"The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it's as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues." ― Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures
A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle of a Living Planet
This documentary profiles the evolution of environmental movements over the past five decades. Directed by Mark Kitchell, who also directed Berkeley in the Sixties, this film looks at the early efforts at conservation and protests against pollution up to the radical tactics of Greenpeace and concerns over global climate change.
Loren King, writing for The Boston Globe, said, the film "comprehensively tackles a sprawling subject and keeps things loose and lively." And Gary Goldstein of The Los Angeles Times wrote "A worthy reminder of how much has been done to help heal our planet's ecological woes as well as how much remains to be achieved." The film currently holds a rating of 63% on the Tomatometer.
It's A Disaster
Directed by Todd Berger, this film tells a story of eight friends meeting for their monthly brunch when the city falls victim to a mysterious attack, leaving them trapped in the house. With a 78% rating on the Tomatometer, the site consensus calls the film “A clever black comedy. It’s A Disaster is sometimes uneven, but the sharp writing and stellar ensemble cast keeps the film on track."
Stephen Whitty writing for The Newark Star-Ledger, said "Berger never takes the camera more than a few yards outside the house, but that's fine; there's plenty going on inside, as characters carom off each other like billiard balls, slipping down pockets of misunderstanding and jealousy."
And Ron Wilkinson, of Monsters and Critics, wrote "A quirky comedy of manners about the last party you would ever want to attend."
This eccentric pubescent love story, directed by Wes Anderson, has a cast including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Francis McDormand, and stars newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward in the film’s main roles. Set in 1965 New England, the story begins when two 12 year olds run away together, and a search begins. The movie received widespread acclaim with review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, giving the film a 94% rating.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gives the film 4 stars out of 5, calling it "another sprightly confection of oddities, attractively eccentric, witty and strangely clothed." Christopher Orr of The Atlantic wrote that Moonrise Kingdom "captures the texture of childhood summers, the sense of having a limited amount of time in which to do unlimited things" and is "Anderson's best live-action feature" because "it takes as its primary subject matter odd, precocious children, rather than the damaged and dissatisfied adults they will one day become."
Kristen M. Jones of Film Comment wrote that the film "has a spontaneity and yearning that lend an easy comic rhythm," but it also has a "rapt quality, as if we are viewing the events through Suzy's binoculars or reading the story under the covers by a flashlight."
The Place Beyond the Pines
This American crime drama, directed by Derek Cianfrance and starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta, tells the story of a troubled motorcycle stunt driver and the consequences one’s misdeeds can have on the next generation. After its premier at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, the movie received positive reviews from critics with film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes giving it a rating of 82% based on 190 reviews.
Writing for the Indiewire "Playlist" blog, Kevin Jagernauth praised the film as an "ambitious epic that is cut from some of the same thematic tissue as Cianfrance's previous film, but expands the scope into a wondrously widescreen tale of fathers, sons and the legacy of sins that are passed down through the generations." He also pointed out that the film could be seen as an "allegory for the moral turpitude that has shaken the American dream." He summarized it as "a brilliant, towering picture ... "The Place Beyond The Pines" is a cinematic accomplishment of extraordinary grace and insight.”
In The Daily Telegraph, Robbie Collin drew attention to the film's "lower-key and largely unstarry third act" that was criticised in early reviews at Toronto. "In fact, it’s the key to deciphering the entire film," he wrote. Collin drew parallels between Gosling's character and James Dean's Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, and said Cianfrance's film was "great American cinema of the type we keep worrying we’ve already lost."
This documentary deals with the efforts of photographer, James Balog, and his Extreme Ice Survey to publicize the effects of climate change on several of the glaciers in the northern hemisphere. Directed by Jeff Orlowski, the documentary includes scenes from a glacier calving event in Greenland that was the longest ever captured on film. Currently holding a rating of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie won the Satellite Award for the Best Documentary Film in 2013.
Trevor Johnson, writing for Time Out, said "Still an eco-sceptic? Clap your eyes on this lot. Awe-inspiring, terrifying, transcendently beautiful, and absolutely weighted with significance for the future of the planet.” And Paul Rainier, wrote for the Christian Science Monitor, "The rapid disappearance of ice mountains, filmed over a period of years, is compressed through time-lapse technology into minutes and seconds. The speeded-up effect is harrowing and also, disturbingly, eerily beautiful."