Film recommendations by Ky updated daily!
While we are all staying at home, we thought we would highlight a movie each day from our history and let you know where you can watch it at home. The idea came to us based on the New York Times idea of "let's watch movies at home together." So check out the film each day and share your thoughts and comments on the film after you've watched it with us on Facebook. We'll send a recap of the week every Friday to your inbox as well as post daily to Facebook, Instagram and our website!
Our next Rialto Recommends feature is 2018's WILD ROSE starring Jessie Buckley in a star-making turn alongside the always great Julie Walters. WILD ROSE tells the complicated story of Rose-Lynn, a woman on a quest to become a country music star, while also grappling with the responsibilities of being recently released from prison and a young mother of two children. Time Magazine said "Rose-Lynn is neither a wholly selfish character nor a selfless one, and her rough contours give Wild Rose-directed by Tom Harper and written by Nicole Taylor-its bite." And Tribune News raved "It's a tailor-made role for the electrifying Buckley, an actor who communicates pure primal instinct with a startling immediacy. As Rose-Lynn, she communicates every emotion physically, on her face, in her body and her voice." WILD ROSE deserved more attention than it received in its theatrical release. Stream it now on Hulu or rent it for a modest fee from RedBox, Amazon, YouTube, GooglePlay, Apple, Vudu and others HERE.
PARIS, JE T'AIME
Our next Rialto Recommends takes you to Paris for the omnibus film PARIS JE T'AIME from 2006. Olivier Assayas, Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven and Alfonso Cuaron are among the 20 distinguished directors who contribute to this collection of 18 stories, each exploring a different aspect of Parisian life. The colourful characters in this drama include a pair of mimes, a husband trying to chose between his wife and his lover, and a married man who turns to a prostitute for advice. USA Today raved "It's hard not to love Paris, Je t'Aime. A valentine to the planet's most romantic city, this delightful anthology of 18 short films will make you long to bid adieu to your humdrum existence and board the next plane to the City of Lights." While the Miami Herald said "In all their variations, with many of them graced by the presence of big-name actors, these 18 movies coalesce into an incandescent portrait of a city rife with possibilities for romance." PARIS JE T'AIME is streaming on IMDBtv, Roku, Hoopla, Vudu, Tubi, Pluto, PopcornFlix and available for a modest rental fee from YouTube, GooglePlay, Fandango, and Apple HERE.
Good love stories have both an element of truth and a bit of fantasy in their DNA. Our next Rialto Recommends feature was a big hit on the LGBT film festival circuit in 2007 before going on to theatrical runs and home video. Forced to give up his dreams of art school, Zach works dead-end jobs to support his sister and her son. Questioning his life, he paints, surfs and hangs out with his best friend Gabe. When Gabe's older brother returns home for the summer, Zach suddenly finds himself drawn into a relationship he didn't expect. The San Francisco Chronicle raved "Shelter rises very high indeed, thanks to a superb performance by Trevor Wright in the lead role, a strong supporting cast, very good cinematography and, most of all, emotional authenticity." While the Seattle Times said "What could have been a standard-issue coming-out, coming-of-age movie develops a remarkable intimacy." Check out Shelter for a modest rental fee on Google Play HERE.
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
2018 saw Moonlight director Barry Jenkins honored the source material of his second feature with a beautifully filmed adaptation while further strengthening his visual and narrative craft in IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. Based on James Baldwin's book, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is our next Rialto Recommends feature. The Chicago Sun-Times raved "This movie works as a timeless romance, a family drama, a legal thriller and a poignant social commentary. A great American novel has been turned into a great American film." While the Toronto Star exclaimed "Like a great bluesman, Moonlight's Barry Jenkins finds poetry in the lives of people struggling to surpass pain and cruel circumstances, often choosing beautiful images over words." While the Chicago Reader said "James Laxton's cinematography is even more richly hued than his work on Jenkins's Moonlight, and the sound design and Nicholas Britell's score add to the movie's brimming sensory pleasures." The Atlantic raved "Jenkins's If Beale Street Could Talk is a gorgeous, enveloping film -- and one of its most poignant triumphs is how vividly it captures the depth and complication of intimacy among its black characters." IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is streaming exclusively on Hulu and is available to rent for a modest fee from Redbox, Amazon, YouTube, GooglePlay, Vudu and others HERE.
Our next Rialto Recommends film featured the provocative tag line "Let's talk about sex" on its poster art. But far from a titillating sex romp, KINSEY starring Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard and Laura Linney is one of 2004's best films. The Observer raved "The great thing about Kinsey is the triumphant way it entertains, informs and electrifies us with the highest values of traditional cinema while opening our hearts and minds with the liberating potential of human diversity." And the Miami Herald said "Smart, eloquent and refreshingly free of condescension, Kinsey makes clear we'd all be a lot worse off without him." Check out KINSEY on Hulu or rent it for a modest fee from YouTube, Google, Apple, Fandango, Vudu, or Amazon.
20TH CENTURY WOMEN
During the summer of 1979, a Santa Barbara single mom and boardinghouse landlord (Annette Bening) decides the best way she can parent her teenage son (Lucas Jade Zumann) is to enlist her young tenants - a quirky punk photographer (Greta Gerwig), a mellow handyman (Billy Crudup) and her son's shrewd best friend (Elle Fanning) - to serve as role models in a changing world. Our next Rialto Recommends choice is 2017'S 20TH CENTURY WOMEN. The Washington Post raves "As a celebration of personal and social history, "20th Century Women" takes the audience back. But it also lifts us up on a wave of openhearted emotion and keen intelligence. It bursts with the sad, messy, ungovernable beauty of life." And NPR said "Detail-packed but never dull, with dialogue that absolutely sings and characters we want to stay with forever, it's the kind of work that begs revisiting, like a favorite collection of short stories." Check out or revisit 20TH CENTURY WOMEN on Netflix HERE. Fact: Bening has been nominated for an Academy Award four times for her work in The Grifters (1990), American Beauty (1999), Being Julie (2004) and The Kids Are Alright (2010). Isn't it time she won an Oscar? She's one of our favorite actresses.
With so many of us working or virtually visiting friends and family through the use of video conferencing products like Skype, Zoom and others, we thought it might be a good time to take a fresh look at a pioneering film from 2000. TIMECODE from writer/director Mike Figgis tells four stories simultaneously that converge as the film progresses. Director Mike Figgis helmed this ground-breaking experimental feature, filmed with four synchronized digital video cameras in four separate locations. The story, outlined in advance but otherwise improvised, was enacted in a single continuous take, like a stage play, with the unedited images from all four locations presented on the screen at once. Figgis and his crew chose the best single run-through, and the result is the film's final release version. Starring Saffron Burrows, Salma Hayek, Glenne Headly, Holly Hunter, Kyle MacLachlan, Alessandro Nivola, Julian Sands, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Steven Weber TIMECODE was controversial and challenging for audiences in 2000. The Detroit News raved "An intriguing, often very entertaining thriller with deliciously sexy, satirical and melodramatic flourishes." While the Detroit Free-Press said "It will be argued that Time Code is more of a techno-stunt than a dramatic experience, but the stories turn out to be surprisingly affecting." And the Denver Post said "Surprisingly breezy to watch, because Figgis smashingly manipulates sound to focus our attention from one place to another." Check out TIMECODE for a modest rental fee from Amazon, Fandango, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play or Apple HERE and share your thoughts on if and how this experimental feature has stood the test of time. Was it ahead of its time?
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Our next Rialto Recommends film is MY WEEK WITH MARILYN starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe with a supporting cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Dominic Cooper, and Zoe Wanamaker just to name a few. In MY WEEK WITH MARILYN Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the production of The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957. Time Magazine raves "Williams locates a central truth, the contradictory allure of this utterly impossible woman - mercurial, vain, foolish, but also intelligent in some very primal way and achingly vulnerable." MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is streaming on Netflix HERE.
In honor of the Kentucky Derby our next Rialto Recommends movie is the uplifting sports drama SECRETARIAT starring Diane Lane, John Malkovich and a terrific supporting performance by the always reliable Margo Martindale. The Dallas Morning News said "A finely constructed feel-good movie, gorgeous to look at, suspenseful when it's supposed to be and firmly in control of the sports movie archetypes and tropes that it wields like an experienced jockey using a riding crop." While the Washington Post commented "Director Randall Wallace has achieved the next to impossible, injecting genuine tension and suspense into a narrative we all know the ending to." "Secretariat earns its best accolades for asking even larger questions as it highlights the story not just of a terrific horse but of his greatest champion, owner Penny Chenery, portrayed with grace, edge and a growing sense of self by Diane Lane," said the Denver Post. SECRETARIAT is streaming on Disney+ and is available to rent for a modest fee from YouTube, Google, Apple, Fandango, Vudu, and others HERE.
RACE FOR YOUR LIFE, CHARLIE BROWN
Our next Rialto Recommends film is RACE FOR YOUR LIFE CHARLIE BROWN in honor of the fact that our company got its start in what we affectionately call Charlie Brown's Home Town - Santa Rosa - home of Snoopy's Home Ice and The Schultz Museum. In RACE FOR YOUR LIFE CHARLIE BROWN the Peanuts gang goes to summer camp, and they participate in a river-raft race against some cheating bullies. The third theatrical Peanuts feature length animation RACE FOR YOUR LIFE CHARLIE BROWN came out in the summer of 1977. The New York Times said "a delightful experience or a pleasant but slightly wearing one, depending upon the intensity of one's fascination with the basic "Peanuts" mystique." You can stream RACE FOR YOUR LIFE CHARLIE BROWN on Hulu, EPix, PlutoTV and Amazon Video or rent it from YouTube, GooglePlay, Vudu, Redbox, Apple or DirectTV for a modest fee HERE.
NIGHT OF THE COMET
For our next Rialto Recommends selection we go back to the 80's and a b-picture that movie people used to refer to as programmers. Usually made by independent companies b-pictures and programmers gave a great many filmmakers their initial success. From 1984 we give you NIGHT OF THE COMET. Two girls from the Valley wake up to find that a passing comet has eradicated their world and left behind a mysterious red-dust and a pack of cannibal mutants. With the help of a friendly truck driver, the girls save the earth from a villainous "think tank," karate chop their way through flesh-eating zombies, and, of course, find time to go to the mall. Trust us, its better than it sounds! Variety said "A successful pastiche of numerous science fiction films, executed with an entertaining, tongue-in-cheek flair that compensates for its absence in originality." TV Guide said "A terrifically witty, refreshingly unpretentious science-fiction film with the least likely and most likable heroines in memory." And SFX Magazine raved "What really makes Night Of The Comet such a joy isn't the nostalgia rush it provides, but the two central characters. These girls just get on with it, dealing with the apocalypse with resourcefulness, crackerjack wit, and machine guns." We all need campy humor and NIGHT OF THE COMET fits the bill perfectly. Check out this girl power sci-fi zombie flick that only the 80's could have produced. NIGHT OF THE COMET is streaming on Tubi, PlutoTV, and the Shudder Channel on Amazon HERE. It is also available to rent for a modest fee from Amazon.
Our next Rialto Recommends selection is 2014's joyous film PRIDE starring Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, Paddy Considine, and many more. PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It's the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers' families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all. The Seattle Times raved "It's a feel-good movie that does more than temporarily lift your spirits - it makes you feel a little better about the world, and about our capacity to set aside differences and clasp hands." And the Washington Post said ""Pride" leaves the viewer in the satisfied throes of all of those emotions: happy and sad, buoyed and chastened, and wondering, finally, what the world might look like if solidarity really could be forever." Sounds like a great film for this moment in time. Stream PRIDE on Amazon Video or Hoopla or rent it for a modest fee from Fandango, Vudu, RedBox, YouTube, Google Play, Apple or DirectTV HERE.
The untimely passing this week of Bollywood star Irrfan Khan reminded us of Mira Nair's beautiful movie THE NAMESAKE which gave him his "first gateway to the world" in Nair's words in the New York Times this week. Based on Jhumpa Lahiri's novel THE NAMESAKE is the story of the Ganguli family whose move from Calcutta to New York evokes a lifelong balancing act to meld to a new world without forgetting the old. Although parents Ashoke and Ashima long for the family and culture that enveloped them in India, they take great pride in the opportunities their sacrifices have afforded their children. Paradoxically, their son Gogol is torn between finding his own unique identity without losing his heritage. Even Gogol's name represents the family's journey into the unknown. The New York Times raved in 2007 "Mira Nair's The Namesake conveys a palpable sense of people as living, breathing creatures who are far more complex than their words might indicate." And the Boston Globe said "The Namesake has a deep, alluvial poetry to it, like a mighty river reaching the sea. It's mysterious and ordinary, insightful and banal, rambling and precise, and it is altogether unexpected." While the Chicago Tribune said "The Namesake brims with intelligence, compassion and sensuous delight in the textures, sights and sounds of life -- all the way from the Taj Mahal to Pearl Jam." You can rent THE NAMESAKE for a modest fee from Microsoft, Amazon, YouTube, Google, Fandango, Vudu and DirectTV HERE. Check out this beautiful and moving film!
Patricia Clarkson takes center stage in CAIRO TIME from 2009. A romantic drama about a brief, unexpected love affair that catches two people completely off-guard. The Seattle Times raves "Clarkson lights up Ruba Nadda's stately drama Cairo Time like the moon on a summer night, making every moment luminous with quiet, resigned longing." While Rolling Stone writes "It's a haunting and hypnotic film. And Clarkson's sublimely nuanced performance is in every way transporting." CAIRO TIME is available to rent for a modest fee from YouTube, GooglePlay and Apple HERE.
Today's movie recommendation is an arthouse classic that put writer/director Baz Luhrmann on the map. STRICTLY BALLROOM wowed audiences across the country and around the world when it was released in 1992 and 1993. Check out or revisit STRICTLY BALLROOM on Netflix here. Life's a dance!
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
Before our world turned upside down, the latest installment in the James Bond franchise was to open this month. (It's been moved to November.) So our next movie selection is one of the best of the Roger Moore era - 1981's FOR YOUR EYES ONLY starring Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, and Lynn-Holly Johnson and featuring our favorite James Bond theme sung by Sheena Easton, the only Bond theme singer ever to appear in a Bond film opening title sequence. The Chicago Reader said "Roger Moore has crumpled his comic-strip good looks into something approaching world-weariness, and the newfound maturity in his expression is reflected in director John Glen's style, which goes for the measured and elegant over the flashy and excessive." Check out FOR YOUR EYES ONLY on Amazon Prime or Hulu here but only until April 30th.
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM
Our next movie has always had a special place in our owners heart. We played it three different times the year it came out in our original Santa Rosa theatre. BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM is a wining crowd pleaser that is about a lot more than just women's soccer. Writer/director Gurinda Chada's film introduced the world to Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, and Archie Panjabi. The Orlando Sentinel said "Chadha has an ear and an eye for the funny, the touching and the just plain odd in her culture's gradual assimilation into the British mainstream." While the Seattle Times said "Chadha's created something magical; an atmosphere of happiness and hope, in which we could all bend a ball like Beckham -- or like Jess." Check out BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM on Hulu or rent it for a modest fee from Redbox, Amazon, YouTube, Google, Apple, Fandango or Vudu here.
LAGAAN: ONCE UPON A TIME IN INDIA
Our next movie selection is a true epic. Released in 2002 LAGAAN: ONCE UPON A TIME IN INDIA is lavish, rousing entertainment in the old-fashioned tradition of Hollywood musicals. The story of a battle without bloodshed fought by a group of unlikely heroes led by Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), an enigmatic young farmer with courage born of conviction and a dream in his heart. He is helped by Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley), the beautiful English girl who came to India and lost her heart, and Bhuvan's pillar of strength, Gauri (Gracy Singh), the young and perky village girl who dreams only of a home with the man she loves. A story of extraordinary circumstances thrust upon ordinary people. Adversity faced with fortitude and injustice with dignity. There is slowly awakening pride, the grit and determination of a people who have everything to lose. Faith and courage come face to face with arrogance and ruthlessness. And the human spirit triumphs. The LA Times raved "An affectionate homage to a popular genre that raises it to the level of an art film with fully drawn characters, a serious underlying theme, and a sophisticated style and point of view." And Roger Ebert exclaimed LAGAAN is "An enormously entertaining movie, like nothing we've ever seen before, and yet completely familiar." Settle in and enjoy LAGAAN: ONCE UPON A TIME IN INDIA exclusively on Netflix here.
Sometimes a good romp or a fun lark is exactly what your soul needs. If that is the case then check out our next selection THE DRESSMAKER starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, and Hugo Weaving. In THE DRESSMAKER directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse a glamorous woman returns to her small town in rural Australia. With her sewing machine and haute couture style, she transforms the women and exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong. Variety writes "Moorhouse's adaptation of Rosalie Ham's 2000 novel may lead audiences to expect a primmer, more well-behaved movie based on its title alone, but that doesn't mean it won't have them in stitches." While the Sydney Morning Herald says "All questions of taste and plausibility aside, The Dressmaker is a hoot and a healthy shock to the system. Australian cinema may never be quite the same again." Check out THE DRESSMAKER on both Amazon Prime Video and Hoopla or rent it for a modest fee from YouTube, Google, Apple, Fandango, or Vudu here.
Our next movie recommendation ANTONIA'S LINE won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1996. After World War II, Antonia and her daughter, Danielle, go back to their Dutch hometown, where Antonia's late mother has bestowed a small farm upon her. There, Antonia settles down and joins a tightly-knit but unusual community. Those around her include quirky friend Crooked Finger, would-be suitor Bas and, eventually for Antonia, a granddaughter and great-granddaughter who help create a strong family of empowered women. The Seattle Times said "Antonia's Line is a Dutch treat that unfolds like a generous novel, surrounding you with its indelible sense of time, place and character." And the New York Times said "With the tone of a fable and the lulling bucolic look of a pastoral fantasy, it tells of one strong woman and her talented descendants, all blessed with self-sufficiency and remarkably little need for men in their lives." ANTONIA'S LINE is streaming on Hoopla, Tubi and Kanopy or is available for a modest rental fee from Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Apple, Fandango Now, and Vudu here.
ELEPHANT QUEEN & INTO THE GRAND CANYON
We've got a double feature for you for Earth Day. In THE ELEPHANT QUEEN Athena is a mother who will do everything in her power to protect her herd when they are forced to leave their waterhole. This epic journey, narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, takes audiences across the African savannah, and into the heart of an elephant family. A tale of love, loss and coming home. THE ELEPHANT QUEEN is streaming exclusively on AppleTV Plus here.
In INTO THE GRAND CANYON two journalists traverse the Grand Canyon by foot, hoping to better understand the revered canyon. This beautiful documentary is streaming exclusively on DisneyPlus here.
DANCING WITH THE BIRDS & AY MARIPOSA
With Earth Day coming up on Wednesday we have a couple of shorter documentaries as our movie choices for Tuesday, April 21st. Our first choice is DANCING WITH THE BIRDS which is streaming on Netflix here. Stephen Fry guides viewers this charming and playful documentary that is suitable for all ages as we journey deep into the forest following the glorious colors and curiosities of rarely seen birds of paradise, bowerbirds and manakins.
Our second selection is the beautiful, powerful AY MARIPOSA which is streaming on Kanopy here. Ay Mariposa documents each characters' fierce commitment to home, justice, wild beauty and the future of the US-Mexico borderlands. AY MARIPOSA tells a story of three characters in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas whose lives are upended by plans to build a US-Mexico border wall. As the director of the National Butterfly Center, Marianna Trevino Wright has become a leader of wall resistance in the Valley. Meanwhile the butterfly, la mariposa, fights its own daily battle for survival in a landscape where more than 95 percent of its habitat is long gone and much of what remains lies directly in the path of the wall.
Our movie selection for Monday, April 20th is a throwback to 2000 when this British comedy appeared. SAVING GRACE stars Brenda Blythen and Craig Ferguson. An aristocratic English widower learns of her husband's secret life of debauchery. The news leaves her shaken and financially insecure, until she is helped by the caretaker of her manor to regain her dignity and to make money by using her greenhouse to grow pot. It's worth noting that Craig Ferguson also is credited as a co-writer of the film. Rolling Stone said "Blethyn's solid-gold charm turns Saving Grace into a comic high." Check out SAVING GRACE on Starz and DirectTV or rent it for a modest fee from Fandango, YouTube, Amazon, Google Play, Apple or Vudu here.
Our friends at the Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival introduced us to DOUGH which is our movie selection for Sunday, April 19th. Curmudgeonly widower Nat Dayan (Tony award-winning actor Jonathan Pryce) clings to his way of life as a Kosher bakery shop owner in London's East End. Understaffed, Nat reluctantly enlists the help of teenager Ayyash (Jerome Holder), who has a secret side gig selling marijuana to help his immigrant mother make ends meet. When Ayyash accidentally drops his stash into the mixing dough, the challah starts flying off the shelves and an unlikely friendship forms between the old Jewish baker and his young Muslim apprentice. DOUGH is a warmhearted and humorous story about overcoming prejudice and finding redemption in unexpected places. The New York Times said ""Dough" is sweet, often funny and always nonthreatening, a movie for those who wish the intractable realities of the world would just disappear." DOUGH is streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Canopy and is also available to rent for a modest fee from Google Play, YouTube, Fandango, Vudu, and Apple here. Take a chance on DOUGH!
THE SPECTACULAR NOW
Our film recommendation for Saturday, April 19th is 2013's THE SPECTACULAR NOW. With sly humor and an intensity of feeling, THE SPECTACULAR NOW creates a vivid, three-dimensional portrait of youth confronting the funny, thrilling and perilous business of modern love and adulthood. This is the tale of Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior and effortless charmer, and of how he unexpectedly falls in love with "the good girl" Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley). What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed, straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth - one that doesn't look for tidy truths. The film also features wonderful supporting turns from Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. In his four star review Roger Ebert said "Here is a lovely film about two high school seniors who look, speak and feel like real 18-year-old middle-American human beings. Do you have any idea how rare that is?" THE SPECTACULAR NOW is streaming on Netflix as well as on Hoopla and Kanopy here.
We were sadden to learn of the passing of Brian Dennehy and we were reminded of his starring role in 1986's F/X. Smart, twisty, and perfectly cast, the effects-assisted neo-noir F/X reminds viewers that a well-told story is the most special effect of all. Roger Ebert raved "The irony of F/X, which is a very good thriller indeed, is that it avoids the pitfall of so many thrillers; it doesn't degenerate into a mindless display of special effects." Starring Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy, check out F/X on Amazon Prime Video, Vudu and Pluto here. Though the film was only a modest hit in theatres when it was released in early 1986, the film developed a cult following when it began airing on the cable movie networks later that year. It became such a hit that a lesser sequel was done in 1991.
LEARNING TO DRIVE
As we have all been sheltering in place, many of us have had to learn new skills or adapt to doing familiar things in new ways. In honor of this our movie recommendation is 2014's indie gem LEARNING TO DRIVE starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley. The Philadelphia Inquirer said "Learning to Drive is a story of companionship, loneliness, resilience. It's a small, artfully crafted thing, but it resonates in big ways." And the New York Times raved "As this movie, directed by Isabel Coixet, tracks the deepening friendship between people from different cultures and backgrounds, it acquires an unforced metaphorical resonance." LEARNING TO DRIVE is streaming on Hoopla and available to rent for a modest fee from Amazon, YouTube, Google, Fandango, Vudu, Apple and others here. Check out this wonderful film and share your thoughts with us on Facebook!
Mira Nair's MONSOON WEDDING is an insightful, energetic blend of Hollywood and Bollywood styles, Monsoon Wedding is a colorful, exuberant celebration of modern-day India, family, love, and life. In Rolling Stone Peter Travers wrote "Director Mira Nair, best known for Mississippi Masala, a cross-cultural love story with Denzel Washington, as well as the Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay!, aims for pure joy and achieves it." In Newsweek David Ansen said "Nair's stereotype-shattering movie -- like the polymorphous culture it illuminates -- borrows from Bollywood, Hollywood and cinema verite, and comes up with something exuberantly its own." A big hit when we played it back in 2001, MONSOON WEDDING is streaming on Hoopla, Starz and DirectTV or is available to rent for a modest fee from Redbox, Google, YouTube, Apple Fandango, Vudu and others here.
Our next film choice is the arthouse classic from 1996 BIG NIGHT. Written by Stanley Tucci and Josh Tropiano and directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci. New Jersey, 1950s. Two brothers run an Italian restaurant. Business is not going well as a rival Italian restaurant is out-competing them. In a final effort to save the restaurant, the brothers plan to put on an evening of incredible food. The LA Times raved "As delicately and deliciously prepared as the dishes it features, Big Night is a lyric to the love of food, family and persuasive acting." "Stanley Tucci's surprise cinematic brainchild fills you up with its audacious originality." said USA Today. BIG NIGHT is steaming on Amazon Prime, Tubi, Kanopy, Sony Crackle, PopcornFilx and PlutoTV here. Enjoy this classic!
In our Sebastopol location we have light boxes above each auditorium entrance that we use to put up quippy slogans which sometimes comment on the movie in that auditorium. One of those slogans "Where Huh? Meets Hmmm..." could be used to describe our next film selection. PRIMER, released in 2004, is one of the most original, audacious debut films we have ever shown. A trippy little science fiction indie that shows what an imaginative filmmaker can do with an original story and limited resources. Written and directed by Shane Carruth PRIMER is a psychological sci-fi thriller about a group of four tech entrepreneurs. Toiling away in a garage, the quartet have successfully created error-checking systems for their clients. But their recent work seems to have created an unexpected and seemingly impossible side-effect. Suddenly, two members of the group realize they are in possession of a device that can double, or perhaps even quadruple, the space-time continuum of anything that enters it. What at first seems like a windfall of astronomical proportions eventually proves to be much more than they bargained for, as the duo attempt to manipulate time to their financial -- and emotional -- benefit. PRIMER won the coveted Grand Jury Prize for dramatic film at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. The New York Times called PRIMER "An ingenious first film made on a budget of about $7,000 by a former engineer and self-taught filmmaker about the perils of ingenuity." You can check out PRIMER for a modest rental fee on Amazon, Google Play, YouTube and Apple iTunes here.
Our next film is another Gurinda Chada film, from 2000 it is WHAT'S COOKING? starring Joan Chen, Mercedes Ruhl, Alfre Woodard, and Lanie Kazan as the matriarchs of four contemporary Los Angeles families gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving. That most American of holidays, Thanksgiving, serves as the focal point for this raptly celebratory look at the modern American family. WHAT'S COOKING? interweaves the workings of four diverse Los Angeles households-African American, Jewish, Latino, and Vietnamese-as they make their preparations for arriving guests and relatives for the traditionally festive dinner. Who but an outsider to these goings-on would have the keen perception and discernment to capture the detail and nuance of family relationships and the cultural specificity of behavior, decor, and most of all food with this degree of accuracy and freedom? The Los Angeles Times said "Has unexpected substance and is a formidable accomplishment in that it brings dimension to its nearly 40 principal characters." And Roger Ebert raved "Because the stories are so skillfully threaded together, the movie doesn't feel like an exercise: Each of the stories stands on its own." WHAT'S COOKING? is streaming on IMDbTV and Tubi or is available to rent for a modest fee from Amazon, Google YouTube, Apple and Vudu here.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
Our first movie selection for this week is last summer's joyful BLINDED BY THE LIGHT. Written and directed by Gurinda Chada (Bend It Like Beckham, What's Cooking), BLINDED BY THE LIGHT takes place in England in 1987. When music fanatic Javed discovers the illustrious back catalogue of The Boss his world is turned upside down; already a creative soul his passion for music and writing is set alight by the songs of the working-class poet, whose lyrics feel all too familiar to the aspirational teenager. Yearning to escape his rundown hometown and the rules of his traditional Pakistani household, Javed finds himself caught in between two worlds and must discover if he too is Born to Run... Time Magazine raved "Joyous and funny even as it strikes the occasional melancholy chord, Blinded by the Light is a testament to the small miracle of how the right music manages to find us at just the right time..." BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is streaming on HBO Now and Hulu here.
HUNT FOR WILDERPEOPLE
The charmingly offbeat HUNT FOR WILDERPEOPLE from acclaimed filmmaker Taika Waititi unites a solid cast, a talented filmmaker, and a poignant, funny, deeply affecting message. Equal parts road comedy and rousing adventure story, director Taika Waititi (JoJo Rabbit) masterfully weaves lively humor with emotionally honest performances by Sam Neill and Julian Dennison. A hilarious, touching crowd-pleaser, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE reminds us about the journey that growing up is (at any age) and those who help us along the way. HUNT FOR WILDERPEOPLE is streaming on Hulu here.
Set in Coalwood, West Virginia, OCTOBER SKY is the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes. Starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal alongside Chris Cooper and Laura Dern the San Diego Union Tribune said "A story both grounded and ascendent, a movie that puts your emotions in orbit." OCTOBER SKY is streaming on HBO Now and DirectTV and is also available for a modest rental fee from Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Apple and Vudu here.
THE RED TURTLE
Our next movie selection is 2016's Studio Ghibli production THE RED TURTLE. THE RED TURTLE adds to Studio Ghibli's estimable legacy with a beautifully animated effort whose deceptively simple story boasts narrative layers as richly absorbing as its lovely visuals. The Washington Post says "This quiet meditation on humans' relationship with nature hews to Ghibli's core values of exquisitely rendered visual images combined with gently ruminative sensibilities." Entertainment Weekly raved "It invites us - as in, anyone who's ever felt stranded - to consider our little spot in the world. Lavish with stunning imagery, the experience will ripple into your dreams." And the Toronto Star says "Wholly original, yet informed by legends of both the East and West, it invites us to contemplate humanity's connections to the natural world and the realm of the spirit." THE RED TURTLE is available for a modest fee on Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play and others here. Check out this quietly meditative film and let us know your thoughts!
TO CATCH A THIEF
Classic films are an important part of our programming. Whether it is our co-presentations with the Friends of the Cerrito of Cerrito Classics or the classics we screen each year for the Sonoma County Library Foundation, we love classics. So our next movie is Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 gem (pardon the pun) TO CATCH A THIEF. Starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly TO CATCH A THIEF and set in Monte Carlo is one of Hitchcock's most glamorous films. So check out TO CATCH A THIEF on Amazon Prime and PlutoTV. TO CATCH A THIEF is also available to rent on streaming for a nominal charge from YouTube, Google Play, Apple, Vudu and others here.
Our next film selection Danny Boyle's charming fable MILLIONS. Yes, you read that correctly. We said Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and charming fable in the same sentence. In MILLIONS the UK is about to switch its currency from Pounds to Euros, giving a gang a chance to rob the poorly-secured train loaded with money on its way to incineration. But, during the robbery, one of the big bags falls literally from the sky on Damian's playhouse, a 7-year old given to talking to saints. The boy then starts seeing what the world and the people around him are made of. Ethics, being human and the soul all come to the forefront in this film. The New York Times raved "Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) has directed a heartfelt, emotionally delicate children's movie about life and death and all the parts in between." Richard Roper said "One of the most stylish and eccentric films about childhood dreams and heartbreaks that I've ever seen." MILLIONS is streaming on Disney+ and Starz and is available to stream for a modest fee from Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Apple and Vudu here. Check out MILLIONS and let us know your thoughts on what we think is the sweetest film Danny Boyle has ever made.
Seven years ago the musical Kinky Boots opened on Broadway so our next movie is KINKY BOOTS on which the musical is based. Charlie Price faces the impending shut down of the Northampton shoe factory that his family has owned and operated for generations. Just when he feels that all is lost, he has a chance encounter with Lola, a flamboyant transvestite cabaret star. Lola's desire for stylish, kinky boots for herself and her colleagues provides a glimmer of hope for the factory and its employees. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joel Edgerton star in this winning comedy. The Rocky Mountain News said "Ejiofor's latest, Kinky Boots, may not enshrine itself in the halls of movie greatness, but it proves that this versatile British actor can do nearly anything." Fun side note, at the same time KINKY BOOTS was in US theatres Ejiofor was also starring in Spike Lee's heist thriller INSIDE MAN. KINKY BOOTS is available for rent on a number of streaming services for a modest fee or you can check out the virtual library service Hoopla and borrow the title here.
A wonderful below the radar comedy that we originally presented back in the spring of 2001, THE DISH takes us to a small town in Australia as American astronauts prepare to make one giant leap for mankind, a small Australian town stumbles through its own small steps to help. In the summer of 1969, Cliff Buxton (Sam Neill) leads a team of scientists overseeing the operations of one of the world's largest radio telescope dishes, nestled in a New South Wales community of sheep farmers. As NASA prepares for Apollo 11, the first manned voyage to the moon, Buxton and his crew are asked if they will allow their telescope's dish to be used as a backup receiver for the television transmission from the moon, should the main receiver in California fail. Buxton and his men are more than happy to help, and the village is agog as they gear up for their own small part in one of the world's greatest adventures. Though played for laughs, The Dish was inspired by actual events. The Dallas Morning News said "Both goofy and touching, so heartfelt and fresh that it draws us in, tickling our funny bones while hitting the solar plexus." And the Los Angeles Times said "What gives the film a sharp edge of pathos to offset some often very broad humor is its pervading sense of how much it means for Australia to play a crucial role in a key achievement of Western civilization." THE DISH is streaming on Vudu with ads and is available for rent for a modest fee on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play and others here.
A remake of the 2011 French feature The Intouchables which was inspired by a true story. The Upside is a heartfelt comedy about a recently paroled ex-convict (Kevin Hart) who strikes up an unusual and unlikely friendship with a paralyzed billionaire (Bryan Cranston). While critics were not kind to the film, we found that audiences generally enjoyed the film and thought it was better than the criticism leveled at it. THE UPSIDE is streaming on Hulu here. If you want to compare and contrast the French film THE INTOUCHABLES is available for a modest rental fee on Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon Prime video here.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Our next film is the coming of age story THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER written and directed for the screen by Stephen Chbosky adapting his own acclaimed novel. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is a modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a moving tale of love, loss, fear and hope-and the unforgettable friends that help us through life. The Detroit News says "This is clearly a labor of love that was nurtured and sculpted from the beginning. The result is a film that feels exhilarating, fragile, funny and real." And Rolling Stone says "Perks deserves points for going beyond the typical coming-of-age drivel aimed at teens. Logan Lerman excels as Charlie and Emma Watson makes a dream girl to die for, but the movie is stolen, head to tail, by Ezra Miller." THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is streaming on Netflix here.
Starring Michael Caine and Demi Moore, FLAWLESS is a 2007 heist film about an aging janitor and an American executive who form an unlikely alliance in order to carry out an elaborate jewel heist. Set in 1960s-era London, the tense crime thriller stars Michael Caine as the scheming maintenance man who longs to relieve his employers at the London Diamond Corporation of their valuable inventory, and Demi Moore as the savvy executive who is completely perplexed by the wealthy diamond magnates. The Boston Globe says "Flawless is a gimcrack, a genre exercise, yet it's a confidence game in the best sense of the phrase. [Director] Radford knows the rules - when to bend them, when to break them, and when to play by them. That's an increasingly rare skill." FLAWLESS is available to rent for a modest fee on Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Tubi and others here.
THE AERONAUTS reunites Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne from the Theory of Everything in director Tom Harper's thrilling film. In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and advancing scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival. Indiwire says "When so many supersized blockbusters take the potential of CGI action for granted, "The Aeronauts" finds a fresh use for it by turning the exhilaration of discovery into a real visual treat." Critics were hard on the film, but we quite enjoyed it and hope that you will to. THE AERONAUTS is streaming on Amazon Prime Video here.
BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY
For this selection, we honor our friends at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival which was originally scheduled for this past weekend. Last year SDFF featured a wonderful show business documentary feature titled BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY. Bathtubs Over Broadway pulls back the curtains on a delightfully entertaining -- and surprisingly affecting -- glimpse into a largely forgotten corner of pop culture. The Chicago Tribune raves "Another reminder that top-drawer musical-theater talent has long been more abundant in America than prestigious paying gigs, and that great actors can make you cry when they're singing about car-key blanks." And Brett White writing in Decider says "It's not hyperbole to say that this film is a celebration of the wonders humanity can achieve, whether the entire world or just a hundred people from sales are taking notice." Check out BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY on Netflix here!
Clive Owen and Helen Mirren star in the delightful 2001 British comedy GREENFINGERS. Rex Reed said at the time the film was released "An exemplary movie that makes you feel good about the human condition." Probably just what we need right now. Some hope, some flowers, and the promise of a garden in bloom. Check out GREENFINGERS on Youtube, Tubi or Vudu or rent it from Amazon Prime, iTunes, or Google Play for a nominal fee here. Let us know your thoughts on the film on Facebook. GREENFINGERS was one of a handful of comedies that we programmed in our original Santa Rosa location in the weeks immediately following 9/11. Today, we could use the same dose of hope that we did then. Enjoy!
It's 1968 and a Australian Aboriginal girl group entertains US troops during the Vietnam War. It's a story about love, friendship and wartime. THE SAPPHIRES is streaming on Netflix here.
DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Eddie Murphy is a comedic genius who hasn't had a vehicle this good since the 80's. In DOLEMITE IS MY NAME he portrays Ruby Ray Moore a pioneer comedian and rapper who becomes a blaxploitation phenomenon. A huge hit at TIFF last year, the film is available on Netflix here.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for his role as Ron Woodruf in Jean-Marc Vallee's poignant drama and Jared Leto took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn as Rayon. DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is streaming on Netflix here.
THE BEST WORST THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED
One of our greatest living composers, Stephen Sondheim, turned 90 on Sunday. To celebrate his birthday we give you THE BEST WORST THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED by Lonny Price. BEST WORST THING chronicles the debut of Sondheim's musical Merrily We Roll Along which premiered on Broadway in 1981. A surefire hit that wasn't. Through interviews and remarkable behind the scenes footage, Price captures the making of a Broadway legend. Featuring Jason Alexander, Liz Callaway, George Furth, Adam Guettel, Tonya Pinkins, Lonny Price, Harold Prince and Stephen Sondheim. THE BEST WORST THING is available on Netflix here. A true must for musical theatre fans!
For your viewing pleasure we recommend Annette Benning's 2004 Academy Award nominated tour de force BEING JULIA. Benning stars as Julia Lambert an acclaimed West End actress who is approaching middle age with a degree of disillusionment. A wonderful comedic drama is based on a W. Somerset Maugham's novella. It's streaming on HBO Now and HBO Go as well as available to rent from Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Youtube, GooglePlay, etc - links here. We could all use a little backstage drama these days.
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL
Our next movie is the quirky comedic drama LARS AND THE REAL GIRL from 2007. Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider and Patricia Clarkson star in this wonderful film that many people missed. In the Los Angeles Times review Kenneth Turan described the film as "the sweetest, most innocent, most completely enjoyable film around," "a film whose daring and delicate blend of apparent irreconcilables will sweep you off your feet if you're not careful. The creators of this film were fiercely determined not to go so much as a millimeter over the line into sentiment, tawdriness or mockery. It's the rare film that is the best possible version of itself, but Lars fits that bill." LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is available to watch on Amazon Prime, Youtube, Tubi, and Vudu as well as for rent at the Google Play and iTunes stores - links here. Enjoy LARS AND THE REAL GIRL and let us know your thoughts on this film on Facebook.
Friday, March 20th the Washington Post featured a wonderful column by Christopher Nolan about the vital role movie theatres play in our society. So the next film is Christopher Nolan's Memento. Americans were first introduced to Christopher Nolan's unique style with his arthouse hit MEMENTO starring Guy Pierce. MEMENTO is streaming for free on youtube here. Share your thoughts and comments on Memento below. Christopher Nolan's Washington Post article link is here.
Our first film was one of the very first films we opened with at our original Santa Rosa location the week of January 14th 2000. MANSFIELD PARK - written for the screen and directed by Patricia Rozema and based on a novel by Jane Austen. Featuring Frances O'Connor, Jonny Lee Miller, Hugh Bonneville, Lindsay Duncan, Alessandro Nivola and many others. Enjoy this wicked comedy on Netflix here and share your thoughts on it after you've watched it!