Movies Released December 31st, 2010
A complex portrait of a contemporary American marriage, "Blue Valentine" tells the story of David and Cindy, a couple who have been together for several years but who are at an impasse in their relationship. While Cindy has blossomed into a woman with opportunities and options, David is still the same person he was when they met, and is unable to accept either Cindy's growth or his lack of it. Innovatively structured, the narrative unfolds in two distinct time frames, juxtaposing scenes of first love and youthful sexuality, with those of disenchantment and discord.
Directed by six-time Academy Award® nominee Peter Weir, The Way Back is an epic story of survival, solidarity and indomitable human will. Shot in Bulgaria, Morocco and India, the film stars Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe, The Other Boleyn Girl), Ed Harris (Appaloosa) and Colin Farrell (In Bruges) as prisoners of a Soviet Union labor camp, who, along with four others, flee their Siberian Gulag and begin a treacherous journey across thousands of miles of hostile terrain. Academy Award® nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones) and Mark Strong (Body of Lies, RocknRolla) co-star.
Biutiful is a love story between a father and his children. This is the journey of Uxbal, a conflicted man who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. His livelihood is earned out of bounds, his sacrifices for his children know no bounds. Like life itself, this is a circular tale that ends where it begins. As fate encircles him and thresholds are crossed, a dim, redemptive road brightens, illuminating the inheritances bestowed from father to child, and the paternal guiding hand that navigates life's corridors, whether bright, bad - or biutiful.
In the Spring, happily married Gerri, a medical counselor, and Tom, a geologist, tend their allotment. They entertain Gerri’s lonely work colleague Mary, who gets very drunk, and bemoans her disastrous love life. Gerri and Tom enjoy a warm relationship with their community lawyer son Joe, aged 30, who reports that although his friends are getting married, he is still without a partner.
In the Summer, Ken comes down to London to spend a weekend with Gerri and Tom. Ken works in a government employment office in Hull, and is Tom’s boyhood friend from their native Derby. He gets very drunk, and bemoans his tragic, lonely life. The next day, while Gerri celebrates the sunshine at the allotment, Tom, Ken, Joe and a neighbor enjoy a game of golf. A barbeque party follows. Mary arrives late and flustered in her newly-acquired second-hand car. She is frosty towards an innocently amorous Ken, and flirtatious in an urgent and serious way towards Joe, her junior by a generation.
In the Autumn, Gerri and Tom return home from the allotment to enjoy a pleasant surprise from Joe. He has hidden his new partner Katie behind a door. Katie is an occupational therapist, and Gerri and Tom like her immediately. But Mary, who has already been invited to tea, is instantly jealous and hostile towards Katie, and behaves very rudely. Although they all sympathize with her car troubles, Mary’s behavior towards Katie leaves a bad odor with the good-natured Gerri and Tom.
In the Winter, Gerri, Tom and Joe drive up to Derby for the funeral of the wife of Tom’s elder brother, Ronnie. Ronnie’s aggressive, estranged son Carl arrives late at the crematorium. Back at Ronnie’s house, Carl is confrontational with his father, and with Tom and Joe; he causes other mourners to leave suddenly, and then stomps off in a rage. Gerri and Tom bring Ronnie back to London. Whilst they are at the allotment, Mary shows up at the house unannounced, and in a fraught state. She drinks tea and smokes cigarettes with a bemused Ronnie. On their return, Gerri and Tom are far from pleased to see Mary, especially as Joe is due to arrive with Katie for a family dinner. But after Mary has broken down apologetically, Gerri invites her to stay, albeit reluctantly. At the dinner table, while Gerri and Tom reminisce about the round-the-world back-packing days of their youth, and Katie and Joe look forward to their impending trip to Paris, Ronnie quietly enjoys his beer and his dinner and Mary faces the sad emptiness of her passing life.
What if you woke up with amnesia? What if you had no recollection of who you were in the past? What if you had to look deep within to find the answer to life's biggest question, "Who am I"? Using science, geometry, nature and spirituality, 3 Magic Words examines this question as it is explored further by metaphysical experts. These guests range from best-selling new-age authors to spiritual leaders, and even children. 3 Magic Words reveals an ancient wisdom about the energetic connection that humans have with all matter on the Earth and in the entire universe. The film takes you on a magical trip into consciousness at both the micro-cosmic and macro-cosmic levels as it taps you into a communion with the very fabric of the energy within all things. The movie shows you how to access your subconscious mind and use it to become an active co-creator in your own life.
Hershell & Thadeus, two chess-playing brothers and their unhealthy rivalry over both the chessboard and a woman. Hershell is a chess purist, the prodigal son, Thadeus a disciplined, ruthless competitor. After 4 nomadic years in Europe, in quixotic pursuit of 'Jazz Chess' (chess for chess' sake, no winner, no loser, only beautiful positions), Hershell returns home. Thadeus is a successful but arrogant Canadian Chess Champion engaged to marry Marsha, Hershell's former sweetheart. Hershell challenges Thaddeus in the next Canadian Chess Championship. During the final match,Thadeus is flustered by Hershell's Zen-like demeanor, and sets himself up for certain defeat. But instead, Hershell uses the principle of Jazz Chess to force a draw. Marsha admires Hershell's selfless move, but leaves - she won't be either brothers' trophy. Written by Anonymous
When a con man (Silas) unexpectedly dies during a scam, he is forced to spend a little time in Limbo. There, he encounters his old girlfriend (Anya) who offers him a fast-track to the 'good life' in the upper management of Hell. But in order to "earn his horns", Silas must corrupt the soul of an innocent person (Jules) back in the real world. Taking well-aimed shots at corporate ladder-climbing and the fragility of friendship and loyalty, the film asks the question how low will people go to get what they want. Written by Anonymous
For Ehryl, a young TV soap writer, one of the strange pleasures of her otherwise humdrum daily commute from home to work is the opportunity to glance upon a handsome co-commuter who seems to have only one down side -- he is deaf-mute. Lucky for her, because her younger brother is also a deaf-mute, she has become very adept in communicating in sign language. When the opportunity presented itself for her to get to know the guy who she believes is the mysterious man from her recurring dreams, she decides to pretend to be a deaf-mute, in the belief that the innocent deceit would facilitate what she wished was a blossoming relationship.
When people talk about the music scene in Seattle, Washington, most folks think about the grunge rock explosion of the 1990s, while others might cite Sir Mix-A-Lot and the city's rap scene, pioneering garage rockers such as The Wailers and The Sonics, or the decade spanning success of Heart. But few people know that Seattle had a thriving funk and R&B scene in the 1960s and 70s; while none of them broke through to nationwide success, bands like Cookin' Bag, Black On White Affair, The Soul Swingers and Cold, Bold & Together were stars in the city's African-American community and they headlined the city's many nightclubs catering to soul music fans. However, most of those groups had been forgotten for years when in 2001 Mr. Supreme, a Seattle-area hip hop DJ, found a single called "Bold Soul Sister" in a bargain bin and gave it a spin. Supreme was impressed with the groove, and surprised to discover it was a local release from a Seattle-based funk act. Supreme began digging up as many Seattle funk and soul rarities as he could find, and eventually helped compile Wheedle's Groove, a CD collection featuring rare R&B sides from the Northwest. Supreme started researching the history of Seattle's soul scene and helped coordinate a gig in which many of the city's classic funk acts reunited for a night. In Wheedle's Groove, filmmaker Jennifer Maas examines the legacy of Seattle R&B, interviews some of the leading musicians of the day, includes the thoughts of such notable observers as Quincy Jones, Mark Arm and Ben Gibbard, and includes footage from Supreme's reunion concert. Wheedle's Groove was an official selection at the 2010 Seattle Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
A small town in Northern China collectively twiddles its thumbs as they wait for a holiday to end in this dry comedy from director Li Hongqi. It's the last day of winter break for the kids in the village and the end of the weekend for their folks, and no one is very eager to go back to school or work the next day. Seemingly everyone is a bit depressed about the situation, but no one has much to do either, except kill time and listen to the explosions coming from a mining project on the outskirts of town. One boy fends off bullies who have nothing to do but make trouble for him, another pesters his grandfather who has no interest in answering questions, and a third is given his walking papers by his girlfriend, though as it happens they break up and make up on a regular basis. Han Jia (aka Winter Vacation) won the Golden Leopard Award at the 2010 Locarno Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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