One of the best reviewed releases of the year is actually six years old, the fourth feature by Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi (whose fifth, A Separation, went on to win the Academy Award in 2011). Several middle class friends meet up for a long weekend at a beach house on the Caspian Sea.The younger Elly has been invited along as a possible match for one of the friends, whose marriage recently fell apart. But things don’t go according to plan…
This masterly film from the director of A Separation and The Past exposes the faultlines buried deep within modern Iranian society.
Portrait of a young woman, electrifying talent, burning out on booze and drugs and the vacuum inside her.
"A sensitive, superbly constructed, ultimately shattering documentary." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
The best sci-fi movie of the year (sorry Joss!) Ex Machina is a chamber drama about a tech genius lording it out in his private domain, and inviting one of his employees, a brilliant young programmer, to come in and test-run his latest gizmo, an Artificial Intelligence who may just have all the attributes of human-born consciousness. What follows is a fascinating mental chess game in which the programmer belatedly realises he has been cast as a pawn.
An Israeli woman seeking to finalize a divorce (gett) from her estranged husband finds herself effectively put on trial by her country’s religious marriage laws in this powerhouse courtroom drama from sibling directors Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz. Winner of the Israeli Film Academy Ophir Award for Best Picture.
George Miller may have turned 70 in March, but that didn’t stop him from pulling off the biggest, fastest and most furious action flick in years. Like all previous Mad Max movies, this is a mytho-poetic demolition derby, a kind of punk valentine to the flaring embers of the petroleum era, a road rage against the dying of the light.
1945. Concentration camp survivor Nelly (Nina Hoss) makes her way back to Berlin to track down her husband Johnny. But her face has been reconstructed and he sees only a resemblance to the woman he believes is dead. Instead he proposes that she pose as his wife so that they can claim her inheritance. Imagine Vertigo crosswired with one of Fassbinder’s post-war melodramas. One of the most compelling and complex movies you are likely to encounter this year.
It’s the night before Christmas, and Sin-Dee is back turning tricks on the street after a month in stir. But it’s her pimp boyfriend who should be worried: Sin-Dee has heard he’s been cheating on her, and she means to get to the bottom of the rumours…
Shot entirely on iphones, this Sundance sensation from Starlet director Sean Baker is about as "now" as movies get, but also a surprisingly sweet, warm and forgiving yuletide tale.
Imagine looking your brother’s murderer in the eye. What would you say, when the killers still control the country? Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion piece to the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing follows an optometrist, Adi, who seeks out the men responsible for his older brother’s death and asks them to acknowledge their responsibility, putting his own safety on a knife-edge.
Winner: Grand Jury Prize, Human Rights Award & FIPRESCI prize, Venice Film Festival; Grand Prize, CPH:DOX 2014
Kick off your New Year celebrations with the most outrageously entertaining movie of 2015. Academy Award nominee Wild Tales lives up to its name and then some, packing six absurdly taut, funny and emotionally-charged short films into its running time. The common theme is revenge, and it’s delivered with a wicked sense of humour and not a little venom. “The year’s most fearlessly funny film." Richard Corliss, Time
It’s not called a murder of crows for nothing. Our little feathered friends decide they have had enough of smug, complacent humans and band together to do something about it. Bodega Bay, California bears the first wave of attack, and dilettante Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedron) seems to bring out the worst in them.
Truffaut: “Birds attack people! I am convinced that cinema was invented so that such a film could be made. This is an artist’s dream…"
An eco-animated gem, this fable about a small boy tracing his missing father’s footsteps from a rural cabin to the big city (and beyond) doesn’t need words to spell out its message about the devastating impact of globalization. But Ale Abreu’s film is also a breathtakingly beautiful and inventive example of the animator’s art, a film of kaleidoscopic visual rhapsodies and delightfully curious investigations into shape and colour, transforming both natural and industrial landscapes into dazzling child’s-eye tableaux. With an infectious Brazilian-inflected score by Ruben Feffer and Gustavo Kurlat.
Truffaut channels Hitchcock (and foreshadows Tarantino’s Kill Bill) in this primary coloured revenge saga with Jeanne Moreau calling the shots. It’s based on a novel by Cornell Woolrich (Rear Window) and Bernard Herrmann contributes a signature score.