Railroad Tigers (Ding Sheng, 2016)


January is the greatest movie month there is. Not only are we in the lesser metropolises of America finally granted access to tardiest of the previous year’s award hopefuls (see this week’s Silence), but via studio counter-programming logic, we also get Hollywood’s most interesting action films. The bloated prestige actioners get released in the summer (your Marvels and Nolans), while a handful of unstoppable forces stake their claim to winter break (the Star Warses and Camerons), while the suits and bean-counters push the films they don’t know how to exploit to the shadow of Oscar season. This is the month of Paul WS Anderson (his Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens at the end of the month). It’s also blockbuster season in China, with big titles being released at Christmastime and especially at Lunar New Year, which falls between the end of January and the end of February (it’s January 28 this year). Two years ago the big early January Chinese import was Tsui Hark’s The Taking of Tiger Mountain, last year it was Donnie Yen’s Ip Man 3. This year, we’ve got Railroad Tigers, opening this week at the Pacific Place.

Continue reading Railroad Tigers (Ding Sheng, 2016)”

Friday January 6 – Thursday January 12

Featured Film:

Silence at the Meridian and the Lincoln Square

Every year it seems there’s one movie that doesn’t screen in time to make it onto end of the year lists, but that if it had, would have done quite well. This year, it’s Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which would surely have placed high in our end-of-the-year poll had it played here in time. As it is, it’s eligible for our 2017 poll, but will probably be forgotten by then. But regardless, it’s one of the best films of 2016, the story of Portuguese Jesuits attempting to evade persecution in 17th Century Japan, it’s at once remarkably nuanced in its exploration of faith and colonialism while remaining resolutely materialist and physical. The worthy final piece of Scorsese’s great trilogy of explicitly religious films, alongside The Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Jackie (Pablo Larraín) Fri-Thurs
Master (Cho Uiseok) Fri-Thurs
Lost & Found (Joseph Itaya) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) Fri-Tues The Final Cut
The Last Starfighter (Nick Castle, 1984) Fri-Mon

SIFF Egyptian:

Jackie (Pablo Larraín) Fri-Thurs

Century Federal Way:

Master (Cho Uiseok) Fri-Thurs
Carousel (Henry King, 1956) Sun & Weds Only
One Piece Film: Gold (Hiroaki Miyamoto) Tues Only

Grand Cinema:

Jackie (Pablo Larraín) Fri-Thurs

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Mifune: The Last Samurai (Steven Okazaki) Fri-Thurs
Saturday Secret Matinees: Presented by the Sprocket Society (Various directors & years) Sat Only 16mm

Landmark Guild 45th:

One Piece Film: Gold (Hiroaki Miyamoto) Tues Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Silence (Martin Scorsese) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Dangal (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs
Jackie (Pablo Larraín) Fri-Thurs
Carousel (Henry King, 1956) Sun & Weds Only
One Piece Film: Gold (Hiroaki Miyamoto) Tues Only

Regal Meridian:

Silence (Martin Scorsese) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Dangal (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Harry Benson: Shoot First (Justin Bare & Matthew Miele) Fri-Thurs
2016 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour Weds Only
Il Solengo (Alessio Rigo de Righi & Matteo Zoppis) Starts Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

Railroad Tigers (Ding Sheng) Fri-Thurs Our Review
One Piece Film: Gold (Hiroaki Miyamoto) Tues Only

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Jackie (Pablo Larraín) Fri-Thurs
Dangal (Nitesh Tiwari) Fri-Thurs

Seven Gables:

Jackie (Pablo Larraín) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

The Uncondemned (Michele Mitchell & Nick Louvel) Weds Only Director Q&A
Nordic Lights Film Festival Starts Thurs Full Program

Sundance Cinemas:

Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Uptown:

Labyrinth (Jim Henson, 1986) Sun Only Quote-along

In Wide Release:

Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi) Our Review
Fences (Denzel Washington) Our Review
La La Land (Damien Chazelle) Our Review
Assassin’s Creed (Justin Kurzel) Our Review
(Barry Jenkins)  Our Review
Arrival (Denis Villeneuve) Our Review

VIFF 2016: Nine Behind (Sophy Romvari, 2016)


This guest-review was written by Vancouver critic Josh Hamm.

“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. It is one of the hardest to define… [and] preserves in living shape certain particular treasures of the past and certain particular expectations for the future.”

– Simone Weil, The Need For Roots

Sophy Romvari’s debut short film is a mature, fully formed contribution to cinema; a film imbuing the trivial and mundane with the weight they deserve. The opening sequence of shots almost channel a Yangian rhythm: an extended take captures a young woman, Nora, (Noémi Fabian) in her routine and establishes the mise-en-scène with a slow pan; a cursory glance at the bookshelf conjures up images of the past and present on film, of a woman enraptured by the silver screen. The soft sounds of a bubbling kettle and the slow drip from the sink into a pile of dishes as she pours a cup of tea and settles into her chair and grabs a phone, her leg an almost abstract reflection on the front of the dishwasher– there’s fully formed minutiae and sense of a person through a mere two minutes of seemingly unimportant actions. Yet they also have the steady rhythm of ritual and home-brewed comfort.

Still, Nine Behind is not a film about ritual, or the mundane, per se. It’s propelled by the woman’s conversation with her grandfather in Budapest (the title presumably referring to the time difference between there and Vancouver), a one-sided dialogue that reveals a filial ache for connection and tradition; a yearning for a nostalgia-filled future.

Continue reading “VIFF 2016: Nine Behind (Sophy Romvari, 2016)”