Actor/Writer Jay Baruchel (Goon, This is the End) was at the Whistler Film Festival a couple years back and he spoke about the importance of keeping Canadian filmmaking talent right here in Canada. This year that seems to have happened as many of Canada's heaviest hitters have flicks in the Whistler Film Festival, which runs until Dec. 8.
As mentioned last week, Bruce McDonald (Highway 61, Hard Core Logo) is back in town with The Husband (1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Village 8) but that is only the tip of the iceberg, eh buds?
Canadian master of all trades Don McKellar (Last Night, The Red Violin, Roadkill) also has a flick playing this weekend. With writing from Michael Dowse (Goon, Fubar) and based on a Ken Scott film, The Grand Seduction is about a small Newfoundland community whose future hangs on being able to convince a doctor to move to town in order to meet the demands of a new Petrochem factory that will provide much needed jobs. It's a classic Canadian comedy with a cast that includes B.C.'s Taylor Kitsch (Savages, John Carter) and the always-excellent Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges, Gangs of New York). Check this one out at 9:30 p.m. Friday Dec. 6 at the Village 8.
WFF Opening Gala film Cas & Dylan plays again at the Rainbow theatre on Sunday Dec. 8 at 2:15 p.m. Directed by Jason Priestly (Calendar Girl, Tombstone) this one's about a terminally ill doctor (Richard Dreyfuss) who embarks on a cross-Canada road trip with a spunky 22-year-old hitchhiker (Tatania Maslany from Picture Day) and the result is cinematic delight.
Canadian mastermind Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica) also has a flick playing this weekend — Devil's Knot is a dramatized re-telling of the of the infamous West Memphis Three, a trio of teens falsely accused of murder and sentenced to life in prison. This story has been the subject of multiple documentaries (and a book) but Egoyan is known for excellent use of subtley in his crime films. Devil's Knot plays 7 p.m. Saturday at the Rainbow and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Village 8.
In 2005 Quebecois director Jean-Marc Vallée hit the WFF with C.R.A.Z.Y, one of the best Canadian films of all time. A couple years ago he was back with Café de Flore and this year his Dallas Buyers Club is the frontrunner for at least two Oscar categories. Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof, a smooth talking Texas cowboy in the 1980s who is told he has HIV, has 30 days to live, and that most of the drugs or supplements that may be able to help him are unavailable and unapproved in the U.S.
Thing is, cowboys love a challenge almost as much as they hate some pencil-dick telling them what they can and can't do, so Woodroof starts bringing in the drugs himself and joins up with an unlikely band of outsiders in a touching struggle for dignity and acceptance. Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner and the always-excellent Steve Zahn also star.
After the awesomeness of the Whistler Film Festival finishes get ready for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which opens Thursday at the Village 8. They're actually showing a double feature and rocking the first Hobbit flick first (which kind of speaks to how memorable that one was, doesn't it?). Smaug looks better however because Bilbo and company are in the thick of things now, and yeah, there's the dragon, the spider, Gollum and B.C.'s own Evangeline Lily as the token hot Elvish princess. Canadian content everywhere this week so come on out for a rip and support homegrown films.