Check out these movies playing at the Bytowne Cinema in Ottawa this week:
Félix et Meira, February 19
Félix et Meira won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Maxime Giroux wrote and directed this tale of a growing relationship between Félix, a lonely bachelor in Montreal, and Meira, his married Orthodox Jewish neighbour. Giroux deftly uses Montreal as a fitting backdrop for the story of two cultures meeting. The film is in French, with bits of English and Yiddish, with English subtitles.
Deux jours, une nuit, February 20-26
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.
Leviathan, February 20-26
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.”
Foxcatcher, February 21-23
Based on a true story, Foxcatcher stars Steve Carell as John Du Pont, an offputting wealthy “beta male” who tries to impress his domineering mother by bankrolling the US wrestling team to a gold medal win at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Carell, physically unrecognizable in an impressive performance, is flanked by standout contributions from Mark Ruffalo, who stars as the charming and successful older brother Dave Schulz, and Channing Tatum as his “second banana” younger brother Mark. “Channing Tatum’s Mark is vulnerable and sad; Mark Ruffalo’s Dave is smart and professional and his shame at taking the du Pont shilling is correspondingly intense. And Steve Carell’s du Pont is a compelling monster – but a monster who inspires not fear but pity.”
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.