THE ART OF THE STEAL – (January 16th, 2014) Director: Jonathan Sobol, 90min, Comedy, R

In this 2013 Canadian film starring Jay Baruchel, Katheryn Winnick, Kurt Russell (in his first feature film role in seven years), Matt Dillon and Terence Stamp, a third-rate motorcycle daredevil and part-time art thief teams up with this snaky brother to steal one of the most valuable books in the world.  Of note is Russell’s performance as Crunch Calhoun, a motorcycle daredevil better known for crashing landings than for death-defying leaps.  The film debuted as a “gala presentation” at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.  Reviewers have hailed Jonathan Sobol’s script and direction, referring to his “flair for crackling dialogue, kinetic set pieces, and compelling fraternal dynamics.”  Click here for Trailer

GABRIELLE – (January 30th, 2014) Director: Louise Archambault, 104min, Drama, R

Québecois director Louise Archambault’s romance/drama GABRIELLE will be screened.  Winner of the audience award at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival, this poignant, heart-warming film depicts Gabrielle, a young woman with Williams syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.  Blessed with an exceptional musical talent, Gabrielle participates in a recreation centre choir preparing for a music festival, and falls in love with a fellow choir member, Martin.  Confronting fears from loved ones about their relationship, and social prejudice against her “difference,” Gabrielle exhibits a contagious joie de vivre in her drive to assert her own independence. A Montreal Gazette reviewer called GABRIELLE  “a deeply affecting tale of difference, dignity and the healing power of song.”  Click her for Trailer

DOWN RIVER  – (February 13, 2014) Director Benjamin Ratner, 93min, Drama, 14A

This emotionally stirring drama, was directed and written by Vancouver native Benjamin Ratner.  Shot in Vancouver’s West End, DOWN RIVER was voted the most popular Canadian film at the recent Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF).  The film stars Helen Shaver as Pearl, a character modeled on Babs Chula close friend and mentor of Ratner’s who died in 2010.  Pearl is an older woman who provides guidance, support and inspiration for three young women: Aki, an artist; Harper, a rock singer; and Fawn, an actress.  When Pearl unexpectedly leaves them, the three are forced to face the future on their own.  The VIFF tribute to this compelling film notes that it’s “full of sex (of all kinds) and laughter” and, of particular note, is that half the crew of this film was comprised of local Vancouver film students.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – (February 27th, 2014) Director Ethan and Joel Cohen, 105min, Drama/Music, R

The 2014 winter series concludes on February 27th with the Golden Globe nominated best picture, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, directed and written by the now legendary cinematic team of Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.  Starring Oscar Isaac (nominated for a Golden Globes best actor award), this musical drama follows one week in the career of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich village folk scene of 1961.  Winner of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival Jury Grand Prize and multiple awards for screenwriting and music, this film sets the story of the young guitarist against bleak winter scenes in New York City, as he tries to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, many of which are those of his own making.  Typical of the critical response to this film is this assessment: ”Another Coen Bros marvel; unconventional storytelling, conflicted characters and endings that go against what the audience would perceive as a neat ribbon to the tale we just witnessed.”

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