Snowpiercer

Posted in Review by - Jul 28, 2014
Snowpiercer

The South Korean director of The Host, Memories of Murder and Mother, goes Hollywood (sort of) with Snowpiercer a post apocalyptic action film.  Though the film has an international cast headed by Captain America’s Chris Evans it is Korean produced.

The film opens 17 years after the earth has been frozen and one train houses the only survivors.  The train circles the world continuously, the passengers are devided by class and a darwinian approach to survival.  Chris Evans is the anti hero who leads a revolt against the oppressive regime who rule the classes aboard the train.  He must makes his …

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Words and Pictures

Posted in Review by - Jul 20, 2014
Words and Pictures

Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen have been making films for over twenty years, some have been classics others forgettable.  Binoche rose to prominence with Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Owen first emerged as an actor to watch in the minor gem Croupier (1998) directed by Mike Hodges.  In a short scene towards the end of their latest film Words and Pictures, they each get to share a hearty laugh.  It is a moment of simplicity and subtle acting brilliance.  Chemistry like this does not come often.

The film is directed by Fred Schepisi who like his stars has …

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Reaching for the Moon

Posted in Review by - Jul 20, 2014
Reaching for the Moon

“The art of losing is hard to master”

Miranda Otto after years performing in supporting roles has been gifted a great part as Elizabeth Bishop in Bruno Carreto’s Reaching for the Moon.  Those looking to witness a talented actor create a complex, three dimensional character will be rewarded with Reaching for the Moon.

Bishop’s life was extraordinary, her father died when she was eight months old and her mother was committed to an asylum when she was five, and throughout her tumultuous childhood Bishop had a number of disparete care givers.  “I was orphaned young and always feel homeless”

It is not surprising …

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Charlie’s Company

Posted in Review by - Jul 17, 2014
Charlie’s Company

David Gulpilil is an inherently interesting man.  Conflicted between the world of the white man and his culture.  At the Cannes Film Festival this year, most actors would be walking the red carpet, posing for the cameras and participating in the interview and promotion circuit.  However Gulpilil chose instead to involve himself in the issues of his local community.  Subsequently and deservingly he was awarded a best actor prize at the prestigious festival for his work in Charlie’s Company.  A seven minute standing ovation greeted this excellent film.

The film is the fourth collaboration between Rolf De Heer and the actor, …

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The Lunchbox

Posted in Review by - Jul 11, 2014
The Lunchbox

“The wrong train can take you to the right station”

An understated romantic drama that owes much to 84 Charing Cross Road and Brief Encounter. The film works largely because of a strong script and a sensational lead performance from Irrfan Khan. Not particularly ground breaking in execution, it is nonetheless a warm-hearted sentimental love story.

Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) has spent the last 35 years in a claims office in downtown Mumbai, his life consists of travelling by bus and train to and from work, sitting methodically, silently, every day.   His job consists of processing accounts for the city, and at …

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Posted in Review by - Jul 10, 2014
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Caesar the king ape in Matt Reeves follow up to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes offers up a brevity of words like “home” and “family”, to emphasise his moral compass and to let us know how far the primates have developed from the original film.   The image of thousands charging on horseback, guns in hand through the streets of San Francisco is a remarkable sight and signals a franchise with endless possibilities.

The follow-up to Rupert Wyatt’s impressive Rise of the Planet of the Apes, intentionally positions the human characters in the margins. Ten years after the events …

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Belle & Sebastian

Posted in Review by - Jul 04, 2014
Belle & Sebastian

 

A delightfully old-fashioned family film based on a much-loved book by Cecile Aubry.  This majestic film has justifiably been a big hit in France.

The story centres on a boy and his best friend a big white dog, it takes place in the French Alps during World War 2, there are Nazis, the French Resistance, loveable eccentrics and those glorious Alps. Sebastian lives with his heavy drinking Grandfather (Karyo), one day he saves Belle, a shambolic mess from his fellow villagers who believe the dog is killing sheep. So begins a shaggy dog story that invests heavily in its characters and …

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Calvary

Posted in Review by - Jul 03, 2014
Calvary

“There would be no point in killing a bad priest but killing a good one that would be a shock now; I’m going to kill you father because you are innocent.”  So begins Calvary the absorbing new film from John Michael McDonagh starring Brendan Gleeson.   Difficult to classify, part thriller, part meditation on mortality, part dark comic drama.

The sins of the Catholic Church, bankers who have brought the country to its knees, infidelity and small town eccentrics/weirdos all form the palette in this follow up to McDonagh’s impressive debut feature The Guard.   Father James Lavelle is informed he has until …

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Jersey Boys

Posted in Review by - Jul 03, 2014
Jersey Boys

Throughout his illustrious career, Clint Eastwood has been attracted to material, which is overtly the stuff of myth, and legend, his latest is an exploration of the rise to the top of four kids from the streets of New Jersey.  It is a classically structured musical narrative familiar to Eastwood, who previously shot Bird (1988) a biopic of Jazz great Charlie Parker and Honkytonk Man (1982).  Jersey Boys is a typical Eastwood film lean, efficient and expertly directed, though the film lacks the exhilarating immediacy of the stage production and is a largely predictable biopic.

The early scenes recall a PG …

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Transformers: Age of Extinction

Posted in Review by - Jun 26, 2014
Transformers: Age of Extinction

Early in Michael Bay’s latest extravaganza, the owner of the last picture show offers up his opinion on Hollywood’s continued obsession with churning out the same product.  “Sequels and remakes a bunch of crap.”  This essentially sums up the fourth instalment of the Transformers franchise and fervently sends a message to film critics that Bay doesn’t make movies for them, “Maybe those guys just don’t like having a good time,” Bay speculated when asked about un-favourable reviews.

Before I get to the plot, a reflection is required on Bay’s framing, shot selection and casting of women in his films.  He frames …

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