Movies I am Looking Forward to Watching:

The Dark Horse

I’m not particularly good at chess. I don’t follow rules, and I doubt I can remember the different strategies, but this will be the second film I watched with chess as the central element. New Zealand speed-chess champion, Genesis “Gen” Potini (Cliff Curtis) overcomes his own insecurities to teach Maori children the ins and outs of chess. One of his pupils is Mana (James Rolleston, from Boy and The Dead Lands) who grows close with Gen. Genesis provides an opportunity for the children, to open up the world to them. Although, the adults believe he only cultivates false hope in their hearts. I have a soft spot for movies that change the lives of children (maybe it’s the fact they will inherit our mistakes). I also can’t get enough of Rolleston, who shows his skills are not only limited to a specific movie genre.

Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains

According to prophecy, a young woman will rise up to protect the lands from total destruction. This prophecy went unnoticed and was dismissed as women did not have social standings worthy of leading a people. Perhaps I am drawn to this film because in high school I befriended exchange students from Kyrgyzstan. Or perhaps it resembles the plot-line of Mulan, a woman who, through her quick thinking and courage, is able to protect her country from invading armies. In certainty, I watch foreign films to see countries I would never see otherwise. Kurmanjan is yet another historical figure not covered in world history classrooms. It is through film where her story can be shared.

Racing Extinction

I have yet to watch a documentary during SIFF. To my delight and a result of great scheduling on my part, if I do say myself, Racing Extinction was added to my queue. The fishing industry is as lucrative as the drug industry. I am familiar with the issues in whale hunting thanks to Whale WarsRacing Extinction expands upon illegal fishing and the prized endangered animals often stocking up Asian markets. The crew treks into dangerous backwaters, gaining access to storage areas and processing facilities.

Theatrical Releases:

 Nationwide Limited Limited Limited Limited
Limited Nationwide

Blu-ray/DVD Releases for Tuesday, June 2:

 Grade: B- Grade: B-   Grade: B+  Grade: B-
 Grade: A

New on Netflix: