Wednesday, August 30, 2017

September Pick: Tulip Fever

We're heading to the Netherlands back in the 1600s for our September outing to see Tulip Fever.  As the author of the bestselling novel of the same name explains in an interview below, it was a time when a craze broke out for betting big on which tulips would blossom first - red, white, orange, striped? 

Christoph Waltz, at his vexatious best, stars as a wealthy man who decides to have a portrait painted of his beautiful young wife, played by Alicia Vikander (who was terrific in The Danish Girl and Testament of Youth). The handsome young artist he chooses (played by Dane DeHaan) turns out to be irresistible to her. And the ever-watchable Judi Dench plays a nun who never hesitates to give advice.

The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 but, for various reasons, took a long time to be released in cinemas. Rumours say that these included funding problems and censorship threats due to a surfeit of sexiness - which we'll judge for ourselves.

WHEN & WHERE: We'll see Tulip Fever on Tuesday, September 5, at the Varsity Cinema (Manulife Centre at Bay & Bloor) for the 1:30 screening - gathering, as always, near the box office about 20 minutes earlier. 

SYNOPSIS:  An artist falls for a young married woman while he's commissioned to paint her portrait during the tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.


INTERVIEW with Tulip Fever author:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

July Pick: The Big Sick

Summer's finally here, so how about a comedy for our July pick? The Big Sick, which we'll see at the Varsity Cinema (Manulife Centre, Bloor & Bay) for the 1:15 screening, is a comedy, yes. But according to multi-star reviews even in media outlets that don't sprinkle them around unless they have to, it's a comedy with some serious themes. Check out the synopsis and trailer below to see what I mean.


Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after one of his stand-up sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he's never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.



Monday, May 29, 2017

June Pick: My Cousin Rachel

Because nothing likely to interest us had arrived in time for the first Tuesday of this month, we're postponing our outing to the second Tuesday, June 13th, when we'll be seeing My Cousin Rachel

It's a remake of the 1952 version of the Victorian-era novel by Daphne du Maurier. Back then, Olivia de Haviland starred as a woman suspected by her cousin, played by Richard Burton, of evil doings. This time, Rachel Weisz takes the title role while Sam Claflin glowers as her suspicious cousin.


A dark romance, the movie tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.


At this writing, no reviews of this new version of My Cousin Rachel had been published. So instead, especially for you true cinephiles, is Bosley Crowther's New York Times review of the original version:

Friday, April 28, 2017

May Pick: The Circle

Our pick this month, The Circle, is a sci-fi thriller based on Dave Eggers' chillingly prophetic 2013 novel of the same name. Tom Hanks stars as the Steve Jobs-like mastermind at a seemingly benign company that a young programmer, played by Emma Watson, is overjoyed to join. That is until its overwhelmingly pervasive corporate culture makes her feel that Big Brother is not only watching but ... 'nuff said for now.

We'll be seeing The Circle at the Yonge-Dundas Cineplex on Tuesday, May 2, for the 1:15 screening. As always, we'll try to meet near the box office about 20 minutes earlier. But if don't see me or other club members when you arrive, just go in and watch the movie. 

SYNOPSIS:  When Mae (Emma Watson) is hired to work for the world's largest and most powerful tech & social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company's founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

April Pick: The Zookeeper's Wife

A suspenseful WWII-era drama is our April pick. Based on a true story, The Zookeeper's Wife focuses on the incredibly dangerous strategy undertaken by a woman who, with her husband, is in charge of the Warsaw Zoo. Their chosen mission is to shelter as many people and animals as possible from Nazi brutality. Jessica Chastain (Oscar-nominated for her stunning work in The Help) stars in the title role.

We'll be seeing the film at the Varsity Cinema (ManuLife Centre, Bay & Bloor) on Tuesday, April 4, for the12:00 screening. As always, we'll gather near the box office about 20 minutes earlier. If you don't see me or other Movie Club members, just go in and watch the film and meet us afterward if you plan to nosh & natter at Scaccia downstairs.

SYNOPSIS: The time is 1939 and the place is Poland, homeland of Antonina Zabinski and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski. The Warsaw Zoo flourishes under Jan's stewardship and Antonina's care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are forced to report to the Reich's newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck. The Zabinskis covertly begin working with the Resistance and put into action plans to save the lives of hundreds from what has become the Warsaw Ghetto.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

March Pick: The Last Word

For those of us in need of some wry laughs just now, thanks to the weather and the inescapable politics down south - count me in - I've chosen a comedy called The Last Word, which stars Shirley MacLaine as ... well, read the synopsis and review below and you'll get the idea.

We'll be seeing the film at the Varsity Cinema (ManuLife Centre, Bay & Bloor) on Tuesday, March 14, for the 2:00 screening. As always, we'll gather near the box office about 20 minutes earlier. If you don't see me or other Movie Club members, just go in and watch the film and meet us afterward if you plan to nosh & natter at Scaccia downstairs.

SYNOPSIS:  In The Last Word, Shirley MacLaine is Harriet Lauler, a once successful businesswoman in tight control of every aspect of her life. As she reflects upon her accomplishment, she's suddenly inspired to engage a young local writer, Anne Sherman (Amanda Seyfried), to pen her life's story. When the initial result doesn't meet Harriet's high expectations, she sets out to reshape the way she is remembered, with Anne dragged along as an unwilling accomplice. As the journey unfolds, the two women develop a unique bond which alters not only Harriet's legacy, but also Anne's future.
  • CAST: Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, Thomas Sadoski, Philip Hall, Gedde Watanabe, Tom Everett Scott 

REVIEW - NOW Magazine:  The Last Word stars Shirley MacLaine, gloriously grumpy - and appealing - as Harriet Lawlor, a former ad executive who wants to edit her own obit. She enlists the help of the obit writer at her local daily (Amanda Seyfried), who quickly discovers that there isn't a person who's crossed Harriet's path that has a nice thing to say about her. That's okay with Harriet, who decides she'll just start doing the kind of stuff that generates an inspiring obit. Surprise - she turns out to have a heart beating under all that bravado. MacLaine dominates with her kick-ass energy and Seyfried is convincingly pissed off and teary in all the right places. Sure, the pic is a by-the-numbers heartwarmer whose every narrative move you can predict 10 minutes before it unfolds. But it also has MacLaine.

Friday, January 27, 2017

February Pick: The Founder

After the annual flurry of terrific movies released during the holidays, there's a virtual dearth of good ones opening by the first Tuesday of February. So, with apologies to any club member who's already seen it, I chose a movie that opened a week or so ago for our February pick. 

It is The Founder, for which star Michael Keaton is (as usual) drawing rave reviews. He plays Ray Kroc, the oddball whose epiphany about what a game-changer fast food franchising could be, turned a tiny business into a global behemoth.

We'll be seeing The Founder at the Yonge/Dundas Cineplex for the 1:45 screening - meaning that, as always, we'll try to gather near the box office about 20 minutes earlier. Those who wish to nosh & natter after seeing the film will do so at Spring Rolls.

SYNOPSIS:  The true story of how Ray Kroc (Keaton), a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers' speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire.