June 25 – 30: The Souvenir

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The Souvenir

Rated To Be Announced ~ Runs 119 minutes

Dir.: Joanna Hogg, UK, 2019

Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton, Richard Ayoade

Sundance Festival Winner, Grand Jury prize

“Arguably more rewarding in the end than anything I saw at Sundance this year. Honor Swinton-Byrne stars as Julie, a young film school student learning some of the tough lessons of the creative form while struggling to make ends meet in ‘80s London. Julie is trying to find her voice, and she seems inspired by the arrival into her life of a charismatic man named Anthony. At first, Julie and Anthony don’t seem to have much in common. He often lords intellectual superiority over her, and seems almost condescending, but she’s drawn to him and inspired by him. And then we learn that he’s not as perfect as he first seems. Swinton herself also stars as, of course, Julie’s mother… To be blunt, Swinton-Byrne gives one of the best debut performances I’ve ever seen, completely grounding Julie in something that feels 100% genuine. We forget we’re watching an actress, especially when one considers how personal this film is for the filmmaker. The result is a piece of work that plays out almost like a shared memory, one that is both incredibly specific to these people but also universal.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com. “ While it’s unspooling, The Souvenir feels like the only film in the world—the only one that matters.” – Time Out New York

June 21 – 29: The Biggest Little Farm

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The Biggest Little Farm

Rated Parental Guidance (Language May Offend, Mature Subject Matter) ~ Runs 91 minutes

Dir.: John Chester, US, 2019

John Chester, Molly Chester

Audience Award Winner at the AFI, Hamptons International, Palm Springs International, and Sarasota Film Festivals

“Like many farm-to-table foodies, filmmaker John Chester and his chef wife Molly talked about the dream of living off the land. But this idealistic couple actually took the next step and did it, buying 200 acres north of Los Angeles. Their aim: to create an old-school farm with a wide range of food production and biodiversity, rather than specializing in a single crop and relying on pesticides. Their reality: arid land, a nonstop flood of problematic predators and potentially disastrous winds and wildfire. Despite all the hardships, Chester makes The Biggest Little Farm an optimistically riveting tour through their first seven years there. His nature cinematography is stunning; he’s got an eye for the beauty to be found even in the most unlikely of places. And he’s got a lot of help in the farm’s cast of characters. Go ahead and try not to be charmed by the friendship between Emma the pig and Greasy the rooster. In a time when climate news is near-uniformly depressing, this is a nature documentary that pays loving and hopeful tribute to the complex web of life – and it won’t scare your kids.” – Sara Stewart, The New York Post. “A thoughtful and often profoundly moving portrait of the remarkable work involved in producing mindful food” – Entertainment Weekly. “It may revive your wonder at the weird but ultimately awe-inspiring ways in which humans can help nature do its work.” – The New York Times

June 14 – 22: All is True

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All Is True

Rated Parental Guidance (Coarse Language) ~ Runs 101 minutes

Dir.: Kenneth Branagh, UK, 2019

Kenneth Branagh, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Kathryn Wilder

“If anyone knows their William Shakespeare, it’s Kenneth Branagh. The thespian returns to his love of the bard with this touching, funny and expertly acted biopic All Is True, which tackles Shakespeare’s final years from his decision to retire to his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. Following the fire that destroyed his renowned Globe Theatre, William Shakespeare returns to his family home after years of fame and success to find a distant wife in Anne Hathaway (Judi Dench), two daughters encountering scrutiny and scandal, and his own personal grief for his late son Hamnet still not diminished. As Will seeks to carve out a fresh beginning in his hometown, he finds that regret, passion and nostalgia run deep here, and he may have to confront his own demons if the Shakespeare family is to have a future at all. Branagh is everything you would expect in his portrayal of the historical icon – he’s witty, touching, sensual and haunted… Dench is a resilient, earthy and no-nonsense Anne, instantly sympathetic but not wearisome in the slightest – weary but striving to carry on through for the sake of her family. The leading pair create a real sense of history… The actresses who portray Shakespeare’s daughters are also noteworthy, in particular, Kathryn Wilder who makes a fiery and embittered Judith Shakespeare, who reveals a great longing to be accepted by her father on her own merits. In a small but memorable role is Ian McKellen as the flamboyant but sentimental Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton… Branagh does not play too fast and loose with history, but fills in the gaps and chooses which theories and hypotheses about Shakespeare’s life that would best suit this emotional and theatrical piece… All Is True is just what you would want for a Shakespeare biopic directed by Kenneth Branagh – it’s touching and impeccably well-acted, with great turns from the director and on-screen wife Judi Dench.” – Lewis Knight, The Daily Mirror

June 11 – 16: The White Crow

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The White Crow

Rated Parental Guidance (Coarse Language, Nudity, Sexual Content) ~ Runs 106 minutes

Dir.: Ralph Fiennes, UK/France, 2007

Oleg Ivenko, Ralph Fiennes, Louis Hofmann

“Subject and style could not be more different than in The White Crow, but that fusion of opposites has resulted in an involving biographical drama that rarely puts a foot wrong. Speaking of feet, the subject is Rudolf Nureyev, a dancer to conjure with, a superstar/sacred monster who changed the very nature of ballet, the first major Soviet artist to defect to the West and a man who had, a biographer wrote, ‘an innate sense that borders were meant to be crossed.’ Nureyev’s highly dramatic, unexpected story has been brought to the screen in an impeccably classic way by actor Ralph Fiennes… More than that, great care has been taken to stick closely to the facts of Nureyev’s passion-driven life, especially the film’s climactic moments, the dancer’s impulsive but finally inevitable 1961 decision to defect to the West in the departure lounge of a Paris airport… White Crow alternates between three different periods in the dancer’s life. These include his impoverished childhood in the central Russian city of Ufa (following his birth on the Trans-Siberian Railway, of all places), his days as a ballet student in Leningrad, and the trip to Paris with the Kirov (now the Mariinsky) Ballet that led to his defection.” – Kenneth Turan, The L.A. Times. “Director Ralph Fiennes makes this hypnotic look into the young life of controversial ballet icon Rudolph Nureyev a thing of bruised beauty and an exhilarating gift.” – Rolling Stone

June 7 – 10: The Jane Austen Book Club

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The Jane Austen Book Club

Rated Parental Guidance (Mature Theme) ~ Runs 105 minutes

Dir.: Robin Swicord, US, 2007

Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Kathy Baker

“Please don’t call The Jane Austen Book Club a chick flick. That label is usually used in the pejorative sense, to dismiss romantic, too-cute fluff. The Jane Austen Book Club is so much more: smart and self-aware and a dazzling showcase for some of Hollywood’s finest actresses of a certain age. This is a hot fudge sundae of a movie, with whipped cream and a cherry on top. But after indulging in it, you won’t hate yourself in the morning. Based on the novel, The Jane Austen Book Club follows five women (and a man one of them drags along) as they make their way through Austen’s six novels, their own lives taking on resemblances to the author’s heady plots. Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman and Maggie Grace are each terrific in their respective roles, but it’s Maria Bello and Emily Blunt who steal the show, as a committed middle-aged singleton and an unhappy young wife, respectively… Everyone is given their due and dignity in this funny, sexy, humanist film that, if it is a chick flick, gives the genre a good name.” – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

May 31 – June 8: Red Joan

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Red Joan

Rated 14 Accompaniment ~ Runs 101 minutes

Dir.: Trevor Nunn, UK, 2018

Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Alfie Allen

“ A good old-fashioned British spy thriller in the scientific mold of Enigma, with a bewitching female heroine played by the excellent actresses Judi Dench and (as her younger self) Sophie Cookson, Red Joan revisits the incredible real-life spy case of Melita Norwood… Based on the bestselling novel, Lindsay Shapero’s screenplay cleverly plays with the ostensible staidness of ordinary pensioner Joan Stanley, a woman in her 80s living a quiet suburban life who is abruptly arrested as a Soviet spy.’ – Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

May 26th @ 2 pm: Salaam B’y

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Salaam B’y

Rated To Be Announced ~ Runs 21 minutes

Dir.: Amar Wala, Canada, 2018

FREE ADMISSION! After the screening, there will be a Q & A with the film’s subject Aatif Baskanderi and special guests.

Note: This screening replaces the screening of THE SECRET OF NIMH as scheduled in the Buzz.

Aatif Baskanderi grew up in a place where not many people looked like him or believed in the same things that he did. As a Muslim child of Pakistani immigrants, Newfoundland became home. His experiences growing up on “the rock” was like something out of a storybook. On this cold, isolated island in the Atlantic ocean, Aatif learned sincerity and appreciation for others that would set him up for remarkable success in life. As an engineer with a keen interest for social justice, he embarked on a journey to connect the two. Guided by his Muslim & Newfoundlander values, this led him to studying at the London School of Economics, researching Fair Trade farmers in Palestine, working on malaria prevention in Sierra Leone, informing science policy in Canada, the UK & Europe, leading Engineers Without Borders across Canada, and currently working as an innovation specialist at a global power company in Calgary, Alberta. While things are going well for Aatif, the same cannot be said for his home province, which is facing tumultuous economic times. In hopes of inspiring a new generation of Newfoundlanders to live their dreams, Aatif returns to Newfoundland to share his story of pluralism and tolerance. At a time of increasing racial and religious friction across the west, Aatif’s story is a reminder of what can happen when a community welcomes newcomers with open arms.

May 29 – 30: Woman at War

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Woman at War

Rated Parental Guidance (Nudity, Violence) ~ Runs 101 minutes

Dir.: Benedikt Erlingsson, Iceland, 2018

Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurðarson, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen
In Icelandic with English subtitles

“A wry, idiosyncratic comedy that [is] never less than a joy to watch. Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir is something to behold as Halla, a mild-mannered, middle-aged choirmistress who seriously dabbles in ecoterrorism. A Tai Chi enthusiast, a fan of Gandhi and Mandela, and an excellent saboteur, she invokes ancestral law and messes with hydro towers in her quest to make her ruggedly beautiful land safe for future generations, which happen to include a small child from Ukraine she seeks to adopt as a single mother. Filmmaker Erlingsson has an eye for detail, a flair for the absurd, and a deft touch with social commentary and political satire. Heroine Halla gets help from a sister, and a farmer who calls his collie ‘Woman.’ Woman, as in man’s best friend – and mankind’s best hope.” – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

May 24 – 25: Stockholm

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Rated 14 Accompaniment (Coarse Language) ~ Runs 92 minutes

Dir.: Robert Budreau, Canada/US, 2018

Mark Rendall, Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace

Winner of 2 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay

“Ever wonder where the term Stockholm Syndrome came from? Director Robert Budreau, along with an all-star cast, explains the wild but true story behind the term… In 1973, a disguised bank robber walks into Stockholm’s city bank with a gun and starts taking hostages. Oddly enough, he demands not money but Gunnar Sorensson, a fellow bank robber who is serving a prison sentence. The flummoxed police surprisingly comply with the request, which means they soon have two criminals on their hands instead of just one. It’s a tense, days-long standoff in which the three bank employees held hostage must eat, drink, and converse with their captors, unwittingly forging a human connection. For Bianca Lind, things are taken one step further, when she falls for the man who is endangering her life… The film is enjoyable, never boring, and pulls at a secret place inside each of us that wants the underdog to win, despite the circumstances… Hawke and Rapace are at their absolute best.” – Erica Corbin, ScreenPicks

May 24 – 28: Amazing Grace

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Amazing Grace

Rated General ~ Runs 87 minutes

Dir.: Alan Elliott/Sydney Pollack, US

Aretha Franklin, Reverand James Cleveland, C.L. Franklin

“It’s still hard to believe that Aretha Franklin is really gone. Especially when she feels so alive in every frame of Amazing Grace – a concert documentary brought to the screen with every bead of sweat, every spangle, every soul-squeezing note intact. Shot over two days in January 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, Grace has no real visual glory: The venue looks dusty, with rows of rickety chairs sometimes only half full… But the humbleness of the setting feels right; this is Franklin’s spiritual home, and her gospel – Wholy Holy, How I Got Over, Never Grow Old – needs no adornment. There’s a cumulative power, too, in seemingly mundane details: the mustachioed member of the choir lost in a high note, his body trembling as a tear runs down his cheek; Mick Jagger clapping in a back pew, an awed grin on his face; Aretha’s dapper preacher father, gently mopping his daughter’s brow. It’s all so immersive that it starts to feel less like a movie than a time machine – the gift of one last grace note from the Great Beyond.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly