26 Main Street, Montpelier VT | Recording: 802-229-0509 | Office: 802-229-0598 | Email
SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATES
::: Coming Soon :::

~Downstairs at the Savoy~

Mr. Turner

Academy Award Nominee ~
Best Cinematography, Music, Costume,
& Production Design

Starts Friday, January 30

Rated R; 149 minutes

WATCH THE TRAILER


Scott Foundas, Variety (excerpted)

English painting’s renowned master of light, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), gets an illuminating screen biography from director Mike Leigh in Mr. Turner, an ecstatically beautiful and exquisitely detailed portrait of the artist as a cantankerous middle-aged man whose brilliance with the brush overshadows his sometimes appalling lack of social graces. Mr. Turner seems a natural awards contender in multiple categories.

Returning to the large-canvas period filmmaking of his Gilbert & Sullivan bio Topsy-Turvy, Leigh has made another highly personal study of art, commerce and the glacial progress of establishment tastes, built around a lead performance from longtime collaborator Timothy Spall that’s as majestic as one of Turner’s own swirling sunsets. Leigh’s affinity for his subject is palpable in virtually every frame of the film, which concentrates on roughly the last 25 years in the life of the painter who pushed landscape painting towards the vanguard of impressionism.

When the movie opens, it is the late 1820s and Turner, recently returned from a painting expedition in Belgium, is settling back in the home studio he shares with his elderly father and the forlorn housekeeper who doubles as his lover. Among the skeletons in the painter’s closet are an estranged mistress, two grown daughters and a grandchild, whom he collectively pays little mind and whose existence he denies to the outside world.

film website

~Downstairs at the Savoy~

Two Days, One Night

Academy Award Nominee ~
Best Actress

Coming Soon

Rated PG-13; 91 minutes
In French w/subtitles

WATCH THE TRAILER


Kim Newman, Empire Magazine (excerpted)

Belgian writer-director brother duo Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne specialize in a brand of down-to-earth, socially committed, unfussy realism. Their latest film is an acutely credible portrait of the victims of a casually cruel (yet horribly believable) social system and also a suspenseful, gripping drama in the vein of 12 Angry Men.

A small company asks employees to choose between getting bonuses and making just-back-from-sick-leave Sandra (Marion Cotillard) redundant. Sandra spends a weekend trying to persuade enough of her workmates to change their votes so that she can keep her job.

Complicating the story is the impression Cotillard, among the contemporary screen’s best actors, conveys that maybe the Xanax-popping Sandra — for all the support from her husband (Fabrizio Rongione), kids and loyal friends — really isn’t mentally up to going back to work. Then again, her round of pleading calls would be stressful and depressing enough to break the will and mind of a completely balanced person.

Even if you’ve skipped the Dardennes’ previous work until now (L’Enfant, The Kid with a Bike), this is a talking-point movie — and an outstanding lead performance — you need to see. It’s a rare film of unforced simplicity that will stick with you for a long time. And it’s honest right to its perfectly judged ending

film website

~Upstairs at the Savoy~

Still Alice

Academy Award Nominee ~
Best Actress

Coming Soon

Rated PG-13; 114 minutes

WATCH THE TRAILER


James Berardinelli, ReelViews (excerpted)

There's no shortage of literature and cinema about human beings afflicted with Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. The near universality of the caregiver's experience, one of the most painful trials any person can be asked to endure, is one reason. Yet, for all that has been written and filmed about this, few stories can claim to do what Lisa Genova accomplished in her novel Still Alice: tell the tale from the perspective of the disease's victim. The movie adaptation, by directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, retains this aspect while supplanting the usual sentimentality of "Alzheimer's films" with a clear-eyed honesty.

The film's highlight is the performance of Oscar-nominated (and likely winner) Julianne Moore, whose turn as Dr. Alice Howland captures all the nuances of a brilliant woman slowly losing herself. Moore plays the part without histrionics; it's a controlled, contained portrayal. The actress fully inhabits the body and personality of someone being diminished by a condition over which she has no control. The majority of Still Alice chronicles the main character's deterioration as the pernicious influence of the condition chips away at her memories, intelligence, and identity.

Still Alice is undoubtedly a tough movie; it contains life-affirming moments but its perspective is what makes it unique. The production takes us into Alice's mind and projects her changing circumstances through her eyes. It is often said that Alzheimer's is more difficult on the loved ones of a victim than on the afflicted individual. Still Alice challenges that belief. Alice is well aware of what's happening to her - how her world is closing in on her. Her frustration and despair are palpable. She remembers things she could do but no longer has the capacity to achieve. The final scene is poignant. Given today's level of medical technology, it's inevitable but that doesn't make it any less sad.

film website

~Downstairs at the Savoy~

Leviathan

Academy Award Nominee ~
Best Foreign Language Film

Coming Soon

Rated R; 140 minutes
In Russian w/subtitles

WATCH THE TRAILER


Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (excerpted)

The great trial of Job is reborn in this magnificent Russian movie, first seen at Cannes this year. Leviathan is a tragic drama, compelling in its moral seriousness, with a severity and force that escalate into a terrible, annihilating sort of grandeur. Zvyagintsev combines an Old Testament fable with something like Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice; it also has something of Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront or Robert Rossen’s municipal graft classic All the King’s Men.

Kolia (Alexey Serebriakov) is a car mechanic with a modest property on prime real estate: a beautiful spot on the Barents Sea, but a crooked mayor called Vadim – a wonderful performance from Roman Madyanov – wants this land, and hits Kolia with a compulsory purchase order. Kolia’s old army buddy Dimitri, now a slick Moscow lawyer, has an incriminating file on Vadim that he promises will induce Vadim to back down, but attempting to blackmail Russia’s well-connected gangster class is fraught with danger. Leviathan shows a world governed by drunken, depressed men: everyone is drowning in vodka and despair. Kolia is at the centre of a perfect storm of poisoned destiny, at the focal point of smart lawyers, aggressive politicians and arrogant priests.

The title refers to Hobbes’s Leviathan, the classic work about liberty and the state, and also the whale. A Dostoyevskian-looking priest speaks to Kolia about enduring his trials like Job, submitting to God’s will, as mighty as the great beast of the sea: “Canst thou draw out Leviathan with a fish-hook?” Yet Kolia has become not Job, but the beached whale itself. Stunningly shot and superbly acted, especially by Madyanov, this is film-making on a grand scale.

film website

~Downstairs at the Savoy~

Red Army

Coming Soon

Not Rated; 76 minutes

WATCH THE TRAILER


Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter (excerpted)

One of the most effortlessly pleasurable distractions at the Cannes film festival, Gabriel Polsky's solo directing debut, Red Army, is a playful documentary about the former Soviet Union's national ice hockey squad, an all-conquering machine schooled under military training-camp conditions as an ideological propaganda weapon.

Red Army is a slick, witty, fast-moving blend of sports story and history lesson with clear appeal beyond the hockey-fan demographic. The tone is mostly light-hearted, but with splashes of personal tragedy and political intrigue to add grit. Interweaving scratchy archive footage from the 1970s and 80s with handsomely shot contemporary interviews, Polsky talks to former superstar players, retired KGB officers, sports journalists and veteran bureaucrats.

His star interview is Viacheslav "Slava" Fetisov, a former captain of the Soviet national team and double Olympic gold medal-winner, whose colorful life story gives the film its loose narrative spine. Fetisov's stellar career was full of triumph and tension, confrontations with his Communist bosses and bitter fall-outs with former sporting comrades.

film website