The most impressive debut feature of the year also happens to be the scariest. This tale of an anguished single mom (an incredible performance from Essie Davies), her monstrous six-year-old, and the storybook bogeyman who terrorizes their home is guaranteed to chill you to the bone.
"One of the strongest, most effective horror films of recent years - with awards-quality lead work from Essie Davis, and a brilliantly designed new monster who could well become the break-out spook archetype of the decade." Kim Newman, Empire
"Managing to scare an audience silly with original imagery and non-formulaic jolts is no mean feat […] Managing to move us at the same time is close to miraculous." Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
"Deeply disturbing and unusually beatiful." Variety
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
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
Polish-born, UK-based filmmaker Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) returns to his native land for this evocative, resonant art film about a novice nun discovering a family secret in the 1960s. Beautifully shot in black and white, this award-winning drama has been compared to the work of Francois Truffaut and Robert Bresson.
"In a very short time, Pawlikowski’s film tells us a powerful, poignant story with fine, intelligent performances." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"This story of faith and despair is gracefully told, its simple, uncluttered spaces and luminous black-and-white photography harking back to Robert Bresson."JR Jones, Chicago Reader
"It’s absolutely stunning, one of the year’s best films, and a fulfillment of the promise that the director has shown for so long." Oli Lyttleton, Indiewire
A gem of a film for all ages from Studio Ghibli’s other master, Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies). In this captivating 10,000 year fable, a woodcutter discovers a magical child in a bamboo stalk. The girl grows quickly, transforming into a young woman of such grace and beauty it seems her life is charmed…
“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
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.
Arguably the most underrated US movie of the year, the latest from James Gray (Two Lovers) is a romantic epic set in New York in the 1920s. Marion Cotillard is superb as the Polish woman torn between Joaquin Phoenix’s dubious fixer, Bruno, and his cousin, an illusionist (Jeremy Renner).
"The film is earnestly and unabashedly melodramatic to an extent that may baffle audiences accustomed to clever, knowing historical fictions. But it also has a depth and purity of feeling that makes other movies feel timid and small by comparison." AO Scott, The New York Times
"You may often find yourself second-guessing the film, questioning how—and if—it will all come together. But by the time of the intense and impassioned climax, a storm of emotion is ensured: a great movie rising before you like a delusion, like a dream." Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
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
Best of 2014 Ticket Packs
See 3 films for $24, or 10 films for $50 (additional $2 Vancity membership not included)
Limit one ticket per film
The most radical, underground movie to creep into the mainstream in some time, Jonathan Glazer’s first since Birth might have been called "The Woman Who Fell to Earth". That woman is Scarlett Johansson, simultaneously deglamourized and highly sexualized. In a mesmerically choreographed series of incidents she picks up random men and destroys them. It’s a dispassionate, alien-ated view of sexual attraction and human connection, and unlike anything you have seen before.
"It sure as hell got under mine. Jonathan Glazer’s sci-fi horror is loosely adapted, or atmospherically distilled, by Walter Campbell from the 2000 novel by Michel Faber. The result is visually stunning and deeply disturbing: very freaky, very scary and very erotic." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Lukas Moodysson (Together; Show Me Love) adapts his wife Coco’s graphic novel about three 13-year-old girls growing up in early ’80s Stockholm and forming their own punk band - the best band in the world!
"A gloriously funny coming-of-age comedy – although age itself is squeezed almost entirely into the margins, crowded out by the film’s raucous, window-rattling love of being young." Daily Telegraph
"A joyous, heart-swelling tale of youthful rebellion." Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"A joyous time capsule. Captures the DIY empowerment of punk rock and the bond of female friendships in one blissful swoop. For those of us who’ve been hoping that Lukas Moodysson would return to the tender touch of early movies like Show Me Love and Together, the wait is over." David Fear, The Village Voice
" A gloriously funny coming-of-age comedy – although age itself is squeezed almost entirely into the margins, crowded out by the film’s raucous, window-rattling love of being young." Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph
The French invented the term "film noir" and this adaptation of a slim, forceful novel by Georges Simenon certainly boasts idenfiable noir characteristics: the femme fatale who lures an all-too willing husband away from his marriage bed; the crime of passion and miscarriage of justice that ensue, all unfolding in a slippery mosaic of ambiguous flashbacks. As the title suggests, the dominant colour is blue, not black,and Amalric’s terrific movie shifts between carnal abandon and clinical claustrophobia.
"An elegant psychological freak-out about adultery and other madness, [a] dark, delectable, shivery tale." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"The Blue Room is a story about sexual desire as an overwhelming force, incapable of being ignored or mistaken, and about the ambiguity of almost everything else: memory, language, actions and motives." Stuart Klawans, The Nation
" A great little film… It has a headlong rhythm, skittering between timeframes with the skill of a pianist nailing Prokofiev…. Everything’s told in shards, and Amalric does very well to create a sense of emotional continuum amid all the procedural detail. His own performance is fantastic, jittery and disheveled.” Tim Robey, The Daily Telegraph