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Reel Forecast: Not into Christmas movies? Play catch up for the awards season

Posted by Andrés / December 18, 2009


Slim film pickings for FRIDAY DEC 18 through THURSDAY DEC 24

The repertoire cinemas in Montréal ease up on their offerings, with literally nothing of note playing after this weekend (sort of makes me glad to be away). On the brightside, filmgoers with little to do during this period can catch up on what are being touted as the best films of the year by awards ceremonies and film critics. I've prepared a quick-and-dirty list for where you can see the 'best picture' hopefuls. There will be no post next week, but check back on New Year's Day.

At the AMC theatre, check out Up in the Air, Broken Embraces, Invictus, Precious, A Serious Man and An Education. At Cinema Banque Scotia and most other major outlying megaplexes, check out Avatar and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Cinema du Parc is showing The Hurt Locker and Where the Wild Things Are. Already (or soon to be released) at your local video store are Inglourious Basterds, (500) Days of Summer, The Hangover, Julie & Julia, Up, Coraline, Sin Nombre, Sugar, Food Inc.. There are plenty more worthwhile 2009 releases not even being mentioned by mainstream critics - such as Tulpan or 35 Shots of Rum. Both of those are also on DVD. These should keep you more or less busy. Happy New Year.

In case you missed the numerous television screenings of holiday hits, Cinema Dollar has you covered. This coming week they're screening A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Santa Clause (with Tim Allen), Home Alone, Elf, and the Jim Carrey How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Come wearing tinsel. Cinema Dollar / 6900 Decarie Blvd / $2 More info

FRIDAY & SUNDAY / EYES WIDE SHUT (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1999) / 159 min.
Beyond the twisted imagined infidelities, haunting masquerade orgies and near-STD misses, there is something strangely alluring about Kubrick's final film. It's set at Christmas and captures New York at its most festive and weird. While it works as a psychological portrait of how infidelity within a relationship can become cancerous, it loses its steam after the excitement of its mid-stream nudity and turns into a lame thriller. Regardless, it's one of your best bets this week. Cinematheque quebecoise / 335 De Maisonneuve East / 4pm (Friday) & 5pm (Sunday) / $6-7 More info

SATURDAY / LA VIE MODERNE (dir. Raymond Depardon, 2008) / 88 min
The non (read: only) Christmas film event of the week! Raymond Depardon has been the subject of a documentary film series at the Cinematheque. His newest, La vie moderne, is about farmers in contemporary France and has been praised for its still-life assuredness and beautiful cinematography. I haven't seen it, so these are some stock critic-Speak phrases that sum up its reception. Cinematheque quebecoise / 335 De Maisonneuve East / 5pm / $6-7 More info

SATURDAY-MONDAY / IN THE ATTIC (dir. Jiri Barta, 2009) / 74 min.
"Peace reigns over the kingdom of abandoned toys until Buttercup, a beautiful doll, becomes the object of desire of the cruel ruler of the Land of Evil. In the pitched battle to save her, the strength of friendship and the desire to perpetuate the good old world come to light." This stop-motion feature-length animation from Czech Republic won a top award at this year's Festival du Nouveau Cinema. The story involves fantastical misfit toys and the animation looks superb. Worth checking out. Cinema du Parc / 3575 Parc Ave. / Various Times / $5-7 More info

SUNDAY / LA VERITABLE HISTOIRE DU PERE NOEL (dir. Juha Wuolijoki, 2007) / 78 min
This Finnish film is an epic Santa Claus biopic. With a fairly large budget, beautiful scenery and a story that starts from young Nicholas to old bearded Santa, it's sort of on the same level as Walk the Line (at least in terms of structure). If you've had enough of the same traditional American Christmas films, you might want to give this one a try. Théâtre Outremont / 1248 Bernard Ave. West / $5-6 More info

The above image from Eyes Wide Shut. Exit Kubrick.

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