Schedule for Thursday, February 11
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The Last Station
"Every second Helen Mirren is on-screen in The Last Station is a study in peerless talent." (USA Today)
Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, both nominated for Academy Awards for their performances, dazzle in this captivating look at the turbulent final year in the life of Leo Tolstoy. As Tolstoy (Plummer) becomes increasingly radical with age, he decides to reject his vast wealth—much to the dismay of his wife, the Countess Sofya (Mirren). The desperate countess is soon employing every trick she can muster to seduce her husband’s loyal disciple (James McAvoy), the man she blames for Tolstoy’s new will. Much more than a simple period biopic, The Last Station is high drama, filled with intrigue, sensuality, and a classical marital showdown featuring two legends in prime form.
Michael Hoffman. 2009. 112 m. R. UK. Sony Pictures Classics.5:00 PM 7:35 PM
"Few American actors over the past 35 years have flickered and smoldered with such craft and resilience." (New York Times)
Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a hard-living, fading country star reduced to playing bowling alleys and hoping for complimentary drinks to get him through the night. Overshadowed by a former protégé (Colin Farrell), Blake eventually seeks redemption from a sympathetic and lovely young journalist (Maggie Gyllenhall).Crazy Heart features nuanced, understated performances by Farrell, Gyllenhall, and Robert Duvall—but the real story here is Jeff Bridges. In a career filled with “career performances,” Bridges manages to top himself. Oozing authenticity and gutter charm, Bridges sings and strums his way through a set of original songs and embodies this beat-up country sage with incredible ease. A remarkable turn, it’s no surprise Bridges has been nominated for the Academy Award (Best Actor), alongside fellow Academy Award nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (Best Supporting Actress).
Scott Cooper. 2009. 111 m. R. US. Fox Searchlight.5:15 PM 7:40 PM
“Almost a religious experience—an epiphany...A masterpiece.” (New York Times)
Legendary director Akira Kurosawa’s indelible reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear is essential viewing. Set in feudal Japan, Ran (which means “chaos” in Japanese) is a study of human folly and of a family crumbling under the weight of betrayal and greed. Both intimate and epic, it features some of the most spectacularly staged and photographed battle scenes in any film. And here’s a chance to see it on the big screen in a BRAND-NEW PRINT.
Q&A Feb. 11, 7:00: REEL TALK with Senior Programmer Christopher Funderburg, and author and editor Greg Mitchell. Greg Mitchell has written widely on film, with major pieces in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, TV Guide, and The Nation, among other magazines. In the early 1980s he was one of the few American journalists to interview Kurosawa just as he was preparing to film Ran. He has also authored ten books, often with a film or media focus, and has served as the editor of several national magazines in New York, most recently the magazine Editor & Publisher.
Opening simultaneously with Film Forum for a one-week engagement.
Akira Kurosawa. 1985. 160 m. R. France/Japan, Japanese with subtitles. Rialto Pictures.7:00 PM