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What's On, February 2024

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February 24, 2023

WIFF’S WEEKEND WATCH LIST — 2/24

You’ll see some familiar faces in this week’s recommendations. We’ve got Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Dennis Quaid, Stanley Tucci and WIFF favourite, Vicky Krieps. Check out our recommendations of what to watch this weekend.

IF YOU want an audacious drama

corsage

Vincent Georgie: Make no mistake about it: this film is not a polite costume drama. It has an opinion, a point of view and a rebellious spirit to it that are beautifully captured in Vicky Krieps’ flippant lead performance and in the clear-viewed writing and directing by newcomer Marie Kreutzer. Surely one of the most cinematic films of the year, take a look at how music and camera are used with such scale. And that final scene and end-credit sequence will be studied in many film classes to come. 

Synopsis: Faced with a future of strict ceremonies and royal duties, Empress Elisabeth of Austria rebels against her public image and comes up with a plan to protect her legacy.

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if you a top-shelf historical film

glory

Vincent Georgie: Filmmaker Edward Zwick made a sweeping and high-minded rendering of the American Civil War. This is the film that won Denzel Washington his first Oscar (and he is accompanied by a stellar cast lead by Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman). Oscar-winning cinematography and a moving musical score by James Horner make this production that has been long-admired and deserves to be seen/seen again. 

Synopsis: Following the Battle of Antietam, Col. Robert Gould Shaw is offered command of the United States’ first all-African-American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. With junior officer Cabot Forbes, Shaw puts together a strong and proud unit, including the escaped slave Trip and the wise gravedigger John Rawlins. At first, limited to menial manual tasks, the regiment fights to be placed in the heat of battle.

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if YOU want something silly

undercover blues

Vincent Georgie: It takes a certain level of talent to pull off a comedic crime caper about husband and wife spies whose secret weapon is the latest addition to their spy family: their baby. 

The result? If you want comedy that is broad as a barn and, well, very very funny look no further. Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid are appealing and carry the film. They are memorably supported by Stanely Tucci and Fiona Shaw, among many others, who are chewing so much scenery that you can’t help but go along with their infectious ridiculousness. 

Synopsis: Veteran spies Jane and Jefferson Blue abandon their successful careers to raise a family in New Orleans. Jefferson attracts police attention when he beats up mugger Muerte. With local authorities already on the alert, Jane and Jefferson are forced to come out of retirement when their old Czech foe Paulina Novacek, a former Communist agent turned arms dealer, gets her hands on some plastic explosives.

DOUBLE FEATURE

all hail, Samantha morton

In one single scene in the Oscar-nominated THE WHALE, Samantha Morton walks into the room and owns the film. Again, in one single scene in the terrific SHE SAID, Morton shows up late in the film and makes us wonder why the whole film was not about her. While 2022 was a great year for Morton to run off with the films she was in, let’s take a minute and remind ourselves how brilliant she is when she’s actually cast as the star. Here are two of her best.

morvern callar

When her boyfriend commits suicide, unambitious Glasgow clerk Morvern Callar invents various stories to explain his absence. After several days, she chops up and buries the body. She then finds a novel he completed before killing himself and sends it to several publishing houses as her own work. When the book is bought, Morvern uses her first payment to take a Spanish vacation with her best friend, Lana, which turns out to be a surprisingly emotional journey.

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in america

The Sullivan family emigrates from Ireland to New York City as father Johnny chases his dream of being an actor. Living in a small Hell’s Kitchen apartment, the family settles into American life despite their deplorable living conditions. His wife Sarah works at an ice parlour while Johnny looks for work as an actor, both haunted by memories of their dead son, Frankie. Daughter Christie documents the family’s American journey with a video camera.

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Watch on YouTube.

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