" I don’t want a childhood, I want to be a ballet dancer. "
— Jamie Bell, Billy Elliot

MRQE Top Critic

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Pic of the Week

Each week we pick a recommended "Pic" from our archives. Below are our most recent picks.

Elsewhere

***Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Next movie night, go somewhere else

Elsewhere is a four-hour collection of 12 short documentaries. Each segment was shot during a different month of the year 2000. February’s was shot with the Sami people of northern Finland; July’s was shot in India, somewhere near the Himalayas; and so on.

Sister

***1/22012, Ursula Meier

Emotionally engaging and impeccably crafted

Midway through Sister (L’enfant d’en haut) someone asks about Simon and Louise’s mother. The siblings trade a knowing look and say what they probably always say: we have a pretty fucked-up family.

Vikings

***1/22006, Marc Fafard

Vikings invade DVD in this excellent IMAX production.

Offering a quick look at the Vikings and their early influence on world history, Vikings: Journey to New Worlds is an ambitious production originally presented in IMAX theatres and now available for home viewing.

Locked-In Syndrome

***1/21997, Jean-Jacques Beineix

Fascinating documentary predecessor to Diving Bell plays it straight and keeps it concise

Locked-In Syndrome is a straightforward introduction to a complex man, Jean-Dominique Bauby.

Chronicles of Narnia

***2005, Andrew Adamson

Another case of overkill and double-dipping, but at least the new bonus features are interesting

Perhaps you checked out the two-disc DVD edition of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. You listened to both audio commentaries, watched all of the behind-the-scenes featurettes. And yet you found yourself wanting to know exactly how they put those talking CGI beavers on the screen with human actors. And maybe you wanted to know who this C.S. Lewis guy was. And how they came up with the design for Tilda Swinton’s gowns.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

***2011, Michael Bay

Dark of the Moon is the best of the Transformers trilogy.

It doesn’t sound like high praise, but Dark of the Moon is the best of the Transformers trilogy.

Big Fish

***1/22003, Tim Burton

Holds more human truths than any other Oscar contender

Big Fish is a simple family story about a man and the influential tall tales he tells his young son while growing up. Throw in the artistic finesse of director Tim Burton and the unabashed glee of star Ewan McGregor and Big Fish turns into one of the year’s biggest and best surprises.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

***2010, Jon Turteltaub

With any luck, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will conjure up a bigger audience on Blu-ray.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was quickly dismissed at theatres during the summer derby. Perhaps it’s because the movie’s gleefully fanciful and light-handed storytelling is out of place in this cynical era of potty-mouthed children and ultraviolent onscreen action. There’s a storytelling sensibility here that feels like it might’ve been more at home back in the 1980s, when movies with similar tones and themes, like Back to the Future, Gremlins, and Ghostbusters, were hugely popular. With any luck, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will conjure up a bigger audience on Blu-ray.

Noi Albinoi

***2004, Dagur Kári

Mystery and ambivalence about this Bleak portrait of isolation are amplified on DVD

This bleak portrait of isolation is deliberately disengaging. And while the movie is effective at what it sets out to do, it’s hard to love it for its success. The DVD from Palm Pictures makes the ambivalence even stronger. The director goes on-camera to explain his goals, and in doing so, doesn’t explain anything. Rather than frustrating audiences, I think he beguiles them, making Nói Albinoi better on a second viewing.

Under the Skin

****2014, Jonathan Glazer

A fascinating mystery that works emotionally and visually

Nobody in Under the Skin gets a name. Naming characters is a human convention, and Under the Skin has an alien perspective.