Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he’s never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. THE BIG SICK is directed by Michael Showalter (HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS) and producer by Judd Apatow (TRAINWRECK, THIS IS 40) and Barry Mendel (TRAINWRECK, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS).
The use of music is glorious. Songs are allowed to play out in full, but it never slows down the pace of the film. The music sounds rich and full in the theater and the casual observer will leave the theater with a good primer on Avett music.
A riveting World War II thriller that is filled with espionage and romance in equal measure, The Exception follows German soldier Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) as he goes on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer). The Kaiser lives in a secluded mansion in The Netherlands, and as Germany is taking over Holland, the country’s authorities are concerned that Dutch spies may be watching the Kaiser. As Brandt begins to infiltrate the Kaiser’s life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with Mieke (Lily James), one of the Kaiser’s maids whom Brandt soon discovers is secretly Jewish. When Heinrich Himmler (Eddie Marsan), Head of the SS, decides to come for an unexpected visit with a large platoon of Nazis in tow, the stage is set for a breathtaking showdown, as secrets are revealed, allegiances are tested, and Brandt is forced to make the ultimate choice between honoring his country and following his heart.
Acclaimed auteur Christopher Nolan directs this World War II thriller about the evacuation of Allied troops from the French city of Dunkirk before Nazi forces can take hold. Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance co-star, with longtime Nolan collaborator Hans Zimmer providing the score.
Stop Making Sense was the first feature-length documentary effort of filmmaker Jonathan Demme. The director’s subject is The Talking Heads, a new-wave/pop-rock group comprised of David Byrne, Chris Franz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison. The film was made during a three-day concert gig at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. What emerges on screen says as much about director Demme’s taste and sensitivity as it does about the group and its visionary leader Byrne. Though some of the material in Stop Making Sense overlaps with the Talking Heads’ earlier concert film The Name of This Band is Talking Heads, one never gets the feeling of by-the-numbers repetition; the group’s energy is such that it virtually explodes from the screen. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is an aging Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy.
“The Beguiled” is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola. The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.
An American Tail is a beautifully rendered animated flim that tells an overly familiar story in terms children can easily understand. Fievel Mousekewitz and his family of Russian-Jewish mice escape from their homeland in the late 1800s, boarding a boat headed toward America to evade the Czarist rule of the Russian cats. Fievel, however, is separated from his family upon his arrival in New York City, and he discovers to his horror that there are cats in America too (his father said there weren’t). Fievel meets his share of friendly and hostile mice, and he eventually befriends a cat as well. Former Disney animator Don Bluth co-produced and directed this often heartwarming yarn, the first animated feature presented by Steven Spielberg, and it has its charms despite a number of cliché situations. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi
FALSETTOS revolves around the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, about-to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door. It’s a hilarious and achingly poignant look at the infinite possibilities that make up a modern family… and a beautiful reminder that love can tell a million stories.