Restaurant Review

Rating: NNNNNis stolen, setting Li and his long-time platonic love, Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh), on a quest to recover it..

Rating: NNNNN

is stolen, setting Li and his long-time platonic love, Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh), on a quest to recover it. Here’s an unusual matching of talents, with Ang Lee, best known as the director of The Ice Storm, Sense And Sensibility and Ride With The Devil, turning his eye to the high-flying martial arts films of the 70s and early 80s with eye-popping results. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is great romantic melodrama and a worthy entry in the martial arts grand tradition. It has amazing wire work from the principals, particularly Yeoh and her chief antagonist, Zhang Ziyi, and a kung fu tavern fight to end all kung fu tavern fights. It’s the best movie I saw at the Cannes festival this year. Note on Chow and Yeoh: neither speaks Mandarin, and Yeoh barely speaks any Chinese, so both had to learn their lines phonetically, making the depth of their performances even more remarkable. JH

CHASING SLEEPCWC D: Michael Walker w/ Jeff Daniels, Gil Bellows. U.S. 99 mins. Sunday, September 10, 6:30 pm UPTOWN 1 , September 13, 3:00 pm UPTOWN 2 Rating: NNNN NSolid thrillers are hard to come by, so this film by a neophyte director starring Daniels, who normally only scares people with his bad haircuts, is a treat. Daniels plays an insomniac professor whose wife goes missing. We stay trapped in his decaying house over the next few days as various people visit, and we get the rare pleasure of witnessing each of them talk and act just like real people. That’s not to say they’re predictable people. The suspense is built into the story, so even mundane matters keep you guessing. Walker should’ve pushed the ending, though. KL

BREATHE IN/ BREATHE OUTRTR D: Beth B U.S./Vietnam. 70 mins. Sunday, September 10, 9:00 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Tuesday, September 12, 3:30 pm VARSITY 7 Rating: NNN Anyone feeling desensitized to violence and needing an antidote, step right up. This cathartic documentary follows three veterans who return to Vietnam with their adult children to grapple with the long-term effects the war has had on their families. It doesn’t take you on a guilt trip, but instead shows how hard these men have worked to slay their demons and become such articulate and emotionally expressive fathers. KL

WAYDOWNTOWNPC D: Gary Burns w/ Fabrizio Filippo, Don McKellar. 83 mins. Sunday, September 10, 9:00 pm VARSITY 8 Monday, September 11, 12:30 pm ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Rating: NNN Shot on digital video and tinted strange colours, Burns’s follow-up to Kitchen Party is a loose, whimsical comedy about four Calgary 20-somethings competing to see who can go the longest without stepping outdoors. We only follow them during one lunch hour, so there are a lot of Ferris Bueller-type detours that are often quite funny but hardly help move the story along. Filippo holds the pieces together with his deadpan charm. The fact that he’s a total hottie doesn’t hurt either. KL

GREENFINGERSSPEC D: Joel Hershman w/ Clive Owen, Helen Mirren. UK. 91 mins. Sunday, September 10, 9:30 pm VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Tuesday, September 12, 12:30 pm UPTOWN 1 Rating: NNN Based on a true story, this British comedy-drama coasts a long way on the charm of its leads. Owen (Croupier) plays a lifer transformed by gardening, and Mirren is very funny as a Barbara Woodhouse-like gardening doyenne who takes an interest in his early efforts. Ideal for people who are seeking charming British films rather than anything challenging. One oddity. This film is so British, one can smell the crumpets, but the director is an American. JH

GINGER SNAPSPC D: John Fawcett w/ Katharine Isabelle, Emily Perkins, Mimi Rogers. 93 mins. Sunday, September 10, 10:00 pm CUMBERLAND 2 Monday, September 11, 1:45 pm CUMBERLAND 1 Rating: NNNN NTwo sisters form a goth-geek dyad at their school until Ginger, the elder, gets her period and gets bitten by a werewolf. Suddenly, she turns into a voracious monster in every sense of the word, while her sister tries to keep her under control and find a cure for her lycanthropy. The metaphor — that puberty makes one a kind of monster — is a little laboured, but director Fawcett and screenwriter Karen Walton manage an intriguing post-Buffy twist on a very old tale. The film’s main weakness lies in the cheesiness of the effects, its strength in the unusual wit of the screenplay and performances, particularly Katherine Isabelle’s Ginger and the hilariously deadpan Mimi Rogers as Mother Oblivious. JH

monday 11

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANDREI ARSENEVICH RTR D: Chris Marker w/ Andrei Tarkovsky. France. 55 mins. Monday, September 11, 3:30 pm ROM Saturday, September 16, 12:30 pm VARSITY 7 Rating: NNNIt’s tempting to imagine the conversations Chris Marker and Andrei Tarkovsky would have had. What would the owl say to the monk, especially with death in the shadows? Unfortunately, those conversations aren’t in this film. Marker draws on footage he shot just before Tarkovsky’s death from cancer in 1986 — in hospital, ever philosophical — and directing on the set of his final film, The Sacrifice. That footage proves to be more of a sympathetic home movie than a meeting of great minds. What elevates this memoir are Marker’s gestures after-the-fact — his quicksilver narration and some uncanny archive footage. CB

SIGNS AND WONDERSCWC D: Jonathan Nossiter w/ Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling. France. 104 mins. Monday, September 11, 6:00 pm UPTOWN 2 , September 13, 9:15 am CUMBERLAND 2 Rating: NNNNNNossiter makes a spectacular leap from his artful romance, Sunday, to this, his second feature. Stellan Skarsgard (Breaking The Waves) stars as a

CRITICS’ CHOICE: indicates 4- and 5-N reviews

Festival series are abbreviated as follows:

CWC — Contemporary World Cinema

GALA — Gala

MM — Midnight Madness

DIAL — Dialogues

DISC — Discovery

RBS — Robert Beavers Spotlight

MAST — Masters

BOF — Beckett On Film

PA — Planet Africa

PC — Perspective Canada

RTR — Real To Reel

SPEC — Special Presentations

Y1 — Year 1

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