Movie review: Monsoon gently sweeps viewer away

Canadian director Sturla Gunnarsson's new documentary finds a comfortable, first-person approach to examining the dynamic between humans and the forces we can't control  

PROFILE: Gary Burns

GARY BURNS Born 1960, Calgary, Alberta   A former construction worker who turned to filmmaking at the age of 30, Burns remains something of a lone wolf on the Alberta landscape howling at the moon. A guy who generally works alone and steers clear of the “film scene,” Burns makes movies that appeal to his own personal brand of darkly comic wackiness. ``I don't really know what's going on in Alberta from a film standpoint. I'm not a part of it. I'm not really part of anything. I don't crew. I don't work in the industry. My friends have nothing to do with the film business. I don't even go to see movies. I'm guess I'm just another alienated Canadian filmmaker,'' says the man who used to sandblast oil-rig equipment. A graduate of the University of Calgary’s drama program, Burns decided to enroll in the film program at Concordia University in Montreal in the hopes of turning his passion for storytelling into a career. After graduating from Concordia in 1992, he ...

@Home releases for April 21

Maps to the Stars navigates Tinseltown with Cronenberg's broken compass, Jennifer Aniston has her Cake, Marion Cotillard faces unemployment while Paul McCartney carries the weight of the week's DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD releases.   By Katherine Monk Maps to the Stars (2014) Three and a half stars out of five. Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon, Robert Pattinson, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams. Directed by: David Cronenberg. Running time: 111 minutes. Julianne Moore may have won the best actress Oscar for her performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimers in Still Alice, but she deserves a rodeo buckle for her turn as Havana Segrand, the grown daughter of Hollywood royalty and central figure in David Cronenberg’s latest freak show. Havana has been riding the bull of showbiz since she was just a kid, but now that she’s getting older, she’s getting thrown – which only makes her want to hang on tighter. It’s a desperate move, but ...

Movie review: Boychoir sings same old song

Dustin Hoffman's natural warmth brings random notes to Canadian director Francois Girard's textbook excerise, writes Jay Stone

True Story proves believably boring

Movie review: True Story Self-absorbed characters desperate for ego redemption keep audience at arm's length from new Jonah Hill-James Franco mystery, writes Katherine Monk        

Monkey Kingdom mimics Disney magic

Movie Review: Monkey Kingdom Spending time with a troop of macaques in new Disney Nature doc offers a hairy reflection of the human condition, made comedy by Tina Fey  

Rod Mickleburgh has a Burroughs flashback

The Beats go on in North Vancouver: Presentation House Gallery mounts visual chronicle of the era as witnessed by Allen Ginsberg   By Rod Mickleburgh I met William Burroughs once. It was during my magical year in Paris (sigh). I’d read in Libération that morning that the legendary icon of the Beats would be at the City of Light’s annual Salon du Livre at the Grand Palais. I thought ‘what the hell’, and went down to catch a glimpse of the famous man, who had been such a part of the Kerouac/Ginsberg Beat generation of writers. In On the Road, the book that changed my life, Burroughs appears as Old Bull Lee. An insatiable consumer of drugs, Burroughs fatally shot his wife during a crazed William Tell re-enactment in Mexico, hung out in Tangiers where the less said about his proclivity for underage boys the better, and found time to write such underground classics as Junkie and Naked Lunch, turned into a movie by the strange David Cronenberg. (My parents ...

Michael Douglas talks Beyond the Reach

Veteran actor and producer Michael Douglas teams up with rising British star Jeremy Irvine in what feels like a live-action version of Road Runner, Beyond the Reach   By Katherine Monk TORONTO – It manifested instantly, a dust devil rising from the feet of Michael Douglas’s Italian loafers and swirling through Jeremy Irvine’s feathery mop of sandy blond hair: A howling acknowledgement of Hollywood’s discriminatory practices when it comes to weight and overall body image.   “A lot of actors are told they need to lose weight, or change their body. I was talking to Channing Tatum just recently and asked him why he was just drinking water, and he said it was because he had to go to the gym in two hours,” says Irvine, the young British actor who hit the radar in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and now stars opposite Douglas in the new film, Beyond the Reach, currently playing in select theatres and available on-demand.   A cat-and-mouse thriller ...

Kumiko: The flip side of Fargo with a Japanese accent

Director David Zellner and Rinko Kukuchi attempt to conjure Coen brothers' chemistry in the land of Marge

@Home releases for April 14

The Babadook raises goosebumps, Big Eyes surprises and Escobar blows eye candy but Woman In Black 2 proves dimmest DVD/VOD release of the week.   The Babadook (2014) Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell. Directed by: Jennifer Kent. Running time: 93 minutes. Four stars out of five One of the sharper arrows in the new quiver of shiver directors, Jennifer Kent makes an impressive debut with this perfectly phrased piece of psychological horror that pits a mother and son against a supernatural force. It begins with young Samuel (Noah Wiseman) suffering from night terrors. The kid is convinced there’s a monster under his bed, but every time his exhausted mother takes a peek under the mattress in the hopes of comforting him, she sees nothing. Yet, Samuel’s visions only grow worse, leaving poor Amelia (Essie Davis) emotionally frayed and completely sleep-deprived. Kent forces us to feel her exhaustion in every queasy close-up and every ...