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~Downstairs at the Savoy~

Alive Inside

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Not Rated; 74 minutes

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Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music's capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.

This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music's ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Rossato-Bennett visits family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain) and musician Bobby McFerrin ("Don't Worry, Be Happy").

An uplifting cinematic exploration of music and the mind, Alive Inside's inspirational and emotional story left audiences humming, clapping and cheering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.

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~Downstairs at the Savoy~

The Two Faces of January

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Rated PG-13; 97 minutes

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Tim Robey, The Daily Telegraph (excerpted)

The Two Faces of January, adapted from the novel by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr Ripley), is an elegantly pleasurable period thriller, a film of tidy precision and class. It’s the directorial debut of Hossein Amini, the British-Iranian screenwriter best-known for the Oscar-nominated The Wings of the Dove and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. His skill as a scenarist shines through in this three-person rummy game - tightly engineered, no wasted words. It’s also a treat to look at and listen to, evoking old-fashioned movie virtues, and showing us a lush but suspenseful good time.

From the start, as holidaying Americans Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and Colette (Kirsten Dunst) take a turn around the Parthenon in 1962, we get that tingle that comes with feeling in safe hands. Amini has borrowed cinematographer, Marcel Zyskind, from Michael Winterbottom, and a composer, Alberto Iglesias, from Pedro Almódovar. Their combined efforts are seductive but also expressive, honed to a purpose. And the lemon dress Dunst is wearing may be the most perfectly stylish thing we’ve ever seen her in. You want her performance to live up to her gorgeous look, and it does.

This couple, the MacFarlands, have escaped for the summer, and for a brief stretch they look like prey, at least to the unscrupulous gaze of a small-time con artist called Rydal (Oscar Isaac). Handsome as a faun, this devil has been charming young travellers as a tour guide, then exploiting their faulty Greek to short-change them, a tactic he tries out on these two fellow Americans at a street market. His hand around Colette’s wrist, as he helps her to try on a bracelet, is a virtual promise of amorous frissons to come. But there turns out to be larceny on both sides.

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