We are thrust once again onto the front of valuing lives, with The Ice Road leading the way through the second-half of 2021 - a period where individualistic existence is paramount.
Here is a flick embodying a laborious rescue mission in the frozen norths of Canada, where an underground mine has collapsed due to an explosion, trapping several dozen miners within. And several truckers are assigned to haul drilling units to that rough terrain, taking on a long and winding Ice Road. Needless to say, the challenges faced were equally paramount.
One can easily enjoy the character-builds by the stellar cast of those truckers - Liam Neeson and Laurence Fishburne. Both of these giants do seem to set a pace of life of rural North America and Canada, including what it means to be a trucker.
The Ice Road is a movie to be reckoned with, having struck thoughts and emotions that have long since been buried within us, much alike those miners.
It is well known that art reflects life reflects art. So it has always been, and so it is with James Gun’s The Suicide Squad. The parallels should not be underestimated, as an incredible talent, known for their skill finds themselves losing their place and being cast out for morally grey actions, only to be given a second chance by an underdog and proving themselves to be the hero needed to save the day. James Guns forceful departure from the MCU and subsequent arrival into the DCEU side of things is a nauced topic, but it can truly only be seen as a net gain for the latter and a regrettable loss for the former. Much like the antiheroes and side villains in its cast, The Suicide Squad goes above and beyond to prove itself and its excellence.
The film is an incredible blending of genres and tones. Switching seamlessly from the ultra-violent gore that the subject manner implies, to the laugh out loud comedy, Gun is known for. The film tackles serious topic and is unafraid dip its toes in dicey waters, but delivers its sermon with such irreverence and flippancy that it is almost impossible to not forgive its messaging. The characters are incredibly well written, their problems and emotional baggage are realistic and present, without being overdone. It is not an easy thing to create an emotional attachment with a character that you are pretty sure is going to die in the space an hour or less. That Gun is bale to do so, repeatedly, with varies types of characters is a testament to his skill. Following the school of show don’t tell, the audience is given just enough to extrapolate and build up the story in their mind, combining the incredible work by the cast and crew in order to extend this movie far beyond its runtime.
It’s not all feeling and hidden tears, The Suicide Squad is without a doubt a dark comedy. The characters banter with the best of them. Their comedic timing is on point and as much as it can without undercutting the emotional messages, this film packed itself to the gills with jokes upon jokes. As if that wasn’t an impressive enough display, Gun seems intent on showing off and filling the film with character death so numerous and needlessly brutal as to make J.R.R.Martin blush. To gruesomely kill off a character in some overly violent and overtly dehumanising way is not an achievement, to do so to an established character after building rapport and making your audience like them, and to do in such a way as to make the audience laugh about it? There is a point being made here. Regardless of any subtextual meanings and behind the scenes drama though, it is undeniable that we the audience are the beneficiaries of the struggle.
Those unfortunate enough to have seen the first Suicide Squad will notice quite a few recurring characters and cast members. This time given the chance to shine and truly show their worth. Working with the new cast to build out this films impressive line-up. Every single actors brings their A-game to this production. From the breakout role of Daniela Melchior, as the loveable Rat catcher 2, to the unsurprisingly adept performances of Idris Elba and Margot Robbie as Bloodsprt and Harley Quin. Even Sylvester Stallone makes the most out of his material and turns the objectively terrifying King Shark into a lovable murder-pet that must be kept safe at all costs. Every single person working on this film knew exactly what they were doing and they did it well.
From the gorgeous cinematography, to the flawless editing, perfectly selected music, even the set design and costumes are so unbelievably on point. This is an incredible film. It’s a hilarious, emotional rollercoaster, with enough gore to fill a mortuary. This could very well be James Guns Magnum Opus, and it worth watching for anyone old enough to be allowed into the cinema.
comedy Director: Emma Seligman Cast: Rachel Sennott, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Polly Draper, Molly Gordon
After casual sex with her "sponsoring" sugar daddy, Max (Danny Deferrari), young student Danielle (Rachel Sennott) rushes to Shiva - a funeral, that gathered all the cream of the local Jewish community. But looks like this time the constant questioning coming from her parents' friends about romantic partners, work, college and future plans is the least on her mind and of her problems. Danielle's ex-girlfriend, adored by all, Maya (Molly Gordon), suddenly appears at the commemoration, but (surprise-surprise!) there is Max himself there with (second surprise!) a baby and an offensively successful and beautiful wife, the existence of which Danielle did not even know. During the commemoration, she will have to maneuver between curious neighbors, the ex (Maya), for whom she seems to still have feelings, and her deceiving lover, Max while doing everything possible not to go crazy here and now. It is uncomfortable to say the least, nut more precise: it is "claustrophobic", Danielle is short of fresh air in that environment, her "plans" and seemingly :making sense" and (hm...) "income" world suddenly falls apart...
As well as a decent number of directorial debuts by American directors of the past ten years, this full feature film grew out of the short film of the same name, and this, of course, is quit significant: at the worst moments it starts to feel that the director repeats herself over and over again, forcing Danielle to live another hectic conversation just in order to stretch the time a little longer. It is a perfect example of how a young filmmaker can returns to her original art work and develops a story that is obviously close to her heart to fill up the full feature film. Seligman's debut is not just a repetition of the material covered; it is her homework on mistakes; it is also stronger development of her directorial and screenwriting skills. Therefore, the best compliment to a young director would be: her 80-minute film resembles a short film only in that it flies by as imperceptibly as its eight-minute original. Well done! I felt so much for this girl. It almost felt like she reminded me of my own first love and my first disappointment: rules breaking and world breaking!
Emma Seligman's debut is a thoroughly Jewish, uncomfortable comedy on the verge of an airtight thriller and painful horror, which equally successfully grabs the audience's attention and makes you step away from the screen, relax and exhale after this torture of all tortures finishes. This is the main success and loss of the film: some of you will be fascinated by this farce, cramped and annoying atmosphere, the others simply will not be able to withstand the endless bullying of the main character, who did not deserve it.
The film is certainly not a statement about the toxic religious society that smiles hypocritically in your eyes, but enjoys criticizing you behind your back simply because you don't fit in and are trying to find your way. No, this is rather a "representation": both bisexual Jewish women with sugar-daddies, and naive, insecure and confused twenty-year-old girls who seem to have cut off the umbilical cord and become independent from their parents, but still need someone who will reach out their hand at the right time and help them just to be. This is probably why the film is definitely not a local Jewish comedy, but rather as a universal and close to many story of growing up, which after 80 mocking minutes gave the viewer one of the most optimistic and honest finals in the recent years. Again, well done! 8/10
review by Alex First of MAPT
Shiva Baby (M) – 77 minutes – by Alex First
A sexually charged comedy, Shiva Baby is an awkward delight.
Daniella (Rachel Sennott) is a 20-something year old sugar baby, part of a close-knit Jewish community.
Her highly opinionated mother Debbie (Polly Draper) who is constantly bickering with her father, Joel (Fred Melamed), loves her dearly, but is controlling and smothering.
Debbie invites Dani to attend the Shiva Minyan (memorial service) for a member of the community who has passed away.
Dani does so, mind you she struggles not to appear disingenuous because she really doesn’t know who the Shiva Minyan is for.
As soon as Dani arrives, she spots a friend she grew up with, but someone she is desperately trying to avoid.
It soon becomes clear that something went down with that friend, Maya (Molly Gordon), a law student.
Meanwhile, soon thereafter Dani does a double take when she spots the gentleman who she has just “serviced”.
He – Max (Danny Defferari) – is equally taken by surprise.
Both appear to genuinely like one another, but things are about to get decidedly more uncomfortable.
That happens when Dani discovers Max is married to a beautiful, non-Jewish blonde entrepreneur, Kim (Dianna Agron), and the pair has an 18-month-old daughter, both of whom join Max.
Further, the history of Dani’s relationship with Maya is also revealed as the cattiness between that pair continues.
Shiva Baby becomes an hilarious free for all with a crackerjack final act.
The movie works magnificently with Jewish cliches – think stereotypes, food, weight, career and relationships.
Characterisations are deliberately inflated, but relatable and in the main plausible, notwithstanding a few instances where I felt the exaggeration went too far.
Writer and director Emma Seligman has done a fine job capturing the claustrophobic nature of Dani’s increasingly harried mind.
The vast majority of the action takes place at the home where the Shiva Minyan is taking place.
The camera often focuses on Dani’s body language, actions and interactions with lightning impact.
The stringed score by composer Ariel Marx adds to the tension.
Much credit goes to actors Rachel Sennott and Molly Gordon for the work they’ve put into crafting their characters.
Sennott brilliantly captures the embarrassment and fear involved in the predicament Dani – who hasn’t determined what she will make of her life – finds herself in.
Gordon appears to effortlessly turn up the heat at will.
There is also much in the “looks” between Sennott and Danny Deferrari.
Shiva Baby has been designed to put a smile on your dial and it succeeds in doing so.
If this isn’t the most uncomfortable memorial service to which you have been privy, I would have to say your life is a whole lot more “out there” than mine.
It is a story about a girl named Sam, who is a killer, same as her mother. While completing a task, the girl got into an unpleasant situation. She has to correct it and she fights for truth. What can I say about the film? This movie reminded me of "Finished" with Margot Robbie. I even thought that the film was directed by the same director, but it turned out that it was not. which honestly surprised me, because both films are very similar in spirit.
From a visual point of view, it turned out to be a rather bright, neon movie, with well-posed fights and skirmishes. It has a downright action, almost blood-like-Tarantino's films. As for the story itself, I can not really say that there were some super surprises. The main character's story is quite clear and understandable. It was interesting to watch her, she turned out to be not boring and with her own inner drama.
I would like to note that the film has a pretty good cast. Karen Gillan (Sam) is very honest, genuine actress for me, Karen is very similar to Nebula. I saw this actress in the lead role for the first time. She coped with her role so very well. Her character resembled the of Black Mamba from Kill Bill. Nevertheless her character is a killer, she is not a truly evil in nature person; she has a difficult relationship with her mother, which left a life imprint on her.
Lena Headey, Scarlet, plays Sam's mother, She sis not have a lot of screen time, honestly, but in general she fit perfectly well into her character. Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett "gang" harmoniously complemented the women's company which felt incredibly well like women's-power.
In general, the film turned out to be more like a clip action movie with an adult rating (violence and blood). Sam "kick" a bunch of villains and at the same time comes out almost "dry out of water". There are lots of staged fight scenes and they are very well made so those who love unreal fights with fake blood will love it. The soundtrack is quite organic and goes well along with what is happening on the screen. The cast is not bad overall. With all the advantages and positive views on the film though, I cannot say that the movie turned out to be outstanding in its genre. It is such a mediocre, walk-through movie, and soon to forget. It seems to be not bad, but not a masterpiece, so in general, you might watch it once and get it out of your mind.
Welcome to Space Jam! The Millennium Game will begin in a few minutes. On the right side of the basketball court is the world famous player, James LeBron, who is the head of the Looney Tunes, multi-legends team led by Bugs Bunny. On the left side are Star Bouncers fully and digitally charged. It's the father against the son. Who will put the winning ball into the basket?
What is it all about This is a sequel to the 25-year-old animated basketball film for children. But this time it is not the world famous Michael Jordan starring, but another superstar of American professional basketball, LeBron James, playing himself. LeBron dreams of a sports career for his son, Dominic, but the boy dreams of playing computer games, and he has his own basketball - the online simulator, Dombol developed by him.
Father and son come to the Warner Bros. studio, where they get acquainted with artificial intelligence, Al Ji Rhythm and the technology created by it - the ability to integrate a computer model of any person into films or games. Al G Rhythm tricks LeBron into the digital world of Warner Bros., where a basketball player meets Bugs Bunny the rabbit and other cartoon characters forced to work for AI. Al Ji, who has enslaved Dominic as well, tells LeBron that he can take his son if he beats him at Dombol. The athlete is recruiting a team of classic Looney Tunes characters: Speedy, Lola, Granny, Duffy Duck, Elmer and other heroes of his youth.
Why do we have to watch this? First of all, this is an educational movie. In addition to providing important insight into LeBron James's athletic performance in the real world, the movie provides an extensive overview of the Warner Bros. cinematic universe. There are the adventures of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, DC animated series and many other products of the powerful film empire who coexist. For children, this is at least an exciting excursion that will allow them to get acquainted with an important part of the history of cinema. Well, for their parents: it is all about a nostalgic journey with humor and unexpected intersections of characters so familiar from thier childhood. But the film also has its own find: artificial intelligence performed by Don Cheadle (Rhodey from MCU Iron Man), who played an operetta villain reminiscent of Sylvester Stallone's character in Spy Kids 3. And the Al Ji basketball team is played by digitized real champions of the NBA, each of whom has a superpower in the virtual space.
Why would you not watch? Let's start with the fact that now there is no space in the "Space Jam". Instead, there is a virtual space of the computer simulator....and simulation is hm... simulation. The product looks secondary, even for LeBron James, this is far from the first film role, and his sports career is long in the past. 25 years ago Michael Jordan was not only much more of a media person, but also h was more relevant as an athlete, and his appearance on the screen became a sensation. At the same time, the sequel is extremely delayed and spends too much time on boring and pretentious conversations. It was the first movie this year I walked out from. Another disappointment was the redesign of the Looney Tunes characters in the spirit of "silicone graphics". Compared to the classic rendering, they do not look so charming (especially for Lola Bunny, who was deprived of all signs of sexuality). However, it can be some kind of "a fig in the pocket" from the creators of the picture, especially since the main villain supplies the heroes with a new look. It turns out that old LeBron is right: it was all much better before, and the new generation is not going there anymore. Not into space, but... into simulation (read: digital).
My overal impression Not really my kind of film. I am not a fan of basktball, nor I am a big fan of fusions that troll your mind into the reality that is never there... This film I would not show to my kids if they were still small and thank god they will not show this to their kids: th film does teach you nothing: no kindness, no creativity , no love, no compassion... just g*e, sorry WB.
Happiness is a business. It is not the business of Jessica Hausners latest film Little Joe however. An arthouse dramatic horror about the viral spread of a malicious flower. Parallels drawn between it and M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film, The Happening should not be ignored as Hausner seems to draw inspiration from that particular train wreck every step of the way. Hiring a talented cast list with gold to their names, presumably luring them in with vague notions of a phycological thriller with a pseudo-scientific antagonist, only to throw a half-baked exposition dump about plants at them and roll the cameras while they are still reeling. It would be unfair to criticise the actors for their incredibly poor performances in this film as it seems unlikely that any actor could have done better.
The film relies heavily on its dialogue, choosing to tell instead of show at every turn and filling nearly every scene with unnecessary exposition. Line deliveries are awkward out of necessity as the unrealistic word choices in every scene make for such janky conversation that any emotional investment is doomed to be out of character. The actors are then forced to rely on a crutch of blank faced wooden acting. Preferring to resemble a set of talking mannequins, rather than have their characters happily pronounce how sad they are that their confused and ostracised, yet still loved co-worker had her dog killed last night. This confusing mess of tones and impossible context means that whenever any of the actors take a risk and attempt to express some kind of feeling, it ends up resembling a middle school performance of Hamlet; They know their lines and emote for all they’re worth, but they don’t seem to understand the text well enough to match the two up properly.
This disconnect is felt throughout every part of this movie, but nowhere is it more apparent than it the film messages and tones. Hausner and cowriter Géraldine Bajard were not trying to be subtle when they put this script together. Little Joe is rife with heavy handed allegory and on the nose (technically) subtext. Ambitious in its goals, the film is not content to merely beat its audience over the head with its message of motherhood and obsession, it instead attempts to use a frame of mental illness and social normality as its bludgeoning weapon of choice. The film is intercut with the main characters numerous visits to her therapist, which would allow for a grounding effect on any hot takes the filmmakers may have had, if only they could get out of their own way. Characters make a mockery of suicide and phycological pain, degrading the validity of their social punching bag by way of their mental health. They end their blatant attacks with self serving cries of “I would be the last one to judge her”, they bookend their defence of one another with public ridicule and the rallying cry of “I’m not like you”. All of which could be forgiven if the film contained a single character to be the voice of reason and not behave in the same way. Barring that, if the film was making some statement on morality, doing anything except reward those who tear down those around them. Instead, it is all to serve an attempted subversion, hinting at an unreliable narrator, which was doomed from the start as any ambiguity was lost in the first five minutes when the film firmly established its own reality. A reality that not only seems to normalise domestic violence, but does so with a setting so full of plot holes and fantastical pseudoscience that it seems to shatter upon even the slightest of inspections. It’s not really a spoiler to say that the film relies of a sentient species of genetically modified orchid that uses a base of viral psychology in order to achieve a form of telepathic hive mind, as its main antagonist. That is the premise upon which this entire story is built. All of which is established verbally, by characters either making unreconcilable leaps of logic, or by simply knowing what the plot demands them to, despite them having no earthly business knowing such things. To list the numerous examples of this film tripping over its own logic, I.e Two characters are infected, yet only one is infected until later when they are infected again; would take longer then the film itself.
To the films credit though, Martin Gschlacht did a wonderful job as director of photography. The Austrian born producer clearly brought his A game for this one. Filling every shot of highly saturated bright pastels. From the lighting, to the set designs, to the costumes, even the makeup; Gschlacht’s work is the one part of this film that all works together perfectly. The visual imagery is strong, and the message clear. Fans of Wes Anderson will notice similar styling and (likely unintentional) homages throughout. In particular the use of aqua pastels in contrast to stark reds is prevalent from start to finish and gets better as the film progresses. Likewise, Anthony Platt’s special effects work, while sparse and incredibly limited, was a pleasant surprise every time it appeared. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Teiji Ito’s sound design, filling the movie with distracting drum motifs, jarring and tonally off soundbites, and an overall compelling argument for a resurgence in silent film.
More than any auditory or horticulturally based danger though, the true horror of Little Joe lies in its runtime. At 1 hour and 45 minutes long, the movie is about 3 times what it should be. With a plot that would fit into a poem, or perhaps a concise short story, the lengths Hausner has gone to, to stretch her material are astonishing to behold. To say the plot drags would be understatement not seen since brigadier Thomas Brodie described the massacre of his men as “a bit of a sticky situation”. Watching this movie is a bit like trying to sprint a marathon. Within 5 minutes you realise you have made a mistake, within 30 the thought quitting has arisen and by the hour you’re ready to make a deal with Satan if only it would stop. Unlike running a marathon though, completion of this film does not leave one feeling fulfilled, having conquered a challenge, but rather empty, like you have lost precious moments of your life, never to see them again. Little Joe is to be avoided at all costs and added to the Geneva convention as a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
ROSA'S WEDDING NEW website review by Sherry Westley
The film Rosa’s Wedding has received various Spanish film awards: Best Comedy, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress In a Leading Role, and a Special Jury Award. It was also chosen to open the Spanish Film Festival in Melbourne.
It is basically a simple feel good comedy with an unusual twist.
Forty-five year old seamstress Rosa realises her life is like a marathon race, as she good heartedly struggles to balance an overloaded job with the demands of her needy adult family, friends and neighbours. Even her boyfriend is too busy with work to listen intently to her or provide much support.
Rosa finally realises she wants to now start prioritising her own needs. She quits her job and moves from Valencia to a small seaside town, where her mother’s old Taylor’s shop is vacant and still owned by her widowed father.
To symbolise this major change in her life, she decides to marry herself, committing to care for, honour and love herself. Sounds a bit like a dose of hard feminist ideology? No, actually Rosa is a loving, sensible person, not given to philosophising or blame. It’s all very positive and amusing.
She invites her immediate family and boyfriend to the small town to attend her wedding. Crucially, she omits to explain the context and nature of the wedding. A situation ripe for lots of misunderstanding and farce.
I enjoyed all the main actors in this, especially those playing Rosa and her two siblings. But there was a point where I thought the farce of misunderstanding between them went on for too long. That’s down to the director/writer no doubt.
But overall it was a warm, amusing, straightforward film. A good family film, especially if you have high school aged children!
DATING AMBER NEW website review by Katherine Kelly
Dating Amber is a delightful comedy drama about two closeted gay teenagers Amber (Lola Petticrew) and Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) who start a “relationship” for the duration of their final school year to counteract the unrelenting bullying by their dim-witted classmates. Suspecting that Eddie is also gay and after some coercive persuasion they go “steady” in order to get their obnoxious classmates off their backs.
Set in Kildare in 1995 - the year of a referendum to amend Divorce bill. In those times, it was very tricky for young gay people to live “under cover” - in denial or repression with the feeling that they were not fitting in.
Amber’s strict, widowed mother operates a caravan park where Amber secretly makes money by renting out vacant caravans for her schoolmates to have sex. With this money Amber plans to escape to London, become a punk, and open “an anarchist bookshop – with franchise potential”.
Eddie, a school cadet, aspires to follow his father into the Army. His hopes are that the Army will “disappear” his gay tendencies. Meanwhile he lives in suppressed denial until Amber, who suspects he is gay, knocks him off his bike demanding a date and a “relationship”. It is seemingly a simple solution, but things become rather untidy - often with hilarious results.
When interviewed, Director David Freyne, a native of Kildare, said that Dating Amber largely autobiographical. He felt a sense of catharsis in making this film where he was able to connect with the anguish and insecurity of his college years.
Dating Amber was released in Australia on 8 July 2021. It is well worth seeing.
We have all been there, before the big screen, experiencing life through the eyes of someone who had been tossed with the tragedies of birth or childhood. And then to take on the steps to overcoming their biggest challenge - themselves.
One could cite similar accolades. Rocky. Remember The Titans. And now - Triumph.
What a remarkable piece of facing the odds, you'd be forced to wonder. We see a high school senior (Mike), enthralled with cerebral palsy and unable to control muscles on several limbs, to enroll into pro wrestling. Several scenes do hit the high notes of emotional strands (especially when Mike's own father is apprehensive of his abilities), and it is obvious then that mere mortals are more than flesh and blood.
Triumph is a giant of sports films, and a must-watch for the year.
Moon Bound is the story of siblings Peter and his younger sister, Anne. It also tells the story of a beetle named, Mr Zoomzeman, who needs a human to help him locate his missing arm and his wife, both of which are on the moon. It is a lighthearted story that begins with Peter and Anne moving to a new house where they need to share a bedroom. This gives Anne more time to tell Peter some far-fetched tales. He knows she has a vivid imagination, so when she tries telling him she is going to the moon to help Mr Zoomzeman, he thinks it is just another of her stories. When Peter realizes that Anne was in fact telling the truth, he follows her to try and bring her home and this is where their adventure starts. While trying to get to the moon, both Peter and Anne encounter some interesting characters, some good, some bad and some really cute.
Overall, this movie got the tick of approval from myself and the four children I attended with. Likeable and relatable characters with an easy-to-follow storyline for the younger crowd, meant we gave it a thumbs up.
Since the times of antiquity, immigration has been something of a sensitive subject. Those with vested interests have always made liberal use of misinformation and propaganda in order to perpetuate their own views. These views have historically gotten more extreme in response to political tensions and changes in leadership. The early 2020’s have shown themselves to be no different. When Anthony Woodley decided to direct a film about the refugee process, he almost certainly understood what he was doing. That he chose to reduce the risk of backlash, by crafting his film using an apolitical style of testimonial recreation is an excellent indicator of his lack of ideological intent. That his film has still managed to cause an uproar in a bipartisan attempt to deliberately misconstrue the film and apply ethic signalling, is an excellent indictor of mankind’s ability to make anything political.
The Flood follows immigration officer Wendy (Lena Headley) as she considers the case of an Eritrean refugee named Haile (Ivanno Jeremiah). The film acts as a mockumentary about Haile, as he progresses through the many stages of his application and undergoes his necessary interrogations. The secondary plot line acts as a dramatical reproduction of his responses to questioning. The film does have a number of side plots ongoing throughout its runtime, with most being largely inconsequential, slightly confused in their direction, or seeming to exist solely to muddle any potential message that may be construed.
Any problems with the story Helen Kingston has written are largely overshadowed by the excellent dialogue throughout the film. Kingston has an ear for dramatic tension and words people under pressure use. By using real world examples, she is able to create realistic experiences and ground her fiction with incredibly natural sounding interactions. This is aided of course, by the stellar cast Manuel Puro has managed to obtain. By its dramatic nature, The Flood puts its characters in positions of extreme distress. Asking its cast to portray a huge variety of emotions from euphoric triumph and childish glee, to suicidal depression and utter despair. That every member was able to pull of their roles so perfectly is a testament to the sheer skill of display. Not surprising considering the recent success of Lena Headey and Iain Glen. Much of the chemistry between the main cast can be attributed to the fact that they already have a history of working with one another. From Game of Thrones, to Black Mirror and Doctor Who, the vast majority of this films budget seems to have gone to cast salaries. A worthy investment as Billy Jupp’s score does very little for the film. Adding generic background noise and the occasional swell to add flair to a scene. Combined with Jon Muschamp’s incredibly flat cinematography and Mike Pike’s minimalist editing, The flood appears better equipped for TV than most made-for-TV movies. The hand-held cameras, natural lighting, minimalist aesthetic and simplistic backdrops give the film an authenticity that most documentaries lack. Aided by the shoestring budget, functional costumes and sets, lack of special effects and apparent use of drone shot B roll as locations markers, The Flood truly comes across like a documentary about fictional characters.
A highly grounded, plausible testimonial. The Flood gives multiple 1st person points of view into the current situation and realities on both sides. It is essentially a feature length dramatic reproduction of a potential refugee situation. It is passably entertaining, understandably depressing and unfortunately forgettable. A prime example of wasted talent, superb acting in a mediocre film. Without the political controversy and people from both sides attempting to apply a political message to it, The Flood would likely have been forgotten by Christmas.
In one moment Mark makes life changing decision, quiting his job and taking a trip to Italy to visit his grandparents' land.
While he connects with his childhood friends and visits all the places he remembers from his past, he makes a decision to stay on his land and continue his brandfather's legacy. He withdraws all his retirement savings and pays th 20 years worth of land taxes that has been owed.
Then he starts from scratch in vinery business without much clue on what to do, and the major events of the story unveil. He has ben followed to Italy by his wife and daughter, now his personal life comes to full...
It takes a brave director to attempt a film about colonialism these days. Even biographical stories are a writers nightmare. The near endless pit of exploitation films about savages vs civilisation, or the evils of empiricism vs the incorruptible purity of nativity has set the bar extremely low. Combine the seemingly infinite supply of both implicit and explicitly racist tropes, and trying to navigate the ideological mind field of period drama becomes near impossible. To their credit, both writer Rob Allyn and director Michael Haussman have clearly considered this and gone to great lengths to avoid these pitfalls.
Unfortunately, they have gone so far out of their way, they appear to have gotten lost and forgotten what they were doing. On paper at least, Edge of the world is a historical drama about Sir James Brooke, an Indian born, British soldier who was rewarded for restoring the Sultan of Brunei’s throne and crowned the first White Rajah of Sarawak. Following the beginning of his rule and his rise to power, Edge Of The World covers his 1838 arrival in Sarawak all the way to his declaration of sovereignty in 1842. To say that Allyn made liberal use of his creative license would be understatement of the highest order. Edge of the world leans heavily into the drama and all but casts away the history. Characters are introspective philosophers and allocate a significant portion of their time to soliloquies and rhetoric. People are invented and the those that did exist have their actions and motivations twisted to serve the plot. It may not be outright fantasy, but edge of the world earns its title of based on a true story using the same credentials as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
What is true, is that the cast for this film are all punching downwards. Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Otto Farrant carry this film as far as they can using only their personal charisma, Letting the star power of both Dominic Monaghan and Ralph Ineson coast them to just short of the finish line. Bront Palarae does his very best to give the stories antagonist a sense of depth and nuanced, but is hamstrung by dialogue clunkier than a wind up timepiece. Atiqah Hasiholan and newcomer Samo Rafael likewise give their all to the roles they are given, but have been handed so little to work with, their efforts were doomed from the start. All characters in this film are one dimensional at best, with many so vaguely fleshed out, their presence on the credits list likely surprises them as much as the audience. The dialogue fluctuates between Shakespearean melodrama and psychedelic navel gazing. Combined with the budget constraint the film was clearly under and the best efforts of the costume department, Edge of the world seems much more like a proshot LARP campaign.
The films re-enactment aesthetic would likely be forgivable, if the pacing were not equally unbalanced. With a 104 minute runtime, this movie should fly by, yet audiences are likely to find themselves spending just as much time looking at their watches as they are the screen. Despite, or perhaps because of the dearth of sub plots this movie attempts to keep running simultaneously, the main plot is dragged out until it risks being forgotten midway. Focussing instead on romantic developments, abandonment fears, commitment issues, family squabbles and strife, political manoeuvring, court drama and geopolitical intrigue. Anything to distract from the main plot. At times it seems like the film makers truly did do their research, but rather than use it to makes an accurate plot, they chose to create as many plausible tangents as time constraints allowed.
Edge of the world is an impressively ambitious film that seems to want to appeal to all audiences by inserting all genres of film. Even more impressive is just how serious the film seems to take itself. The total lack of any self-awareness and the delusions of grandeur on display are more entertaining than the film itself. This is not to say that Edge of the World is lacking in all areas however. Jaime Feliu-Torres does a perfectly passable job as cinematographer. The scenery is beautiful and the shot compositions do most of the work in setting scenes and tones throughout the film. Composer Will Bates has likewise done his part. This is definitely not his best work, but like the acting cast, he appears to have made the best of a bad situation.
In the end, Haussman seems to have collected all the parts necessary for an excellent film. He has chosen an interesting story from history, cast highly competent actors, and filled his story with engaging visuals and musical accompaniments. It’s a wonderful setting for a story filled to brim with sex and violence, natives and pirates, gentlemen and assassins, Geopolitical and social dramas, and for all that, Edge of the World is a boring and forgettable film. With so much happening and no sense of direction or purpose driving the story, it all just fades into the background and becomes noise. The silver screen equivalent to tv static. The screen is filled, but nothing of note is happening. Much like white noise, Edge of the world is liable to send drowsy viewers off the edge and takes almost no brainpower to keep track of. It is difficult to recommend this film to cinephiles or home viewers, but those who find themselves in transit with hours to kill can save themselves some money on sleeping pills. Just sit back, set this movie going and wake up hours later with no memory of what happened in-between.
Bell hooks once wrote “The message given males is that to be honest is to be “soft.”, her message resonates as much today, as it ever has. For all the progressive movements of the last few decades, we still speak about sorting the men from the boys and the traits that make a “Real” man. This archaic mentality becomes more prevalent, the closer one looks to physical actions and sports. Those in doubt need only look at Israel folau’s latest misadventures. The international rugby union star made headlines for publicly proclaiming that homosexuals were damned to hell for their sexuality. A claim he repeatedly doubled down on and refused to apologise for, only to switch codes from union to league and continue his career unabated. In an ironic twist, the public’s response to Falau was what gave Australian reporter Eammon Ashton-Atkinson the motivation to document the lives of his team mates and show the world his rugby club. The first recorded gay rugby club The King’s Cross Steelers.
Atkinson tells his own story, the story of his club, and the stories of two of his teammates, Simon Jones and Andrew McDowell as well as the team coach Nic Evans. Outlining their unique struggles and the ways they cope with them. Every member of the club is given appropriate weight and there is a true sense of rawness to the honesty displayed through the documentary. In fitting the theme of the documentary Atkinson doesn’t try to turn his friends into characters and just lets them be themselves. Authentic and imperfect as they may be. It is the imperfections that really make the film, as the team bands together and holds each other up through their struggles. A real-world example, showing the storybook trope of friendship conquering all.
Aside from the personal stories and anecdotes, Steelers follows the team through their 2018 efforts to win the Bingham Cup. An international LGBTQI+ rugby tournament. Using their interactions during training and downtime, as well as short segments of their games to highlight the players characters and motivations. Every member of Steelers is set on winning the cup but their reasons vary wildly. For all the rugby focus though, Steelers in primarily an LGBTQI+ story, about LGBTQI+ people and their unique challenges. The film looks at how each of the people it focuses on were able to find their own identity, assert their own individualism and come to terms with their own sexuality.
It doesn’t shy away from the closest childhood many of the players had, or the pushback many of them faced when coming out. In Atkinson’s case being forcefully outed against his will. They discuss their battles with depression and the crushing sense of isolation that being rejected for who you are can bring. One of the most prominent examples of this is in the life of Andrew McDowell. The stocky linemen, who surreptitiously discovered not only his love of the stage, but his love of drag. Atkinson doesn’t focus on it too much, but it is very apparent that McDowell has had a long struggle with stereotypes and preventing himself from being pigeonholed. Trying to make sense of and embrace his own dichotomy, as both a hard-hitting wall of a man, and his drag queen persona.
Aside from their team of choice, one of the few things that Jones and McDowell have in common though is that they both found their place on the rugby field. For all the hate and bigotry they experience in their everyday lives, The King’s Cross Steelers have always been there for them and provided a place to be safe and play the game they love. The exception to this is unfortunately the team coach, Nic Evans. The lesbian footballer and life-long rugby lover will proudly go to bat for her boys and confidently states that her team is “Blind to my gender”, but sadly admits that the team’s ocular selectiveness is not shared by the rest of the sport. Even in an LGBTQI+ competition Misogyny still lives it seems.
For all it’s faults and the faults of the people who make it, the Steelers team has done an awful lot of good and brought a lot of hope to the lives of its members. By giving its players a home and providing a safe space for those in need of one, The King’s Cross Steelers have been literal life savers in the 20 years since the clubs’ creation. It follows then that the documentary about the club be equally uplifting and provide such a strong sense of hope. It’s not a perfect film, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a sports drama or documentary with a stronger message of acceptance and love. At just 82 mins Steelers is wonderful pick me up for those having a hard day and in need of a reminder that it’s not all bad. Men are men, regardless of their sexuality of proclivities. Sport is just a game and anyone can play, and no one can take that from you.
Buckley’s Chance Buckley’s Chance is the story of 13-year-old Ridley, who moves with his mum from New York to outback Australia after the death of his father. They move in with his grandfather (his father’s father), Spencer, who Ridley has never met before. The relationship is rather awkward and isn’t explained why they needed to move to the outback. The storyline is one that has been done many times before but doesn’t stand out as anything special. A boy gets himself in trouble and needs help from the family member he has been giving a hard time. Along the way, he befriends a dingo that shares a lot of the screen time. Watching the movie, I found it hard to relate Spencer’s character. It was obvious, even without knowing who the actor was that he wasn’t Australian, and he seemed to try really hard, almost too hard to have an Australian accent. It was quite disappointing that an Australian actor couldn’t be cast in the role and maybe if they had of cast an Australian in Spencer’s role, it would have made the character more relatable.
This isn’t a movie I would rush to see again. I found it just ok and sat through it even though I found it quite predictable and at times, when Spencer used Australian slang, quite cringeworthy. My 9-year-old did seem to enjoy it though, however my 7 year old got bored and lost interest.
SIR ALEX FERGUSON: NEVER GIVE IN website review by Sam Bell
The question of whether to make a movie that is seen by millions or beloved by hundreds has haunted filmmakers for generations. Most succumb to ambition and strive for both, achieving neither. Jason Ferguson has very clearly chosen a side. By creating a biographical film about the life of his father, Alex Ferguson, he has deeply appealed to Manchester united fans, gained the attention of Soccer fans, raised eyebrows throughout the sporting world, and largely ignored the rest of the population.
The film manages to focus solely on the life of one man, while maintaining a split narrative. Not just retelling his life in chronological order, but doing so from two separate starting points. Cutting from childhood and sporting achievements, to his health struggles in later life and introspective reflections, seemingly at random. While both narratives are valid and worthy of discussion, the frenetic jumping between the two without indication or explanation makes both difficult to follow. This is exacerbated by the films wilful attempts to distance itself from similar films. Keeping game statistics to the bare minimum required to tell Ferguson’s story and only showing game footage when it directly impacted the man in question.
Jason Ferguson has very clearly gone to great lengths to show a specific side of his father. Making obvious, if futile attempts to focus the film around the family and personal life of Alex Ferguson. Tracking down those willing to publicly proclaim his virtues. A task made difficult by Alex’s nature and history, as the man himself very openly admits his faults and doesn’t claim to be a nice person. A man devoted to results and achievements, Alex Fergusson’s life is one of work. He makes no secret of his choices to cast aside relationships and emotional bonds in the face of success and achieving his goals. Even in his later years, when his brush with death has mellowed his ambition, he speaks of abandoning his children, betraying his friends and hurting those around him with a sense of resigned acceptance. He is not proud of his actions, but still sees them as necessary choices, and steps that needed to be taken.
In a strange way, his all-encompassing obsession with the sport of soccer and his drive to be in charge of the best team possible does more to redeem the man, than the positive testimonials his son dredges up. It is difficult to judge a man of such conviction and willpower. Alex Fergusson transformed himself into an unstoppable force and in doing so, became something akin to a natural disaster. No one is happy with the damage rout, but you don’t blame the storm, it is what it is. The second narrative attempts to counter this, by showing the aging Alex after being hospitalised by a sudden brain haemorrhage. A mission largely undercut by the man himself. While clearly changed by his near death experience and significantly more introspective, Alex, remains to the very end a fundamentally driven man. Happy to sit across from his children and tell them about how winning a cup was the proudest day of his life and how his teams achievements are better than anything else that he has ever been apart of. For all his awareness of his own actions, the man remains unrepentant and proud of his accomplishments.
The film finishes by listing his many titles and awards, allowing a fade to black as Sir Alex Fergusson stands in the stands bearing his name and waves to the sound of thunderous applause. Never Give In raises questions of success and morality. About the nature of our working lives and when sacrifices are truly justified. It doesn’t give an overt answer, but the implications are somewhat heavy handed. In the end, fans of Alex Fergusson will likely love this look into his personal life. Fans of Manchester united are likely to enjoy a walk through the clubs history. Soccer fans will probably find some pleasure in the sport aggrandising that occurs. Those that have never heard of Alex Fergusson, are unlikely to find themselves moved by his story. This is a largely unoffensive film about a sporting icon, made to appeal to existing fans and contains very little for the uninitiated. Either you will enjoy this movie or you won’t. Chances are you already know what camp you’re in already.
Writer and Director Grégory Magne, is unlikely to be instantly recognisable to most readers. His 2012 film L'air de rien was met with a mediocre reception and in the decade since he has been largely silent. Little did we know, he hasn’t been twiddling his thumbs so much as he’s been caught in a training montage. Returning to the silver screen alongside friend and accomplice Grégory Montel to bring the world a sensory experience for all ages. His new film Perfumes is a monument to the skills and artistic vision, the 45 year old French film maker has amassed while we weren’t watching.
The film is a slow burning comedy that is unlikely to be to everyone’s taste. Forgoing all action set pieces and dramatic twists in place of a continuous stream of humour drier than a salted Weetabix and played 3 times as straight. Lead actors Grégory Montel and Emmanuelle Devos have some of the strangest, most organic chemistry ever put to screen. Both read their lines like a 90’s version of google translate and maintain such tight control over their facial expressions, it seems like they are auditioning for a Las Vegas poker championship. Yet somehow, they are able to express their emotions and bounce off one another seamlessly. In a slightly paradoxical way, the pairs mutual lack of expression, helps sell the honesty of their friendship and growing relationship.
A relationship doomed to raise eyebrows anyway, as the film follows Guillaume Favre, a down on his luck chauffer attempting to convince a judge to let him have partial custody of his daughter while attempting to be a good father and make ends meet. A task made much more complicated when he is deployed to assist perfume diva and all-around pain in the back Anne Walberg. The movie breaks very little new ground as it follows the pairs shenanigans, giving Favre a chance to learn what he is worth and chase his dreams, while Walberg discovers a life outside of her work and grows as a human being. For all the skill of display, Perfumes is likely to be a hard sell for western audiences. The first and largest hurdle is of course the language barrier. Audiences are slowly warming up to subtitles, but it’s nature as a foreign film still works against it. Combined with Magne’s distinct choices through out the film, some audiences may find it off putting. Magne cuts scenes just before their well predictable pay off and extends other for seemingly little reason. He uses a subdued colour pallet while showcasing beautiful scenery and grants the inside of hotel rooms, Lucious hues and dramatic lighting. He took a visual medium and used it to tell a story about scent and the people who experience it and experiment with it. He normalises atypical relationships and proudly displays the platonic nature of the lead’s relationship.
All of these factors and many more, would act as detriments were they not so very clearly deliberate. This is not the work of a fumbling director learning the ropes, but rather an unshakable artist determined to see his vision brought to life, regardless of reception. Like most creative visions, Perfumes is likely to be divisive among viewers and is unlikely to appeal to a larger audience. Platonic romcoms don’t exactly have a huge following and while critics are often eager to applaud the craft of an artwork; the mainstream is rarely so kind.
Perfumes is a quietly beautiful and subtly brilliant film. It sings an age-old song with pitch perfect precision and using newly crafted instruments. Most people will never hear of this film and those that do are unlikely to find themselves sold on the premise. Those bold/bored or lucky enough though, are in for a treat. One I hope you will all share with those around you and help encourage film makers to follow in Magne’s footsteps and take risks. Perfumes is a delightful film and recommended viewing for all ages.
At this point, introducing anything by Lin-Manuel Miranda feels superfluous. The man is a critically acclaimed writer, director, composer, actor, editor, and producer. A pain in the ass polymath that has been changing the game and raising the stakes for nearly two decades. He is now teaming up with director Jon M. Chu to bring his smash hit broadway play, In The Heights to the big screen. No small task given the creators tendency for ambition. The Dramatic musical follows the resident of a primarily Dominican neighbourhood in Washington Heights, New York. Much like the film creators, each member of the community has their own ambitions and dreams. Each seeking to surpass themselves and rise above their station. The film, like the musical before isn’t shy about showcasing some of the very real hurdles that people of colour and particularly dreamers face in American society. For every grand plan and hardworking mentality, there is an equally powerful force pushing them back down and denying their ambitions.
In The Heights isn’t a cautionary, sociopolitical parable, but rather a celebration of love and perseverance in the face of adversity. Cinematographer Alice Brooks exemplifies this in her work, allowing the musical numbers to be and grand scale and reality breaking as they need to be, while keeping the world grounded and realistic. When the mood is vibrant, the colours are vibrant, when reality comes knocking, so too does a muted pallet. Each frame is crafted to fit the tone and theme. Likewise, the choreographer Christopher Scott does an excellent job in giving each character a chance to show their personalities and uniqueness through their movements and styles.
None of which would be nearly as affective if the cast wasn’t so on point. Long time fans will of course recognise Miranda himself, as well as frequent collaborators, Anthony Ramos and Christopher Jackson. Eagle eyes viewers may also notice cameos from the original Broadway cast including Javier Munoz and Seth Stewart while many of the first tour cast lend their voices to the background vocals. Even without the easter eggs and subtle nods, the cast does a superb job. Melissa Barrera is moving, while Leslie Grace proves herself capable of running with the big dogs. We know to expect greatness from Corey Hawkins and he does not disappoint. There really are no weak point in this cast.
it doesn’t hurt that they get to perform to one of the greatest film albums ever made. A slight adaption from the multi Tony winning, Grammy winning, Laurence Olivier sweeping Pulitzer prize finalist soundtrack of the original. This is some of Miranda’s best work, and it shows. The latinio based R&B infused lyrics combined with sweeping scores and acappella symphonies, make this soundtrack instantly memorable and infinitely replayable. This film is a work of art and it deserves to be treated as such. There isn’t a single person alive I cannot recommend this movie to. Go forth, and experience greatness. Just know that you are going to be singing along in the shower for a very long time.
Aside from breadmaking and newly fostered relationships with the duolingo owl, one of the most popular hobbies in recent years has been documentary watching. Those who go into The Sparks Brothers expecting more of the same are in for a shock to the system however. Hollywood powerhouse and Cornetto connoisseur Edgar Wright flips the model on its head and uses the playbook to make paper mâché. Telling the story of Sparks, an experimental, comedic, and prolifically creative band; consisting of the two Mael brothers, Ron and Russell as well as a variety of ever-changing band members. With over 50 years of nonstop work in the music industry, Sparks is one the longest running bands around and their proclivity for putting out new material makes them one of the most wide reaching and uniquely inspiring bands on earth.
This propensity for different genres and musical stylings is what allows The Sparks brothers to be as unique as it is. Rather than focussing on the brothers themselves and giving fans a deep look into their personal lives as is often the case, Wright chooses instead to focus on the music. Chronologically running through the bands discography and giving a brief overview of the situations surrounding each of the bands 25 studio albums. The film honours the brothers love of the craft, by highlighting their efforts to remain true to themselves and produce the music they love, regardless of commercial success or acclaim.
In what can only be a case of artistic showmanship, wright uses the Mael brothers wide variety of experiences to experiment with a truly eclectic variety of styles and film techniques. Using multiple forms of animations, Claymation, stop motion and voice overs, as well as playing with various colour pallets, lens lengths and visuals filters, Wright refuses to the let the audience get comfortable. A style that fits perfectly well with Sparks’ seemingly random, yet intentionally crafted musical stylings.
It is difficult to say what, or how many influences are at play in this movie as many of the influences seem to have come from Sparks themselves. A fact which many of the well-known cameos and speakers are happy to discuss. From the Red-Hot Chilli Peppers, to Weird Al Yankovic and everyone in between, Sparks seem to have made their mark on the entire musical industry, both in America and abroad. An understated and underrated influence that becomes apparent very quickly as the film samples tracks from each album and points out that the trends of every decades pop music can clearly be heard in Sparks work, but always in their albums of the previous decade. Perpetually ahead of their time and rarely recognised for their style defining and genre defying work, Sparks are a lesson in creative liberties and the dangers that come with them.
The Sparks Brothers is an eye-opening film, that draws attention to a band that should rightfully have been a recognised part of the zeitgeist decades ago, but have remained a constant force of musical inertia and creativity regardless. Music fans of all flavours will recognise the roots of the favourite bands somewhere in this film and film fans deserve a chance to see every technique in the book, blended into a cohesive narrative. The Sparks Brothers is to documentaries, what Sparks are to pop music, ahead of it’s time and likely to go under the radar. Don’t let it slip under yours. Drag your friends and family to witness a love letter to two of pop biggest invisible giants.
CRANSTON ACADEMY: MONSTER ZONE website review by Nicole Stenton
Monster Zone is a movie about an intelligent boy named, Danny, who receives a scholarship to the Cranston Academy. This is a secret school that focuses on all things Science. While at the Academy, he and his roommate unlock a new dimension that sees monsters enter their world and attack anyone they see.
I found the movie quite slow at the start and it jumped between characters, so you didn’t really get a good sense of any of the characters personalities. I also thought some of the animated characters didn’t really match the personality of the character they were portraying. My 7-year-old, found some of the scenes with monsters a little scary and had to look away at times, however my 10 year old wasn’t phased and didn’t really find them intimidating at all. The movie had a lot of bright, bold colours which made it appealing to the eye. Overall, I won’t be rushing back to see this movie. I found it rather mediocre and predictable.
Film "Herself" covers one of the most exploited themes in cinematography: a woman is a mother who endures her husband's bullying for a long time and does not dare to break up, because she does not want to deprive her children of their father. Such cases all end up the same way: patience comes to a limit and, as it turns out, there is always a way out.
It is not known whether the script was written from a specific case, but even if not, then, such a story is quite likely to be real if the concept is in the hands of a talented person.
Sandra has enough energy for children, for two jobs, and her head works well in the sense of how to provide herself with housing, but bureaucratic laws do not give her a chance.
Sandra doesn't give up.
The role of Sandra is played by the Irish actress, Claire Dunn, not very famous, she is also the scriptwriter of this film.
She looks convincing in the role, although I didn't have enough sympathy for her somehow. The constant fear of a woman for her children, for herself, is understandable to those who also faced violence and the actress portrayed her heroine just like that.
The story is still not as simple as it seems. The finale crosses out all the euphoria and happiness of braking free and returns to the starting point. But the changes have already taken place and have completely cleansed the soul of the unnecessary energy.
Life does not stand still, we must move on...
DEATH OF A LADIES' MAN website review by Sherry Westley
Film: Death Of A Ladies’ Man Style: Drama/Comedy Aust. Release: 20th May 2021 Set In: Montreal Canada Ireland Starring: Gabriel Byrne Writer/Director: Mathew Bissonnette Music: Leonard Cohen
I enjoyed this film very much. But if you like your stories straightforward, clear and without whimsy, you may not so much. I wanted to see it because the title and music comes from Montreal’s famous writer, poet and singer, Leonard Cohen. The film is not about Leonard Cohen. It is about the last months of charming ladies’ man and alcoholic, Professor Samuel O’ Shea, played beautifully by Gabriel Byrne.
But it is Leonard Cohen like in that the main character becomes (for the first time ever),engaged in looking at his life and motivations. However his soul searching is done with a humour and lightness that most people don’t associate with Cohens’ work.
There is another Cohen like trait in the film’s direction: the exact meaning of some scenes is not always obvious. Writer/ Director Mathew Bissonnette uses the brain tumor Sam is dying of, to produce hallucinations such as his dead father’s presence. Some of these hallucinations help inform Sam about his past motivations and choices. Most have humour, some seem to be just mad fun. Or are they more?
So if you’re a Leonard Cohen fan, you’ll enjoy Death of a Ladies’ Man. Yes there’s his wonderful music and writing, but there’s also a Leonard Cohen aesthetic about the whole film.
Canadian director Mathew Bissonnette is clearly a fan. He has used Cohen’s writing and music as themes in his 2002 debut film “Looking for Leonard” and his 2009 film “Passenger Side”.
The acting is excellent, the main characters likeable, the storyline sometimes confusing. But it’s charming and fun. Then there’s those wonderful songs. Only thing is, I need to see it again to clarify a couple of things! Perhaps I will.
What a refreshing view of a courtroom drama - especially when it is a biographical piece!
Tied in with the brilliance of Christopher Walken, who plays an aged farmer (Percy Schmeiser) in Canada, and that of Christina Ricci (Rebecca Salcau), taking on the character of an executive from an NGO hell-bent on reversing the industrial manufacturing of GMO-based crops, we see an impactful movie that questions the basis of what is right and wrong.
Within the course of the first 10 minutes of the flick, it is apparent that an American agrochemical giant, the Monsanto Company, had kicked off a legal suit with Percy. And the movie takes on its turns and shifts through the courtrooms and the emotional high-jumps that follow closely with such endeavors.
Percy vs Goliath is definitely a movie to spend your time on, post-haste.
It has been said that old age needs little, but needs that little so much. Never has this need been made more visually apparent, than in Maite Alberdi new film The Mole Agent. Following recent widower and unashamed octogenarian Sergio Chamy, as he is recruited by private investigator Romulo Aitken to go undercover and investigate a local retirement home to ascertain whether his clients mother is being abused and neglected. The film begins as it is marketed, as a delightful romp through the misadventures of a technology challenged old man as he attempts to learn how to be a spy and bumbles his way through comedically. A light hearted and familiar theme audience have seen before and know what to expect from. Alberdi flips the script however once Sergio enters the facility. The childish shenanigans take a backseat and Sergio begins getting acquainted with the lives of the residents and suddenly audiences find themselves in a deeply moving introduction to assisted living and the reality faced by the aging population. The film pulls no punches as Sergio integrates himself into the lives of those around him, the dastardly careers, become open hearted souls and the true struggles faced by these people are given the respect they deserve. From familial neglect, to solitude induced depression, memory loss and the ever-present Spector of death, life is cruel and these people are truly just trying to make the most of it at their end.
The film maintains some of its comedy, but nearly all levity is traded for bittersweet moments. The Mole Agent is moving in a way that few films are. There is no carefully crafted script, or manipulative scenes. It relies on brutal honesty to say everything it has to say, and the message come through loud and clear. Regardless of age or circumstance, people are just people and they deserve to be loved. As Sergio says while defending his actions “Forgive me, but I'm a person too. I'm a person and I respect you, so you should too.”. In the end, that’s all it’s really about. Seeing past the wrinkles and putting aside your preconceived notions. Listen to the poetry of a wise soul, laugh at the antics of a 90-year-old school girl, be moved by the selfless love of a catholic maiden. People are fun, cute, quirky and weird, no matter how old they are. Age is just a number, open your hearts and love those who need it most. The mole agent is recommended viewing for all audiences of all ages. Anyone with elderly family that they are losing touch with, should consider this film a mandatory watch.
John Wick meets Taken, with some HardBoiled thrown in for good measure. Korea’s latest film export, Deliver Us From Evil, has gifted the world Won-Chan Hong. A mesmerising debut, Hong has established his name as one to watch, by reminding us why we love Korean action cinema. A fast paced action drama with enough heart to drag the tears out of you, and enough explosions to give you an excuse for blinking so much. The film follows In-nam, a depressed assassin on his last job, just looking forward to escaping and finding something to make him feel alive. It’s not to be, as not only does he find himself mourning the death of an old flame, but chasing after a daughter he never knew he had. Made all the more difficult by way of a fellow assassin chasing him down when it turns out he and In-nam’s last victim were brothers. Things go from bad to worse as In-nam is forced to slaughter his was through Thailand’s underbelly, tracking down smugglers, drug dealers, and murderers of every kind.
The film is a case study in escalation. Starting quiet and grey, and proceeding to build with every scene. From colour, to sound, to action, to the set pieces themselves, the film begins with a whisper and ends up leaving the audience feeling like they just stared down the barrel of a live machine gun. The performances are intense, from Jung-min Hwang’s portrayal of In-nam as the jaded and hollowed shell of a great man. To the bombastic sadism of Jung-jae Lee’s Ray. Even 9-year-old So-yi Park, pulls out all the stops in her performance, transitioning from the light and bubbly child of privilege to the haunted and apathetic spawn of a killer who’s seen more than she ever should. For all it’s set pieces and criminal elements, Deliver us from evil is at its heart a character drama. There are no heroes in this story. Some people are better than others, but everyone is out of themselves and posess both the power and will to step on anyone to get it. People often ask, what happens when an unstoppable force, meets an immovable object. Deliver us from evil aims to answer the question. If you’re curious, the answer is people die.
Even having spoiled that, Deliver us from Evil is well worth your time. Either to experience the first work of a soon to be globally recognised director, or just to appreciate the craft of film making. Watch it, watch it again, and then take a minute to mull over the fact that it was made with just over 10 million dollars. This film deserve praise and awards. One of those things is probably out of your control, the other? Get on it.