Director Alexander Payne/United States 2011/ Certificate 15 / 115 minutes
Cast includes; George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer
Following the phenomenal reception of his 2004 hit Sideways, Alexander Payne returns with a mature feature that masterfully blends tragedy and comedy. Clooney plays Matt King, a somewhat awkward lawyer who is consumed by his work and more importantly by the King family’s ancestral land dealings. When tragedy strikes and his wife is injured in a boating accident off the coast of Waikiki, Matt realises that he hardly knows her or their two daughters and is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future.
Director Michel Hazanavicius/France 2011/ Certificate PG / 100 minutes
Cast includes; Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Malcolm McDowell
Universally adored at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, The Artist is an uplifting and beguiling rags-to-riches tale brimming with fun and charisma. With numerous cinematic references, The Artist is pure joy for fans of classic Hollywood films. It’s 1927 and George Valentin is a silent film star at the top of his game; that is until the arrival of sound revolutionises the film industry and threatens his career. Peppy Miller, a talented young film fan, breathes new life into the studios but for George her arrival is both a blessing and a curse as she turns out to be not just a love interest, but also a studio rival.
Carnage (from Fri 3 Feb)
Director Roman Polanski/France Germany Poland 2011/Certificate 15/80 minutes
Cast includes; Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C Reilly, Christoph Waltz
Roman Polanski returns with an engrossing adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s award-winning play The God of Carnage. An all-star ensemble cast portray the bickering Brooklyn bourgeoisie, as two couples come together to try and make the peace and resolve a violent dispute between their children. Featuring a satirical, savage and fast-paced script, teamed with remarkable acting across the board, this black farce is a must-see for theatre enthusiasts and film fans alike. See Polanski’s 1965 classic Repulsion later in February, showing as part of Matinee Classics.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Martha Marcy May Marlene (from Fri 3 Feb)
Director Sean Durkin/United States 2011/Certificate 15/102 minutes
Cast includes; Elizabeth Olsen, Brady Corbett, Hugh Dancy, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson
Martha is a damaged young woman attempting to re-connect with her sister and re-establish normality after fleeing from an isolated cult. Her years of life under the watchful eye of the commune’s predatory leader have left Martha haunted by paranoia and painful memories. Cutting between her present life and that which she’s escaped, the film deftly explores Martha’s emotional and physical entrapment. Elizabeth Olsen gives a standout performance as the vulnerable Martha, and John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) is equally powerful in his role as manipulative cult leader.
A Dangerous Method (from Fri 10 Feb)
Director David Cronenberg/Canada Great Britain Germany 2011/Certificate 15/99 minutes
Cast includes; Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel
The eminently talented Michael Fassbender plays Carl Jung to Viggo Mortensen’s Sigmund Freud in this stylish and sensual film which explores the relationship between the two psychiatrists. Theirs is a strained and often difficult relationship, especially when Sabina Spielrein, a charismatic yet deeply troubled woman, comes between them. An absorbing drama from the revered Canadian director David Cronenberg (Crash, A History of Violence) full of masterful performances from the superb ensemble cast.
Rampart (from Fri 24 Feb)
Dir Oren Moverman/US 2011/108 mins
Cast includes Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Cynthia Nixon, Anne Heche, Ben Foster, Steve Buscemi
From the pen of acclaimed writer James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) and director Oren Moverman (The Messenger) comes this taut modern-day noir. Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is a member of the notorious Rampart division, who policed Downtown L.A. in the 1990s and were renowned for their corrupt practices. Faced with investigation by the force’s Internal Affairs department, Dave becomes increasingly paranoid and descends further into a moral abyss.
Director Michael Winterbottom/ Great Britain 2011/Certificate tbc/130 minutes
Cast includes; Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed, Kalki Koechlin
Michael Winterbottom breathes new life into Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, relocating the story to contemporary India. Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) stars as the eponymous Trishna, a rural peasant girl working to support her family, whose life is torn apart after she meets and falls in love with wealthy British businessman Jay Singh (Riz Ahmed). Divides of class and clashes between rural traditions and modern lifestyles mean their love affair is from the start overshadowed by tragedy.
Director Markus Schleinzer/Austria 2011/Certificate tbc/96 minutes/German with English Subtitles
Cast includes; Michael Fuith, David Rauchenberger
Michael tells the disquieting tale of the final months of a sinister one-sided relationship. 40-something Michael is a quiet insurance salesman who successfully maintains the veneer of an ordinary life while keeping an under-aged boy captive in his house. Michael makes for uncomfortable, yet compelling viewing and after a number of years in the film industry working with directors such as Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl, Schleinzer’s directorial debut promises a fruitful career.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan/Turkey Belgium 2011/Certificate tbc/157 minutes/Turkish with English subtitles
Cast includes; Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel
An epic and rigorous tale of a night and day in a murder investigation, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a beautifully photographed crime drama about police and prosecutors locating a buried body through one long night in the Anatolian steppes. The events of the investigation are infused with insights into the banality of everyday life and meditations on human existence.