Thriller

The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Directed by Mira Nair    2013 |

We begin in 2011 in Lahore. At an outdoor café a Pakistani man named Changez (Riz Ahmed) tells Bobby (Liev Schreiber), an American journalist, about his experiences in the United States. Roll back ten years, and we find a younger Changez fresh from Princeton, seeking fortune and glory on Wall Street. The American Dream seems well within his grasp, complete with a smart and gorgeous artist girlfriend, Erica (Kate Hudson). But when the Twin Towers are attacked, a cultural divide slowly begins to crack open between Changez and Erica. Changez’s dream soon begins to slip into nightmare: profiled, wrongfully arrested, strip-searched and interrogated, he is transformed from a well-educated, upwardly mobile businessman to a scapegoat and perceived enemy. With time, he begins to hear the call of his own homeland. Taking us through the culturally rich and beguiling worlds of New York, Lahore and Istanbul, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a story about conflicting ideologies where perception and suspicion have the power to determine life or death.

Beyond The Hills
Directed by Cristian Mungiu    RO | 2013 | U

This harrowing, visually stunning new film from director Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), inspired by the non-fiction novels of Tatiana Niculescu Bran, unfolds in and around a remote monastery where pious young women toil dutifully under the ever-watchful eye of an austere priest known as Papa (the excellent Valeriu Andriuta). As the film opens, Alina (Cristina Flutur) arrives to visit her friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan), one of the nuns in training. As children, the two women lived together in an orphanage where the tough, short-tempered Alina served as a protector for her more delicate friend. Now, Alina wants Voichita to leave her cloistered life and return with her to Germany, but as the fateful hour draws near, Voichita seems disinclined to go, and so Alina stays on for a while, which is when the real trouble begins. Inspired by a case of alleged demonic possession that occurred in Romania’s Moldova region in 2005, Beyond the Hills is not a supernatural thriller but rather an all too believable portrait of dogma at odds with personal liberty in a society still emerging from the shadow of Communism. For their remarkable lead performances, screen newcomers Flutur and Stratan shared the Best Actress prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Mungiu also received the Best Screenplay award.

In Theaters/On Demand
The Samaritan
Directed by DAVID WEAVER    CA | 2012 | U

After twentyfive years in prison, Foley (Samuel L. Jackson) is finished with the grifter’s life. When he meets an elusive young woman named Iris (Ruth Negga), the possibility of a new start looks real. But his past is proving to be a stubborn companion: Ethan (Luke Kirby), the son of his former partner, has an ingenious plan and he wants Foley in. The harder Foley tries to escape his past, the tighter he is ensnared in Ethan’s web of secrets, until it becomes all too clear to Foley that some wrongs can never be made right.

In Theaters/On Demand
Polisse
Directed by Maïwenn    FR | 2012 | U

Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for 13 César Awards, POLISSE follows the daily lives of a tight-knit team of men and women working in the Child Protection Unit of the Parisian police. Basing her richly textured script on real child investigation cases, writer- directoractor Maïwenn has gathered an accomplished ensemble cast of French actors who convey the emotional strain of the unit’s work with gritty realism. They not only deal with the stress of their jobs but the inevitable fall-out in their personal lives – breakdowns, divorce and adulterous relations within the force. In between, there are frequent flashes of humor as the team attempts to diffuse daily realities. As the cases,confessions and interrogations pile up, the squad members have only each other as support as they face an uphill battle against both criminals and bureaucracy.

In Theaters/On Demand
Brake
Directed by Gabe Torres    US | 2012 | U

Jeremy Reins (Dorff) is about to have a very bad day. He wakes up in total darkness, confused and disoriented. The only light comes from the blood-red digital numbers ticking away above his head. Jeremy quickly realizes he’s in trouble. It’s hard to breath. He can barely move. And no one will answer his cries for help. Then, he hears the sound of an engine and it all becomes clear…he’s trapped in the trunk of a moving car.

As his captors reveal themselves and their motives, Jeremy realizes he won’t be set free until he gives up the whereabouts of “Roulette,” a secret location where the U.S. President is taken in the event of a terrorist attack.

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