The movie where it all came together for Woody Allen, Annie Hall marks both the culmination of his ’early, funny’ period, and the first of his mature, more overtly serious and autobiographical films as writer-director. Winner: Academy Awards for Best Picture, Direction, Screenplay, Best Actress.
"One of Allen’s funniest, and most touching films." Saul Austerlitz, Another FIne Mess
"Woody Allen’s breakthrough movie." Time
"Arguably Allen’s most honest film." 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
For the summer installment of our four-part Woody Allen cycle, one of the warmest and most purely enjoyable films from his mid-career peak. Inspired by his love for Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night (but shot in ravishing colour by the late, great Gordon Willis) this ensemble romantic comedy follows the dalliances of a half a dozen characters in an idyllic early C20th setting.
"A small treasure."—Jeffery M Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
One of Almodovar’s very best, this strange and lustrous love story involves two men and two comatose women (one of them a bullfighter). It sounds weird because it is weird - yet by the end it also feels very true, very natural, and totally heartfelt.
"Talk to Her is totally in love with passion, and with love." The New York Times
"Talk to Her is very much a subversive film, one that takes its time creeping in under your skin. But once there, it’s determined to stay awhile, to entice the mind into playing seditious games." Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"Pure cinematic intoxication, a wildly inventive mixture of comedy and melodrama, tastelessness and swooning elegance." Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
Can you rewire the brain, just by taking a breath? In 1992 Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice. The results of Davidson’s studies are portrayed in Free the Mind as they are applied to treating PTSD in returning Iraqi vets and children with ADHD. The film poses two fundamental questions: What really is consciousness, and how does it manifest in the brain and body? And is it possible to physically change the brain solely through mental practices?
"Grips your heart from the first moment." Film Comment
"By the end of this documentary, you’ll feel like a kid again, filled with wonder and questions about humanity and yourself." Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star
"There is something healing about simply watching Free the Mind." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
Jesse Eisenberg take 2: here he’s timid office worker Simon James, a non-person to most, including the lovely Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), a co-worker who is also the apple of his eye. Enter charismatic young hotshot James Simon (Eisenberg again). No one seems to notice he’s the spitting image of Simon, and though at first he feigns a certain friendliness to his near-namesake, it’s not long before the new man has begun to take over his job, his apartment, his girl, his entire life… Richard Aoyade’s Dostoevsky adaptation riffs on Kafka, Welles and Gilliam to chillingly hilarious effect.
"As a pure head-trip visual and auditory experience it feels like one of the biggest discoveries, and biggest surprises, of 2014." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
"Daring, hilarious and wickedly clever." The Playist (Indiewire)
n the 19th Bond adventure, 007 (Pierce Brosnan) must resolve a potentially deadly power struggle between two unstable nations, with control of the world’s oil supply as the ultimate prize.
Featuring poignant interviews with a who’s who of 60s folk luminaries, and searing footage of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, among many others, Laura Archibald’s doc illuminates one of those rare creative nexus points that defined an era. Between 1961 and 1973, musicians from all over North America (and further afield) converged on Greenwich Village to sing about the radical social upheaval of the time. As these new singer-songwriters emerged, the Village blossomed as a place that promoted a better future and challenged the status quo.
"Evokes the flavor of the era just before the music business exploded into a mass-market juggernaut. The film’s pleasures are the same ones offered by a sprawling, lavishly illustrated magazine spread." Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Makes you wish you’d been there too, hearing it all for the first time." Jay Stone, Canada.com
"Irresistible…I t’s always irritating to hear New Yorkers refer to themselves as the centre of the universe. Except in this case they might be right." Susan Cole, Now magazine
Dario Argento’s follow up to 1977’s Suspiria is one of the most dazzling horror movies ever made. A poet in New York, Rose (Irene Miracle) becomes convinced that she is sharing living space with one of the mythical Three Mothers, the Mother of Darkness. Indeed, the further she explores the building, the darker things become. Logic itself seems to bend as the rational world gives way to supernatural fears, forebodings, and sudden, violent death.
"Inferno is a masterpiece of absolute film, perhaps the most underrated horror movie of the 1980s." Kim Newman, Nightmare Movies
Larry (Randy Quaid), a young seaman, gets royally shafted after stealing $40 from the charity box of his officer’s wife. Eight years in prison is the ludicrous sentence and two navy “lifers”(Jack Nicholson and Otis Young) take Larry from Norfolk, VA to Portsmouth, NH with cultural stops in New York City and Boston. They can’t believe the severe sentence, however they can sure as hell help to bring some fun into Larry’s last week…
When Celestine - a mouse - persuades Ernest (a bear) not to eat her it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship. He’s a busker by trade. She’s also something of a bohemian, and soon they’re inseparable. - much to the consternation of family, rodents and other animals.
"A delightfully old-fashioned kid’s flick with a meaningful message… The screenplay by bestselling French novelist Daniel Pennac keeps things on a believable plain (for a fairy tale), and it’s easy enough to invest in the plights of the duo… Ernest et Célestine gradually becomes a cautionary fable where friendship tries to stand the test of bigotry and intolerance…" Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
"A delightful melding of visual style and narrative pirouettes, Ernest And Célestine is a just-about-perfect hand drawn animated feature. The unlikely but eventually rock solid alliance between gruff bear Ernest and artistically inclined orphan mouse Célestine is loaded with charm and adventure." Lisa Nesselson, Screen Daily
In French with English subtitiles
More than one critic compared Jacques Audiard’s forceful, rich prison drama to The Godfather. Audiard uses the prison as a microcosm in this allegory for how to get ahead in the twenty-first century.
"A Prophet is the kind of film that makes you remember why going to the movies can be a thrilling experience." Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"If Malik doesn’t remind you of Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone on his journey from innocence to corruption in The Godfather saga, well . . . he should. A Prophet is similarly, startlingly momentous." Steven Rea, Philadeliphia Inquirer
"It’s a highly original film made in a familiar context, and an exciting moviegoing experience you shouldn’t miss." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
"A Prophet is the kind of film that makes you remember why going to the movies can be a thrilling experience." Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
The 12-year-old son of political dissidents fighting the brutal military junta in 1970s Argentina, Juan goes to school under an assumed name and gets his first crush on a girl. But when his parents suddenly need to pack up and run his life is changed forever.
"Most coming-of-age movies don’t open with the prepubescent protagonist’s mom and dad getting into a cartoon gunfight in the street—then again, there are lots of unusual touches in Argentine filmmaker Benjamin Ávila’s feature. Blessed with old-school pedigree (producer Luis Puenzo made the Oscar-winner The Official Story) This ’70s-set story of a boy (Teo Gutiérrez Romero) and his exiled revolutionary parents returning home on the sly follows a well-trod path of viewing history through a child’s eyes. But the way the director throws in offbeat elements—animation, a Moonrise Kingdom–ish interlude in the woods, surreal dream sequences—without diluting the Dirty War drama is impressive." David Fear, Time Out New York
"A charming, involving first feature, Clandestine Childhood muscles its familiar coming-of-age material into something more vibrant and urgent than the usual. Through sharp editing and director Benjamín Ávila’s moment-making brio, this ’70s period piece charts a young boy’s attempts to carve out something like a childhood despite being the son of wanted revolutionaries in the Argentina of General Jorge Rafael Videla, whose brutal government "disappeared" millions just like them." Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Having never left his Himalayan village, an eight-year-old monk eagerly awaits the imminent arrival of television and internet (and the window they offer to the wider world). This strikingly beautiful film allows us to witness huge change through this young monk’s eyes.
"Outstanding… Happiness is a film to cherish." POV Magazine
"This is nonfiction film making at its finest." The Matinee
Dark, delirious and made under the sign of Scorsese, Rhymes for Young Ghouls is the angriest, punkiest, least "Canadian" Canadian movie you’ll see all year, and an electrifying feature debut from writer-director Jeff Barnaby. "Weed princess" Aila (the sensational Kawennahere Devery Jacobs) is used to looking out for herself on the Red Crow res, but when her old man gets out from prison things only get harder…
"It’s a tough, gritty piece of work, long on the violence but invested with the poetic sensibility you find in a Cormac McCarthy novel or Tom Waits song… [It] marks the arrival of a genuine cinematic intelligence, one sensitive to life’s more intimate, tender, even spiritual moments yet not averse to slamming the sledgehammer as circumstances require."—James Adams, Globe and Mail
’Exhibiting a vivid eye for potent imagery and a striking sense of the downtrodden vitriol [Rhymes For Young Ghouls] is a tremendously rousing film that announces the arrival of an exciting new voice in Canadian cinema." Scott A Gray, exclaim
"It has been years, probably since Xavier Dolan emerged with I Killed My Mother, since a Canadian director has debuted with a movie as impressive as Jeff Barnaby and Rhymes for Young Ghouls." Marina Antunes, Row Three
Lisa Barros D'Sa, Glenn Leyburn
Forget the Troubles and get your "Teenage Kicks" instead! Set in 70s Belfast, this is an appropriately unconventional biopic dedicated to the gregarious godfather of Northern Irish punk, record shop entrepreneur Tom Hooley - the man who launched The Undertones (then gave them away for an autograph).
"An impasssioned, funny and monumentally likeable myth-making comedy." Time Out
Greta Gerwig is delightful - a kind of modern day Annie Hall - in this lovely, deft, funny/sad movie from Noah Baumbach. Frances Halladay is 27, living in New York, and not really pulling things together yet. She’s in the wrong job, and her most intimate friend is her flatmate, who’s moving out. Simultaneously optimistic and melancholy, romantic and unsentimental, it’s the finest comedy of the year.
"An irresistibly lovely, melancholic acknowledgment that love is impossible, and that the more candid a young woman is, the less eligible she becomes in the standard romantic sweepstakes… Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig’s work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema." John Anderson, Wall Street Journal
"There’s an optimism and an empathy in “Frances Ha” that feels genuine and earned.The plot doesn’t build to a gigantic, sweeping climax, but the understated final moments made me happier than any other filmgoing experience I’ve had all year." Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
Barbara Steele became an icon for horror fans with her double role in this Mario Bava’s unforgettable debut feature. She plays both the innocent Katia, and the witch-vampiress Asa Vajda, who returns to life in 1830, 200 years after she was tortured and executed.
Shot in black and white by the former cinematographer, this gothic classic has an extraordinary creepy atmosphere and shots that imprint themselves on the back of your skull, almost with the force of that mask of death which gave the film its original Italian title.
"One of the movies that remain with me probably stronger than anything is Black Sunday… there’s a lot of old films – [Bava’s] in particular – where the vibe and the feeling is what it’s about… [t]he feeling’s a mixture of eroticism, of sex, of horror and starkness of image, and to me that is more real than what most people would consider realism in films…" Tim Burton
Loosely based on a real incident involving a Cistercian order of monks kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria, Beauvois’s film is an austere but gripping meditation on faith and fraternity.
"Of Gods and Men, a transcendent drama of uplift and inspiration, reveals the cavernous divide between heaven and Earth." Peter Howell, Globe and Mail
"Beautiful, somber and rigorously intelligent." AO Scott, New York Times
With unexpected humor, with an unflinching camera, with some guilt and some pain, this film takes the unusual risk of examining what breast milk truly means. We are often told that breast milk is better. Better for babies, better for mothers, better for nutrition, health, well-being, and society. Many accept this and yet there are still very few women who succeed in breastfeeding exclusively for the recommended six months and beyond. What would it take to change?
"There are Portlandia-worthy moments amid the talk of breast pumps, latching and engorgement, and also surprising insights with implications beyond the nursery."—Sheri Linden, LA Times
"Gently affecting and insightful."—Variety
One of the most acclaimed - and revelatory - music documentaries in the last few years, this Academy Award-winning film investigates, the life, work and mysterious disappearance of the 70s singer-songwriter Rodriguez. Screening in tribute to director Malik Bendjelloul, who committed suicide earlier this year.
"A hugely appealing documentary about fans, faith and an enigmatic Age of Aquarius musician who burned bright and hopeful before disappearing." Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"All you really have to know about this surprising and emotive music doc is that you should see it." Trevor Johnston, Time Out