Category

2016-2017 Season

Denial

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February 16, 2017

Denial   UK/USA

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Mick Jackson
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall
Runtime: 110 minutes
Language: English

Rating: PG

“Another illuminating performance by Rachel Weisz and a brilliant screenplay by the distinguished British playwright David Hare make Denial one of the most powerful and riveting courtroom dramas ever made.” —Rex Reed,

New York Observer

Best Film of the Year Nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards; Best Supporting Actor Nominations, Timothy Spall, Denver Film Critics Society

Denial is a true-life account of historian Deborah Lipstadt’s (Rachel Weisz) battle with Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall), who sues her for libel after characterizing him as such in a book she wrote.

It’s amazing to think that in the 21st century anyone could possibly deny the Holocaust happened but such was the case 10 years ago when a major court battle was fought in London where Lipstadt, a Jewish-American historian, was forced by British libel laws to prove the Holocaust actually happened..

Lipstadt’s battle with Irving, a self-taught historian known for his passionate defenses of Hitler, is highly compelling. It’s an excellent vehicle for Weisz, cast against type as the Queens-born Lipstadt. She expertly conveys Lipstadt’s outrage at her predicament, made worse when she’s essentially muzzled by her legal team as a tactic. She smolders as her integrity is questioned while Irving argues that the systematic extermination of Europe’s Jewish population by the Nazis never happened. Weisz conveys a whole range of emotion via looks alone, and her performance is masterful.

Just as good is Timothy Spall. Playing an absolutely venal character, he’s remarkably good, never playing Irving as a madman but rather more of a pathetic figure who’s riveting to watch. The always great Tom Wilkinson plays his sparring partner, LIpstadt’s barrister, who unnerves Irving, never making eye contact with him and treating him with disdain, off-putting his fragile ego..

Director Mick Jackson (The Bodyguard, TV’s Temple Grandin) stages the to-and-fro courtroom scenes capably and generates a chilling mood with an eerily hushed visit to Auschwitz.

Denial is solid adult entertainment, well-assembled and intriguing. The acting is great, the story is true, and it is really worth checking out.

For more info:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4645330/

 

 

I, Daniel Blake

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March 9, 2017

United Kingdom

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:20 pm

Director: Ken Loach
Cast: Hayley Squires, Dave Johns
Runtime: 100 minutes
Language: English

Rating: PG

“I, Daniel Blake is one of Loach’s finest films, a drama of tender devastation that tells its story with an unblinking neorealist simplicity that goes right back to the plainspoken purity of Vittorio De Sica.” -Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Palme D’Or, Ecumenical Jury Prize, Palm DogManitarian Award, Cannes Film Festival; Best Actor (Dave Johns) & Most Promising Newcomer (Hayley Squires), British Independent Film Awards; 10 other wins, 20 nominations.

Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake stands as a furious raging against a privatized and punitive system more intent on lowering the statistics than caring for those in need. Set in Newcastle, Paul Laverty’s script tells the story of Daniel (Dave Johns), a genial, working-class man who, following a heart attack and a fall at work, has been ordered to stay home.

The “healthcare professional”, on the basis of mountainous forms and questionnaires, deems him fit for work and withdraws his sick pay. Daniel is caught in a Catch-22 situation: if he appeals the decision he can’t claim job seekers allowance; if he claims jobseeker’s allowance, he can’t appeal the decision. Plus if he gets a job, he will be doing so against his doctor’s orders and at a very real risk of his health.

The frustration of a simple and honest man stumped by a mind-numbing bureaucracy and an idiot help centre expressly designed not to help is beautifully captured and moves from comic exasperation, to tragedy, to farce and back to tragedy again.

In the middle of his travails Daniel meets Katy (Hayley Squires) a young single mother who in another absurdity of the benefits system has been moved from London to Newcastle with her two children to fend for herself. Daniel sees the family’s plight even more severe than his own, and finds some relief in helping out, entertaining the children, giving Katy a hand with household upkeep, and accompanying her to the food bank, where the latter makes for a particularly heartbreaking scene.

Loach is obviously on the side of the marginalized, but he sees in a nonsensical system a faint glimmer of solidarity. The food banks are awful, but the women working there are sympathetic and even the functionaries of the system suffer from the ironies inherent in their position. The system is inhumane, but occasionally people will surprise you with their own humanity. And I, Daniel Blake sings with humanity.

For more reviews:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5168192/?ref_=nv_sr_1

 

Manchester by the Sea

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February 2, 2017

Manchester by the Sea

Drama, USA, English

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:55 pm

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Run time :137 min

Rating: R

Review by Eli Glasner, CBC

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Some we just carry with us, our faces flushed with shame when the memories surface.

Manchester by the Sea, the latest film from director Kenneth Lonergan, is about a place where regret — like the grey skies of Massachusetts — is a constant feature.

Casey Affleck stars as a man known in his hometown as “the Lee Chandler.” A fog of notoriety follows him: his head hangs, his shoulders slump under the weight. It’s why Lee’s relocated to Boston, where he works joylessly as a janitor dealing with leaky faucets, horny tenants and ending each evening in a drunken stupor.

But a phone call about his brother changes his plans.

Joe — played in flashbacks by Kyle Chandler — has died, leaving Lee as guardian of his 16-year-old son, Patrick. Lee is expected to relocate home to Manchester-by-the-Sea, move in with his nephew and wind down his brother’s fishing business.

Though he’s grieving, young Patrick’s life — as opposed to his uncle’s — is moving forward. Lucas Hedges portrays the teen as a flesh-and-blood character, juggling multiple girlfriends and a scrappy garage band. It leads to the two butting heads over Lee’s plan to relocate back to Boston.

What follows is a delicate dance with Lee struggling to adjust, while also backtracking and building up to the moment that everything changed. Emerging from the shadow of his elder brother Ben, Casey Affleck has come into his own as an intense actor: confident in his stillness, content let his searching eyes do the work. While there is a similarity in this self-defeated slacker to some of Affleck’s previous roles, Lonergan allows his star to create a portrait of pain unencumbered by the usual redemptive clichés.

With a sad, glazed expression in his eyes, there’s an aura of self-loathing that permeates Lee’s every interaction. He’s desperate to escape his past as well as this new role, which leads to some amusingly awkward moments.

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A supporting character’s sputtered line — “We’re trying to lose some kids at this point” — underlines the strength and easy humour of Lonergan’s naturalistic dialogue. America’s obsession with the blue-collar stories of its northeastern shore continues unabated with Manchester by the Sea, but these blunt, straight-talking New Englanders certainly give the film a few moments of much needed levity.

It’s natural to expect a resolution and Manchester by the Sea teases us with possibilities. There’s a wonderfully delicate street scene where Lee bumps into his ex-wife, played by a tenacious Michelle Williams. The two engage in small talk, but you can see pain written across the worry lines of Affleck’s face.

Like much of the film, the moment is sparse and searing. Lonergan doesn’t let his characters off easy. In the end, what makes the film stand apart isn’t its authentic flavours or visceral performances, but the story’s integrity — a rare commitment to truth that deserves to be seen.

 

Love and Friendship

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January 19, 2017

Love and Friendship

Ireland/France/Netherlands

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:20 pm

Director: Whit Stillman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Clöe Sevigny,
Language: English and French

Drama/Romance/Comedy

Rating: PG

“With his love of fine clothes and finer diction, Whit Stillman proves an unsurprisingly intuitive fit for Austen, but he also knows just how to give her pointed social satire an extra stab of wink-wink postmodern drollery without breaking the spell.” – Justin Chang, Variet

Far from their rhinestone-littered stomping grounds in The Last Days of Disco, Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny reunite with American director Whit Stillman for a zesty shot of baroque fun.

Based on an early Jane Austen novella called Lady Susan, the sardonically titled Love & Friendship gives us a delightfully detestable villain in Beckinsale’s career high, as Lady Susan Vernon. This being pre-Victorian England the only way a woman can achieve anything is through charm and conniving. And, as someone states, Susan is a “genius of the evil kind” at manipulating everyone else.

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The only person she’s remotely straight with is her American-expat friend, Mrs. Johnson (Sevigny), but that’s mostly because the latter is so ceaselessly admiring. Plus, this allows Susan to explain her motives and strategy.

Recently widowed, she survives by rotating visits with wealthy friends and relatives, sometimes decamping in a hurry. When we meet her, she has alighted at the country estate of sister-in-law Catherine DeCourcy Vernon (Emma Greenwall). Catherine’s handsome younger brother, Reginald (Xavier Samuel), initially shares her wariness of Susan’s scorched-earth reputation, but soon after meeting the beautiful widow he’s valiantly defending her from the “vile calumnies” of others. She has a well-polished knack for turning insults back on her accusers, but is not at her best around mousy teenage daughter Frederica, played by Morfydd Clark (Pride and Prejudice, Zombies).

Stillman uses Austen as the foundation for the story and then adds some twists of his own. Silent-movie devices, on-screen typography, and Mozartian music all bring out her farcical qualities—underlined by unforgettable comic visits from Tom Bennett as “a bit of a rattle” courting reluctant Frederica. But L&F’s burnished cinematography and elegant performances offer a droll soulfulness that embodies everything we still love, and like, about Jane Austen.