Inspired, inspiring, tender and touching, 'Stories We Tell' is a brilliant documentary portrait of a complicated yet deeply loving family from Oscar-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley.
Taking her cue from a family joke about-not resembling her father, Polley sets out to uncover the truth about her mysterious mother and her own uncertain lineage. Playfully yet pointedly interrogating a cast of blood relatives and family friends, she slowly pieces together a puzzle of conflicting stories, myths and memories until she makes a discovery that will shake her family to the core.
At once an exploration of the function of storytelling, the elusive nature of truth and what it means to be part of a family, 'Stories We Tell' is funny, profound, poignant and one of the most original films of the year.
One of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, 'Tabu' is a diptych starting off in present day Lisbon where Teresa Madruga gives a luminous performance as Pilar, a woman concerned about her neighbour Aurora's eccentricities. Finally Pilar meets Gian Luca, a figure from Aurora's past. He starts his story and the film jumps back in time to colonial Africa, where he and Aurora had a passionate love-affair. This second part is made as a quasi-silent film, with no dialogue, just music and voice-over. Former film critic Miguel Gomes both uses and slyly comments on all the techniques of cinema to make a truly virtuoso film. With a soundtrack that ranges from Lisztian piano music to cover versions of Phil Spector. 'Tabu' is just a delight. Not to mention the sad and melancholy crocodile...
When Carol (Cate Blanchett) walks into a New York City department store and meets Therese (Rooney Mara) an unlikely friendship sparks. Carol is an elegant socialite going through a bitter divorce while Therese is just starting out in life; unsure of who she wants to be. Mesmerized by each other, they face a choice: deny their hearts desires or defy society's conventions but in doing so, risk life as they know it.
The acclaimed new film tells the startlingly original and brutally honest story of 15 year-old Mia, brilliantly played by winner Katie Jarvis. A feisty and fiercely independent outsider, Mia is ostracised from her friends and lives uneasily with her volatile mother (Kierston Wareing) in a tough Essex estate from which she longs to escape. But the unexpected arrival of her mother's handsome and charismatic new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender) sparks a catalogue of events that threaten to turn Mia's world upside down.
Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his wife, Etheline (Angelica Huston), had three children - Chas, Margot, and Richie - and then they separated. Chas (Ben Stiller) started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a playwright and received a Braverman Grant of $50,000 in the ninth grade. Richie (Luke Wilson) was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal., failure, and disaster.
Jep Gambardella, a 65-year-old journalist and once promising novelist, lives his easy life among Rome's decadent high society in a swirl of rooftop parties and late-night soirees. But when he learns of the death of his friend's wife - a woman he once loved as an 18-year-old - his life is thrown into perspective and he begins to see the world through new eyes...
Taking its cue from Nietzsche's famous encounter with a mistreated horse on Via Carlo Alberto, The Turin Horse depicts the aftermath of this seemingly innocuous but destructively profound confrontation. Following a man and his daughter in their daily routine, a bizarre series of disturbing events slowly begin to strip life of its very essence resulting in a terrifying, all-consuming finale...
The Hurt Locker is an intense portrayal of elite soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs in the heat of combat. When renegade Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) takes command of a highly trained bomb disposal unit, he frequently risks the lives of himself and those around him with his suicidal methods and a complete disregard for danger. Caught in the middle are his subordinates Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), who can only watch as their leader descends further into addiction: an addiction to war.
Syndromes and a Century offers two separate stories or fragments set in hospitals, one rural and possibly in the past, one urban and possibly in the future. Or perhaps both are the same, at different periods, and the second set of characters reincarnations of the first.
An alien entity inhabits the earthly form of a seductive young woman who combs the Scottish highways in search of the human prey it is here to plunder. It lures its isolated and forsaken male victims into an otherworldly dimension where they are stripped and consumed. But life in all its complexity starts to change the alien. It begins to see itself as 'she', as human, with tragic and terrifying consequence. 'Under the Skin' is about seeing ourselves through alien eyes.
"Inglourious Basterds" begins in German-occupied France, Shoshanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand the Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shoshanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds", Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shoshanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own...
Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is living a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife (Maria Bello) and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana, but one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. Sensing danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defence killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom's life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man (Ed Harris) who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who's wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family fight back against this case of mistaken identity and struggle to cope with their changed reality, they are forced to confront their relationships and the divisive issues which surface as a result.
The population of a provincial town on the Hungarian plains await the arrival of a circus that features the stuffed carcass of a whale and a mysterious Prince. Its appearance disturbs the order of the small town, unleashing a torrent of violence and beauty.
From acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski comes "Ida", a poignant and powerfully told drama about 18-year-old Anna, a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, who is preparing to become a nun when she discovers that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past, evoking the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism. Powerfully written and eloquently shot, "Ida" is a masterly evocation of a time, a dilemma, and a defining historical moment.