SNOWPIERCER | CLOSED CURTAIN | OBVIOUS CHILDVENUS IN FUR  CHEF

SNOWPIERCER

"Grade A" - Entertainment Weekly

It’s been 17 years since we froze the earth. The few remaining humans live on the Snowpiercer, a train on an infinite loop around the globe. For those at the front, it’s a lavish paradise of drugs and sushi in the lap of luxury; for those trapped in the tail section, life is short and cruel.

But change is in the air. Curtis (Chris Evans), desperate to escape the tail of the train, plans an uprising, aided by his mentor Gilliam (John Hurt). What begins as an isolated riot explodes into a mass revolution, an all-or-nothing push to the front of the train, and a war for humanity’s future. Who will live and who will die? How far can they go? Is there hope beyond the frozen wastes?

126 min •  •  Directed by Bong Joon Ho

CLOSED CURTAIN

NY Times Critics' Pick!  Iranian master Jafar Panahi defies his 20 year ban on filmmaking.                                                           

Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi bravely defies his 20 year ban on filmmaking yet again, and stunningly, he has created a masterpiece that not only lives up to his earlier, pre-ban work but surpasses it in many ways.

In a secluded house by the sea with the curtains shut, a screenwriter hides from the world with only his dog as company. The tranquility is abruptly broken one night by the arrival of a young woman fleeing from the authorities. Refusing to leave, she takes refuge in the house. But come dawn, another unexpected presence will change everything.

NR  •  Dir. Jafar Panahi & Kambozia Partovi

OBVIOUS CHILD

NY Times Critic's Pick!  Starmaking debut from Jenny Slate!

For aspiring comedian Donna Stern, everyday life as a female twenty-something provides ample material for her incredibly relatable brand of humor. On stage, Donna is unapologetically herself, joking about topics as intimate as her sex life and as crude as her day-old underwear.

But when Donna gets dumped, loses her job, and finds herself pregnant just in time for Valentine’s Day, she has to navigate the murky waters of independent adulthood for the first time. As she grapples with an uncertain financial future, an unwanted pregnancy, and a surprising new suitor, Donna begins to discover that the most terrifying thing about adulthood isn’t facing it all on her own. It’s allowing herself to accept the support and love of others- and be truly vulnerable. Never failing to find the comedy and humanity in each awkward situation she encounters, Donna finds out along the way what it means to be as brave in life as she is on stage.

Anchored by a breakout performance from Jenny Slate, OBVIOUS CHILD is a winning discovery, packed tight with raw, energetic comedy and moments of poignant human honesty. Writer/director Gillian Robespierre handles the topic of Donna’s unwanted pregnancy with a refreshing matter-of-factness rarely seen onscreen. And with Donna, Slate and Robespierre have crafted a character for the ages – a female audiences will recognize, cheer for, and love

83 min  •  •  Dir. Gillian Robespierre

VENUS IN FUR

Washington Post Critic's Pick!                                        

Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway play by David Ives, which itself was based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s groundbreaking novella, VENUS IN FUR is the latest film from master filmmaker Roman Polanski.

Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for his new play, writer-director Thomas (Amalric) complains that no actress he’s seen has what it takes to play the lead female character: a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. Thomas is about to leave the theater when actress Vanda (Seigner) bursts in, a whirlwind of erratic - and, it turns out, erotic - energy.

At first she seems to embody everything Thomas has been lamenting. She is pushy, foul-mouthed, desperate and ill-prepared - or so it seems. When Thomas finally, reluctantly, agrees to let her try out for the part, he is stunned and captivated by her transformation. Not only is Vanda a perfect fit (even sharing the character's name), but she apparently has researched the role exhaustively, learned her lines by heart and even bought her own props. The likeness proves to be much more than skin-deep. As the extended "audition" builds momentum, Thomas moves from attraction to obsession until, with Vanda taking an ever more dominant role, the balance of power shifts completely.

96 min  •  •  Dir. Roman Polanski

CHEF

Washington Post Critic's Pick!

Jon Favreau's CHEF is an ensemble comedy starring Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Robert Downey Jr., Bobby Canavale, Scarlett Johannson and Dustin Hoffman.

When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next.

Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen -- and zest for life and love.

115 min •  •  Dir. Jon Favreau