Go call your mom, your dad, your brothers and sisters if you have any, and tell them you love them.
Incendies is a French-Canadian (woo!) film by superstar Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve. I’ve written in the past about some of his films, pretty much all of which I’ve loved. Well, tally one more up for Mr. Villeneuve, because Incendies might just be a new favorite of mine from him.
It kicks off with Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon Marwan (Maxime Gaudette), Canadian twins of Middle Eastern descent who are meeting at their mother’s notary’s office after she has passed away. Included in their mother Nawal’s (Lubna Azabal) will, are two envelopes, one for their father and one for their brother. The friction starts immediately as the Marwans never knew their presumably dead father and have never had another sibling. Jeanne travels to their mother’s birthplace, an unspecified country in the Middle East to trace the steps of her mother’s life so she can solve the mystery of her missing father and brother. Simon, reluctant at first, eventually joins her with Lebel, the aforementioned notary. While in the Middle East learning about their strange family history from locals who seem to resent them on sight, they slowly begin learning a dark secret about their family that they couldn’t even have imagined.
Practical effects hold a very special place in my heart. Among my first horror movie experiences were John Carpenter’s The Thing, the 80’s remake of The Fly (mmmm, Jeff Goldblum), and The Evil Dead, and their outstanding effects work have eaten their way into my brain and have never left. I’m a firm believer that when practical and make-up effects are done right, they surpass anything you can do with a computer and a green screen.
The Void is a Canadian (woo!) body horror/ cosmic horror/ throwback horror flick from Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, who are responsible for the purposefully-bad movies Manborg and Father’s Day. They know their way around ’80s schlock and are adept at creating throwbacks and homages to the movies and scenes they love.
This movie takes place in an unnamed small rural town, where local cop Daniel comes across a bloody man stumbling through the country roads while on patrol. After bringing him to the local, semi-defunct hospital, Daniel’s problems start multiplying like deranged rabbits. A pregnant teenager coming to the end of her term in the waiting room. Two manic men brandishing guns storm into the hospital looking to kill the man Daniel just brought in, spewing nonsense about monsters and occult magic. Multiple hooded figures, possibly cultists, begin surrounding the hospital en masse, clearly waiting for something. Pretty soon, one of the hospital’s nurses begins acting completely deranged, killing a bedridden patient and then clipping her skin face off before erupting into the bubbling bulbous monstrosity of flesh, appendages, and orifices.
And then things get bad.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Canadian boy, born and raised. Bagged milk is a staple in my fridge, I measure distance in time, and I constantly shit on the Imperial system despite using it almost as much as I do the Metric system. Even despite being a huge nerd who doesn’t go
oatside outside and hates sports, my eyes can’t help but gravitate towards any hockey game that shows up in my field of vision. I couldn’t tell you anything about hockey history or this season’s stats, but it’s instinctive for me as a Canadian to watch hockey if it’s put in front of me.
Goon is a hockey/ comedy movie about a man named Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a lovable oaf who doesn’t really have much going for him and constantly lives under the shadow of his prestigious and snooty family of doctors. Doug is really good at one thing, though: fighting. After defending his loudmouthed friend (Jay Baruchel) at a local hockey game, a coach sees his potential to become an enforcer, a hockey player who is only put on the ice to beat the ever loving shit out of people on the other team.
Doug begins moving up the ranks and eventually makes it to a the Halifax Highlanders, a minor league team where he’s tasked with helping defend Laflamme, a hot shot kid (Marc-André Grondin) who used to put away pucks like nobody’s business. Unfortunately, a recent on-ice incident with Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber), the league’s most brutal enforcer has Laflamme paranoid and off his game. With Rhea returning to the league before retirement, Doug has to make sure Laflamme is in top shape by the time his and Rhea’s inevitable confrontation starts staining the ice red with blood.