"Absolutely dazzling film entertainment, so full of beauty, intelligence, wit, and fun that it becomes a testimonial not only to man’s possibilities but also to his high spirits. All of the best Bergman films have been about some aspect of love (often its absence), but The Magic Flute is virtually an act of it. […] Bergman hasn’t set out to interpret The Magic Flute but rather to present it as it originally was, bursting with the life of an exquisite stage production as it would look within the physical limitations of an eighteenth-century court theatre."
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times
"Ingmar Bergman said that making this film ’was the best time of my life: you can’t imagine what it is like to have Amadeus Mozart’s music in the studio every day.’ Actually, watching the movie, one can. He has treated Mozart’s peerlessly silly masterpiece with elegance and supreme affection. He emphasizes the theatricality of the piece, using space as stage space but with the camera coming in close. We get the pixilated feeling that we’re near enough to touch the person who is singing; we might be dreamers sailing invisibly among the guests at a cloud-borne party. The English translation of Bergman’s adaptation (he clarifies the text) has considerable grace, and the titles are unusually well placed in the frame; the story comes across even more directly than when you hear the opera sung in English."
– Pauline Kael
When 14-year-old Laura Dekker announced her intention to become the youngest woman ever to sail around the world single-handedly there was an uproar. The child welfare authorities in her native Holland even applied to block her trip on legal grounds. But their case was rejected, and Laura set off soon afterwards on her beloved boat Guppy, with no safety boat or backup, but a video camera to record her odyssey. This film is the result of that impulse - a first-person mariner’s eye-view of a vast blue world
Bond goes to Thailand in Roger Moore’s second outing (after Live and Let Die). Christopher Lee (Ian Fleming’s cousin) is excellent as the villain, Scaramanga, and he brings out what may be Moore’s strongest performance.
Described by Andrew Sarris in the Village Voice as "the one truly great American film of the ’70s," Manhattan was the movie where everything fell into place for Woody Allen, the triumphant crystallization of his cinematic style, sensibility and philosophy. Today, 35 years later, it remains for many, perhaps even most people, his greatest achievement and his most beloved film.
Puccini’s first triumph returns to Covent Garden for the first time in 20 years in a new staging by Jonathan Kent. The exciting Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais sings the title role. A consummate Puccini soprano, Opolais caused a sensation as Madama Butterfly in 2011, and with Manon Lescaut, the bold but impressionable heroine, we will see a very different side of her. She is matched in star power by Jonas Kaufmann as her lover, Des Grieux, and Christopher Maltman as her cynical brother Lescaut. Kent’s vision of a young girl who faces temptation in the big city will surely resonate with today’s audience.
This intimate documentary captures the great singer Maria Bethânia during a 60th birthday celebration in her hometown, Santo Amaro da Purificação—alongside family including brother Caetano Veloso—as well as an emotional performance in Salvador, Bahia.
In rural Mexico, when a young boy’s parents are killed, he is raised by a farm worker and the town’s barman, who instills a desire of vengeance in him, and as an adult he romances a young woman who is going to marry a rich man to save her father from financial ruin. This 1941 Mexican film classic became an enormous hit and features Jorge Negrete as the first cinematic singing Mariachi. This performance made Negrete an international Latin film star and launched the appearance of singing mariachis in films.
Produced by Robert Lepage (who also costars - from the head up - as cosmologist and inventor Eugene Spaak), this stunning Quebec scifi is an eye-popping debut feature from graphic novelist and Cirque du Soleil alumnus Martin Villeneuve. Set in a futuristic Montreal, with man on the eve of setting foot on Mars, the film is a love triangle involving a beautiful photographer, Avril (Caroline Dhavemas), a musician, Jacob (Jacques Languirand), and his friend Arthur (Paul Ahmarani) whose original instruments are inspired by the female form.
"Mars et Avril is a mind muck. It’s whacked. It also happens to be one of the most inspired films I’ve seen in quite some time." Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette
Woody goes to Wimbledon (well, nearly) in his first foray to the British Isles—a torrid suspense movie which adds a downpour or two to A Place in the Sun. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the tennis pro torn between the socially superior Emily Mortimer and sexy (but penurous) Scarlett Johansson.
"Allen’s best since Crimes and Misdemeanors ..."—Roger Ebert
Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor, Last Tango In Paris, The Conformist) returns to his native Italy for what may be his swansong, an intimate yet refreshingly innocent chamber piece about a teenage boy who ducks out of a school field trip and hides out in a disused basement. But his plans for a perfect getaway are thrown when his older half sister discovers his whereabouts…
"Bertolucci’s witty, potent little film showed Cannes that he is still a force to be reckoned with."—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"A masterclass in small-scale filmmaking."—Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
There are men, and then there are men with beards. how your true face to the world. It’s not as easy as it looks! In fact for many men growing a beard is a challenge and even a rite of passage, a time when they reclaim their masculinity despite suspicion and derision from colleagues, bosses, friends and loved ones. If the results can be hairy - especially when confronted with a bowl of soup - they can also prove revelatory, opening up new channels of self expression and even sensuality.
Jean Pierre Jeunet, the wizard who gave us Amelie and Delicatessen conjures another buoyant medley of slapstick, whimsy and satire in this infinitely inventive contemporary fantasy. Dany Boon is the Chaplinesque hero with a bullet in his brain who falls in with a band of urban outsiders and takes revenge on the weapons manufacturers who put it there.
"A fun-house of mirrors that is lovely to get lost in." Betsy Sharkey, LA Times
"Micmacs is like a Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd movie where everybody is Buster or Harold, yet they all work in harmony." Peter Howell, Toronto Star
One of Woody’s most popular recent films, this enchanting slice of whimsy casts Owen Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter transported back to the moveable feast of Paris in the 1920s, home to Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds and Gertrude Stein.
"In Woody Allen’s beguiling and then bedazzling new comedy, nostalgia isn’t at all what it used to be — it’s smarter, sweeter, fizzier and ever so much funnier." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"Midnight in Paris finds Allen in a larky, slightly tart and altogether bountiful mood, giving filmgoers a movie that, while unabashedly funny and playful, provides a profiterole or two for thought." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
For the summer installment of our four-part Woody Allen cycle, one of the warmest and most purely enjoyable films from his mid-career peak. Inspired by his love for Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night (but shot in ravishing colour by the late, great Gordon Willis) this ensemble romantic comedy follows the dalliances of a half a dozen characters in an idyllic early C20th setting.
"A small treasure."—Jeffery M Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
What’s the rumpus? The Coens’ riff on Dashiell Hammett is one of their most flavourful achievements, an intricate, complex and compelling study of integrity among thieves set in the ethically compromised world of civic politics in the Prohibition era.
"A superb, languid fantasia on the theme of the gangster film that repays endless viewing." David Thomson, Have You Seen…?
"Maybe the greatest motion picture of the last 20 years." Jim Emerson, Scanners (2007)
"Elegantly profound, it’s a meditation on what doing the right thing might mean, with a spookily good, career-best performance from Byrne." Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
Thai-English director Tom Waller takes on one of the popular Father Ananda mystery novels. Former cop Ananda is now a senior monk and is asked by the abbot to solve a murder inside his monastery because the police don’t want to get involved. Not everything in the monastery is what it should be…
When Matt Berninger, the lead singer of The National, invited his under-achieving younger brother Tom along as a roadie on the band’s European tour, he thought he was doing him a favour. What he hadn’t banked on was Tom filming the whole thing - even as he screws up the most rudimentary tasks asked of him, like catching the tour bus, for example… A tour film like no other, this is oddly touching, very honest, and very funny.
"Poignant and hilarious." NME
"Brutal, hilarious, unexpectedly honest." The Hollywood Reporter
"The best documentary we have seen all year." The New York Observer
Lola in LA, Demy’s first (and only) Hollywood movie improves with age. Gary Lockwood is the aimless young architect who falls under the spell of a French photographic model (Anouk Aimee). "A marvel of tone and decor…forges the impossible bridge between Quentin Tarantino’s in-jokey cinematic universe of intertwined characters and events, and the recently-completed Before trilogy of Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke." Next Projection
"A marvel of tone and decor…forges the impossible bridge between Quentin Tarantino’s in-jokey cinematic universe of intertwined characters and events, and the recently-completed Before trilogy of Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke." Next Projection
"One of the great movies about LA." Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide
Probably inspired by the success of Star Wars, James Bond went into outer space in Moonraker, one of the most popular of the series. It’s got amazing aerial stunts, some of designer Adam’s most inspired sets, a creepy villain in Michel Lonsdale’s Hugo Drax and Richard Kiel is back as the giant, metal-toothed henchman Jaws.
"Irresistibly entertaining." Frank Rich, Time
"A minor masterpiece." James Monaco, The Connoisseur’s Guide to the Movies
"One of the most buoyant Bond films of all." Vincent Canby, New York Times
With unexpected humor, with an unflinching camera, with some guilt and some pain, this film takes the unusual risk of examining what breast milk truly means. We are often told that breast milk is better. Better for babies, better for mothers, better for nutrition, health, well-being, and society. Many accept this and yet there are still very few women who succeed in breastfeeding exclusively for the recommended six months and beyond. What would it take to change?
"There are Portlandia-worthy moments amid the talk of breast pumps, latching and engorgement, and also surprising insights with implications beyond the nursery."—Sheri Linden, LA Times
"Gently affecting and insightful."—Variety