[music in] The great pianist Marian McPartland passed way this week. Although she had not made any new recordings in recent years, her program Piano Jazz was the longest-running music show on NPR, and one that we carried for several years. Mary Virginia Swain posted on our website:
We’re pleased to present a film from North Carolina’s David Green (graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts; director of George Washington and All the Real Girls). Driven by striking performances from Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, Prince Avalanche is an offbeat comedy about two men painting traffic lines on a desolate country highway that’s been ravaged by wildfire. Against this dramatic setting, beautifully shot by frequent Green collaborator Tim Orr, the men bicker and joke with each other, eventually developing an unlikely friendship.
Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species' treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature. (Rated PG-13, 1hr. 20min.)
Based on true events and laced with wry humor, Still Mine is a heartfelt love story about an 89-year-old New Brunswicker (James Cromwell) who comes up against the system when he sets out to build a more suitable house for his wife (Geneviève Bujold) whose memory is fading. Although Craig Morrison is using the same methods his father, a shipbuilder, taught him, times have changed. Craig quickly gets on the wrong side of an overzealous government inspector, who finds just about everything unacceptable, including the unstamped wood Craig has milled from his own trees.
The Hunt is a disturbing depiction of how a lie becomes truth when gossip, doubt and malice are allowed to ignite a witch-hunt that soon threatens to destroy an innocent man’s life. Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for his penetrating portrayal of Lucas, a former school teacher who has been forced to start over after overcoming a tough divorce and the loss of his job. Just as things are starting to go his way, his life is shattered when an untruthful remark throws his small community into a collective state of hysteria.
Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film Twenty Feet From Stardom, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.
Much Ado About Nothing is one of the season's most well received films, both critically and with audiences. Director Joss Whedon's (THE AVENGERS) sumptuously shot movie is a modern adaptation on Shakespeare's timeless classic, featuring a wonderful ensemble cast comprised largely of Whedon's regulars. In this rendition of one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof ) have just returned to Messina after a successful campaign abroad.
In Before Midnight, widely hailed as one of the best films of the year, director Richard Linklater continues tracking a star-crossed couple, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Jesse and Celine first met in their twenties in Before Sunrise (1995), reunited in their thirties in Before Sunset (2004), and now, in Before Midnight, they face the past, present and future; family, romance, and love. Before the clock strikes midnight, their story again unfolds.
In this acclaimed, inspired, genre-twisting new film, Oscar-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that the truth depends on who's telling it. Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers. In this must-see film, she playfully interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions.
The reinvention of Verdi's masterpiece, La Traviata, as sung by world-famous French coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay, is the subject of Philippe Béziat's thrilling new movie. A modern, minimalist, post-punk approach strips away the opulence and grandiosity associated with operatic productions. Concentrating on director Jean-François Sivadier's working relationship with Dessay, the film reveals how two great creative minds build the story of a doomed love affair. The stars rehearse in what look like yoga outfits, on a bare stage, with minimal props.