The title is a prison term for the graduation from a youth offenders’ detention centre to an adult correctional facility, which happens to be the journey taken by 19 year old Eric (Jack O’Connell) in this explosive British drama. The prison also happens to be home to Eric’s estranged father (Ben Mendelsohn), though the reunion is not a happy one…
"An edgy, teeming thriller, brilliantly disorienting." New York Magazine
"Starred Up is an edgy, teeming thriller, brilliantly disorienting, making strange a world we thought we knew, at least from other movies." David Edelstein, New York Magazine
"O’Connell bristles with terrifying hair-trigger unpredictability. Watching him, you feel like you’re witnessing the arrival of a new movie star." Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
"Brutal and boisterous… Turns the complicated dynamic between a young prisoner and his problematic mentor into a ferocious psychodrama that locks you in and refuses to let you go." AO Scott, The New York Times
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
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.
Arild Østin Ommundsen
Keenly poised between compassion and violence, this gripping slice of Nordic noir is a suspense drama that doubles as a character study. It’s also a rare crime thriller with a sympathetic female protagonist at its heart. Released from prison 9 years after a fateful shooting, Jenny tries to put her life back on the straight and narrow - but past associates have other ideas. A tour de force from writer-director-editor-cinematographer Ommundsen, and from his wife, Salomonsen.
"Stylish... Impressive... Delicate and brutal." -- Hollywood Reporter
One of the most popular movies at this year’s VIFF, this is both an acute psychological study and a deadpan comedy of manners, a portrait of a family riven by the father’s instinctive act of cowardice in the face of an avalanche during a skiing holiday. For all his attempts to pretend that nothing has happened, everything has changed. But what to do about it?
"An ice cold knockout. Brilliantly perceptive and frostily funny." Aaron Hills, Village Voice
"Damning, frequently hilarious study of imploding male ego." AV Club
"Visually stunning. Emotionally perceptive." Variety
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
Fifteen years and 9 Antarctic winters in the making, Powell’s film gives a glimpse into what it is like to spend a full year living and working in the harshest place on the planet, presenting a never-before-seen insider’s view of the frozen south. It’s a dazzling movie, but never more so than in long, endless nights of the Antarctic winter, when the sun never rises, time stands still, and the aurora australis puts on a private show of heavenly dimensions. "An extraordinary achievement that reinvigorates our sense of wonder about the natural world." NZ Herald
You’ll think twice before using that overworked word “awesome” again after seeing Anthony Powell’s film […] There are moments when what Powell’s cameras have captured will bring you to tears. Which is why you need to see it in the dark, on a big screen." Helene Wong, The NZ Listener
Former intelligence officer John Le Carre wrote his first espionage novel in 1962, just a year after the completion of the Berlin Wall, which loomed large in the book. That same wall - demolished 25 year ago, Nov 9, 1989 - also figures in the opening and closing scenes of Martin Ritt’s acclaimed film adaptation. It’s one of the key Cold War movies, the antithesis of James Bond escapism, and features arguably Richard Burton’s finest screen performance.
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
Someone is killing aboriginal girls on a remote stretch of road, but no one seems to care… That’s the set up for this evocative Australian thriller, a genre movie which doubles as a critique of post colonial racism and corruption and which should echo loud and strong in British Columbia.
"Imagine a racially charged Outback Chinatown and you have the measure of this terrific Aussie noir written, shot, directed, edited and scored by Ivan Sen. As Aaron Pederson’s aboriginal detective returns home to investigate a murder, he discovers a township driven by corruption, where the fug of meth and malaise has made life lose all value." Total Film
" Mystery Road has the evil, epic sweep of LA Confidential, but a grimmer grasp on reality, burning a long trail of TNT to a final, point-blank showdown." Nick Hasted, The Arts Desk
Lydia B Smith
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
Discovered by a wood cutter inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl lights up the life of this childless peasant and his wife - even though they’re perplexed by the lightning speed with which she grows into an exquisite young lady. Their "little princess" enthralls everyone she meets, and bestows such bounty on the family that they wood cutter moves them to a city mansion, where she is courted by the most eligible bachelors far and wide. A gem of a film from Studio Ghibli’s other master, Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies).
“Princess Kaguya has the feel of a true Takahata film, from its unshrinking emotional fidelity to its sudden, exhilarating leaps into fantasy […] There is a deep wisdom in this film, but a deep sadness too. If it is Takahata’s farewell, it’s one that will have a long echo, just like his 1,000-year-old source.” Mark Schilling, Japan Times
"A visionary tour de force." Maggie Lee, Variety
A pinnacle of animation in the new millennium." Matt Patches, IGN Movies
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
A belated return after its sell-out show two years ago, another chance to enjoy this compilation of archival footage. Using 50 years of material, local historian Michael Kluckner guides us on a moving image journey into Vancouver’s past. With musical accompaniment by jazz pianist Wayne Stewart, highlights include home movies, park board films, experimental films, and on-the-fly documentaries.
"The films this year are the closest I could ever get to experiencing Vancouver in the 1930s to the 1960s without using a time machine," says historian Michael Kluckner, who has curated and will narrate an afternoon of vintage movies from the City of Vancouver Archives.
Pianist Wayne Stewart will provide accompaniment for the movies that were originally produced without sound
Render’s focus is on innovative and cutting-edge music videos that push the creative boundaries of the art form. The music video is often seen as a supplement to the music in the video: Render turns this understanding upside-down, championing the videos, the work that goes into them and the people who make them. There are videos from bands including The Knife (director Bitte Andersson), They Might be Giants (director Alex Italics), Asbjorn (director Powerclap), Marcel Dettmann & Emika (director Parker Ellerman), and The Ramona Flowers (director Bouha Kazmi). We also have a few Vancouver favourites: Wintermitts (director Artino Ahmadi) and PrOphesy Sun (director Eliot Zee).
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.