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Cloudburst, Something Ventured, La Verete, Vigilante Vigilante

Aging lesbians, financial risk-takers, troubled teens and the Canadian première of a film about anti-graffiti vigilantes are on the Victoria Film Festival's busy movie menu today. Here are Michael D. Reid's Day 7 highlights.
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Olivia Dukakis, left, and Brenda Fricker journey from Maine to Nova Scotia to get married in Cloudburst

Aging lesbians, financial risk-takers, troubled teens and the Canadian première of a film about anti-graffiti vigilantes are on the Victoria Film Festival's busy movie menu today. Here are Michael D. Reid's Day 7 highlights.

CLOUDBURST

Where: Empire Capitol 6

When: Tonight, 6: 45

Rating: 2 1/2 (Out of five)

If you're open-minded enough to acknowledge seniors can be lesbians too, and that they might like sex toys and even drop F-bombs, you'll probably get a kick out of Thom Fitzgerald's crowd-pleaser about an elderly lesbian couple who flee to Nova Scotia from Maine to get married. Call this one Grumpy Old Women, with equal parts hilarity and humanity as Stella, a brash butch dyke played to potty-mouthed perfection by Olympia Dukakis as you've never seen her, busts her blind longtime lover Dot (Brenda Fricker) out of the institution her uptight granddaughter (Kristen Booth) has committed her to. While the film gets all Thelma and Louise once they hit the road and pick up a hunky hitchhiker (Ryan Doucette), Fitzgerald also uses this juncture to add layers of tenderness.

Although the film is as imperfect as its quirky characters - with some clunky lines and outbursts as contrived as Booth's role is ridiculously clichéd - it's endearing nonetheless. And what's not to love about that gorgeously shot East Coast scenery, so breathtaking you'll be rushing out to book a trip to Nova Scotia.

SOMETHING VENTURED

Where: Odeon

When: Tonight, 7

Rating: 3 1/2 (Out of five)

Capitalism rocks! That's the unabashed message conveyed in a film that is clearly ill-timed given the current economic climate. Still, it's hard not to admire, as directors Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine clearly do, the early visionary venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and innovators behind companies such as Apple, Cisco Systems and Atari, which, in one of the film's more quaintly memorable moments, we're reminded began with a $250 capital investment to produce Pong (remember that one, boomers?). While the film's talking heads might not have the greatest fashion sense - like Tom Perkins, who backed Genentech's gene-splicing technology but whose business attire seems laughably dated - the reminiscing and analysis of most of these pioneers are riveting.

There's lots to savour- from humorously candid anecdotes about the late Steve Jobs, once regarded as an unhygienic, classless upstart, to archival advertising and Wall Street footage. It makes what might have been a dry, dull business lesson a lively and slickly entertaining experience. And amid the rose-coloured nostalgia, there's a sobering reminder - for every monumental success there were loads of losses.

LA VÉRITÉ (GUILT)

Where: Odeon

When: Tonight, 9: 30 p.m.

Rating: 3 (Out of five)

A reality-rooted ethical dilemma is the engine that drives FrenchCanadian filmmaker Mark Bisaillon's provocative and unsettling morality tale.

It centres on the inevitable emotional fallout from a tragic accident unwittingly triggered one snowy tonight by two small-town Quebec teenagers - unassuming shy guy Gabriel (Pierre-Luc Lafontaine) and his outgoing best friend Yves (Emile Mailhiot), a high school football star illequipped to handle the moral quandary ahead. While there are some minor narrative issues in the home stretch, Bisaillon does an impressive job of sketching the ordinariness of their lives before dramatizing the alcohol-fuelled incident without resorting to sensationalism.

The actors are both naturally persuasive, and it's the measured, low-key way Bisaillon gradually evokes their characters' differing reactions to the tragedy that effectively builds tension and gives this quietly powerful film its inexorable emotional pull.

VIGILANTE VIGILANTE

Where: Vic Theatre

When: Tonight, 9: 30 p.m.

Rating: 2 1/2 (Out of five)

With Victoria's own graffiti issues, Max Good's engaging if roughedged documentary which suggests graffiti opponents are vandals whose actions suppress free speech, promises to renew debate over this hot-button issue. A graffiti artist himself who feels graffiti democratizes public spaces and clearly disagrees with the actions of the "graffiti abatement" advocates he profiles, he at least gives them a chance to defend themselves before moving in for the kill. Somewhat reminiscent of Exit Through the Gift Shop, but far inferior, his film focuses on Joe Connolly, a gregarious, media-savvy L.A. anti-tagger who comes off like Howard Stern on steroids; Jim Sharp, a.k.a. Silver Buff, an elusive elderly Clint Eastwood-type whom they essentially stalk after a laughably dramatic stakeout as he removes stickers and posters and spraypaints street art silver in Berkeley, California; and Fred (Gray Ghost) Radtke, a temperamental exMarine who runs afoul of the law for removing even approved artwork.

Even with perfunctory input from academics and masked graffiti artists, this sociological portrait, however captivating, has a penchant for stating the obvious, so don't expect deep enlightenment or potential solutions to an urban problem that won't be erased anytime soon.