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2014 Flla Schedule

Jan 7 Pride
Jan 21 Boyhood
Feb 11 Love Is Strange
Feb 25 The Imitation Game (unconfirmed)
Mar 11 Whiplash
Mar 25 Force Majeure
Apr 8 Still Alice
Apr 22 Mr. Turner
May 6 Foxcatcher
May 13 Birdman (unconfirmed)
TBA Always much more coming!

Welcome!

Screening times twice monthly on Wednesdays on what has become a somewhat irregular schedule- check the listings, below; 7:30 p.m., Galaxy Cinema, 1000 Islands Mall, Brockville, Ontario.

The box office opens about 7:00 p.m. Seating is limited (200) and is on a first-come first-served basis, so come early. The ticket price is $9.00 (cash only; exact change is appreciated because that makes sales proceed quickly/smoothly). We are not equipped for debit/credit cards. Any change can be donated to the Brockville food bank.

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The Films

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Pride (14A, 120 minutes)

Wed. Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m.

Pride In 1984 Britain, a ragtag band of activists from London’s queer community form an unlikely, anti-Thatcherite alliance with striking Welsh miners, in this hilarious and inspirational comedy-drama.

Margaret Thatcher's hard rule over 1980s Britain prompted much political action in response. Perhaps the most amazing response of all occurred when Welsh coal miners and London lesbians and gays found a common cause. Pride tells the story of that unlikely alliance; it was never obvious, but it sure looks like fun.

By 1984, new-wave music had taken over the clubs, Thatcher's government was battling mining unions, and London's queer communities were perfecting artful activism. Into that mix walks Mark (Ben Schnetzer). Out, proud, and always ready for a righteous battle, he can't accept that any one form of oppression should outrank another. Overcoming the reluctance of his ragtag band of friends — who would mostly rather party than protest — he brings them together to form Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. But do the miners want this kind of support?

Pride is at its most outrageously funny when the LGSM activists crash into small-town South Wales in their brightly painted communal bus. Imelda Staunton is wonderful here as the hard-working Welsh woman whose support group holds the community together, while Paddy Considine plays a forward-thinking union organizer and the inimitable Bill Nighy takes a subtle role as the local pub historian. Their encounters with the misfits and rabble-rousers who make up the LGSM give Pride its comedy and its heart. Some in the mining village have to get over their homophobia. Some of the gay activists have to get over themselves. Brits excel at this kind of comedy of integration, and director Matthew Warchus's film is one of the best examples. With its recapturing of the glorious British eighties — not unlike the American sixties with its mix of protest, new music, and smashed social norms — Pride shows how exciting it was to be young then. And with its smart, nuanced understanding of the ongoing LGBTQ struggle, it affirms the power of movies to tell a transformational story.

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Boyhood (PG, 163 minutes)

Wed. Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Boyhood Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason's parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, Boyhood charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay's Yellow to Arcade Fire's Deep Blue. Boyhood is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. It's impossible not to watch Mason and his family without thinking about our own journey.

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Love Is Strange(PG, 98 minutes)

Wed. Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Love Is Strange After nearly four decades together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot in an idyllic wedding ceremony in lower Manhattan. But when George loses his job soon after, the couple must sell their apartment and – victims of the relentless New York City real estate market – temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home. While George moves in with two cops (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez) who live down stairs, Ben lands in Brooklyn with his nephew (Darren Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei), and their temperamental teenage son (Charlie Tahan), with whom Ben shares a bunk bed. While struggling with the pain of separation, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements. 

 Directed by Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On, Forty Shades Of Blue), Love is Strange blends the romance of New York City’s streets and skyline with a delicate Chopin piano score to poignantly capture both the lightness and sorrows of this modern--day love story.

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The Imitation Game (unconfirmed - 14A, 113 minutes)

Wed. Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.

The Imitation Game Benedict Cumberbatch stars as brilliant Cambridge mathematician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, who spearheaded the Enigma code-breaking operation during World War II and was later persecuted by the British government for his homosexuality.

One of the greatest stories of our time began back in the darkest days of the Second World War. Alan Turing was a brilliant Cambridge mathematician hired by the British military to break Nazi codes. His work leading a group of misfit geniuses didn't only shorten the war, it pushed technology to the point where computers could be imagined. But Turing paid a price.

At Cambridge University, the young Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) quickly establishes himself as a groundbreaking thinker with his theories about the potential of computing machines. When war between Britain and Germany is declared, these theories are put into active practice. Turing easily passes a test to become a member of a top-secret group assigned to decode critical German naval communications. Much to the surprise of the commanding officers, so does a woman, Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley also appearing at the Festival in Laggies). Turing and Clarke become fast friends, and are soon engaged to be married. But Turing is gay, struggling with his identity at a time when it is illegal and subject to terrible punishment.

Cumberbatch plays Turing as a mercurial character, unafraid of his quirks and brashly proud of his intellect. Knightley's Clarke is his equal — for all his insight into the workings of consciousness, she may understand him better than he does himself. The meeting of their minds doesn't result in a conventional love story, but The Imitation Game does chronicle a remarkable relationship.

In his English-language debut, Norwegian director Morten Tyldum excels. Turing and his colleagues race against time to devise a machine that can crack Germany's Enigma codes, while Turing himself must work out how to be a gay man at a time when such men are routinely crushed by the law. It's an intensely powerful story.

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Whiplash (14A, 106 minutes)

Wed. Mar. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Whiplash An ambitious young drummer (Miles Teller) at a prestigious music academy clashes with a hard-driving instructor (J.K. Simmons) in this sizzling drama that is already one of the year’s most talked-about films.

"There are no two words more harmful than 'good job.'" This sentiment — spoken by a music teacher to a young student — sows the seeds of a harsh tutelage in Whiplash, a cautionary tale about the pursuit of excellence.

In his second feature film, writer-director Damien Chazelle pits revered and feared jazz conservatory instructor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) against drumming prodigy Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller). Vying for a core position in Fletcher's elite ensemble, and aspiring to no less than greatness, Neyman will do anything to secure first chair. Before long, reason is abandoned and civility deserted, and the blistered and bleeding Neyman succumbs to Fletcher's abusive teaching techniques. But Neyman has a couple of surprises up his sleeve, and things will get progressively nastier — both on and off the stage — before their scorching musical showdown.

Teller and Simmons fairly leap off the screen with arresting physicality. Their performative rhythms mesh with Chazelle's stylish, syncopated directing to suffuse the film with an anxious energy that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats, while Tom Cross's staccato editing makes the film play like its own brilliant piece of music.

Winner of both the US Grand Jury and Audience Awards at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Whiplash announces Chazelle as one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the US in recent years. At once fierce and precise, the film begs the question: how far would you go to achieve perfection?

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Force Majeure (sub-titles, 14A, 118 minutes)

Wed. Mar. 25, 7:30 p.m.

Force Majeure An impulsive decision in a moment of crisis drives a wedge between a husband and wife, in this gripping moral drama from provocative director Ruben Östlund that became a word-of-mouth sensation at this year’s Cannes.

A critical hit at this year's Cannes, the new film from Ruben Östlund confirms the Swedish director as one of the most daring and audacious filmmakers to emerge in the last decade. On a family skiing vacation in the French Alps, Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) are enjoying lunch with their two children, when the sudden, shocking threat of an avalanche prompts an impulsive — and perhaps unforgivable — reaction from Tomas. Although in the event life and limb are preserved, the marriage bond between Tomas and Lisa may be shattered forever, and the film grippingly and incisively measures the fallout from Tomas' fateful act. Replete with bravura sequences — from the frighteningly realistic avalanche scene to the incredibly extended crying jag that teeters between the harrowing and the hilarious.

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Still Alice - Alzheimer Society fundraiser (14A, 99 minutes)

Wed. Apr. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Still Alice A successful Columbia University professor (Julianne Moore) struggles to maintain her mind and self after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, in this adaptation of the Lisa Genova novel co-starring Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin and Kate Bosworth.

Renowned linguistics professor Dr. Alice Howland  knows the truth of Bishop's poetic insight as well as anyone. Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, Alice learns the art of losing every day.

At first, Alzheimer's means losing her way around the streets of Manhattan, but soon — far too soon for her husband and three grown children — it's much more. But even as it puts her marriage to the test, Alice's new condition does provide the opportunity to reconnect with her youngest daughter, Lydia (Kristen Stewart), with whom she's never seen eye-to-eye. The fact that Alice is a lifelong student of language and communication proves a powerful resource in her fight against mental decline, but it also means that she has a uniquely troubling understanding of what's to come.

Directing duo Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (The Last of Robin Hood) have a keen knack for rendering individual experience, and in Still Alice they find an ideal subject for their talents. Though other films about Alzheimer's have prioritized its heartbreaking effect on relationships, Glatzer and Westmoreland turn their camera on Alice, detailing her slow decline — and the inventive tactics she employs to delay it — with affecting precision. With impressive performances from the film's supporting cast, which includes Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart and Kate Bosworth, Still Alice will break your heart. But it will also remind you that love is all around you, still.

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Mr. Turner (14A, 149 minutes)

Wed. Apr. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Turner Timothy Spall won the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his magnificent performance as J.M.W. Turner, in Mike Leigh’s gorgeously rendered biopic of the famed British landscape painter.

Before Monet and Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley — in other words, before the French Impressionists — there was Turner, one of the greatest of all English painters. J.M.W. Turner was in love with light and what it could do to buildings and cities, to the sea and ships, to the mountains and countryside.

Mike Leigh has ventured occasionally into period settings; when he has, he's achieved some of his subtlest work. His new film, Mr. Turner, is one of his masterworks, a film deeply respectful of its subject whilst probing the darker recesses of the man's personality.

Choosing to focus on the artist in middle age, Leigh finds a strange, anti-social mumbler far more comfortable with canvas and paint than the social niceties demanded of the era. Turner is single-minded in his focus on his art and career, but his interactions with women shape much of the narrative that Leigh details so effectively. Mr. Turner portrays a man dismissive of the mother of his two daughters, predatory toward his housekeeper, and yet ultimately blessed with an unexpected relationship that arrives in the autumn of his life. Leigh balances the painter's vagaries and misadventures with his work on some of the great masterpieces of the period: The Fighting Temeraire; Rain, Steam and Speed; Wreckers — Coast of Northumberland.

Home and studio life is contrasted with scuffles and politics at the Royal Academy, while the establishment of the time, embodied here in the form of a precocious John Ruskin, comes in for some gentle ribbing. Leigh is blessed with a troupe of wonderful actors, most notably Timothy Spall in the title role, as well as Marion Bailey and Dorothy Atkinson. But it is the director's oneness with the material itself that makes Mr. Turner feel so appropriate: a film about one artist, made by another.

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Foxcatcher (14A, 133 minutes)

Wed. May 6, 7:30 p.m.

Foxcatcher Two brothers, both former Olympic wrestling champions (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) become involved in a fateful and fatal friendship with a neurotic millionaire (Steve Carell), in this true-life drama from director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) that is already one of the year’s most buzzed-about films.

A mesmerizing hybrid of true crime and sports drama, Foxcatcher is destined to be one of the year's most talked-about films. It tells the fascinating, tragic story of wrestling champions Mark and Dave Schultz; specifically, the two brothers' fateful encounter with multi-millionaire coach John du Pont. Exemplifying the greatest strengths of Academy Award-nominated director Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher locates a balance of excitement and burgeoning dread, and keeps us firmly in its hold until its harrowing finish.

When we first meet Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), he's already on the far side of his career peak. Since winning the gold at the 1984 Olympics, his life has been reduced to a lonesome routine of training, enlivened only by the occasional speaking engagement. When Mark is invited by John du Pont (Steve Carrell) to join the US team preparing for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he asks his brother to take part, but the smarter, more seasoned Dave (Mark Ruffalo) refuses to uproot his family for the sake of glories already achieved.

Mark moves to du Pont's sprawling estate and becomes enveloped in a cocoon of wealth and eccentricity. Gun-loving, self-aggrandizing, and fiercely patriotic, du Pont spoils Mark with gifts and praise, even while pushing his limits with relentless training. Dave is eventually coaxed into joining Mark on "Team Foxcatcher," but there is something disquieting about du Pont's generosity. As they near a triumph at the Seoul Olympics, Mark's pent-up rage threatens to collide with du Pont's fevered paranoia, and the combination is disastrous.

The trio of stars play off one another brilliantly — and Carrell is worthy of special note, transforming himself into the pale, soft-spoken, and ominous du Pont.

Benefitting from meticulous detail, Foxcatcher echoes Miller's previous true-story films Capote and Moneyball in its depiction of American ambition and the cold-blooded pursuit of success.

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Birdman (unconfirmed - 14A, 119 minutes)

Wed. May 13, 7:30 p.m.

Birdman The first time we see Michael Keaton is from behind. His character, a formerly high-flying movie star, is sitting in the lotus position in his dressing room of a historic Broadway theatre, only he’s levitating above the ground. Bathed in sunlight streaming in from an open window, he looks peaceful. But a voice inside his head is growling, grumbling, gnawing at him grotesquely about matters both large and small.

The next time we see Keaton he’s dashing frantically through Times Square at night, having accidentally locked himself out of that same theatre in the middle of a performance of a Raymond Carver production that he stars in, wrote and directed. He’s swimming upstream through a river of gawking tourists, autograph seekers, food carts and street performers. But despite the chaos that surrounds him, he seems purposeful, driven and–for the first time–oddly content.

These are the extremes that director Alejandro G. Inarritu navigates with audacious ambition and spectacular skill in “Birdman”–the full title of which is “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” He’s made a film that’s both technically astounding yet emotionally rich, intimate yet enormous, biting yet warm, satirical yet sweet.

Through impossibly long, intricately choreographed tracking shots, the camera swoops through narrow corridors, up and down tight stairways and into crowded streets. It comes in close for quiet conversations and soars between skyscrapers for magical-realism flights of fancy. A percussive and propulsive score from Antonio Sanchez, heavy on drums and cymbals, maintains a jazzy, edgy vibe throughout.

Just as thrilling is the tour-de-force performance from Keaton in the role of a lifetime as Riggan Thompson, a washed-up actor trying to regain the former glory he achieved as the winged action hero Birdman. The film follows the fraught early going of his Broadway debut which is also his last shot at greatness–although his on-screen alter ego doesn’t help much by voicing his fears and making him doubt himself incessantly.

The result is one of the best times you’ll have at the movies this year–which might even be the best movie this year.

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TBA

Always more to come!

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