Vancouver film madness that’s better than skiing

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      If Warm Bodies isn’t enough to satisfy your zombie-movie jones, how about some Cockneys vs Zombies ? The Matthias Hoene–directed film takes an impressive cast of old British character actors—Georgina Hale and Dudley Sutton (The Devils ), the great Honor Blackman, and Brick Top himself (Alan Ford)—and pits them against hordes of the creeping dead in London’s East End (in case you didn’t clue in from the title).

      Cockneys vs Zombies is the one new movie being presented as part of the 2013 edition of the Great Digital Film Festival, which runs February 1 to 7 at the Scotiabank Theatre and Colossus Langley. The festival presents low-cost screenings of digitally remastered classics, including—in this, its fourth year—Oldboy, Jaws, Goodfellas, Battle Royale, A Clockwork Orange, and Reservoir Dogs. More information is at

      That’s just one of several options in the coming months for those of us who’d rather hunker down in a dark theatre than pretend we’re having fun on a stupid ski hill. Better still, you can do both those things (kind of) when the ever-expanding Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival begins its 10-day run at the Cinematheque, the Rio Theatre, and Centennial Theatre on February 8. (See next week’s Georgia Straight for a feature on the 16th annual VIMFF.)

      There are a host of other festivals and special programs to consider in the coming weeks. The Vancity Theatre is screening its annual Oscar shorts and animation series leading up to the big awards show on February 24. Vancity also celebrates Black History Month with a number of films throughout February, including Jeni LeGon: Living in a Great Big Way (February 4). A Vancouver resident who passed away in December at the age of 96, LeGon was a Count Basie chorus girl and the first black woman to sign with a Hollywood studio.

      The highly praised, silent reimagining of “Snow White”, Blancanieves, opens Vancity’s New Spanish Cinema Week on February 22, while the eighth annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival celebrates its biggest year yet at the same venue (March 7 to 10) and includes the Vancouver premiere of Belgian filmmaker Patrice Toye’s intriguing Little Black Spiders. Also intriguing: this year’s workshops include a class on directing horror with Karen Lam, whose short “The Stolen” also premieres at the festival.

      The four-day Serbian Film Festival makes its new home at the Collingwood Cinemas (formerly the Raja Theatre) from March 12 to 15, starting with the formally inventive black comedy Death of the Man in the Balkans. The social justice–oriented World Community Film Festival returns to Langara College (February 15 to 17) with more than 30 films, including Vancouver premieres for both Maestra and Bidder 70—the latter about Tim DeChristopher, who is serving time for disrupting the auctioning of pristine land in Utah to oil and gas companies.

      Before firing up its annual International Film Festival for Youth for eight days in April, the good folks at Reel 2 Real are presenting the gorgeous Chinese fantasy Cinderella Moon at the Rio on Sunday (February 3). Some other stand-alone events worth noting include the Crazy 8s annual gala screening at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts on February 23, followed by a rooftop party at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

      If you really, really don’t want to leave the theatre, there’s always the Cinematheque’s 24-Hour Movie Marathon, starting at 10 a.m. on February 16. Among the films scheduled are The Player and Buster Keaton’s ever-amazing Sherlock Jr.

      The venerable film centre also promises spaghetti-western and classic Japanese exploitation retrospectives in the coming months, plus—possibly most exciting of all—Miami Connection is finally coming to town (April 5 to 8). The independent martial-arts flick died an ignominious death when it was (barely) released in 1987. Here in the post-ironic future, Drafthouse Films restored and reissued the film after discovering it on eBay, and now audiences all over the place are going nuts for this tale of war on the streets of Orlando, Florida, as cocaine-smuggling motorcycle ninjas go up against the superior fighting style of synth rockers Dragon Sound.

      See? Already it’s your new favourite movie.