CAPERNAUM
2018, Sony Pictures Classics, 121 min, Dir: Nadine Labaki

This Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner follows gutsy, streetwise 12-year-old Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) as he survives through his wits on the streets of Beirut. Zain takes care of an Ethiopian refugee and her baby son but is jailed for a crime; when he gets his day in court, he sues his negligent parents for the “crime” of giving him life. The title of this ultimately hopeful drama means chaos, and though steeped in the quiet routines of ordinary people (the cast are playing characters whose lives parallel their own), CAPERNAUM is peppered with surprising bursts of emotional intensity, unexpected tenderness and poetic imagery. “Proving herself an astonishingly accomplished director of non-professional performers as well as a measured storyteller, Labaki draws attention to the plight of children in Beirut’s slums and the Kafka-esque bind of people without ID cards. While this is unquestionably an issue film, it tackles its subject with intelligence and heart.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety.


THE SISTERS BROTHERS
2018, Annapurna Pictures, 121 min, France/Spain/Romania/USA, Dir: Jacques Audiard

Based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, this reimagining of the cinematic Western is a dangerous, witty and emotionally cathartic exploration of what it means to be a man. It is 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly) are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. Each increasingly questions, and quibbles with, the other’s methods as they travel through the mountains of Oregon and eventually to the Gold Rush land of California. It’s a journey that will test the deadly family ties that bind - and may allow them to rediscover what remains of their humanity. Costarring Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed. “This first English-language outing by the ever-adventurous French director Jacques Audiard (A PROPHET, RUST AND BONE) is a connoisseur’s delight, as it's boisterously acted and detailed down to its last bit of shirt stitching.” - Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter.


THE ASSIGNMENT
2017, Saban Films, 95 min, France/Canada/USA, Dir: Walter Hill

Director Walter Hill gives the revenge film a modern neo-noir twist with this electrifying thriller. Hitman Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez) is given a lethal assignment, but after being double-crossed, discovers he’s no longer the man he was. Having been surgically altered, Frank now has the body of a woman. Seeking vengeance, he heads for a showdown with his assailant (Sigourney Weaver), a brilliant surgeon with a chilling agenda of her own.


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