A slippery Texan corkscrew thriller in the tradition of the Coens’ Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men, this has Michael C Hall shooting a burglar and then dealing with the fall out when the victim’s father (Sam Shepard) shows up in town. Don Johnson is also on hand with a scene stealing turn as private eye.
"One of those movies that arrives every now and then with no fanfare but a canny sense of how to grab our attention and hold it in a tightening grip." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"A character-driven thriller with more twists than an off-the-map dirt road, awards-quality performances from the three leads, a rare sensitivity to the after-effects of horror and a sure directorial hand." Kim Newman, Empire
"It is a brutal, beautifully shot movie that starts out to be about revenge but then becomes something more, something even more primal and disturbing." Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
"The biggest crime story of the century!" That’s how Sam Fuller described WWII, a typically punchy declaration from a guy who knew what he was talking about: Fuller was a tabloid reporter and crime novelist before joining the infantry in time for D-Day. He returned to Hollywood and made noir thrillers (Pickup on South Street; Underworld USA), war pictures (Verboten!; Steel Helmet) and B westerns (40 Guns) with singular conviction. This is his story - as told by his daughter Samantha. Samantha Fuller will join us for a Q&A after this screening.
"If you don’t like Sam Fuller, you just don’t like cinema.” - Martin Scorsese
"Those intrigued by an indelibly influential persona that combined showman-like flamboyance, old-school masculinity and die-hard personal integrity to disarming and intoxicating degrees, will find much to chew on here." Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
Toothy Texan noir (with a tip of the hat to pulp master Jim Thompson), this tale of three teenagers who find themselves on the wrong side of big trouble when a foolish prank backfires announces an exciting new talent (or two) in the Hawkins brothers, who combine an evocative sense of place, a shrewd grasp of character and an unerring eye for suspense.
"A crackling small town thriller that deserves to be sought out." — James Marsh, Twitch
"This juicy tale of a reckless robbery and its spiraling bloody aftermath is enjoyably overripe pulp, steeped in grubby textures and flavorful atmosphere." — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
The Overnighters evokes Steinbeck (and John Ford) in its compassionate portrait of economic migrants flooding into North Dakota fto 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 - who 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
Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men; The Road) may be the hardest boiled writer in contemporary American letters, and James Franco certainly wasn’t making things easy for himself in taking on his third novel, a bleak depiction of a violent social outcast who lurches from disaster to catastrophe.
A dazzling winter’s tale from an unusually energized Wes Anderson, this is an all-star mittel-European carousel of rampaging passions, class and transgression.
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
Sir Michael Caine delivered one of his very finest performances as Ebenezer Scrooge in this surprisingly faithful, and downright irresistible Muppet version on the Dickens yuletide favourite.
"A wonderful festive story, enchantingly told." Daily Telegraph
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
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
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.
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
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.
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