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::: Coming Soon :::

~Downstairs at the Savoy~

What We Do in the Shadows

Coming Soon

Not Rated; 87 minutes

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Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle (excerpted)

Vampire movies are pretty exhausted these days. Few modern sights are more tiresome than blood on fangs. So what a surprise to find in What We Do in the Shadows an inspired and funny vampire comedy, one that’s more than just a smart premise but that remains fun and inventive from beginning to end.

If the title is flat don’t be misled. Also don’t avoid this film if you’re sick of vampires — you can’t be more sick of vampires than a film critic who sees them all and would love to put a stake through the whole genre. What We Do in the Shadows is seriously good and laugh-out-loud funny.

It’s a mock documentary about four vampires who share a house in Wellington, New Zealand. The ostensible reason for the documentary is to show how they go about their lives in the days leading up to the “Unholy Masquerade,” an annual social event. Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Eagle vs. Shark), who wrote and directed, take this situation and commit to it, finding all the possible angles for comedy and exploiting them with prankish self-assurance.

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~Downstairs at the Savoy~

5 to 7

Coming Soon

Rated R; 95 minutes

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Kyle Smith, New York Post

Proving it’s still possible to stick to the broad contours of The Graduate story and come up with something brightly endearing, 5 to 7 is a memorable directorial debut for Mad Men writer Victor Levin.

Anton Yelchin plays Brian, a struggling New York writer who strikes up a conversation with an older French woman (the intoxicating Bérénice Marlohe from Skyfall ) smoking outside a Midtown building and, to his surprise and ours, finds himself having an affair with her. Stranger still, her rich husband (Lambert Wilson), who has a mistress himself, welcomes Brian like a new member of the family, even inviting him to a dinner party, where he meets the likes of Daniel Boulud and Julian Bond. Young Brian’s parents (Frank Langella, Glenn Close) can’t quite get a handle on the Frenchness of it all.

Levin’s rendering of a literary and ever-surprising New York touches Woody Allen levels, even as he slyly shifts the tone from near-farcical to elegiac, with references to Truffaut’s Jules et Jim. The fondness and melancholy here prove to be a combination as pungent as youth.

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~Upstairs at the Savoy~

Clouds of Sils Maria

Coming Soon

Rated R; 124 minutes

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Sam Fragoso, Film School Rejects (excerpted)

A searing satire of an antiseptic Hollywood system, a meta-commentary on “Celebrity” culture, a melancholic evocation on the impermanence of youth, a pensive portrait of clandestine love, Clouds of Sils Maria is all of this and more. Olivier Assayas’ latest masterwork transcends superlatives – too daring and damning to be labeled. Its beauty is ineffable.

Seamlessly divided into two chapters (plus an epilogue), the film opens with the passing of Wilhelm Melchior, a lauded writer/director responsible for jumpstarting the career of Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche). Twenty years since playing the lead in Melchior’s beloved lesbian drama “Maloja Snake,” Maria is headed to the Alps to pay her respects at a posthumous retrospective. At her side is Valentine (Kristen Stewart), Maria’s devout personal assistant responsible for essentially everything in her life.

In the age of Twitter and the twenty-four-hour news cycle, how we grieve, publicly and privately, seems to be actively changing. When someone we’ve known and loved (or even someone we never met, but knew of) ceases to inhabit the same space we do, how do we appropriately respond? There is no proper etiquette in reacting. No formal protocol. It seems Clouds of Sils Maria contends that death is simply too painful for protocol. No matter, life must proceed, and Assayas avoids the typical trappings of depicting death by continuing onward with his story...

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~Downstairs at the Savoy~

The Salt of the Earth

Coming Soon

Rated PG-13; 110 minutes

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A.O. Scott, The New York Times (excerpted)

The Salt of the Earth, Wim Wenders’s new documentary about the life and work of the Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, elegantly inhabits a moral and aesthetic paradox. Mr. Salgado’s photographs illuminate some of the worst horrors of the modern world: starvation, war, poverty, displacement. They are also beautiful, dramatic visual artifacts, and their power has a double effect. We are drawn into the contemplation of terrible realities, but at the same time our attention turns to the person bearing witness.

That is not a fault, either in Mr. Salgado’s lifelong project or in Mr. Wenders’s consideration of it. It’s just a fact of their common vocation. The filmmaker brings his mellow humanism and globe-trotting curiosity into an appreciative, easygoing dialogue with the photographer’s single-minded vision. They are a well-matched pair. Though Mr. Wenders does not appear on camera, he is present as a narrator and a sensibility, recounting his early meetings with Mr. Salgado and his collaboration with the photographer’s son Juliano, who is the co-director of The Salt of the Earth.

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~Upstairs at the Savoy~

Far From the Madding Crowd

Coming Soon

Rated PG-13;119 minutes

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Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor.

This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

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