A wedding at her parents’ Annapolis estate hurls high-strung Lynn into the fire of primal, Byzantine family dynamics. It’s the wedding of Lynn’s son, whom she was deprived of raising because of her acrimonious divorce, and a feud still rages between Lynn and her ex-husband’s hot-tempered wife. Meanwhile, the three children Lynn did raise display a panoply of disturbing behaviors like cutting and drug addiction, which Lynn’s mother and sisters alternately ridicule and blame her for. As Lynn attempts catharsis, her mother sweeps issues under the rug, but painful truths bubble and spurt. Clan members deploy ricocheting arrows to protect themselves—and wound others—as the fine lines between victims and perpetrators blur.
Many films have tread the terrain of upper-class family dysfunction, but few marshal as much sensitivity, rawness, and truth—and few performances penetrate as deeply as those of Ellen Barkin, Ellen Burstyn, and Ezra Miller as they navigate the emotional minefields of unmet needs that span generations. [Synopsis courtesy of the Sundance Institute]
Christmas brings elderly Robert Malone (Oscar® winner Martin Landau) an unexpected present: love. One evening when Robert returns to his lonely home, he finds a stranger (Oscar® winner Ellen Burstyn) in his living room. She’s his new neighbor, and it isn’t long before a romance begins to blossom. Robert’s on cloud nine—his only worry is whether his health can keep up with his heart. [Synopsis courtesy of Chicago International Film Festival]
In one corner, there’s Sara (Moreno), a young, single mother of two who suddenly finds herself embroiled in a custody battle when her son’s teacher calls the Administration for Children’s Services regarding a cut above his eye. Then there’s Martha Schulman (Davis), a beleaguered family court judge struggling through a 23-year marriage to Jason (Tony Shalhoub), and finding that it might not be possible to compartmentalize work and home. Recent law school graduate Alexandra Fisher (Panettiere) is assigned to Sara’s case, and finds it brings up haunting memories of her own. Hanging over it all is the recent death of a young girl whom the system failed. [Synopsis courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival]
Wiener-Dog tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading a certain kind of comfort and joy. Man’s best friend starts out teaching a young boy some contorted life lessons before being taken in by a compassionate vet tech named Dawn Wiener. Dawn reunites with someone from her past and sets off on a road trip picking up some depressed mariachis along the way. Wiener-Dog then encounters a floundering film professor, as well as an embittered elderly woman and her needy granddaughter—all longing for something more. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
Visionary artist Matthew Barney returns to cinema with this 3-part epic, a radical reinvention of Norman Mailer’s novel Ancient Evenings. In collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler, Barney combines traditional modes of narrative cinema with filmed elements of performance, sculpture, and opera, reconstructing Mailer’s hypersexual story of Egyptian gods and the seven stages of reincarnation, alongside the rise and fall of the American car industry.
Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef (Susan Sarandon) leads a quiet life with her mother (Ellen Burstyn), her painkillers, and an occasional drink. But when she checks on an ill neighbor, she stumbles upon a gruesome murder that shatters her peaceful existence. With the help of a fellow detective (Gil Bellows) and a transfer cop (Topher Grace), she unearths a series of similar killings across the country. When a local priest (Donald Sutherland) suggests a link to an ancient ritual, Hazel focuses her search on a religious madman with a deadly higher calling. Based on the novel by Inger Ash Wolfe, it’s a journey to the shadowy landscape between faith and fear.