R Dir: Wes Craven, US, 1984, 92m. John Saxon, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp Can your nightmares be fatal? In this classic of the horror film genre that launched a movie franchise, a hideously scarred killer who was murdered by a lynch mob returns years later in the terrifying nightmares of his killers' teenaged children ... And the dreaming teenagers are starting to die in their sleep.
PG, mature themes.
Dir: Mary Wharton, US, 2020, 96m. Madeleine Albright, Bono, Garth Brooks, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson “Music cuts through politics in this warming documentary... There’s such a buoyancy to the good times on display you’d be hard-pressed to muster a frown... Oh, how I wish I could go back to the days when the likes of Willie Nelson, Dizzy Gillespie, Gregg Allman and Bob Dylan roamed the sacred halls of the White House. They are all here to reminisce, along with Carter himself, now just one month shy of his 96th birthday... Wharton traces the roots of Carter’s love of music back to Plains, Georgia, where a lifelong affection and appreciation for gospel evolved into what we now call soul music. But it was Carter’s son, Chip, who brought Dad full circle by exposing him to the likes of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon... The film touches on all the highlights from Carter’s life of benevolence and sacrifice: His run for the governor of Georgia; the dark-horse run for the presidency; his years in the Oval Office, where he experienced the success of the Camp David Accords and the bitter embarrassment of failing to resolve the hostage crisis; and his many years beyond politics, attempting to erase world problems such as poverty, disease and housing shortages. Through it all, we see giants of the music industry always having his back. It’s a who’s who of recording icons: Aretha Franklin, Loretta Lynn, Larry Gatlin, Trisha Yearwood, James Brown, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, who until her death insisted she and the president were related by blood. Obviously, the soundtrack consists of one golden oldie after another. But it’s the testimonials from talking heads like Gregg Allman and Chuck Leavell from The Allman Brothers Band and Dylan himself, whose blessing of Carter carries the weight of canonization. The result is an irresistible blend of music, politics and lifelong friendships neatly pulled together into a riveting entertainment that has your foot tapping and your heart soaring.” - Al Alexander, the Patriot Ledger
Dir: Martin Provost, France, 2020. Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau, Noémie Lvovsky In French with English subtitles. "It’s 1968 and we’re in Alsace, at the Van Der Beck school of good housekeeping, where headmistress Paulette (Juliette Binoche, hilarious) is dispensing life lessons to her boarders, teenage girls in full bloom. Paulette throws herself heart and soul into being the perfect wife. But when her husband Robert suddenly dies, she learns that the school is on the verge of bankruptcy. A former lover, André, bursts back onto the scene, just as Paulette’s young boarders are beginning to display vague desires to escape the destiny dictated to them by society a society where the revolutionary echoes of Paris’s May 68 protests are now reaching the provinces, bringing about a joyous, collective and growing feminist consciousness. Buoyed by an easy-going sense of humour and excellent performances by the entire cast, How To Be A Good Wife is a wonderful portrayal of the road travelled over the past fifty or so years towards female emancipation, and of the fact that individual freedom is always essential to finding one’s place in the world." - Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa
Dir: Clark Johnson, Canada, 2020. Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci, Zach Braff "Percy Schmeiser is a farmer from Saskatchewan. In the late ’90s he was sued by Monsanto, the global agribusiness conglomerate, who accused Percy of growing canola seeds that include their patented tech. He claimed to have done it unknowingly and went to court to protect his business and reputation, which led to the case going all the way up to the Canadian Supreme Court through appeals. Actor-director Johnson (maybe best known for his role on season five of The Wire) delivers an entertaining, Manitoba-shot version of an issue film that, if not quite up to the emotional heft of Erin Brockovich or Silkwood, it’s certainly in the ballpark. Percy‘s much enlivened by the presence in the lead of veteran Oscar-winner Christopher Walken - an actor who’s travelled all the way from oddly delightful, oddly creepy screen presence to a full-on weirdo over the course of 50 years on screen. This role signals a new chapter in his career, that of crotchety, stubborn senior. His Percy needs encouragement to face up to the Monsanto lawyers, but once he gets a taste of it - and receives letters of encouragement from other farmers who for a host of reasons lost their fight with the company - he gets good at it, at one point going all the way to Mumbai to speak on the subject of independent farmers versus big business... The David vs Goliath story is more than enough to hold the interest - and Johnson’s assembled a lot of talent in supporting roles. Christina Ricci impresses as the representative of an eco-group who offers their support to Percy, but use him as a way to forward their own agenda and only to a point. The film is clever and clear-eyed about how easy it is to lose sight of the rights of the little guy. Zach Braff is also good here as the Schmeiser’s lawyer, and it’s a pleasure to see Adam Beach, Luke Kirby, and Martin Donovan filling out key roles. Oh, and fans of Canadian songsmiths David Francey and Old Man Luedecke will also enjoy the film for the deft use of their tuneage. 'Monsanto Jones'!" - Carsten Knox, Flaw In The Iris
14A, coarse language, brief violence
Dir: Marcus H. Rosenmüller, UK, 2019. David Kross, Freya Mavor, John Henshaw In English and some German with English subtitles. "Based on an incredible true story, The Keeper follows Bert Trautmann, a German soldier interned at a British P.O.W. camp, whose exceptional skills as a football goalkeeper get him noticed by the manager of an English team. Meanwhile, a love blossoms between the manager’s daughter and Bert despite local hostility. In addition to the disapproval of his relationship, Bert’s subsequent signing by Man City brings passionate protests from the people of Manchester, a city that had been severely bombed in the War. However, against all odds he won over even his harshest critics during the FA Cup Final for Manchester City in 1956. The Keeper covers all the bases when it comes to a feel-good and uplifting biopic. It’s heartfelt, it covers redemption and reconciliation and it handles the end of the war with dignity, respect and heart. The Keeper also has that small town British humour and quirkiness most of us have come to love. You will learn something and you will fall in love with this man, who somehow got the British public to accept a German prisoner of war as one of their own literally months after the war. A wonderful film you really have to get out and see." – Jason King, Salty Popcorn
Dir: Armando Iannucci, UK/USA, 2020. Dev Patel, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw Winner of 5 British Independent Film Awards, including Best Screenplay. "Forget every Charles Dickens screen adaptation you’ve ever seen Armando Ianucci’s take on David Copperfield is the funniest, freshest, most fulfilling cinematic foray into Victorian England since, maybe, ever. You would be hard-pressed to imagine a more appealing cast from the top-tier stars to the smallest supporting players than in this lush, sentimental retelling of Dickens’ ultimate up-from-the-gutter story. Effervescent where previous versions are stodgy; irreverent where others are ponderously deferential to the source material, this is a Copperfield for the 21st Century: energetic, sprightly, and all-embracing... The story involves a young man who, after an appropriately dark Victorian childhood in a British workhouse, finds his way into the home of some wealthy relatives and then forges his own place in the world. Dickens infused a lot of his own life into the story, which makes it perhaps the most engaging of his novels... As the wide-eyed, ever-optimistic title character, Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) has us rooting for him from the moment he appears on screen... Patel makes a perfect Copperfield... Tilda Swinton is adorable (yes, you read that right) as his eccentric aunt. And Hugh Laurie should be Oscar nomination-bound for his performance as David’s perpetually confused but ultimately sharp-as-a-tack uncle... The undisputed all-time master of opening sentences, Dickens starts Copperfield’s narrative with this line: 'Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.' True to his source, Iannucci begins his movie with those same words. And as he squeezes every possible laugh from Dickens’ tale while leaving plenty of room for authentic sentiment, Iannucci becomes a hero of sorts himself, boldly throwing open new windows on a story we thought we already knew." - Bill Newcott, the Saturday Evening Post