WIFF’s Weekend Watch List — 07/24

SHADOW

(If you want incredible visuals)   

Vincent Georgie: Master filmmaker Zhang Yimou has made some of the most politically charged films in Chinese cinematic history. In his new film SHADOW, a fave from WIFF 2019, Yimou brings us a film that perfectly blends incredible action with innovative and exciting visuals. This film never bores.

Synopsis: With SHADOW, director Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) once again pushes the boundaries of wuxia action to create a film like no other, masterfully painting a canvas of inky blacks and greys punctuated with bursts of color from the blood of the defeated. In a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, the military commander has a secret weapon: a “shadow”, a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want.

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AFTER THE WEDDING 

(If you want a solid drama)   

Vincent Georgie: This is a remake of the terrific Danish film and, wisely, this new version starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams stays very true to the original’s masterful story blueprint. Like an onion, the layers of this film are slowly but steadily peeled away for its entire run time. 

Synopsis: Isabel (Michelle Williams) has dedicated her life to working with the children in an orphanage in Calcutta. Theresa (Julianne Moore) is the multimillionaire head of a media company who lives with her artist husband (Billy Crudup) and their twin boys in New York. When word comes to Isabel of a mysterious and generous grant for the financially struggling orphanage, she must travel to New York to meet the benefactor–Theresa–in person. 

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JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE

 (If you want a role model for change)   

Vincent Georgie: The strength of this new 2020 doc is how compelling its protagonist, activist John Lewis, really is. His achievements and lived experience are undeniably interesting. 

Synopsis: Using interviews and rare archival footage, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 80 years old, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life. 

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PRISONERS 

(If you want a quality thriller)   

Vincent Georgie: What I admire so much with Canada’s own Denis Villeneuve’s work here, is that he is really teaching Hollywood that you can make an exciting, intense, widely-appealing kidnapping thriller…but you can do it with a top-shelf cast of quality actors, a profound script and elegant production values. This is a high-end, high-caliber mainstream thriller. We need more of these. 

Synopsis: PRISONERS, from Oscar nominated director Denis Villeneuve, stars Oscar nominees Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in a story that poses the question: How far would you go to protect your child? Keller Dover (Jackman) is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces the only suspect’s release. Knowing his child’s life is at stake, the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family? 


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