(Ben Affleck, 2012) · Espionage and cinema collide—more literally than usual—in the latest from that rising young director Ben Affleck. In the midst of the Iranian disaster of 1979, CIA agent Tony Mendez must spirit six escaped hostages out of danger. Eschewing conventional ideas, he poses as a filmmaker on location, hoping to establish the captives as his "crew members." Check out Alan Arkin and John Goodman's respective comedic turns as producer and make-up man.
runtime: 121 min format: 35mm
(Michael Haneke, 2012) · Austrian auteur, Michael Haneke, directs Amour, winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Retired couple Georges and Anne, two former music teachers, are living happily together as they enter old age. One day Anne has a crippling stroke that forever alters their lives. In the wake of Anne's malaise, George is forced to make critical decisions. A soon-to-be classic, the film presents to us the question, "How long can love prevail?" Amour won this year's Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
runtime: 127 min format: 35mm
(Carlos Saura, 1976) · This bleak classic of Spanish cinema stars the amazing child actress Ana Torrent, whom you may recognize from Victor Erice's The Spirit of the Beehive, as a melancholic eight-year-old orphan who struggles to cope with the recent death of her military official father. The film is loaded with coded critiques of the Franco regime, a reign which Saura adamantly opposed. It won the Special Jury Prize Award at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.
runtime: 110 min format: 35mm
(Steven Spielberg, 2012) · "We find the mephitic fumes of his oratory a lethal challenge to our pulmonaries," spews Tommy Lee Jones as radical republican Thaddeus Stevens. Accolades apart (twelve Oscar nominations including Best Picture and winning Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln), watch Spielberg's historical drama for the massive amounts of dialogue and exchanges of rhetorical finesse that fill this epic and accurate portrayal of America at the end of its Civil War.
runtime: 150 min format: 35mm
(David O. Russell, 2012) · Bradley Cooper has bipolar disorder, a weirdly intense obsession with his ex-wife, a habit of jogging while wearing a trash bag, and an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Jennifer Lawrence has a sordid past, a penchant for saying the worst thing at the worst time, an interest in amateur dancing competitions, and an Oscar nomination (and win) for Best Actress. Together they will dance (literally) their way out of sadness and into your heart.
runtime: 122 min format: 35mm
(Kathryn Bigelow, 2012) · Critics bemoan this film for defending torture, but don't let that deter you from making up your own mind. Bigelow's thrilling follow-up to The Hurt Locker dramatizes the CIA manhunt for Osama bin Laden, as seen through the eyes of determined rookie agent Maya (Jessica Chastain). Her dogged pursuit of this cause culminates in the masterfully edited half-hour title sequence, shot wholly in stark night-vision greens and blacks. Not to be missed.
runtime: 157 min format: 35mm
(Abbas Kiarostami, 2012) · A Tokyo college student by day and a paid companion by night, Akiko is cajoled into answering a late-night call from an unlikely client living in Yokohama. Such is the inciting incident of Kiarostami's latest film, a work that gives new meaning to the phrase "deceptively simple." In actuality, this is a tour de force of hidden causes and unintended effects, taking the viewer down a narrative path as circuitous as the urban geography it covers.
runtime: 109 min format: DCP
(Steven Soderbergh, 2013) · It's best to go into this one with as little information as possible. Skip the reviews. Skip the trailers. Supposedly Soderbergh's last theatrical endeavor, it's everything a movie should be–nuanced, perfectly paced, compelling, and featuring C-Tates. Soderbergh's has since toned down the Leaving Forever To Be a Painter talk, but just in case he changes his mind, take every opportunity to catch pieces of his oeuvre in the big bright darkness of the cinema.
runtime: 106 min format: 35mm
(Jacques Audiard, 2012) · Have you ever cried while listening to Katy Perry? Well, get ready to. Only Audiard, king of melodrama, could use bubble gum pop to punctuate the climax of a tortured love story. "Fireworks" is not the only part of his stellar follow-up to A Prophet that sounds ridiculous on the page. This, after all, is a film about a woman who loses both her legs in a killer whale accident. But you won't find a dry eye or an unmoved heart when the credits roll.
runtime: 120 min format: 35mm
(Quentin Tarrantino, 2012) · Django (Jamie Foxx) has just been sold, separating him from his beloved wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). After an abrupt roadside shoot-out, Django has the prospect of gaining his freedom, so long as he proves helpful to headhunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). The two rampage around antebellum Mississippi, honing their bounty hunting technique, encountering eccentric slave drivers, plantation masters, and klan's men along the route.
runtime: 165 min format: 35mm