British Columbia

Chutzpah! Festival Celebrates Diversity With Multifaceted International Programming

Chutzpah! Festival Celebrates Diversity With Multifaceted International Programming

by Yasmine Shemesh In Hebrew, chutzpah means “brazen audacity.” As such, it’s fitting that the term would be the namesake…

The Vidiot: November 2017

Monday 13th, November 2017 / 16:10


War for the Planet of the Apes 

In a society run by apes you can rest assured only evolution will be taught in school. Still, there are a few humans in this sci-fi/fantasy that favour a creationist curriculum.  

When a human militia led by The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) murders his family, the genetically enhanced simian Caesar (Andy Serkis) takes a troop of monkeys (Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval) with him on a mission of revenge. But Caesar’s vengeance takes a backseat when he must liberate hundreds of his brethren from The Colonel’s primate concentration camp before they are eradicated. 

While this heady conclusion to the reimagined Planet of the Apes franchise wears its historical influences on its sleeve, those inspirations make for a dark final act. Nevertheless, the smidgen of action, the endless nods to the original series and the CGI are definitely highpoints. 

Furthermore, with monkeys in charge you can rest assured bananas will never become extinct.  


Annabelle: Creation 

If you want to be taken seriously as a demon do not possess a toy doll that wets itself. Smartly, the entity in this horror movie has chosen an antique figurine to haunt. A doll-maker (Anthony LaPaglia) and his disfigured wife (Miranda Otto) open their eerie estate to Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and her orphans after they become homeless. 

While snooping around the mansion the girls unlock a bedroom belonging to the doll-maker’s dead daughter, Annabelle. Inside they discover a porcelain-faced doll possessed by a creature that now wants to embody one of the waifs (Talitha Bateman).   

Another prosaic possession picture for the junk heap, this prequel to The Conjuring relies solely on jump-scares to generate its screams. In fact, if it weren’t for its repetitive use of dead silence before shrieking violins Annabelle’s origin would be a bedtime story. 

Moreover, wouldn’t demons be a lot happier possessing sex dolls?  


Personal Shopper 

Being a personal shopper means getting the high of the buy with none of the remorse. However, the only high the buyer in this supernatural thriller wants is a higher plane.    

Chiefly employed as a personal shopper for a Parisian celebrity, Maureen (Kristen Stewart) spends a great deal of her time trying to contact her deceased twin brother who died of the same heart condition she has. When she receives a text from an unknown source she concludes that it came from her dead sibling. Meanwhile, her boss’ dead body has just been found and Maureen is the police’s prime suspect. 

Understated with moments of terror and ethereal cinematography to match Stewart’s aloof performance, this esoteric study on spiritualism slowly pierces the veil in an innocuous yet haunting fashion that makes this ghost story subtly scary. 

Mind you, male ghosts haunting clothing stores tend to linger around the change rooms. 


Spider-Man: Homecoming 

If excreting sticky fluid from your body makes you Spider-Man than every teenage male is a web-slinger. Luckily, the enhanced adolescent in this action-fantasy has other amazing attributes.  

Under the mentorship of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) since his Avengers stint, upstart superhero Peter Parker (Tom Holland) now has the costume and technology to really make his alter ego Spider-Man stick. Unfortunately, while the new gadgets aid in his battle against a winged arms dealer (Michael Keaton), his flashy threads cannot help him navigate the pitfalls of high school. In fact, they complicate it more. 

A heartfelt and funny take on the tiresome web-head, Marvel’s first cinematic crack at their own mascot not only breathes new life into the wise-cracking wall-crawling but also raises the bar with superior performances, a cohesive script and spectacular CGI. 

Incidentally, any adult super-villain who hits the underage Spider-Man can be arrested for child abuse.   


Girls Trip 

When it’s only women travelling it’s important to book a second airplane for their luggage. Mind you, the females in this comedy promised to keep it to a carry-on. 

Lifestyle expert Ryan (Regina Hall) invites her estranged friends – party girl Dina (Tiffany Haddish), single mom Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and celebrity blogger Sasha (Queen Latifah) – to join her in New Orleans where she is speaking at the Essence Music Festival. But the Big Easy gets complicated when Ryan’s husband (Mike Colter) is caught cheating and Sasha needs to report it or lose her job. Meanwhile Lisa struggles with sex after divorce. 

A raunchy road trip that revels in penis jokes, this African-American contribution to the female gross-out genre is genuinely funny. While it doesn’t stray from the formula, the juvenile antics undertaken are accentuated by great performances. 

Furthermore, it shows women that no matter your race: men are still pigs.   



Cheating on your spouse in the 1990s was more acceptable because the President was doing it. However, according to this comedy it didn’t make it any less upsetting on the children. 

While twenty-something-year-old Dana (Jenny Slate) is cheating on her fiancé (Jay Duplass) with her ex (Finn Wittrock), she learns from her teenage sister Ali (Abby Quinn) that their father (John Turturro) has been having an affair on their mother (Edie Falco). This bombshell not only helps to reconnect the estranged siblings, but also forces Dana to confront her own infidelity and for Ali to face her growing drug addiction. 

While it’s enjoyable to relive the nineties, there is little else to enjoy about this run-of-the-mill period piece. With a derivative narrative about a New York affair, flat punch lines and unlikeable leads, Landline is best left disconnected. 

Besides, who needed to cheat in the ’90s when landlines offered three-way?  


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 

Historically, pirates buried their fortunes under the nearest whorehouse.Real items of value, as confirmed by this adventure/fantasy, were hidden.  


To free his captive father (Orlando Bloom) from the Flying Dutchman’s curse, Henry (Brenton Thwaites) must obtain Poseidon’s Trident. But in order to pinpoint its whereabouts, he must first locate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Meanwhile, an old adversary (Javier Bardem) from Jack’s past has returned from the dead to exact his revenge as well as claim the three-pronged spear for him and his ill-fated crew. 

With pointless subplots and recurring characters thrown in to convolute the narrative, this fifth chapter in the seafaring franchise surpasses previous installments with ease. However that distinction doesn’t mean that it’s still not a bloated rehash of plot points with a derivative villain and a worn-out hero. 

Incidentally, it’s more lucrative for pirates today to hijack a Backstreet Boy cruise ship.   


Baby Driver 

It’s important to have a good wheelman because the bus is not a reliable getaway vehicle. Smartly, the kingpin in this action-comedy hired the best steersman around. 

Indebted to Doc (Kevin Spacey) for some serious dough, audiophile Baby (Ansel Elgort) pays it back being a lead foot for an array of heists. Paired with a motley crew of cons (Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Flea), he endures their eccentricities up until one of them kills an innocent bystander. Now all Baby wants to do is hightail it out of town with his new girlfriend (Lily James). 

A frenetically paced chase movie with an accomplished cast, stylish direction from Edgar Wright and a scintillating soundtrack that elevates the experience, this cool caper combines old and new elements from the high-pursuit genre to create something wholly original and entertaining.   

Unfortunately, in the future self-driving getaway cars will drive you right to jail.   


The House 

The upside to running a home casino is having Brittany Spears sue you for breach of contract. The entrepreneurs in this comedy, however, settle all matters out of court. 

When the town scholarship they were relying on for their daughter’s education falls through, Scott (Will Ferrell) and Kate (Amy Poehler) have no choice but to turn their friend’s foreclosed home into an illegal gambling den for their neighbours’ enjoyment. Starting off small, things quickly snowball as their clientele increases and their illicit establishment begins to encroach on a local crime boss (Jeremy Renner).   

While it finds both comedic leads playing familiar parts, for some reason their over-the-top antics actually work in the confines of this oddball farce. Nothing more than an amalgamation of contemporary frat comedies, The House’s saving grace is its generic yet humorous punchlines. 

Incidentally, the easiest way to retain your gaming license is to become Native American.  


The Beguiled 

Thanks to President Trump, Civil War reenactors can apply their skills in the real world. Mind you, this drama takes place during the first North/South skirmish. 

While scouring the woods for mushrooms a student from a nearby girls’ school stumbles upon an injured Union soldier, Corporal McBurney (Colin Farrell), and invites him back with her.The headmistress (Nicole Kidman) tends to McBurney’s wounds, while her faculty (Kirsten Dunst) and students (Elle Fanning) swoon over him. Their affections intensify when he is on the mend, so he flirts with all of them as gratitude, unaware of each woman’s jealousies. 

Sofia Coppola’s sluggish adaptation of the Clint Eastwood gothic western told from the female character’s perspective, this reinterpretation doesn’t do modern women any favours, reducing its leads to vengeful jezebels. While the ending is rewarding, the road there is rocky.   

Furthermore, the women weren’t responsible for saving the soldier, medical leeches were. 


A Ghost Story 

Any ghost looking to be taken seriously needs to drape themselves in clean linen. Thankfully, the sheeted spook in this horror-drama is free of biological stains. 

After his untimely death C (Casey Affleck) returns to the house he and his wife M (Rooney Mara) lived in so that he can haunt her. But when she moves out he discovers he is bound to the house and its subsequent tenants. When the land is sold to developers, C haunts the office building built on the property. In fact his connection to the estate goes beyond time itself. 

A measured meditation on matter, marriage and what motivates an apparition to haunt, this artistic take on the afterlife feels like an authentic one. Although its scare-free script will test your patience the payoff is profound. Haunting your wife, however, is only fun until she needs you to phase through a clogged toilet. 


He’s an Insane Asylum Seeker. He’s the… 


, , , , , , , , , , , ,