Peter Weir’s follow-up to Master & Commander (2003) is the stark & brilliant The Way Back, which takes on the theme of man’s struggle for freedom. At the dawn of WWII, several men escape from a Russian gulag. The film details their perilous & uncertain journey to freedom, as they cross deserts, mountains, & several nations.
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Scientist Will Rodman is determined to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, the disease which has slowly consumed his father. Will feels certain he is close to a breakthrough and tests his latest serum on apes, noticing dramatic increases in intelligence and brain activity in the primate subjects – especially Caesar, his pet chimpanzee.
Hank Marshall is a tough, square-jawed, straitlaced Army engineer and nuclear science expert, assigned to help conduct weapons-testing in 1950’s America. Hank has become a thorn in the side of the Army, though, for a couple of very different reasons. He is an outspoken opponent of atmospheric testing, though his superiors hold contrary views and want to squelch his concerns…and his reports. The other problem is his wife, Carly. She is voluptuous and volatile, wreaking havoc in his personal life and stirring up intrigue at each new Army base.
Joe Armstrong, an orphaned drifter will little respect for much other than martial arts, finds himself on an American Army base in The Philippines after a judge gives him a choice of enlistment or prison. On one of his first missions driving a convoy, his platoon is attacked by a group of rebels who try to steal the weapons the platoon is transporting and kidnap the base colonel’s daughter.
Minka is a teenage Polynesian boy living in the heart of the city. With his P-addicted mother well on the way to going completely off the rails, three people enter his life – each with a promise – each with the power to destroy.
Five thought-provoking shorts imagine what Hong Kong will be like ten years from now. In Extras, two genial low-level gangsters are hired to stage an attack, but they’re mere sacrificial lambs in a political conspiracy. Rebels strive to preserve destroyed homes and objects as specimens in the mesmerizing Season of the End. In Dialect, a taxi driver struggles to adjust after Putonghua displaces Cantonese as Hong Kong’s only official language. Following the death of a leading independence activist, an act of self-immolation outside the British consulate triggers questions and protests in the searing yet moving Self-Immolator. In Local Egg, a grocery shop owner worries about his son’s youth guard activities and where to buy eggs after Hong Kong’s last chicken farm closes down.
A struggling father tells his son a bedtime story to convey an important life lesson. “Sidekick” is a 15-minute live action short film from last year (2016) and this one is among the rare directing efforts by Jeff Cassidy, also the writer here, who is highly prolific working in the camera department though.
A decorated NYPD detective returns to her hometown after her sister is charged with the murder of her boss and attempts to make amends with her estranged family while exposing the dark underbelly of a long-suppressed secret that threatens to tear the town apart.
35-year-old Morris Bliss (Michael C. Hall) is clamped in the jaws of New York City inertia: he wants to travel but has no money; he needs a job but has no prospects; he still shares an apartment with his widowed father; and the premature death of his mother has left him emotionally walled up. When he finds himself wrapped up in an awkward relationship with Stephanie (Brie Larson), the 18-year-old daughter of a former classmate, Morris quickly discovers his static life unraveling and opening up in ways that are long overdue.
Nick Gunar is a burnt-out, jaded and hard-up former mercenary who is having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. At the end of his rope, he is hired by the Nitro Mine Corporation to strong-arm the natives of a South China Sea island into giving up their rights to its valuable mineral resources. Nick loathes the thought of another mission, but this seemingly easy job will earn him enough money to get back with his estranged family. He recruits some of his former mercenary buddies to help him with the job. The island people refuse to give up their land and Nick decides to help them fight the greedy corporation that hired him. As greed and treachery begin to unravel, Nick’s band of mercenaries choose sides.
Personal shopper Gwen’s newest client, Charlie, is a high-rolling, workaholic, single father. When Gwen meets his 8-year-old son, Owen, during a package drop, she is saddened to see just how little time Charlie spends with him. Determined to get Charlie to appreciate his family, Gwen makes it her Christmas mission to get him into the festive spirit.