Saturday, March 10, 2007

Vancity Theater - upcoming excitements

What does it mean that the Vancouver theatre with the nicest seats, best projection equipment, and film fare to rival the Cinematheque (if they were rivals, which they aren't) STILL is so poorly attended? It's bizarre to me how few people make it out to screenings at the Vancity, particularly when the Cinematheque, just blocks away, is doing fairly well... I don't get it. Granted, this hasn't been their strongest spell - I had no use for the Clint Eastwood retrospective they just ran; but you'd figure SOMEONE would. Nope: I hear on the wind that even ol' Clint couldn't get bums on seats. Is it simply a lack of advertising? Laziness? A guilty fear in the hearts of Vancouverites that we don't really deserve a venue so nice? Why don't people go to the Vancity Theatre, aka the Vancouver International Film Center? It's easy enough to find - it's right next to the Starbucks at Seymour and Davie... Having loved so many of the films I've seen there, I despair that the venture will fail if people don't get out; but what can I do? I can only enthuse about the films I'm enthusiastic about. In the next few weeks, this means:

1. Imagine the Sound - an early Ron Mann documentary on free jazz, featuring footage of Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley and Bill Dixon (okay, I'm not sure who Bill Dixon is, but I love some of Archie Shepp's work and I'm dyin' to see the Cecil Taylor footage; he's a pianist of amazing energy and invention). Hard to review a film I haven't seen, but I'll probably make sure to check this out for the first screening, on March 20th, in case I want to see it again March 28th...

2. Hard Core Logo: This is actually a First Weekend Club "Canada Screens" rental event, not something the Vancity Theatre is putting on - but still, it's a hilarious and perceptive tale of aging Vancouver punks reuniting for one last tour; it's so richly observed and accurate that you don't have to be a punk to get it. Directed by Bruce McDonald and based on a book by Michael Turner. I've watched the film maybe five or six times and am very much looking forward to it playing on the big screen. Plays at 2PM on April 1st.

3. Network: Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet are the artists behind this cynical assault on corporate media. It's from 1976, so it is a tad dated (particularly in its targets; the Black Panthers and Angela Davis are set up for a few sucker punches, for one). It's still timely and interesting, and there's not much chance you'll get to see it onscreen any other time in your life... And what can I say, I love William Holden, and Chayefsky's dark, smart, at times enraged screenplay is a delight (he also penned Altered States, which I retain a guilty fondness for, and the George C. Scott vehicle, The Hospital. It is impossible to imagine a screenwriter this savage and intelligent currently being employed by Hollywood). It runs on April 3rd: mark your calendar.

4. Radiant City: I caught Gary Burns' critique of suburban life at the last film festival and was delighted. It offers us a pretty grim prognosis for the burbs, mostly from the point of view of two kids marooned there, but also from a variety of commentators -- all of whose names I've forgotten, tho' one co-wrote The Rebel Sell. It's dry and funny and cutting and all too familiar (I grew up in Maple Ridge): I liked it a lot more than the other Burns' film I've seen, Waydowntown - tho' I enjoyed much of that, too. One tip - don't read up on the film beforehand; especially don't look on IMDB, lest certain surprises be spoiled. The film runs from April 6th to 12th. I wish I hadn't already seen it, so I could go again - but it doesn't require more than one viewing, alas.

There are many other films playing - the schedule for the next month is viewable at their site. (Terkel in Trouble, showing for the next few days, was fun but not quite fun enough to recommend; and I'd probably see Linda Linda Linda if I weren't kinda sick of Japanese cuteness. Too bad I don't much care about wine - I want to support this theatre anyway I can!).


Mathew Englander said...

Allan -- I agree; the low turnout at VIFC is extremely odd. Pacific Cinematheque had large turnouts for its Lech Majewski retrospective -- an avant-garde Polish filmmaker that nobody’s heard of -- but Vancity doesn’t attract anyone to see Clint Eastwood movies?

I don’t get it. All I can think of is that Cinematheque has better popcorn.

I quite liked Terkel in Trouble even though I'm not generally big on animation.

I would recommend Adam's Apples, playing at Vancity March 30 through April 5. I saw it in Toronto and thought it was brilliant. Easily the funniest comedy of this decade.

ammacinn said...

I wanted to like Terkel more than I did, alas. In fact, I could feel myself straining at times. Thanks for the recommendation, but my backlog of writing at this point is so immense, and has seen me so worn out, that time has become somewhat precious; I'm not seeing many films lately, in any format. I checked out a Rivette at the Cinematheque and really resented how much of my life it consumed, kept being distracted by the thought that there was so much else I could've been doing...