Pick of the Litter – May 2015

BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Avengers Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron
(Disney/Marvel) Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, James Spader, Chris Hemsworth. Marvel’s merry march through the box office will undoubtedly continue as they kick off the summer blockbuster with a sequel to the team-up that remains their biggest box office smash to date. As the Phase II of the cinematic universe comes to a close, the newest Avengers film will kick off the Civil War storyline that will no doubt dominate Marvel’s big screen – and small screen – properties for the next couple of years. This is likely to be the biggest box office success of the summer, although to be honest there are a few contenders who may knock it off its presumed throne. Nonetheless this will be one movie all the fanboys will turn out to see in droves. May 1

INDEPENDENT PICKS

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
(Music Box) Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, David Wiberg, Mia Skaringer. Every so often a comedy comes along that doesn’t try to push boundaries or reinvent the wheel; it’s just plain funny. This Florida Film Festival favorite concerns a man who, on his 100th birthday, climbs out of the window of the retirement home he’s been placed in and goes on an adventure that involves a suitcase full of drug money, an elephant, the world’s most indecisive man, bikers, drug lords, bohemians, police detectives and Stalin. It’s absurd, yes, but I dare you to watch this one without laughing out loud at least once. May 1

In the Name of My Daughter

In the Name of My Daughter
(Cohen Media Group) Catherine Deneuve, Guillaume Canet, Adéle Haenel, Judith Chemia. Based on real life events, this is the latest from master director André Téchiné of France. In the 1970s, a powerful casino owner on the French Riviera welcomes her daughter home after a failed marriage. However, corrupt forces led by Mafiosi Jean-Dominique Fratoni, wish to take over her casino which has become vulnerable after professional gamblers have taken it for five million francs in a single night. Her daughter, angered that she hasn’t received her inheritance from her father that she feels she is entitled to, hooks up with her mother’s lawyer, an ambitious sort who manipulates her into voting against her mother at a board meeting which gives control of the casino to Fratoni and ruins her mother financially. Soon thereafter, the daughter disappears and is presumed murdered. Her mother takes up a 20 year crusade to find the murderer and bring him to justice. It’s a gripping story, one which most American audiences are unfamiliar with but should resonate here for those willing to take a chance on it. May 8

Animals

Animals
(Oscilloscope) David Dasmalchian, Kim Shaw, John Heard, John Hoogenakker. Winner of the Special Jury Award for Narrative Features at the most recent SXSW Festival, this searing drama looks at two homeless drug addicts; their dreams, their love and the damage done. Written by lead actor David Dasmalchian, this New York City-set drama has a bittersweet quality to it as the lovers look in the windows of other lives and see their hopes for a future together, one which is compromised by their addictions. The film seems to pull no punches, showing how the addiction fuels the decisions that they make not all of which are beneficial to them as a couple. It also shows how society views them as less than human. Definitely one which should be on your VOD list and your wish list for local theatrical release.. May 15

Good Kill Good Kill
(IFC) Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Kravitz. Inspired by actual incidents, the latest film from New Zealand-born writer-director Andrew Niccol looks at the human cost of technology as Niccol is reunited with Gattaca star Hawke as a former fighter pilot who know remote controls drones as they take out targets half a world away. As he begins to question the morality of what he’s doing, the doubt takes a toll on his career, his family and his psyche. When we wage war like the way we play video games, does our moral compass go out the window? How do we differentiate the innocent from the foe? And when does collateral damage become unacceptable, and who determines that line? These are questions that the modern military grapples with every day and they are questions that we need to be thinking about as well. May 15

Time Lapse

Time Lapse
(XLRator) Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary, George Finn, John Rhys-Davies. An extremely intriguing sci-fi concept involves a group of friends who discover their neighbor in the apartment next door has invented a camera that can take pictures 24 hours into the future. At first they use it to make bets on the horse races, the results of which they post in their window for them to see in the photo the previous day. However, this attracts them the kind of attention that they don’t want. While the movie looks like it has the potential to be really interesting, it also has the potential to be a rote thriller. Either way, it could be quite the ride if the filmmakers did this right. May 15

Unfreedom

Unfreedom
(Dark Frames/Film Buff) Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussein, Bhanu Uday, Preeti Gupta. Religious extremism is a global issue and this movie examines it from the perspectives of two stories occurring simultaneously in Delhi and New York, one the story of an Indian woman chafing at the idea of an arranged marriage and the other of the kidnapping of a progressive Muslim professor by Islamic terrorists who want to silence his ideas. The movie was banned in India where the concern was that it would inflame religious tensions as well as insult the religious. From what I could tell from the trailer, it looks like the filmmakers want you to make up your own mind. May 29

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