Two women, both actresses with differing degrees of success, travel north from Los Angeles to Big Sur for a weekend vacation in Always Shine, Sophia Takal's twisty, psychological drama. Both see the trip as an opportunity to reconnect after years of competition and jealousy has driven a wedge between them, but upon arrival to their isolated, forest retreat, the pair discovers that their once intimate friendship has deteriorated into forced conversations, betrayals both real and imagined, petty jealousies, and deep-seated resentment. As the women allow their feelings to fester, each begins to lose their bearings not only on the true nature of their relationship, but on their own identities. Mackenzie Davis ("Halt and Catch Fire") and Caitlin FitzGerald ("Masters of Sex") give brave and raw performances as Beth and Anna, two women whose ideas of success are dictated as much by external cultural criterion as their own sense of self-worth. Beautifully photographed and assuredly directed by Takal, Always Shine wraps itself in an evocative shroud of dread and paranoia that lingers long after the final frame.
(Sophia Takal, 2016, USA, 1:25, NR)
Harold and Maude
Harold, the 20-year-old son of a wealthy, neglectful woman, tries to gain attention for himself with various hilariously staged "suicides." Obsessed with death, Harold meets a like-minded 79-year-old woman named Maude. Harold and Maude become inseparable friends, both helping each other out of various personal travails. (Hal Ashby, 1971, 1:01, PG)
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. At once a full immersion into a strange and surreal world, and a witty and clever reflection of our own society, THE LOBSTER is a thrillingly audacious vision fully brought to life by director Yorgos Lanthimos and his terrific cast featuring Colin Farrell and Racel Weisz. (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2016, 1:59, R)
XX is a new horror anthology with a gender twist - all segments will be helmed by female directors and will star female leads. The directors have been given free creative rein within budget and time constraints, but all of the segments themselves will involve the horror genre.
Directed by Sofia Carrillo, Mary Harron, Karyn Kusama, Jennifer Chambers Lynch, St. Vincent and Jovanka Vuckovic (1:20, NR)
This is an enthralling documentary that focuses on the craft, creative process and complicated lives of stand-up comedians told from the perspective many of the top comedians of our time - including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Sarah Silverman, Jamie Foxx, Amy Schumer and the late Gary Shandling. (Lloyd Stanton & Paul Toogood, 2016, USA, 1:29, NR)