During the Great Depression, a New Jersey housewife returns again to again to watch RKO’s latest madcap Manhattan romance. So great is her devotion to the movie that one of the characters, Tom Baxter, can’t refrain from commenting on it - stepping down from the screen and into real life. Complications ensue.
Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world’s most influential designers. Throughout their long career, their motto has been, ’If you can’t find it, design it.’ From graphics to interiors to products and corporate identities, the film brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.
When 14-year-old Laura Dekker announced her intention to become the youngest woman ever to sail around the world single-handedly there was an uproar. The child welfare authorities in her native Holland even applied to block her trip on legal grounds. But their case was rejected, and Laura set off soon afterwards on her beloved boat Guppy, with no safety boat or backup, but a video camera to record her odyssey. This film is the result of that impulse - a first-person mariner’s eye-view of a vast blue world
Allen waxes notalgic in this, one of his most autobiographical films, an affectionate tribute to the radio stars of the 1940s, and to the working class listeners - like Woody’s own family - who marveled at their exploits, both real and imaginary.
"Radio Days is so ambitious and so audacious that it almost defies description." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Both a tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most extravagant and influential personalities, and simultaneously a chronicle of the impact of fashion in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, this portrait of the irrepressible editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar is an eye-opener, just like its subject.
"Makes a compelling case for the late Diana Vreeland as the 20th century’s pre-eminent tastemaker, not to mention one of its most extravagant personalities." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"4 out of 5… Captivating… Insightful." Carolyne Zinko, San Francisco Chronicle
The second part in our year-long retrospective, Woody Allen: 4 Seasons brings us to the Spring Collection, and several examples of what Allen himself famously dubbed "the early, funny ones". Take the Money and Run qualifies on both counts: his very first feature as director, it’s an hilarious spoof true crime documentary. Woody plays Virgil Starkwell, public schmuck number one.
"Very special, and eccentric, and funny." The New York Times
"Roll in the aisles, hold-your-sides laughter." LA Times
One of Allen’s best in recent times, this is a funny, wise movie about young Americans abroad, bohemia, sensuality, and the gaudy delights of Barcelona. Contrasting performances from Jamon, Jamon couple Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz complete the package.
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona trips along winningly, carried by the beauty of its locations and stars - and all the gauzy romanticism those enchanted places and people imply."—Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"The actors are attractive, the city is magnificent, the love scenes don’t get all sweaty, and everybody finishes the summer a little wiser and with a lifetime of memories. What more could you ask?"—Roger Ebert
A curtain-raiser for tomorrow’s Coen Bros marathon: the brothers’ first movie, a delectably twisted film noir set in modern day (well, mid 80s) Texas, where Marty (Hedaya) doesn’t much care for the fact that his wife Abby (McDormand) is playing around behind his back. This is one of the great debut films, bursting with malicious wit and style, with an unforgettable performance from character actor M Emmett Walsh as a private dick with a very personal notion of ethics.
"It’s the boys’ most immediately gratifying movie: The goods are delivered in a hearse." Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner
"A tight, beautifully ugly neo-noir classic." Kim Morgan, Portland Oregonian
"As black, sinful and nasty as a weekful of Hitchcocks, this is as fresh and intoxicating now as it was back then. In a word: deadly." Ian Nathan, Empire
Everything you always wanted to know about Woody… well, very nearly. This documentary traces the long and prolific life of a comedy genius, with relaxed commentary from Allen himself, his sister, and collaborators from every phase of his 50-years showbiz career.
"Not a film to be missed." Philip French, The Observer
When superstar Canadian director Robert Lepage is invited to stage Wagner’s the Ring Cycle at New York’s Metropolitan Opera it was never going to be a routine production. Susan Froemke follows the backstage progress of a controversial but visually astounding show that tested everyone involved to their limits.
"Simply the best documentary about the Met ever made." Film Journal
"Destined to be one of the classic documentaries about opera." Philadelphia Inquirer
"A rousing portrait of creative renewal and, specifically, the way in which – by attempting something daring and new in the face of an opera culture deeply invested in tradition – Lepage proves that classic art can survive and flourish in a marriage with modern technology and imagination." – The Village Voice
Incompetent products-tester Fielding Mellish travels to the Latin American country of San Marcos, and quickly finds himself the center of a people’s revolution. Mellish employs his harebrained ingenuity to survive guerilla training and to become a figurehead of this new banana republic. Allen’s second is a zany slapstick smorgasbord of philosophy and absurdism.
On the occasion of the release of Richard Linklater’s most adventurous and rewarding work - Boyhood - check out this wonderful conversation piece between the independent-minded Austinite and the even more marginalized James Benning, an experimental artist who some rank as the finest filmmaker in America today.
“Double Play is the kind of film to make cinephiles grateful, if only to preserve for the ages the ruminations of two artists whose shared project has been nothing less than the excavation of the American spirit itself."—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"Like Linklater’s movies, including Boyhood, Double Play is loaded with thought-provoking dialogue, including meditations on time, relationships and the challenges of staying true to one’s artistic muse."—Rob Nelson, Star Tribune
The first in a double bill featuring two of the most highly acclaimed US features of the year, Before Midnight is Richard Linklater’s bittersweet study of a love affair languishing in middle-age - his follow up to generational touchstones Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.
“Before Midnight is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect." AO Scott, New York Times
This curious hommage to German Expressionism is both a uniquely perverse enterprise and a real hoot. It’s a Kafkaesque comedy based on Allen’s earlier one-act play, unpromisingly titled "Death". Allen himself plays Kleinman, a clerk in an unnamed central European country who is reluctantly pulled into a vigilante hunt for a serial killer.
Edward Norton and Drew Barrymore stroll hand in hand around a fountain, then burst into a deliciously sloppy rendition of ’Just You, Just Me’, and immediately we’re right into it, and you can’t imagine why it’s taken Woody Allen so long to get round to reviving the musical. Romantic, nostalgic and decadent as Fred Astaire, this is also the closest Allen has come to a Jacques Demy movie.
"A delightful and witty compendium of the film maker’s favorite things." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"It would take a heart of stone to resist this movie." Roger Ebert
Intimate interviews and never-before-seen home videos conjure up a beautiful, accomplished and surprisingly moving portrait of Caroll Spinney, who has performed as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for over 40 years.
“3.5/4 stars: thoroughly entertaining…a joy to watch.” Globe and Mail
“The triumphant tearjerker of this year’s Hot Docs film festival…speaks to the heart of a viewer and brings out the softie in everyone” POV Magazine
“One of the most emotionally effective performing arts docs that’s ever been made." Dork Shelf
Ingeniously devised to dovetail with events at the remote Norwegian Antarctic base, this underrated prequel to Carpenter’s modern classic is a tense chiller that pays respect to the past while showcasing cutting edge CGI fx by Vancouver’s Image Engine.
"It’s full of chills and thrills and isolated Antarctic atmosphere and terrific Hieronymus Bosch creature effects, and if it winks genially at the plot twists of Carpenter’s film, it never feels even a little like some kind of inside joke." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
What’s old, pussycat? Allen’s first produced screenplay did not turn out the way he wanted, but this swung-out nineteen sexties farce is at the very least a fascinating time capsule, so chauvinist it would make Austin Powers blush. But get a load of that cast! Peters O’Toole and Sellers, Romy Schneider, Paula Prentiss, Ursula Andress and Woody too.
If you think Amour was too sentimental, then this extraordinary documentary from Brian Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky (Frances) is just what you crave: the filmmakers spent years visiting a nursing home, charting the progress of senility, dementia, and of course death among the residents. All this narrated with bleak, wrily philosophical humor by one of their number. The film is not journalistic, but poetic, a "dirge", in the words of the filmmakers - and one you will not forget in a hurry.
"The Patron Saints was the single best film I saw during the festival run of Putty Hill." - Matt Porterfield
"Mainly, this observational realism serves the filmmakers exceedingly well, creating a humane, almost elegiac atmosphere, with occasional flashes of black humour, all of it heightened by a soundtrack of choral music that culminates in Arvo Part’s ethereal version of My Heart’s in the Highlands." Kate Taylor, Globe & Mail
"Bleak, moving, expressionistic." NOW magazine
When a Vienna museum guard befriends an enigmatic visitor, the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum becomes a mysterious crossroads which sparks explorations of their lives, the city, and the ways artworks reflect and shape the world.
"On the one hand a sad, poignant character study, "Museum Hours" is also a treatise on art history and a love letter to architectural wonder. A-" Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"Engaginly offbeat… Cerebral stuff, but delivered with warmth, wit and quiet confidence." Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter
"Delightfully accessible…filled with gently moving wit." Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight