PAST PRODUCTIONS 2016/17
and to see reviews from 'Rotten Tomatoes'
Director: Morgan Matthews
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins
Teenage maths prodigy, Nathan, struggles with people, not least his single mother (Sally Hawkins) but finds comfort in numbers. Mentored by an unconventional and anarchic teacher (Rafe Spall), Nathan’s talents win him a place at the International Mathematics Olympiad in Taiwan. Here he is faced with many challenges, in particular his new and unexpected feelings for his beautiful female Chinese counterpart.
There are some marvellously nuanced performances in this very likeable, perceptive and ultimately uplifting film.
“This story of an autistic algebra whizz kid is an emotional knockout” (The Telegraph)
Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg
In this funny, charming and touching film a wealthy New York heiress (Meryl Streep) attempts to become an opera singer despite having a truly appalling voice. Florence Foster Jenkins became notorious in early 20th century America not only because of her strangled attempts at singing but also because she seemed completely unaware that she had become a laughing stock.
Hugh Grant plays her loving and protective husband who goes to great lengths to support Florence and maintain her delusion.
“An enjoyable, sentimental biopic that gives Streep a role to relish” (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)
Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Cast: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Bøving
In a secluded valley in Iceland two hard drinking curmudgeonly brothers, who have not spoken in 40 years, are warring neighbours competing with each other for the best ram prize that has become a symbol of their family feud. When the spectre of the fatal disease scrapie threatens their remote farms both brothers are faced with the prospect of a cull.
Can these long term enemies find common purpose when their ancestral stock and way of life is threatened?
“A delicate film hovering between absurdity and tragedy” (Leslie Felpern - Guardian)
Director: Tod Hayes
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Rooney Mara
In this adaptation of a novel by Patricia Highsmith a young department-store assistant (Rooney Mara) in 1950’s New York meets a beautiful older woman (Cate Blanchet) stuck in a depressing marriage. As the bond deepens and they become romantically involved Carol finds the strength to leave her husband, with tragic consequences. Love between women in the 1950’s still dared not speak its name, and this is handled with great subtlety and honesty.
This is a film not to be missed.
“The writing and performances are superb and the effect is mesmerising” (Peter Bradshaw – Guardian)
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Cast: Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho
Three sisters in their twenties live together in their large ancestral home in a city in Japan. Their father has been absent from the family home for 15 years and when he dies the sisters travel to the countryside to attend his funeral. There they meet their shy teenage half-sister, Suzu and on a whim invite the orphaned Suzu to come and live with them. A new life of joyful discovery begins for all of them.
“….a rare film that captures the everyday pleasures and anguishes of family life” (see RogerEbert.com)
Director: Whit Stillman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel
This is a witty and fast paced adaptation of a little known unfinished novella by Jane Austen called “Lady Susan”
The lady in question is a beautiful scheming widow Kate Beckinsale) who takes up temporary residence at her in-law’s estate in order to avoid the fallout from a previous scandal. She is determined to find herself another husband, as well as one for her eligible but reluctant daughter Frederica and is devious and amoral as she entices new suitors into her seductive web
“...a very dry and tremendously witty adaptation” (Geoffrey MacNab – The Indpendent)
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers
This Golden Globe winner is a deeply moving exploration of the boundless love between a mother and her child.
Five year old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) has spent his entire life imprisoned with his mother in a claustrophobic garden shed that he calls ROOM. Somehow his Ma (Brie Larson) makes this living hell into a fairy tale for him telling him magical tales of other worlds and singing him to sleep.
Eventually Jack escapes and discovers an astonishing outside world with its terrors, excitement, joys
“Brie Larson is nothing short of perfect in this heartbreaking life-affirming drama” (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)
Director: Louise Osmond
Cast: Jan Vokes, Brian Vokes, Howard Davies, Angela Davies
This is an inspirational true story of a group of friends from a small Welsh Working Men’s Club who decide to buy a race horse.
The barmaid at the club was the driving force and she roped in her pals to form a syndicate, each person paying £10 a week for the upkeep and training of the horse, Dream Alliance.
The horse was kept on an allotment and remarkably went on to the win the Welsh Grand National and £137,000 in career prize money.
“Osmond’s documentary is inspiring and emotive” (Rupert Hawksley - Telegraph)
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Emma Suárez, Adriana Ugarte, Daniel Grao
Julieta is a seemingly contented middle aged woman leading a comfortable and fulfilling life in Madrid and planning on moving to Portugal with her handsome boyfriend.
One day, by chance, she bumps into a childhood friend of her long estranged daughter and learns that the two friends have recently met. This news is like a thunderbolt to Julieta and begins a painful reflection into her past, flashing back to the moments of pain that have defined her current life.
“Almodovar’s magnificent new film is a swirling family melodrama” (Geoffrey McNab – Independent)
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata
This enjoyable film is equal parts comedy and rousing adventure story.
Ricky is a troubled city kid who is placed with a foster family on a farm in the New Zealand countryside. When Ricky is threatened with being moved to another family he and his cantankerous foster father, Uncle Hec, go on the run in the bush. A national manhunt ensues and despite their differences they somehow manage to survive as a family.
“...unites a solid cast, a talented film maker and a poignant, funny and deeply affecting message” (Rotten Tomatoes)
Director: Amma Asante
Cast: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton
In 1947, Seretse Khama, (David Oyelowo) the crown prince of Botswana, met and fell in love with a young London office worker called Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). Their plan to marry was challenged not only by their families but also by the British and South African governments. The latter had recently introduced apartheid and found the idea of a bi-racial couple ruling a neighbouring country intolerable.
The film honours this extraordinary couple’s defiant and unwavering love for each other in the face of widespread hostility.
“An absorbing look at a true-life love story” (Rotten Tomatoes)
Director: Cristian Mungiu
Cast: Adrian Titieni, Maria-Victoria Dragus, Rares Andrici
This Romanian film is a searing human saga about a father driven to extremes in order to protect his daughter’s future.
Eliza is one exam away from securing a scholarship to a British university but when she is attacked and unable to sit the exam her father takes matters into his own hands. The film explores the complex moral choices and compromises that some people make in the face of desperation.
It won the Best Director award at Cannes and has had 5 star reviews from virtually all critics.
“An intricate, deeply intelligent film” (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)
Director: Garth Davis
Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara
This is the true story of Saroo who at five years old gets lost on a train and is taken thousands of miles across India far from home and family. He must learn to survive in teeming Calcutta before eventually being adopted by a kindly Australian couple.
Twenty five years later he has an overwhelming desire to find his birth mother and armed only with a handful of memories, an unwavering determination and Google Earth he does, against all the odds, eventually track her down.
“A deeply empathetic performance from Dev Patel” (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)