Film Group is a series of films that encompasses the broad variety of movies that are generally not mainstream releases. Other terms used to describe this genre of film product are: independent, art, international.

Both O'Brien Theatres, Renfrew and Arnprior, have film groups. Working in concert, each location offers fourteen different films between late September and April on alternate Wednesday nights. Memberships are sold in each theatre at the beginning of the series; these memberships offer a discounted rate. In is not necessary to be a member to attend. Newsletters are published in September and December covering the early and later portions of the season. An extensive mailing list is maintained, and the information is delivered by post or e-mail.

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Click here for the latest edition of our Film Group Newsletter.

Arnprior Program

Renfrew Program
Tracks
Rating PG
Showtimes Wednesday, September 24 7:30 PM  
Running Time 112 mins
Actors Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Emma Booth
Director John Curran
Country Austraila

In 1977, a twenty-seven-year-old Australian woman named Robyn Davidson set out from Alice Springs to walk 2,700 kilometres of harsh desert to the Indian Ocean. Accompanied only by her dog and four camels, Davidson yearned for a solitary journey of self-discovery, and had no ambition other than to reach the ocean. She ultimately wrote about her desert adventure in her 1980 book Tracks, which became a cult favourite around the world and has now been beautifully adapted for the big screen by director John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don’t Live Here Anymore). Robyn (Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right) spends two hardscrabble years in the Alice Springs area learning how to train and care for camels (feral herds of which number in the thousands in Western Australia) in order to prepare for the epic trek. Finally ready to embark on her journey, she realizes she is woefully underfunded and, despite her desire for self-sufficiency, accepts a fee from National Geographic in exchange for a written feature on her travels. The magazine adds a condition: she must allow photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver, The F Word, HBO’s Girls) to photograph her at selected stops along the way. As adapted by Marion Nelson, Tracks captures two arduous journeys: Robyn making her way slowly through the outback, and her (arguably more perilous) inner search. The motivation behind her decision to test her limits, and the reasons for her preference for animals over people, are subtly revealed during the chronicle of the arduous crossing. Curran casts the harsh, red-baked land as much more than just Robyn’s antagonist at different points it woos her, threatens her, comforts her, steals from her, and submits to her, and we feel privileged to share the journey.
 
Magic in the Moonlight
Rating PG
Showtimes Wednesday, October 8 7:30 PM  
Running Time 98 mins
Actors Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden
Director Woody Allen
Country USA

Following the triumphs of the Academy Award–winning Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen returns to the Continent with Magic in the Moonlight.
Set on the banks of the French Riviera amidst the high society of the Roaring Twenties, this sparkling, light-hearted
charmer is part May-December romance and part comedy of manners. Wealthy, middle-aged Englishman Stanley (Academy Award winner Colin Firth, The King’s Speech, The Railway Man) is asked to visit the household of a rich socialite in the south of France in order to debunk a supposed
“spiritual medium” who has the family under her spell. However, Stanley soon has his ironclad skepticism put to the test when he meets the mystic in the flesh. Sophie
(Emma Stone, The Help, Gangster Squad) is a beautiful young woman who has the ability to look into a person’s eyes and tell them things about their life that no one else could
possibly know. Is it all a con—or could she actually be the real thing? As séances are succeeded by picturesque drives in the country and strolls along the shoreline of this
holiday paradise, Stanley’s po-faced pragmatism begins to give way to the mysteries of magic—and the thrill of romance.
Firth and Stone are perfectly matched as the stoic Stanley and the effervescent Sophie, and Allen’s masterfully light
touch recalls all the pleasures of his previous classics. With its irrepressible charm and stunningly beautiful setting,
Magic in the Moonlight may just have you booking a ticket to the Côte d’Azur
 
Boyhood
Rating A14
Showtimes Wednesday, October 22 7:30 PM  
Running Time 164 mins
Actors Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke
Director Richard Linklater
Country USA

Over a decade in the making, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a coming-of-age epic of unparalleled depth and scope. In a variation on the method employed by Michael
Apted on his groundbreaking Up series of documentaries, this understated yet overwhelming drama was shot chronologically, at regular intervals over a twelve-year period;
as the story progresses, the actors age and mature along with their characters. The young protagonist, Mason (played by newcomer Ellar Coltrane), grows up before our eyes from the age of five to eighteen, and along with him we experience the formative moments of his life as well as the seemingly inconsequential ones. He finds his voice (even though it tends to crack), and wears his heart on his sleeve (even though it tends to break). The end result is a moving series of vignettes that add up to a lifetime—or at least the beginnings of one. Accompanying Mason on his journey are his sister Samantha (played by Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei) and his divorced parents, played by Emmy winner Patricia Arquette (TV’s Medium) and Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke (the Before… trilogy, Training Day).With the trilogy of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, Linklater had explored how characters (and the actors who play them) evolve and change over time. Pushing this ambitious project even further in Boyhood, Linklater added yet another fascinating layer to the experiment: as the production took shape over a dozen years, Linklater himself was developing as a filmmaker, completing more than a half dozen other films including Fast Food Nation, Bernie, and the last two Before… films. Brilliantly blurring the lines between life and art, Boyhood is extraordinary, touching, and sincere. No one has never seen a film like it—except, perhaps, in our own home movies.
 
Calvary
Rating A14
Showtimes Wednesday, November 5 7:30 PM  
Running Time 101 mins
Actors Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly
Director John Michael McDonagh
Country Ireland/U.K.

In his follow-up to The Guard, writer and director John Michael McDonagh returns with a superbly written, darkly funny and powerfully moving mystery set in a sleepy coastal village in County Sligo, Ireland. Anchored by a magnificent central performance from McDonagh’s Guard star Brendan Gleeson (The Grand Seduction), Calvary focuses on local parish priest Father James (Gleeson), who, after receiving a death threat from one of his parishioners during confession, spends what he believes to be the last week of his life pondering whether he’s made any difference at all to his community. Though Father James apparently knows the identity of his would-be murderer, he is more concerned about the struggling souls around him than of his own fate, and calmly goes about his weekly rounds in this quiet village where all is not as it seems. One by one, the assorted villagers (and potential suspects) are given a chance to tell their variously unhappy stories: a smug local tycoon (Dylan Moran, Good Vibrations), the cuckolded butcher (Chris O’Dowd, The Sapphires), his promiscuous wife (Orla O’Rourke), her surly lover (Isaach De Bankolé, The Limits of Control), a disillusioned cop (Gary Lydon, War Horse), and a cynical doctor (Aidan Gillen, HBO’s Game of Thrones). At the same time, Father James is visited by his troubled daughter Fiona (Kelly Reilly, Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster), the result of his tragic marriage in the years before he joined the priesthood. In each encounter, the benevolent priest patiently argues for the value of the Church—and of faith in general—in a modern society increasingly skeptical of this seemingly archaic institution. Featuring lively performances, spectacular scenery, and crackling dialogue, Calvary offers a contemplative portrait of faith and guilt. Filled with fierce gallows humour and touching compassion, it’s a must-see for believers and agnostics alike.
 
Trip to Italy
Rating A14
Showtimes Wednesday, November 19 7:30 PM  
Running Time 108 mins
Actors Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Rosie Fellner
Director Michael Winterbottom
Country UK

Last seen together touring the culinary circuit of Northern England’s Lake District in Film Circuit favourite The Trip, the dynamic duo of Steve Coogan (Philomena, Alan Partridge) and Rob Brydon (Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story) return for seconds in this much-anticipated sequel,
trading drab-grey British skies for the glorious Italian coastline. When London’s Observer once again commissions
Coogan to write a series of restaurant reviews, the egotistical would-be superstar rounds up his cheerful friend/nemesis Brydon and sets out for la bella Italia. Partly retracing
the steps of the great Romantic poets Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, the pals pile in to a quintessentially Italian Mini and take off from northern Piemonte, making a stop
in Liguria and then heading south to Capri and the sun-dappled Amalfi Coast. Along the way, between bites of succulent seafood and mounds of pasta, the pair riff on everything from Alanis Morissette and Batman to family
and the realities of middle age. And as they did on their first Trip, these gifted mimics offer a repertoire of wickedly, hilariously accurate celebrity impersonations.
A savoury mixture of character comedy, spectacular landscapes and unabashed food porn, The Trip to Italy is marvellous, witty fun with something for everyone.
 
Ida
Rating PG
Showtimes Wednesday, December 3 7:30 PM  
Running Time 80 mins
Actors Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik
Director Pawel Pawlikowski
Country Poland | Denmark

In Poland, few subjects are as controversial and emotionally charged as the relations between Catholics and Jews during the Nazi occupation. Following his success in England with films like Last Resort and My Summer of Love, director Pawel Pawlikowski has returned to his native country for the first time in his career to address one of his homeland’s most sensitive and painful topics. The result is one of the year’s most powerful and affecting films, which was awarded the FIPRESCI Special Presentations prize at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and Best Film at the 2013 BFI London Film Festival. In 1960s Poland, Anna is a novitiate nun about to take her vows. Instructed by her Mother Superior to visit her aunt prior to withdrawing into the religious life, the prim Anna meets her mother’s sister Wanda, a raven-haired sensualist and former state prosecutor, who reveals some heretofore unknown information about Anna’s past—Including her real name, Ida. This launches a remarkable journey into the countryside, where secrets both familial and national are darkly, inextricably intertwined. Shooting in black and white and using the 1.37:1 Academy ratio (the almost-square frame of classic cinema), Pawlikowski crafts a masterful drama which balances the intimate and personal with the worldhistorical. As the two women unearth ever more details about their family’s painful past, their search illuminates some of the darkest corners of Poland’s history under both fascist occupation and communist autocracy. Brilliantly structured, elegantly shot and impeccably executed, Ida will have all who see it reaching for superlatives.
 

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