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The title character of Stephen Frears’ Philomena is played by Judi Dench. She is an elderly Irish woman who, as a teenager, gave birth while she was working at a convent. The Catholic Church had the child adopted, and now, decades later, Philomena is introduced to Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan, a onetime government spokesperson who is now working as a freelance journalist. Martin agrees to help Philomena look for her son, and the trail takes them to The United States, and brings them face to face with some long-buried secrets. All the while, the type-A Martin and the ceaselessly charming Philomena learn to trust each other. Philomena screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
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Director Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) takes the helm for this black-and-white road-trip drama starring Bruce Dern as a tempestuous Montana father who is convinced he’s won a million-dollar magazine sweepstakes, and Will Forte as the son who grudgingly agrees to drive him to Nebraska to claim his winnings. Bob Odenkirk and Stacy Keach costar.
In mid-1980s Texas, womanizing electrician Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is stunned to learn that he has AIDS. Told that he has just 30 days left to live, Woodroof steals some AZT, but his attempt to cure himself backfires. Woodroof seeks out alternative therapies and smuggles unapproved drugs into the U.S. He joins forces with a fellow AIDS patient (Jared Leto) and begins selling the treatments to the growing number of people who can’t wait for the medical establishment to save them.
In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner (Michael Fassbender), he also found unexpected kindness from another, as he struggled continually to survive and maintain some of his dignity. Then in the 12th year of the disheartening ordeal, a chance meeting with an abolitionist from Canada changed Solomon’s life forever.
Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition, and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest.Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.
In 2009 Alex Gibney was hired to make a film about Lance Armstrong’s comeback to cycling. The project was shelved when the doping scandal erupted, and re-opened after Armstrong’s confession. “The Armstrong Lie” picks up in 2013 and presents a riveting, insider’s view of the unraveling of one of the most extraordinary stories in the history of sports. As Lance Armstrong himself says: “I didn’t live a lot of lies, but I lived one big one.”
An adaptation of American literary icon Jack Kerouac’s novel of the same name, BIG SUR focuses on a moment in Kerouac’s life when, overwhelmed by the success of his opus On the Road and struggling to battle inner demons, he seeks respite in three brief sojourns to a cabin in the small, coastal California town of Big Sur. Michael Polish’s film is at once a poetic meditation and a love-letter to the work of an author who defined the Beat Generation.
1 hr. 40 minutes
From the makers of the award winning documentary films “Remembering Playland at the Beach” and “Sutro’s: The Palace at Lands End” comes a brand new full-length documentary, “The Cliff House and Sutro Heights.” The film celebrates 150 years of San Francisco’s Cliff House and the many attractions surrounding it. Hundreds of rare archival photographs, motion picture footage, interviews with historians and current Cliff House personnel all come together to tell this fascinating story. Written and directed by Tom Wyrsch. Produced by Tom Wyrsch & Strephon Taylor. 84 minutes
A full-length documentary film tells the story of San Francisco, California’s privately owned swimming, ice-skating and museum complex built in the late 19th century. Once the world’s largest swimming pool establishment, the building burnt down in 1966. The ruins remain today. Journey back in time to revisit Sutro Baths when it was in full operation. See: The Seven Pools, Sutro Railway, Merrie Way, Sutro’s Cliff House, Ice Skating Rink, Egyptian Mummy Museum, Tom Thumb Exhibit, Musee Mecanique, Torture Museum, Lord’s Last Supper, Ito, Giggling Ghost, 1963 & 1966 Fires, Sutro Ruins, and much, much more. A nostalgic trip back in time told by historians and the people that were there. (84 min.)
“Remembering Playland at the Beach” is a full-length documentary film about San Francisco’s famous 10-acre seaside amusement park, Playland at the Beach. Located next to Ocean Beach, it was torn down in 1972 to make way for a condominium development. Gone now for more than 3 decades, it remains one of the city’s lost treasures. The film is a journey back to see Laffing Sal, the Fun House, the Carousel, the Big Dipper, the Diving Bell, Dark Mystery, Limbo, Fun-tier Town, and much, much more, all through the eyes of the people that were there. Includes 20-minutes of archival footage, nearly 200 photographs and original music. (60 minutes)
TOTAL SHOWTIME 229 minutes (UNRATED)
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INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles—some of them of his own making.
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.
Director Ralph Fiennes teams with screenwriter Abi Morgan to adapt Claire Tomalin‘s book detailing the clandestine, 13-year-long love affair between celebrated English author Charles Dickens (Fiennes) and 18-year-old actress Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), whose name was effectively erased from the history books following Dickens‘ death in 1870. Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Hollander costar.
Following a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo)’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad’s efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past, and the highly charged revelations affecting every character in Mr. Farhadi’s complex screenplay unfold with his trademark nuance. Once again he showcases his gifts as a masterful storyteller and director who elicits riveting performances from his cast. French and Persian with English subtitles
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