From the Hollywood-studio perspective, winter begins with a feast of Oscar hopefuls followed by a bellyful of turkeys. Not that it matters to us. With plenty of indie, outré, and repertory product also set to roll through town as we huddle through the early months of 2020, here are a few of the notable titles—good, bad, or just plain mental (meow…)—that will be coming our way. (All dates subject to change.)
A Hidden Life
For his relatively straightforward latest, Terrence Malick turns to the true story of an Austrian farmer facing execution when he refuses to fight for the Nazis. Matthias Schoenaerts stars alongside the late Bruno Ganz as not-Hitler.
Expectations are high for this second remake of the 1974 Canadian horror classic that could never be improved upon. By which we mean, no they’re not.
Michael Apted’s groundbreaking doc series finds “the shop steward and the executive of the year 2000” confronting their senior years. And guess who suffers the steepest and most heartbreaking decline? That’s right—England!
Best of 2019
The Vancity Theatre begins its popular year-end roundup with the extended cut of Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood. Other titles include The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open and Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale.
Starts December 20
Writing in 1936 about T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”, E.M. Forster asserted of its author, “He is difficult because he has seen something terrible.” And that was 80 years before this thing turned up!
Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker
The third and final (please) trilogy comes to an end after making itself a blight on culture and an unwelcome guest in my life for over 40 fucking years now.
A smash hit in Quebec, Émile Gaudreault’s movie sounds like a comedic cross between Liar Liar and Ursula Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven.
Still behind the camera after her directorial debut with Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig is the latest filmmaker to take a whack at the Louisa May Alcott classic, in cahoots with Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Florence Pugh.
Vancouver Italian Film Festival
Along with new titles like opener The Champion, the IFF returns to the Vancity Theatre with screenings of La Dolce Vita, Once Upon a Time in the West, and a tribute to giallo including Mario Bava’s peerless Blood and Black Lace.
Starts January 3
John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg are among the luminaries appearing alongside Merce Cunningham in this portrait of the modern dance legend.
The queer African-American activist and filmmaker behind Black Is… Black Ain’t and Tongues Untied (which gave Pat Buchanan a heart attack) receives a retrospective of his work at the Cinematheque.
Best of the Decade
A personal look back at the twenty-tensies from Cinematheque programmers Jim Sinclair and Shaun Inouye, 10 titles each, with some overlap. The Straight has seen their lists, and while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn’t on either of them, by and large we approve.
Pierfrancesco Favino stars as Tommaso Buscetta, the penitent mobster who brought down the Sicilian mafia in 1984’s wild “maxi-trial”. Marco Bellocchio directs.
Come to Daddy
Turns out Elijah Wood made a big mistake when he decided to visit his estranged father on Vancouver Island. Making his directorial debut, Ant Timpson clearly learned a thing or two as producer of gross-out spectacles like The Greasy Strangler.
Low-budget horror producer Jason Blum is the culprit behind this reboot of the ’70s TV show, with Michael Peña donning the white linen suit as your host, Mr. Roarke.
The Invisible Man
Oliver Jackson-Cohen is the transparent one, but the film belongs to Elisabeth Moss as his abused wife in this update from Saw and Insidious screenwriter Leigh Whannell.
A certain Ms. Darling finds herself on a strange island where nobody ever ages in this, the first new feature from Benh Zeitlin since his acclaimed 2012 debut, Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Oh joy! Director Kelly Reichardt returns to her happy place for this tale of friendship between a cook and a Chinese immigrant among fur trappers in 19th-century Oregon.
Steve Coogan reteams with director Michael Winterbottom for an acrid satire of wealth and the fashion industry.
A very Canadian love triangle ensues when Megan Follows leaves Green Gables and hubby Bruce Greenwood for tintype photographer Benjamin Ayers.
The Burnt Orange Heresy
Claes Bang and Elizabeth Debicki join Donald Sutherland and Mick Jagger in this neo-noir set in the world of high art. Based on the Charles Willeford novel.
Central to the twisty plot of this Romanian comedy-thriller is a cop forced to learn a whistling language unique to the Canary Islands.