Roger Moore’s seventh and final Bond movie is absurd - but how to resist a film where the baddie is an industrialist intent on destroying Silcon Valley to create a monopoly on microchip technology (Bill Gates, meet Max Zorin)?
"A View to a Kill, is an especially satisfying encounter. Opening with a breathtaking ski chase in Siberia, A View to a Kill is the fastest Bond picture yet. Its pace has the precision of a Swiss watch and the momentum of a greyhound on the track. There is a spectacular chase up and down the Eiffel Tower and through Paris streets, which Bond finishes in a severed car on just two wheels. But none of the action prepares the viewer for the heart-stopping climax with Zorin’s dirigible tangled in the cables on top of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge." Lawrence O’Toole, Maclean’s
Timothy Dalton’s second (and last) Bond movie is one of the least typical but also one of the most satisfying on its own terms. It’s a revenge movie, for one thing, with Bond going AWOL to take on a ruthless Mexican drug baron (Robert Davi).
Bond goes to Thailand in Roger Moore’s second outing (after Live and Let Die). Christopher Lee (Ian Fleming’s cousin) is excellent as the villain, Scaramanga, and he brings out what may be Moore’s strongest performance.
"Don’t be afraid. A new world of sound awaits you…" This dense, resonant experimental thriller casts Toby Jones as a genius sound-mixer, a Brit invited to work on the post-production of an Italian horror movie in the late 1970s (something by Dario Argento, perhaps?). Almost from the first this unusual assignment comes with disturbing undertones of mystery and menace - as if the bloody supernatural thriller we hear being constructed (but almost never see) is spilling out into the sound studio…
"Utterly distinctive and all but unclassifiable, a musique concrète nightmare, a psycho-metaphysical implosion of anxiety, with strange-tasting traces of black comedy and movie-buff riffs. It is seriously weird and seriously good." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"A delicately detailed immersion into the world of Z-grade Italian horror cinema that ultimately may or may not be a horror film itself, Peter Strickland’s “Berberian Sound Studio” is a tense, teasing triumph." Guy Lodge, Variety
"The creepiness builds with symphonic precision until reality truly is indistinguishable from fantasy." 4 stars. Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
8 players with 703 years between them compete in the World over 80s Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. Terry (81) having been given a week to live, gets in sight of winning gold. Inge (89) has used table tennis to train her way out of the dementia ward she committed herself to. Australian legend Dorothy deLow is 100, and finds herself a mega celebrity in this rarefied world and Texan Lisa Modlich, a new-comer at 85 years old, is determined to do whatever it takes to win her first gold.
"It is about ageing, mortality, friendship, ambition and love. The stories stay with you for hours, weeks, after the credits have rolled. But perhaps its most powerful achievement is to leave us with a more humane conception of sport, and of life itself."
Matthew Syed - The Times
"What a heart-warmer… ’Inspirational’ barely covers it." Anthony Quinn, The Independent
"An unabashed crowdpleaser bouncing between sweetly satirical and sincerely moving." Total Film
"Irish step dancing receives exuberant treatment in the superbly crafted documentary Jig. This highly involving film deftly captures the unique physical, emotional and financial aspects of diving into competitive Irish dance, with the participants’ addictive immersion the overwhelming takeaway. […] As for the dancing itself, it’s nothing short of dazzling." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
"Irish step dancing […] receives exuberant treatment in the superbly crafted documentary Jig. This highly involving film deftly captures the unique physical, emotional and financial aspects of diving into competitive Irish dance, with the participants’ addictive immersion the overwhelming takeaway. […] As for the dancing itself, it’s nothing short of dazzling." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
"Amusing, heartbreaking and mind-boggling." The Boston Herald"
"Glorious! Spellbound meets Lord of the Dance." Easy Living
Based on a notorious historical incident in which the sixteenth century French town of Loudun was swept up in tide of witch-hunting mania, Ken Russell’s searing movie kept censors busy all over the world with its shocking imagery and no-holds-barred assault on ecclesiastical hypocrisy. Forty years on it retains its power, not least for the astounding, career-best performances from Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jarman’s bold production design, and the electrifying score by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
"The pinnacle of Russell’s astonishing career, blending the exuberant visuals and musical underpinning of his most most exotic fantasies wieh a serious undercurrent of outraged political intent… a fearsome, breathtaking masterwork." Mark Kermode, BBC
"A garish glossary of sado-masochism… a taste for visual sensation that makes scene after scene look like the masturbatory fantasies of a Roman Catholic boyhood." Alexander Walker, Evening Standard
Earlier this year, London’s Royal Academy of Arts mounted the first ever retrospective devoted to the portraiture of Edouard Manet. Spanning this enigmatic and, at times, controversial artist’s entire career Manet: Portraying Life brought together works from across Europe, Asia and the USA. Documentarian Phil Grabsky was granted exclusive access to explore the exhibition with the kind of intensive scrutiny (and learned insight) most art-lovers can only dream of.
"Once again the film proves that seeing an exhibition through a camera (especially an HD one) is far better than not seeing it at all." Roberta Smith, New York Times
Candida Brady’s documentary looks at the growing global crisis of trash, highlighting how human health and the environment are threatened by the pollution from burning and discarding waste. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and beautiful: an interplay of human stories and ecological disruption. But it ends on a message of hope: showing how the risk to our survival can be averted through sustainable pathways that provide economic solutions while protecting our air, water and food resources
"Crucial viewing for realists and alarmists both." 5 stars! Joe Neumeier, NY Daily News
Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her. A unique perspective on the greatest band in the history of pop.
"A satisfying and moving experience." Ernest Hardy, Village Voice
"One of the tasks of a lifetime is to become familiar with the great works of Shakespeare," wrote Roger Ebert, in his 4-star review for Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed, full-length film of the Bard’s most enduring tragedy. He continued: "Branagh’s version moved me, entertained me and made me feel for the first time at home in that doomed royal court…. His ’’Hamlet’’ is long but not slow, deep but not difficult, and it vibrates with the relief of actors who have great things to say, and the right ways to say them."
"Not only the best filmed adaptation of Hamlet I have ever seen, but the best cinematic expression that I have come across of any of Shakespeare’s plays." James Berardinelli, Reelviews
"As star and ringmaster, Branagh gets to the heart of Hamlet and goes to admirable lengths to take his audience there, too." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"100% Shakespeare and 100% cinema." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Set on the outskirts of Bradford in Northern England, the second feature from Clio Barnard (The Arbor) follows two young lads, Arbor (Conner Chapman) and Swifty (Shaun Thomas), and their dealings with a local scrap dealer. Boldly cinematic and featuring astonishing performances from the two leads, The Selfish Giant cements Barnard’s reputation as a visionary filmmaker.
"Devastating in its simplicity and honesty, The Selfish Giant is a colossus of feeling." Inkoo Kang, Village Voice
"Boldly, broodingly cinematic… jaggedly moving." Guy Lodge, Variety
"A film of such power and beauty that there will be no escaping it." David Thomson, New Republic
Adam (Richard E Grant) is a rich industrialist, who aspires to a more cultured world. Spurred on by playful jibes that he’s little more than a city suit living the capitalist’s dream, this frustrated amateur opera singer decides to throw an opera in his lavish country retreat. Once his friends see him belting out the notes, he feels sure it will spell the end to their shallow taunts. In fact, it might even help him win the hand of a female conductor he’s been pursuing whom, it just so happens, is the first to be recruited for his showpiece.
Richard Eyre’s produciton of Verdi’s masterpiece has been one of the most successful opera stagings in the long and celebrated history of the Royal Opera House. We present the original, definitive incarnation of that production, starring the incomparable Renee Fleming as the ill-fated courtesan Violetta, oppose Joseph Calleja as Alfredo and Thomas Hapson as his unyielding father.
Andrei Serban’s staging of Puccini’s final opera is a glorious pageant of rich colour, dance and drama. Turandot is a tale of disguised identities, riddles, ritual executions and powerful, triumphant love.
David Lean’s sweeping, four-hour desert epic demands to be seen on the big screen. The late, great Peter O’Toole landed the role of his lifetime as the British cartographer who united the Arab tribes to fight the Turks in WW1. Screening in a restored DCP version.
"A miracle… The first film I saw that made me want to be a moviemaker." Steven Spielberg
Paris in 1855, when the opera was first performed, provides the starting point for the interpretation by celebrated Norwegian born director Stefan Herheim. The opera ballet plays a significant role too, with Johann Kobborg choreographing for dancers from the Royal Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet. The story is set to impassioned and dramatic music, rich in showpiece arias and ensembles with striking choruses. Antonio Pappano conducts a world-class cast including Erwin Schrott, Bryan Hymel and Lianna Haroutounian in The Royal Opera’s first ever staging of Verdi’s grand opera,
Based on Arthur C Clarke’s short story ‘The Sentinel’, 2001: A Space Odyssey redefined the sci-fi genre. With its radical structure (a single cut elides 4 million years), scant dialogue and oblique narrative this was the first movie to emulate the philosophical seriousness of writers like Clarke and Philip K Dick, and the first to see that special effects could become an integral component in the art-form.
When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, they said he would never make music again and that he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. 22 years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes.
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet is a feature-length documentary film that tells the incredible story of a guitar legend who refuses to give up on his dream of being a musician despite the most incredible odds. It is a story of dreams, love, and the strength of the human spirit.
"This heartfelt documentary is also, more subtly, a tribute to the squadron of caregivers that has enabled Mr. Becker not only to survive for an extraordinarily long time but also to continue to compose music, using virtually the only part of him that still moves, his eyes." Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
"Inspiring heartbreaker of a documentary." Joshua Rothkopf, New York Times
November 7, 2008, the Danish (Bahamas-registered) cargo vessel CEC Future was boarded by Somali pirates. For 70 days the international crew was held captive at gunpoint while the pirates and the Danish owners negotiated.
This evening Vancity Theatre presents two films inspired by this story, one a documentary (Stolen Seas), the other a dramatic feature (A Hijacking) written and directed by Tobias Lindholm, whose last film was The Hunt.
Assembled from three years’ worth of visits to the dangerous "hot zone" off the coast of Somalia, Payne’s riveting film gives us both the wider context that explains the piracy from all sides, and takes right inside the actual hijacking, incorporating footage shot by the Somalis during the incident.
"Riveting…a dense, sometimes dangerous 90-minute immersion in a world where lawlessness applies to all sides." Peter Debruge, Variety
"A documentary of such ambitious scope you might need a remote control and a notebook to keep up with it." Omer M Mozaffar, Chicago Sun-Times