Pick of the Litter – September 2015

BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Everest

Everest

(Universal) Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke. In 1996, it was a busy season for mountaineers both professional and amateur out to summit the highest mountain on the planet – Mt. Everest in Nepal. Competing professional guide teams were leading their clients to the summit. On May 10, it was unusually busy as 34 climbers were attempting to summit the South Face at once. Delays due to ropes not being set up ahead of time as well as bottlenecks led to summiting taking place well after the cutoff time for a safe descent to Camp IV. When a blizzard hit, many climbers were caught in the open in conditions that were not survivable. The fatalities due to the blizzard would be the most for a single day on Everest until 20 years later. Journalist Jon Krakauer who was on one of the two main teams summiting that day, wrote a book about his experiences; this movie is based on that book. September 25

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Steve Jobs The Man in the Machine

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

(Magnolia) Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bob Belleville, Chrisann Brennan. The late Steve Jobs is in many ways the embodiment of a tech baron; driven, exacting, inspiring and innovative, Jobs led Apple to the forefront of the personal computer revolution, and after having been ousted from his own company, returned to lead it to the forefront of the personal device revolution. Apple’s gadgets from the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad have revolutionized the way we interact with technology, for better or for worse. Yet the man who was the face of Apple wasn’t always a nice man; he was capable of great cruelty, deception and megalomaniacal behavior. He wasn’t a saint, he wasn’t a demon but somewhere in between and while the director of this documentary, Oscar winner Alex Gibney, has his own ideas of who Steve Jobs was, there is no doubt that his company has made an impact on the lives of each and every person reading this now. September 4

Coming Home

Coming Home

(Sony Classics) Gong Li, Chen Daoming, Zhang Huiwen, Guo Tao. During China’s Cultural Revolution, untold numbers of Chinese were arrested for a variety of offenses, significant and otherwise, real or imagined. Lu was one of those arrested; years later, when he is finally released, he eagerly returns home to his beloved wife Feng only to discover to his horror that she no longer remembers him, yet she still misses her darling husband Lu. He is forced to play a role in order to remain close to his wife, wondering if he will be forever sentenced to a different kind of exile. Director Zhang Yimou is one of the greatest ever produced by China; he creates works of extraordinary beauty and emotion and this looks no different. September 9

Durak

Durak

(Olive) Sergey Artsybashev, Nina Antyukhova, Pyotr Barancheev, Nikolay Bendera. The simple plumber in a run-down dormitory turned apartment building discovers that the structural integrity of the old highrise has been compromised and the building is on the verge of collapse within hours. He must evacuate the building – but the corrupt bureaucrats who allowed the apartments to fall into such a state of disrepair would rather see 800 people perish than their own reputations be besmirched. This award winning Russian film details the reality of life in the post-Soviet Russia. September 16

About Ray

About Ray

(Weinstein) Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, Tate Donovan. I don’t think any movie being released this month could be this timeless. Ray is a teen transgender transitioning from his female birth body into his new male identity. His family is managing to cope more or less but his estranged birth father refusing to sign the paperwork that will allow Ray to have the surgery he needs. Could be an award contender later on this year. September 18

The Reflektor Tapes

The Reflektor Tapes

(Arts Alliance) Win Butler, Regine Chassagne. Arcade Fire is one of the world’s most honored and respected bands. Their most recent album, Reflektor was by all measures one of their most popular and most creative albums. Their live shows on the Reflektor tour were a triumph of image and showmanship, hearkening back to some of the most memorable shows of rock’s bygone eras. Recorded around the world, we are given access and insight into the process that the band employs to create their music and unique stage show. This is a must-see not only for fans of the band but for anyone who loves great music and great spectacle. Here in Orlando, it will be playing downtown at the Cobb Plaza Cinema Cafe. September 23

99 Homes

99 Homes

(Broad Green) Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Clancy Brown. Desperation can make strange bedfellows of us all. When a man is evicted from his home by a greedy realtor, he is literally willing to do anything to get his home back – including working for the realtor evicting other families from their homes. Searing performances by Garfield, Shannon and Dern look to make this not only timely from a political and social standpoint but one of those movies that is going to make an impression on the film buff community. September 25

Stonewall

Stonewall

(Roadside Attractions) Jeremy Irvine, Ron Perlman, Joey King, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Roland Emmerich is better known for big massive loud popcorn movies, not the sort of films that end up on this series, but here he is. Of late his movies have been met with some derision, so this is going to be an important movie for him. The subject is the Stonewall Riots, an event which has as much emotional resonance to the LGBT community as the Selma march has to the African-American community. It deserves a movie equally as somber and uplifting as Selma was; I just hope that this has the same reverence. September 25

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