A wistful odyssey populated by skaters, squatters, street preachers, playwrights, and other locals on the margins, The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a poignant and sweeping story of hometowns and how they’re made—and kept alive—by the people who love them.
(PG) • 98 minutes • On-screen here from 8/9/19 to 8/22/19
Director: Lulu Wang
Starring: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Jim Liu
Synopsis: In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken. With The Farewell, writer/director Lulu Wang has created a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, masterfully interweaving a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us, often in spite of ourselves.
(PG-13) • 116 minutes • On-screen here from 8/2/19 to 8/8/19
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino, Kate McKinnon
Synopsis: Yesterday, everyone knew The Beatles. Today, only Jack remembers their songs. He’s about to become a very big deal. From Academy Award®-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) and Richard Curtis, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill, comes a rock-n-roll comedy about music, dreams, friendship, and the long and winding road that leads to the love of your life.
Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC’s Eastenders) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed … and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed.
Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them, and with a little help from his steel-hearted American agent, Debra (Emmy winner Kate McKinnon), Jack’s fame explodes. But as his star rises, he risks losing Ellie — the one person who always believed in him. With the door between his old life and his new closing, Jack will need to get back to where he once belonged and prove that all you need is love.
(PG) • 97 minutes • On-screen here from 7/26/19 to 8/8/19
Director: Alex Holmes
Starring: Tracy Edwards
Synopsis: The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
Echo in the Canyon
(PG-13) • 72 minutes • On-screen here from 7/19/19 to 7/25/19
Director: Andrew Slater
Starring: Lou Adler, Fiona Apple, The Beach Boys, Beck, Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton, Jakob Dylan, Nora Jones, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr
Synopsis: In the summer of 1965 the most popular song in America was the debut single by The Byrds. With their mushroom haircuts, 3-part harmonies, and jangly electric 12-string sound, they were to be America’s answer to The Beatles. They weren’t. Instead, they invented folk rock and attracted a generation of recording artists to Los Angeles.
Echo In The Canyon is a look back at the influence and the music of those artists (The Byrds, The Mamas & the Papas, Buffalo Springfield, The Beach Boys) from Southern California’s age of innocence (1965 – 1967); the beginnings of Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon music scene, and how the echo of these artist’s creations reverberated between each other and ultimately across to London (where it alters the course of The Beatles themselves.)
The songs from that era provide an entry point as Jakob Dylan and a new generation of artists whose own body of work reflect the echoes of that pivotal time (Beck, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Cat Power and others), interpret and perform the songs paying homage to, and in many cases in front of, its authors.
Dylan journeys to those who wrote the songs and discovers why they were written and what life was like in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon in the years before psychedelia and the birth of the singer/songwriter era. He uncovers never before heard personal details behind the recordings and those who made them popular.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
(R) • 121 minutes • On-screen here from 7/12/19 to 7/18/19
Director: Joe Talbot
Starring: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold, Danny Glover
Synopsis: Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation.
(R) • 102 minutes • On-screen here from 7/5/19 to 7/11/19
Director: Olivia Wilde
Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Billia Lourde
Synopsis: On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night. Told from a wildly original, fresh and modern perspective, Booksmart is an unfiltered comedy about high school best friends and the bonds we create that last a lifetime. Capturing the spirit of our times, the film is a coming of age story for a new generation.
The Biggest Little Farm
(PG) • 91 minutes • On-screen here from 6/28/19 to 7/4/19
Director: John Chester
Starring: John Chester, Molly Chester
Synopsis: A testament to the immense complexity of nature, The Biggest Little Farm follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. When the barking of their beloved dog Todd leads to an eviction notice from their tiny LA apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto 200 acres in the foothills of Ventura County, naively endeavoring to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature. The land they’ve chosen, however, is utterly depleted of nutrients and suffering from a brutal drought. The film chronicles eight years of daunting work and outsize idealism as they attempt to create the utopia they seek, planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind- including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster. When the farm’s ecosystem finally begins to reawaken, so does the Chesters’ hope – but as their plan to create perfect harmony takes a series of wild turns, they realize that to survive they will have to reach a far greater understanding of the intricacies and wisdom of nature, and of life itself.
The Dead Don’t Die
(R) • 105 minutes • On-screen here from 6/21/19 to 6/29/19, plus 7/5/19 & 7/6/19
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Selena Gomez, Danny Glover, Carol Kane
Synopsis: In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable, and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behaviors. No one quite knows why. News reports are scary and scientists are concerned. But no one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing Centerville: The Dead Don’t Die — they rise from their graves and savagely attack and feast on the living, and the citizens of the town must battle for their survival.
From writer-director Jim Jarmusch (Paterson, Gimme Danger) comes a star-studded horror comedy featuring an ensemble cast of Jarmusch regulars (Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits) and newcomers to the fold (Selena Gomez, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Carol Kane) in a raucous, rueful and satirical glimpse at American habits and desires at the end of the world — a comically terrifying state of the nation addressed in a true cinematic original.
The Tomorrow Man
(PG-13) • 94 minutes • On-screen here from 6/14/19 to 6/20/19
Director: Noble Jones
Starring: John Lithgow, Blythe Danner, Derek Cecil, Katie Aselton
Synopsis: Ed Hemsler spends his life preparing for a disaster that may never come. Ronnie Meisner spends her life shopping for things she may never use. In a small town somewhere in America, these two people will try to find love while trying not to get lost in each other’s stuff.
All Is True
(PG-13) • 101 minutes • On-screen here from 6/7/19 to 6/13/19
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Lolita Chakrabarti, Judi Dench, Ian McKellan
Synopsis: The year is 1613, Shakespeare is acknowledged as the greatest writer of the age. But disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground, and devastated, Shakespeare returns to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and a neglected family.
Haunted by the death of his only son Hamnet, he struggles to mend the broken relationships with his wife and daughters. In so doing, he is ruthlessly forced to examine his own failings as husband and father. His very personal search for the truth uncovers secrets and lies within a family at war.
The White Crow
(R) • 127 minutes • On-screen here from 5/31/19 to 6/6/19
Director: Ralph Fiennes
Starring: Oleg Ivenko, Ralph Fiennes, Louis Hoffman, Adèle Exarchopoulous
Synopsis: A young man of just 22, dressed in a black beret and a dark narrow suit, is on an airplane flying from St Petersburg to Paris. It is 1961 and Rudolf Nureyev, not yet the imperious figure of legend, is a member of the world-renowned Kirov Ballet Company, travelling for the first time outside the Soviet Union.
Parisian life delights Nureyev and the young dancer is eager to consume all the culture, art and music the dazzling city has to offer. But the KGB officers who watch his every move become increasingly suspicious of his behavior and his friendship with the young Parisienne Clara Saint.
When they finally confront Nureyev with a shocking demand, he is forced to make a heart-breaking decision, one that may change the course of his life forever and put his family and friends in terrible danger.
From Nureyev’s poverty-stricken childhood in the Soviet city of Ufa, to his blossoming as a student dancer in Leningrad, to his arrival at the epicentre of western culture in Paris in the early 1960s and a nail-biting stand-off at the Le Bourget airport, “THE WHITE CROW” is the true story of an incredible journey by a unique artist who transformed the world of ballet forever.
(R) • 101 minutes • On-screen here from 5/24/19 to 5/30/19
Director: Trevor Nunn
Starring: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Stephen Campbell Moore, Tom Hughes
Synopsis: In a picturesque village in England, Joan Stanley (Academy Award® winner Dame Judi Dench), lives in contented retirement. Then suddenly her tranquil existence is shattered as she’s shockingly arrested by MI5. For Joan has been hiding an incredible past; she is one of the most influential spies in living history…
Cambridge University in the 1930s, and the young Joan (Sophie Cookson), a demure physics student, falls intensely in love with a seductively attractive Russian saboteur, Leo. Through him, she begins to see that the world is on a knife-edge and perhaps must be saved from itself in the race to military supremacy.
Post-war and now working at a top secret nuclear research facility, Joan is confronted with the impossible: Would you betray your country and your loved ones, if it meant saving them? What price would you pay for peace?
Inspired by an extraordinary true story, Red Joan is the taut and emotional discovery of one woman’s sacrifice in the face of incredible circumstances.
A woman to whom we perhaps all owe our freedom.
(G) • 89 minutes • On-screen here from 5/17/19 to 5/23/19
Directors: Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack
Starring: Aretha Franklin, Reverend James Cleveland, Southern California Community Choir
Synopsis: The never before seen movie featuring Aretha Franklin recording the most successful gospel album of all time, Amazing Grace.
When Franklin was planning her album, Warner Brothers agreed to film the session in 1972.
Warner Communications, the parent company of Warner Brothers Films and the Warner, Reprise, Elektra and Atlantic labels, had reaped the rewards of that new buzz-word, “corporate synergy” with the success of the 1970 Michael Wadleigh film and album of Woodstock. Warner had paid $100,000 for the rights and the film grossed $17 million and the album sold three million copies. Warner Communications hoped for Amazing Grace to have that same success.
Warner Brothers’ Director of Music Services, Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Pink Floyd, Producer), proposed hiring Jim Signorelli, a documentary filmmaker and his team of 16mm cameramen. However, before Signorelli’s deal could be signed, Warner Brothers’ CEO, Ted Ashley, mentioned the project during a meeting with Sydney Pollack. At the time, Pollack was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for his film, They Shoot Horses Don’t They. Pollack immediately signed up for the project upon hearing Franklin’s name.
Recorded live at Rev. James Cleveland’s church in Watts, California in front of a lively audience / congregation, Amazing Grace would become the highest selling album of Franklin’s career and the most popular Gospel album of all time.
However, the film was never released publicly.
Sydney Pollack was a feature-film director. When recording, sound is usually post-synched on the back-lot. After the remarkable two days of recording, the editors threw up their hands. There were no clappers, no marks to guide the sound into synch with the picture. Pollack hired lip readers and specialist editors but received no luck.
The film languished for almost 40 years before former Atlantic staff producer / Wexler protégé Alan Elliott came to Wexler and ultimately to Pollack. Together, Elliott, Wexler, and Pollack approached Warner Brothers about using new digital technology to match sound to picture and make a film out of the raw footage.
Forty-seven years later, this film is a testimony to the greatness of Aretha Franklin and a time-machine window into a moment in American musical, and social history.
(PG-13) • 112 minutes • On-screen here from 5/10/19 to 5/23/19
Director: Dome Karukoski
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Mimi Keene, Derek Jacobi, Colm Meaney
Synopsis: Tolkien explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the “fellowship” apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels.
(R) • 96 minutes • On-screen here from 4/26/19 to 5/9/19
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Starring: Matthias Shoenaerts, Jason Mitchell, Bruce Dern, Gideon Adlon, Connie Britton
Synopsis: Roman Coleman, a convict in a rural Nevada prison who struggles to escape his violent past, is required to participate in an “outdoor maintenance” program as part of his state-mandated social rehabilitation. Spotted by a no-nonsense veteran trainer and helped by an outgoing fellow inmate and trick rider, Roman is accepted into the selective wild horse training section of the program. There, he rediscovers his own humanity in gentling an especially unbreakable mustang.
(R) • 102 minutes • On-screen here from 4/12/19 to 4/25/19
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Starring: Julianne Moore, Alanna Ubach, Sean Astin, John Turturro, Michael Cera, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Rita Wilson
Synopsis: Gloria is a free-spirited divorcée who spends her days at a straight-laced office job and her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around Los Angeles. After meeting Arnold on a night out, she finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance, filled with both the joys of budding love and the complications of dating, identity, and family.
From Academy Award-winning director Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Disobedience) comes a sophisticated romantic comedy that shows love can strike at any time, relationships are never simple, and nothing can get you down as long as you keep dancing.
(R) • 123 minutes • On-screen here from 3/29/19 to 4/11/19
Director: Anthony Maras
Starring: Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, Jason Isaacs
Synopsis: A gripping true story of humanity and heroism, Hotel Mumbai vividly recounts the 2008 siege of the famed Taj Hotel by a group of terrorists in Mumbai, India. Among the dedicated hotel staff is the renowned chef Hemant Oberoi and a waiter who choose to risk their lives to protect their guests. As the world watches on, a desperate couple is forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to protect their newborn child.
(G) • 93 minutes • On-screen here from 3/22/19 to 3/28/19, Special return for 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing 7/19/19 & 7/20/19
Director: Todd Douglas Miller
Starring: Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins
Synopsis: From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the hear t of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.
(R) • 133 minutes • On-screen here from 3/15/19 to 3/21/19
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darín
Synopsis: Laura, a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister’s wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open.
(PG-13) • 98 minutes • On-screen here from 3/8/19 to 3/14/19
Director: Joe Penna
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir
Synopsis: A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive.
It Must Schwing – The Blue Note Story
(NR) • 115 minutes • Presented as part of the Maine Jewish Film Festival, Sunday 10th March @4:00
Director: Eric Friedler
Starring: Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter
1939 New York: Two Jewish emigres from Nazi Berlin establish the legendary Blue Note Records. Dedicated solely to American Jazz at a time when African American musicians faced discrimination in all aspects of the music industry, Blue Note discovered, produced and promoted artists including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Thelonious Monk. Executive Film Producer Wim Wenders’ team uses brilliant animation, interviews with Blue Note stars, iconic photographs from the label archives and an unforgettable score. Two friends, victimized by racism in Germany, united by passion for jazz and belief in human dignity, changed the sound of music and the story of race in America.
The Waldheim Waltz
(NR) • 93 minutes • Presented as part of the Maine Jewish Film Festival, Sunday 10th March @ 11:00 AM
Director: Ruth Beckermann
Starring: Kurt Waldheim, Ruth Beckermann
Synopsis:In 1986 when Austrian activists were protesting against Kurt Waldheim, filmmaker Ruth Beckermann was both protester and reporter, capturing confrontations between activists and Waldheim supporters. 30 years later, Beckermann uses her footage, as well as contemporaneous news archives, to chronicle Waldheim’s run for the Presidency of Austria amidst allegations of involvement in Nazi atrocities during WWII. Amid rising anti-Semitism and nationalism, the film reexamines an uncomfortable chapter in Austria’s history and raises timely questions about collective complicity, memory, and historical responsibility. Austria’s official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The Last Suit
(NR) • 91 minutes • Presented as part of the Maine Jewish Film Festival, Saturday 9th March @ 11:00 AM
Director: Pablo Solarz
Starring: Miguel Ángel Solá, Ángela Molina, Martín Piroyansky
Synopsis: At 88, Abraham Bursztein is seeing his place in the world rapidly disappear. His kids have sold his Buenos Aires residence, set him up to move to a retirement home, and disagree on how to handle his fading health. But Abraham survived the Holocaust, made a successful life in a foreign land, and isn’t about to quietly fade away. Instead, he plots a secret one-way trip to Poland, where he plans to find the Christian friend who saved him from certain death at the end of World War II, and to keep his promise to return one day. Comedic and poignant in equal measure, from Argentina to Spain, across Germany and finally to Poland, Abraham is on his own but also accompanied by the characters he meets along the way, who both help him and need his help. A standout among these is the iconic Spanish actress Angela Molina, as the proprietor of the Madrid hotel where he stays. With its klezmer-driven score, evocative cinematography and fleet pacing, The Last Suit approaches its weighty themes with a light touch that illuminates a serious story. And in its mix of Spanish, Yiddish, German and Polish it is a globe-trotting surprise, a late-in-life road movie with planes, trains and heart.
*** Winner of 3 Academy Awards! Best Picture • Best Supporting Actor • Best Original Screenplay ***
(PG-13) • 130 minutes • On-screen here from 12/14/18 to 12/20/18, and again 2/15/19 to 3/7/19
Director: Peter Farrelly
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Synopsis: In 1962, Tony “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, a tough bouncer, is looking for work while his nightclub is closed for renovations. The most promising offer turns out to be the driver for the African-American classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley for a concert tour into the Deep South states. Although hardly enthused at working for a black man, Tony accepts the job and they begin their trek armed with The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America’s racial segregation. Together, the snobbishly erudite pianist and the crudely practical bouncer can barely get along with their clashing attitudes to life and ideals. However, as the disparate pair witness and endure America’s appalling injustices on the road, they find a newfound respect for each other’s talents and heart to face them together. In doing so, they would nurture a friendship and understanding that would change both their lives.
**Academy Award Winner – Best Actress in a Leading Role**
(R) • 120 minutes • On-screen here from 2/8/19 to 2/28/19
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman, Emma Stone
Synopsis: Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.
Stan & Ollie
(PG) • 97 minutes • On-screen here from 2/1/19 to 2/7/19
Director: Jon S. Baird
Starring: Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson
Synopsis: The true story of Hollywood’s greatest comedy double act, Laurel and Hardy, is brought to the big screen for the first time. Starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the inimitable movie icons, Stan and Ollie is the heart-warming story of what would become the pair’s triumphant farewell tour. With their golden era long behind them, the pair embark on a variety hall tour of Britain and Ireland. Despite the pressures of a hectic schedule, and with the support of their wives Lucille (Shirley Henderson) and Ida (Nina Arianda) – a formidable double act in their own right – the pair’s love of performing, as well as for each other, endures as they secure their place in the hearts of their adoring public.
On the Basis of Sex
(PG-13) • 120 minutes • On-screen here from 1/11/19 to 1/31/19
Director: Mimi Leder
Starring: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Sam Waterson, Kathy Bates
Synopsis: The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights, and what she had to overcome in order to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
Mary Queen of Scots
*** Nominated for 2 Academy Awards ***
(R) • 124 minutes • On-screen here from 12/21/18 to 1/10/19
Director: Josie Rourk
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Gemma Chan, David Tennant, Guy Pearce
Synopsis: Mary Queen of Scots explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart. Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth 1.
Each young Queen beholds her “sister” in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence.
Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth’s sovereignty.
Betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within court imperil both thrones – and change the course of history.