As is often the case with 26-year-old man-boys, Donal Durkan (Domhnall Gleeson) is sexually unfulfilled. Living on a desolate farm in Tipperary, Ireland with his invalid father, he’s had little-to-no contact with the outside world, let alone the opposite sex. Donal’s mother passed away when he was only a toddler, and other than his dad he has one friend, Karl (Patrick Ryan), who lives on the farm, sponging off of Donal.
Boiling with lust, Donal’s mind is completely preoccupied with images of the nude women featured in the pornographic magazines he keeps buried in a field next to a herd of sheep. His life is pretty uneventful, leading to his overall disenchantment and indifference towards everything around him. Serial masturbation seems to be his one and only pleasure.
Upon returning from a mid-day jaunt to enjoy his stash, Donal discovers that his father has suddenly passed away. Now on his own, Donal attempts to lose his virginity by hiring a prostitute to help him get out of his rut. And so he meets Kim, an aging Kiwi escort. After engaging in a strictly sexual encounter, their relationship soon progresses into a lusty romance, then to a business enterprise between two partners. Through these exploits, Donal and Kim provide each other with a sense of love and belonging that neither experienced beforehand.
Take a dash of Hal Ashby’s “Being There” and “Harold and Maude”, combined with the bleaker sensibility of Todd Solondz’s “Happiness” and you get the darkly comedic tone of Tom Hall’s “Sensation.” In a country where sexual material was often repressed (a large number of nudie magazines, including Playboy, were banned in Ireland until the late eighties), Hall uses today’s internet era to make provocative statements about Ireland’s modern-day sex trade industry and, by extension, the shifting balance of power between men and women. [Synopsis courtesy of Michèle Maheux/Toronto International Film Festival]
Following the murder of her father by hired hand Tom Chaney, 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross sets out to capture the killer. To aid her, she hires the toughest U.S. Marshal she can find, a man with “true grit,” Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn. Mattie insists on accompanying Cogburn, whose drinking, sloth, and generally reprobate character do not augment her faith in him. Against his wishes, she joins him in his trek into the Indian Nations in search of Chaney. They are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who wants Chaney for his own purposes. The unlikely trio find danger and adventure on the journey, and each has his or her “grit” tested.
In the second installment of the two-part conclusion, Harry and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, continue their quest to vanquish the evil Voldemort once and for all. Just as things begin to look hopeless for the young wizards, Harry discovers a trio of magical objects that endow him with powers to rival Voldemort’s formidable skills.
Caleb, a 24 year old coder at the world’s largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to Nathan, the reclusive CEO of the company. But when Caleb arrives at the remote location he finds that he will have to participate in a strange and fascinating experiment in which he must interact with the world’s first true artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl.
Set on opposite sides of the Atlantic, John Crowley’s Brooklyn tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]