In 1972, director John Boorman tapped into a new realm of fear theretofore unexplored in cinema – the horror of poor people. Deliverance, adapted from the 1970 novel of the same name by James Dickey, explored the moral choices of a bunch of “civilized” yuppies encroaching on hick territory to go canoeing before more yuppies come along and destroy their homes. What follows is a dark, twisted voyage into the deepest confines of the human psyche. Morality and wilderness. Life and death. Survival and heroism.
Since then, we’ve had rehashes galore – The Hills Have Eyes and their remakes, the remake of The Virgin Spring (called Last House on the Left both times it was Americanised) and a string of others too sad and sorry to mention. One of which was the 2003 horror film Wrong Turn, in which a bunch of white yuppies meet a bunch of deformed, cannibalistic hillbillies and all manner of carnage ensues, all of it without once managing to gain the affections of the audience for either side. Gratuitous rape and violence made us wonder whose side the filmmakers were on.
Perhaps this hideous display of classism and neoliberal paranoia is why director Mike P. Nelson decided to rehash the Wrong Turn franchise with his 2021 horror movie… Wrong Turn. Yay, originality.
Cannibals are replaced by a bunch of pseudo-druidic heathens who certainly aren’t out of place in modern-day USA. White yuppies are replaced by multicultural yuppies. Oh, and rednecks are now the good guys, but they act like bad guys until it is dramatically sensible to flip the script.
And that’s all you’re gonna get for your buck. Good luck.
It is an emotional black and white drama full of fiery conversation. The director is Sam Levinson, the author of the serial "Euphoria". "Malcolm and Marie" has been released on Netflix. It has a strong theatrical feel to it and has only two actors in: a debutant director quarrels and his girlfriend. They come back home after a secular premiere. Their main argument is the thanks-speech of the director on stage, but seems that it is everything and more than a speech indeed. The mains are Zendaya and John David Washington. The film is an exciting rollercoaster which is hard not to be imbued with.
So director, Malcolm Elliott (played by John David Washington) returns home with his girlfriend Marie Jones (Zendea) after the premiere of their debut full-length movie. He is in high spirits and is going to celebrate. She is clearly worried about something. A quarrel ensues between them, during which a lot will be said about their relationship, life, Malcolm's film, cinema in general, society and macaroni and cheese.
It is believed that black and white film is always some kind of application and statement. The director, Sam Levinson, in general, does not hesitate to conform to the stereotypes: "Malcolm and Marie" is really an application, really a statement rather successful, albeit not without flaw and false notes. The new black and white palette of Sam is definitely not foolishness but a somewhat forced search for a new form of expression.
There are no questions about the form: cameraman Marcel Rev, who has been working with Levinson for a long time, took off a terribly beautiful tie-up of premium soft porn, suddenly stretched out for an hour and a half. There are interiors of an architectural masterpiece in Carmel Valley, California. She is wearing a spectacular dress and stockings, which the camera almost strokes. He is wearing a stylish two-piece suit.
As you know, all films about discord in relations must be compared with "The Marriage Story" by Noah Baumbach. "Malcolm and Marie" is certainly not " The Marriage Story" at all. We are talking about very special people with a very special background. It is difficult to recognize yourself in them. But their emotions will seem painfully familiar and, in places, from these roller coasters it will be terribly uncomfortable.
The narrative is arranged very well: one action constantly clings to another, you hardly have time to breathe. Sometimes it clings literally: for example, when the word "sentimental" is pronounced there is song played, "In a Sentimental Mood" by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. In general, the soundtrack is done by a genius. On this side of the screen, you have to constantly run from one support group to another, since it is completely unclear which of the two is more lovable. So you should not take sides. By the end credits the situation is unlikely to improve.
Malcolm and Marie's main problem is the acidifying chemistry between the actors. Zendaya is more than ten years younger than Washington, and at first this is very striking and disturbing, given that she will quite pass for a 16-year-old schoolgirl, and he for a deeply 40-year-old uncle. However, at some point you come to terms with this state of affairs, and even when the film stumbles over unnatural remarks and intonations, you do not question the possibility of the existence of these heroes.
This is perhaps the main merit and luck of Levinson: in spite of our bitter feelings being in the company of these intensely swearing people, in the morning it turns out that they have not disappeared from our heads with sleep, but on the contrary, continue to argue about something (even silently). If you like, they continue to live in your head.
Malcolm & Marie (MA) – 106 minutes – by Alex First
Fight for what you believe in. Fight for decency. Fight for being acknowledged for who you are and what you represent. In fact, bugger that. Just fight.
That is one, perhaps uncharitable, representation of Malcolm & Marie.
This black and white two hander focuses on an African American filmmaker and his live-in partner, a former drug addict.
It is 1am and they have just returned from the premiere screening of his new film.
Lambasted by critics for his past efforts – the “white” female LA Times critic in particular – this time is markedly different.
Malcolm (John David Washington – Tenet) has written and directed a film based largely on his girlfriend’s life.
Marie (Zandaya – Spiderman: Far from Home) was a 20-year-old junkie when they met a few years ago and he took her to rehab.
The resultant film is raw and authentic and is being hailed by all, although formal reviews have yet to drop.
Malcolm is triumphant, envisaging being seen as the next Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)or Barry Jenkins (Moonlight).
Marie, who was dressed spectacularly for the occasion in a long flowing gown, stays quiet for a while and turns her attention to making him macaroni and cheese.
But before long they are fighting.
It is over the fact that Malcolm thanked seemingly everyone in his speech to introduce the film ... everyone that is but Marie.
The venom associated with the disagreement is palpable.
It is the first of many fights between them that are the mainstay of the picture.
Both give as good as they get and their fighting is epic.
She mounts compelling arguments backing her contentions. She is vulnerable but strong.
He lands figurative blows, too, and can be mighty insensitive.
Then the next moment he is telling her how much he loves her.
She too loves him, in spite of what is going down.
During the wee small hours then, the pair trade barbs over him taking her for granted, his needs and lack of jealousy, him failing to cast her in the movie and him not understanding the value of “mystery”.
That is not to overlook his own ranting when the LA Times critic’s review does drop.
At nearly an hour and three quarters, Malcolm & Marie is a long sit and mainly a film for purists.
By and large, I appreciated the offering, although I understand why it will frustrate quite a number.
Heavy on verbiage, I thought it could have been cut back, notwithstanding the fact that writer and director Sam Levinson has created a thoughtful, slice of life drama.
Such a move could have increased the film’s impact and reduced the risk of some patrons “switching off” or “tuning out”.
I dare say there’ll be those who see more than a little something of their own relationships – present and/or past – in Malcolm & Marie.
A musical number as the credits roll speaks of the fine line between love and hate.
Both John David Washington and Zendaya perform well, but I was particularly impressed by the latter.
In portraying Malcolm, Washington is loud and effusive – energetic and on the move.
Zendaya is more internalised and reflective in realising Marie.
She is able to channel her character’s insecurity in stages.
Her “thank you” monologue late in the piece is an undoubted highlight.
Malcolm & Marie may not be perfect, but it still leaves an indelible imprint.
Just a warning: I would not recommend this film to any Catholic as i is so disappointing that among all sins this church carries there is one one: drags dealing - just a shocking surprise to many who still use the religious institutions for development of their soul.
Olivia Cooke is very cute for this role in the criminal comedy which Pixie is. She plays the daughter of the gangster who loves cooking and looks much better dealing with it than with his own "deals". The action takes place in the West of Ireland and the landscapes are absolutely breathtaking apart from the guns and scenes of violence.
The film is not consistent and sometimes there are places where you ask : WHY? and What The Hell? and they basically related to the plot development.
A cheeky gangster flick with attitude, set in the west of Ireland, Pixie is a bloody delight ... and I do mean that literally.
As the body count mounts, the star of the show, Pixie O’Brien (Olivia Cooke), bats her sexy eyelids and schemes away.
We – like all who come into her orbit – are mere putty in her hands.
Pixie is the adopted daughter of a gangster who fell out with a bunch of gun-toting priests, led by Father Hector McGrath (Alec Baldwin).
Her beloved mother died nearly four years ago, when in her early ‘40s, and Pixie is the apple of her father Dermot’s (Colm Meaney) eye.
For all of her charms, she has a dorky sister, Summer (Olivia Byrne), and a stepbrother, Mickey (Turlough Convery), who can’t stand her.
Pixie is planning to raise hell to get back at those who got to her mum and high tail it to San Francisco when the proverbial hits the fan.
Her former boyfriend (we’re talking six months back), Colin (Rory Fleck Byrne), is convinced he can win her back and get rid of her latest beau.
Colin and a mate, Fergus (Fra Fee), get wind of a big drug haul and burst in on a peaceful meeting of priests ... or so it seems.
Then all hell breaks loose.
Meanwhile, Frank McCullen (Ben Hardy) has his eye on Pixie.
He and his best mate, Harland (Daryl McCormack), are given the nod by their friendly, small-time neighbourhood drug dealing mate Daniel (Chris Walley) that Pixie is hot to trot, so to speak.
In the middle of the night (2am to be precise), Frank knocks on her door, leaving Harland in the car to take his turn thereafter.
Only, Frank’s best laid (pun fully intended) plans come a cropper, while Harland suddenly finds himself dealing with Pixie’s ex-boyfriend, who is carrying a firearm and is quite prepared to use it.
The outcome of that is hardly what either of the mates expected.
Suddenly in their possession is 15 kgs of MDMA.
In pursuit, on what becomes a road trip, are the O’Briens and the gun toting priests.
In the lads’ corner is Pixie, or is she, for the word “devious” doesn’t cover the half of it?
Let’s face it, she could charm the scales off a rattlesnake and the reptile wouldn’t even know it.
While watching Pixie, I cast my mind back to the impact of another couple of crime comedies – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels that was released in 1998 and In Bruges, which came out in 2006.
Those Guy Ritchie and Martin McDonagh films respectively really captured the imagination with their moxie and so does this.
While not as sophisticated, Pixie has some delightful turns and surprises.
That gets down to the script by Preston Thompson and Barnaby Thompson’s direction.
The story moves along at pace and keeps you engaged throughout.
There is no shortage of characters, but undoubtedly the star of the show – who hits it out of the park – is Olivia Cooke.
This is her vehicle to fame. She is fresh, sassy and oozing class, maintaining a twinkle in her eyes throughout, as the picture demands.
Her sense of comic timing is exemplary.
Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack do the job as a couple of lightweights out of their depth.
The landscape and cinematography are breathtaking as Pixie and co drive through the Irish countryside. John de Borman is responsible for the latter.
Pixie is a wild ride, well worth taking if you don’t mind the excessive violence that the vehicle requires.
Rated MA, it scores a 7½ out of 10.
THE ELFKINS: BAKING A DIFFERENCE NEW website review by Marina Sklyar
This movie was not your basic fairy tale. It had twists and turns to it.
The characters reminded me of Gnomeo and Juliet cartoon which I absolutely loved.
In my opinion it was a very basic cartoon which is most suitable for ages between 5-10 years-olds.
Fun and full of adventures it was capturing. It was a little sad at times and involving, uplifting and very positive movie. I would recommend it for younger viewers.
It was also quite educational at the same time. It teaches us to be more attentive to other people’s ideas and to think outside the square. It teaches us to understand that we are all different, with different ideas and thoughts. We should be more acceptable of one another.
How better to get into the new year, with a heart burdened through an eventful pandemic-stricken 2020, than to be experiencing an utterly magical feel-good movie?
The Food Club offers a glimpse into the lives of three women (Marie, Berling and Vanja), elderly though they may be, but do indeed share an eternal friendship spanning decades. Alas, the movie opens to how each of their lives seem to break at the seams!
And, with a brief sense of hope that their lives might somehow improve, the three of them decide to enrol in a cooking program in Apulia (Italy) - and therein commences a series of events that is comical, dramatic and deeply emotional.
The Food Club sets an unprecedented bar on how strong the bond of friendship could be, and of the true sense of self-worth that each of us must place.
Yet again, this is how everyone should get into 2021 - through the energy expounded by this amazing movie!
FIRESTARTER: THE STORY OF BANGARRA NEW website review by Sherry Westley
Film: Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra Dance Theatre Release: 18th February 2021 Country: Australia Category: Documentary Directors: Wayne Blair(The Saphires, Top End Wedding) Nel Minchin (Matilda & Me) Duration: 96 minutes
This is a must see documentary about the 30 year history of a unique Australian dance company. It has become a great Australian institution, loved and respected by Australians, and internationally known. Bangarra Dance Theatre melds together contemporary western and traditional aboriginal dance and music. The outcome is an exciting and proud reclaiming and development of culture, which can be appreciated and carried into the future by all Australians.
The dance and music is stunning, beautiful. But the human back story is equally compelling. It is largely the story of three outrageously talented and beautiful Sydney brothers, who lit the fire of a fledgling aboriginal modern dance company. Stephan, David and Russell Page.
Their personal stories sit within the broader context of the artistic, social and political awakenings of the 1980’s and 1990’s and the inherited shadows of dispossession and disrespect.
Archival footage from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s is intermixed with current interviews from central figures associated with the company.
You will love the people you meet in this documentary and you will love seeing the amazing talent, artistry and determination displayed. Yes there are sad moments, but you will feel privileged to have shared those in an easily accessible way.
See it for beauty, see it for story, see it for Australian pride, see it for hope for our future.
This fascinating and romantic melodrama by the famous American playwright, theater and film director, screenwriter, John Patrick Shanley is presented as a real filigraane Irish story told by the deceased father of the protagonist Anthony. It is such a natural story with original characters, subtle and very clever humor and good taste for the real film lovers who will highly appreciate it. The main characterss are both Irish, but how different and funny they are presented by the author with a reference to the history of the Russian ballet of P. I. Tchaikovsky 'Swan Lake'. The soundtrack in the film is also edited in an original way, every now and then it accompanies the developing dramatic action. There is my special praise for the beautiful soundtrack.
Anthony and Rosemary are neighbors and peers, their farms are nearby. They were born and raised in the fields at the family owned old farms of their parents. Since childhood, children have been accustomed to living in harmony with nature, caring for their pets and animals, they apprciate the natue in a very distinctive way, they get used to watching the change in weather, the movements of clouds admiring the starry night sky. I bet you will be longing to live on the farm land afer you watch this movie. Local Irish people are not straightforward, they do not boast of acres of land, do not care about numbers, do not talk about themselves at all and are attentive to the others. Since childhood both Anthony and Rosemary have become accustomed to the rapidly changing mountain weather, to abundant rain and rare sun light. The film has a wonderful camera work, so much light and great energy, sensational and very natural makeup and sound engineering is simply stunning.. You will feel the breeze, clean and fresh air, the smell of the wild flowers, the soil and the noise of fields. This is one very quiet and peaceful movie for lovers of country melodrama though it has some emotional (stallion-running)-storms.
It seems that the slogan of the film is just an author's joke. Since childhood Rosemary grew up as a completely detached and calm girl. She was silent, bored, dreammy character, but her father managed to inspire her with his love and kindness, he inspired her by telling her daughter that she was special, like a white swan, like a queen and this developed the girl's fantasy, tuning her soul into a sensitive perception of nature, reality and overall: herself as a part of everything that surronded her. Rosemary's soul reached out to Anthony, intuitively felt that they had a lot in common (after all they were neighbours), and Anthony was also attracted to Rosemary. Childhood friendship imperceptibly grew into love. When the Rosemary met Anthony after a long separation, even though he was in rubber boots and in the clothes of a farmer, she admired him from afar, reached out to his company, listened to his inspiring and very poetic statements about nature, about green fields and animals. They both knew the local favorite song about wild mountain thyme, which Anthony's mother sang. His father told his son many times that his love for his mother found him in these fields, through which his son now walks.
The actors played superbly, especially the performance of the talented actor Jamie Dornan (Anthony).
Wild Mountain Thyme (PG) – 102 minutes – by Alex First
Irish lyricism, bluster and blarney combine in this romantic drama, which has the sole purpose of joining together a lovelorn woman and her timid neighbour.
They are both from solid Irish stock.
They have watched their parents tend to their respective farms in central Ireland, which are surrounded by lush fields.
Rosemary Muldoon grew up initially doubting her purpose until her father told her she was the white swan, like that in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which is a recurring theme in the picture.
Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan) has strange thoughts (just how strange is revealed late in the piece) and refuses to acknowledge his feelings for Rosemary (Emily Blunt).
He even goes so far as to encourage her to leave Ireland in search of greener pastures.
Meanwhile, Anthony’s father, Tony (Christopher Walken), initially resolves to leave the family farm to his brother’s son Adam (Jon Hamm), who lives in New York.
That sees Adam exposed to Rosemary, the consequences of which are played out later in the film.
A highly capable woman, Rosemary is in no doubt she is meant to be with Anthony, but she has a hell of a job trying to convince him. By now both are in the second half of their thirties.
An elongated scene towards the end of the movie, in which Rosemary uses all her feminine wiles to deal with Anthony’s reluctance and fear and win him over once and for all, is my personal favourite.
Emily Blunt, who is and has always been a mighty fine actor, positively shines.
It may not be politically correct to say so, but I will say it anyway – she also looks absolutely beautiful.
Writer and director John Patrick Shanley (who won an Oscar in 1988 for writing the Cher vehicle Moonstruck) has built a movie around a very thin storyline and notwithstanding the adulation I just spoke of, for most of the film it shows.
I should add that Shanley has based Wild Mountain Thyme on his own book, Outside Mullingar.
There’s just not a lot to get terribly excited about here. There’s nothing “wild” about this, just eccentric.
About the only thing I dare say most people will likely agree on is that Anthony needs a swift kick in the pants, the proverbial wake up call to show some initiative.
At times it is actually hard work to watch him do nothing but daydream.
I quite liked Walken’s turn as the father of three whose heart softens.
The opening aerial shots are as good as I have seen in any movie. Tourism Ireland would be mighty proud.
Perhaps Wild Mountain Thyme will have greatest appeal to women, but I would have liked to see much more substance.
Each premiere by Japanese Studio Ghibli attracts huge attention. "My Neighbor Totoro", "Princess Mononoke", "Spirited Away", "Howl's Moving Castle" - all these cartoons must have been seen not only by fans of Hayao Miyazaki's talent, but also by people who love good, high-quality animation.
"Earwig And The Witch" is another Ghibli's project, but this time everything is not so simple and rosy.
The anime tells the story of the girl named Earwig. She is an orphan and lives in an orphanage, where she learns to order everyone around. Everything suits her, but this is only until one day she gets adopted by a strange couple. They take the brave orphan to a mysterious house full of potions, spells and invisible rooms. The house's walls change their position and the rooms appear from nowhere. The 10 year old girl starts working for the owman who adopted her and who is aparently a witch. Together with Earwig's new talking friend, the house cat, she has to break all the rules, get her way through while settling down in this strangest place.
The problem with the film is that it is completely computer generated and uses CGI effects. This means that it is completely different from the familiar Ghibli's designs. Nevertheless I am pretty sure the kids especially young girls in the audience will love the character and her surroundings as well as her determination and the unusual behavior.
It is one of the absolute favorites of our months best films. It is family drama called "Minari", produced by Brad Pitt's Plan B.
Everyone who will watch the film will be so immersed in the life of a Korean family trying to start a new life on the plains of Arkansas - I promise!
Lee Isaac Chun is a kind of American Hirokazu Koreeda with Korean roots. He loves to shoot pictures about family relationships. His new film is set in the 80-s. A young Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a new life and build a farm. More precisely, the father of the family Jacob really wants to build a farm and does not warn his wife Monica about his plans. His wife, Monica is not delighted with an old mobile home in the middle of deserted fields and her husband's agricultural "fantasies", and most of all - that he decided everything on his own without her being involved. The couple have two children: the eldest, Ann and the youngest, David, who are clearly uncomfortable in the village after living in the city. To somehow cheer up his wife, Jacob calls her mother Sunzu from Korea, but the newly introduced "babushka" / grandmother turns out, according to David, to be "the wrong grandmother." Sunzha does not bake cookies or take care of hr grand children, instead she plays cards, drinks soft drinks, swears like a shoe maker, watches boxing matches, snores, smells strange and constantly makes fun of the little but proud boy David.
Monica, although glad of her mother, cannot come to terms with their new home. She wants stability, and Jacob wants to prove to himself and his loved ones that he can achieve much more than a lifetime job on the bird farm where they worked back in Korea and where they work again in their new town. It is true and he and his wife keep this job in Arkansas: all day they sort the chicks into boys and girls. As dad explains to David, hens lay eggs and are much tastier than roosterss, so the latter are "disposed of" by burning. Dad's task is to ensure a good life for his family, so that they are not scrapped. He does everything to save money.
"Minari", like Alfonso Cuarona's "Roma", is largely based on memories, and there is no doubt that David's prototype is the director himself. We feel immediately that this is Chun's native and beloved environment. The film turns out to be very lively and colored with small details that create a voluminous universe of a family of newly minted Americans.
One of the cutest and funniest storylines is David's relationship with his grandmother, who, in her own way, tries to win his trust. She also, supporting the undertakings of her son-in-law, plants the Korean minari plant near the river next to the house. Gradually, it grows in an unfamiliar environment, serving as a metaphor for a new life: in spite of everything, it makes its way in a foreign country that gradually becomes its dear land.
Young parents still do not find agreement whether to leave or stay, and the larger the garden becomes, the more problems the family has. To help out on the farm, Jacob hires an elderly Korean War veteran with ridiculous glasses named Paul. Chun deftly turns stereotypes upside down: it is customary in American cinema to laugh at the supposedly ridiculous beliefs and customs of other countries. Paul, with his strange dances and prayers to Jesus, interspersed with curses to drive out evil spirits, turns into a source for jokes.
The film unhurriedly unfolds in front of us picturing a real family life. It becomes thicker and stronger in colors with each scene. "Minari" somehow loses its softly measured rhythm closer to the end and accelerates trying to quickly lay down everything that he did not have time to say in the last fifteen minutes. The director seems to forget that all the storylines need to be brought to a logical end, and is caught too late, so there is a fair amount of understatement in the ending. Nevertheless there is no doubt that the minari will definitely take root in the new land and grow up successfully.
Sean Durkin's "The Nest" is set in the mid-1980s. English expatriate, Rory O'Hara (played by Jude Law) lives in States with a seemingly happy family: his American wife, Allison gives horse riding lessons, his adopted older daughter is making progress in rhythmic gymnastics, and his own younger son gets along well with friends at school. But Rory once realises that such a calm measured life is not for him. He is looking for adrenalin in life and surely does everything to get it.
His principle is "everything seems to be there, but something is missing". He decides to return to England, feeding himself ego hopes that the economic situation in Britain will give him all the cards in his hands. Not approving of such a decision, the family of an enterprising broker leaves States, New York, good home and their familiar place. Rory rents a luxurious mansion-castle for a year payng in advance, not even suspecting how unwelcoming and hostile its walls will be: dark at nights and cold in winter.
“The Nest” first of all touches by the history itself (80s atmosphere). We can talk about a whole complex of artistic techniques that give the picture a special charm and mood. From the first to the last frame, the film remains a tough social drama about paying for a dream, but the atmosphere created on the screen is reminiscent of the genre of classic horror.
There is a Gothic mansion shrouded in a haze of anxiety, there are bad omens in every rustle; Sean Durkin does not use a whipping effect. He gets inspired by it, plunging the viewer into the abyss of another person's mentality, his viscous nightmare: day after day. I must say that the film sequence hits the nerves not less than in the 2002 horror film "Darkness" by Juame Balaguero (where the family, by the way, also moves from the United States to their homeland).
In both films, the family is ruined by an evil spirit of greed, but in "The Nest", the director gives it a specific definition: vanity. It is a sin and the sins kill. In pursuit of status and position in society, Jude Law's hero embarks on a slippery path of deception, endless lies, made up stories about his family past and present life and double play. As a result, the picture of a happy life turns into an eerie indistinct drawing, as if taken from the medical history of a serious patient. Rory becomes obsessed with his "dream" for a new life and h loses his mind. His wife and daughter are forgotten in an alcoholic intoxication, the son simply cries out his problems while he gets scared of the new house loneliness and darkness, and Rory himself drives himself into a psychological dead end without answering the main question: "What do I actually lack for happiness?"
As for the camera work, with the abundance of medium shots, Matthias Erdey seems to hint to the viewer that it is better to keep a distance with this family, more precisely with what is left of it as we observe it falling down into a void. The energy of the film still remains no less oppressive than the interiors of the mansion, where the characters feel like strangers and abandoned to their fate.
The entire visual series of the picture works on the presentiment of the coming explosion. At the same time, Durkin does not make any sudden movements: the fall seems so organic and unavoidable as we observe Rory's obsession and lies progress to the bottom of his own darkness. The director keeps the viewer in the story, smoothly leading us to the denouement and cuts off the story in a mid-sentence, without giving obvious answers to anyone: neither to us, nor to the heroes who somehow miraculously kept themselves on the edge of the abyss. The film ends up in questions unanswered.
We’re in Ronald Reagan’s America – specially 1986 – and a British-born stock trader Rory O’Hara (Jude Law) married to a US horse riding instructor, Allison (Carrie Coon), is having a hard time of it.
On the surface all appears peachy.
Rory has a good relationship with their 10-year-old son Benjamin (Charlie Shotwell) and has taken his wife’s older, high school-age daughter, Samantha (Oona Roche) to heart and she to hers.
Each morning, he gently wakes Allison with a freshly prepared cuppa and she reaches for a cigarette.
But in truth, business-wise Rory isn’t doing well.
One day he surprises her with the news that he has an opportunity back in his native London, one with his old boss, Arthur Davis (Michael Culkin).
Rory talks up the fact that this will be his business that Davis is merely helping to bankroll, when that isn’t the truth.
Against Allison’s better judgment, the family moves for the fourth time in 10 years.
Rory departs ahead of the other three and greets them with gusto in the driveway of a large, old, ostentatious, country mansion for which he has paid a year’s rent in advance and has the first option to buy.
He encourages Allison to set up her own horse-riding training business on the large grounds (she worked for someone else in the States), even organising workers to begin construction.
The boss welcomes him with open arms, recognising he is a super salesman with the gift of the gab (read that to mean big talker).
Immediately Rory begins smooth talking the firm’s clientele, wining and dining all who come within his purview.
Allison queries where the money is coming from, but he simply brushes off her enquires.
From a poor background, Rory is constantly thinking big, dreaming of making his fortune.
And then things take a turn for the worse.
Meanwhile, his wife and son are struggling, while Samantha is acting up. The Nest tightens its grip as it develops.
A feeling of unease permeates the entirety of proceedings, although the reason for that only becomes clear over time.
The narrative has been well constructed by writer and director Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), who lived between America and England in the ‘80s and ‘90s and has adopted a slow burn approach.
A haunting soundtrack by Richard Reed Parry elevates the tightrope nature of the piece.
I greatly appreciated the strength in the characterisations of the main players.
Jude Law does a fine job portraying driven ambition at a high price.
Carrie Coon is superb. She has strength and vulnerability down pat.
Allison calling Rory out in a restaurant is one of the film’s high points.
The Nest works its way into our psyche as we search for a way through the quagmire waiting for an explosion.
It is a movie that merits attention.
Rated MA, it scores an 8 out of 10.
THE PEOPLE UPSTAIRS NEW website review by Max Davine
The People Upstairs Review by Max Davine
Since Edward Albee’s ground-breaking play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf first shocked audiences in 1962 with its raw, uncompromising, drawn-out examination of a couple’s disintegration after years of jealousy, neglect, and resentment are triggered by an inconvenient visit from a younger, spritelier couple, there have been no shortage of imitations. Even in Australia we had a go – David Williamson’s Don’s Party in 1971 and John O’Donoghue’s A Happy and Holy Occasion in 1987 are both cast from Woolf’s mould.
The formula is nothing new to theatre; a single setting, a few characters, a lot of secrets, and a slow, dramatic-and-humorous reveal as artifice is forcefully stripped away by the follies of human nature. Man is an animal. Put it in a cage long enough, its fangs will invariably show.
Cesc Gay offers nothing new to the story other than the fact that his 2020 film The People Upstairs (Sentimental in Spain) was never a play. The other notable absence is real drama. Gay’s focus is on comedy, and therefore this might be forgiven, but the story veers toward melancholy nigh the end and we are left with the struggle of the older couple (played well by Javier Camara and Griselda Siciliani in spite of the material they’re working with) to save a marriage we never really cared about. Woolf’s magic is how it leads us down one rabbit hole for a source of resentment after another, never really showing the true – and disturbing – source of the couple’s woes until the final act. Gay throws all his cards on the table from the get-go: loss of sexual attraction, their daughter’s mental illness, and jealousy of the neighbours. This all before Siciliani’s Martha (sorry; Ana) reveals that she’s invited the neighbours around for dinner. Nothing new develops. Belen Cuesta and Antonio San Juan are smiling stereotypes of the happy-go-lucky, sexually liberated couple come to torment the main characters, and while their antics are humorous and fun – especially the grating embarrassment their candidness puts Camara’s Julio through – the attempt at a sober ending falls flat because we are never positioned to care in the first place. Siciliani is clearly frustrated and lonely. Camara clearly wants his own timid space. So, why not end it?
I honesty did not expect this film to be so engaging. The story is powerful with lots of powerful and obvious and hidden messages. Neeson plays the main character incredible well. The message of us making choices that we are responsible for is very powerful indeed. It is simple and honest, it is realistic in its emotions and events.
A by-the-numbers revenge action thriller, The Marksman is centred around a Mexican cartel taking retribution against the family of a man who stole from them.
That man – Uncle Carlos (Alfredo Quiroz) – knows he’s mincemeat.
With the cartel on his tail, he puts in a hurried call to his niece Rosa (Teresa Ruiz), telling her to flee with her young son, Miguel (Jacob Perez).
And that they do, paying to be led to the hard border with the US, cartel member Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba) and his cronies in hot pursuit.
There they chance upon Vietnam veteran Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson), who patrols for illegal aliens with his dog Jackson.
Hanson has fallen on hard times and has returned to the bottle.
A decorated member of the Marine Corp, he lost his beloved wife to cancer recently and the medical bills saw him fall behind on his bank repayments. Now it is about to foreclose on what is left of his ranch.
Hanson tries to do things by the book, but that sees him, Rosa and Miguel fall under heavy gunfire.
The cartel will stop at nothing to get to Rosa and Miguel.
Before long, Miguel’s fate is solely in Hanson’s hands.
With corruption abounding around them, Hanson tries his best to keep Miguel safe, but that is a far from easy proposition.
Much of what takes place is predictable fare. Still there is tension throughout.
Liam Neeson does this sort of thing in his sleep these days, even though he recently announced he is drawing down the shutters on the gun toting, “he-man” roles.
He is solid as the morally-challenged Hanson.
Jacob Perez brings an understated calm to his performance as the youngster in peril.
I can’t say I ever saw fear in his eyes and yet I still appreciated what he brought to his portrayal.
Juan Pablo Raba is positively evil as the driven villain of the piece, which is vital to maintain some measure of belief from the audience.
It has been a while between drinks as director for Robert Lorenz (Trouble with the Curve in 2012), who – alongside Chris Charles and Danny Kravitz – wrote the screenplay.
Mind you, his pedigree is strong, having produced or executive produced many Clint Eastwood movies, such as Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Gran Torino and American Sniper.
Lorenz has played it safe, with no real surprises (hardly award-winning fare), but just enough grunt to maintain a level of interest throughout.
Really for most of its 108-minute running time, The Marksman is a cat and mouse game.
If you venture into the cinema without high expectations, you should emerge with a feeling that the film did its job and little more.
Occupation Rainfall. Time has passed since we watched this movie and it looked like I totally forgot what it was about... they are action films I try to avoid the most. I do not learn anything from them. They would attract though the younger audience. It is noisy. It is boring. There is nothing unique in it. It would be great for those who want to spend their time for nothing but I can also see the great audience for it. One word could describe it well: poor rubbish. The actors try their best and try hard for nothing really. The characters are predictable and very plain. Even the Asian comic does not save it. I am kindly asking the director : not to go for part 2 PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! I love well done sci-fi films to be honest but this one doe snot make it.
Penguin Bloom is the emotional film about paraplegic mother named Sam (Naomi Watts) with three sons who learns to live her life not only with t he physical but personal emotional and mental trauma. Bloom is the name of the magpie chick that appears in the household and mainly is the symbol of Sam's struggle to live a happy life and to "fly". The film has lots of beautiful nature photography and the ocean in Sam's town in NSW. IMHO it is a beautiful and inspiring family movie. Naomi in her turn gives a heartwarming performance as well as the boys and Sam's husband. But of course the main prize goes to Penguin, the magpie who performed her very best here. It is also quite significant part of the film watching how kids blame themselves on their parents' misfortune and how they can destroy their own lives by such feelings. Sam is courageous enough to ask her son (who thought it was his fault, the accident) to speak up and tell her everything he feels and why he does it. She then tells him that this is no one's fault but just a coincidence that changed he life and her family life. Although the life became quite limited and Sam could not be active with her hobbies as before the accident, she still finds the great purpose of such life and gets trained to represent Australia in Paralympics. It is a positive film and has a lot for many families to learn from : to appreciate healthy life, to learn from mistakes, to love and respect each other and never take anything for granted.
A well-meaning, manipulative tear-jerker, Penguin Bloom is a story of family trauma based upon fact.
Sam (Naomi Watts) and Cameron Bloom (Andrew Lincoln) got together as teenagers and have been together ever since.
She is a nurse, he a photographer.
They both love the water and the beach, where they now share a house with their three boisterous young boys.
Life is peachy until they decide to take a holiday to Thailand (the boys wanted to go to Disneyland).
There Sam has a terrible and tragic accident, which puts her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
That happened a year ago and the story’s narrator is Sam’s eldest son, Noah (Griffin Murray-Johnston), by then aged 11, who blames himself.
Sam is now a shell of a person – forever in pain, angry and upset, seemingly with nothing to live for.
That is despite the best efforts of her husband Cameron, children – Noah, Reuben (Felix Cameron) and Oli (Abe Clifford-Barr) – mother Jan (Jacki Weaver), sister Kylie (Leeanna Walsman) and friends.
Sam shuts down.
One day, Noah rescues a magpie chick that fell from its nest and starts to hand rear it.
He names it Penguin because of its colouring.
Sam is frustrated by its constant chirping and wants to let the wild bird roam free, but one day when Noah asks her to look after the fledgling while he is at school the bond between her and Penguin grows.
Intent on getting some enjoyment back into Sam’s life, Cameron asks his wife to consider kayaking.
That doesn’t go down well at first, but Sam has a change of heart and that is where instructor Gaye Hatfield (Rachel House) comes to the fore.
Gradually, the family sets about rebuilding a new, life affirming normal.
While Penguin Bloom’s intent is clear, the transition from despair to joy was, in my opinion, too severe – lacking in subtlety.
Sure, it was a roller coaster ride, but I felt that I – as an audience member – was being played.
That is not to suggest that I didn’t become misty-eyed, rather I was conscious of the strings being pulled.
The best of breed films of this ilk don’t signal their punches like Penguin Bloom did.
This is from screenwriters Shaun Grant (Snowtown) and Harry Cripps (The Dry) and first-time feature film director Glendyn Ivin (best known for his television work).
It is based upon a book by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive.
Naomi Watts is the glue around whom the picture is bound and she works hard to craft the character of a woman whose life has been torn from her. She is most convincing.
There’s more predictability in the roles of those that surround her, sympathetic that they all are.
The scenery is spectacular. The rugged coastline has been beautifully captured by Sam Chiplin (Dirt Music).
In spite of my reservations, there will no doubt be many who will say this is an endearing movie of hope.
I wanted a more natural journey and more surprises.
Rosie is a 2018 Irish drama directed by Paddy Bretnach.
A woman named Rosie, a mother of four, is trying to find a new home for her family. She and her family are refused to renew the lease. The house owner of their former home practically threw them on the street. The travel in their car to find a temporary accommodation at the local hotels. But their attempts to find accommodation are rather unsuccessful. Rosie makes endless calls following the list given to her by the social system supporters. The hotels in their turn though refuse to provide the family with a room even for one night. When Rosie's kid teacher asks her: "Are you living in your car?" Rosie replies: "We just do not have a home at the moment but it will be solved soon" but this is not actually true though the hope is there - Rosie and her family are on the verge of being homelessness.
"Rosie" is a realistic story full of compassion, sympathy. But it makes us outrage, Rosie's situation is heartbreaking and shows the economic insecurity. It can happen to anyone. The situation will amaze many viewers who ever had similar and very uncomfortable situation loosing their homes. Many people who find themselves in a dangerous, mundane situation or experienced instability recognized themselves in this film in the courage and dignity of Rosie Davis and her family.
It is the film about poverty and social problems but I asked myself many times during this film: Rosie, if you lived in a renting home and your situation was already not stable, why would you make so many kids with your husband? Would not it be wiser to get more stable in life and then have kids?
But despite my questions this small and very tough film offers no easy solutions. We are given the situation, lived it together with Rosie one day after another but what is next? Are they going to find their place to lay their heads on the pillow and sleep quietly?
The film is bright, the pace is rather slow but the emotions are there and the are acted very well. Sarah Greene is a superwoman when it comes to performance.
With a severe shortage of rental properties and rising rental prices in Ireland, Rosie Davis (Sarah Greene) and her family have been left homeless and struggling.
That has happened after their landlord of seven years decided to sell the house in which they were tenants.
They had no desire to move out, but – of course – they had no choice.
And they haven’t been able to find anything as affordable replacement.
So, Rosie and her chef husband John Paul and their four children – from pre-school age to 14 – are forced to try to find interim accommodation on a daily basis.
It is devastating for all of them.
They are decent people, but their situation has nothing to do with decency. Rather, it is about the economic constraints of the times.
Rosie, who is a caring and loving mother, tries her best to maintain morale for the good of her clan, but that is proving to be increasingly difficult.
She spends all day on the phone trying to find lodgings for a few nights at a time or even just a single night.
When it comes, having poured through a list of possibilities from Dublin City Council, it is a godsend, but only a brief respite ... and it doesn’t always come.
The children are understandably unsettled and anxious.
To add to the tension, John Paul has work pressures.
Rosie and John Paul can’t call upon family to house them either.
His brother’s wife is pregnant and she is distanced from her mother after making allegations about her now departed father.
The downward spiral shows no signs of abating.
Gritty and unrelenting, Rosie is an affecting slice of life piece.
It is quite distressing to watch and see what unfolds. You want to reach out and lend a helping hand.
Simple, everyday occurrences become far more challenging when you are basically living out of a small car, hauling your belongings with you in black garbage bags.
Greene is utterly convincing as a woman on edge, trying her hardest to keep her brood together and safe in invidious circumstances. For the most part polite and patient, flare ups are inevitable.
I was particularly taken by her performance.
The handheld camera work by Cathal Watters is exemplary – very much focused on Rosie, attentively capturing her changes in temperament.
Moe Dunford comes across as sympathetic and attentive as John Paul.
The screenplay by Roddy Doyle (The Commitments) feels authentic.
Director Paddy Breathnach has ensured the family is presented as dignified but caught in a terrible bind.
What stays with you is the frustration and senselessness of it all.
Rosie is a movie with impact.
Rated PG, it scores an 8 out of 10.
WILD THINGS NEW website review by Jeanette Russell
The documentary called Wild Things by Potential films was a real eye opener, and very inspiring. It was produced and directed by Sally Ingleton. The executive producers are Shaun Miller and Mark Spratt. So interesting is the spirit and camaraderie of the activist community. They rally support and focus on their task at hand with such passion and dedication . We follow their stories and various groups from saving the Franklin Dam in Tassie to protesting peacefully about coal mining and other global warming, Stories date back to Sydney in the 70s where activists' actions became known as Green Bans. We become privy to forest blockades in the Terania Creek campaign in Tassie where a group largely represented by Dr Lisa Searle, form human blockades to prevent loggers entering and logging in the magnificent rain forests there. The Bob Brown Foundation backs this entity.
Another demonstration was led by a young girl of 14 who managed to move many school students to participate in it and calling this demo School Strikes for Climate change. One action from these amazing young people took place on the 30th of Nov. 2018 where thousands of school students went to the CBD in Melb. to demonstrate peacefully.
Groups at Camp Binbee in protest to stop Adani another mine. They successfully blockaded a proposed mine in Kakadu. Jabiluka uranium mine was blockaded for 8 months in 1998, eventually they managed to stop the building of the mine. Activists in Australia are wanting to preserve our beautiful lands for future generations, ever thoughtful of nature, earth and animals, and the delicate ecosystem that is being harmed and destroyed by human intervention. I found this film to be highly informative, moving and inspiring, being in awe of those who devote their time and sometimes lives to protect mother nature, and our wondrous planet. Please it's not to be missed and concerns us all. We are lucky I feel to have so many people looking out for our lovely country, here in Oz.
My friend said that many people around the world love to see the native, Indigenous people's films as many show the reality of the native land owners whose life is so different from white people. Many films show the true stories: how the nations were exterminated and enslaved while their land was stolen from them.
Director Steven Johnson's latest film, High Ground is not an exeption. Such movies are taken very positively by many and are usually the highlights at many film festibalse. Such stories echoe around our country as well as around the world.
The picture has a historical genre bias. According to the plot, the main character Travis, who fought in the fields of the First World War as a sniper, works as a police officer in the provincial Northern Australia and finds himself drawn into a fierce confrontation between the aborigines and the group of colonists. The main character is vividly and thrillingly portraid by the Australian star, Simon Baker. The action of the film takes place in 1920-1930s, and touches, as follows from the description of the plot, the theme of the frontier, which is painful for modern inhabitants of Australia in its historical accuracy, as well as the issues of a person's chioce between good and evil, depending on the historical context in which he finds himself.
We know Simon Baker by his "The Mentalist", "The Limit of Risk", Callan Mulway by "Warcraft", "Outlaw King", Jack Thompson by "The Great Gatsby", "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" and many other amazing 10/10 stars actors.
The landscapes are simply spectaculer taken by teh drones or just onland carema works. Everything adds to the country flavour: the rock foundations, the white painted skin of the natives, the animals thaht live in balance with the tribes, the beautiful colour of the ground, the birds that follow the people in their actions, the plants and the grasses that hide both men and animals. The drama takes the Australian Western style if it was not for so much pain to watch what happens on the screen. One can not imagine what happens when the Aboriginal man kills the cow of the white man and how the brutal events then develop. When one person is killed who can value the life of him/her? Who can put a price on it? Sometimes it is impossible to say. But the impact can be lifechanging for many generations. Genocide roots out the knowlege of the entire tribe. The value of one person in that case can worth hundreds of thouands of lives. But for some it is the care of one killed cow.
If you want an example to show how white man stole the land from its original native inhabitants and tried to suppress their spirit and soul at the point of a gun, look no further than High Ground.
We’re in Arnhem Land in 1919 and a raid on a small black community goes horribly wrong, leaving a trail of dead – primarily black men, women and children.
The instigators were the police, who were hot on the heels of a couple of indigenous men who had killed a cow.
Then we cut to 12 years later and one of those injured and left for dead, Baywara (Sean Mununggurr) has recovered and seeks revenge.
He attacks white settlements and leaves his own trail of destruction.
A senior lawman, Moran (Jack Thompson), is sent to bring him down and restore peace.
He has a “my way or the highway” approach.
Ex-soldier Travis (Simon Baker), who was part of the original police team that conducted the ill-fated raid more than a decade earlier and feels guilty about what went down, is used as bait.
In reality, he empathises with the plight of the aborigines, but when Baywara’s nephew Gutjuk (Jacob Junior Nayinggul) learns that he was part of the force that killed his extended family he is ready to turn on Travis.
And that is despite the fact that Travis took Gutjuk to the safety of a Christian mission, where the preacher’s sister Claire (Caren Pistorius) brought him up.
The real villain of the piece though is Travis’ colleague Eddy (Callan Mulvey) and the pair clash regularly.
Suffice to say that before this is over, much more blood will be spilled.
At the heart of High Ground is the tragic story of Frontier encounters.
The film explores themes of identity and culture.
The way director Stephen Maxwell Johnson presents it, Australia under white rule was all about conquest.
He uses fiction to illustrate a deeper truth, namely the shameful treatment of the First Peoples.
Importantly, Johnson allows the material to breathe (the pacing is deliberately slow), enabling indigenous spirituality and love of the land to be heavily embedded into the offering.
The narrative is from screenwriter Chris Anastassiades.
The landscape is magnificent and the cinematography, including aerial shots, superb throughout. It is the work of Andrew Commis (Babyteeth).
As an ensemble, the acting talent assembled does the material justice, displaying strength, anger, fear and vulnerability.
Baker captures the dilemma of his character well.
Nayinggul’s stillness allows us to all but see into Gutjuk’s heart.
Thompson displays authority with conviction.
Incidentally, the title is drawn from the best vantage point for seeing all that unfolds, which is the role of a sniper.
High Ground is a fine piece of movie making, covering important material about the country’s dark past.
Repressed sexual desires and taboo topics are often related. It is clear that this is strongly reflected in all art and cinematography included However, in recent years, this has begun to be abused and now it seems that any of the LGBT-themed films is a biased project. The Ammonite, which tells the story of lesbian relationships at the end of the 19th century, is exactly a film of this kind: there are no poetic freedom, and the film seems to have been shot in order to show the heroic confrontation of two lesbians against oppressive patriarchy. It looks great on paper and on the lists for the prestigious film awards, but still, it is difficult for a project that is strongly oriented towards the modern agenda to teach any lesson as we have seen it all already.
The film is based on a true story. Mary Anning is a female paleontologist; she is one of the pioneers of her profession as this world is taken predominantly by men. Her achievements were undeniable, and Mary herself was generally a respected member of society. In real life, she communicated closely with Charlotte Murchison. It is not known whether Mary and Charlotte were mistresses in real life or just good friends - this is clearly not a topic that could be freely discussed in England in those years. At the same time, there is no information about Mary's relationships with men.
"Ammonite" is a film about Anning's life, but mostly with an emphasis on the sexual relationship between Mary and Charlotte. It is clear that this material lies in the area of speculation, even if it does not detract from the topic of female lawlessness in those years. "Ammonite" conceptually resembles "The Life of Adele" and in general the film is frank enough to convey romanticism and experienced feelings. The picture is actually very intimate and it's easy to see the contrast between the sex scenes and the outside of the bedroom episodes. At the same time, the script is marked by meager dialogues, because of which the actors had to learn to work with each other non-verbally. Body language plays an important role in "Ammonite", but perhaps the efforts of the actors are to some extent in vain: research on the role that society plays in relation to lesbians is simply absent. Often, many aspects of the script are marginalised and exaggerated.
The film's narrative is very ambiguous. To many, the ending may even seem unsatisfactory in the context of the story, that is missing something, although it confirms the complexity of the circumstances in which the heroines find themselves. At the same time, the characters are treated delicately, but it is impossible to revive complex personalities: the movie bypasses both the truth and emotional notes, preferring to focus on Mary's inner life and very frank bedroom scenes. From the outside, it looks more like a woman's novel than a film: there is no spontaneity and, as such, a spectacle. I missed rich colours of the relationship to be honest.
"Ammonite" sort of flourishes in its melancholy mood. In fact, the film project is quite intuitive and even romantic, but it often looks flawed, mainly when it comes to the relationships that underlie the story. It is strong in acting and Kate is amazing even when she is silent while Saoirse is acting more like a good aristocratic shadow of Kate .The subtlety of relationships, subtext mainly define the acting, but something is missing in love as I mentioned above: in the movie, apparently, there is simply no spark and thus it is difficult to get emotionally engaged in the relationship of two women.
Unfortunately, this affects the entire picture as a whole: "Ammonite" lacks wisdom, ferocity and, finally, content to do justice to all the stylistic subtleties.
An introspective, slow-moving, largely grim, period drama about a life’s calling and desire, Ammonite features two of the finest actors of a generation.
It is the 1840s and highly regarded fossil hunter Mary Anning’s (Kate Winslet) famed discoveries are behind her.
She works alone in Lyme Regis in West Dorset, on the rugged Southern British coastline.
Anning now searches for common fossils to sell to tourists to support herself and her ailing mother, Molly (Gemma Jones).
They share a rudimentary home.
Both are stern and dour.
Anning immerses herself in her work.
Her social skills are not her strong suit.
One day a well-to-do, arrogant man, Roderick Murchison (James McArdle), sets foot in her shop, wanting to buy one of her pieces and learn the finer points of how she works and what she sees while observing Anning on the beach.
She reluctantly agrees.
He is on an archaeological tour of the continent.
After a miscarriage, his young wife, Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan), is suffering from melancholia and he determines she is in no fit state to go on with him.
So, he prevails upon Anning to watch her for up to six weeks.
Again, Anning is none too keen, but relents.
Charlotte becomes ill – developing a high fever and is bed ridden – after taking a dip in the ocean.
The new foreign doctor Lieberson (Alec Secareanu) in town implores Anning to look after her and take good care of her, which she does.
Upon Charlotte’s recovery, the dynamic between the women changes and gradually we also come to learn snippets of Anning’s past.
With dialogue kept to a minimum, it is the silences, expressions and body language that speak volumes in Ammonite.
Kate Winslet mastered that artform long ago and is at her finest in the lead role here. Saoirse Ronan has less to do, but ensures there’s a transformation in her characterisation of Charlotte.
The way the moments of passion between Anning and Charlotte have been shot by cinematographer Stephane Fontaine is hypnotic and alluring.
With one withering look after another, Gemma Jones is unforgettable as the poker-faced Molly.
The soundscape by sound designer Johnnie Burn is also central to the success of the picture, capturing the natural environment – most notably the wind and sea – where Anning lives and works.
Francis Lee, who created such impact with his keenly observed first feature God’s Own Country (2017), has crafted another intelligent, reflective work in which nuance is critical.
He is clearly a deep thinker, as reflected by the careful staging of scenes again in Ammonite, many involving stone and candlelight.
He has a fine attention to detail.
Ammonite is a picture that should appeal to film purists.
Incidentally, the name of the film is drawn from the fossil ammonite, which appears in marine rocks.
Director: Liam O’Donnell Producers: Matthew E. Chausse, Benni Diez, Liam O'Donnell, Colin Strause, Greg Strause Writer: Liam O’Donnell
Skylines (also known as Skyline 3) is a 2020 American science fiction action film written and directed by Liam O'Donnell. It is a sequel to Beyond Skyline (2017) and the final entry in the Skyline trilogy.
Having not seen the first two films in the trilogy, it initially took me a while to fathom out the plot, that was aimed at destroying what and who were left on earth. Five years following Captain Rose Corley’s (Lindsey Morgan) destruction of the Armada vessel which set out to harvest all life on earth. She was forced her inherited powers to kill thousands of her own men. Feeling that the price of victory was too much to bear disappeared, Rose escaped to a dishevelled London which was now in the midst of a deadly pandemic. From there she was arrested and forced to lead another mission to avenge rogue pilots (super terrestrial creatures) who have set out to again ravage the world, this time with the pandemic.
Rose and her team set out on their expedition to Cobalt 1 – a planet near the moon in a spaceship resembling a whole lot of scrap metal heaped on each other (nothing like the Tardis in Doctor Who). What ensued were a series of battles of humans against rogue “pilots”, humans against rogue humans. It seemed to me to be a cacophony of Westerns in outer space – the goodies against the baddies.
I felt the film was rather prolonged and difficult to follow as I am not wholly accustomed to this genre. However, it most likely will satisfy the Skyline followers.
MAYA THE BEE: THE GOLDEN ORB NEW website review by Nicole Stenton
Maya The Bee 3: The Golden Orb
Maya the Bee was a great movie for primary aged kids. The vibrant colours and easy to follow “bad guy versus good guy” story line made this movie a hit. I also like the fact Australian talent voiced the characters.
Even if you haven’t watched a Maya movie or seen her on TV before the movie is still enjoyable and the characters are easy to follow. It starts with Maya and her best friend Willy getting into mischief which prompts Queen Bee to want them separated. This is when the duo starts their next adventure. While exploring a new a garden, they come across an ant that has been given important task of delivering the golden orb to a new ant colony. The ant is unable to complete his mission due to an injury, so he entrusts Maya and Willy to deliver the orb. They encounter some bugs along the way that want to destroy their mission of delivering the orb. It is almost a case of ‘cat and mouse’ while the bugs try to sabotage the ants and bees from delivery the orb. This movie will keep the kids engaged wondering if the ants and bees will be successful in getting the golden orb delivered before it’s too late.
We watched Dreambuilders movie with the kids. Generally, it was a likeable cartoon because it was a feel-good movie with a happy ending and kids enjoyed it. It had a very creative and original story line. My 4-year old loved this movie as it was and gave 5 put of 5 starts. But my 8-year old and grown ups that watched the movie would give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. We felt it could have expanded on the original idea of dream visiting and dream building by having more interesting ideas and characters. We think this idea could work really well as a show. The quality of animation was wonderful. 4-year old mentioned he loved the characters, especially in the dream builder world, explosions and the thrilling moments. 8-year old felt that the movie missed some boy characters as mainly focused on girls. Overall, we liked the movie and the original idea of the storyline.
by Anastasia Thomas
This cartoon portrayed the influence of our dreams to reality. Genre -Fantasy fits perfectly here. Thus, true to life complex elements come to the top when showing relationships between adults and little children with different personalities attempting to design a new life together. Dreambuilders are truly recommended for adults and kids.
Imagine that little Techni creature can easily stage our dreams according to our needs and inner desires. Well, it seems to be easily done except the fact that little girl, Minna, troubled by her new step-sister, attempted to re-design Jenny’s pre-established dreams. Why would she do that? She wanted to be happy and accepted.
Minna and Jenny are moving in together while their parents build a new “after a break up” life together. With significant variances in characters, both girls are equally traumatized by one of their parents living them behind. Minna’s attempt to fix Jenny’s stroppy attitude via revising dreams stage turned into a disaster when “dreams trash” will never be able to reanimate Jenny and keep her asleep for good. So, what is going to happen? Breath…it’s a happy ending. All heroes are re-united in the end. Enjoy a piece of mellow music with some nostalgic notes.
Dream well and let smart creatures do the right work for you!
Australian director Jeremy Sims created a new remake of a soulful comedy-drama called Rams (we all remember him by his latest great movie called "Last Cab To Darwin").
Rams raises the rather biblical theme of forgiveness with a highly unconventional story about the relationship between two farm brothers who breed a rare breed of Merino sheep.
Sims' picture uses the similar concept by Icelandic author Grimur Hakonarson. In the new version (adapted by Jules Duncan) we can now laugh out loud at the Australian humor at its best. The story now creates that special mood about the people who are able to go great distance for what makes the meaning of their lives.
The director explores traditional gender stereotypes and masculinity, which in this film turns out to be quite toxic in the relationship between two central characters. They are played by the Australian cinematography legends: Michael Keyton ("The Castle") and Sam Neil ("Blackbird"). Sims presents the location in a completely different way (compared to its Iceland's version) and places the action of the film in Western Australia, where the climate is even more extreme compared to Iceland. The director's skill allows him to move the film from a heart breaking drama to lavish black comedy. It makes you believe in the best while the action is held just inches from sliding into a pitch darkness. In our present conditions, when the word "self-isolation" has ceased to be sacred, the director's eyes are on the people who are, on the contrary, get united by blood kinship and live hermetically several meters from each other in the neighborhood, communicating with the help of the paper notes delivered to them by a shepherd's dog. The history of the farming community in the context of 2020 is more reminiscent of the existential threat to people who are forced to break up, make compromises for survival and struggle with themselves, with their desire to leave their native places, where everything is so familiar, and go instead to live in a big city. At the same time, in addition to the unexpectedly relevant conversation about isolation, Sims explores various aspects of masculinity and the moments of integration of two already elderly brothers into a rural community. The heroes of Keyton and Neal find themselves, oddly enough, in a greater comfort zone being closer to the sheep and not to the people, not to each other. They go into voluntary solitude that allows them not only to create a big secret, but also to live all the time with the dream and hope of rebirth (of the sheep business that they love so much to run). The movie Rams is moderately allegorical, when they hide in the name the relations of brothers and their strange communication, and are also moderately realistic when they show people united by the hardships of life.
The action of Rams takes place in the vicinity of Mount Barker in SA. The family business of the brothers Grimurson, middle-aged Colin (Sam Neil) and Les (Michael Caton), in breeding a special breed of galangal sheep, is still flourishing, at exhibitions their rams are always positioned as the best breeding producers.
But between the brothers themselves, there has long been a discord, they do not speak to each other for a whole forty years after all the land gets inherited by the more economic Colin. The director shows in the first episode the character of Neil, who comes out to the flock of sheep with the words "Well, hello, beauties", which without any extra words and additional memories speaks of how much this man is in love with his native land and the animals he looks after. Of course, the low mesh fence that separates Colin's territory from the Les' domain is alarming, but the way he treats the newborn lamb, with what care he takes it to his brother's house, characterizes his unity with nature. A little later, at the agricultural exhibition, Sims will introduce viewers to other sheep breeders, the big Lionel (Wayne Blair), the derisive Fergo (Travis McMahon) as well as the enterprising Frenchie (Kipan Rothbury), who do not hide their admiration for the ram that Colin brought to the public. The more enclosed Les also arrived with his "pet", which earned the highest rating from the veterinarian Kat (Miranda Richardson, "Churchill"). For the character of Neil, the victory of his brother, who bypassed him at the last stage of the competition, is perceived as a rather personal insult, for many years now hardworking and putting all his mental and physical strength into sheep breeding, Colin very often turns out to be the second. This seems to him undeserved, but suddenfly the events turn the way that makes all livestock breeders flinch: an infectious Ione's disease, is found in the victorious breeding ram, which threatens the entire livestock of unique creatures. This means that all the sheep in the valley must be destroyed, the process of quarantining the territories is controlled by the classic official from the agricultural department, Brian De Bris (Leon Ford), who is not very smart and does not understand that the destruction of all sheep of a rare breed will be an irreparable blow to farmers and their families. Colin, realising that sheep were much more for his family than just animals. The breeding of such beautiful animals brings a regular income and Colin decides to hide some number of sheep secretly from everyone in his house during a two-year quarantine in order to keep the breed from extermination.
Colin's reclusive manner and his unsociability especially begin to bother everyone when people start to guess about the sheep hidden in the house not only by the strong smell. Sims' film is multidimensional. This drama is connected with the quiet whispers of redemption in the background. The pair of actors, Michael Keyton and Sam Neal carry the obvious intrigue of the coming reconciliation throughout the film, but they do it so skillfully that this entire agricultural saga begins to take on the character of a parable. Their on-screen opposition and their portrayal of the main characters are so natural that only a small editing correction is required for a performance that delights the audience. They are remarkable as always! Sims is convincing in portraying the general culture of the Australian ( in this case, farming) community that subsists on the land and in showing how Australians feel about farmed animals. The director delves into the generosity of the settlers' emotions, which they show in relation to their pets and do not always behave the same in relation to their loved ones. Sims builds communication with a few, very limited words, facial expressions and wonderful music by Anthony Partos ("Robot Child"), which radiates maximum warmth and is based on the active use of country motives.
Screenwriter Jules Duncan kept the overall trajectory of the project from its Icelandic originals, but brought out many of the Australian features and colored the finale in lighter colors, adding a smidge of romantic interest from the gorgeous Miranda Richardson, who showed her special heartfelt interest in the two Australian blocks, one of whom is a successful and charismatic alcoholic Les, and the other sees nothing and no one around him, except for breeding magnificent sheep.
Sims filmed it in such a unique way that the positive impression of the film is enhanced by the way the Australian people treat the challenges of nature. The extreme cycle plays a very important role in the project, the director shows the forests in fires, smoke and cattle diseases as everyday challenges for Colin, Les and everyone else, which does not even give them the opportunity to even think about the comfort zone and peace of mind. Focusing traditionally for films with a similar concept on the problems and traditions of the family, Sims occasionally adds comic elements to the story and shows the most beautiful panoramic landscapes of Australia. It is obvious that the project, relying on the rude Australian humor, remains on the territory of overcoming the personal stubbornness of each of the brothers and shows how much strength is required to overcome the severe mental trauma inflicted on the closest person. Needless to say, Sims' picture takes a more trivial look at the features of the sheep pandemic than its Icelandic prototype, dark and atmospheric. In every sense, the picture turns out to be a real Australian film, in which the mentality, location and the simplest attitude to life of almost all characters are trademarks. The personal crisis that Colin and Les are going through shows two completely different paths to understanding the nature of kinship and the relationship between relatives. Michael Keyton's stubbornness, impulsiveness and arrogance allow Sims to get a character that is unpredictable and uncontrollable, but has not turned into a social outcast with all its oddities. Les is an excellent breeder with a grumpy and hard temper, but he is respected in his environment and his authority is enormous. The tonal range of emotions in Sims' film turns out to be quite wide and extends from the raw drama, where the constant presence of fire in the third act also makes the relationship between the brothers shine with a bright light, to a rough farce in which the Grimurons unite and go openly against a government official and the official authorities.
The lack of perfection can be attributed to one of the main advantages of this film, which turns into a real memorable journey filled with laughter and tears. Therefore, Rams turn out to be like a friendly hug, when it's just good that there is a person nearby, for whom you don't need to invent any special words and be happy just from silence.
There’s no pulling the wool over the Grimurson brothers’ eyes.
When it comes to breeding a rare flock of sheep – the Dorset Horn – there is none better. It is in their DNA.
Each year, Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton) battle it out for best ram in the Mt Barker region of WA, something all locals hold in high regard.
Highly competitive, the pair has set up their operations adjacent to one another, but they haven’t spoken in 40 years.
They are stubborn and unrelenting.
In fact, they are both loners and communication – not just with each other, but with their neighbours – is not their strong suit.
The basis of their feud is unknown.
Then a shock discovery by Colin changes the fortunes of the entire community.
A highly infectious disease – Ovine Johne’s Disease or OJD – has for the first time made its way to this part of Australia.
All sheep will have to be destroyed and rigorous quarantine measures undertaken.
Further, best case scenario, it will be two years before the animals can be reintroduced into the region.
The brothers are particularly badly affected.
They’re not aided by an Agriculture Department official – De Vries (Leon Ford) – with a tin ear.
Les, always prone to heavy drinking, imbibes even more.
Colin hatches a secret plan.
Neill, in particular, is outstanding as the younger sibling.
His silences and expressions are as informative as his punctuated dialogue.
Caton provides a strong, combative counterpoint.
I also appreciated the empathetic portrayal of the vet and judge, Kat, by Miranda Richardson.
Wayne Blair presents as a fun-loving knockabout bloke, Lionel, Colin’s mate.
The landscape is wonderful and the cinematography by Steve Arnold breathtaking.
The score by Antony Partos gives the piece a nice tempo as director Jeremy Sims (Last Cab to Darwin) gives RAMS plenty of room to breathe.
The Icelandic film upon which this is based, released in 2015, was noteworthy.
This too – with its decidedly Aussie sensibilities as captured by writer Jules Duncan – hits the mark nicely, even if some of the humour was twee and the film went on a tad too long.
Rated PG, it scores a 7 to 7½ out of 10.
SPREAD YOUR WINGS NEW website review by Max Davine
Donne-moi des ailes Review by Max Davine
In telling the true story of wild goose specialist Christian and the role his son played in his enormous – and incredibly risky – migration experiment, Nicholas Vanier proves that sticking to the familiar formula can feel beautifully original and still take an audience on a heart-warming and even exciting story.
The six stages of plot structure are hit virtually to the minute, but Varnier allows cinematographer Eric Guichard and composer Armand Amar to run rampant – their full skills are on striking display here – to the degree that audiences will soon forget they’ve seen all this many times before. Lilou Fogli, Christian Moullec, Mathieu Petit and Varnier knew what they were doing with the script, and the time saved trying to deviate from the tried-and-tested is clearly spent working on some enchantingly sweet, witty, and all-round well-crafted dialogue. Unfortunately, the English translation fails to do it justice. Icon Distribution owes its non-French audiences better than what we got with this one, and not up to the standard set by Varnier, et al.
Lovely, honest, tender performances by Jean-Paul Rouve, Melanie Doutey, and Fredric Saurel make an unbelievable story true to the viewer. Varnier handles his actors and Guichard’s camera gives them room to breathe and move and just be – you’d never believe the story otherwise.
At times self-indulgent, somewhat overlong due to editors having fallen in love with certain shots, and shadowed by an unnecessary but thankfully glanced-over romantic underlay, Spread Your Wings is nothing new in the best and most entertaining sort of way.
"Dawn raids were a common event in Auckland, New Zealand, during a crackdown on illegal overstayers from the Pacific Islands from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. The raids were first introduced in 1973 by Norman Kirk's Labour government and were continued by Rob Muldoon's National government. These operations involved special police squads conducting raids on the homes and workplaces of overstayers throughout New Zealand usually at dawn. Overstayers and their families were often prosecuted and then deported back to their countries"
It is a New Zealand documentary about the famous musical band called Dawn Raid. It honestly describes the raise and downfall of the successful group. The band was established by two young guys who met at the business school accidentally and had a chat finding out a lot more about each other and deciding to set up a music band. They had not a clear business plan of what it will be like nor had an idea on how to develop it. The accidents were following the accidents we believe that lead to something very big and bringing lots of money.
The two guys were Danny Leaoasavai’i, a Polynesian gang member and Andy Murnane, a white guy. The plan was to establish a record label but to start off they required some cash and decided to earn money through selling cool and fashionable T-shirts. The establishment brought them loads of cash as the products were quite popular.
The next step led them to hire a Russian sound engineer who was quite skillful and practically was close to none in his field. For him also it was a great opportunity to explore a new country and settle in New Zealand with his family and wife.
Mike, Andy's father was a great support to the label and was a back bone to the business with his own money support as well as expertise in operation advice and accounting. The plan was to attract the artists alike and it basically worked very well. The success followed the business and the money flow was unbelievable.
It suddenly went down with the word changing and larger music labels appearing on eth market. As I mentioned earlier this documentary is quite honest and it reveals all the wins as well as the losses and what in reality went so wrong. The destination is not relevant - the journey is. It taught them a lot I believe.
The film will suit the hip hop lovers who enjoy the music and are interested in the history of it in New Zealand. The graphics in the documentary is amazing and involved lots of work.
A story of aspiration and achievement, crash and burn, Dawn Raid Entertainment became an institution in New Zealand in the late ‘90s and noughties.
Co-founded by a couple of young big guys from South Auckland who met at business school – they only completed a little more than a year – and didn’t have much idea of what they were doing, the doco is a ripper.
The pair – Danny Leaoasavai’i, a Polynesian gang member and rapper who had been into bad stuff like fighting and drugs and Andy Murnane, a white kid who got into a lot of trouble as a teenager – took on and eventually conquered The Big Apple.
They wanted to form a record label, but had no money, so they began by selling t-shirts with counterculture messages from a market.
Well … that little enterprise exploded and they were on their way.
A range of businesses followed, including renting premises where they built a production studio, which they had no idea how to operate.
So, they hired a sound engineer who had previously lived and worked in Uzbekistan.
Andy’s father, Mike, provided advice, acted as guarantor and put up his house as collateral to allow this all to happen.
But the doco suggests the boys made the most of the situation and the times based on gut instinct.
They advertised in a free paper in an endeavour to attract hip hop artists and it worked.
The documentary includes compelling interviews with the co-founders, Andy’s dad and five of the big acts they signed.
Record label execs and a film producer are also on the menu.
Money started pouring in and deal after deal followed, with corporate types lining up to cash in on Dawn Raid’s foothold on the youth market.
But with increasing success and more staff came heavy expenses.
The music industry was changing and Dawn Raid took its eyes off the ball.
Then, it became a question of whether anything could be rescued or resurrected from the ruins.
Complete with a surfeit of historic footage, the documentary lifts the lid on what went down over a most exciting and tumultuous decade or so.
All those spoken to are erudite and expressive. They don’t hold back.
The good, the bad and the ugly are exposed, although I would have liked to see even more about the down times.
It comes across that for much of the time, Andy and Danny were flying by the seat of their pants.
They were bold and brash – larger than life figures – and learned plenty along the way.
You can’t help but warm to them and to all those who speak out.
It matters not whether or not you like hip hop – although I, for one, loved the soundtrack – Dawn Raid serves as a life lesson for those who have ambition and drive.
Visually, the doco is arresting.
In fact, the whole thing has been beautifully written by Matthew Metcalfe (McLaren) and packaged by Oscar Kightley, in his documentary directorial debut.
This is up there with the very best music docos.
Incidentally, the name Dawn Raid came from a dig at a harsh practice by New Zealand in the ‘70s.
That’s when the country’s leaders actively sought out and expelled Islanders who had overstayed their work permits, as they attributed Polynesians with fostering increased hostility.
Based on the novel of the same name by Colin Neal, the Franco-German crime drama by Dominic Moll is based on several somehow connected stories that intertwine with each other closer to the film finale. The structure of this European picture seems to be inspired by the art works of the famous Korean movie director Hong Sang Sun. The story is first told from the perspective of one of the characters, and then we go back in time and everything is repeated anew from different perspectives. We plunge into the world of another character and see the story with a new layer of events while we finally build the wholesome story line after all four story-lines are told. Moll's detective unfolds slowly, allowing the viewer to enjoy the atmosphere of what is taking place. We are allowed to feel the inner world of each character and to go through their own "truths". The film is starring Denis Menoche, Lor Kalami, Damien Bonnard, Nadia Tereshkevich, Bastien Bullon, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Jenny Bellay, Fred Ulysses, Roland Plantin and Colin Neal.
A wealthy Parisian woman, Evelyn Duca (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) goes missing somewhere in the vicinity of an alpine village. The police is unable to find any evidence pointing to the woman's whereabouts. In the process of unraveling the detective tangle, people who are not related to each other are involved in the case: there is a local farmer Michel and his wife, an African swindler who lives on the other side of the planet, a village outcast and a woman suffering from unrequited love.
There are episodic extraordinary characters placed around a mysterious victim whose body has not been shown to us for a long time. In the first half of the picture, the question “Does Evelyn Duke really exist?” may quite naturally arise, because we do not know anything about the her and do not even really imagine how she looks and why she is required in this film. While the plot unfolds, the story of the missing girl becomes less significant however the rest of the participants in the events come to the fore.
The endless winter landscapes add to the confusion in the minds of the main characters: the mental patient, the husband lost in cyber and fake "relationship" , his poor wife suffering from disconnection etc. They are all shown against the harsh and rather depressive weather conditions which a two-hour narration is conducted. This alone gives the film that special "light Scandinavian charm". There are some episodes where there is practically no dialogue taking place between the characters, there are no action taking place either: you can just enjoy panoramas of the landscapes by cinematographer Patrick Giringelli. Women are the center of the movie. Moll reveals the main intrigue of the picture with the help of an appeal to corporeality: there is quite a wide variety of intimate scenes in which the characters are revealed from a new angle.
One of the main characters, the farmer Michel (Denis Menoche) suffers from his own low self-esteem and dissatisfaction in his family life. Watching this character and his virtual romantic relationship with a (fake) girl, whose account is actually a fraudster, one cannot fail to note themselves in such not existing relationship. Michel is possessed by his own weakness and impulsiveness. He does not have any degree on danger in such situation; he also strangely rushes into there "relationship" enjoying all the "goodness" it brings to him, escaping from a psychiatric reality and real flesh, basically clinically escaping from himself. He even has a courage to allow himself to commit to such relationship and leave his farm, his family life and his wife at the end of the story.
Each character of the movie is deeply lonely in different ways but with lots of similarities and, as a result, they all seek love: one from a lost mental male character, the other : from lesbian connections, the next - from the not existing cyber sex.
The German director examines their inner loneliness from different angles, revealing the causal of such relationships that led each of them to this state. Dominique Moll painstakingly paints portraits of motley characters, as if drawing pictures at gunpoint, with no room for error. Every stroke means something. Each of his lines and detail is there, in the frame for a deep reason. The detective component of the film reminds us the craft of Conan Doyle.
The script is also verified to the smallest detail, it is also rather impressive, leaving almost no questions unanswered closer to the final. The director skillfully balances between wealth and poverty, male and female, diluting the growing "detective suspense" with small splashes of melodrama and comedy.
The film is a must see and is a vivid, expressive and distinctive picture indeed I enjoyed watching a lot.
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 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 ordinary farmers have to go through to survive 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 by 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.
Rated M, it scores an 8 out of 10.
CORPUS CHRISTI BEST MOVIE OF THE MONTH website RATE: 10/10
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.