Based on Arthur C Clarke’s short story ‘The Sentinel’, 2001: A Space Odyssey redefined the sci-fi genre. With its radical structure (a single cut elides 4 million years), scant dialogue and oblique narrative this was the first movie to emulate the philosophical seriousness of writers like Clarke and Philip K Dick, and the first to see that special effects could become an integral component in the art-form.
When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, they said he would never make music again and that he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. 22 years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes.
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet is a feature-length documentary film that tells the incredible story of a guitar legend who refuses to give up on his dream of being a musician despite the most incredible odds. It is a story of dreams, love, and the strength of the human spirit.
"This heartfelt documentary is also, more subtly, a tribute to the squadron of caregivers that has enabled Mr. Becker not only to survive for an extraordinarily long time but also to continue to compose music, using virtually the only part of him that still moves, his eyes." Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
"Inspiring heartbreaker of a documentary." Joshua Rothkopf, New York Times
Peter Greenaway’s shocking but oh-so-elegant allegory for consumer culture run rampant features extraordinary performances from Helen Mirren and Michael Gambon and costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Presented by renowned architect Bruno Freschi.
8 players with 703 years between them compete in the World over 80s Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. Terry (81) having been given a week to live, gets in sight of winning gold. Inge (89) has used table tennis to train her way out of the dementia ward she committed herself to. Australian legend Dorothy deLow is 100, and finds herself a mega celebrity in this rarefied world and Texan Lisa Modlich, a new-comer at 85 years old, is determined to do whatever it takes to win her first gold.
"It is about ageing, mortality, friendship, ambition and love. The stories stay with you for hours, weeks, after the credits have rolled. But perhaps its most powerful achievement is to leave us with a more humane conception of sport, and of life itself."
Matthew Syed - The Times
"What a heart-warmer… ’Inspirational’ barely covers it." Anthony Quinn, The Independent
"An unabashed crowdpleaser bouncing between sweetly satirical and sincerely moving." Total Film
"Irish step dancing receives exuberant treatment in the superbly crafted documentary Jig. This highly involving film deftly captures the unique physical, emotional and financial aspects of diving into competitive Irish dance, with the participants’ addictive immersion the overwhelming takeaway. […] As for the dancing itself, it’s nothing short of dazzling." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
"Irish step dancing […] receives exuberant treatment in the superbly crafted documentary Jig. This highly involving film deftly captures the unique physical, emotional and financial aspects of diving into competitive Irish dance, with the participants’ addictive immersion the overwhelming takeaway. […] As for the dancing itself, it’s nothing short of dazzling." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
"Amusing, heartbreaking and mind-boggling." The Boston Herald"
"Glorious! Spellbound meets Lord of the Dance." Easy Living
Lovers Rock, often dubbed ’romantic reggae’ is a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Lovers Rock developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands (Police, Culture Club, UB40) These influences underline the impact the music was making in bridging the multi-cultural gap that polarized the times. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it.
Candida Brady’s documentary looks at the growing global crisis of trash, highlighting how human health and the environment are threatened by the pollution from burning and discarding waste. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and beautiful: an interplay of human stories and ecological disruption. But it ends on a message of hope: showing how the risk to our survival can be averted through sustainable pathways that provide economic solutions while protecting our air, water and food resources
"Crucial viewing for realists and alarmists both." 5 stars! Joe Neumeier, NY Daily News
"One of the tasks of a lifetime is to become familiar with the great works of Shakespeare," wrote Roger Ebert, in his 4-star review for Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed, full-length film of the Bard’s most enduring tragedy. He continued: "Branagh’s version moved me, entertained me and made me feel for the first time at home in that doomed royal court…. His ’’Hamlet’’ is long but not slow, deep but not difficult, and it vibrates with the relief of actors who have great things to say, and the right ways to say them."
"Not only the best filmed adaptation of Hamlet I have ever seen, but the best cinematic expression that I have come across of any of Shakespeare’s plays." James Berardinelli, Reelviews
"As star and ringmaster, Branagh gets to the heart of Hamlet and goes to admirable lengths to take his audience there, too." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"100% Shakespeare and 100% cinema." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Adam (Richard E Grant) is a rich industrialist, who aspires to a more cultured world. Spurred on by playful jibes that he’s little more than a city suit living the capitalist’s dream, this frustrated amateur opera singer decides to throw an opera in his lavish country retreat. Once his friends see him belting out the notes, he feels sure it will spell the end to their shallow taunts. In fact, it might even help him win the hand of a female conductor he’s been pursuing whom, it just so happens, is the first to be recruited for his showpiece.
Adapted from the myth that served as the basis for Wagner’s Ring cycle(though not an adaptation of the operas themselves), Lang’s two part, five-hour epic is a monumental fantasy film on a par with his subsequent Metropolis. Its extraordinary set-pieces, archetypal themes, and unrestrained ambition have proven an inspiration for nearly every fantasy cycle that has emerged on-screen since – from Star Wars to The Lord of the Rings.
This edition is mastered in HD from the extensive 35mm restoration conducted by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, completed in 2012, and featuring a recent recording of the original 1924 score. Screening in two parts with a 40 minute intermission.
"It’s too-faint praise to claim thatDie Nibelungen is The Lord of the Rings of its time (J.R.R. Tolkien was apparently inspired by the Nibelungenlied, too), but that gives you some sense of all the scope, innovation, rousing razzle-dazzle, human emotion writ large, and cinematic virtuosity on proud display here. It’s a huge, action-packed spectacle to rival those concocted by DeMille and Griffith, but with access to the bold, harsh, glacially-gleaming, tragically doomed finality of Northern-European myth. Once it’s over, you’ll be exhausted, emotionally drained, and already looking forward to the time you can experience the whole intensely involving, transporting, and devastating dream/nightmare once more." Christopher McQuain, DVD Talk
A new female doctor arrives at a provincial hospital in what is still East Germany. Barbara (Petzold’s regular star, Nina Hoss) is a transfer from Berlin, and immediately strikes her colleagues as distant and aloof. But there are reasons, as they suspect. Her small apartment is regularly searched, meanwhile her preference for cycling to and from work seems designed to make it more difficult for the Stasi to keep an eye on her…
"It’s one terrific film, as smart, thoughtful and emotionally involving as just about anything that’s out there." Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"Petzold handles personal, formal, and political concerns in such perfect balance, it’s difficult, and not especially desirable, to separate one from the next. The movie is dense but never feels it, assembled with easy mastery and engrossing throughout." Sam Adams, AV Club
"Barbara is a film about the old Germany from one of the best directors working in the new: Christian Petzold. For more than a decade Mr. Petzold has been making his mark on the international cinema scene with smart, tense films that resemble psychological thrillers, but are distinguished by their strange story turns, moral thorns, visual beauty and filmmaking intelligence." Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Left to fend for themselves after their SS officer father and mother, staunch Nazi believers, are interred by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II, five German children undertake a harrowing journey that exposes them to the reality and consequences of their parents’ actions. Led by the eldest sibling, 14-year old Lore (striking newcomer Saskia Rosendahl), they set out on a journey across a devastated country to reach their grandmother in the north.
"A lyrical, deeply affecting study into a rarely seen legacy of the Holocaust." - Megan Lehmann, The Hollywood Reporter
"Intense and emotional. Saskia Rosendahl is mesmerizing." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Shortland’s brilliant new film is an unsettling coming-of-age story that renders its judgement on Germany’s crimes and strange aftermath of the war." - George Robinson, The Jewish Week