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2015-2016 Season

Macbeth

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Macbeth

UK, France, USA

Thursday, March 10, 2016Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 pm & 8:35 pm

Director: Justin Kurzel

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, David Thewlis, Sean Harris

Runtime: 113 minutes

Rating: 14A

Warning: Scenes of violence

“Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender excel in Justin Kurzel’s thrillingly savage interpretation of the Scottish Play” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Michael Fassbender as the murderous general of infamy and Marion Cotillard as his complicit wife. Two of the world’s finest actors, they make a magnetic pair.”–Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Macbeth returns to the big screen with earthy energy, visual style and roaring performances. Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel uses sweeping landscapes and harsh weather to envelope the characters in this haunting tale of ambition and murder.

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At the start of this brilliant, brutal rendition of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play, Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth is mourning his dead son in an eerie funeral rite before the tiny body is burned on a pyre. Traditionally, the Macbeths have been portrayed as power-hungry. Australian director Justin Kurzel recasts them as damaged. Untethered by grief, ambition fills the void, as Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) lures her husband into dark places, leading to the murder of the king (David Thewlis).
This is one of Shakespeare’s bleakest, leanest plays, and Kurzel gives it an intriguingly expansive tone by setting most of the action outdoors. The battle sequences are intense, the violence creating greater resonance within the characters.

Fassbender is utterly convincing as the battle-weary warrior: his face is a map of scars, with the hollowed-out, blank-eyed look of a man who has seen too much death (Fassbender is said to have interpreted his Macbeth as suffering from PTSD). Cotillard, with her captivating face, makes her Lady Macbeth subtle and human, yet tormented.

The wild Scottish Highlands, with its hardness and beauty, is a landscape that seems to have a murderous impulse of its own. And Kurzel directs this Shakespeare like a western: spare and savage.

 

The Lady in the Van

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Thursday, February 25, 2016
6:30 & 8:25pm
United Kingdom

Director: Nicholas Hytner

Cast:  Maggie Smith, Dominic Cooper, James Corden
Runtime: 104 minutes
Rating: PG

Golden Globe Nomination Best Performance Actress in Comedy or Musical: Maggie Smith

“There are few false notes in the sturdy, pleasantly entertaining The Lady in the Van.”–Jake Coyle, Associated Press

The Lady in the Van is based on actual events in the life of British writer Alan Bennett that he turned into a book in 1989, a play in 1999, and now a film directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Alex Jennings plays Bennett, who we first see as moving into the Camdem neighbourhood of London. It’s the 1970s, and Bennett is a shy, witty sort known for appearances onstage and writing plays for the stage and TV.

Maggie Smith is Miss Shepherd, a bag lady, living out of a dilapidated van. She exudes a mixture of frayed gentility punctuated by paranoid conspiracy theories and schizophrenic rants, with a bit of daft humour and grace. The neighbours, both kind-hearted and irritable, dread her parking the van in front of their houses.

Kind and passive-aggressive soul that he is, Bennett at one point allowed Miss Shepherd to pull the van into his driveway. And there she remained. For 15 years.

The Lady in the Van is mostly about what we owe other people and ourselves. It’s more a reminder of how well and how messily our good intentions play out.

Obviously, Maggie Smith is the reason to see the film and she delivers with impressive honesty. Miss Shepherd is a crazed and imperious woman, a damaged creature who evokes pity and annoyance and sympathy and finally sadness at the ways in which lives get warped. Smith never plays her false — not once does she make the character cuddly or an object lesson to the saner, settled people around her.

In Ms. Smith’s hands, her lady in the van remains complex and unknowable — a mystery to the end. And that is acting.

My Internship in Canada

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Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:25 pm

Director: Philippe Falardeau
Cast:  Patrick Huard, Suzanne Clément, Irdens Exantus
Runtime: 108 minutes
Language: French, Creole, English

Rating: 14A

Toronto International Film Festival: Best Canadian Feature Film – Special Jury Citation; Hamburg Film Festival Award Nomination: Political Film Award

“This laugh-a-minute farce is grand entertainment.”–Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

My Internship in Canada focuses on hapless independent Quebec MP Steve Guibord (Patrick Huard, Mommy, Starbuck) and his comical misadventures in trying to manoeuvre the quagmire of local, national and global politics under a clueless, music-obsessed Stephen Harper-like leader.

Guibord is saddled with a constituency of humorously conflicting needs (mining, aboriginal land rights activists, and loggers). A former hockey hero, Guibord finds himself in tricky position when he becomes the swing vote in the Prime Minister’s march to war.

Torn between his personal beliefs and local issues, whatever Steve chooses will make him look like the bad guy to someone. His position is equally ticklish on the home front, flummoxed between his hawkish wife (Suzanne Clément, Mommy), and peacenik daughter (Clémence Dufresne-Deslières).

Adding to his harried affairs is Guibord’s his new, eager, and idealistic Haitian intern, Souverain, (Irdens Exantus) an earnest student of political science who quotes Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract and makes hilarious reports via Skype to his family and friends back home in Haiti.

Director Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar, The Good Lie) proves quite adept at softball political satire. Whatever his personal beliefs, Falardeau is even-handed, sending up both conservatives and liberals in equal measure.

Huard is winning as a comically-addled politician, seeing issues from all sides and frustrated when no compromise can be found. Despite the title, it is Huard’s Capra-esque character who takes centre stage and he’s fun to watch.

Trumbo

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USA

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: Thursday, Jan. 14th @ 6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren
Runtime: 124 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards: Best Actor, Bryan Cranston

Nominations: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress: Golden Globes, Screen Actor Guild, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, San Francisco Film Critics Circle.

“Trumbo reminds us of a very dark time in America as well as Hollywood. Important but also hugely entertaining. Bryan Cranston nails it.” – Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood Daily

Trumbo is a compelling collaboration between Bryan Cranston and Jay Roach, who also directed another political pic, HBO’s Game Change, which detailed the bizarre rise of Sarah Palin. Interestingly, there are parallels between then and now.

Churning out his best work while in the bath, Trumbo establishes his reputation with films like Kitty Foyle and A Guy Named Joe. Then he is targeted by Hollywood bigwigs who hate his pro-labour agitation, particular venom coming from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, played icily by Helen Mirren.

Trumbo winds up serving 11 months in jail for refusing to testify before McCarthy-ite witch-hunters, leaving behind his loyal wife (Diane Lane) and three bewildered children.

The film really ramps up once its cigarette-puffing, scotch-swilling scribe devises a plan to keep himself and fellow black-listers writing scripts under fake names for exploitation producers, including cheese ball brothers played delightfully by John Goodman and Stephen Root. Trumbo goes on to win Oscars for Roman Holiday and The Brave One but only under pseudonyms.

Decked out in droopy mustaches and an increasingly stooped gait, Cranston captures Trumbo as a throwback combination of old-world courtliness and Mark Twain wit.

Other icons pop up including John Wayne (David James Elliott) and Edward G. Robinson (Michael Stuhlbarg). Particularly convincing is Dean O’Gorman as Kirk Douglas, who helped end the blacklist by hiring Trumbo for Spartacus.

Colourful characters, natty costumes, and jaunty music helps Trumbo to bring mid-century Tinseltown to picturesque life.

Suite Francaise

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France/Belgium

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:25 pm

Director: Saul Dibb
Cast: Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts, Kristin Scott Thomas
Runtime: 107 minutes
Language: English, German
Rating: 14A

“War’s impact on the lonely heart is nearly as devastating as the havoc wreaked on limb and landscape.”–Geoff Pevere, Globe and Mail

“With palpable tension and poignancy, Suite Francaise is fine filmmaking well worth watching.”–Bruce Demara, Toronto Star

The film, Suite Francaise, is a handsome and intelligent adaptation of the writings of Irène Némirovsky – the Russian-born French writer who died in Auschwitz and whose two unpublished novellas emerged in 2004 as one book, Suite Francaise. In her late thirties at the time of writing, Némirovsky fictionalized the lives of people around her in German-occupied France.

Taking the novel’s lead, director Saul Dibb’s nuanced, compelling film offers an intriguing close-up portrait of Bussy, a northern French village forced to host a garrison of Nazi soldiers. At the film’s heart is a sort-of romance between timid Lucile (Michelle Williams), and a cultured, piano-playing Nazi officer, Bruno (Matthias Schoenaerts). But more lasting than the film’s romantic angle is the snapshot that Dibb (Bullet Boy, The Duchess) offers of a class-ridden society under the spotlight of occupation.

The themes of collaboration, compassion and betrayal run through the film, and characters who initially seem to be one thing, like Lucile’s hard-hearted mother-in-law (Kristin Scott Thomas), emerge as more complex. Even the film’s portrayal of the Nazi soldiers rises above stereotypical melodramatic colouring. Also refreshing is a sense that we’re thrown into the middle of the uncertainty of war; Suite Française works hard to free itself from the benefit of hindsight. The film is a textured, thoughtful piece of work.