Bud Gordon (Corey Stoll - from House of Cards and Midnight in Paris) once had it all—a nice apartment, fame, public love and admiration—but a quick jab to the chin wiped that slate. Now living in a dingy studio with no business, no fans and no purpose except to help train an up-and-coming boxer. Noah Buschel writes and directs Glass Chin with a distinctive, vibrant style that channels pulp film noir into something both familiar and strange.
"Buschel may be mining classic B-movie territory, but between his script and Stoll’s performance, Glass Chin finds fresh humanity in a seemingly exhausted genre." Peter Debruge, Variety
"Buschel’s micro-noir has a rare and potent sense of menace […] viscerally direct and spontaneous, like that last, swift jab that puts an opponent on the mat." Chris Cabin, Slant
"In a starring turn of suppressed despondence and frustration, the charismatic Stoll makes a strong bid for earning his own shot at superstardom." Nick Schager, Village Voice
In the first of our two-part tribute to the late great crime novelist Elmore Leonard, a kidnapping plot hits a snag when it turns out the corrupt developer played by Tim Robbins doesn’t particularly care to get his wife back - he was on the point of filing for divorce. An unofficial "pre-quel" to Jackie Brown, this witty comedy thriller introduces the characters played by Robert De Niro, Samuel L Jackson and Bridget Fonda in the Tarantino movie (and here, by John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey, and Isla Fisher). Jennifer Aniston and Will Forte also star.
"This is a droll and well-observed comedy thriller that recreates the 1970s in convincing fashion while retaining enough of a sense of menace to avoid ever drifting off into whimsy." Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent
The continuing misadventures of Ordell (now played by Samuel L Jackson), Louis (Robert De Niro), and Melanie (Bridget Fonda) - the characters from Life of Crime. This time they’re fixing to get hold of a half million dollars by way of air stewardess Jackie Brown (the incomparable Pam Grier). It’s Tarantino’s most mature and soulful movie.
"The movie that proves Tarantino is the real thing." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Marking the 40th Anniversary of the release of this solid gold classic with a restored DCP screening, this is a rare chance to see one of the most acclaimed Hollywood movies of the last half century on the big screen. Jack Nicholson is LA private eye Jake Gittes, a two-bit snoop who stumbles on a crime (and a crook) so large it could be the last thing he ever learns.
"Flawless" Philip French, The Observer
"Unmissable." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"Unforgettable." Neil Smith, Total Film
Prominently displayed outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), land artist Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass gained worldwide recognition during its installation in 2012. Over 10 nights, a 340-ton solid granite boulder crawled through Southern California neighborhoods on a 294-foot-long, 206-wheeled trailer. Thousands of people came out to watch it travel through their communities. It is one of the only pieces of art in recent history to inspire such a reaction in pop culture. The film masterfully interweaves this artist’s biography, the dreams of a major museum, and the uniting of a city, examining the perennial question: what is art?
"The proximity, orientation, and monumental nature is what makes Levitated Mass the piece so powerful, and Levitated Mass the film not only captures that but puts those ideals forth as something culturally and socially important, something that happened when the mass met the masses." Katie Walsh, Playlist
Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. You know you need to see this genuine Christmas classic as it was intended to be seen, on the big screen. Jimmy Stewart’s finest hour.
Just in time for Christmas … the noirest of the noir and the last extravaganza that Orson Welles directed for a Hollywood studio, Touch of Evil is considered to be one his greatest movies achievements. There is a lot of plot, but it’s more of a character story about the grunting, wheezing detective Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), a man who is truly in hell. The concept of borders and "crossing the line" is essential to Touch of Evil as many taboo topics are addressed in this baroque nightmare of a south-of-the-border mystery.
How does a 16-year-old evolve into a bank robber?
"Vital, thoughtful, and deeply personal, first-timer Darius Clark Monroe’s autobiographical doc stands as a testament to the power of movies to stir empathy. At age 16, honor-student Monroe had dabbled in employee-theft at the Venture store where he worked after school. Next, restless and foolhardy, he set his criminal sights higher, corralling a couple of friends and busting into a Stafford, Texas, Bank of America. Monroe wore a skeleton mask, one accomplice wielded a sawed-off shotgun, and a couple hours later Monroe’s mother found a shoebox on her bed filled with thirty grand. Monroe’s film is an inquiry into who he was becoming — and who he became during a five-year prison sentence." Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Tacoma garage rock band Girl Trouble has always traveled on their own unique and idiosyncratic musical path. For over 30 years, they have been standard- bearers for the collaborative spirit and do-it-yourself aesthetic that the Northwest’s indie rock scene was founded on. Director Isaac Olsen weaves together the band’s treasure trove of treasured memorabilia with present-day interviews with the band’s numerous collaborators, including Neko Case, Calvin Johnson, and Art Chantry. But ultimately, Olsen wisely lets the band members tell the story of their journey from self-proclaimed “weirdos” to Tacoma’s local champions and defenders of rock and roll.
Yogananda was the Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Paramahansa Yogananda authored the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi,” which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. This unconventional documentary has won critical plaudits everywhere it has screened.
"Fittingly enlightening, Awake: The Life of Yogananda is a vivid, elegantly assembled portrait of the savvy guru with the cherubic face and penetrating gaze who brought meditation to the West." Michael Rechtschaffen, LA Times
"Gentle sitar music, languorous camerawork and soothing narration… This could be a good movie to do yoga by." The New York Times
Arguably the most underrated US movie of the year, the latest from James Gray (Two Lovers) is a romantic epic set in New York in the 1920s. Marion Cotillard is superb as the Polish woman torn between Joaquin Phoenix’s dubious fixer, Bruno, and his cousin, an illusionist (Jeremy Renner).
"The film is earnestly and unabashedly melodramatic to an extent that may baffle audiences accustomed to clever, knowing historical fictions. But it also has a depth and purity of feeling that makes other movies feel timid and small by comparison." AO Scott, The New York Times
"You may often find yourself second-guessing the film, questioning how—and if—it will all come together. But by the time of the intense and impassioned climax, a storm of emotion is ensured: a great movie rising before you like a delusion, like a dream." Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Street style photographer Ari Seth Cohen and director Lina Plioplyte dive into the personal lives of New York City’s most fashionable women over 60. In an industry obsessed with youth, these older women dispel conventional ideas about beauty and aging and prove that with age comes grace, confidence, boldness, flair and new, unimagined opportunities for fame and fortune.
"Inspired by Ari Seth Cohen’s blog by the same name, "Advanced Style" is a love letter to older women who’ve elevated dressing to an art form." Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"The way the women occupy Cohen and Plioplyte’s spotlight is a lesson in aging well, a lesson that begins with the refusal to play by the rule that says to grow older, especially for women, is to fade into the shadows." Sherri Linden, LA Times
"These women are living life to the fullest - and they are inviting us to do the same." David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
It is not often that a documentary merits comparison with The Grapes of Wrath, but The Overnighters evokes Steinbeck (and John Ford) in its compassionate portrait of economic migrants flooding into North Dakota to grasp their slice of the oil boom. Shunned as interlopers by most, these newcomers are welcomed into the Concordia Lutheran Church by a remarkable Pastor - whose Christian charity affronts his congregation and community.
"One could draw numerous lessons from this moving and almost operatic documentary… Jesse Moss spins a gripping saga that seems to capture the American zeitgeist in uncanny fashion, and it’s all true." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
At first galvanizing in its depiction of survival amid dire circumstances, The Overnighters transforms into a devastating portrait of communal unrest." Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"Starkly bleak and devastatingly humane… an indelible American documentary." Katie Walsh, The Playlist
A dozen years in the making, Richard Linklater’s masterpiece chronicles the evolution of a boy into a young man, from six to 18. It is the ultimate coming-of-age movie, and one of the most audacious cinematic feats of the decade.
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows various pilgrims, from ages 3 to 73, as they attempt to cross an entire country on foot – with only a backpack, a pair of boots and an open mind. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, we witness the Camino’s magnetic and miraculous power to change lives. Each pilgrim throws themselves heart and soul into their incredibly challenging trek to Santiago de Compostela, and most importantly, their personal journey to themselves.
100% Fresh, Rotten Tomatoes
"Driving both the filmmaker and her subjects is wonder and wanderlust. Their enthusiasm for the Camino is contagious …" Diana Clarke, Village Voice
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the breakout debut movie from the Minneapolis maestro, Prince Nelson Rogers. Purple Rain is everything you could want from a rock film, and more - it’s sexy, sassy, slick and it captures the young Prince in the raw.
A portrait of Nino Corvato, Checchino Fonticoli and Joe Centofanti, three Italian master tailors who confront the decline of the apprentice system as they navigate their challenging roles in the twilight of their career. The film unravels the mystery of their artistry and reveals how their passionate devotion to their Old World craft is akin to a religion.
“A captivating tale of an art in both remission and resurgence, Men of the Cloth is a journey across the globe unifying craftsmanship and style….Dynamic, emotional, and inspiring, it was truly an experience.” A & H Magazine
“We get to feel the love of the men for their job and we understand just how special handmade suits are…. You will feel a loss at the notion that their way of life is fading from existence. I love films that make you feel and this one does in spades.” Unseen Films blog
Chosen by VIFF Vancity Theatre members, this year’s free New Year’s Eve event movie is Edgar Wright’s anti-blockbuster, a hipster’s comic book adaptation chock full of great gags and inventive fun. When under-employed underground hero Scott Pilgrim (the cutely anxious Michael Cera) takes up with a cool American girl, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he must fight it out with her seven exes in videogame-style battles.
It’s the perfect appetizer for a memorable New Year’s Eve. Pre-order your free tickets at viff.org Doors at 5.45, Film at 7.00
"Full of fresh, sharp touches and nonchalantly brash performances, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World consistently hits the sweet spot." Tom Charity, CNN.com
"Its speedy, funny, happy-sad spirit is so infectious that the movie makes you feel at home in its world." AO Scott, New York Times
"Like an animatronic kitten that won’t leave you alone, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World wins its audience over on adorable persistence." Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
VIFF Vancity Theatre and the Cinematheque join together this weekend to celebrate the centenary of a cinema landmark. In the Land of the Head Hunters was the first feature film made in B.C. and is the oldest extant feature made in Canada. It’s also the first feature made with an entirely indigenous North American cast and arguably the first ever documentary feature. A portrait of the Kwakwaka’wakw (formerly Kwakiutl) people of northern Vancouver Island and the central coast, it was directed by Edward S. Curtis, the renowned American photographer of First Nations life.
Welcome to London’s famous National Gallery, as seen by America’s foremost observational filmmaker, Fred Wiseman (La Danse; At Berkeley). Wiseman gives us a guided tour of masterpieces by Turner, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Caravaggio and Da Vinci, but also shows what’s going on behind the scenes at one of the world’s premier art institutions.
"A great, great film. Wiseman’s technique is simple, refined, and blissfully pure. The real joy of his film is that it never needs to strain for effect; it sits back. It’s like being lulled with intelligence." Tim Robey, The Telegraph (UK)
"One of the greatest [films] I have seen all year… Magnificent… Wiseman’s touch is deft but light here, and the experience of watching National Gallery is pleasurable and immersive because he’s a wonderful storyteller. It is also unexpectedly moving." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"One of Wiseman’s richest and most thought-provoking films." Budd Wilkins, Slant