Pick of the Litter – December 2016

BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

(Disney) Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed. The first Star Wars movie not to be part of a trilogy but to be a stand-alone adventure makes its debut this Christmastime. It is set in the world of the first film. The Rebel Alliance has discovered that the Empire is building a monstrous new weapon, one that could turn the tide of the rebellion and even end it completely. They hatch a desperate plan to steal the blueprints to this weapon, a weapon known as the Death Star. December 16

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Best and Most Beautiful Things

Best and Most Beautiful Things

(First Run) Michelle Smith. This Florida Film Festival jury award winner from this past April’s event is finally getting a theatrical release. The documentary focuses on Michelle Smith, a blind and autistic young woman who has decided that the obstacles stacked against her are not going to keep her from living her life to its fullest. Already a bit of an outcast, she finds a home in the fetish community and develops a BDSM romance that might just rescue her and allow her to live life the way she chooses to. The film has been submitted to the Academy for consideration for a Best Documentary award at the 2017 Oscars. December 2

 

Burn Country

Burn Country

(Orion) Dominic Rains, Melissa Leo, James Franco, Rachel Brosnahan. A former Afghan war journalist is exiled from his own country. Looking for a place as far removed from his former home as possible, he settles on a small Northern California town and gets a job on their local newspaper. Never could he imagine that the town had its own secrets, its own war and its own danger. December 9

The Brand New Testament

The Brand New Testament

(Music Box) Pili Groyne, Benoit Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve, Franҫois Damiens. Would it surprise you to know that God exists? Maybe not, but I’m sure it would blow your mind to know that He lives in Brussels with His wife and daughter. Furthermore, it might or might not catch you off-guard to know that he’s a bit of a dick, which annoys his daughter endlessly. So to get back at her daddy, she texts everyone on Earth the date of their death which throws the whole world – and His plan – into chaos.  December 9

Ghostland: View of the Ju'Hoansi

Ghostland: View of the Ju’Hoansi

(Autlook) Simon Stadler. The Ju’Hoansi are the oldest culture on Earth but their traditions that go back literally to before Homo Sapiens walked upright are coming under fire. Conditions in Namibia have led to them being banned from hunting. Forced by circumstance to join the civilized world, members of the tribe are brought through the Kalahari desert and into Europe to experience the modern mechanized world. We are treated to a fascinated look as to how outsiders view our modern culture and their insights just might surprise you. December 14

Neruda

Neruda

(The Orchard) Gael Garcia Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Alfredo Castro, Mercedes Morán. From Oscar-nominated director Pablo Larrain comes this delightful and maybe even true story of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda who became a fugitive in his native Chile when he joined the Communist party shortly after World War II. Assigned to arrest the corpulent poet, Inspector Oscar Peluchonneau is led on a bizarre game of cat and mouse throughout the country with Neruda trying to humiliate the government and Peluchonneau trying to represent its competence. December 16

I, Daniel Blake

I, Daniel Blake

(Sundance Selects) Dave Johns, Hayley Squire, Sharon Percy, Briana Shann. Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Loach looks at the British safety net as a carpenter, injured and unable to work, falls through the cracks of the disability process in the UK. He also meets a single mother trying to make ends meet with government assistance also wading through an often confusing bureaucracy. While this is set in Britain, there are certainly a lot of things here that those in America who have had to get government assistance will nod grimly at – in an era when those kinds of assistance programs may end up being slashed to the bone.. December 23

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