Schedule for Thursday, February 18
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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 7:20 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.5:10 PM 7:35 PM
Ward No. 6
“Blurs the line between fiction and reality, present and past, the sane and the crazy.” (New York Times)
The new smash hit from Russia! Last year’s major Russian box office and critical hit, and the nation’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Ward No. 6 is a bold, iconoclastic update of Chekhov’s story, based on an actual incident in which the director of a mental ward wound up becoming a patient there. Shot in a real asylum, the film seems to start as a documentary, but soon fictional characters barge in, the timeline is shattered, and narrative convention is thrown to the wind as it “deconstructs Chekhov to dazzling effect” (Variety).
Karen Shakhnazarov/Aleksandr Gornovsky. 2009. 83 m. NR. Russia, Russian with subtitles. Seagull Films.5:30 PM 7:30 PM