The Death of Stalin
R01 hours 47 minutes
The one-liners fly as fast as political fortunes fall in this uproarious, wickedly irreverent, but incisive, satire from Armando Iannucci (HBO’s Veep). Moscow, 1953: when tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin drops dead, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to be the next Soviet leader. Among the contenders are the dweeby Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), the wily Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), and the sadistic secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale). But as they bumble, brawl, and backstab their way to the top, just who is running the government? Combining palace intrigue with rapid-fire farce, this audacious comedy is a bitingly funny takedown of bureaucratic dysfunction performed to the hilt by a sparkling ensemble cast.
This is far and away the funniest film of the year so far.
Armando Iannucci’s hilarious, profane satire about politburos pole-positioning for power could not be more timely. It’s the funniest, fiercest comedy of the year.
From start to finish it’s an audacious and insightful and ridiculous and hilarious send-up that reminded me of the classic Monty Python films of the 1970s and 1980s.
01 hours 20 minutes
From Schubert to Strauss, Bach to Brahms, Mozart to Billy Joel, Itzhak Perlman's violin playing transcends mere performance to evoke the celebrations and struggles of real life praying with the violin, says renowned Tel Aviv violinmaker Amnon Weinstein. Alison Chernick's enchanting documentary looks beyond the sublime musician to see the polio survivor whose parents emigrated from Poland to Israel, and the young man who struggled to be taken seriously as a music student when schools saw only his disability. Itzhak himself is funny, irreverent and self-deprecating, and here his life story unspools in conversations with masterful musicians, family and friends, and most endearingly his devoted wife of 50 years, Toby. As charming and entrancing as the famous violinist himself, ITZHAK is a portrait of musical virtuosity seamlessly enclosed in warmth, humor, and above all, love.
A love story on so many levels – Perlman’s love of music, of the violin, of life itself!
The Hollywood Reporter
Finding Your Feet
PG-1301 hours 51 minutes
A British ensemble cast, including Celia Imrie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), kicks up its heals to divert a proper English “Lady,” Sandra Abbott (Academy Award nominee Imelda Staunton) when she discovers that her husband of forty years (John Sessions) is having an affair with her best friend (Josie Lawrence). The “Lady” seeks refuge in London with her estranged, older sister Bif (Celia Imrie), who lives in a shabby council estate and couldn’t be more different. Sandra is a fish out of water next to her outspoken, serial dating, free-spirited sibling. But different is just what Sandra needs at the moment, and she reluctantly lets Bif drag her along to a community dance class, where gradually she starts finding her feet and romance as she meets her sister's friends, Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lumley) and Ted (David Hayman).
A tart, sharp, life-affirming dramedy, one that is slightly more edgy and far less predictable than it probably has any right to be. Celia Imrie and Imelda Staunton are magnificent.
This dramedy about middle-class Londoners in their 60s and 70s getting on with life has a crackerjack ensemble cast, who play characters just eccentric enough to keep things tasty.