Pick of the Litter – April 2018


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Avengers: Infinity War

(Disney/Marvel) Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin. Summer starts early this year as the traditional first weekend in May Marvel play date has been moved back a year this year as Earth’s mightiest heroes will face their mightiest challenge as the mad Titan Thanos comes a’calling and he has the Infinity Stones firmly in his sights. These gems, which have been making appearances since Phase One of the MCU, are incredibly powerful on their own but when gathered together and placed in the infinity gauntlet they give the wearer virtually unlimited power to re-shape reality in his or her own image. This is the first of a two-part Avengers movie which will bring Phase Three to a close and change the landscape of the MCU permanently and not everyone will survive. April 27

INDEPENDENT PICKS

 

The Endless

(Well Go USA) Callie Hernandez, Emily Montague, James Jordan, Tate Ellington. Two young brothers who escaped a doomsday cult return to the cult’s compound after getting a mysterious message. When they arrive, they discover that there may be something that the cult has discovered that may prove their beliefs not far from the mark. Critics are already comparing it to some of the best horror films of the decade and promising that this one is a game-changer. From the trailer, it appears that the critics could be on to something. April 6

Borg/McEnroe

(Neon) Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Nuvotny. One of the greatest tennis rivalries of all times took place during the 1980s and the two men involved couldn’t have been more different. There’s the passionate, temperamental American John McEnroe and the cool, machine-like Bjorn Borg. Together they dominated men’s tennis in their heyday and their battles with each other were legendary. This will be playing the upcoming Florida Film Festival. April 13

Aardvark

(Great Point) Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Jon Hamm, Sheila Vand. A disturbed man goes to see a psychiatrist about the return of his brother. The two have an abusive relationship but the psychiatrist suspects that the man may be bipolar or have a severe mental illness, especially when she meets the brother who proves to be much different than her patient described him. However, as the tales grow more and more wild she begins to wonder if maybe there is something much stranger happening to her. April 13

The Devil and Father Amorth

(The Orchard) William Friedkin, Gabrielle Amorth. The claim to fame of William Friedkin was that he directed the classic horror movie The Exorcist. However, he hadn’t ever seen an actual exorcism being performed – until now. This is, incredibly, not a narrative film – it’s a documentary.  April 20

Ghost Stories

(IFC Midnight) Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther. The promotional material claims that this is the best British horror film in years and it just might be. A debunker of paranormal phenomenon is presented with three cases that nobody has been able to disprove; the deeper he investigates, the more the cases begin to be connected – to him. April is turning out to be a great month for horror movies this year. April 20

Disobedience

(Bleecker Street) Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Anton Lesser. A woman, exiled from the conservative Jewish community that she grew up in after a sexual transgression, returns to mourn her father who had just passed away. The same patterns and passions that ignited the ire of the community smolder in her once again as the past looks ready to be repeated once more. April 27

The Gospel According to André

(Magnolia) André Leon Talley, Whoopie Goldberg, Anna Wintour, Tom Ford. Perhaps the most unlikely fashion icon ever, Talley went from humble beginnings in the segregated American South to the runways of Paris and Milan. One of the more quotable designers, his sense of style has informed not only the Fashionista community but also the African-American community as well. Not bad for a tall, gay African-American man from the South. April 27

The House of Tomorrow

(Shout Factory) Asa Butterfield, Alex Wolff, Nick Offerman, Ellen Burstyn. A high school boy lives a sheltered life with his great-aunt and legal guardian in Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome house, the House of Tomorrow. When he meets another young man with a heart condition and a love for punk rock which he shares with geodesic dome boy, both of their lives will be changed forever. April 27

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Pick of the Litter – March 2018


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Ready Player One

(Warner Brothers) Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg. By the year 2045 the world has fallen into an epic malaise. There isn’t much hope, there isn’t much happiness – except in the Oasis, a virtual world that belongs to the most profitable corporation in the world. When the recently deceased founder of the company initiates a contest that will give gamers the opportunity to inherit control of the company and of the Oasis, it initiates a scramble to find the hidden Easter Egg and win the Oasis. However, there are forces at work that will stop at nothing to get that prize. Directed by none other than Steven Spielberg, the film is based on the pop culture masterpiece by Ernest Cline. March 29

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Foxtrot

(Sony Classics) Lior Ashkenazy, Sarah Adler, Yonathan Shiray, Shira Haas. At a desolate army outpost in the Israeli wilderness, tragedy strikes as it often will there. The family left behind of a young soldier stationed there must come to terms with their grief and loss in the wake of these events. This was Israel’s official submission for the 2018 Foreign Language Academy Award. March 2

Submission

(Great Point Media) Stanley Tucci, Kyra Sedgwick, Addison Timlin, Janeane Garofalo. A professor of writing at a university struggles with his own writer’s block and that creeping feeling that his best work and happiest days are behind him. He takes an interest in one of his students whose work is sensual and erotic, and who apparently has a major crush on him. However, he discovers that the attention comes at a terrible price. March 2

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall

(A24) Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Monaghan. A gifted young writer creates a book that becomes a national phenomenon – and a national controversy – and then he disappears completely from view. A detective with murky motives goes on the trail of the missing author, digging up unsavory secrets about his past in the process. March 2

The Death of Stalin

(IFC) Steve Buscemi, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Palin. When the dictator Joseph Stalin died in 1953, the Soviet Union was plunged into chaos as various factions fought for control. Master satirist Armando Iannucci (In the Loop) turns these events into a wicked comedy that is both irreverent and perhaps, a look at what modern politics have devolved into.  March 9

Itzhak

(Greenwich) Itzhak Perlman, Toby Perlman, Alan Alda, Billy Joel. One of the greatest violinists to have ever lived certainly wasn’t  a sure bet for greatness when he started out. A polio victim, he fought to be taken seriously as a musician when teachers and others only saw his crutches. He rose nonetheless to become one of the greatest musicians of our time and a man whose passion for life is as infectious as his violin playing. March 9

The Forgiven

(Saban) Forest Whitaker, Eric Bana, Jeff Gum, Morné Visser. After the end of apartheid in South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu meets with a brutal murderer in a notorious prison; one seeking answers in a murder forgotten by the authorities, the other seeking redemption. Based on actual events, this story was a powderkeg of controversy in the early years of Nelson Mandela’s presidency; veteran director Roland Joffe was behind the camera for this one. March 9

Maineland

(Abramorama) Miao Wang. There has been an enormous wave of affluent children sent by their parents from mainland China to study at private schools in the United States. Some of the expectations of the kids, buoyed by American movies, are not terribly reasonable but the reality of their Chinese schooling sends them to a country far away from their home with great hopes nevertheless. March 16

Back to Burgundy

(Music Box) Pio Marmaï, Ana Girardot, François Civil, Jean-Marc Roulot. Master director Cédric Klapisch returns with this heartwarming tale of a young prodigal son, who left his family vineyard in Burgundy to see the world, returning when his father falls ill. Reuniting with his sister and brother, the three must rebuild their relationship and their trust in one another if they are to weather this crisis. March 23

Getting Grace

(Hannover House) Daniel Roebuck, Madelyn Dundon, Marsha Dietlein, Dana Ashbrook. A teenage girl who is in the final stages of terminal cancer befriends a socially awkward funeral director in an effort to find out what will happen to her after she dies. Her zest for life and unconventional attitude give him the courage to be himself. Roebuck, who plays the funeral director, also directed the film. March 23

Beauty and the Dogs

(Oscilloscope Laboratories) Mariam Al Ferjani, Ghanem Zrelli, Noomen Hamda, Mohamed Akkari. A film based on actual events, this follows the fight for justice by a young Tunisian woman who undergoes a terrifying ordeal after leaving a student party with a mysterious young man. Her battle will be uphill since the law favors the side of those who torment her. March 23

Caught

(Cinedigm/Great Point) Mickey Sumner, Cian Barry, April Pearson, Ruben Crow. A couple, both journalists, living in the idyllic English countryside, go out for a walk on the nearby moors and snap some pictures of apparent military activity there. Not too long afterwards, a strange couple dressed similarly show up at their door asking what seem to be polite questions at first but as the questions grow more bizarre and personal, they soon realize this isn’t an ordinary man and woman and the two journalists will have the scoop of the century – if they live to file it. March 30

The China Hustle

(Magnolia) Jed Rothstein, Alex Gibney. Wall Street is at it again. Chinese companies, based in America, have been attractive to investors since the Chinese economic boom of the last decade. Hoping to make up their losses from the 2008 recession, there has been heavy investment in these 500 or so companies. The trouble is that they are paper companies – they don’t actually produce anything. Fraud is being perpetrated on a massive scale and the government knows about it. As one of the financial experts says grimly, “Hold on to your wallets.” March 30

Pick of the Litter – February 2018


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Black Panther

(Disney/Marvel) Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira. T’Challa has succeeded his murdered father as King of Wakanda, an isolated but technologically advanced African nation. Factions both from within his country and without challenge his leadership and threaten to drag Wakanda into a war they do not want. T’Challa must take up the mantle of Black Panther – guardian of his nation – to keep his country from tearing itself apart. February 16

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Above & Beyond Acoustic: Giving Up the Day Job

(Abramorama) Tony McGuinness, Jono Grant, Paavo Siljamaki. One of the world’s biggest electronic dance music bands, Above & Beyond have been able to sell out venues like Madison Square Garden and headlined festivals like Lollapalooza. Starting in 2014 they began experimenting with doing acoustic versions of their own songs, regressing back to their earlier days as musicians rather than DJs. This would lead to a watershed concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2016. This film documents that journey from the dance clubs to the acoustic stage. February 2

Bomb City

(Gravitas Ventures) Dave Davis, Glenn Morshower, Logan Huffman, Lorelei Linklater. Loosely based on the true story of Brian Deneke, this is a tale about a group of punk rockers in a conservative Texas town who have had enough of a clique of well-to-do high school football players. This leads to a confrontation that has tragic consequences.. February 9

Entanglement

(Dark Sky) Thomas Middleditch, Jess Wexler, Johannah Newmarch, Diana Bang. A young man, despairing of making any personal connections in this world, attempts suicide but fails. While recovering, he falls in love with a girl who almost became his sister. That’s when things really start to get weird. The trailer is whimsical and charming; this could be a cliché-ridden indie dud or something really unique. February 9

Double Lover

(Cohen Media Group) Marine Vacth, Jérémie Renier, Jacqueline Bisset, Myriam Boyer. A beautiful but fragile young woman falls in love with her psychotherapist. Eventually she moves in with him but soon discovers that he has been hiding a part of himself that he didn’t want her to see. This is the latest from director François Ozon who also helmed the erotic thriller Swimming Pool.  February 14

Tehran Taboo

(Kino-Lorber) Alireza Bayram, Sasan Behroozian, Zahra Amir Ebrahimi, Arash Marandi. This animated feature (which uses the technique of rotoscoping – drawing the animation over live-action film) follows the lives of four young people in Iran who are forced to break the taboos of their restrictive Islamic culture in order to find their own happiness. February 14

The Millionaires’ Unit

(Humanus) Bruce Dern (narrator).They came from wealth and privilege; everything had been handed to them their whole lives. Yet when the First World War loomed on the horizon, the members of the Yale Flying Club took it upon themselves to enlist. They became the first air unit to fly for the United States in the war; one of their members would be the first American airmen to die in the war. They were dubbed by the New York Times as The Millionaires’ Unit and their story is told through amazing archival footage, thrilling air combat re-creations and the recollections of their descendants. February 15

The Housemaid

(IFC) Kate Nhung, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Svitlana Kovalenko. In 1953, a Vietnamese orphan is hired to work as a housemaid on a rubber plantation in French Indochina. She hears about tales of ghosts and haunting but she is too busy falling in love with the French Captain who owns the plantation. However their feelings for each other have awakened angry ghosts – including the vengeful first wife of the Captain. The trailer looks damn scary. February 16

Hichki

(Yash Raj) Rani Mukerji, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Ivan Rodrigues, Asif Basra. A young teacher with Tourette’s syndrome takes on a position at an elite prep school in India. First she must win over her students with her positive attitude; then she must win over the administrators. February 23

Mute

(Netflix) Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Seyneb Saleh. A bartender in a Berlin of the near future has been without a voice since a childhood accident. When the love of his life disappears, he goes up against the criminal underbelly of the city to find out what happened to her. This is the latest from director Duncan Jones and is said to be set in the same universe as Moon. February 23

 

 

 

 

Pick of the Litter – January 2018


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Insidious: The Last Key

(Blumhouse/Universal) Lin Shaye, Kirk Acevedo, Bruce Davison, Leigh Whannell. In yet another prequel for this popular horror franchise, Dr. Elise Rainer must make her most perilous journey into the Further yet with stakes much higher than she’s ever faced before. That’s because the haunting that she’s investigating is in her own family home. January 5

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Children of Beqaa

(Green Apple) Elias Matar, Lyla Matar. Lebanon is hosting over two million Syrian refugees. At one of the main camps in Beqaa, 70% of the refugees are under the age of 18. The government is overwhelmed, the NGOs trying to help are overwhelmed and the people are slowly starving and dying of thirst. This documentary hopes to shine a light in the darkness and bring world attention on the situation which grows more critical by the day. January 5

Vazante

(Music Box) Adriano Carvalho, Luana Tito Nastas, Sandra Corveloni, Roberto Audio. A young woman in 19th century colonial Brazil is forced to marry the husband of her late aunt who happens to be a slave trader. Leaving her for extended periods to go capture African slaves, she comes to know the slaves as human beings and begins to realize the immorality of what her husband does for a living. January 12

The Final Year

(Magnolia/HBO) Barack Obama, John Kerry, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes. The final calendar year of the Obama administration is given extraordinary access to documentarians who show the various challenges, triumphs and heartbreaks that the Obama presidency endured in 2016. Touted as a “real life West Wing,” this is in equal parts civics lesson and history lesson. January 19

The Leisure Seeker

(Sony Classics) Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland, Janel Moloney, Kirsty Mitchell. An elderly couple takes their RV which they’ve dubbed “The Leisure Seeker” from New York to Key West in a quest to visit Hemingway’s home. With the husband dealing with oncoming dementia and his wife undergoing chemotherapy, this trip is going to be their last hurrah – or their finest hour and quite possibly both.  January 16

Mom and Dad

(Momentum) Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Lance Henriksen. A self-absorbed teenage girl and her younger brother find themselves in a fight for survival when their parents – along with all the other parents in town – begin to turn against their kids with increasing bloody violence. This is the latest from the twisted mind of Brian Taylor who along with Mark Neveldine directed Crank. Cage has been quoted as saying this is the most fun he’s had making  a movie in a decade.. January 19

Have a Nice Day

(Strand) This animated feature is most definitely not for the kiddies. A young criminal rips off the Chinese triad of a whole lot of cash to get his girl some plastic surgery. It has been described as what would happen if Quentin Tarantino made Reservoir Dogs as an animated film. This might just be the strangest feature-length animation you see all year – and it’s only January. January 26

Pick of the Litter – December 2017


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

(Disney) Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac. The First Order continues to overwhelm the fragile new Republic and it looks like only a return of the Jedi can save them. The last Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker has been found; but as it turns out, he may not be all that eager to bring the defenders of the Force back into duty. It was recently announced that the director of this film will spearhead the next Star Wars trilogy. December 15

INDEPENDENT PICKS

The Dancer

(Myriad) Soko, Gaspard Ulliel, Mélanie Thierry, Lily-Rose Depp. At the dawn of the Belle Epoque at the Folies Bergéres danced an American who used the stage name Loie Fuller. She was an inspiration for Toulouse-Lautrec. She revolutionized dance and became a bitter rival to fellow American Isadora Duncan although she remains largely unknown today. This is a story that should have been told years ago. December 1

Padmavati

(Paramount Classics) Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, Aditi Rao Hydari. The epic tale of Sultan Alauddin Khilji, who fell in love with Padmavati the Queen of Mewar because of her beauty and courage, and despite the fact that she was already married. The film has been mired in controversy from the Hindi community in India who claim it distorts historical facts based on its trailer. Nevertheless it’s coming to the United States thanks to a major studio which is resurrecting their indie and foreign film label that has been largely dormant for almost a decade. December 1

I, Tonya

(Neon) Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale. Figure skater Tonya Harding is poised to be the best in the world but her humble background works against her. Furthermore her friend Nancy Kerrigan has become her greatest rival. Then an attack on Kerrigan’s knee leads to one of the most bizarre stories in the history of sports. Robbie is considered a contender for the Best Actress Oscar for her performance here. December 8

Love and Saucers

(The Orchard) David Huggins. A seemingly ordinary 72-year-old man living in Hoboken, New Jersey begins to have strange memories. They are memories of being abducted by extraterrestrials, examined, and ultimately experimented upon. From there the memories begin to get even more bizarre; he remembers losing his virginity to an alien female. The memories become so persistent and so real that he begins to paint pictures of them. This is not your ordinary documentary about alien abduction. December 12

Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds

(Well Go USA) Tae-hyun Cha, Kyung-soo Do, Jung-woo Ha, Lee Joon Hyuk. A firefighter in Seoul dies on the job unexpectedly. He is to be escorted to the afterlife by three guardians. However, the afterlife isn’t exactly a piece of cake; he must pass seven trials over 49 days and prove that in life he was innocent of sin. That’s when his trial really begins…this is the first of two Along with the Gods movies that Well Go will be distributing in the States over the next few months. December 22

In the Fade

(Magnolia) Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar, Ulrich Tukur. A German woman whose husband and son are killed in a bomb blast discovers that the perpetrators are not who the police think. When it becomes clear to her that justice will not be served, she begins to contemplate alternative means of exacting vengeance for the dead. December 27

 

 

 

Pick of the Litter – November 2017


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Justice League

(Warner Brothers) Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller. With Superman seemingly out of the picture and an alien threat putting Earth squarely in the crosshairs, Bruce Wayne aka the Batman sets out to unite the most powerful beings on Earth to fight this threat but without the Last Son of Krypton, what chance do they have? Continuing events set in motion with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the DCEU continues to evolve. November 17

INDEPENDENT PICKS

The Light of the Moon

(Imagination Worldwide) Stephanie Beatriz, Michael Stahl-David, Conrad Ricamora, Catherine Curtin. After a young woman is sexually assaulted on her way home, she finds every aspect of her life changing from her success as an architect to her relationship with her boyfriend. As she struggles to find a way to find intimacy and regain her sense of self she finds that the strongest obstacles are often the people who mean the most in this particularly timely drama. November 1

 

Blade of the Immortal

(Magnet) Takuya Kimura, Hana Sugisaki, Sôta Fukushi, Hayato Ichihara. A legendary samurai is cursed with immortality after a crucial battle. Doomed to wander the earth, he knows he must kill enough evil in the world to regain his soul. Haunted by the brutal murder of his sister, he meets a young girl whose own family was slaughtered by a ruthless swordsman. He agrees to be her bodyguard and take on the murderer. This is the latest movie from iconic Japanese director Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer) – his 100th feature, an astonishing number to say the least. November 3

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

(Fox Searchlight) Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage. A woman grieving the loss of a murdered daughter grows impatient with the local police department which has yet to solve the crime. In order to spur them on, she puts up a series of billboards near her home in Missouri asking why there has been no progress on the case. The results cause fireworks in her community, making her a hero to some and a pariah to others. There is buzz that McDormand has a good shot at an Oscar nomination for her performance here. November 10

Mudbound

(Netflix) Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell. Two men from rural Mississippi return home from World War II to find that nothing much has changed but that they themselves have. One, an African-American, finds that the country he put his life on the line for despises him for the color of his skin; the other, a white man, wonders if he can ever go back to the way things used to be. November 17

Brimstone & Glory

(Oscilloscope) Viktor Jakovlevski. One of the most unusual and dangerous celebrations on Earth is the National Pyrotechnic Festival in the village of Tultepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. During the 10 day celebration, elaborate fireworks displays are set off but not just high into the air; fireworks are shot everywhere and at everything. People – mostly men – dance among the fireworks and while some get severely burned, there is a religious ecstasy that is fascinating and beautiful to watch. November 22

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

(Zeitgeist/Kino-Lorber) Hedy Lamarr, Diane Kruger, Robert Osborne, Mel Brooks. Hedy Lamarr was one of the most beautiful women in the world and a major Hollywood star. Admired for her classical good looks, she eventually faded from notoriety as she got older as is wont to happen with actresses who have the temerity to age. However, behind the beauty was brilliance – Lamarr was responsible for inventing the technology that made GPS, secure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth possible but nobody would believe at the time someone so good looking could possibly be so smart. November 24

Pick of the Litter – September 2017


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

It

(Warner brothers) Bill Skarsgård, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Javier Botet. Stephen King’s creepy novel about a killer clown terrorizing a group of Maine boys and years later, the same boys as men was famously a television miniseries with the great Tim Curry as Pennywise. Now, the book is a movie with an all-new cast and an all-new Pennywise. Children are disappearing in the town of Derry and a creepy clown haunts the woods and sewers of the town, but Pennywise is much more than he seems and the danger even worse. Beware the deadlights! September 8

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Animal Crackers

(Arclight/Blue Dream) Starring the voices of John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito, Sylvester Stallone. A young family man has the horrible job of taste testing dog biscuits. When he inherits a rundown circus, he discovers the secret to the circus’ past success – a box of magic animal crackers that allows him to turn into any animal in the box and then back to human again. However, he must contend with an evil uncle who wants the circus for himself. The trailer looked awfully cute and heartwarming; this might be a sleeper family hit. September 1

Dolores

(PBS) Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Hilary Clinton, Robert Kennedy. One of the most successful labor movements in American history was the United Farm Workers, which radically improved working conditions for the mainly Hispanic farm workers of California. Although most associate Cesar Chavez with the movement, the heart and soul of the UFW was truly Dolores Huerta. A firebrand of a leader and an indomitable advocate for those she represented, her contributions are largely unsung due to her being a woman but this documentary aims to rectify that oversight. September 1

 Man in Red Bandana

(Verdi) Gwyneth Paltrow (narrator), Barack Obama. This time of year usually brings back memories of one of the worst days in American history and of course movies about that day – September 11, 2001. There are so many stories about heroism in the face of unspeakable horror but few are as unforgettable as that of Welles Remy Crowther, a young man in a red bandana who saved ten people (at least) at the World Trade Center that terrible day. September 8

School Life

(Magnolia) Neasa Ní Chianáin, David Rane. Education is important and despite attacks on the institutions of education from all sides, there remain places where it is taken seriously. In England, a boarding school in a converted manor has taken a rock and roll attitude towards learning, giving students more of a say in what they learn. With two long-time teachers at the school retiring, we get an inside look at the joys of growing up, learning and being inspired. September 8

The Force

(Kino Lorber) Juan Carlos Zapala, Libby Schaaf. This timely documentary explores an embattled urban police force from the inside out. The Oakland (California) Police Department has a legacy of corruption and police brutality that it struggles to deal with on a daily basis. With the citizens of Oakland growing increasingly frustrated over the dysfunctional relationship between the cops and the African-American community and with pressure mounting from above to fix it, the OPD tries to make real changes from within while keeping the safety of both cops and civilians uppermost in mind. September 15

Loving Vincent

(Good Deed) Starring the voices of Saoirse Ronan, Helen McCrory, Chris O’Dowd, Robert Gulaczyk. Ten years in the making, this is the first film to be fully animated using oil paintings on canvas as the medium. The story revolves around the mysterious death of master Post-Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh; was it suicide or was it murder? A young man charged to deliver a letter from the recently deceased painter to his brother Theo discovers that Theo has also died and becomes determined to understand the painter, his works and his death. September 22

Stronger

(Roadside Attractions) Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Clancy Brown, Miranda Richardson. The latest from director David Gordon Green examines the true story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man thrust into an extraordinary situation when both his legs were blown off during the Boston Marathon bombing. There only to win back his girlfriend, he battled back to become a symbol of hope that inspired the entire city but it was no easy path to get there. September 22

Lucky

(Magnolia) Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Tom Skeritt, Ed Begley Jr. A 90 year old atheist, reaching the last days of his life, goes on a journey to try and discover the meaning his life has had amidst an odd collection of eccentrics in a desert town. Stanton, one of the legends of cinema, may very well be on his way to a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance here. September 29