Check out these movies playing at the Bytowne Cinema in Ottawa this week:
One Chance, February 24-25
Based on a true story, One Chance recounts the tale of Paul Potts, a socially awkward Welsh car phone salesman who shocked Simon Cowell and the other judges of Britain’s Got Talent with his stunning rendition of Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma.” As with Susan Boyle a few years later, Potts inspired millions and typified the expression “never judge a book by its cover.” In One Chance, James Corden stars as Potts and the film tracks Potts’ life leading up to that fateful audition, recounting his various misfortunes as he attempts to forge a career in opera.
Leviathan, February 25-26
Leviathan is Russia’s submission to the Oscar for Best Foreign Langauge Film. Presented in Russian with English subtitles, this movie by Andrey Zvyagintsev was also a winner at the Cannes Film Festival. Hannah McGill of The List describes the film thusly: “our protagonist is Kolya (Aleksei Serebryakov), who’s blessed with a beautiful wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova), a healthy son Roma (Sergey Pokhodaev) and a fine home, but must, as the film goes on, contend with threats to all of them. His tormentors are cruel fate, fickle human hearts and the might of the Russian state; his most constant friend is the vodka haze that sees him through it all.”
Deux jours, une nuit, February 25-26
Marion Cotillard is Oscar-nominated in the category of Best Actress for her performance in this Dardenne Brothers film. Cotillard stars as a factory worker who has two days to compel her colleagues to vote to keep her employed rather than take their €1000 bonuses. “There are no heroes or villains here; everybody is simply getting by, and by the skin of their teeth. After spending Two Days, One Night in the company of Sandra, you’ll be punching the air with pride,” writes Dave Calhoun of Time Out magazine. The movie is in French and features English subtitles.
Big Eyes, February 26-28
Tim Burton directs Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, who star as artists who battle over credit for a series of “big-eyed” children’s portraits. Adams’ Margaret Keane comes up with the portraits, and her husband Walter Keane originally credits her for the work. But once the artwork gains a cult following, he takes credit. The feud eventually leads to a trial. The movie is based on the true story of their battles in the 1950s. As the movie’s tagline explains: “She created it, he sold it, everyone bought it.”
Elephant Song, February 27-March 6
Elephant Song is directed by Charles Binamé and adapted from the 2004 play by of the same title by Ottawa native Nicolas Billon. Xavier Dolan stars as Michael, a mental patient suspected of involvement in the disappearance of his doctor. The film has an all-star cast, including Colm Feore, Bruce Greenwood, Catherine Keener, and Carrie-Anne Moss. As Steve Gravestock explains, “Inhabiting his role with complete conviction, Dolan is transfixing, and Greenwood brings meticulous control to his portrayal of Michael’s baffled counterpart. The dynamic relationship between the two leaves the viewer on edge as the stakes rise and the truth becomes that much harder to reach.”
Escobar: Paradise Lost, February 27-March 5
Josh Hutcherson of The Hunger Games series plays Nick, a young Canadian who falls in love with a Colombian girl, whose uncle happens to be the notorious Colombia drug lord Pablo Escobar. Benicio del Toro stars as the titular Escobar. As Nick is invited into Pablo’s world, he “finds himself immersed in a world of wild extravagance, corruption and bloodshed – one he will find nearly impossible to escape.”