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Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a game-changer that gets you excited about movies again. Star Quvenzhane Wallis is a flat-out amazement.
– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.
Directed by Benh Zeitlin and starring Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry. Rated PG-13. Runtime 91 minutes
A true story of two men who should never have met–a quadriplegic aristocrat who was injured in a paragliding accident and a young man from the projects.
An irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust and human possibility, The Intouchables has broken box office records in its native France and across Europe. Based on a true story of friendship between a handicap millionaire (Francois Cluzet) and his street smart ex-con caretaker (Omar Sy), The Intouchables depicts an unlikely camaraderie rooted in honesty and humor between two individuals who, on the surface, would seem to have nothing in common.
This comedy was directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache and stars Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy. Rated R. Run time 112 minutes. In French with subtitles.
Bully forces you to confront not the cruelty of specific children – who have their own problems, and their good sides as well – but rather the extent to which that cruelty is embedded in our schools and therefore in our society as a whole.
A. O. Scott, New York Times
Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Bully follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals’ offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children.
Documentary, directed by Lee Hirsch. Rated PG-13. Runtime 94 mintues.
It’s an adventure, a love story, a biblical allegory complete with approaching storm, a mash note to composer Benjamin Britten and a profoundly touching discourse on the needs of troubled children.
Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdomtells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore — and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle. Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff. Edward Norton is a Khaki Scout troop leader. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents. The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as the boy and girl.
Comedy, directed by Wes Anderson and rated PG-13. Runtime 93 minutes.
To Rome with Love
One of the most delightful things about To Rome with Love is how casually it blends the plausible and the surreal, and how unabashedly it revels in pure silliness.
A. O. Scott, New York Times
To Rome with Love is a kaleidoscopic comedy movie set in one of the world’s most enchanting cities. The film brings us into contact with a well-known American architect reliving his youth; an average middle-class Roman who suddenly finds himself Rome’s biggest celebrity; a young provincial couple drawn into separate romantic encounters; and an American opera director endeavoring to put a singing mortician on stage.
Directed by Woody Allen and starring Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page. Rated R. Runtime 112 minutes.
The Kid with a Bike
Belgium’s Dardenne brothers make movies that remind you the most compelling stories are unfolding right outside your window, rather than in outer space, the distant past or wherever cinema usually takes us.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the deeply moving new film by the Dardenne brothers (L’enfant,Rosetta) delves into the emotional life of troubled 11-year-old Cyril (newcomer Thomas Doret). When his father (Jeremie Renier) abandons him, Cyril obsessively tries to find his bicycle– after all, his father must have cared about him enough not to sell that off, he reasons. Almost by accident, he becomes the ward of a kind hairdresser (Cecile de France), a woman who seems surprised to find herself so determined to help him. With his wild, unpredictable behavior and his disastrous search for father figures, Cyril risks losing her–though she refuses to give up without a fight. Full of heartbreaking betrayals and unexpected grace, The Kid with a Bike is a film about a child, abandoned to the elements, learning to become good.
Directed by Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. Rated PG-13. Runtime 87 minutes. In French with subtitles.
The Magic of Belle Isle
The magic of this new movie’s title emanates from the beautiful, measured performances of its stars.
Stephen Holden, New York Times
Reuniting with his director from the hit film,The Bucket List, Morgan Freeman plays Monte Wildhorn, a famous Western novelist whose struggle with alcoholism has sapped his passion for writing. He takes a lakeside cabin for the summer in picturesque Belle Isle, and befriends the family next door–an attractive single mom (Virginia Madsen) and her young daughters–who help him find inspiration again.
Directed by Rob Reiner. Rated PG. Runtime 109 minutes.