Save the date: Frank Serpico is released March 13.
Laird Hamilton is perhaps the greatest big wave surfer of all time, a living legend who has tamed some of the world’s mightiest waves. Among the surf community, he is also one of the most controversial figures, an innovator who has revolutionized the sport often to the dismay of purists. The thrilling, up-close portrait Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton (IFC Films) traces his remarkable journey, from his rebellious childhood in Hawaii to his fearless first forays into surfing to his relentless pursuit of ever-bigger waves, a quest that ultimately led him to conquer what’s been called “the heaviest wave ever ridden.”
Academy Award-nominated director-producer Rory Kennedy blends candid interviews with breathtaking action footage to create a visceral, white-knuckle look at a life lived on the edge.
One of the most renowned card magicians of all time, Richard Turner astounds audiences around the world with his legendary sleight of hand. What they may not even realize, and what makes his achievements all the more amazing, is that he is completely blind. Charting Turner’s colorful life from his tumultuous childhood to the present, Dealt (IFC Films) reveals how through determination and force of will, he overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to rise to the top of his profession.
The film is both a tantalizing, up-close look at the secretive world of magic and a candid, awe-inspiring portrait of a man who lives beyond his limitations. The IFC Films theatrical release has been widely honored, including winning the audience award for best documentary at SXSW, the Dallas International Film Festival and the Independent Film Festival of Boston.
When 15-year-old Shay (portrayed by Daniel Huttlestone) hears the music of the Clash for the first time, it’s a revelation, opening up a new world of social consciousness and anti-establishment defiance beyond anything he’s known in his dead-end London suburb. After his father is injured in a work accident, Shay takes over driving his cab and one fateful night, picks up none other than Joe Strummer (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), the lead singer of the Clash. Drawn into the heart of the city’s burgeoning punk scene, Shay forges two relationships that will change his life, falling in love with rebellious cool girl Vivian (Nell Williams) and finding and unexpected connection with the Clash’s electrifying frontman.
IFC has a trio of must-see films coming to DVD in January. We provide the info and teaser clips; you provide the DVD player.
Dancer (available January 17)
Ukrainian-born Bad Boy of Ballet Sergei Polunin became the Royal Ballets youngest-ever principal dancer when he was just 19. But two years later, at the height of his success, he walked away from it all, resolving to give up dance entirely.
Steven Cantor’s Dancer tracks the life of this iconoclastic virtuoso, from his prodigal beginnings in the Ukraine to his awe-inspiring performances in the U.K., Russia and the U.S., where he went viral after David LaChapelle filmed him dancing to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”. Beyond celebrating the raw talent and wild ambition of Polunin, whose sights are now set on Hollywood, Dancer considers how wealth and success may not be enough when it comes to finding personal and professional identity.
The Free World (January 17)
How hard would you fight to be free? After spending two decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Mo (played by Boyd Holbrook) struggles to put his past behind him as he readjusts to a new life working in an animal shelter. Doris (Elisabeth Moss) is trapped in another sort of prison: an abusive marriage.
A dramatic encounter brings these two troubled souls together, and a possible murder connects them. Soon, Mo finds himself risking everything . . . including being locked up once again for someone else’s crime to protect the fragile Doris. Driven by explosive performances from Moss and Holbrook, the feature debut from director Jason Lew is a gripping, mood-drenched exploration of guilt, redemption, and what it means to be free. Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Sung Kang co-star.
Passage to Mars (January 24)
Before humans make it to Mars, they must conquer the Arctic. Passage to Mars is the incredible true story of six men who embark on a treacherous, 2,000-mile journey across the forbidding sea-ice of the Northwest Passagean alien voyage on planet Earth designed to prepare NASA astronauts for an eventual mission to Mars.
But as an expedition that was supposed to take weeks stretches into a two-year odyssey, the crew must overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and life-threatening conditions if they hope to realize their dream of someday reaching the Red Planet. This breathtaking adventure features narration by Zachary Quinto and special guest voice appearances by Buzz Aldrin and Charlotte Rampling.
In the span of 11 tense minutes, a whirlwind of interlocking tales of life in the surveillance age unfold in this stylish, propulsive thriller from acclaimed director Jerzy Skolimowski. In a city square in Warsaw, a sleazy film director “auditions” a married actress in a hotel room; a hot dog vendor goes about his work while concealing a dark secret; a drug runner has a tryst with a client’s wife; and a young man plots an ill-advised robbery.
Mixing sleek cinematography with footage from webcam, smartphone and CCTV cameras, 11 Minutes masterfully lays out the pieces of a puzzle and then brings them together in an explosive climax.
The IFC Films theatrical release, a winner of multiple prizes at the Venice Film Festival, Polish Film Festival and Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival, stars Richard Dormer, Paulina Chapko, Andrzej Chyra and Wojciech Mecwaldowski. “
In this captivating, star-filled road movie, a French woman finds liberation in the dusty highways, open spaces and smoky barrooms of the great American West. Diane Kruger stars as Romy, a Parisian who, while on vacation in California, breaks things off once and for all with her boorish husband (Gilles Lellouche) in a dramatic final fight. Now a free woman in a strange land, Romy embarks on a life-changing trip through the desert, crossing paths with strangers who impact her life in various ways: a kindly small-town police officer (Joshua Jackson), a pregnant, trailer park-dwelling mother (Lena Dunham) and a charming, ruggedly independent cowboy (Norman Reedus), with whom she finds the possibility of new love. Beautifully capturing the landscapes and soul of the Southwest, Sky, an IFC Films theatrical release and an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, is a stirring emotional odyssey about what it means to start your life over again.
Anthony Weiner was a young congressman on the cusp of higher office when a sexting scandal forced a humiliating resignation. Just two years later, he ran for mayor of New York, betting that his ideas would trump his indiscretions. With unprecedented access to Weiner, his family and his campaign team, the universally acclaimed flick is a thrilling look inside a political comeback-turned-meltdown. What begins as an unprecedented surge to the top of the polls takes a sharp turn once Weiner is forced to admit to new sexting allegations.
He desperately tries to forge ahead, but the increasing pressure and crippling 24-hour news coverage halt his political aspirations. With the city of New York as a loud and bustling backdrop, Weiner walks the line between political farce and personal tragedy as it plunges through an increasingly baffling campaign with unflinching clarity, humor and pathos. The IFC Films theatrical release won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.