New Year’s Eve, 1958. What brings mailroom boy Norville Barnes to the very edge of suicide? An enormous stroke of luck seems to be the correct answer. When CEO and founder Warring Hudsucker (Charles Durning takes a dive from his office window), corporate honcho Sidney J Mussburger (Paul Newman) seizes the moment and sizes up Norville for an astronomical promotion.
"Criminally overlooked and sinfully wonderful Coen brothers comedy." Scott Weinberg, efilmcritic
The Audience Award winner at VIFF 2012, Thomas Vinterberg’s modern day witchhunt drama continues to exert a deep pull on audiences, and is now among the five nominees for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Mads Mikkelsen gives a stunning performance as the kindergarten teacher whose life is turned upside down when allegations of abuse surface.
"It is a devastating film to watch, a heedful one, and a tragic reminder that no matter how well a life has been conducted, the mere whiff of such scandalous behavior is condemnation enough." Betsy Sharkey, LA Times
"A powerful, provocative study of mob mentality and the fabric of trust." Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
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A film about the thin space between life and death, this is the story of Neil Platt, whose perfectly ordinary, very happy existence was turned upside down when he developed ALS. Within one year Neil became paralysed from the neck down. As his body failed, he tried to make sense of his life and communicate in a letter meant for his one-year-old son.
"Among the year’s most moving films." Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter
"Alternately heartbreaking and disarmingly sardonic." Basil Tsiokos, Indiewire
With astonishing prescience (or luck) Bobbi Jo Hart started following aspiring pianist Marika Bournaki from the age of 12. She was already a prodigy, but over the course of a decade Hart was able capture her development as an artist (she has played Carnegie Hall several times) and as a person - as well as the toll her discipline took on her childhood and her family.
"A fascinating exercise… classical music abounds - Schumann, Rachmininoff, Bach - and it’s an aural delight." 3 stars Rick Groen, Globe & Mail
Summer war games between the neighbourhood kids turn deadly serious when jealousy and betrayal enter the mix, in this alternately hilarious and horrifying black comedy that mixes equal parts Lord of the Flies and Roald Dahl.
"Sharp, funny and edge-of-your-seat chilling, this darkly provocative actioner, starring a startlingly stellar all-kid ensemble cast, turns a neighbourhood woods game of Capture the Flag into a high-stakes round of no-holds-barred jungle warfare – with the rules about to be broken. The fantasy-tinged film nails the ferocious intensity of children’s games (the imaginary world feels real in the moment) while it plays with cinema conventions (coming-of-age stories, war tales, etc). An after-school special you won’t want to miss." 4 stars Globe & Mail
"I Declare War is everthing The Hunger Games attempts to be, but better - it says more with less, goes farther while staying smaller, and finds reality in a more fantastical scenario… A Lord Of The Flies for a new generation, I Declare War deserves to be seen by adults and needs to be seen by kids. We don’t often get action films of any kind that have this much to say, much less films that are this delicately balanced between mainstream appeal and realistic intensity. Smart, touching, and exciting, I Declare War is sure to be one of your favorites of this year or next." Renn Brown, CHUD
It’s no secret: the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are working harder, longer hours for less reward (that is, if we’re lucky enough to be in work). Economist Robert Reich (President’s Clinton’s Secretary of Labor) explains why the free market is a misnomer, how late capitalism has jumped the tracks, and what we should do about it in this passionate, lucid and compelling state of the nation address.
"Smart, funny and articulate, Robert Reich is the university professor we all wish we’d had. He’s so accessible and entertaining he takes a subject that sounds soporific and makes it come alive like you wouldn’t believe in ’Inequality for All.’" Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"An often essential primer." Sam Adams, Time Out New York
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
In the tradition of Irish black comedies like In Bruges and The Guard, this was the first screenplay by playwright Mark O’Rowe, whose latest play, Terminus is being produced by Pi Theatre at Performance Works from Feb 28.
"Intermission kicks with sharp comic detail, great gab and top-notch character acting." Time Out
The provocative Italian filmmaker Elio Petri’s most internationally acclaimed work is this remarkable, visceral, Oscar-winning thriller. It’s the Kafkaesque tale of a Roman police inspector (a commanding Gian Maria Volonté) investigating a heinous crime—which he himself committed. .
"A provocative political thriller that is as troubling today as when it came out in the 1970s." Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"The movie survives beautifully both as an elegant thriller and as a study of the twisted infantilism that shapes the fanatic heart." Ella Taylor, LA Weekly
"Its portrait of a loner and his lusts comes up frighteningly fresh, and the whole conceit would collapse without the muscular, rousing presence of Gian Maria Volonté in the central role. He, as much as Petri, hauls the movie into the realms of Kafka." Antony Lane, New Yorker
From Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated; Twist of Faith) comes The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem-today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 19,000 violent sex crimes in the military in 2010. The Invisible War exposes the epidemic, breaking open one of the most under-reported stories of our generation.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100 % Fresh (57 reviews)
In this hit documentary, Italian journalists/filmmakers Ragazzi and Hofer wonder if those roads leading to Rome don’t also look like escape routes. There is an opportunity to move to Berlin - where rents are a third of the price, there’s less unemployment, and less homophobia too. Also Berlusconi doesn’t live there. Even so, Luca is loathe to leave. So they hop into a vintage FIAT 500 and set off to take stock of "the real Italy", with a pilgrimage to visit George Clooney’s Lake Como villa on the side.
"Effervescent." John Anderson, Variety
*** (3 stars out of 4) Rick Groen, Globe & Mail
Join UBC Film Professors Brian McIlroy and Ernest Mathijs for an academic perspective on James Bond, cultural icon.
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
"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
Kung Fu Hustle director Stephen Chow may be the CGI era’s closest ancestor to such subversive cartoon greats as Tex Avery and Chuck Jonze. Here the Hong Kong superstar remains behind the camera, but the mixture of gob-smacking slapstick and breathtaking fantasy is unmistakeably his own, turning the oft-told tale of ancient demon hunters into the kind of rollicking adventure Hollywood can only marvel at.
"Truly magical…[Chow] is like the Quentin Tarantino of kung fu, going back through the history of the Hong Kong genre and tapping everyone from the Shaw Brothers to his contemporaries (Jackie Chan, Jet Li) for inspiration. The result is a wonderfully entertaining work which manages to be both easily approachable for the non-subtitle set as well as true to its roots in ancient Chinese customs and beliefs." Bill Gibron, Pop Matters
"Rarely is it that a CGI-heavy spectacle such as this could be called both entertaining and inspiring in the same breath, but such is the unexpectedly special magic of Journey to the West." Kenji Fujishima, Slant
A mysterious and engaging journey through sound, song, story, ritual, performance, nature, tradition and Japanese Buddhism… A fearless merging of medieval and modern, beautifully filmed with a variety of cinematic techniques on location in Japan. “Kanzeon” is another way of saying Kannon (Chinese: Kuanyin), the embodiment of compassion, and can also be written in Japanese as “to see sounds.”
"Stunning to look at… mesmerising musical sequences”
Frances Morgan, Sight and Sound
"A stunning new British documentary.”
Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye
In a remote nunnery a revered abbess dies. Prayers and rituals must be performed but the nunnery has no money. A nun, Karma, must journey to find the man who may owe a debt. Filmed in the remote Himalayan region of Mustang, we follow Karma to Katmandu where she discovers that things are not what she thought.
Set in the heart of the Middle Eastern community in Vancouver, Canada, Kayan is an intricate story of betrayal, belonging and love in all their complicated and often paradoxical glory. Hanin, a strong-minded Lebanese woman, tries her best to keep Kayan, her struggling restaurant, afloat. A subtle, authentic movie about an everyday twentyfirst century heroine trying to make ends meet in a place far from home, this offers a strikingly different perspective on our city.
Kayan offers a glancing impression of Middle Eastern diaspora life through a vivid rendering of a busy Lebanese restaurant in Vancouver. Iran-born helmer Maryam Najafi films an actual eatery, enlisting its staff and clientele to play themselves; their seamless perfs contribute to the pic’s docu-like veracity, led by thesp Oula Hamadeh’s magnetic presence in a complex leading role." Maggie Lee, Variety
A lost key and an accidental touch of cold hands in the dark – so begins one of the great romances of all opera. In his depiction of the tender and ultimately tragic love between Mimì and Rodolfo, Puccini achieved an immediacy, warmth and humanity that have rarely been equalled.
A couple meet on an ocean liner. Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) is a knock-out babe and a con artist. Charles (Henry Fonda) is a nerdy heir, interested in the study of snakes and about to get fleeced. Sturges’ unique gifts for directing comedy and writing witty dialogue makes this yet another of his great romantic comedies that deserves its reputation as a classic.