Kevin Spacey plays a veteran Wall Street trader in Margin Call.

Kevin Spacey plays a veteran Wall Street trader in Margin Call.

REEL REVIEWS: Catch the buzz on 18th annual Vernon Int’l Film Festival

Taylor and Howe give their take on the 14 international films screening at annual festival in the Vernon Towne Cinema.

  • Mar. 9, 2012 8:00 p.m.

There are more than 10,000 movies made every year. Most of these films we never hear about, let alone see. Approximately 600 movies are made in America every year, of these films, maybe 200 get big screen circulation, the rest we might catch on DVD or TV.

We in the North Okanagan are lucky to have some of these smaller films presented every year by the Vernon Film Society.

The 18th annual Vernon International Film Festival runs today to Thursday at Vernon’s Towne Theatre and we encourage everyone to get out and see some or all of these films.

Friday March 9

Starbuck (Canada) French/ English subtitles. 5 p.m. 14A.

A train-wreck of a middle-aged man lives a loser’s life. One day a lawyer informs him that he’s fathered 533 children by donating sperm (his best skill.) Some are taking legal action to reveal the true identity of the infamous, anonymous “Starbuck.”

Buzz: Starbuck’s premise could easily be remade into a big Hollywood comedy, so go see it before it’s ruined.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (U.K.) English. 7:30 p.m. 14A.

Having been dismissed from the Secret Intelligence Service, George Smiley (Oscar nominated Gary Oldman) is brought back into the fold when the former head of MI6 asks him to smoke out a mole who’s leaking secrets to the Soviets.

Taylor: Great cast, fine film, if you relish hushed conversation. Two out of five.

Saturday March 10

Margin Call (U.S.) English. 5 p.m. 14A.

A Wall Street thriller entangling the key players at an investment firm during one perilous 24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis.

Taylor: A great ensemble cast shine in this morality tale about greed, power and the reality of money. First feature from writer/director J.C. Chandor. Remember that name. Three out of five.

Howe: Very interesting film. One of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Four out of five.

Women on the 6th Floor (France) French / English subtitles. 7:30 p.m. 14A.

A boring, conservative Parisian couple in the 1960s have their bourgeois life turned upside down by a group of sassy Spanish maids.

Buzz: A feel-good, class smashing, stereotypically light comedy.

Sunday March 11

Buck (U.S.) English 5 p.m. p.m. G (coarse language.)

Buck chronicles the life, career and philosophies of the real life horse whisperer Buck Brannaman.

Buzz: Stunningly beautiful, inspiring, amazing. See it on the big screen.

A Separation (Iran) Persian/English subtitles 7:30 G (violence, language)

Winner of the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, A Separation is the story of a married Iranian couple who wish to be divorced.

Buzz: It’s as ugly as any other divorce, with the added problems of religious dogma. It’s also a fascinating glimpse into modern Iran.

Monday March 12

Albert Nobbs (U.K./Ireland) English. 5 p.m. PG.

A moving and effectual portrait of one woman’s solution to living in a world of 19th century gender inequality.

Howe: Glenn Close does a fine acting job as one ugly bloke. 2.5 out of five.

Queen to Play (France/Germany) English and French/English subtitles. 7:30 p.m. Unrated.

A bored French chambermaid, wife and mother, becomes romantically entangled with the game of Chess in this unusual film about the line where passion becomes obsession.

Buzz: Kevin Kline in his first completely French role. (Mmm, french roll….) It’s quirky, it’s intelligent, it’s French.

Tuesday March 13

Small Town Murder Songs (Canada) English 5 p.m. PG (language, sex, violence.)

A policeman with a temper has his family and friends shun him after violently beating a man while on duty. Soon after, he must investigate a crime that leads the town people to believe he suspects people for personal reasons.

Buzz: A taught, realistic, rural psychological thriller. Howe is going to see this!

Take ShelterTake Shelter (U.S.) English 7:30 p.m. PG.

A man, haunted by premonitions of the end of the world, prepares a survival shelter in his backyard, while trying to convince his small town to do likewise. Is he right, is he crazy, or is it both?

Buzz: This film goes for the jugular. Taylor is going to see this movie!

Wednesday March 14

Oranges and Sunshine (U.K./Australia) English 5 p.m. PG.

Set in the 1980s, a social worker from England stumbles upon a shocking revelation that thousands of children in the care of British Social Services in the 1940s were illegally and silently deported to Australian church-run orphanages to lives of labour, neglect and abuse.

Buzz: A beautiful meditation on a very ugly part of Commonwealth history.

Cloudburst (Canada) English 7:30 p.m. Unrated. (course language, sexual situations.)

Stella (Olympia Dukakis) is a foul-mouthed, obstreperous 80-year-old lesbian, comfortably ensconced in rural life with her longtime partner Dot, in Maine. After a nasty sexual accident, their children try to put one of them into care, the two are forced to elope to Nova Scotia.

Buzz: If you like hilarious, dirty old ladies, this is the film for you. Guaranteed laughs.

Thursday March 15

Carnage (France/Germany/Poland/Spain) English 5 p.m. PG.

Two New York couples meet to have a civilized discussion about an earlier fight between their children. As the evening progresses, and the drinks flow, instinct replaces civility in this caustic and comic film by Roman Polanski.

Buzz: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, and Christoph Waltz star, in one room, for 80 minutes. Can you say tension?

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (China/Hong Kong) Mandarin with English subtitles. 7:30 p.m. PG.

Around 640 AD, the first female Emperor of China, Wu, took the throne. Seen as a usurper by her male counterparts, they did everything they could to get rid of her, including booby trapping her coronation. Luckily, China’s kung-fu version of Sherlock Holmes is on the side of justice, as he fights and sleuths his way through a strange and magical mystery.

Taylor: It’s Wild Wild West meets Sherlock Holmes meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Three out of five.

Admission to each film is $7, or $30 for a five-film pass, available at the Towne Cinema or the Bean Scene.