WIFF’s Weekend Watch List — 04/01

THE FATHER

(If you want to see a major Oscar contender)

Vincent Georgie: Based on the play of the same name by French writer-director Florian Zeller, this English adaptation stars Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman as a father living with Alzheimer’s and his daughter grappling to keep her life together as she cares for him. What is ingenious is that the film takes the perspective of Hopkins, thus any confusion or loss of memory that he faces, we also face it as an audience. The result is a very empathetic dramatic device. Hopkins is towering in the role, completely disappearing into it. Nominated for 6 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Production Design (pivotal to the film’s success) and Best Film Editing (subtle and essential).

Synopsis: Anthony is 80, mischievous, living defiantly alone and rejecting the carers that his daughter, Anne, encouragingly introduces. Yet help is also becoming a necessity for Anne; she can’t make daily visits anymore and Anthony’s grip on reality is unravelling. As we experience the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can Anthony cling to? How does Anne cope as she grieves the loss of her father, while he still lives and breathes before her?

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MY SALINGER YEAR

(If you want to see a pair of terrific performances)

Vincent Georgie: The strength of Canadian writer-director Philippe Falardeau’s latest film is that he has two dynamic performances, one from a long-loved star and the other from an emerging actress. The former is the terrific Sigourney Weaver, clearly relishing one of the stronger roles she has had in a while; the latter is Margaret Qualley (sharp audiences remember her from WIFF 2017’s NOVITIATE) as a young woman who joins the literary agency where the plot of this film takes place. The film is fine but it’s these actresses that elevate every minute of it, and are worth the price of admission.

Synopsis: New York City in the late ‘90s. An ambitious young writer lands a job at a prestigious literary agency and is assigned by her boss to answer J.D. Salinger’s fan mail.

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BIG FAN

(If you love sports… a bit too much)

Vincent Georgie: I came to this film late, only catching up with it very recently and I’m sure glad that I did. The film is about the blurry lines between fandom, loyalty and obsession, and provides us with a great anti-hero played by Patton Oswalt. Normally a light comedic presence, Oswalt is very believable as “that guy we all know” who lives and breathes his fave team. He could easily be your neighbour, your relative, or even be you. The strength of this film is in the writing, as the script firmly keeps our anti-hero grounded in reality, albeit an increasingly dark one.

Synopsis: Paul Aufiero, a parking-garage employee, is a huge fan of the New York Giants. He lives at home with his mother and spends much of his free time extolling the virtues of his favorite football team on sports radio. One night, Paul and his best friend, Sal, spy Giants linebacker Quantrell Bishop in their neighborhood and follow him to a strip club. Paul decides to approach his idol, but the encounter goes very badly.

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DOUBLE FEATURE

FOR THE LOVE OF VINTAGE CARS

These two original films (not to be confused with their modern remakes) wonderfully exemplify the passion we feel about the style, design, function and feeling of driving exotic, expensive and impressive cars. For all those who are a part of car-loving communities, enjoy this double-feature of vintage cars via classic films.

BULLITT

Vincent Georgie: A quality action packed film? Check. Amazing cars? Check. Steve McQueen? Check.

Synopsis: Senator Walter Chalmers is aiming to take down mob boss Pete Ross with the help of testimony from the criminal’s hothead brother Johnny, who is in protective custody in San Francisco under the watch of police lieutenant Frank Bullitt. When a pair of mob hitmen enter the scene, Bullitt follows their trail through a maze of complications and double-crosses. This thriller includes one of the most famous car chases ever filmed.

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THE ITALIAN JOB

Vincent Georgie: A quality action packed film? Check. Amazing cars? Check. Michael Caine? Check.

Synopsis: Charlie is just out of the prison when he learns about his friends’ failed attempt at carrying out a heist in Italy. Now with the Mafia close on his heels, he intends to carry out the job himself.

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