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THE WRECKING CREW United States. 2015. Directed by Denny Tedesco. (101 mins.) Rated PG.
Denny Tedesco's lively and loving documentary THE WRECKING CREW takes its title from the name given to a fabulously talented group of two to three dozen Los Angeles studio musicians who dominated rock and pop recordings during the 50s, 60s and early 70s!
Standing as so much more than simply a loving tribute to guitar-whiz Tommy Tedesco by his son, director Denny Tedesco, THE WRECKING CREWis a magical tour that chronicles the musical feats of a group of professional session musicians for hire who lent far more to our favorite hit songs than mere instrumentation. Collectively, their roster is unmatched in the recording industry, numbering into the hundreds and spanning decades -- offering backbeats for artists from The Beach Boys to Frank and Nancy Sinatra, from The 5th Dimension to Sam Cooke, from The Carpenters to Cher. When a hit record was the desired result in the 50s, 60s and 70s, an all night recording session in cramped, smoke-filled rooms, where real musicianship was not only appreciated but demanded, is where you'd find The Wrecking Crew. Now you're invited for a backroom pass!
IT FOLLOWS United States. 2015. Directed by David Robert Mitchell. (100 mins.) Rated R.
Called the most frightening American tale of the decade, IT FOLLOWS is a stylish, dizzyingly tense, relentless chiller that opts for originality and atmosphere over cheap scare tactics!
Most horror movies lurk in the shadows. Director David Robert Mitchell does something very different and very daring with IT FOLLOWS, constructing a perfectly ordinary monster who looks just like one of us -- could even assume the appearance of someone you know and love - and is identifiable only through its unwavering, relentless stride towards the intended victim. It is utterly impervious to whether its day or night. Nineteen-year-old Jay has no inkling of what's in store when she hooks up with the handsome new boy in town, but her friends think she's clearly lost her mind. This dreamy, evocative coming-of-age thriller is injected with an adrenaline boost and mood that oscillates between delightful dread and flat-out panic!
BLACK SEA UK/United States/Russia. 2015.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald. (114 mins.) Rated R.
BLACK SEA, a gripping submarine adventure starring Jude Law, is a nail-biting thriller!
Plunging to the depths of greed and mistrust, BLACK SEAcenters on a rogue submarine captain (Jude Law) who, after being laid off from a salvage company, pulls together a misfit crew to go after a sunken treasure rumoured to be lost in the Black Sea. As desperation takes control on board their claustrophobic vessel, the increasing uncertainty of the mission causes the men to turn on each other to fight for their own survival. Directed by Kevin Macdonald (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, HOW I LIVE NOW), this is a high-stakes thriller whose taut atmosphere of sub-aquatic tension is a hypnotic addition to the genre.
KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON United States. 2014.
Directed by Alan Hicks. (84 mins.) Rated R.
KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON is the warm and wistful tribute to Clark Terry, an incredible musician who has produced some of the happiest sounds in the history of jazz!
In his melodic debut, Australian-director Alan Hicks spent four years following the charming and sometimes poignant mentorship between jazz-legend Clark Terry and blind piano prodigy, Justin Kaulflin, during a pivotal moment in each of their lives. At eighty-nine years old, 'CT' has played alongside Duke Ellington and Count Basie; his pupils include Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, but his most unlikely friendship is with Justin, a 23-year-old with uncanny talent but debilitating nerves. Beautifully nostalgic with a reverence for the importance of finding your own sound, KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON celebrates an iconic musician while introducing one of equal vibrancy. It is a mentoring tale as inspirational as its subjects.
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS New Zealand/United States. 2015.
Directed by Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi. (86 mins.) Not Rated. in English and in German with English subtitles
Starring Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS is a hilarious, delightfully silly vampire spoof with bite!
Winner of the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS is a rollicking, uproarious and hysterical mockumentary salute to the pop culture vampire myths. Viago, Deacon, Vladislav and Peter are four undead flatmates in Wellington, New Zealand who have lost touch with the current social scene. None of them are quite equipped to deal with the modern age. After all, it's difficult to make new friends when you're constantly thirsty for blood. As a documentary film crew follows the quartet around, we learn about their secret, supernatural society, about camaraderie and about what it means to be hundreds or even thousands of years old in the 21st century. What a riot!
STILL ALICE United States. 2014.
Directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland. (101 mins.) Rated PG-13.
Oscar Winner! Best Actress Julianne Moore
STILL ALICE, bolstered and braced by Julianne Moore's stunning performance, is an honest, emotional tale about a woman facing the harrowing descent into early-onset Alzheimer's and the family desperate to support her.
Frontrunner in the Oscar race for Best Actress, Julianne Moore gives a powerhouse performance in STILL ALICE as a renowned linguistics professor at Columbia University who suddenly finds herself forgetting words and then receives the devastating diagnosis that she has early-onset Alzheimer's. Possessed of a brilliant mind, Alice is in a unique position to understand what this news holds in store, but as she journeys through the decline of her mental capacities, she is forced to rely on her family; her daughter Lydia (Kristen Stewart, in a surprisingly spectacular performance) becomes her confidante, companion and a lifeline to her past. Deftly written and directed, superbly acted and deeply moving, this unforgettable tale of a woman faced with life's ultimate adversity and her own human frailty is a moving and sensitive portrait.
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