Jun 162015
 
 June 16, 2015  Film

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

Deux jours une nuit - DVD D4878An assembly-line worker (Marion Cotillard), recently returned to work after an emotional breakdown, discovers that her co-workers, coerced by management, have voted to terminate her employment rather than forfeit their annual bonus; over a long and desperate weekend, she visits them at their homes and begs them to change their votes. The premise for this compassionate gem of a movie couldn’t be simpler or more compelling, yet writer-directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (The Kid With a Bike; Rosetta) tease out any number of moral complexities as the heroine learns of her coworkers’ various circumstances.

“Cotillard gets so persuasively inside her heroine’s skin that it’s not at all surprising that this performance has earned her another Oscar nomination. And she does so without resorting to shameless, award-baiting grandstanding.” (Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Two Days, One Night is a small miracle of a movie, a drama so purely humane that it makes most attempts at audience uplift look crass and calculated by comparison.” (A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club)

In French with English subtitles

Belgium — 2014 — 95 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

Jun 092015
 
 June 9, 2015  Film

FORCE MAJEURE

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

Force Majeure - DVD FOR F6974An upper-middle-class Swedish family travels to the French Alps to enjoy a few days of skiing and spend some precious time with each other. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular when, during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche turns everything upside down. Writer-director Ruben Östlund employs eerily controlled long takes to conjure an air of doom around his characters; and beneath the commanding surfaces lie acute, darkly-funny observations about marriage, parenting, and social conformism.

“Both funny and sad, often in the same glance-averted instant. See it with someone you’d trust to stick around in an avalanche. It’s one of the highlights of 2014.” (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)

“This brilliant, viciously amusing takedown of bourgeois complacency, gender stereotypes and assumptions and the illusion of security rubs your face in human frailty as relentlessly as any Michael Haneke movie.” (Stephen Holden, The New York Times)

In Swedish & English with English subtitles

Sweden — 2014 — 115 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

Jun 022015
 
 June 2, 2015  Film

Whiplash

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

Whiplash - DVD W5737Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), a young jazz drummer who attends one of the best music schools in the United States under the tutelage of the school’s fearsome maestro of jazz named Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, in his Oscar-winning performance), struggles to make it as a top musician.

Whiplash is cinematic adrenaline: in an era when so many films feel more refined by focus groups or marketing managers than their ostensible creators, this is a deeply personal and vibrantly alive drama. And the music, well, it has its own moments of brutal, breathtaking fusion. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle.

“More Full Metal Jacket than Dead Poet’s Society, Whiplash is an epic battle of wills between two fanatical artists, one doing everything in his power to painfully make a master musician out of the other.” (A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club)

“However genius may flourish, you know it when you see it, and Whiplash is it.” (Robbie Collin, The Telegraph)

In English only

United States — 2014 — 107 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

May 282015
 
 May 28, 2015  Film

ST. VINCENT

Wedneday, June 3, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

StMaggie (Melissa McCarthy), a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbour, Vincent (Bill Murray), a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka (Naomi Watts), Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine – the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart.

“The crowd-pleasing St. Vincent provides Bill Murray with his first comic vehicle in years. The result is a tour de force and a cause for major celebration.” (Lou Lumenick, New York Post)

“Bill Murray is always a delight, but his films with kids (Meatballs; Rushmore; The Royal Tenenbaums) give his unencumbered playfulness even more room to roam.” (Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News)

United States — 2014 — 102 mins. — In English only

Click here to see the latest PDF of the Wednesday Afternoon at the Movies pamphlet

May 262015
 
 May 26, 2015  Film

THE SELFISH GIANT

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

20130903030737!The_Selfish_Giant_posterIn this gut-wrenching story of working-poor desperation in northern England, two pre-teen boys, both social outcasts from broken homes, are taken under the wing of an immoral junkyard owner, who employs them to steal metal from public works. The film’s turn toward the tragic is hardly un-telegraphed, but its emotional blows still land with crushing precision. Carried aloft by the remarkable performances of her two young non-proffesional leads (Conner Chapman & Shaun Thomas), filmmaker Clio Barnard’s poignant, unflinching slice of hard-knock-life grips tight and lingers long.

“It’s so assured and accomplished, so rigorous on both a human and technical level, and so clearly driven by love for this harsh landscape and its hardened people, that I was entirely swept away by its characters and their story.” (Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com)

“So hauntingly perfect is Barnard’s film, and so skin-pricklingly alive does it make you feel to watch it, that at first you can hardly believe the sum of what you have seen.” (Robbie Collin, The Telegraph)

In English only

Great Britain — 2013 — 91 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

May 192015
 
 May 19, 2015  Film

LOVE IS STRANGE

Tuesday, May 26 , 2015 at 2 pm – Free

Love is Strange - DVD L89755Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) take advantage of New York’s new marriage laws and tie the knot after being together for 39 years. Unfortunately, the Catholic school where George teaches does not approve, and they reluctantly fire him, forcing the couple to split up and stay with friends while they sell their apartment and look for cheaper housing. George crashes with two gay police officers, while Ben, who’s a painter, bunks with his nephew’s family in Brooklyn—a temporary situation that weighs heavily on all involved. This is a warm, illuminating domestic tragedy, of sorts, about the finite nature of any union, in which writer-director Ira Sachs and his co-leads, Lithgow and Molina, turn in career-topping work.

“You need to give Love Is Strange your eyes and ears and attention, let it work its effects on you gradually, like the lovely Chopin piano music that forms the spine of its soundtrack.” (Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com)

“By the time the movie is over, you feel as if the people in it were friends you know well enough to tire of, and to miss terribly when they go away.” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times)

In English only

United States — 2014 — 94 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

May 132015
 
 May 13, 2015  Film, Lectures

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 2 pm

North America’s Love Affair with the Drive-In Movie Theatre

drive-inxz

Once a vibrant part of popular culture, why do drive-ins barely survive today in a world that still loves both cars and movies?

Join film librarian Steven Tomlinson as he discusses the phenomenon and experience of this oddly-particular form of mass nocturnal outdoor entertainment (the B movies; double features; huge screens; intermissions; concession stands; playgrounds; tiny window-speakers; etc.) in service to both wholesome family outings and covert teenage concupiscence, while also illustrating a number of historic and still-standing drive-ins.

Free for library members; non-members $15. Registration required.

Location: Multi-purpose room of the library

May 122015
 
 May 12, 2015  Film

LOCKE

Tuesday, May 19 , 2015 at 2 pm – Free
NOTE: Today’s screening will be held in the council chamber, due to renovations taking place in the auditorium.

Locke - DVD L8144 - BRD L8144

A married construction foreman (Tom Hardy) abandons his responsibilities the night before an important job and drives to a London hospital, where a woman with whom he had a fling is about to give birth to his child. Written and directed by Steven Knight, this riveting exercise in minimalism functions as sort of a mobile chamber drama: the action is confined entirely to the protagonist’s car, and the story unfolds through cell phone calls to his wife, who’s devastated; his boss, who’s enraged; and his panicked ex-lover. A tremendous piece of filmmaking, Locke is positively “Dogme 95-esque” in its use of available resources like passing streetlights and reflections in the car’s windows for dreamy, impressionistic effect. 

“Tom Hardy might be past needing a star-making performance, but this is the kind of work that raises him to the highest echelon of actors working in film today. He and Knight remind us that artists can astonish with the simplest of methods.” (Alonso Duralde, The Wrap)

Locke is a fascinating instance of a filmmaker working with self-imposed rules, but never forgetting that those restrictions are only worthwhile to the extent that they serve character and story. It’s a ride well worth taking.” (Marc Mohan, Portland Oregonian)

In English only

United Kingdom — 2013 — 85 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

May 052015
 
 May 5, 2015  Film

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

downloadDirector Susanne Bier takes a break from piercing ethical dramas (Brothers; After the Wedding; In a Better World) to try her hand at romantic comedy, and the result is an enjoyably-perceptive and unmitigated delight. A hairdresser (Trine Dyrholm) who has recently recovered from cancer finds out her husband is having an affair. But while she’s on her way to Italy for her daughter’s wedding, she meets an angrily-widowed Englishman (Pierce Brosnan) who also happens to be the father of the groom. The cliché-averse will doubtlessly resist, but the laughter and tears here are never less than fully earned. 

Love is All You Need has been made for an audience rarely catered for by the film industry: intelligent adults who enjoy perceptive and good-hearted drama.” (Robbie Collin, The Telegraph)

“Irresistibly entertaining and beautiful to look at it, the film is pleasant at worst, and – at best – wisely defies its slapped-on American title, a warm reminder that love isn’t a solution so much as it’s a brilliant way of embracing life’s problems.” (David Ehrlich, Film.com)

In Danish and English with English subtitles

Denmark — 2013 — 116 mins.

Introduced by Gayle Cohen with a post-screening discussion lead by her

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Bright Lights Film Club pamphlet

Apr 302015
 
 April 30, 2015  Film

THE IMITATION GAME

Wedneday, May 6, 2015 at 2 pm – Free

errqwDuring the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality – little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany’s World War II Enigma machine. On its bright face, The Imitation Game, written by Graham Moore and directed by Morten Tyldum, fits into that cozy genre of tortured-genius biopics that sprout like kudzu just in time for the Oscars. But that’s not fair to the film, which, especially through Cumberbatch’s charismatic and intelligent performance, outthinks and outplays other examples of the genre. From sets and costumes to Alexandre Desplat’s musical score, The Imitation Game is everything classy that Hollywood strives to be.

Great Britain — 2014 — 115 mins. — In English only

Click here to see the latest PDF of the Wednesday Afternoon at the Movies pamphlet