flying around in invisible tornadoes or the usual garble that clutters up story. Remi Weekes’ His House is a disarmingly masterful horror film that isn’t just horror for the sake of chills, it’s actually about something important on more than one level and it’s about as assured, well crafted and terrifying as a director’s debut in the genre could be. The film focuses on a Sudanese couple (Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku) escaping their war torn country and arriving in the UK as refugees, ready to start a new life. They are appointed a slightly scatterbrained social worker (Matt Smith, better than he’s ever been) who sets them up in a spacious yet decrepit council housing unit in a hectic, labyrinthine outer district of London and its here they must adjust to their new circumstances, fit in and heal from the past. The past is key here, because this film is billed as a haunted house flick but there’s this slow realization that whatever is tormenting them isn’t something the home itself has to offer, but something that has followed them across the seas from Africa, a place where the age of reason hasn’t really dawned yet and those nameless fears the West has all but forgotten still abide in the collective unconscious of the people. Soon they hear voices from the perforated walls, whispers in the night, see feverish apparitions and are thoroughly haunted by many spirits, one in particular who knows a dark and dreadful secret from their past that has etched grooves into their already traumatized psyches until they both must face their demons accordingly. This is a terrifying film from a horror standpoint: the scares come fast, fresh and relentless until any minute spent in the house offers a new adrenal stab or potential heart attack inducing scene at any given moment. What really made this film special for me as a viewer was not just the scares, it was *how* this story is told from a narrative, editing, emotional, dream logic and shifting perspective aspect, and if that sounds a bit vague then it is because I don’t quite know how to describe some of the scenes I saw. Much of the film is set in this house but there are nightmarish flashbacks to Sudan and the stormy Mediterranean Sea that are handled in such a uniquely fluid, beautifully creative fashion they really took my breath away. There’s a moment where Dirisu sits alone at the kitchen table against a wall and quietly eats a meal. Then, almost imperceptibly at first, we pan out and as the colour grade slowly burgeons from dull grey to painful ochre red we notice that the kitchen is floating on the ocean… he is in fact dreaming. It’s one of the most wonderful, languid transitions I’ve seen in cinema recently and is alone enough to tell me that Weekes isn’t just a filmmaker to be watched at this point, but already one to be reckoned with. The performances from our two leads are also something special, and overall this film does a very clever, very personal and internal spin on the haunted house flick using dream logic, scintillating perspectives and cerebral fabric to tell a story that gives a voice to humans that often aren’t heard, felt or seen all the time in cinema. A masterwork, and one of the finest films you’ll see this year.

-Nate Hill

Thomas Bezucha’s Let Him Go

Before I start this review can I just say what a gorgeous, adorable couple Kevin Costner and Diane Lane make? They played one once before in Man Of Steel but the movie wasn’t quite centred on them, however in sweeping American gothic drama-thriller Let Him Go they are front and centre as a husband and wife fighting desperately for what’s theirs in early 1960’s Montana, and they are both every inch the movie stars we’ve come to know and love. This film could have easily gone the direct, glossy genre route and given us something that looked pretty, serviced the audience but didn’t provide much depth beyond surface level. Somewhat newbie director Thomas Bezucha (this is only his third feature in a decade) works from a novel by Larry Watson to give us a rich, stirring, full blooded story of two loving grandparents who refuse to go gentle into that good night, and the film won me over big time. They are George and Margaret Blackledge, loving parents and grandparents until their son passes away in a terrible accident, and his widow marries a no good dirtbag who absconds with her and the grandson with nary a word of farewell. It turns out this brat comes from an entire family of no good dirtbags just like him called the Weboys, presided over by tyrannical matriarchal bitch Blanche Weboy, played by Lesley Manville who sinks her fangs in for the kind of cape twirling, rotten bastard villain turn that would make Imelda Staunton’s Dolores Umbridge cower. She has all of her claws in all of her sons, and soon too the grandson that doesn’t belong to her. So George and Margaret make the journey from Montana into chilly North Dakota to first reason with, then engage in bitter conflict against this maladjusted clan. Costner is gruff, curt and reserved as George but he has always been very skilled at saying a lot without using his words, letting a glance, a shift of weight or gesture speak tomes, and he employs that here to full effect. Lane is the maternal heart, soul and driving force of the film, showing unbreakable determination, resilience and love in the face of belligerent evil. They’re both superb, but what makes the film ultimately so effective is how well they work *together.* There are two scenes that stand out to me as key lynchpins of both their relationship and the narrative: before they leave their ranch to find the grandson, they visit a family grave plot to see their son. Margaret seems upset and says she’d rather not be there because it’s filled with people she’s lost. George says with clenched melancholy “Maybe that’s what life becomes after awhile, just a bunch of people we’ve lost.” This is important in establishing them as individuals and as a couple. Later in North Dakota they get dressed up and go to dinner together, discuss life, death and share a memory in which Margaret whispers words of comfort to her horse who has to be put down. This is a script that means business and doesn’t just exist as framework for thrills, although there are plenty, this is one of the most tense, high stakes, intense stories I’ve seen in awhile. The film has uncommon depth and character development for a film of its type, and what really keeps the wind in the sails is Costner and Lane, their dialogue, romance, determination and love for one another, the grandson they’re fighting so hard to save and the life they’re trying to salvage, together, from the throes of tragedy. I miss when we’d go to the movies to see two honest to god stars like this in a simple, elegant, down to earth but very moving drama. One of the strongest films this year.

-Nate Hill

Fire Down Below

Fire Down Below might just be the most laidback Steven Seagal movie I’ve seen, and I mean that as a compliment. Many of his seemingly endless outings are obnoxious inner city bang ups, special forces hootenannies or high concept martial arts pageants, but here is a simple, down to earth, rural Kentucky set tale of one tough Fed helping out a small town of disadvantaged folks battle corporate corruption and deeds most foul. An unscrupulous company has been dumping toxic waste into a town’s water supply, lighting the canyons on fire and being a general nuisance in the region, but they really step out of line when they kill Seagal’s research partner and he’s dispatched to investigate by his agency handler (Richard Masur in the quickest cameo I’ve seen in a while). He spends the rest of the film meandering around a backwater county, making friends, getting cozy with a troubled local beekeeper (Marg Helgenberger, ditching the swanky CSI leather for a country girl’s dress) and eventually beating the shit out of underlines who work for powerful industrialist CEO Kris Kristofferson, who spends most of the film elsewhere in the big city ogling dancers at some casino. The one who does make the most trouble for Steven is Helgenberger’s pervy, volatile, very mentally unstable brother played with a high strung psychopathic flourish by Stephen Lang. Others include The Band’s Levon Helm as the local priest, Brad Hunt, Mark Collie, John Diehl, Randy Travis, country singers Alex Harvey & Marty Stuart and the great Harry Dean Stanton, giving the film’s only truly good performance as a simple local guy who gets caught up in the whole mess. This is a low key thing, the action comes in quick jolts and there’s a kickass canyon car chase with giant trucks but a lot of it is just hazy small town hangin’ our, which is fine too. There’s some great music too sung by the numerous professional musicians in the cast and briefly by Stanton himself. The main thing the film has going for it is a hilarious script by Jeb Stuart, who wrote classics like Die Hard and The Fugitive. He pens some precious one-liners here and I have to give a few quick examples because they are priceless: Kristofferson’s son asks pops if he wants him to ‘take Seagal out,’ and Kris dryly retorts: “You couldn’t take out a cheeseburger from a drive-thru window.” Another instance sees some poor fool try and threaten Steven with: “I’m gonna slap you like a red-headed step child!” Amazing stuff.

-Nate Hill

Arne Glimcher’s Just Cause

Just Cause, a sweaty 90’s Sean Connery potboiler, is one of those films that could have had its ducks in a line to be somewhat believable and entertaining but the script is a weird one and the execution of said script.. well to say it goes off the rails would be putting it mildly. Connery plays a hotshot professor who was once a legendary lawyer, lured back into the muck of the legal system by an elderly woman (the great Ruby Dee) whose son (Blair Underwood) has been sitting on death row for eight years for the rape and murder of a little girl. She’s convinced he’s innocent, and begs him to investigate the case, and so he journeys to the sweaty Florida Everglades to nose around. Laurence Fishburne plays the dodgy local sheriff who put the boy away on a brutally coerced confession and doesn’t take kindly to anyone trying to dig old secrets up or overturn convictions. Soon information turns up related to another inmate on the row, a serial murderer played by Ed Harris in such a try-hard, faux intense, maniacally cartoonish performance you have to feel for the guy. Here’s the thing: this film doesn’t work for two glaring reasons. Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with a humdinger of a twist ending, but you have to be honest with your audience and play at their level, not deliberately hide shit, manipulate and mislead us into thinking one thing, then just do a fucking unabashed 180 degree turn and expect us to accept it. The twist is ludicrous, especially when you look back at the editing, composition and overall thrust of the first half of the film. Secondly, the film builds a careful series of events to mount tension and at the last minute decides it wants to be an action movie, throws all story and credibility to the dogs and blares rudely on for an obnoxious, balls out, car chase ridden finale it it doesn’t earn, need or warrant in any way. Connery is kind of bland here, just a stalwart archetype following the breadcrumb trail dutifully. A supporting cast of very talented folks like Chris Sarandon, Kate Capshaw, Ned Beatty, Chris Murray, Kevin McCarthy, Hope Lange and an unrecognizable Scarlett Johannsson are all squandered in underwritten bit parts. Fishburne is the only one who makes a valid and lasting impression, doing his best with the writing as he always does and putting menace, mirth and actual gravitas into his work. Don’t know what else to say, this thing just sucked.

-Nate Hill

Gabrielle Savage Dockerman’s Missing In America

War movies are a dime a dozen, but how many filmmakers choose scripts that focus on veterans trying to live their lives years or even decades after, with the lingering trauma of conflict and impressions of violence following them around, now encoded into their psyche? Gabrielle Dockterman’s Missing In America is a very low budget, laid back yet deeply powerful story of how several men who once fought in the Viet Nam war deal with the aftermath in their twilight years, and how sometimes an event that terrible can have ripple effects many years later. Danny Glover is Jake, a reclusive, brittle vet who lives a simple life alone in the misty mountains of the Pacific Northwest. He has little human contact save for kindly yet poker-faced general store owner Kate (Linda Hamilton). One day he gets a visit from old army buddy Henry (David Strathairn), who is dying of lung cancer and leaves Jake with what is most important to him, his half Vietnamese daughter Lenny (Zoe Weizenbaum) in hopes that Jake can take care of her and give her a life when he’s gone. Jake is a stubborn, solitary fellow and things get to a rocky start but the two eventually do bond and the film quietly cultivates a meditative, sometimes stormy and often touching relationship between the two… until past wounds refuse to heal and tragedy strikes. It seems this region is home to several veterans other than Jake, and one in particular who never really recovered from the horrors of war is Red (Ron Perlman), a haunted, disfigured man who resents Lenny and is hostile towards her. This is a quiet, meaningful story of human beings trying their best with collective trauma and I greatly enjoyed it. The ending is horrific though and quickly escapes the trap of being simply a schmaltzy Hallmark type thing. This film, although simple and sentimental in areas, has a dark underlying theme and a difficult, tough-pill-to-swallow message to get across. I’m not going to lie and say this is Hollywood pedigree Oscar bait filmmaking, it’s got an ultra shoestring budget, most of which probably went to paying the wonderful cast, who are all excellent and don’t phone in for a second. Young Zoe Weizenbaum is great too in her first, almost only film role since. The Vancouver-area setting is lush, foggy, atmospheric and gorgeous through and through, naturally. If you like simple, truthful, no frills dramatic material showcasing big name actors doing something unpretentious, genuine and accessible, give it a go.

-Nate Hill