Gemma Arterton's Hollywood films: Clash of Titans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Hansel and Gretel: The Witch Hunters - all those films did nothing to showcase her talents.
To see what this bright actress is capable of you should watch her English films. Summerland is great for the start. Paired with lovely Gugu Embata-Ro, Gemma Arterton could really shin.
But Jessica Swail's film is still not about romantic relationship of two women; it is about the kindness and happiness that surrounds us. You just need to see it. The entire cast including Penelope Wilton, Lucas Bond, Dixie Egerix, Amanda Ruth, Jessica Gunning, David Horovich, Tom Courtney, Shan Phillips is great as well.
It is World War II and a writer is living in a small coastal cottage in Kent. Her name is Alice Lamb (Gemma Arterton). She is writing an academic paper and exploring the places where Fata Morgana could appear. Morgana is a mythical character who invites sailors on her island where they die. Local kids consider Alice to be a witch. They pester her in any possible way, which makes her extremely upset: "I'll go to the police or buy a shotgun!" Therefore, she hardly agrees to accept a 12-year-old Frank (Lucas Bond) evacuated from London to live at her place just for a couple of weeks, but London is the subject to bombing so she has no choice but assist. At school Frank is seated at the very back of the classroom sharing a desk with Edie who tells his "scary stories" about Alice: "She is a witch and will make you a slave, and when you die, she will burn you or do bad things to you."
Gradually very trusting relationships are established between the boy and Alice. Together they begin to explore the places on the coast from where Dover Castle is often seen soaring in the clouds like a mystical mirage. Boy's father is a pilot and his mom works at the Ministry in LOndon. When a letter suddenly arrives to school with the bad news on the death in the plane crash of Frank's dad, Alice hesitates to tell him about it straight away. Frank learns the sad truth from the others and travels to London on is own. Alice rushes after him understanding that she might lose him. His parents' house is destroyed by bombing and in confusion they can not find Frank's mom, Vera (Gugu Embata-Ro). A little later she turns at Alice's house herself.... and the surprise follows another surprise... Alice and her were happy lovers in the past, but the times were such that they had to part for a long time ...
The film was directed by the debutant director, Jessica Swayle (the writer of the comedy "Horror Stories: The Film - Perverted Romans").
The film is extremely charming, full of melancholy and warmth. It is a but melodramatic. Swayle created a much comforting tale of love, sacrifice and hope that feels very British.
An ethereal air hangs over the coast which looks magnificent...
Atheist Alice explains to Frank that Paradise is a fictional place created by Christians. Some of the dialogues can be a great quotes. She tells him: "But what happened to all those who died before the beginning of Christianity? They ended up in the "Land of the Sun", a summerland. The dead try to communicate with living people by manipulating the clouds". Some moments of the film aree especially emotional.
Gemma Arterton plays one of her best roles. During flashbacks, we catch a glimpse of pasts relationships between two women. It explains why Alice is acting this way. It also explains her resentment towards children and, at the same time, emotional attachment to them. It explains her coldness, that in reality gets slowly melted by Frank's plight. It is very interesting to watch how she unfolds her character. Young Lucas Bond is showing a maturity in acting that is surprising for his age. Attractive Tom Courtney ("Nicholas Nickleby", "The Aeronauts") as headmaster, provides moments of comic relief in his own fashion. Alice in her old age is played by Penelope Wilton, whom many remember from the comedy "The Messenger is to Blame for Everything."
Volker Bertelmann wrote an excellent script. The camera showcases the beauty of the Kentish countryside with its paintings of magnificent rocks and endless clouds.
Summerland is one definitely worthy summer drama!
END OF THE CENTURY NEW website review by Anthony Wayne
End of the Century opens in silence. A long 10 minutes of no dialogue as we watch a man on his own, Ocho arrive in Barcelona. He checks in to his AirBNB, he wanders around town, heads down to the beach where he notices an attractive man Javi in the water. No dialogue is exchanged at this stage. Later that day, Ocho is back at his AirBNB and he spots Javi while looking out from his balcony. Javi is wandering around outside on the street. Ocho calls out to Javi and invites him to come up to the apartment to join in for a drink. The two men share some small talk, and then end up hooking up. After a steamy sex scene, they continue spending time together. Drinking wine on the roof after a day out, they discuss their professions, relationship statuses, and opinions on children. Ocho, a poet, has recently split from his partner of 20 years, and doesn’t want kids. Javi directs a kids’ TV show in Berlin, and has a daughter with his husband, with whom he is in an open relationship.
At the end of the first act, Javi casually mentions that the two have already met before. We then flashback to 20 years prior when Ocho and Javi had their first encounter. Though the flashback in time is not immediately understood, as confusingly the actors look exactly the same as in the present time. The film does not attempt to make the actors appearances look younger. While trying to follow along and identity the new time period, there were little snippets of detail and dialogue I missed. It was also confusing that Ocho would not have remembered their previous encounter 20 years prior.
The film moves very slowly through and although the film has a lot to say about connections, the vague storytelling gets in the way of delivering any real emotional substance. I kept waiting for the drama but it never eventuated.
If you had told me in January that there would essentially be but a sole blockbuster superhero movie all year (New Mutants and Birds of Prey didn’t exactly wow…), and not until Boxing Day at that, I’d have called you unequivocally insane. But if anything, that’s the nicest way one could describe 2020. COVID-19 has flipped everything on its head, and so here we are, just a few days out from the year’s end, with the one and only tentpole release, Wonder Woman 1984.
Following on from the critically popular Wonder Woman (2017), this sequel fast-forwards over half a decade from the original’s World War I era, landing firmly in the nostalgia-drenched titular year of 1984. Acclimatised to the intricacies of Earth’s milieu, Diane/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) now works as a senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., specialising in ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Following an attempted robbery (foiled by none other than the heroine herself), the FBI transfer a cache of stolen antiquities found at the scene to Diane’s lab for identification and further analysis. One item in particular — later revealed to be the "Dreamstone", a stone imbued with the power to grant any single desire — inexplicably draws the attention of both Diana and new colleague Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) — a frazzled maladroit woman indwelled with insecurity and envious idolisation — as well as the more cunningly nefarious Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) — the dictionary definition of sleazy-yet-charismatic entrepreneurial salesman. As the saying goes, ‘be careful what you wish for’. Let’s start with the good. As a whole, the cast was phenomenal. Minor character critiques aside, the sheer revelry and depth each actor put into their role was a delight to watch. Likewise, the creative direction and incandescent aesthetic made for some truly awe-inspiring sequences, even if tonally inconsistent at times. And much like its predecessor, the emphasis on female empowerment was refreshing and done magnificently; it was poignant, but felt natural, and didn’t detract from its underlying cause through numbing overtness. As a mindless watch, it ticks most boxes, but unfortunately, it looks to position itself on a higher tier, and despite its best efforts, it never quite reaches its ambitions.
For one, it is long, 2.5hrs long, and not justifiably so. The major plot hits all the usual beats, but drags itself out at times, making for a distinctly unbalanced experience. This dissonance continues throughout the numerous subplots presented as well, acting to clutter the overall story moreso than it does to provide exposition and/or spark narrative intrigue. Consequently, the hero/villain triage just isn’t as harmonious as it should be, and so you end up splitting your attention between two arcs that are undeveloped and underdeveloped, respectively. This is made all the more apparent leading into the final climax, with the film trying to both eat its cake and have it too.
Ultimately, Wonder Woman 1984 was an enjoyable watch, and if you enjoyed the first film I imagine you’ll find things to love about its sequel. Sadly, its ‘escapist qualities’ can only do so much heavy lifting for a film that is just a little too long, a little too clique, and a little too shallow its own depths. Recommended, just as long as you know what you are going in for. An aside, it’s still one of the better DC movies to date, so that’s something at least.
Wonder Woman 1984 released both theatrically and digitally (via HBO Max) on December 26th, 2020. If you wish to attend the former, wear a mask and check your local cinema for appropriate safety guidelines before booking and attending a session in person.
The main roles in the drama are played by Guillaume Canet, Verlet Batens and Anthony Bageon.
The director characterizes his own creation as a family saga. It shows the French farmer's life from the side of an ordinary person. If focuses on the transformations in agriculture over the past 40 years and what the rdenary farmers have to go through to survuve and feed their families. The ending of the film is hopeless: it says: "In France every day one farmer commits suicide".
Pierre is twenty-five. He he returns from Wyoming, USA to his fiancée Claire. He takes over his family farm ran bu his father.
Twenty years later, the farm grew, as did his family. The business is successful selling goats, milk and growing wheat.
These are happy times, happy family enjoying their business. At least it seems initially. But over time, debts accumulate, and Pierre who is forced to buy a commercial chicken farm to support him financially has high hopes still... But he feels completely exhausted from work.
Despite love and support from his father, wife and children, his life is slowly going downhill. It is devastating to see what takes place later in his life...
This is a sentimental story of a girl who is hired as an assistant to the literary agent of the famous author of the novel "The Catcher in the Rye". She must answer the letters of Salinger's fans delivered to her in sacks. The action takes place in New York in the 90-s, when computers were just starting to appear in the everyday life of any office. The ambitious young poet, Joanna (Margaret Qualley) joins a prestigious literary agency run by a hardened conservative (Sigourney Weaver) who does not "believe in computers" and demands her office staff to write her reports on a decrepit typewriters. Salinger himself is present in the film only in a telephone voice, like an invisible god, like Goodwin the great and merciful. Johanna will stay in this environment, overturned in the past, for only a year, growing up in front of our eyes, discovering human characters, learning to build relationships with colleagues and overestimating love attachments. It is a kind of "maturity drama" which is is built on finest behaviour nuances, on the filigree play of the crew. It belongs to as much arthouse as it is to the mainstream. It lacks the pretentious ambition inherited by a "radical cinema". It is rather calm, dignified and intelligent art master piece.
This is the first film by Falardo, where the main character is a woman, and all the events are filmed from a female point of view. In this sense, the director fully fits into the latest tendency to equate the "female" world with the "male", clearly giving preference to the former.
The directors said: "To be honest, this picture made me doubt myself. After reading Joanna Rakoff's book of memoirs about literary New York, I immediately knew that I wanted to film it. Precisely because it represents a purely feminine look. So far, I've made films with male characters, and I wanted to give the new film a different perspective. I saw this opportunity in Joanna's book and, while working on the script, tried to stick to the angle she had set. I must admit that Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, which people usually discover when they are fifteen or twenty, I only read three years ago - thanks to Joanna Rakoff's book. The novel turned out to be just as relevant now. When Salinger wrote it, it was somehow not customary to talk out loud about depression and other mental disorders, it was taboo. The writer told about all this, the book became popular and beloved - it turns out that he was far ahead of his time ... I was lucky with the actress for the main role. I saw Margaret Qualley in The Novice, then in the Kenzo commercial, which was directed by Spike Lee, and I realized that she was a high-class actress. Now everyone remembers her for her role as Kitty in Quentin Tarantino's film "Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood", and I think that no one doubts: this is a future superstar."
My Salinger Year (M) – 101 minutes – by Alex First
A superb, intelligent, brilliantly conceived coming of age story, My Salinger Year is marked by a series of stellar performances.
In the mid 1990s, young writer and poet Joanna Smith Rakoff (Margaret Qualley – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) leaves behind graduate school and a boyfriend in California to settle in New York, where she initially moves in with a friend.
In quick time, she finds a new guy and lands a job in a literary agency run by a resolute woman, Margaret (Sigourney Weaver – Alien), who has a “my way or the highway” approach.
Margaret is particularly protective of her star client, JD Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye.
The reclusive novelist spurns attention and refuses to accept fan mail.
Among Joanna’s secretarial tasks is to shred said letters and to address their instigators with generic responses.
But Joanna becomes intrigued with Salinger and by those writing to him, even resorting to typing her own letters to those who have taken the opportunity to express their thoughts to Salinger.
At the same time, Joanna’s steady hand and intellect sees her stocks rise within the agency.
At the back of her mind, though, remains an ambition to find her own voice.
She grows and matures as the next phase of her life takes shape.
My Salinger Year is a movie that spoke deeply to me.
Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar) has done a fine job adapting a novel of the same name by Joanna Smith Rakoff, whose perspective the film is all about.
The Salinger Year weaves its magic over time. Nothing happens at pace, but the flow is perfectly in keeping with the material and ground covered.
The picture beautifully captures the look and feel of the times and the characters that populated it.
We are on a journey with Joanna – both intrigued and captivated by her.
We dare not look away, for her allure is absolute.
Margaret Qualley, who has the most expressive eyes and inhabits Joanna’s persona like a second skin.
Sigourney Weaver channels authority with aplomb as literary agent Margaret.
A number of the secondary characters - most notably Brian F. O’Byrne as the firm’s legal eagle, Hugh - are memorable too
My Salinger Year is a life affirming elixir for those yearning for quality adult cinema.
The shaven-headed Pole Daniel with bottomless blue eyes (Bartosz Belenya) and eternal bruises around his eyes, he looks like the incarnated Slavic hopelessness. His is serving a sentence in a colony for the accidental murder on the street. He is surrounded by real ghouls with the faces of butchers and serial killers, with whom you need to howl like a wolf. While the prisoners are working at the sawmill, Daniel stands on the watchtower so that the rape of one of the guys remains unnoticed by the head of the colony. Religion is his one and only sincere joy: Daniel is one of the beloved disciples of the pastor, singing psalms with a clear voice. He found salvation in God but how God and indulgence in violence coexist in him, he himself does not know. It is like light and darkness going hand in hand in one person. Released on parole, Daniel goes to work at the sawmill: no church activities are allowed to a person with criminal history at large and he is warned about it by the pastor.
Posing to a local girl, Eliza (Eliza Knitsembel) as a seminary graduate, he finds himself in the house of a local pastor (lucky accident follows another lucky accident for him in his favour). The pastor is the most respected man in the city, who recently buried the very young son of his parishioner assistant. The pastor urgently leaves for a medical examination and leaves Daniel who presented himself as a fake Father Tomas, as the elder in the parish. Knowing only roughly how to conduct a church service, Father Tomas aka criminal Daniel begins to confess local residents, holding masses and helping the city to survive a disaster on a district scale: the death of six young guys in a car accident on a rural road: the priest's son was just one of them.
The film uncovers many ulcers on the town reminding of a Russian "Leviathan". It is a unique, gentle and tragicomic movie, where the whole Polish society pains are spread around in that tiny town on a couple of hectares. They are the pains of a more broadly scale as well as the events reflect what takes place in teh whole Eastern Europe with its ancestral problems. Poland can be replaced by Hungary, Ukraine, Lithuania or Russia - there is no difference. Everything will remain the same and in place. The youth is restlessness, using drugs, alcohol, watching porno and committing crime after crime, They are the exact copies of the adults with their greedy local mayors and other criminal entrepreneurs who fear God not. Humanity still has not learned to think with their own heads how to be good and spiritual people.
Daniel decides to start from scratch and live according to his conscience, guiding the flock with words not from the Bible, but the words that come from his heart. “Most come to church so the neighbors can see them (believing on God)" but Daniel changes it and soon his church is full of people. On one of the confessions he enlightens the woman who comes for an advice to him. In the end, the best way to get your son to quit smoking is not to pray to God, but to quit smoking to his parents, and to buy the strongest cigarettes and make the child smoke the whole pack until nausea occurs. Of course, it's more usual to calm down with “Ave Maria”, just don't be surprised later that all the local teenagers are drugged on weekends. How to atone for the guilt in front of a child whom you punish on the head "from time to time"? "Take a walk, ride a bike - this is your repentance" - they are the words that are too rarely heard in real churches.
A soul-saving movie about the fact that the second, third and fourth chances are given to us every day: it is either a parable or a fairy tale that Father Tomasz and Daniel are the same and different people in one soul. Father Tomasz comes up with a small liberating alternative for Christianity: to enjoy living children as a miracle, to bury enemies with respect and to sprinkle holy water on the church, dancing like in he is at the club.
There are no traces of Catholic canons in his services, but the locals for the first time in years begin to glow with the joy of understanding of his preaches, he gets right to their hearts with spontaneity and a childlike look without a glimpse of a pride. The local teenagers reveal to him that they spend all their free time on drugs, do not go to the funeral because they are on a spree and then smoke weed with him in the cemetery. A former prisoner Daniel who has just danced affected by drugs himself at a provincial discache becomes the person with whom you can talk about weaknesses. He opens up souls as he is the same as they all. What happens at the very end of the film is a punishment for being true to himself. Amazing film!
Inspired by reality, Corpus Christi is a searing portrait of crime and redemption.
A young man, Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia), locked up in juvenile detention with other offenders has – like them – had a troubled past.
They are taught trade skills, like learning how to saw.
They also attend church services delivered by a no-nonsense priest, Father Tomasz (Lukasz Simlat).
Daniel would dearly like to go on and take his vows, but given his history that simply won’t be possible.
Instead, he is destined to work in a sawmill factory in a rural community a long way away.
But upon seeing what his future holds, this – then 20-year-old – decides to take matters into his own hands.
He assumes the guise of a young clergyman and with the ageing vicar (Zdzislaw Wardejn) in town taking ill he soon takes on full responsibilities until the latter returns.
In no time, Daniel’s practical sermons and enthusiasm endear him to many.
The close-knit community is in a great deal of pain though.
A tragic motor vehicle accident claimed seven lives – six youngsters in one car and the driver of another, an older man.
Daniel attempts to find a way to help the bereaved deal with their grief and anger.
Among those suffering is the attractive daughter, Eliza (Eliza Rycembel), of the priest’s administrator, Lidia (Aleksandra Konieczna), who is also hurting badly.
Lidia and parents of the other children who died have ostracised the widow of the driver of the second vehicle, Ewa Kobielski (Barbara Kurzaj), whose husband they blame for the accident.
His is the only portrait missing from a makeshift shrine regularly attended by the loved ones of the six teenagers that died.
Controversially, Daniel tries to bridge the divide.
And then his past catches up with him.
Bartosz Bielenia is unforgettable in the lead role. His piercing blue eyes see through to his character’s soul.
He is able to channel fear, apprehension and determination.
Piotr Sobocinski Junior’s frequent close-up cinematography reaches into the hearts of the key proponents.
The script by Mateusz Pacewicz and direction from Jan Komasa readily blends both sides of Daniel’s character – one that is brutal, a head-banger who likes to smoke, drink and party hard, and the other who finds peace in Jesus.
Many personas are well drawn. Pain and intimidation are the stock in trade. Secrets and lies underpin the story.
There is a lot going on here.
Eliza Rycembel is another who impresses, as the young woman who turns Daniel’s head from their first meeting.
Corpus Christi shocks and attracts, as only the best dramas do.
I felt eager to learn Daniel’s fate, uncertain that it is.
For mine this is up there with the very best films of the year.
Nomadland is an American film that won the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2020. This picture is a great example of how documentary and fictional elements of the film can be combined to tell the real stories to the viewers. The stories are complemented by a fictional character performed by Francis McDormand. Together with her we can follow the life and freedom of a wandering person.
The film was inspired by the non-fiction book "The Land of the Nomads". Journalist Jessica Bruder describes the lives of elderly Americans who travel around the country in vans performing part-time and casual seasonal jobs. Many of them were unable to get through the economic crisis that started in 2008 and lost all their properties.
Following the success of the drama "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" that I watched by accident recently, Frances McDormand was inspired to create another worthwhile story. The actress was ready to become a producer of a new project and eventually she approached film director, Chloe Zhao, who was inspired in the adaptation of the book about people without a permanent residence.
Chloe Zhao is a new and rather interesting figure in the world of cinematography. She is a Chinese woman who has been making independent films about American reality for the past several years. Zhao's chracters for her human films were residents of an Indian reservation and cowboys who were going through life's tests. After that, there was a rather unexpected turn in Zhao's career - she was appointed to direct the adaptation of Marvel comics "Eternals". Perhaps she will be the one who will be able to bring something new to the story of the race of supermen, having managed to re-discover Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek and Keith Harington. At least I we all would like to believe it.
Nomadland picture can be nominated for an Oscar. This is quite logical, the tape is saturated with social drama that conveys the reality of the shattered American dream. And these are not just tricks of the scriptwriters; they are excerpts of completely real stories that yell at us from the screen.
Frances McDormand and David Strathairn are the only professional actors to appear in Nomadland. The rest of the characters are real people who lead a nomadic lifestyle and unite in a kind of commune. It is absolutely amazing how Chloe Zhao manages to liberate these people by fitting them into a feature film, where they freely stand in front of the camera and sincerely share their experiences.
The character of Francis McDormand is completely fictional though. The actress plays a woman who, after a death of her husband, is forced to leave home. The heroine equips the van, turning it into a humble house on wheels, and travels across the states in search of seasonal works. She has been on the road for more than one month, but still there are many discoveries on her way that come to her through the people she meets.
It seems that the life of a nomad is completely unbearable. It is filled with discomfort and endless problems on the road. However, the director is gradually discovering the other side of nomads, who find their mission in supporting the wandering and choose freedom that is unacceptable for a person living within four walls. As McDormand's heroine once says, "I'm not homeless, I'm just houseless."
Watching this movie can be a painful experience for those accustomed to action-packed blockbusters. The creators have completely different values - first of all, we see the realistic life of the main character, get acquainted with people who lead a similar lifestyle, and gradually start to understand her. When a nomad needs a choice, we know enough about her to understand the final act of the character.
There is something about the film that makes such a down-to-earth story beautiful in its own way. This is of course the camera work, thanks to which you can see the beauty of sunsets in the boundless desert landscapes. The lonely van of Frances McDormand's character finds a place that belongs to her without any established laws and regulations.
The film is an interesting example of a feature film where documentary blends in organically with th stories of the real people. Next to them, Frances McDormand shows a very natural acting, through which she comprehensively conveys the experience of life on wheels.
A loner. A highly capable 61-year-old woman with little to her name, averse to the restraints of traditional society norms, leads a frugal, nomadic life with memories of the past with her now departed husband.
She – Fern (Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) – has always been a free spirit.
But she settled in a nondescript house in rural Nevada with the desert at her back door so hubby Beau could work in an environment he loved.
Then recession hit and the mining industry upon which the town was built collapsed, and the place was abandoned.
Beau died and self-sufficient Fern is alone. The pair never had children.
She has an old van and travels from one camping ground to another in America’s West, although sometimes not even that.
On occasion, she simply parks in the middle of nowhere.
Fern picks up work wherever she can get it, never for a long period though.
She could be filling orders for Amazon, cleaning or working with food in a retail or wholesale context. She is not fussy and she doesn’t mind hard work.
What she does mind, though, is remaining stationary.
She befriends a number of grey nomads along the way, but never allows herself to get too close to them.
It is not that she is unfriendly or shy, but she is also clearly ill at ease with going much beyond pleasantries and necessities.
One man in particular, Dave (David Strathairn – An Interview with God), is keen on her. They keep bumping into one another, but her attitude remains as it was.
She and her establishment younger sister have a different view of the world.
We learn that Fern left home at an early age and hasn’t looked back.
By and large, then, she is comfortable in her own company, undertaking all the practicalities whenever possible and being left to her own thoughts.
McDormand gives another virtuoso performance in the lead. The film is firmly her vehicle.
She is so talented and authentic that she effectively “becomes” Fern.
Her non-verbal cues are as critical to her portrayal as her dialogue.
Real life nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells play Fern’s mentors and comrades, and make a fine fist of it.
Much credit must go to Chloe Zhao (The Rider) for her insightful screenplay, based upon a book by Jessica Bruder.
Importantly, Zhao allows Fern to “breathe”, which is an important part of her direction (she has also edited the film).
The gentle score by Ludovico Einaudi aids that cause, while Joshua James Richards gives life to the vast, often arid landscape through his cinematography.
As good as it is, Nomadland’s pacing and treatment make it a small audience, independent movie, one to satisfy the purists.
The Dry is the film adapted from the novel of the same name written by Jane Harper. The picture stars Eric Bana who comes back to a small Australian town suffering from the drought.
The nature scenes are shot remarkable well and are a well defined feature of many Australian films filmed by local directors (yes, we are proud of our beautiful land!).
The camera simply stands out: it depictures not only the scenes in their physical form to reflect the story but it also captures the mood, a tragic atmosphere of the events taking place some years back and just recently. It is hard not to go mental when the heat and the sun do their evil deeds destroying the nature and the minds. One spark of fire and both end up on damaging fire!
I have no clue where the actors came from but the cast is absolutely unbelievable. How real these people are! You just feel they walk next to you, same street, next town... Eric's character also comes out as an organic blend into the whole cast.
The story unfolds slowly and falls on you closer to the end as a storm, unexpectedly with one twist after the other.
It might not be as suitable for a Xmas story with no Santa and no gifts but it would be a great learning experience for any family with teenage kids.
Little is what it seems in the atmospheric Australian thriller The Dry, which deals with two mysteries decades apart.
Tense throughout, the suspects are aplenty.
Each seemingly has a reason not to tell the truth or at the very least to have skin in the game.
Much of the story unfolds in flashbacks, which are peppered throughout.
Federal policeman Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of a former mate, who is believed to have slaughtered his wife and eldest child, leaving his youngest – a baby – alive before taking his own life.
But many of the locals don’t take kindly to his homecoming because they believe Falk lied before he left town more than 20 years ago – lied to cover up the truth behind the death of a then 17-year-old girl.
Wrapped up in that was the guy who now lies dead, accused of murder suicide.
Only that bloke’s parents don’t believe it and implore Falk to investigate, even though it is outside his jurisdiction.
One family in particular is none too happy that Falk ends up staying on.
That is the father of the girl that was killed all those years ago and his perpetually wired-up son.
They pointedly blame Falk for the tragedy.
With the help of the local green cop, who is clearly out of his depth, Falk presses on.
The more he digs, the more secrets and lies he uncovers.
The Dry is one of the most impressive Aussie movies of recent times.
That is in significant measure due to the writing by Robert Connolly (Paper Planes) and Harry Cripps – from a novel of the same name by Jane Harper – and direction of the former.
Bana does a fair share of the heavy lifting as an introspective character and is particularly adept at it.
But he is not alone.
Many of the roles are well drawn.
Anger, fear, frustration, desperation and despair are apparent in the characterisations.
As the title suggests, the parched land after extended drought ramps up the sense of unease.
The cinematography by Stefan Duscio (The Invisible Man) is outstanding, capturing the small town feel and vast open country magnificently.
And The Dry would not have been anywhere near as strong as it is without an evocative score from Peter Raeburn.
The mood is set with a chilling opening scene and from there we, the audience, are invited to hang on tightly for this federal cop won’t rest until all the skeletons are dug up.
The events of the film take place at the beginning of the Second World War.
Britain is in dire straits. The government commissions his new spy agency to hire women.
So among the recruits are Virginia Hall, an ambitious American woman with a wooden leg, and Nur Inayat Khan, a Muslim girl with pacifist views.
These women must infiltrate the Nazi regime in France and undermine it from within.
The film is quite emotionally engaging and mainly focuses on the women's role in history and war. Stana Katic stars as a female spies recruiter, the legendary Jewish-Romanian spymistress Vera Atkins.
The film is based on real story and has real names who made the history. The ideas of the film seem amazing but it looks like the budget was quite low so it only touched the big ideas on the very surface.
Good to see in a company of friends but not an excellent picture in my opinion.
The film How To Be A Good Wife starring Juliette Binoche is all about "School of Ladies" and feminism. Firected by talented Martin Provost invited the Oscar winner Juliette Binoche to play the major part in this film and it is the right choice indeed: she flies through her lines as a bird in eth sky, she is simply adorable. The events of the Provost's new comedy unfold in 1968 and follow the headmistress of the school for ideal wives, Paulette Van der Beck (Binoche), who teaches young girls how to properly keep the family hearth, clean, cook and do their marital duty without any delays or hesitation. She simply raises the ideal wives. But suddenly her husband dies, and Paulette's life turns upside down as she reunites with her first love. Will she be able to continue to pretend that a woman was created solely for marriage, or will she still free herself from the stereotypes of a “good wife”, succumbing to the spirit of freedom that sweeps over France?
Binoche's company in the frame includes Yolanda Moro, Noemi Lvovski and Eduard Baer. The comedy "How to be a Good Wife" will be released in Australia on Boxing Day, 26 December 2020, with advance screenings December 11-13 & 18-20.
How to be a Good Wife (M) – 109 minutes – by Alex First
1968 was a watershed year in France, a time of student protests.
How to be a Good Wife is set in Alsace-Moselle (a region in the eastern part of France, bordering Germany) during the 1967-68 school year.
The immaculate and morally upright Paulette Van Der Beck (Juliette Binoche) and her husband Robert (Francois Berleand) have been running Van der Beck’s School of Housekeeping and Good Manners for more than two decades.
They have done so with the help of Paulette’s eccentric stepsister Gilberte (Yolande Moreau) and the school’s communist-fearing, ex-Resistance nun Marie-Therese (Noémie Lvovsky).
Their mission has been to train teenage girls to become perfect housewives.
These were times when women were expected to be largely subservient.
After an incident turns clockwork order into chaos, Paulette is shocked to learn that the school is on the verge of financial ruin.
Forced to assume executive responsibilities, she is flustered even more by an encounter with her long-lost first love, André (Edouard Baer) – the local bank manager.
He becomes relentless in his desire to rekindle their romance.
Meanwhile, a sweeping nationwide protest movement is transforming society around them, encouraging the school’s students to challenge authority and question their own desires and beliefs.
Before this is over the entire group will undertake a journey of liberation, one that will transform their lives.
I wanted to like this movie a whole lot more than I did.
It is patchy at best – frivolous at worst.
The concept of making a movie out of the change in the long-held, historic view of the role of women in France is, indeed, a good one.
But straddling the divide between humour and substance was always going to be tricky once the filmmakers decided to turn the idea into a comedy.
And I’m afraid I didn’t care for enough of the notes that were struck.
That had everything to do with the script and the dialogue attributed to the characters by writers Martin Provost – who also directs – and Severine Werba.
Themes of rebellion and emerging sexuality were important to navigate, but I felt the film tried to flip flop between levity and life lessons and that didn’t work.
Julie Binoche exuded her usual charm, but even she couldn’t rescue this vehicle.
And the song and dance routine at the end of the film felt awkward and out of place.
Rated M, How to be a Good Wife scores a 5 out of 10.
Adam has schizophrenia and it cannot be cured. Cancer is also incurable, but cancer patients are treated with obvious sympathy, since their bodily ailment is usually incompatible with a long life, while "mental" patients are sick in the head, which causes others, if not fear, then mostly neglect, making them victims of indifference.
Adam tells how he lives with a split consciousness, in which hallucinogenic ghosts live next to his mother, stepfather and school friends. Attacks of hysteria take over his spirit, due to which he loses control of himself, turning into a society outcast. He looks forward to where the doctor should be sitting, slightly lounging, but there is no one there, except those who decided to watch this movie with the story of a man starting his new and strangest life journey, and, what is important, he talks about it with total joy.
We are not dealing with a patient's day to day life, nor with his clinical drama, but we see quite a living confession of a guy who did not immediately recognize and see what was what, faced with something that did not allow him to live normally, while he finds himself suddenly in love and wants to continue living and breathing but not seeing the right paths to do that.
The young love breaks into clinical pathology, and romantic relationships provoke another conflict of contradictions that reveals the complex aspects of Adam's family difficult relationship and his schizophrenic relationship with the outside world, the world which at times seems to him a very hostile environment, where everyone is the same and there are different people who can shake his mistrust: school mates, stepfather, priest, the school teachers, his mother etc.
Charlie Plummer specializes in characters with unstable psychological state, without exaggerating, but absolutely accurately conveying the vacillations of the protagonist, who goes to only known sacrifices in order to improve relations with his girlfriend, hardly hinting that there are lot of people who have to live without coming to the usual norm, experiencing all possible means of adaptation.
The movie explores the modern concept of social therapy of mental disorders, but it is not based on the advice from the doctor, but is the long term discovery of the protagonist, groping out of the darkness of his nightmare, without losing irony and presence of healthy mind; it is never turning the doom to tragedy, that's why the catastrophe takes the form of an "exciting adventure", softening the thorns through which the participants in the events go, excluding the three obsessive ghosts with whom Adam learns to live, as with real people, so that the picture charges with lots of positivity and is so full of light!
Words on Bathroom Walls (M) – 111 minutes – by Alex First
A mainstream dramatic teen romance that normalises schizophrenia, Words on Bathroom Walls is an important movie.
What it presents is often disturbing, but it has an authenticity about it.
That has much to do with the balance in the script by Nick Naveda – which is based on a novel of the same name by Julia Walton – and the calibre of the lead performers.
Misdiagnosed with a variety of illnesses, quick-witted high school student Adam (Charlie Plummer) finally learns why he’s been experienced visual and auditory hallucinations. He suffers from a mental illness.
After a psychotic episode in his high school chemistry class, Adam is expelled in the middle of his senior year, jeopardising his goal of attending culinary college.
But with the help of an experimental drug and the support of his loving mother Beth (Molly Parker), Adam is able to enrol in a nearby Catholic school to see out the term and earn his diploma.
Although Adam’s delusions cause him to see and hear imaginary characters, he manages to keep his mental illness secret from all but the Principal, Sister Catherine (Beth Grant).
She has given Adam a chance on the proviso that he stays on the meds.
I should add that Adam frequently sees three visions side by side.
One is an ethereal and eternally optimistic young beauty (AnnaSophia Robb).
Another is a horny teenage boy (Devon Bostick), who shows up at the most inopportune moments.
And then there is a cigar-chomping, threatening, baseball bat-wielding tough guy (Lobo Sebastian).
After enlisting a smart and attractive classmate, Maya (Taylor Russell), to be his tutor – whom he has clearly fallen for – for the first time in years Adam begins experiencing a sense of hope.
He is desperate to maintain a semblance of normalcy, but his “high on life” attitude is not destined to last, putting at risk his newly formed relationship and his future.
Add to that an announcement from his mother concerning her live-in boyfriend, Paul (Walton Goggins), who Adam doesn’t take kindly too and Adam appears to be heading to a dark place.
The title of the film, Words on Bathroom Walls, is drawn from the place where Adam and Maya first meet.
What struck me was the maturity in the characterisations of Charlie Plummer and Taylor Russell in the compelling lead roles.
I should also mention Andy Garcia who plays a non-judgmental priest, Father Patrick, to whom Adam turns.
It is a movie that brings with it tears, despair and hope.
The mood shifts as Adam’s illness takes hold and that is testament to the direction of Thor Freudenthal.
While the theme is around teens and they are likely to be its primary audience, Words on Bathroom Walls will readily resonate with adults of all ages.
If it helps remove the stigma of schizophrenia, which it does in an engaging way, it has done its job.
Rated M, Words on Bathroom Walls scores an 8 out of 10.
As a rule any good adaptation and modernization of the plot require excellent writing skills. However, even directors and screenwriters with big names and past filmography highly acclaimed credits can make bad films. Why The Witches 2020 can hardly be called a good film?
The new film is the second attempt to adapt the dark novel of the same title by the English writer Roald Dahl, also known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The first film was directed by Nicholas Rogue back in 90s as a fantasy comedy with elements of horror. It was positioned as a family film and, with the exception of the last scenes, was consistent with the original, the book.
In the new film, the grandmother once again tells Luke stories about sinister witches and how not to fall into their hands. Of course, then they will face the real witches and the characters will have to fight evil sorceresses.
This time the cast of the film is more stellar: Anne Hathaway as the main witch, the main character is guarded by Octavia Spencer in the form of a grandmother, and Stanley Tucci replaced Rowan Atkinson as the hotel manager. Directorship and screenplay were run by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump) and produced by Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón. Unfortunately, with such a great cast of actors and authors, a good picture did not come out.
Zemeckis' "witches" are difficult to evaluate apart from the first picture: having collected positive reviews from critics (with a poor box office), many nominations and some awards. The film became a cult hit. It is now unclear what the second adaptation is about. The plot in some way misinterprets, and in some way, on the contrary, complements the original story, sometimes even pointing out the unaccounted for the elements of the novel. But why?
One of the main changes in the new film is the transfer of all the action from England. Now the plot is set in the USA, the state of Alabama of the 60s, which inevitably brings racial overtones to the film, which, however, does not compliment a central roles.
The sequence and general logic correspond to the original novel and the first adaptation: a car accident and the death of Luke's parents (that's why his grandmother looks after Luke), a trip to the hotel, a chance to get acquaintanted with another boy, Bruno Jenkins, the major meeting with the witches and the transformation of both heroes into mice.
The introduction of an additional character with an undisclosed plot role - the third mouse - remains unclear: why white mouse and what the heck? At a certain point the film becomes really absurd. The dialogues fade and become unimportant, the characters are lost without any unique thoughts, the presence of too explicit animation more and more repels from the feeling of a fairy tale.
Acting tries to patch up all the holes, but, alas, does not cope with the goal. Anne Hathaway's acting is complemented by an animated mouth from ear to ear in the spirit of "Joker" and nice costumes. But, unfortunately, this does not make her even a little scary or immersive in a fairy tale. In the original film, the makeup of Angelica Houston, who played the main witch, is worth a separate mention.
Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci perform their roles very well in an attempt to fill all these other "gaps". But this good acting job clearly goes somewhere apart from the rest of the film: the picture shocks children with unnaturalness (even the cat looks very fake), and I suspect all the adults viewers will get turned away with the film "logic" and presentation.
Instead of spending money on a cinema session, it's better to watch a movie on streaming IMHO - there are some many good ones there now... Better yet, pay attention to a more gripping and memorable original work I mentioned above.
Unfortunately apart from it's starry crew, there are no more flaterng bonuses I can give to this film.
The film has that "American humor" that many Europeans and people who value and appreciate high level of cinematography do not appreciate: it is dull, it is boring and finally: it is not funny at all. It was exactly what I imagined it will be. If you would like your kids t ohave a good taste in movies: try to avoid this film! Take them to a better movies to develop their finest taste for good pictures and genuine and not cheat art.
The storu is as follows: a lonely ageing father moves to his daughter's house. He was given the room of his grandson. As a result: hostilities start to unfold between the boy and his grandfather. It turned out that the old grandfather is a good fighter when it comes to revenge and imagination in battles.
The cast is truly stellar: Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Christopher Walken to name a few. It is difficult to evaluate their acting, because it is filmed in the comedy genre and in the film that does not suit the actor's high Hollywood status. If you end up going to this film after all please look at the famous actors, who are no longer young from "just as interesting" perspective, then you will have a great pleasure watching the movie.
In my opinion, the actors are "overplaying" to make the boring text and cliche story look funnier. they add to the film a lot. It would be super bad if it was not for the actors. There is nothing funny but they try their best to make this film at least watchable for a good reason: to meet your favorite actors again. The main story - the struggle for a room between the old and the small - does not dispose to laughter IMHO and looks a bit "made up".
My rate would be 5/10 if it was not for the famous actors crew, but I stay with 7/10 as a max I can give to such "comedy".
The War with Grandpa (PG) – 98 minutes – by Alex First
Notwithstanding the very occasional laugh, The War with Grandpa is a lame kids’ comedy, most of which feels forced.
And that starts with a premise that really doesn’t have enough substance to build a plot around.
An ugly incident at a supermarket sees Ed’s daughter Sally (Uma Thurman) insist that grandpa (Robert De Niro) come and stay with her and her family.
That means shifting her son, Peter (Oakes Fegley), out of his room and into the attic.
He doesn’t take kindly to the move.
He expresses his disdain to his year six school mates and they urge him to take action.
So, the 12-year-old – who loves his grandfather – corresponds with him, issuing a Declaration of War.
In it, he writes that his grandad has 24 hours to give him back what was his (that is his bedroom) or face the consequences.
Those “consequences” amount to a series of pranks – involving scrapes and falls –that punctuate the rest of the movie.
It becomes a “tit for tat” exercise, in which Peter and grandpa trade blows.
Really? Comedy movie making has really sunk to this level? I am afraid so.
There are also a series of subplots and breakouts, which are almost as lame as the main game.
One involves Sally’s eldest daughter Mia (Laura Marano) constantly sneaking her boyfriend Russell (Colin Ford) into the house.
Another, Sally’s husband Arthur (Rob Riggle) – who grandpa never thought made the most of his potential, career-wise – catching grandpa sans underwear.
And then there is grandpa and his “old brigade” mates – including Jerry (Christopher Walken) and Danny (Cheech Marin) – extracting “revenge” on the year eight school bully.
Not to overlook a game of Dodgeball on trampolines with the oldies taking on the kids.
I should also mention grandpa – who is missing his beloved wife, who died – forming a new relationship with a local retail assistant, Diane (Jane Seymour).
Perhaps the best role is left to the younger of Sally’s two daughters, Jennifer (Poppy Gagnon), who just has to play cute (I know, yet another cliché), but she does it so well.
A few of the sight gags might bring chuckles, but mostly they are just sad and predictable.
Obviously, I am not a 10-year-old kid, who may – indeed – get a belly laugh out of the film, but I just felt so much of the talent involved in making this flick was wasted.
Robert De Niro has proven himself to be comic gold (think Meet the Parents and the recently released The Comeback Trail) in the latter part of his career, but this is just playing it by the numbers.
In fact, every actor is doing that.
The War with Grandpa is based on a book of the same name by Robert Kimmel Smith, with a screenplay from Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember. So, you could reasonably, argue they carry the collective responsibility for this dud.
And that means director Tim Hill was on a hiding to nowhere.
Instead of a battle of wits, which this movie purports to be, it becomes a battle of wills, just to see it through to its conclusion.
But wait, there’s more.
After the principal credits, if for some reason you believe you haven’t seen enough, there are the out-takes and a music and dance montage.
I’m a sucker for a good family film or kids’ flick, but I am afraid this simply isn’t one of them.
Rated PG, The War with Grandpa scores a 3 out of 10.
IP MAN: KUNG FU MASTER website review by Sherry Westley
Film :Ip Man: Kung Fu Master Country : China Languages : Mandarin, English subtitles Director : Liming Li Actors : Dennis To, Michael Wong, Tong Xiaoping Genre : Martial Arts/Drama Semi Biographical Reviewer : Sherry Westley
Not very familiar with Martial Arts movies? Well I’m the reviewer for you. I knew virtually nothing about this genre. If you love martial arts films you’ll probably watch it anyway and apply a depth of experience to it that I can’t match! So look away now! Martial arts film novices, read on. The film is loosely based on part of the life of Ip Man, a real life Kung Fu Grandmaster living in Foshan, China, in the 1930’s. Foshan was the center of Southern China’s martial arts practice. Ip Man is known in the Western World as the teacher of American martial arts film star Bruce Lee. This is the latest in a very successful series of films, based on parts of his life. The film opens with Police Vice Captain Ip Man, single handedly defeating dozens of axe wielding members of a local gang. Go Ip! I actually found it quite balletic and very satisfying! Don’t remember it being gory at all. Most of the fight scenes are more akin to dance choreography, than violence. Also the film is beautifully coloured and shot. Ip Man came from a reasonably wealthy family. The interior shots are very clear, warm woods with lighter dabs of silk fabrics here and there. Our honourable film hero goes on to deal with being framed for the murder of the leader of the axe gang, the wrath of his vengeful axe savvy daughter, opium dealers and the invasion of the Japanese in 1937. Leaving the Police Force, he then becomes the black masked mystery defender of the people of Foshan. Some comedy is provided by an older man who keeps an eye on Ip’s young family. Despite being constantly “on the grog” and overly relaxed, he is able to instantly switch to Kung Fu master when needed. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the characters as individual, nuanced people. Was that the fault of this particular screenplay, direction, acting? Or are they overblown expectations for the genre? Sorry, you’ll need to consult a martial arts film buff for that answer. What I can say is that it was a surprisingly easy and visually pleasing film to watch. And don’t we all love a super human hero with impeccable skills and scruples, who is also understated?
The Dark times continue, and Covid has yet to release its grip on the world. But just when all hope seemed lost, Sharmill films has offered it’s 2020 revival of Kinky Boots, The Musical to Australian cinemas, and given Theatre lovers something to live for once again. To those of you unfortunate enough to have never seen Kinky Boots, it is a musical adaptation of a film, based on a true story, composed by Cyndi Lauper, written by Harvey Fierstein and directed by Jerry Mitchell. The musical follows the film, beat for beat, improving it as it goes with musical flair, inconceivable level of sass and more dynamic colour than the eyes can take. Guiding us through the tale of Charlie Price, the latest in a long line of Shoe makers as he tries to save his families factory by catering to the ultra-niche (yet surprisingly expansive) market of thigh high boots for drag queens. Meanwhile Lola, the audiences guide to drag queens and undisputed lady of sass attempts to rise to the occasion, become the designer for the boots she inspired and prove to a small town of kind hearted if deeply ignorant people that a man in a dress deserves just as much respect as one in dress pants. Both stories come to a head in a delightfully saccharin ending, with the two exploding into a crowd shaking musical number at a Milan fashion show, revitalising the factories prospects and giving the drag queens the spotlight they so rightfully deserve.
The musical has a number of messages it wishes to spread, but most prominent is the idea that people aren’t defined by the families, and that regardless of what people expect you to do, only your own passions should define you. This is showcased by our two protagonists trying desperately to not end up, that same as their fathers. The overt gaslighting of Charlie, compared to the emotional manipulation suffered by Lola both showcase how even well-meaning parents can have truly destructive influences on their children. Both men showcase this excellently though their songs, as Killian Donnelly’s Charlie emphasises the emotional and mental strain leadership and going against the grain to take on a person, while Matt Henry’s Lola looks at the coping mechanisms of abused children and how overt enthusiasm and deep repression, often go hand in hand.
The entire chorus is fantastic in this, from the sporadic (and highly amusing) belting of Natalie McQueen to the baritone and subdued growls of Sean Needham. Obviously, our leads both nock it out of the park, however I will say that between the two, Matt Henry truly seems to have brought his A game. Dancing and strutting in heels like he was born in them, while bringing the audience to tears not once, but twice through his impeccable acting and vibrato.
The musical is not subtle in its messaging. At all. Instead choosing to make the message so unbelievably obvious and in your face that the propaganda becomes a part of the show itself. An intelligent move, as it allows the cast to truly spread their wings and have fun with it, because when you’re are trying to be garish, the sky is the limit and chewing the scenery becomes mandatory. No aspect of the musical makes this more apparent than the Angels. A sextet of drag queens that follow Lola wherever she goes and act as the most enthusiastic high men ever to stand on stage. With multiple costumes so technicolour bright, they risk blinding the front row, acrobatics galore and choreography so wild and sensual it could make the red-light district itself blush. The musical isn’t perfect and at times it does seem to be trying just a bit too hard, but at the end of the day, it’s such a fun ride and entertaining show that everything is forgiven; particularly in these times, dark as they are, Kinky boots stands as a shining beacon of fun and light.
A Chritmas Gift From Bob is a sequel to the 2016 movie. The film is based on the true story of street musician James Bowen and his ginger cat named Bob, who was stray, homeless cat before James found and cured him. The inseparable duo held performances near Angel Tube station in North London,where Bowen sold the Big Issue newspaper. Bowen wrote a book about breaking heroin addiction and finding a new meaning in life while caring for Bob who basically was the reason for Bob getting clan from drugs. James and Bob were known as local celebrities, and their story became a first a book bestseller, published in 2010 under the title "Bob the Street Cat". The book has been translated into over 30 languages. It was followed by other books: “The World Through the Eyes of Bob the Cat. New Adventures of a Man and His Red-haired Friend "in 2013 and "A Gift from Bob. How a street cat helped a man love Christmas” in 2014.
This second movie to be released December 3 2020 is largely based on this latest book, where James recalls the last year he lived and survived on the streets with his best friend, Bob. Both in the first and in the second part of the story, the cat Bob played himself. Sadly, Bob died in the summer of 2020. The film is dedicated to the cat Bob in his good memories. Luke Treadaway plays James Bowen in the film. After Bob's death, the actor said in an interview that the street cat had a special spirit and that such a close relationship, like James and Bob, is rare.
Ruta Gedmintas, who played Betty in the first film does not appear in the sequel. In real life, she is married to Luke Treadaway. The film is directed by Charles Martin Smith. He is famous for his animal films.
It is a lovely story all animal lovers will enjoy.
A Christmas Gift From Bob (PG) – 92 minutes – by Alex First
In 2016 we were introduced to a stray ginger cat named Bob who helped a busker and recovering drug addict turn his life around.
That movie, A Street Cat Named Bob, was based on an international best seller co-written by the man whose story it told, James Bowen.
It was a charmer.
Now Luke Treadaway returns as Bowen in the sequel, A Christmas Gift From Bob.
The basis of this one is Bowen facing the threat of losing his precious sidekick.
Bowen chances upon a fellow busker who is sleeping rough and is picked on by a particularly officious law enforcement officer.
In trying to help out this busker, Bowen turns back the clock to Christmas past and relates the story of what happened to him (Bowen).
Back then, Bowen was living in squalid, freezing conditions with Bob and his busking was earning barely enough to make ends meet.
Even though he had a roof over his head and the support of a lovely young lady from a charity operation, along with the wisdom and positivity of the manager of the local convenience store, Bowen’s future remained uncertain.
When his cat was set upon by a dog and later when Bob got sick, Bowen’s equilibrium was thrown.
Added to that was pressure from those policing the animal rights laws and you had a precarious situation.
I am afraid that unlike the original, I felt this follow up, though well meaning, lacked substance.
In other words, the script by Gary Jenkins, who ghosted the original novel with Bowen that spawned the first film, was wafer thin.
It was short on creativity and long on platitudes.
All of it appeared manufactured to solicit sympathy, so it lacked authenticity.
You could see and feel the manipulation that was going on as directed by Charles Martin Smith (A Dog’s Way Home) and that, by its very nature, detracted from my enjoyment.
And that is notwithstanding the best endeavours of the actors to play the parts in which they were cast.
Treadaway maintains the gracious wariness that characterised his role in the first film.
Kristina Tonteri-Young’s passion for the cause as charity worker Bea is immediately evident, while Moody’s (Phaldut Sharma) home-spun wisdom, after his own trials, is a distinguishing feature.
Still, I am afraid all of that isn’t enough to carry the day.
A Christmas Gift From Bob is nowhere near as compelling as it could/should have been.
It is a Melbourne based film. The events of teh film take place in year 2000.
Chris Black invites a group of people whom he knew in the past at the different stages of his life. Chris did not interact with them for a while. One 19 year old is also invited to this party. Emi Mustafi is a student and she just met Chris earlier that day at the coin laundrette. ll the people at his house party had some influence on Chris during his life. What is most important about this party is that the host is missing. The guests arrive but the house appartment owner is not there to meet them. The guests take the initiative to intrract and chat with each other. Their conversations differ: some are intellectual and some are just trying to find about each other and how they relate to Chris. They drink and eat. When Chris arrives but still many questions remain open.
This film feels more like a theatrical / stage performance rather than a movie - the reaosn for that is : the limited space is used and the characters / psychology are in focus rather than the action. The characters deliver their roles well and quite believable. Chris (Luke Cook) is mysterious. Why is he running this strange party? There is definitely something on his mind that night. The stories of course all differ from one character to the other, we get into the pants of the silent observers of the "situations" and dialogues.
If I intrigued you enough then perhaps it is timr for you to go and see the film
How Do You Know Chris? (MA) – 86 minutes – by Alex First
A low-rent Australian drama in which very little happens, How Do You Know Chris? is strictly film festival fare.
It is the year 2000.
19-year-old (nearly 20) Emi Mustafi (Tatiana Quaresma) meets Chris (Luke Cook), 28, in a laundromat.
Even though they’ve just set eyes upon one another, the copywriter invites the commerce student to a small get together he has arranged that night in his Melbourne inner-city apartment.
She turns up, but he is nowhere to be seen. He shows up more than an hour later.
Instead, there’s a bartender cum waiter, Ray (Lee Mason), serving drinks and finger food … and a collection of people who know or have known Chris.
Mind you, the first couple Emi comes across is larger than life Dubliner Dot (Lynn Gilmartin), aged 35, and her taciturn boyfriend, Mike (Travis McMahon), who doesn’t know Chris, but is there to catch up with Frankie.
Huh? Who is Frankie? Well, that is dealt with relatively early on.
Then there is Chris’ former classmate Blucker (Dan Haberfield), now confined to a wheelchair, who hasn’t seen Chris since school days.
Blucker doesn’t get along with another loyal school friend of Chris, Justin (Jacob Machin), who is attending with his partner, Claire (Ellen Grimshaw), who Blucker always fancied.
Chris’ boss Shane (Stephen Carracher) has turned up dressed as Sherlock Holmes.
Later, Chris’ mum Amanda (Susan Stevenson) puts in an appearance. Chris’ father and brother have both died.
And there’s a goth girl, Christal (Rachel Kim Cross), a druggie, who used to be Chris’ partner.
Gradually we learn more about each of them and their relationship to Chris, before he eventually says a few words to the group ... or what is left of it.
This is a guy with quite a few skeletons in his closet.
Bad to average acting aside, what is immediately obvious is the lacklustre scripting by Zachary Perez and direction from Ashley Harris
In all respects, How Do You Know Chris? is thin.
I needed to care more about the characters – to build an affinity with them.
That required far greater nuance on the part of all concerned than was forthcoming.
As it is, the characters that populate the film are more caricatures than real flesh and blood.
Too many are single dimensional.
The idea behind the mystery is sound. It is just the execution that I found lacking.
As the credits rolled, a feeling of having been underwhelmed enveloped me.
Rated M, How Do You Know Chris? scores a 5 out of 10.
There is a new documentary, The Mystery of D.B. Cooper which tells the story of the 1971 plane hijacking in USA. The incident happened on a plane that flew from Portland to Seattle.
The man who introduced himself as Dan Cooper demanded 200 thousand dollars and 4 parachutes. Having received the money, the criminal disappeared without a trace. No one could find where the place has landed nor his further fate which is still unknown. The case was never solved. The film tries to reveal the details of the story, or at least to give even more legendary status to the criminal. The official synopsis reads: “The film features the stories of four family members and friends who believed to be the mysterious Dan Cooper's, who hijacked a plane from Portland, Oregon. Cooper traded the lives of passengers for 200 thousand dollars and four parachutes, and then jumped from a height of more than 3 km above the forests of Washington state. Nobody heard more about the criminal. Nearly 50 years later, the case continues to confuse the FBI and spark wild speculation as it is the only unsolved plane hijacking in United States history. ”
The film is fun to watch and will be released soon on screens.
Good day to all readers of my review! :) I am not a fan usually of the action movies although some of them I find amazing. This film features a strong woman as a center of the story. They motivate.
But frankly I did not like this film. It's full of clichés with slow acting plus Megan Fox looks completely unconvincing as a tough ex-military woman. The special effects are really bad, the proportionality between the computer animals and the actors is lost and ooks completely fake and hard to believe. The computer lions turned out especially badly as if they were made by the anime draphics graduates from one provincial college. The first 20-25 minutes were a great start, though, and quite fun so some of you perhaps enjoy it.
On the positive side, this film gave me a few minutes of laughter, but not in the places where its creators might have planned. There is a good message: "stop hunting animals, lions, tigers, elephants, etc and save their habitat." The cruelty and the ego of the rich man trying to show off their hunting skills feeds this bad and humanless and brainless industry. In general, if you just want to have fun without expecting a cool blockbuster, then watch this movie. It's predictable, but there were some really cool scenes, and you might actually find some fun in it.
The christmas holidays are a month away but Christmas films are slowly appearing on the film distribution company lists. One of them is "Happiest Season", where the Abby (Kristen Stewart) along with her lover played by Mackenzie Davis, goes to a difficult family meeting. It is a rather romantic story by the director, Clea DuVall who managed to create something very soulful for everyone to fall in love with. Although a very touching life story unfolds on the screen, there are also many moments "to laugh out loud"
It is a refreshingly modern comedy-drama with a traditional Christmas family charm. The actors of the film are amazing. They gave all their strength to make the movie worthy of their talents. Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis are surrounded by peers such as Victor Garber, Mary Steenburgen, Dan Levy, Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza, this is one starry lineup with which there is no chance of losing. Everyone is in place and each character is absolutely superb and realistic. DuVall is simply brilliant and intimate romantic as we can see from this comedy-drama that delivers deep warmth and fun, that will be received so perfect for Christmas. It is a drama taking place though the film remains on the bright mood with that great aesthetics taste and inexhaustible sincerity. Looks like it's really worth watching it to get into the Christmas feelings overall. Well done!
Kevin Costner is always in love with acting in films with the heroes who ride horses and bravely look into the sunset. Director Bezucha shot the classic slowburn. The plot develops slowly, very slowly to be honest. George (Kevin) is a former sheriff, therefore, he bravely wrinkles his folded forehead, he sternly looks somewhere beyond the horizon with his whole appearance symbolizing the triumph of decrepit law over muscular crime. Collecting all available criminals, George enjoys a vacation at the family ranch. He is accompanied by his wife, his son who has a deadly accident falling down the horse, his daughter-in-law and his grandson. After his his son's death the daughter-in-law, inconsolable from grief, calls a fresh groom from the bench and leaves the town in rush, taking her son with her. Grandmother and grandfather believe that the new dad does not give the child a proper upbringing witnessing him being rude to the daughter-in-law and their grandson, and they decide to snatch the baby from the hands of the villain...
If you expect the same as from 'The Honest Thief' - a demonstrative flogging arranged by a pensioner in relation to young people, then your expectations will only partially come true. The flogging, of course, will be present (otherwise, it was not worth shooting this movie), but only the most patient will wait for it, and its finale will be a little different from what we would like.
The film evokes mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is impossible not to share the indignation of the grandmother and the grandfather (the grandmother is more indignant, the grandfather seems to be a bit spineless and not caring). On the other hand, where are the guardianship authorities? Constitutional state? Law and Children's Commissioner? Why the pensioners, instead of enjoying kefir and curative mud, are forced to restore justice (as they understand it) and carry out lynching? This is America! The standard of democracy and human rights! Lacking what are you doing? Why are you destroying our crystal dreams of our beloved USA? And they also bring in a herbivorous Indian riding a horse. Say, the suffering of the indigenous people, oppressed by American imperialism... and yet (what a racism!).
The Weiboys, who snatched Costner's grandson, have been described as 'dangerous'. What is dangerous about them, I did not understand. The director does not explain to us: who are they? What do they do? It is only clear that the family is large, and some of it are 'people are nothing', and some are 'dangerous, very dangerous'. They look like ordinary village men and behave the same way: healthy, fleshy goons living in some kind of lopsided wreck. They are obviously not mafiosi, and not oligarchs, although ... what if they get high on chicken droppings? May be they are some kind of 'chicken-dung tycoons from Montana'? Only the Weiboys have real, tough eggs!? It is unclear, and it does not matter. The important thing is that they are 'bad', although up to a certain point they do not commit illegal actions, but pensioners who commit lynching are 'good'.
In general, it turned out to be some kind of a mixture of road movies (most of the film, the characters ride vintage cars and enjoy the view of meadows, rivers and mountains of Montana), and 'Saving Private Ryan', well, that is 'Saving Blackledge's Grandson'. In order to save the life of one 'good' boy, good people must kindly kill several 'bad' ones. This is called humanism.
You can try to see symbolism in this film. "Grandson" is the result of the US presidential election, stolen by the "dangerous" from the "good." The 'good' return the 'grandson', justice is restored. What a poor nonsense indeed! Personally, a bit boring to watch IMHO...
A haunting tale of desperation and regret, Let Him Go packs punch.
We’re in rural America in the early 1960s.
Diane Lane and Kevin Costner star as Margaret and George Blackledge.
He’s a former lawman, but when it comes to “my way or the highway”, she rules the roost. Once she gets an idea in her head, she won’t be swayed.
A tragedy befell their young married son James (Ryan Bruce), who left behind not only his wife, Lorna (Kayli Carter), but a baby, Jimmy.
Now Kayli has remarried a cruel man from a notorious family, the Weboys.
Without so much as a word to Margaret and George, Kayli, Donnie (her husband) and their now three-year-old have moved from the place they were renting, which was near Margaret and George, back to where he was born.
They have gone from Montana to North Dakota, a considerable distance.
But before they disappeared, Margaret witnessed something nasty, which made her fear for her grandson, whom she is desperate to see … and his mother.
Now she is determined to find out exactly where Kayli, Donnie and Jimmy are.
Her plan is to rescue the youngster and bring him home to live with George and her.
But what she doesn’t count on is the brutality of Donnie’s family, led by matriarch Blanche (Lesley Manville), who doesn’t take a backward step.
Intimidation is the family creed.
Before this is over, blood will be spilt ... and lots of it.
Writer and director Thomas Bezucha has done a fine job adapting a 2013 novel by Larry Watson.
The plot unfolds slowly at first, but picks up momentum as the Blackledges try to track down their grandson.
A feeling of impending doom underwrites the piece.
A showdown is inevitable, but I defy anyone to pick how it plays out.
Lane, Costner and Manville act up a storm in a series of powerful performances that drive the story. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.
The fine cinematography by Guy Godfree does justice to the vast open country that is so significant it is like another character in the story.
The narrative arc is assisted by a lucid score from Michael Giacchino (Jojo Rabbit).
To those who might find the start hard going, I say stick with it for patience is rewarded ... and how!
With a title that resonates, Let Him Go is assured, compelling filmmaking.
Samia is a young educational consultant who just moved to one of Paris' suburbs from the south of France. She is an excellent professional and takes her job at a high school with diffcult students. She is passionate about work, and with the help of her school colleagues she will do everything possible to instill in the heads of children the hope that a brighter future is possible than they imagine.
How tough a job is teaching and disciplining a bunch of lively, but often disinterested and unmotivated students?
That contention is at the heart of a considered and engaging French dramatic comedy set in a low socio-economic and migrant neighbourhood.
A new, youngish female vice-principal, Samia Zibra (Zita Hanrot), arrives with the intent of doing all she can to make a difference in the lives of those attending school in Saint-Denis.
She claims she has moved to her new position so she can be closer to Paris.
In reality, it is because her boyfriend has been incarcerated nearby.
The biggest thorn in her side is a 15-year-old year nine student named Yanis Bensaadi (Liam Pierron).
He’s not a bad kid … in fact he’s quite cheeky, but his biggest influence is a 20-year-old drug dealer.
There’s one teacher in particular that Yanis doesn’t get along with and Yanis isn’t afraid to lash out at him.
Yanis loves his younger sister and his mum, who is doing it tough as her husband (Yanis and his sister’s father) is in jail, the same one in which the vice-principal’s partner is doing time.
Yanis is not at all convinced that school is the right place for him.
When Yanis tells the VP he likes gangster movies, she tries to motivate him to pursue an audio-visual course.
But with Yanis, nothing is easy.
This pair – Samia and Yanis – are the mainstays of the picture, but there are umpteen other threads too.
They include the VP’s two sidekicks, a fellow teacher who has taken an interest in her and who has been at the school for eight years and Samia’s interactions with many other students and a few parents.
There is a lot going on ... all the time and the path is not only busy, but rocky.
The points of heightened drama are regularly offset by lighter moments and the mix is a compelling one.
Much credit must go to the writers and directors Mehdi Idir and Grand Corps Malade.
Their touchstones are easily relatable.
They’ve done a fine job crafting such a multitude of players and bringing them all together so seamlessly.
To get the most out of School Life, you need to pay attention, something many of the kids depicted struggle with.
School Life has charm, substance, subtlety and humour.
Hanrot is natural and convincing in the lead, while there’s a feeling of “whatever will be, will be” in Pierron’s harder to read portrayal of a kid on the precipice.
There’s a pleasant realism about School Life, without false bravado or the promise of a happy ending.
The film feels more like the oxygen for the wrong world. I understand when in fantasy film you can explain something by saying just 'forget the logic, man, this is magic'. If one of the key points for understanding the plot of the film was clarified in this way, it would be much better. We can simply say that people need medicine! It doesn't matter which one. With a severe dullness the film feels like "hanging noodles on my ears". It is about some kind of synthetic oxygen, which badly affects people's health, this is already beyond a primary school education.
The scriptwriters perhaps have never studied at school and happily riveted a story designed for the same kind: naive and very (very) long. It is a masterpiece of a pseudoscientific approach to the problem of ecological disaster and human survival. The way to save humanity is shown in the finale practically threw me into a "state of speechless disaster". The film clearly lacks good plot, good acting and good everything!
The creators sought to make the characters' images convincing, and we are presented with a clichéd story overloaded with flashbacks about how an unfortunate boy did not receive his father's attention in his childhood. This is probably why he grew up as a nervous, tearful, hysterical and reflective welder. He is probably an undernourished savior of humanity who, according to the authors of the film, should carry the plot all on himself.
The actor tried his best, we can see it. His character cries here and there to the point when we can not stand him crying anymore.. He also walks a little, do something and cries again. May be that was the whole fun of the time loop: crying endlessly... who knows? I believe the characters themselves do not understand what happens in the film as we do. The plot twists are not obvious. Should we should all guess?
I think I needed a lot of oxygen to watch this film or a "wrong oxygen", more precisely - just some air... My rate is as low as 4/10 - only Borat can get it.
review by Alex First of MAPT 2067 (M) – 110 minutes – by Alex First
A poor, long-winded Australian sci-fi, 2067 fails to ignite.
The world is dying. The only vestiges of the human race still alive survive – just – underground, if you can call that living.
Oxygen is in short supply and people run around with industrial masks affixed to their faces.
The controlling force is a company called Chronicorp and heading up the operation is Regina (Deborah Mailman).
One of the brightest young talents is Ethan Whyte (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who has had a tortured past.
After his father, Richard (Aaron Glenane) – the chief scientist looking for a permanent solution to mankind’s crisis – arranged to have a thick bracelet embedded in his eight-year-old son’s arm, he left without trace.
Soon after, Ethan’s mother befell an ugly fate and since then Ethan’s closest ally has been Jude (Ryan Kwanten), another Chronicorp employee, who is a decade or so older than Ethan.
Now, with Ethan having grown into a young adult himself, the future comes a callin’.
Radio waves have bounced back asking for Ethan to chance a dangerous journey into the unknown courtesy of a collider (a particle accelerator).
But to do so, he must leave his sick wife, something he is most reluctant to do.
Still, the future of mankind is on the line, so Ethan really has no choice.
But when he does, indeed, arrive in the future what confronts him – namely his own skeleton – is shocking, to say the least.
Soon after, Jude, too, finds a way through the time warp and there are nefarious forces in play.
What a load of bunkum!
The plot is lazy and confusing, the dialogue trite and riddled with cliches and the acting pedestrian and lacking credibility.
In large measure, 2067 looks like a home project.
Talent is wasted on a script as thin as it is dull, not aided by the direction.
The writer and director is Seth Larney.
Not even the usually reliable Smit-McPhee and Kwanten can pull this one off.
As for Mailman, the less said the better. It was just a bridge too far. She didn’t stand a chance.
The sets purporting to show the future just don’t cut it either.
The whole thing points to a tinpot operation.
In short, there is absolutely nothing of value to see here ... and what there is is interminable.
If you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, spend the night with the dreary film Come Away. Let me be clear from the start, I was not a fan of this film. The most boring 90 minutes I have spent all year, which is saying a lot given I am in Victoria where we have spent the past 6 months in lock-down. Not even the handsome guy spooning me during the film got me excited enough for me to forgive the films shortcomings.
Initially I had been excited for this film after watching the trailer showing a fantasy mash up between the worlds of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, with the added appeal of Angelina Jolie in the cast. The prospects for a creative tale are there somewhere, it all just seems very underdeveloped and the ideas never take flight. This is a film that promises much but delivers little.
The story imagines Peter Pan and Alice as brother and sister, growing up as children in the English country-side with their older brother David and loving parents. The children spend their days outside in the woods exercising their imagination. Alice hosts magical tea parties interrupted by her brothers pretending to shoot arrows in combat. Often switching between reality and fantasy to show us the imaginations of the children, the old overturned rowboat found by the children is shown to be a ship full of pirates. The film takes a dark turn when tragedy strikes the family at the end of the first act. The parents wracked with grief, battle with alcohol addiction and gambling problems. These heavy topics take us away from the whimsical world that could have been. The end result is mostly a gloomy and confusing tale, with a muddle of references to the original stories we know.
DAVID BYRNE'S AMERICAN UTOPIA website review y Katherine Kelly
Director:Spike Lee Producers:Spike Lee; David Byrne Music:David Byrne
I recently had the unique opportunity to watch American Utopia, a concert film directed by Spike Lee of Malcolm X and BlacKkKlansman fame. Lee and David Byrne (from Talking Heads) were the producers. Filming took place at Broadway's Hudson Theatre shortly before the Pandemic.
In spite of not knowing much about Talking heads during their 15 years or so of fame, I was fascinated by Byrne’s energy and versatility during the performance. Though I recognised many of the songs in the show.
Eleven performers with portable instruments accompanied Byrne all wearing grey suits and barefooted. Against a stark grey background, Byrne and his company moved around the stage in various formations, one of which fleetingly reminded me of the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The musicianship of the performers was outstanding, some of whom were constantly changing instruments. I also loved the choreography which switched from some balletic moves, through to jazz ballet and contemporary rhythms.
Throughout the performance, Byrne introduced themes such as human connection seen through the lens of social media and other apps, where aspiring couples meet virtually, eschewing the once prided method of meeting face to face. I noted his fascination of the operations of the human brain from infancy where Babies’ brains have more neural connection than adults who learn to “keep the connections that are useful to us”. He touches on the Absurd and Dadaism which had a strong following post World War I. “People of different minds and nations who live with different ideas”.
I sensed Byrne’s activism levelled at mitigating political events in America by encouraging people to vote, something that the majority of Americans have not been inclined to do. “People have gotta do better”. He quotes the noted author Baldwin: “I still believe that we can do with this country that’s not been done before”.
I was very moved by “Say a Name”, a Requiem to those who died senselessly at the hands of Police brutality - “and to too many more”.
The performance ended on a very positive note with the resounding “Road to Nowhere” where the company mingled with the audience before going backstage.
After 1 hour 45 minutes, my Covid-post lockdown mindset had undergone a significant shift. A shift that was desperately needed. Thank you to David Byrne, Spike Lee and company.
Annabelle is a retired woman and she looks absolutely charming. She recently became a widow. She lost her beloved husband, with whom she spent years and she still can not forget him and sees time with him as the most valuable in her life. She can hardly cope with the pain of loss, not wanting to put up with the idea that she was left alone but she speaks about it openly. Soon, the woman goes on a journey around the world or at least this is her plan... She suddenly finds herself in the Lock Lomond Hotel in Scotland. The place is run by a handsome man Howard. He is courteous and not bad looking, but most importantly, he really likes Annabel and her warm nature.
Did the heroine have a chance to find happiness again? What about Howard who also has a broken heart? What choice will she have to make and what difficulties will they both face? ..
Watch the movie "Then Came You" to fid out the answers. I personally found the film to be light and easy to watch especially the nature scenes.
A steady stream of mum and dad jokes lay the foundations for this predictable rom com, written and starring Kathie Lee Gifford.
Depending upon your perspective, you might find it pleasant or painful.
Over a year ago, 60-something Annabelle lost her beloved husband Fred in an accident at their hardware store in Nantucket.
The would-be entertainer long ago gave up her career ambitions for the man she loved.
Now she has to find a way to move ahead with her life, so she decides to visit a centuries old mansion in Scotland.
That is to be her first step en route to Italy and a total of 20 countries featured in her 20 favourite films.
There to meet her at the station in Scotland is the proprietor of the Awd Inn, Howard (Craig Ferguson).
He, himself, lost his long-term spouse and now spends most of his time with his best mate, Gavin (Ford Kiernan).
Even though at first glance Annabelle and Howard seem to be polar opposites they hit it off, even if Annabelle is more forthcoming than Howard.
She even carries around her dead husband’s ashes in a box of chocolates to mark the fact that his favourite movie was Forrest Gump.
As it turns out, he is holding back a secret, while she, too, has a surprise in store.
The outcome is as plain as the nose on your face.
So that is not why you would go to see Then Came You.
It positions itself as a syrupy charmer and there is certainly an audience for this kind of thing, although there is nothing top shelf about what is on offer.
Formulaic? Absolutely. An attraction, squabbling and a happy reuniting.
He can be caustic and she playful.
Humour is the driving force to unite a pair that has holes in their hearts.
Mind you, apart from the words they utter, that is, at times, difficult to believe, given how they carry on ... and then carry on some more.
The landscape and cinematography by Reynaldo Villalobos are breathtaking.
If you haven’t visited Scotland, surely you would want to after seeing Then Comes You.
It is what I call a “try hard” film. Directed by Adriana Trigiani, it tries too hard to impress, but isn’t much chop.
Rated M and also featuring Liz Hurley in a small role, Then Came You scores a 5 out of 10.
THE TROUBLE OF BEING BORN website review by Sherry Westley
Film: The Trouble With Being Born Country: Austria/Germany Released: 2020. Melbourne Dec 3 Actors: Lena Watson(a pseudonym) Dominick Warta Reviewer: Sherry Westley
This Austrian/German film has won awards in Austria, Germany, Norway and Spain. It was controversially withdrawn from the 202O Melboutnr International Film Festival after negative reports from two psychologists. A scenario to prompt an audience rush, when it opens in Melbourne cinemas on December 3rd?? But be warned, this is a very esoteric and uncomfortable film.
Ok, so you fancy you have a bit of a bent for philosophy and psychology? That might not be enough to get you through this film. For me the main problem was that I found the film so dark, slow and emotionally uncomfortable to watch, that it outweighed any intelectuaI insights or ideas I might have gleaned from it. In addition the plot is not linear, it uses memories and flashbacks, making it a bit more complicated to follow.
The second feature film of Austrian director Sandra Wollner, it is a science fiction drama about ten year old Android Elli, who lives with her human “Papa”. It is based on the book of the same name, by philosopher Emil Cioren.
The idyllic outdoor opening scene soon changes to a dark, stifled, foreboding atmosphere that lasts throughout the film. The two main human characters are constantly reliving their memories of a loved one, by transposing them into Elli. They are trapped in virtual, unchallenged and static relationships.
And Elli? Are there flashes of consciousness? I’m not sure. You’ll need more than psychology and philosophy 101 to work this film out. Oh and if you have friends who are deep into artificial intelligence or ethics issues, take them along. I would love to meet you for the coffee discussion afterwards, but see it again? No thanks.
ELLIE AND ABBIE AND ELLIE'S DEAD AUNT website review by Marina Sklyat
Being a teenager and going through puberty, body and mood changes is enough to cope with during that stage in life, but also opening up about your sexuality in the 21st century is much easier than it was 20 years ago.
However our character Ellie is taking her puberty time very well, she is the perfect daughter and an A student.
Been visited by her fairy aunt who happens to be her God mother, who had been tragically killed in the accident Ellie discovers a lot about her family tree which had been kept a secret from her all this time.
Ellie's confronting conversation with her mum that she is interested in women more than man, unravels the scene. The denial of her mum because of Ellie's preference in sexuality, brings the family together.
There is one thing that is important to know and to practice is “Be yourself everyone else is taken”
I believe this was an excellent movie for teenagers who are seeking the confidence and courage to be who they are, to believe in themselves, accept themselves as they are, because we are all perfect and individual.
To be honest, I haven't seen a more boring and uninteresting picture lately. The plot at the very beginning gives you a clue and a hope of a very good film but them it turns into something really long and very dull IMHO. Probably "The Bay of Silence" can be considered a good way to fall asleep or to snooze and you can wake up closer to the second third of the picture.
The plot unfolds revealing to us the secrets of the past and that the spouses may not know everything about the past life of their soulmates that they experienced before meeting each other. The director of the film, Paula van der Ost implements this idea of the film so ineptly that closer to the finale there comes a frank disappointment: an hour and a half of your life was wasted. "The Bay of Silence" develops according to its own laws, slowly plunging into the abyss of boredom and despondency. The absence of more or less live music leaves its mark, turning an already viscous story into something unbearable.
It seems that the director was trying to shoot something "arthouse" but it turned out to be weak and unconvincing. The good music / soundtrack could have said its word so that there would be a "WOW!" effect and all that gray picture with heavy clouds and a grief-stricken father hits the brains due to the unexpectedly enraged music but this does not happen... just as there is no emotional outburst from the performers of the main roles - Claes Bang and Olga Kurylenko. Both seem not very interested in what they perform, they play quite poorly and to some extent carelessly. As for Olga, the question arises as to how she got into this film. The image of her heroine is not bad but either the actress herself did not really try well or everything in the script was incomprehensible to her. The fact remains: Kurylenko can play better, but this story is not hers, about The Bay of Silence. As for Brian Cox, it seems that the actor is here only to be in the film, and not to try to improve the quality of the film. There is no credibility in terms of the script, since the story that develops after the prologue looks like a chaotic and not glued together story that tempts to shed light on who his beloved Rosalind really is. The film is deliberately discarded by hook or by crook from the original ideas and adequate narration, rapidly leaving the issues of the human past, which, thank god, the author failed to present as a dramatic story of one person who faced something terrifying and shocking, which left an imprint on his further destiny.
Well, the finale or so-called epilogue, pursuing an exclusively happy ending that does not really give answers to the main question - has something changed? However, it's up to you to watch and I find it might attract its audience.
Now here is a holiday treat wrapped in a pretty blue ribbon!
The dynamics of Fatman is absolutely heart-pounding, with an equal measure of a telling-of-the-tale that revolves around Santa Claus - albeit with a thriller-endowed story arc.
We have Mel Gibson front and centre, showcasing nothing less than a portrayal of the legendary character (under the guise of Chris Cringle, a moniker of that jolly ol' Saint of Christmas). We have a trained assassin who is on the hunt for squaring a long-standing vengeance that had been festering for some decades in his heart. And we have a sleigh of cultural parallels that is known to both adults and children the world over.
Fatman is a unique showcase of selfless character, of pushing through the dark times, and of forming a steadfast spirit of the joyous season of Christmas and of goodwill to all mankind.