Suzi Q is a documentary made about the life and work of this famous rock legend, Suzi Quatro. A film made by Liam Firmager, an Australian director. I believe he has done a very informative, multifaceted movie that shows many sides of Suzi, personal, professional and even an emotional view point. Having insight into this ladies colourful career and life was most interesting, I felt.
Beginning at her origins in Detroit, we are privy to her start as a young girl, in her sister's band The Pleasure Seekers. Suzi then braved a solo career to become one of the very first rock women in the 70s, wielding her guitar as she sung and played. During the film presented is Suzi Qs rise to fame and her success in so many countries, but surprisingly not her own. We are presented with the comments, and thoughts, from the family, and accounts of their history. Members reveal their feelings and their various versions of the story of Suzy's rise to fame, as well as, their takes, on her making her own way, in life.
Featured in the expose' are interviews from Joan Jett, Henry Winkler, and other well known actors and singers. Joan J explains how she modelled herself on Suzi and how amusingly,there were at times, mix ups between the two and who was who. More celebrities captured include, Debbie Harry, and Tina Weymouth .
I hadn't realized Suzi had done so many songs. She was really determined to follow her path even at great personal sacrifice. A most entertaining insight into the life of this strong, focused and super talented woman. Thank you for the opportunity to review it.
MOTHER IS WRONG NEW website review by Jeanette Russell
I appreciate the opportunity to review the 1st part of the 6, incorporated in the mini series, Mother is Wrong. This story is set in France . During the episode we meet Malone a young boy of around 3 1/2 to 4 years who claims that his mother in not his real mother. It is fascinating to see his drawings and hear his recollections. The school psychologist Vasile, is very concerned about the contents of the young boy's story and takes it to the police.
A detective Marianne is at first not sure weather to take on the case and tries a few times to put him off .
At the plot unfolds, at the same time Marianne is heavily involved in a big case, revolving around, a large jewellery heist. She does however become quite curious about Malone, and his scenario and starts to do some investigation into it on her own. Complications occur when she starts to become closer to Vasile. Malone's parents are feeling under pressure and uncomfortable about all the attention, being gained, from various sources concerning their son.
The actors do a standout job portraying their various characters. Malone is played by Tom d'Ornano. Samuel Theis plays Vasile and Marianne is played by Anne Charrier. In the first episode these actors are instinctive and innate. A stellar job, I felt was done to make the story so believable and engrossing. Michel Bussi wrote the book that carries the same tittle and the series is directed by Francois Velle.
It is well worth the watch I feel, as a crime thriller it really drew me in, and was quite the entertaining and absorbing view.
In this suspense filled slasher any audience who is a fan of seeing action happen right before their eyes is sure going to love ‘The Furies’. The second the film begins you are transported into a feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness, which is exactly what you want when watching any form of film, especially a horror.
The all star cast are a perfect match for the narrative of this film and you can't help but feel everything they are going through. Which to me is a fantastic sign that the film is making an impact on you and and furthermore signals a great film and creative crew.
While the location settings are basic, it is the acting that really brings this film to life. Not to mention the amazing special effects. The makeup of the killers is so gorrie and to the point that you probably don't want to be watching this by yourself or too close to halloween. Probably best to watch this one with a friend so you have someone to scream with.
The best part about the film is that it truly captures the spirit of fighting evil and overcoming any situation in life’s journey if you wound up in the bush. The characters have to fight for survival and every step of the way you want them to make it out alive.
There is so much you can learn from watching this film, that it is simply a must see. The film test’s the limits of human survival and the risks and challenges one is willing/capable of when it comes to life and death. A very interesting film.
I would recommend this film to anyone who is familiar with the horror/slasher genre. If you are a fan of the Hunger Games/The Walking Dead, I feel like you will be able to relate. Make sure to see ‘The Furies’.
It is a surprisingly unexpectedly good film! Well . honestly, I was 100% I would be attending something cliche and very boring ... but my eyes were all in tears and the turn of the plot made all the difference for this film to be so good.
The film is a romantic comedy by Paul Fig (Spy, Ghostbusters, Cops in Skirts, Simple Request) and it tells us about the freindship of an alcoholic saleswoman with an incredibly bright and charismatic stranger that takes place during the Christmas time and New Year's Eve. The script for this melodrama was also written by a famous actress, Emma Thompson (People in Black: International, Agent Johnny English 3, Beauty and the Beast), and we can notice Jesse Henderson and David Livingstone among the producers (Judy, Pride).
The main character whos ename is Kate works in a special store that sells items and goods for Christmas and New Year. The holiday time is approaching. The shop is diong very well with all the festive season demands but Kate herself has long ceased to believe in miracles and hopelessy tries to reestablish her own lonely full of baf habbits and addictions life. Therefore recently Kate began to seriously abuse alcohol. Howeve, everything around her is being transformed with a miraculous appearance of her new friend, Tom. he is very sweet, handsome and charming. He semmes to turn her life for the better. This dramatic and romantic love story tells about a friendship that could change everything around in the hearts of two loving and caring people.
The cast is led by Emilia Clarke (Han Solo: Star Wars. Stories, Voice from Stone, Terminator: Genesis) and Henry Golding (Simple Request). Emma Thompson (Rock Wave, Bridget Jones 3 , Save Mr. Banks and plays in teh film as well as Michelle Yeo (Morgan, Mechanic: Resurrection, Lady) and Peter Serafinovich (John Wick 2, Get Out Nice, Kill Bono), Rob Delaney (Pokemon. Detective Pikachu). There are also Patty Lupon (Parker), Ingrid Oliver ( Inveterate fraudsters) and other superb crew members you will love to watch performing amazingly well. The music for this melodramatic film was composed by Theodor Shapiro (Marley and I, Girl in the Park, Ghostly Beauty).
The film will make you to reflect on your own life values. Beautiful movie indeed! The songs of George Michael are played in the film and it seems also a fantastc tribute to George!
Last Christmas I gave you my heart and you dont have to give it back! It isa good classic with a great song for the title!
Film Yuli is primarily for the lovers of the ballet and dance art to which I also relate with all my heart. The plot is based on real events. It tells us about the life and work of the Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta. His father called him Yuli / Julius. The childhood of a talented dark-skinned boy from a poor family, who himself did not understand his mission for a very long time, desperately resisting the opportunities that opened before him, is shown interestingly.
It is a drama, it is a personal drama, a drama of relationship between father and son, a gradual and difficult path to success and glory through suffering and pain. The film has a lot of beautiful music, spectacular ballet and dance scenes that will be tattooed in your memory forever, beautiful costumes, impressive landscapes and other shots as well as the realistic atmosphere of Carlos' small homeland in Cuba. The acting is very convincing and natural.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the film was abit too long for the message delivering and at some episodes I was simply feeling bored.
But the project in general deserves quite a good mark. I also would recommend it for viewing exclusively to ballet and dancing art lovers who will gain lots of insights from the film and reflect on their own life and achivements.
The experience of watching a film gives us the chance to escape to another world for 2 hours. For me I want to feel something from the experience, to laugh, to flinch, to cringe. Ready Or Not takes us on an enjoyable ride of laughs, thrills and horror. This surprisingly fresh horror-comedy brilliantly mashes up the genres. The intriguing script, great pacing, and strong performances were certainly more than enough to overcome any downfalls from plot predictably.
The film follows Grace as she marries into the wealthy Le Domas family. On her wedding night she participates in a family ritual, drawing a card from a box to decide on the game to be played. Grace pulls the card for Hide and Seek — a version in which the family must find and kill her before sunrise. Soon she is fighting for her life. An ancestor of the Le Domas family had made a deal with Mr Le Bail (the Devil) which brought him great wealth - at a cost. A gruesome chase ensues with maid's being accidentally shot with crossbows and crushed in dumbwaiters.
The brutality and gore of the injuries made me cringe, but then the next moment I was laughing and questioning whether I was a psycho. It goes from bloody to bloody hilarious!
Samara Weaving is a fantastic lead actress, hitting all the right comedic notes and being generally believable.
Incredibly fun, witty, and full of blood!
NTL: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM NEW website RATE: 10/10
Nicholas Heitner again succeeded in this theataer production. He create not just a technically virtuoso performance, not just another fashionable immersive play in which the audience of the stalls became full members of the troupe. He also managed to grope the new interpretation of the mischievous Shakespearean comedy, story about love, jealousy and forgiveness. There is the bottom line: the staging was funny, sexy, romantic and bizarre mix of the Glastonbury rock festival, the dark series of The Handmaid's Tale, the rollicking buffoonery, the sitcom and even the renowned Chinese circus - the cocktail that is very hard to stay indifferent to. I gave it the highest mark as I laughed as I have never laughed before at any comedy. It was good for the Shakespeare too I guess - his play was re-invented...
Our full attention though was on Gwendolyn Christie, beloved by all as Brienne Tart from the Game of Thrones (Game of Thrones, 2011-2019). Gwendolyn (as oeetn taking place) plays both Hippolytus and Titania. She stands out not only for her height: she is extremely organic in these roles of both main characters. There is Hippolyta in a gray robe, vaguely reminiscent of dystopian suits of The Handmaid's Tale, at the same time she is full of protest and compassion for the unhappy Hermia, who is facing cruel punishment for her forbidden love for Lysander. In another, magical dimension Christie is graceful and domineering, and she is even more convincing Titania (by the way, get ready for a radical upheaval of a familiar plot!).
There are a couple of the main characters of the production: Oliver Chris in the roles of Oberon and Theseus; he is familiar to the audience of TheatreHD project from the performance of the same Bridge Theater Young Marx and the role of young Engels, where he duly led a duet with the British theater star Rory Kinnear.
The acrobatic performances on sheets and on soaring beds are done by the young part of the troupe: they are playing fairies, Athenian runaway lovers and naughty Pak. The four young lovers are all amazingly good but it is especially worth paying attention to Keith Young (Lysander) and Isis Hainsworth (Germany) who plays the guitar and he does it quite well - these young actors will surely go far. Pak is played by the cocky David Murst who looks more like a tattooed punk guy from a London gateway than a sly spirit.
How not to mention the main comic plot of the play: the misadventures of the unlucky artisan troupe led by Oblus. Heitner has modernized Shakespearean humor and there are lots of modern language jokes in the play but it’s the rollicking buffs of the Foundation performed by the huge, good-natured and hilarious Hammed Animashown who "mows" the spectators in rows forcing them to bend with laughter. By the way Hammed can be seen in the performances shown by the TheatreHD project - Amadeus (2017) and Three-Penny Opera (2016).
The degree of insanity increases (as expected) during some strange events taking place in the magic forest: it "infects" the theater stalls that are greatly facilitated by the hits of Dizzy Raskal ‘Bonkers’ and Beyonce ‘Love on Top’. For the finale the actors and the audience mix into a common round dance disco dancing to Florence and the Machine as if at some kind of rock festival.
But strangely enough the viewers of the live broadcast and recording of the play were luckier than the London standing stalls: only with the help of cameras can they simultaneously see everything that happens on the flying beds and in the farthest corners of the stalls. It seems that it will be impossible to appreciate the virtuosity of theatrical tricks and all the fun of this very witty staging of an eternal classic.
“Pain and Glory” by Pedro Almodovar stars Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Penelope Cruz, Julieta Serrano and Leonardo Sbanagria
The world famous director Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) is becoming more and more like a recluse. The whole fault is caused by multiple ailments, due to which he is no longer able to make films. An aging, lonely and pain-smashed creator, more and more often plunges into the depths of his memories. Perhaps, having reconciled with the past, he will find the strength in himself to find the key to understanding the present ...
“Pain and Glory” surprises and captivates literally at once. According to the initial plot of the viewer, a classic heavy picture of regret was to wait, and the result was something sentimental and, suddenly, inspiring. It is not difficult to draw parallels between the main character and the director Pedro Almodovar himself to understand how intimate this story is. El Salvador, like Pedro himself, is smoothly approaching that moment of his life when it is worth either accepting himself or falling into oblivion. There is no endless digging or resentment for life - Almodovar, having accumulated a huge baggage over his life time, is trying to ram everything on the shelves of his mind and just live on.
The picture, despite the genre, is built so skillfully that it does not make you bored at all. The laconic transitions from the present to the past have been accomplished so skillfully that there is not even a hint of some torn narrative. Every action, dialogue or memory here is verified and filled with copyright of love. Special mention is worthy of the music accompaniment, relentlessly squeezing all the important scenes. Visually, the movie is a feast for the eyes, many bright shades that burst into the picture with a burning dance, mixing colors and creating an incredibly beautiful composition. A lot of emphasis on the colour red, this colour is everywhere - in the details of the dresses, in the interior of the apartment to the buds that are in pots in the dugout. It is impossible not to pay attention to the artsy colour, and how symbolically this paint mixed with love, just as easily it goes into the struggle ... only with itself, but will there be reconciliation? Undoubtedly, the narrative leads us to this.
Salvador once tells a friend that not the actor who is ready to sob on the stage is good, but the one who will play and hold back tears. This statement is also true for Banderas himself, who adheres to this advice filigree. At the right moments, the viewer with Antonio wants to have fun and be sad. His character came out wonderfully alive and versatile. One hundred percent getting into the image and, as a result, a well-deserved palm branch. At the moment, the best role of Banderas over his entire career.
“Pain and Glory” is a deeply personal picture where reflection is not aimed at self-flagellation, but at reconciliation with the inexorable passage of time. A sentimental and tragicomic story with an excellent therapeutic effect, which pushes us to create, change something and just enjoy life.
review by Katherine Kelly
Pain and Gory (Spanish: Dolor y Gloria) Writer/Director:Pedro Aldomovar Starring:Antonio Banderas Asier Etxeandia Penélope Cruz Julieta Serrano Leonardo Sbaraglia
“Pain and Glory” tells the story about Salvador (Salva) Malla (Antonio Banderas), a declining film director, who finds himself in the middle of a creative crisis, exacerbated by mental and physical trauma.
Through flashbacks and present day encounters, Salva’s story unravels from his impoverished childhood in 1950s Spain to the present day where he learns about the remastering of “Sabor”, made 32 years ago. This leads him to reconnect with Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia) the lead actor of “Sabor” with whom he had a past altercation. Alberto introduces Salva to heroin, which further elucidates his childhood and past life, whilst giving him short-term mental and physical relief.
The reflective narrative weaves between the past and the present, his past lover Federico’s (Leonardo Sbaraglia) heroin addiction, his relationship with his mother both during his childhood (Penelope Cruz) and prior to her death (Julieta Serrano), the repair of his friendship with Crespo, and his gradual emergence from the creative crisis.
Pain and Glory is autobiographical, touching on Almodovar’s own early life. Veering away from his previous 1980s black comedy movies such as “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown”, “Pain and Glory” depicts real life situations. This is enhanced by strong acting performances from Banderas, Cruz and Etxeandia along with Almodovar’s unique direction.
This excellent work shows that reflection is necessary in order to come to terms with what has passed. One needs to deal with challenges and move on, in order to avoid becoming paralysed by past events and conflicts.
Master filmmaker Pedro Almodovar has crafted a detailed and intricate personal story that spans more than 50 years.
Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) is a veteran film director, afflicted by multiple ailments, the worst of which is his inability to continue filming.
His physical condition doesn’t allow it and, if he can’t film again, his life has no meaning.
The mixture of medications he takes means that Salvador spends much of his day prostrate.
This drowsy state transports him to a time in his life that he never visited in his movies.
He was in his childhood in the 1960s, when he emigrated with his parents to Paterna, a village in Valencia, in search of prosperity.
His mother Jacinta (Penelope Cruz) is the beacon of that era, struggling and improvising so that the family can survive.
Later, his first adult love appears in Madrid in the ‘80s. The pain of the breakup after three years remains strong.
Writing was Mallo’s only therapy to try to forget the unforgettable and then the early discovery of cinema when films were projected onto a whitewashed wall in the open air.
Unintentionally, Pain and Glory is the third part of a spontaneously created trilogy that has taken 32 years to complete.
The first two elements were Law of Desire and Bad Education.
In all three films, the protagonists are male film directors.
Desire and cinematic fiction are the pillars of the narrative arc, but the way in which fiction is glimpsed alongside reality differs in each one of them.
Importantly, you have no idea just where Pain and Glory is heading and how it will play out.
Apart from a few scenes when Antonio Banderas is required to play sickly, he gives a bravura showing as the introverted Salvador Mallo.
I also greatly appreciated the performances of Penelope Cruz as Mallo’s mother and Asier Flores as the highly intelligent nine year old Salvador.
So, too, his sensitive pupil, handyman and painter. The performer who plays Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia), the actor with whom Mallo fell out 32 years ago, also brings credibility to his role, as does a former close friend who chances upon him decades after they last met.
The key to the film’s success is in the careful scripting and direction, but also the nuances of characterisation.
It is a sensitive piece that relies heavily on flashbacks to build an engaging portrait.
It points to a deep understanding of the human condition, its foibles and frailties.
The loafer Dave has only two valuable things about his character: he loves video games about zombies and quarrels with his girlfriend almost non stop. After he breaks up up with her he moves to his sister's place and starts "to educate" his five-year-old nephew Felix. Such disastrous "education" dos not help Felix in his growth as a child at all... He learns to swear and many other things mums usually do not teach their kids. Felix's beautiful teacher, Miss Caroline only spurs on Dave’s desire to spend time with his nephew. As a result Dave goes to an excursion with preschool children. It is a smart move of the film creators for updating "The Night of the Living Dead" but unfortunately it falls through. It never goes beyond its scope: most of the script it is focused on one joke - that wildly bad incidents are happening near five-year-olds.
The main distinguishing element of Little Monsters is the concept - it is a film about zombies which in fact does not need zombies. Perhaps this would have been a much less fascinating premise but after Dave’s attempts to become a responsible uncle to sleep with a teacher you don’t think so. This is essentially the only driving force behind the story. In the comedy plan of the film is full of them like the forest undermining the original joke adding more and more unwanted plot settings which in reality looks quite messy and dumb. In this regard the script and plot often suffer from unevenness. The elements of the comedy do not always coincide in their originality at all and are exacerbated by stereotypical characters such as an immature man, an overly serious older sister and a cute and naive child.
Fortunately these conventions were able to become the strength of the movie. The narrative is often laid-back and allows the actors to have fun. As a result you can notice the feeling of real creativity and improvisation of the actors. While Alexander England played a relatively primitive role Lupita Niongo did an excellent job as a teacher. The teacher’s natural connection with the students serves here as the anchor of the script. Both her and England share common chemistry while Josh Gad as a child animator adds his extra comic background.
The paradox of Little Monsters is that it is so simple-minded and so simple overall that it could well have been shot for children if not for the mountains of violence, swear words and sexual realted humor. Nevertheless all the actors involved in this obscenity not only played with their heads held high but also brought something unique and new to this work of art. Not all films should follow genre conventions but Little Monsters thank god despite their cynicism lacks the courage to play a joke on the concepts of the genre.
Balloon is a German historical drama with elements of a thriller. The films tells us the story of a human feat committed in the name of love for family and freedom. It is based on real events. The plot is capable of catching the attention of many impressionable spectators, as well as delighting true film lovers with a very informative story as well as a tense atmosphere of those times, high-quality production and touching music.
The film takes place in the summer of 1979 in East Germany close to the border of West Germany. Two families from a small town are developing a crazy plan for one night escape from the former GDR to the West Germany in a hand made balloon. As a result of technical faults the balloon crashes a few meters from the German border. Frustrated and scared for their lives but feeling like living heroes the daring crew return home. In the meantime the authorities and Stasi discover the place where the balloon fell and they start a large-scale hunt for "traitors of the country". Understanding that arrest is only a matter of time the parents of two families decide to rescue themselves again in the name of saving their children and aiming for better life and freedom. While the cunning Stasi staff confidently follow the trail the heroes in a hurry and in constant fear of discovery build a new balloon for the second attempt.
One of the main features of the film is the intense atmosphere in the events. You never know what will take place next.. From the first minutes and almost to the very end the movie keeps you in constant excitement: it is fear and doubt of the characters in themselves, they risk everything, their lives including, they still find the strength to move forward in such circumstances. The heroes' faces reflect feelings of anxiety, intense music sounds behind the scenes and the rhythm of action increases with each new scene turning the finale into a real hurdle race. Events are developing quickly, although it is possible that for some viewers the middle of the film will seem a bit long and boring because the total timing is exactly two hours but in reality it will all make sense. For such story it is way too long but IMHO reasonable and you will enjoy every second of it. It was a great time in history when the final fall of the wall took place. Although some story lines and events remained unsolved up to the very end. The creators of the film did not delve into the internal affairs of families leaving this behind the scenes but completely devoted all their attention to preparing for the second escape. We are shown in full details how certain characters contribute to achieve their goals. Please do not forget that in parallel with the actions of the fugitives a large-scale investigation is taken place and shown. The main antagonist and an experienced investigator from Stasi who is doing everything possible to identify and arrest the criminals in the shortest possible time is in full alert like a pointer dog. Most interesting this antagonist does not appear in the image of an insensitive scum or a scoundrel. He is an ordinary guy. He is just one of the Stasi employees, the officer and bloodhound for whom there are no unsolved problems, there are only good and fast solutions. His mind is sharp and does everything to capture the escapers. He is respected among colleagues and superiors. He is respected and at the same time afraid. His orders are executed quickly and on time. He is a true professional in his field. During interrogations he has no equal because you will never be able to hide information from him as if he sees people through.
By the way it is worth adding that the creators of the film approach the material presented very carefully. For the entire film the viewer will not hear anything bad about the Soviet regime, Russian occupation, terror or infringement of the freedoms of the common people of East Germany. It is for this reason that it may seem that the main characters tend to leave their home just because they just want to change the situation. Although those who know the history should be aware that the surrounding atmosphere of that time was not the best as well as in whole West Europe because thanks to the actions of the Stasi almost the entire territory was stuffed with the secret agents of the secret police. According to official figures the number of Stasi informants, agents and employees was about three hundred thousand. This means that every 50th resident of East Germany worked for the Stasi (“Stasi” is an unofficial abbreviated name of the Ministry of State Security of the German Democratic Republic. It was formed in April 1950. Stasi carefully controlled the behavior of citizens of East Germany in order to prevent any political directions that are contrary to the current. There was one of the highest levels of saturation of the social society with agents in world history).
That was the reason why our characters were constantly in a state of fear: they did not know who the enemy was and whom they can trust. Each doorbell or a strange look from the side of a passing person only strengthens the manic-depressive state of the heroes. It periodically splashed out into nervous breakdowns or quarrels of parents of younger characters. Despite this they were parents loving children and always in support their family in every possible way helping in preparing the escape.
There is more to the plot though: very serious questions on family values, justified risk and the desire for a dream.
There are no complaints on production: everything looks high quality but with no frills. It was a small budget production although noticeable by the experts. At the same time each scene looks spectacular and made with a sense of empathy. The cast is worthy of special mention where everyone did everything necessary for the success of the film: the characters looked rather dramatic and with a full set of real emotions.
The film is certainly worthy of attention but you should not expect an exciting action: it is as dynamics as the emotions go creating a certain level of empathy for the characters. The film is considered a thriller and its genre direction is nevertheless closer to drama so the picture will be primarily close to those fans of simple but quite dramatic stories that happen in real life.
Thumbs up from me for this picture as I know with with own skin what was happening...
Director Alex Holmes Producers: Alex Holmes, Victoria Gregory Music composed by: Samuel Sim, Rob Manning
“The ocean is always trying to kill you – it doesn’t take a break. The probability of just not making it is high. You’re on your own – no hope if anything happens”.
These were the opening words of Tracy Edwards as she recounts her story of being the first woman to skipper an all-female crew in the 1989-1990 Whitbread Around the World Yacht Race, covering a distance of 33,000 nautical miles.
After an unsettling adolescence from the age of ten, Tracey left home at 16, ending up in Greece where she secured employment as a cook on charter boats. She saw sailing as the ultimate freedom, feeling that she had no choice – where she could really excel.
Tracey risked everything to pull off this venture, even mortgaging her home. No one would sponsor her until King Hussein of Jordan offered. She then bought and renovated a second-hand yacht, calling it “Maiden”.
Members of the male-dominated media ran a book on the proposition that her venture would fail, calling the Maiden “a tin full of tarts”.
The archival footage, shot by crew members, shows heart-in-your-mouth scenes as the Maiden navigates through swirling seas and ice, especially in the Southern Ocean. We also witness a time where the boat fills up with water and the crew’s efforts in stemming this internal tide. This venture was no walk in the park. Tracy and her crew showed great fortitude in overcoming the difficulties they encountered whether they be physical, directional, meteorological, mental or just plain old gender bias.
As well as being a documentary about the first all-female crew competing in the Whitbread Around the World Yacht Race, it was a film about determination and - a great example of women can really do.
JOKER NEW website RATE: 10.10 REWATCHABILITY: 2/10
I thought my life was a tragedy, but now I realized it was a comedy!
Whoever said that, the main movie of this year was not even the Avengers which turned out to be weaker than the previous part but unexpectedly Todd Phillips Joker. Who could expect from that unbelievable picture from the director of the 'bachelor parties' films. Who would expect that he was able to shoot the hardest social drama which will still be incredibly relevant at the present time. Much has been said about this film indeed, I read many. I will try to repeat some points of views without repeating them so to speak.
First of all, the movie is very aesthetically beautifully made. There is a gloomy, dirty city, the atmosphere of hopelessness with the people who are extremely violent depiced... all this at the same time annoys us as spectators but we can not take our eyes off it. The colors are perfectly matched, the setting, the frame are all at the level of the “golden” classics of Hollywood, there is also an excellent work of the camera man and everything looks very natural with a minimum of graphics use.
Secondly, Joaquin Phoenix gives out and gives it all and according to his senses: all of his acting skills in perfection - no words. He completely devotes himself to this film and to this role. We see on the screen one very thin almost anorexic and mentally ill person who simply does not take out all this life. He lives with a sick mother who needs even more care but the city doesn’t give a damn about it, the government and social institution support is cuts off all its benefits to help such people. The city is choking on trash and rats, it seems as if an epidemic sickness is coming upon this city: both mental and physical... The problem is so complex and unsolvable in real life that it even becomes a little funny and sad at the same time. The authorities have money, but they do not want to do anything: people are puppets or more like clowns for them. Hence the meaning of the phrase that the main character casts on television. The remaining cast plays their roles very well: the old and amazing Robert De Niro, for example, embodies an extremely cynical person on the screen: there are many characters like this in real life who surround us. It's just that all the director’s laurels were given to Phoenix hence you don’t have time to notice the works of the other actors. Our focus is on the Joker, the main character.
Thirdly, as I already noted above, this film is very relevant for our times. The screenwriters who are highly inspired by Scorsese's works. The dialogues are very well spelled out, they are voiced without excessive pathos. There is one funny thing: in order to become a Joker you had to fall into a tub with chemicals. In this film the character just had to get into the modern society to become one. The society is a tub full of chemicals. In fact this is a film with a very cool move in the plot.
There is something else: the movie has so much to be to praise for but it has one significant minus: I would not really want to revise it, to watch it again: it is way too vital, too depressing and too truthful for my eyes: there is unemployment, suffering beyond our understanding, social problems, bins of dirt and rubbish, sick people who are left without care - this is simply not possible to enjoy and after all we go to the movies more often to at least get a little disturbed from our everyday life not to be shown it again! I say to myself: I do not want to see it: the art has to raise me high not to destroy my hopes... The main character also does not make us to feel sympathy: maximum he asks for pity, and even so - only at the start of the film. The cinema does not give a direct answer to the question “What to do?” and it leaves us even more disturbed... There are more questions than solutions. It is a genius film but it has not answers... The viewer determines for himself: “go with the flow” with rats, go to the root against the system and become a “kind of joker” or think about the third option “start with yourself”. Therefore, let my review be neutral in color: no green, no red, n black, no white... but with a very strong rating indeed. The Joker has already become a cult film with the big dollars earned with an average and rather small budget spent. There are talks and discussions about this picture that have not subsided for weeks: you can safely applaud the director and his entire group. Such a movie should be at least nominated for an Oscar in major and technical nominations IMHO. 10 for my rating and 2 for rewatchability.
ALLIANCE FRANCAUSE DE MELBOURNE: CAMILLE CLAUDEL NEW website RATE: 10/10
Allaince Francaise Classic Film Festival 2019 opened for media on 18 October 2019 with a warm coffee and fresh croissant reception for breakfast and screening of one of timeless classics Camille Claudel. There was only one thing I felt sorry about: that I have not seen this actress before.
Isabelle Adjani is an angel by looks who has a talent compared with none in cinematography. Gérard Depardieu is beyond any words. He is the master of the stage with no doubts. But I want to talk about Isabelle's Camilla.
Isabelle Adjani managed without looking back at anyone, to realize in her image of Camille everything conceived and envisioned starting with time she portrayed and ending with her role itself. Adjani’s Camilla Claudel is an unsurpassed example of a biopic on the theme of fine arts, almost the only film I watched so far which in general convincingly and stylistically adequately depicts the artist’s ministry and combustion. Adjani in Camille Claudel made a small but obvious and surprisingly flavored luminaries in the actress' discovery: the visual meaning of this film about a certain art (sculpture in this case) should be as close as possible to the aesthetics of this same art. The visual array of the film is extremely material, grounded - we can see the work in its raw form. That’s why Adjani’s white-marble hands wrinkle and mash the clay, break and cut off the iron granite, cut, crush and put together the sun-ray-ed jasper. The hem of her dress is always smeared with mud, her rich hair is showered with lime dust, her forearms are cut with a chisel and her legs are strained for many hours, standing in a cold workshop. She drags, tosses and turns, carries many kilogram lumps, there is kaolin in the hem of her dress, there is gypsum in her reticule, there are fragments of statues in her balushek. Her work is concrete, it is physically difficult, it is tangible after all. Against this background of hers any metaphor seems false and indecent! She is incomparable, she is the truth herself. There is none next to her as anything next to her is a lie.
Actually, the fatal seed of Claudel’s conflict with the world falls into this soil: her power over the plastic essence of things acquired by skills and obsession calls for the creation of the world, better, purer not aggravated by original sin. Young Camilla perceives her errands at Rodin during the work on the Gates of Hell as a cleansing, deliverance by exorcism of spiritual freaks accumulated over a short time but already crippled by the ordinary age. Her reunion with the only one who is close to her system of thoughts and considered to have a "special kiss of God" is the gate from her personal hell of slippery creatures roaring from the consciousness of powerlessness since they still have no "wings" on their shoulders. Camille is inspired, her flesh in her youth is unpretentious and does not seek anything but love. Everything that is perishable to her is unbearably boring, she is revolted to search for patrons and buyers and no enviously selfish interests in what her colleagues do. Her life is refined, refined, crystallized to the narrowest possible space: her workshop, clay, sitter, evening fatigue , velvet warmth of the fireplace and Rodin. At some point her world closes in itself, closing also her last loophole outside ... Adjani is not afraid to directly declare that Camille Claudel was many times superior compared to Rodin in terms of her talent - a heavy-volatile one, tied to time, place and market conditions, fluctuations in the Seine levels and the franc monetary fluctuations, the death of Hugo and the opening of the Suez Canal; Rodin is practical, rogue as French, he is a coward of course, most perfect bourgeois of bohemia who prefers to live with gypsum dust after the marbles of Carrara because it is more peaceful this way. Rodin with his practicality though managed to "fall down" (impress) on his own century echoing on the 20th century's sidewalk with all his weight while Camille Claudel managed to rise from oblivion and darkness and get her own re-birth in the features of a pretty Frenchwoman whose name is Isabelle.
A great distance away from your typical run-of-the-mill sort of romance, there is much to love about this movie.
Surrounding the theme of the complexities involved in an arranged-marriage between two Italian families in Australia, the movie does superbly well in exploring the equally-complex energy and discord between husband and wife after their wedding, in addition to illuminating on several side stories along the way.
This is truly an enriching feature film for the contemporary family, which spells the traits and values needed for a marriage are not modern, but are, in fact, those from ages long ago. Promised is a triumph for the Australian cinematic venture!
A grandiose attempt in capturing the life of the most famous operatic tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, the movie is centred around the musical figure, as well as the man, including his impediments and absurdities in life.
Ron Howard brings us to view, from the segments of Pavarotti's early life, his rise to fame while performing in theatre around the globe, as well as his entrance into the operatic world, which was relatively unknown and obscure in the 1960s - establishing himself as the foremost tenor of the era, as being the only one who could carry his voice to the highest pitches (thus earning the nickname 'The King of The High C's').
It would be an incomplete narration if Pavarotti's involvement in the famous ensemble The Three Tenors had not been discussed. But, joy! Howard brought upon the enthusiasm of the three, namely, Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo, when the collaboration was wonderfully evoked towards the end of the movie, hitting a high pitch himself in this masterful work.
After the Wedding is a melodramatic story. It is a remake of the Danish film with the same name made in 2007. It was nominated at that time for an Oscar in Best Foreign Language Film category. The film primarily would interest a wide female audience but not only. Those of us who love sudden tragedy revealing from the life secrets hidden for a long time will enjoy it too.
The plot is based on the experience of one and very kind woman, who lives and works as a volunteer in India for a renown orphanage. She learns that a certain investor from New York is ready to donate a decent amount of money to her organization. To get the money though she HAS to come to New York personally for a meeting with the sponsor. It would all be fine, but after the meeting she's been invited by that same woman investor to her daughter's wedding... At the wedding that our girl is hesitating to attend she suddenly discovers that the investor is married to her ex-husband... The events then fall creating a growing snow ball of events that no one was prepared to experience. Our heroine discovers that her ex-husband was hiding one big secret for many years has since they got separated. This secret will change the fate of many people around them in the most profound way.
The plot that seemed very calm, slow, even monotonous and very peaceful at the first half of the film after certain events in the middle of the film turns its mood creating the atmosphere that gradually worsens with events escalated getting to the depth of the dramaturgy that noticeably intensifies. The characters play amazingly well, the overall story gets transformed and becomes more and more interesting.
One of the features of this movie is the ambiguity and inconsistency of the heroes which makes them more natural, organic and so close to real people who make their mistakes and do not always behave well and noble. The viewer condemns someone, supports the others and then the opinion changes and the attitude towards everyone is completely different. It is interesting to watch but you have to listen to each and every word said from the screen. The second half of the story is noticeably better and deserves special attention.
As for the actors the list of names of the celestial cast speaks for itself. At the same time each of them does everything possible to reveal their character as much as possible, deeper and stronger. The picture shows that the actors are so very much interested in the plot and the long-suffering personal story of their characters is so close to each and every one of them. This is reflected in their actions, attitudes and emotions. It is so pleasant and joyful to observe them play. You will continue to "live: with the heroes to the very end of the film. The past of the heroes brings a sense of intrigue because one secret is revealed after another.
At the same you will get a feeling that for some reason neither the actors nor the director reach the maximum of their capacities. In other words, the creators do not squeeze the story to the very end as if they are afraid to cross some invisible line and go into the depths of tragedy. You will also notice the actors restraining their emotions. That is why I tend to give it the average rate of 8/10 for this "Hollywood version" that was felt all the way through.
The remake turned out to be of high quality and perfectly fitted but at the same time it felt light and with no "sharp corners" compared to the 2007 Danish version. I have to add that man's role was very weak and insignificant as well as the acting, perhaps the wrong actor choice too.
If you watch this movie or you choose not to please judge for yourself and the main thing is: enjoy watching it.
After the Wedding (M) – 112 minutes – by Alex First
A drama that changes course a couple of times with shock revelations, After the Wedding features two of the finest actors going head to head.
I speak of Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore, in a piece written and directed by the latter’s husband, Bart Freundlich.
As if driven by an inescapable force, Isabel (Williams) has devoted years of her life to running an orphanage in a Calcutta slum.
With funds running dry, a potential donor, who requires Isabel to travel from India to New York to deliver a presentation in-person, contacts Isabel.
At first balking at the demand of an uncommitted philanthropist, Isabel is prevailed upon to relent and she flies back to a city she hasn’t been in in more than two decades.
Once in the Big Apple, Isabel lands uncomfortably in the crosshairs of the orphanage's possible benefactor, Theresa Young (Moore), a multi-millionaire media mogul.
All in her life points to success – from the glittering skyscraper where she runs her successful business to the glorious Oyster Bay estate where she lives.
It is in that home that she shares her life with his artist husband Oscar Carlson (Billy Crudup), their 21-year-old daughter Grace (Abby Quinn) and eight-year-old twin sons, Theo and Otto.
But appearances can be deceptive.
Isabel and Theresa have more in common than meets the eye.
Having said that, Isabel is insular, while Theresa is controlling. Isabel has a teenage past that returns to blindside her, while Theresa is hiding a dark secret.
I found it fascinating to watch such fine proponents of their craft, namely Williams and Moore going about their business.
Add to that duo Crupup, whose character delicately tries to navigate around not one but three women in turmoil, the third being his daughter, whose life is turned on its head.
In fact, a thread involving Grace and her “fresh” husband is left untied, but then that is not the main story arc.
I found myself heavily invested in proceedings, which for all the characters’ gravitas at times had a soapbox feel.
Still, I shed tears because all key players found themselves in invidious circumstances.
After the Wedding draws you in and shakes you about.
Rated M, it scores a 7 out of 10.
STRANGE BUT TRUE website review by Katherine Kelly
Strange but true
The film opens in a leafy suburb. Phillip Chase (Nick Robinson) is fleeing on crutches from an unseen pursuer.
Two days prior, a heavily pregnant Melissa (Margaret Qualley “Once upon a time in Hollywood”) unexpectedly arrives at Phillip’s family home announcing that his deceased brother, Ronnie, is the baby’s father. Ronnie had died in a freak car accident five years before, an event that left the family in profound grief.
Charlene Phillip’s grieving mother (Amy Ryan) becomes very agitated with this bizarre news and banishes Melissa from the house. But curiosity getting the better of her, leads her to do some research into posthumous sperm collection and virgin births.
We soon learn that things in this leafy suburban setting are not as they seem. Secrets begin to unravel amidst rising suspense in this noir thriller. The question arises: “If we knew the whole truth would we be less afraid”.
This film had its World Premiere at the International Film festival, Edinburgh in June 2019. Based on the novel by Jon Searles, it is directed by Rowan Athale with screenplay by Eric Garcia. It displayed some wonderful acting performances by Amy Ryan, Nick Robinson, Margaret Qualley, Blythe Danner, Brian Cox, Greg Kinnear and Connor Jessup.
MELBOURNE QUEER FILM FESTIVAL EXTRA website review and photo by Anthony Wayne
Melbourne's rainbow was shining bright over the weekend with the launch of the very first MQFF eXtra. The new mini film festival is the offspring of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Australia's largest and longest running queer film festival, the MQFF is well established as a calendar staple within the LGBTIQ and broader communities. Running for 29 years with next year marking their big 30 year milestone! Each year the festival continues to grow with new venues, more screenings and bigger audiences. The team behind the festival have now decided that one festival is simply not enough.
The new MQFF eXtra will become an annual event that follows their main festival held in March - giving us cinema lovers the chance to enjoy the festival twice a year. Running over 3 days from 4 - 6 October, the festival offered 12 screenings all held at Cinema Nova Carlton. The program included a diverse selection showcasing the best in new queer cinema releases from around the world with a mix of feature films, documentaries and short film packages.
I was delighted to attend the SOLD OUT opening night on behalf of Bohemian Rhapsody Club. For those who managed to avoid getting stuck in the crazy Friday night traffic jam - there were drinks and canapes available to enjoy on arrival prior to the film. The volunteers were fantastic and worked quickly scanning our tickets and ushering everyone in. The packed cinema was buzzing with excitement as we settled in our seats for the opening screening. We were warmly welcomed by several speakers including program director - Spiro Economopoulos and a special guest from festival sponsor W Hotel - set to open in Melbourne in June 2020.
Spiro highlighted the importance of bringing together the community - 'When we get together, watch films, tell stories, listen to stories, drink and chat.. we are building a strong and healthy community.'
The opening feature Pain and Glory told of a series of reencounters experienced by Salvador Mallo, a film director grappling with writer's block and a physical decline in his health. The spanish drama is a self reflective portrait by director Pedro Almodóvar with strong performances from Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.
For anyone who missed out on the festival this year, head to www.mqff.com.au and either sign up as a member or join the mailing list to keep yourself updated.
Thank you to MQFF for the special invitation to attend and congratulations on the debut of the exciting new festival.
NTL: FLEABAG BEST MOVIE OF THE MONTH website RATE: 10/10
She says: “I have a terrible feeling that I am a greedy, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally fallen woman who cannot even call herself a feminist.”
"There is a little bit of garbage (a "fleabag") inside everyone of us that says and does unacceptable things", - says Phoebe Waller Bridge, the creator of the mono theater production called Fleabag.
"Fleabag" is a 30-year-old resident of modern London who is struggling to keep the things around her afloat, or run a small cafe that she inherited from her deceased girlfriend along with a guinea pig named Hillary. Her life is a tragicomic. It is full of the events that include her ever leaving and coming back and unreliable, nervous boyfriend, her promiscuous sexual intercourses, her constant drinking, her aptitude for kleptomania, her depressed anorexic sister that never picks up the phone, her honeyed stepmother and her passing by array of strange friends... oh yes, add here her enduring pain that we only notice when she leaves the stage after 90 minutes of non stopping talk. This is one brilliant act of course.
In the production for which Phoebe's old friend Vicki Jones is responsible, there is no decorations: there is one lonely chair in the middle of the stage, some dim light and occasional pre-recorded voice-over man's voice of other character in the play. Everything else is London, a modest cafe, a big house of her rich father, one poor tiny guinea pig and it all comes finally to our imagination. The actress is a pure genius and she makes the audience die from laughter and then freeze in a tense and sympathetic silence - all at once.
It all fits into almost an hour and a half with a small stage show: but one line on the stage and Phoebe's phenomenal play surprisingly reveal her whole life in front of us.
The dialogue with the audience is delivered in the form of an intimate and bitter confession. You do not know what to do really: to laugh,, to cry or to zip up your lips and listen... She tells her story ( of existence) with cynical humor and shocking details, confusing us with the image of a “bad girl” that we also should feel sorry about. She buys us to the core of our soul. We feel for her. we are breathless listening to her life journey... Imperceptibly this monologue turns into a cry for help from a very lonely woman who dreams were lost on the way and who is trying to disguise fear of becoming too vulnerable in true love for compulsive sex and bravado of cynical trash.
This recognition in the character turns the play not just into a hilarious episodes of sketches performed by one unbelievably brilliant actress. It makes us to recall our own dark sides: selfishness, irreparable errors, loneliness and the endless search for our own place in the world.
The intriguing and tragicomic plot of Fleabag is one fascinating and epic fate road of one physically attractive English lady who has reached the age of thirty, the lady with her indiscriminate sexual adventures, cruel wit and as a rule: always encountering monstrous problems in life. The unhappy, cherishing inner hatred of the surrounding community revels in piled up sorrows that follow one another. She needs to restore her shaken health every day by always the same remedy: another drunken party with a carefree company. She again and again rushes to storm the barricades of disgusting everyday life that ends up the same way. Such trials have become habitual events for the character for a long time. There is a certain responsibility that still keeps the young lady from final madness.
Being a very young, gullible child she dreamed of a completely different fate,. In her own shining dreams she ascended to the heaven seeing herself as a successful, attractive lady. She dreamed of a huge mansion being a rich and devoted wife of one loving husband with a couple of wonderful and adorable kids. However, the harsh reality was not so tempting, depriving the unhappy to the present moment of all hopes for her happy future. Remaining for a long time alone and without some significant prospects she gradually began to get involved in alcohol. The only friend whom she truly trusted any secrets suddenly dies: her guinea pig (she inherited him with the cafe: a fluffy an cute animal she loves). The fluffy passes away like our character's best dreams...
Is it a must to see theater? I have never seen anything like this in my life: it is one stunning act of true and dark honesty!
Experiencing a different sort of cinematic magic is a rare treat, though one could expect as much from Gemini Man - a motion picture that truly takes the realism of 3D to the next level.
With its punchy 60 FPS (Frames Per Second) images, the audience is given the privilege to experience depth and distance as never before, ultimately immersing them alongside the characters of the film. The director, Ang Lee, manages to push the boundaries of cinematography, employing the use of avant-garde technology and tools. With Jerry Bruckheimer producing, we can be assured that they had spared no expense in this pursuit.
Needless to say, Will Smith truly delivers, bringing the two roles that he plays (both of which are assassins, though decades apart in age) to life-like renditions. The movie is fast-paced and will keep you to the edge of your seat throughout, and it is definitely one which you and your family would want to watch in the big screen!
“Judy” Drama/Romance Based on End of the Rainbow by Richard Quilter Paths and BBC Films 9/10 Review by Susan Reynolds
“Renee Zellweger‘s Portrayal of Judy Garland was powerful, she seized the role with the energy of a super nova. She imbued her performance with soul and Judy-like mannerisms and physicality. Her musical performance takes my admiration of her to another level”
In The opening of the film we see a re-creation from the set from Wizard of Oz and it’s just wonderful. It encapsulated the fantasy we experience as movie goers, this dream-like environment which was also the one which captivated the young Judy (played by Darci Shaw). The euphoria was short lived as we began to see the psychology of coercion used on Judy by the manipulative Louis B. Mayer the famed producer(Richard Cordery).
He explained to a young 16 year old Judy that she can just be another raindrop falling into the ocean or take up the offer to be a star. He told her it’s her singing that will both set her apart from ordinary American girls and make her their idol. The course of film revealed the cost of stardom with flashbacks to this period, the creepy treatment used by producer and the harshness of her mother.
The main body of the film was Judy as a forty year old, her career in decline and the subsequent decisions she had to make. She tried With two children in tow to make a living Lorna Luft (Bella Ramsey) and Joey Luft (Lewin Lloyd) Failing miserably to make ends meet and with the constant battle with addictions Judy is forced to leave her kids to make money in London performing at the Talk of the Town.
Judy understood much was riding on the successes in London but the triage of drink, drugs and emotions Judy struggled with the highs and lows in getting on stage. Renée Zellweger was just amazing donning prosthetics and new teeth for the role, Renée did more than carry off a likeness. She transcended relaying a story, she imbued her character with the spirit of Judy Garland.
Renée’s performances on stage in London were award worthy and astounding. The forlorn Judy with superb frail body language when the drink gets the better of her and she’s slumped in the dressing room. The triumphant Judy when she smashes out a show with her stardom shining through the cloud of addiction.
I cried as I felt the suffering Judy experienced with her separation from her children. Several scenes got the better of me as the dysfunction of this superstar was confronting raw and sad. Judy no doubt had a full life and made her choices but the addiction she suffered echoed back to her early years where her own mother gave her uppers and downers. Amphetamines were used in keeping her weight down we see that in a scene of where the young Judy is with Mickey Rooney where she’s denied a hamburger and it’s replaced with a pill. Barbiturate and alcohol addiction plagued her throughout her short life (she died of an overdose at 47)
THE EULOGY website review by Vellukhanna Mariappen
Genius. Breath-Taking An Utter Failure.
These are the words that one could use on Geoffrey Tozer, one of the greatest piano players of the modern era. And this movie takes on the viewer on the journey of his momentous life, from his birth at the foothills of the Himalayas, India, to his rise in fame during his teenage years, and, finally, to his spiral downwards during his last days in Melbourne, Australia, when he took to drink.
The movie begins with a eulogy by The Honourable Paul Keating, replaying his actual speech presented at Tozer's funeral, whom he has had the pleasure of meeting during his earlier days as the Treasurer at Canberra. Appalled by the lack of support by Australia's music industry, Paul Keating goes into a battle to uplift the destitute state of his contemporary and lifelong friend, Geoffrey Tozer.
A Professor of Music at one of Australia's leading music schools takes on the challenge to uncover the reasons for the reduction, and ultimately, the complete removal of Tozer from the eyes of the Australian public. The viewer is presented with a paradoxical setting, for Tozer was one who could play complex piano pieces by the age of 12, leading orchestras and concerts worldwide.
This is a documentary-stylised film that is to be celebrated by every Australian! Vellukhanna Mariappen
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK website review by Anthony Wayne
Want to scream this Halloween? If you are a fan of a good old classic scare, you will be in for an enjoyable ride as horror makes it way out of the dark - in time for the October celebration. An adaption based on the iconic children’s book series comes Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - executing familiar elements of the genre with building suspense, jump scares, frightening creatures and a haunted house.
Set in 1968, the film's opening shots establishes the vintage feel with the small town awash with vintage cars and fashion. The town is in the midst of their Halloween preparations. We are introduced to a group of teens as they set out on a night of 'trick or treating'. Stella - a nerdy bookworm, and best friends Auggie and Chuck make up the trio of misfits - think along the lines of the Losers Club in IT. After provoking the local bully by throwing a bag of aflame excrement into his car, they find themselves running for cover in a drive-in theatre. It’s there that our losers club runs into Ramón, a Latino out-of-towner. Together, the four of them end up breaking in to the towns boarded up abandoned mansion. The century old house was owned by a family who ran the paper mill, and was the site of terrible abuse of the family’s daughter, Sarah, who died there after a spell in a mental institution. The terror begins when Stella angers the ghost of Sarah by taking her dusty book of horror stories. Stella and her friends soon discover that this is no ordinary book and each night a new story magically begins to appear before their very eyes on the blank pages. Each tale mentioning the name of one of the teens and summoning a different creepy monster. As each new story is being written, it soon becomes a race against time to figure out what's responsible and if there is a way to save themselves before they meet a gruesome fate.
The narrative is well paced and cleverly builds the tension with classic suspense techniques, without ever getting heavy on blood and gore. The only time we ever see blood, is in the writing of the book. While the monsters are disturbing, they are still very much on the tamer side and there is little to none violence. One of the monsters I actually thought looked kind of cute - in a freaky way - she slowly stalks the red lit hospital corridors before ending up hugging her victim. The subdued style makes the film more accessible offering a gateway experience into the horror genre for younger audiences - potentially from 13 up. There is the odd cheesy line, but overall the performances delivered are very authentic and charming.
Without giving away any spoilers, the ending of the film more than leaves the door open for a sequel. And if there is, I will certainly be ready to enjoy the next chapter.
Ad Astra, written and directed by Director James Grey, is a unique science fiction space drama starring Brad Pitt as Major Roy McBride, Tommy Lee Jones as H Clifford McBride - Roy’s father, Ruth Negga as Helen Lantos the Mars Facility Director, Liv Tyler as Roy’s estranged wife, and Donald Sutherland as Colonel Pruitt, Clifford’s former colleague.
The film opens with Roy (Pitt) working on a tower, which reaches high into space. A massive surge abruptly knocks Roy off the tower where we see many breathtaking scenes and Earth views as Roy freefalls through the atmosphere. As Roy activates the parachute, bullets rain down on him from an unknown source as he safely lands on Earth.
Roy then finds himself on a mission to go find his father, Astronaut H Clifford Mc Bride (Lee Jones) who disappeared whilst working on the Lima Project some 30 years ago. The space agency believes there is evidence that Roy’s father is still living in far outer space and creating a deadly threat to the solar system in an attempt to extinguish human life – hence the surges. Roy then boards a regular flight to the Moon with Colonel Pruitt (Sutherland) a former associate of Clifford McBride. We see that, contrary to the 50-year-old scenes of the first moon landing, there is indeed life on moon where tourists are welcomed in what resembles a fun park.
The sense of adventure is enormous as Roy navigates his way through far outer space in his mission to locate his father. He experiences many death defying situations, including a surprise encounter with rogue baboons. All adventures aside, this film carried a human side as Roy confronts his own existence including his relationship with his estranged wife, and his father.
The film’s effects were overwhelming with great depictions of Mars and Neptune. Pitt did not disappoint, with his uncanny knack of slipping effortlessly into whatever character he portrays.
The film was part of the Toronto Film Festival (2018). It is one believable story with the increasing interest of the scandals, abuse and sexual harassment at work towards the working women. Been there , experienced that many times and was even once let down by my own younger boss.
The main character of the film whose name is Orna, is facing the real problem at work. Her new boss at the real estate agency appreciates her high level skills and ability to sell fast and honest from one side while helping her in every way to move up the career ladder, on the other side gives her inappropriate signs of attention a d messages of sexual interest. Orna faces a difficult moral choice. She has a handsome, loving and young husband and three gorgeous kids. The husband has opened a new concept restaurant where he spends days and nights getting new customers served and trying to make the business flourish. It is a difficult time for him as the restaurant has just started. While Orna is forced to feed the whole family with three children and cannot lose her job she finally experiences the horror while she stays with her new boss at the Paris hotel where they sell for the VIP clientele. It s the end of the road for her as she either has to face the truth, quit her job and honestly tell her husband what happened or continue to lie and hide. Her world is falling apart as her choice is going of course towards the family. She can still stand up for herself but for her work career and her marriage are both under big question now. The boss from his side urns into a monster which is quite predictable. Orna's work becomes simply unbearable now.
What is Orna's final step? How is she going to save her family from poverty , keep the relationship with her husband afloat and be on the top on her career? Better you find out yourself. The actress who plays Orna is simply amazing: she is a graceful deer scared to make the wrong move. She also so adorable in her final and smartest choice that deserves a round of applause. The truth finally wins.
Green Light 2019 Australian Documentary Director Ned Donohoe Review by Susan Reynolds 9/10
“Everyday guys Nicholas and Luke are doing extraordinary things for others they don’t know and putting themselves at risk. Desperate people on the other end of a phone are pleading for help. The men are a last resort for many.”
The film lays everything out for us to judge for ourselves. The facts about the marijuana and the lives of the two men and what they do. Both of whom themselves have come back from the brink of drug addiction. I’d argue there’s something about some people who’ve had that pain and who what to help others alleviate theirs.
We learn of their motivations in doing what they do. We witness the demands on the lives of two men. The callers or their families have serious health issues majority seem to be cancer and they’ve been told there nothing else by the medical profession. Callers can’t easily get help from the Legal Medical Access Scheme for medicinal marijuana which it appears is limited in its applications. Mostly people who seek the help want THC the illegal form of marijuana (illegal because of it’s psychoactive properties). But not for that but for it’s famed ability to work in the fight against cancerous tumours. That’s what greatly interests many.
Luke and Nicholas coined as being “mavericks” certainly they are.. often working against the law with what they’re doing. The cases who appear on film are very compelling, people in many walks of life and of varying ages with different complaints. One of these the family of a child with the multiple tumours who had a dramatic turnaround after taking the oil. The aggressive tumours subsided once medical marijuana THC was administered. The parents ceased administering the oil as they appeared to have gone and the tumours the mother explained came back. The child resumed taking the oil provided by Nicholas and Luke. Several times my emotions got the better of me watching the various cases. This is raw, it is human and this is what can happen and does happen to people everyday.
This is educative and important viewing particularly it seems for Australians who have to go through extremely vigorous processes to get medical marijuana. Medical Marijuana was Made legal in 2016 in Australia one of the major concerns is lack of supply and difficulty in procuring as it seems many administrative stages have to be gone through to get it.
The film is educative and interesting, opens your eyes to the benefits of a substance which is still at the frontier of understanding in how it can help people.
Courtesy of Sue
BIRDS OF PASSAGE FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE: 10/10
This is the story of ever changing life and ever transforming people.
Superb acting that feels native to its bones, people who play extras look like natives, it is also a great slice of history of the drug-dealer mafia being born in Columbia, a film about great ancient traditions and culture, the songs in the film are so beautiful and magical - they are only a handful of the great things about the film that I can list here... and I will continue. Two hours of watching - IS THAT ALL? We want more! It was not enough!
Made by 5 countries and companies' collaboration seemed so unusual to even the spoiled spectators! There is Columbia, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands - we understand Columbia and Mexico, but what European countries were doing there? Was it the smoke from some special tubes?
The film was based on a real story and the story is quite strong. The film consists of parts , each one with the title as they are different stories but about the same families and people , but just experiencing different pars of their lives, just like the movie parts.
There are beautiful songs as I mentioned before, There are two major families that was one family before. They are two gangs now. The action takes place in late 60-s. The people standing in front of our eyes are native Indians, they are the owners of the land, they respect the traditions of the land and its ancestors. The pass traditions and laws from generation to generation. They get changed though because they started trading with civilized new comers to the land.
The main character is a young and ambitious man, who decides to get the beautiful wife from the local people. He has to earn money to "buy her out" from the family. He is shown the door way out when he comes in the house with no presents and no money. he has to come back and make money and bring huge gifts. He decides to earn money to get his bride. He takes a very complex decision not to trade coffee but hemp. which can potentially bring even more dollars than coffee. So the story starts. The actors look amazing, so different from how we see "actors". they all have this amazing presence, they look very natural and blended into the gang as if they were born there. They are literally get saturated with realism of the plot. There is that bespoken and natural truth of life that is un-mistakenly present in them. We see the presence of incredible people, not artists. The game is completely realistic. There is no falsehood, there is only a story which you enjoy and wish would never end - forget about the two hours!..
In the cultural aspect the presentation of the image of the head of the family, the mother was on the highest possible level. She is a real protector of the family values but her actions sometimes do not make sense in the human understanding as she acts blindly. But the role's embodiment, as well as the very successful role of the character uncle, Pilgrim undoubtedly deserve the highest praise.
The first part of the movie is an introductory part, it is cultural, ethnographic. It is also beautiful, amazing in its own way to see the traditions of the native people that we did not know before. There are some that would embarrass you and those you will reject for sure, but I was totally moved by this part. I was delighted.
Camera work was superb. It could definitely be done on a better level and shape in some places but there was a reason for such camera work for sure: nature often eluded the vision although there were slight accents on its significance but there were no colors that could bewitch (and again, considering the subject of the film - there was a reason for it).
The music and the songs were pleasing unexpectedly. This is just the case when there was nothing to complain about for the happy ears, everything was teeming with the real culture, customs and rituals, there was something to look at and especially something to listen to - no gaps, no emptiness, no dull moments! Plus everything including the "ears" part was done in moderation and had value and substance in it. Each song performed was the song that frankly exposed the nerves,the hearts and the souls and it was the wide-open exposure of the whole nation so to speak. The music was appropriate and very cute. It was different for our Western ear but was perfectly perceived, fully combining with the picture on the screen.
Now let's speak about the genre of this art work: this is partly a criminal action movie but in fact it is drama that dominates the picture. There are shots and deaths, but what can show better the society problem than the story in which there is no winning or losing sides? They are both in the same situation: both sides suffer and both sides get wealth. The presentation of the storyline seems so unusual that you can catch the moment of understatement as if it is normal to sell drugs and kill people so easy it is done. The life of the protagonist consists of important stages. It passes in front of our eyes and sometimes we only guess how the main character and his family live in those time intervals that are shown to us apart, some parts simply remain in the shadows. They showed the most significant part of the life of the criminals of that time and, of course, everything is true, but there is a lot of guessing happening, I wanted details, details that more details and the revelations of the main personality of the person in question. but the image came out somewhat obscure: it is difficult to fully understand and comprehend it. The main hero remained not so very clear to me: his image is blurt" what kind of person he was and did he act this way and not the other? He did not appear strong and was always in doubt of his actions: may be that was the director's idea - to show him in all places and no where a t the same time. he does not have the strong presence compared to his mother in law. He as the head of the gang follows the rules of other but does not have his own rules.
There are no bed scenes are absent but there is something else that raises the bar. You need to have quite a lot of life experience, a "baggage" so to speak to understand the content of the film and to fully experience the beautiful idea of its creation. The entire art work is not built on the "fun" moments although the presence of some brutal criminal theme carries its significance. There is something else: respect of the traditions, respect for the family and respect of moral values of life itself (even when we speak about drug traffickers).
The movie is definitely worthy the attention of the most spoiled film lovers because it is one creative product for us to appreciate. I highly recommend watching this film. I have given it the highest score, it's worth it.
Birds of Passage (MA) – 125 minutes – by Alex First
A remarkable, lyrical and poetic saga inspired by fact, Birds of Passage is about family, drugs, greed and disrespect for tradition.
We’re in Columbia in the late 1960s and ‘70s.
The film traces the origins of the drug trade through the story of an indigenous Wayuu family that becomes involved in selling marijuana to American youth.
It is a booming business, but the two mates involved – Raphayet (Jose Acosta) and Moises (Jhon Narvaez) – approach it in different ways with disastrous consequences.
The piece gets going with a rite of passage ceremony involving the daughter Zaida (Natalia Reyes) of a family matriarch Ursula (Carmina Martinez).
She immediately catches the eye of Raphayet, who asks for her hand in marriage, but the dowry is far beyond him.
As a result, some illegal trafficking leads to a chance encounter with a couple of American hippies.
Small scale becomes large scale in double quick time and with it the risks increase. Greed and power enter the equation.
I really liked the way the story was woven ... how it unfolded and gripped you in so doing.
Birds of Passage was written by Maria Camila Arias and Jacques Toulemonde, with direction from Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, who also conceived the story.
The latter worked together on Embrace of the Serpent, Guerra as director and Gallego as producer.
At the core of Birds of Passage is being true to one’s own, while straying from the path brings with it shame and retribution.
The imagery and totems are powerful, the characters colourful and the performances noteworthy.
Leading the charge is the family matriarch who calls upon her own dead mother for direction.
The dynamic between her and her son in law Raphayet is an important one.
She is not convinced he is the right fit from the beginning.
Then there’s the relationship between the son-in-law and his uncle Peregrino (Jose Vicente Cotes) and the son-in-law and his best mate who has no appreciation for cultural ties. Clearly the black sheep of the family is the matriarch’s son Leonidas (Gredier Meza), whose arrogance is compounded by his alcoholism, disrespect and ill treatment of others.
Suffice to say it becomes clear that this is going to end badly ... for everyone.
Behind it all is an arthouse style of film of rare quality and substance.
Rated MA, Birds of Passage scores an 8½ out of 10.
I had a lot of fun with this foul-mouthed comedy concerning a cadre of 12-year-olds who call themselves the Beanbag Boys.
The creative minds behind Superbad, Pineapple Express and Sausage Party (Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg) along with James Weaver (Neighbors and Blockers) take on sixth grade in the outrageous Good Boys. They are the producers.
The writing is handled by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, who have worked together for more than a decade on the likes of television’s The Office and the Cameron Diaz feature Bad Teacher. Stupnitsky also directs.
Just how bad can one day get?
After being invited to his first “kissing” party, 12-year-old Max (Jacob Tremblay) panics because he doesn’t know how to kiss.
I should explain for those not in the know that such a party involves players sitting in a circle and in turn spinning a bottle before being asked to kiss the person the bottle is pointed at when it stops.
Eager for some pointers, Max and his best friends, Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) take matters into their own hands.
They decide to use a drone belonging to Max’s dad (Will Forte) – which Max has been forbidden from touching – to spy on a teenage couple making out next door.
But when things go ridiculously wrong, the drone is destroyed.
Desperate to replace it before Max’s father returns, the boys skip school and set off on an odyssey of epically bad decisions.
They involve some accidentally stolen drugs, frat-house paintball and running from “terrifying” teenage girls Hannah (Molly Gordon) and Lily (Midori Francis) and police.
Of course we’ve seen this kind of thing before with older kids (you only need to think back to the excellent Booksmart earlier this year), but it is mighty funny in the hands of younger tackers.
The politically correct brigade who will call foul for the fact that the bad language and the blatant sexuality is in the hands of minors need not bother to buy a ticket.
For the rest, Good Boys is an enjoyable, laugh-inducing romp based around awkwardness.
Tremblay, who fronted the superb psychological thriller Room, is an excellent choice in the lead.
The fresh-faced youngster conveys innocence and vulnerability as do his two sidekicks, one of whom is honest to a fault (constantly blurting out the truth of the situations the trio find themselves in).
The piece is well written with a series of zingers (and sight gags, it must be said) that keep coming at you.
I was highly entertained throughout, much more than I anticipated I would be.
Make no mistake, Good Boys is strictly lightweight, popcorn fare – pure escapism designed to generate chuckles – to be treated that way.
Nothing wrong with that when you want a bit of time out from the heaviness that life can throw at you.
The maestro of the new independent American comedy, Seth Rogen offers us another masterpiece in the genre he personally founded. At the same time the film (or more precisely, their authors) were able to pretty much refresh the not so long ago invented genre.
Max (Jacob Trambley) lives in almost perfect conditions: his ultramodern and understanding father is incredibly happy that his son has matured and finally began to hm...masturbate which he openly admits in front of us all... there are also true friends and the members of the Bean Bag "gang" and they are waiting for him in and out of school. One of his friends, Thor (Brady Nun) is dreaming of singing, but he is way too shy of being known as a sissy and there is Lucas (Keith L. Williams ) who faithfully believes in what one always needs to say truth and nothing but the truth. This idyll is violated by the invitation to the party which is supposed to play a bottle and kisses. The hormones are beginning to rage in boys and you know what it usually brings. The problem is that the boys have absolutely no idea how to kiss the girls and therefore they sit down and make a disastrous decision: trying to find out the details of the process on the internet just to get horrified by what they saw... They then decide to see how they do it with Father Max’s drone sneaking up to the young adult neighbors. Well of course it all goes as good as it gets: there will be sex toys used for completely different purposes, there will be beer drinking.
The Good boys is a story about how young boys grow up. It is funny but there is a bit too much swearing for me personally and hate to see it when the young people do it. It is not funny to me. The story remains extremely touching from one side but the main character is a bit weak IMHO and his friends even play better and are more of a brighter characters than he is. It is also the story about the knowledge of the world but there are lots of drugs references and I would not let my children watch this film under any circumstances. It is also about the friendship and other very important things in life and it is shown in he very good way. In general the film is "brilliantly ugly" for a teenage comedy but I can see it is more for the young adult viewers whom I saw a lot at the cinema for this particular picture.
This is an animation movie about a magical and very adorable creature called Yeti who is trying to find its way back home with the help of his friends - kids.
The movie is about the adventurous journey that takes the characters climb up the Everest Mountain. The landscape graphic is breathtaking and so colorful! There are lots of funny scenes which keep the kids happy while watching the film from the very beginning to the end. The plot is very engaging for the kids to follow.
The episode with the blueberries and the scene with the whooping snakes were the highlights of this amazing animation that made kids totally joyful. They kept talking about the movie on the way back home
It's not a scary film and is rated PG meaning kids (and adults) of all ages can have a pleasurable time. I believe it will be one of the most visited movies for the upcoming school holidays.
Halston was a fashion designer who it is said by many, put America on the map fashion wise, in the 70s. He began his lucrative career as a milliner. It was in Chicago, He then in the 1950s moved to New Yolk and worked at a high end department store called Bergdorf Goodman. In 1961 he designed a pillbox hat for Jackie Kennedy. She wore this to president Kennedy's inauguration. Making his mark with that he opened his own salon, and began to have several celebrity clients. He expanded into perfume. In 1973 he had really hit the big time as a designer, having really impressed at a fashion show at Versailles. Which was a famous show called the battle of versailles.
He designed for Liza Minnelli and many other celebrities.
The documentary I felt was quite notable and very well done. Showing some footage of Halston at work, at shows and with his staff and models. Capturing him also designing and cutting materials as well as dressing the models. He ingeniously cut often on the bias, and fitted the garments snugly to the body, showing off a figure. Pants were another of his talents. He believed that they were freeing and flattering for the wearer.
Much more of Halstons endeavors and colourful life and career where highlighted as well as the highs and lows. Particularly as he sadly lost control of his empire, and became ill towards the end of his days. A very interesting and informative doco about this flamboyant entertaining and vibrant character Halston. Well worth watching in my view. Written and directed by Frederic Tcheng who I believe did a stellar job.
This film would be terrific to watch for those your love the amazing combination: zombie plus comedy genre. I am not a fan seriously this is why please do not take my review as an advice to action. Please go and seethe film yourself to have a strong opinion. You might be very much attracted by the number of stars who are the characters in the film including some of the best Hollywood actors. What this movie is about? Bill Murray, Denny Glover, Tilda Swinton, , Steve Bushemy and many others directed by Jim Jarmush. It is a comedy, horror and fantasy at the same time - quite a strange blend to be honest. How is that? The plot is really... how can I say it honestly... dumb. Zombies walk freely around town while police is pretending they do something. No one knows what zombies really want. But we know for sure they want something they were addicted to in real life: coffee, candies, games etc etc... The action takes place in some town called Centreville. Strangely all the technical equipment stops working in the town. The zombies are really advanced I guess as apart from their own addictions (youtube and wi-fi) they want human flesh too. Sorry WTF? I can not believe even that I write a review on such film! The film does not make any sense at all. Would you like some entertainment? But I do not have any entertainment! Sorry! The actors play really seriously as it is a role of their lifetime. Good performance! There will be aliens, Samurai swords and hell knows what - please expect unexpected! It is a comedy disaster in its best way! No one laughed! No one in the audience! I would leave the cinemas but I felt dedicated. I did not like the film. But I will give it at least 5.10 respecting the big stars and paying my tribute to those I love. What a shame indeed and what in the hell they were thinking agreeing to take these roles? It is a time wasted for me but you might find it funny and entertaining - I do not know...
The high school graduate Hodaka Morisima comes from one of the islands where he was born and raised up to a busy city of Tokyo with not a single penny in his pocket. He goes through many hardships before eh fortune gives him finally her warm and loving hand.
With the simply good luck on his side he joins the magazine that writes on metaphysical and super-natural topics.
One day Hodaka meets with the girl whose name is Hina Amano, who has a wonderful natural gift: she has an ability to remove the clouds and clear up rains. She uses her inner powers to change the weather. When she is with you there is always sunny and the weather is perfect.
They meet in the middle of Tokyo under the rain to start a new life in the big city. It is a big love. They are wiling to give their lives for this love. Please prepare to cry too as this film is so heart opening.
Hina is a very cheerful girl, she is never upset. One day the weather just turns into a real disaster and gets Tokyo Together Hina and Hodaka can change this world forever but will they stand the opposition? The people that try to accuse Hodaka and Hina?
The anime director Shinkai Makoto created a story about a global miracle that is a secret to the whole world and only you and me know about it.
I understand why this film was created. The weather is very important to Japanese people. They practically live IN THE SEA. The islands are surrounded by ocean and waters. If you are from the country the weather means so much to you as your life and crop depends on it. It is also important in Tokyo - the city has survived so many natural disasters. Japanese people should be extremely courageous and it is understandable why they talk about the good weather as a miracle created by a little girl it is fragile and very unpredictable. like a young woman's heart
The film is not only about love, no, it is about what surrounds all of us as humans and only people of Japan: we are dependent on weather and the climate is so easy to damage as we keep damaging our planet day after day , generation after generation.
The graphics is simply superb: it is tender and full of gorgeous masterfully crafted artistic details.
DOWNTON ABBEY website review and photos from the opening night: Anthony Wayne
Loyal fans of the hit TV series Downton Abbey will be gleefully rushing to the cinemas for the chance to see the cast reunite for the new feature film released this month. But what should you do if like me, you have not watched the TV series at all? With six seasons of the series it would have taken me over 2 days non-stop round the clock to binge watch the complete series. So rather than breaking out my Mum’s box set to prepare for the film – I did one better and invited her to accompany me at the premiere. My Mum has seen every episode, and gave me a crash five minute run through on who everybody is.
Coming in at 2 hours there’s little time for setting the scene or catching us up. The film is set in 1927 - a couple of years after the TV series ends and stars many of the original key characters. It was hard not to feel overwhelmed jumping in to the large ensemble of characters without having any prior knowledge. The film wastes no time reintroducing us to the Crawley family and to the staff who serve them. While those unfamiliar with the series may initially struggle learning everyone’s names and connecting the dots between characters, the relatively simple plot still stands on its own.
The sweeping aerial shots of the grand estate are absolutely breath-taking, and with the orchestral strings on the soundtrack we are taken into the lavish fairy-tale world of Downton Abbey. The movie opens with the arrival of a letter from Buckingham Palace announcing that King George V and Queen Mary will visit Downton. News of the royal visit brings about a flutter with a dinner and parade to organise. Lady Mary takes on the task of overseeing the preparations and brings the former head butler Carson out of retirement for the important occasion. There is much excitement and stress among the downstairs servants as everybody works through a long to do list of items making sure every surface of the house sparkles. When the servants learn that the royals will travel with their own staff, meaning that they will be deprived of the opportunity to get to wait on the king and queen, they set out as a team to find a way to defend Downton’s honour.
The high stakes visit is the focal point for all the drama unleashing scandal, romance and intrigue. The narrative is delivered to us much like a TV show with bite sized scenes weaving between several sub plots including the matriarch of the family Dowager Countess consumed with a feud with her cousin, and Thomas Barrow wrestling with his sexuality and visits an underground gay club. Mostly light-hearted and enjoyable, fans will surely be satisfied and newcomers will be drawn in by the enchanting charm.
NTL: THE LEHMAN TRILOGY FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE: 10/10
The 164 Years of the American Dream: The Lehman Brothers Trilogy
America has been the promised land for immigrants and seekers of a better life for many centuries. This is the land where you can start all over again, you can create yourself and your life out of nothing. The American Dream is a symbol that is closely related to another expression: “self-made man”. This expression belongs to Henry Clay (an eighteenth-century lawyer and public figure). He described it as if success does not depend on external conditions but more on the person himself/herself. The greatest example of a self-made man was Benjamin Franklin.
In 1844 Haim Lehman originally from Bavaria, the eldest of three brothers arrived to American shores. The arrivals registration clerk could not pronounce his name so Haim became Henry. Henry made his first step as a resident of the United States by his name changed. "Everything changes here in America, even your name”. Having settled in Alabama newly named Henry opened his store, haberdashery called G. Lehman. Later in 1847 the second brother Emmanuel moved to the United States and the company became known as G. Lehman and Bro. Since 1850 upon the arrival of the youngest brother Mayer the company acquired its future worldwide famous name - Lehman Brothers. Now in the XXI century many of us know it as that very bank from which the collapse (presumably) of the 2008 global banking crisis began. The audience of the NT (and us in the cinemas) have a unique opportunity to learn the story of this super-giant, the story which is entertaining, very smartly built and rather exciting.
I would like to call this performance "a saga". No wonder Sam Mendes, the director of the production, worked on it for three years. It is complex and it is amazing. It is an ironic and lively play by Italian Stephen Massini that won the Medici Essay Award in 2018. The playwrighter Ben Power adapted it for the stage of the Piccadilly Theater with the participation of the entire small troupe that consists of only three male actors.
Yes, surprisingly the story of almost two centuries with many characters is played by three actors! They are Simon Russell Beale (Henry), Ben Miles (Emmaunuel) and Adam Godley (Meyer). They play all the roles in this play: from sultry beauties to the young offsprings of the Lehman family, from the company business partners to the storyteller. The action does not stop for a minute of this intense production, the actors talk either from the first or the third person. On the stage there are a maximum of three people at a time while the actors can be twice as many. There is no changing of either the costumes or the scenery. Not surprisingly the three actors became the nominees for the Olivier Prize. There are true, masterly performed transformations. Sometimes it literally takes place in seconds that keeps the audience alert and focused.
The scenery is very much minimalistic. All the action takes place in a transparent rotating glass cube which is filled with modern office furniture and many boxes. The background behind the cube is created by the video projections - at the back of the scene, showing us either the Statue of Liberty or the views of Alabama taking us at the very end somewhere to the top of the business center of New York. We understand that this cube which at first symbolized the amazing magic box called America. The scenery narrows to an ordinary office in a skyscraper, one of many. The stage designer Es Devlin was also nominated for Olivier Award for this phenomenal work.
Two main colors (black, white) are in play and the whole palette of their combinations work in the play. The wall backdrop is monochrome, the costumes of the protagonists are strict: there are black frock coats of the mid-19th century. Even the flowers in the vase are minimalistic: white tulips. If one looks to the right bottom corner of the stage he will find the fourth character though: Candida Caldicott. She is the musical director of the performance. Concurrently she is a pianist-tapper (live pianist) who maintains the atmosphere of the performance throughout the entire action.
There is the fifth element though: the creators don’t talk about it as they talk about the musical component of the production, but it is there and it plays an equally significant role in the play: it is the finest, the subtlest humor with which the story is told. I found myself laughing constantly. “Who knew that Potato knows how to think” and what charming ladies come from Russell Beale and Adam Godley: each lady is with her own character and her own appearance. Although on the stage there is the same man in a tailcoat in front of us and sometimes even with a beard we see multiple characters... "We must change the sign" sounds already simbolically with each new milestone in the history of the company. It seems to be trifle but thanks to such trifles we become attached to the characters limitlessly.
As I already said the action often goes into the format of the story telling from a narrator: “He took a deep breath, took his suitcase and quickly went despite the fact that he did not know where to go... " The Lehman Brothers Trilogy is unique as it will not be interesting only to the theater lovers but to those who are far from the theater. The harsh world of bigwigs comes to life in front of our eyes: there is no pathos or hidden morality in history. We are simply given the opportunity to see how this happens, what big business is, how money make even bigger money and what sacrifices people do make this American dream stay alive.
The story starts with three brothers (“Heads”, “Hands” and “Potatoes”), they make decisions together, and they act like one entity. When the eldest brother leaves they mourn for weeks as their ancestors bequeathed. When the last of the brothers left the family compromised on mornings that went for hours only. When Philip Lehman (the most significant of the generation of the Lehman children) left, no one was mourning. The same thing happened with their heritage: built with a burning heart, albeit in the concept of “money makes money”, the empire fell apart like dust. There was nobody and nothing left of those people who came to catch that American Dream.
We define the moral of the story ourselves. Perhaps this is the main magic of the theater: for almost four hours of the breathtaking experiences these people are no longer pages from the boring school textbook on American history but sometimes lively and touching destiny of real people.
Dore and the Lost City of Gold Having never seen an episode of Dora the Explorer I wasn’t expecting much more than a light-hearted adventure movie with a Spanglish speaking young girl. Surprisingly there wasn’t much Spanish spoken and Dora was a teenager in high school, however it is a movie the whole family can enjoy. The movie had a similar vibe to Jumanji only it didn’t provide the same nail biting entertainment. This movie starts in a city, high school setting and quickly moves into the jungle scenery. While the storyline is rather predictable you do grow to like the characters, especially Dora’s sidekick, Boots the monkey. He keeps you smiling throughout the movie and for me was the star of the show. Each character played their role well, however there was a lack of chemistry between the characters, and other than Dora it was a little hard to relate to the others on her quest. The story provided some good laughs and at times kept you guessing about what would happen next. One scene in particular with some over-sized large pink flowers really had the whole cinema laughing. I watched the movie with three excited, children all who said they thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It had their attention from start to finish which is always a win for any parent. It wasn’t a movie I’d recommend for anyone that didn’t have a child under 10 accompanying them.
Honestly I hardly knew what to write about this film so I though the history of it was quite fascinating as I read lots of material on its creation and decided to share it with our readers.
In 1972 the famous film director Sydney Pollack spent two days in the church of the Watts district in Los Angeles where Aretha Franklin recorded her outstanding gospel album. The events were filmed in details but the sound was forgotten to get synchronized. Nowadays after 43 years the film is finally ready for screening. It was done following the request of Franklin.
If your collection has an original record of Aretha Franklin’s legendary live album “Amazing Grace” in 1972 which was by the way double platinum ( she was the best-selling singer as well as the best-selling LP in gospel history) please pay good attention to the accompanying text. It contains a phrase that soon promises us the release of the film by Sydney Pollack (as it is written) based on the album.
However the 73-year-old Franklin filed a lawsuit to prevent him from showing the film and so far she has been successful.
Amazing Grace is a superb 87 minute documentary based on the footage where Franklin recorded her album with the choir and many spectator in the church. According to the plan, premieres were supposed to take place at the Telluride festival and at the Toronto festival. However at the one of the event the screening was banned and it was the second time that the singer managed to prevent the picture from showing.
The squabble that accompanies the film is not the only reason Warner Bros could not release it for nearly half a century. The most important was that in 1972 Pollack heavily screwed it all up. The promising 38-year-old director, who has just received his first Academy Award nomination (Hunted Horses Are Shot, Isn't It?) simply didn’t capture the crackers to synchronize the sound eventually making the first ever silent musical documentary.
Nobody remembers who came up with the idea of recording Franklin's voice on film but the legendary rock producer Joe Boyd who is well known for working with Pink Floyd and Nick Drake and who was appointed a head of the Warner Bros music department in late 1970 was in charge of the process. Shortly before this the company merged the studio and Warner Brothers Records which owned Atlantic Records which recorded the album for Franklin... It was decided to sell movie tickets and music records in a single bundle. Now 73 years old Boyd calls that decision "the dawn of the era of synergy"
The time in question can be safely called "the golden era of rock documentary". In 1970 alone Woodstock, Gimme Shelter and Elvis: How It Was docos were released. Boyd had already begun to select a team of well-established cameramen to could shoot the Franklin movie but Ted Ashley who was the head of Warner Brothers Pictures decided to do otherwise. “Ted called me and said he has good news” - in Boyd's words. “He had dinner with Sidney Pollack the night before, and now it is Sydney who will make the film with Aretha” ‘But Ted,” I said, “has he ever made a live musical film?” It actually needs some skills ’. To which he replied: ‘What are you talking about? This is Sydney Pollack! ’”
Pollack arrived at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Los Angeles on January 13 1972 with a team of sound engineers and film experts who had five 16 mm cameras. He began filming Franklin and her choir who sang all sorts of gospels from “Here is our friend Jesus” to “Wholly Holy” by Marvin Gay. You can imagine a young director dressed in a fashionable velveteen with whiskers that look like sponges for washing dishes “Brillo” gesturing to give directions to the film crew moving back and forth among specially invited parishioners. If you could take a closer look you can find buzzers to the back of the church having a ball to the music of Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts (they will soon record “Exile on Main Street” which was the most gospel-oriented album of the Rolling Stones buy the way). “I've seen Aretha at concerts many times” says Jagger in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “But it was my first time seeing her performing at the church.” It was an exciting, unique event. ”
While filming Franklin Pollack spent two days in the Watts area. The plan was then to synchronize the image with sound and his entire 20-hour film turned out to be practically useless as thre was no indications for each recording in the film frame. “The disappointment was hellish,” William Steinckamp recalled, a longtime editor of Pollack. - The film looked like one big puzzle no one was able to solve. Our team tried to at least do something with it but in the end everyone gave up. ” The director of the choir, who was then speaking in the church was called for help. He tried to decipher the recording by reading on the lips of the participants but after a few months he managed to correlate with the sound only 150 minutes of film material. Not a single song has been wholly put together. All dates were out in June 1972 when the album “Amazing Grace” went on sale and sold in millions of copies without any “synergy”. In August Warner Bros finally stopped the production of the film and it was shelved.
Pollack moved on to his next project “What We Were” now working with another diva Barbara Streisand. His film with Aretha collected the dust for decades lying in tin boxes. However the director never abandoned the idea to complete what he started. “Every seven to eight years,” Steinkamp recalls, “I asked him:‘ Hey, what about that thing about Aretha Franklin? ’.” and he replied: ‘Yes, everything is still there where it was, damn it!’. He sat in his office, watched all these videotapes without sound and dreamed of working on it again. He always wanted to finish this film but he was always too busy taking things off like Tutsi and Firms and put off the Amazing Grace again”
Then another man jooined on stage here, the producer Alan Elliot who was intrigued by the legend of the lost film with Aretha Franklin since her time as an intern at Atlantic Records in the early 90's. He once touched on this topic in a conversation with his Atlantic boss, Jerry Wexler (who had been involved in producing the album “Amazing Grace’ ”). Wexler and two of his mutual friends: songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman organized a meeting of Elliot and Pollock in 2007. During the year they exchanged calls trying to find the way to revive the "Franklin project." and then Pollack’s health suddenly worsened. “I knew Sydney had an incurable form of cancer,” recalls Elliot. “So I called and started by how sorry I was to find out that he was sick.” ‘I’m not sick, I am f**** dying’, he replied. He had the ability to go straight to the core of the matter. ‘You know this stuff even better than me. So I will go to Warner Bros. and I’ll see if they give you the opportunity to finish this film ’.”
Elliot took these words seriously: he was really determined to complete Pollack's work. He even mortgaged his house to buy from Warner Bros the footage (Ari Emanuel from WME agency, with whom they once worked together on one burnt-out Internet project put in a good word for it). Finally two years after the death of Pollack in 2008 working with specialists from the Deluxe cinema laboratory who carefully examined audio and video material using computers Elliot managed to synchronize the image and the sound. In 2010 the first preview was held and even the trailer was created because next year Elliot planned to release “Amazing Grace” on the big screens but then another failure occurred: Franklin filed a lawsuit against Elliot for using her image without proper permission.
Franklin refused to explain why she did not like the idea of releasing the film despite the fact that in an interview with The Detroit Free Press she recently stated that she watched it and liked it. Elliot was in an uncomfortable position. He managed to find contracts signed in 1972 by all participants in the project except and oddly enough the main character. As a result he was forced to accept the claim pledging not to show the film without Franklin’s permission. However the singer’s contract suddenly showed up in Warner Bros. It turned out that Elliot could not find it before since it was signed not in 1972, but in 1969. Under its terms all rights to the material recorded in the church of the Watts district belonged to the film studio and recording studio (and now, as Elliot is sure , to him as the new owner).
Franklin's lawyer Arnold Reed began to speculate on the possibility of filing a new lawsuit in order to ban the screening of the film in Telluride and Toronto. “Once we decide to sue Alan Elliot will not be able to show this film even in his garage” the lawyer said in an interview with THR insisting that releasing the film without Franklin’s permission and without paying her compensation is an “act of theft”. Last week the singer turned to another firm Detroit Dykema Gossett for legal assistance. As a result the ban the display of "Amazing Graces" in Telluride and Toronto was filed in Colorado.
“I understand that she’s used to getting a lot of money for participating in the promotion of such projects,” says Elliot who continues to believe that Franklin will come to her senses. “I hope she changes her mind at some point. I want only one thing: to do the right thing towards her”.
Freaks This film is in no rush to let you into the ‘real’ world of 7 year old Chloe who is confined to the inside of her house under strict instruction from her father.
At the outset I had a very uncomfortable feeling about the reasons as to why Chloe was forced to stay inside and view the outside world from a few gaps in the blinds, where she sadly had to watch other children laughing and playing and visiting the ice cream truck which seemed to frequently park at the end of her street playing its melancholic music.
As the film progresses I begin to understand that we are being told the story at a child's pace, through the eyes of Chloe, which makes for a very frustrating and eerie ride.
The Ultimate premise of this film is that it is a story about a 7 year old girl who is ordered to never leave the house by her father, because there are bad people outside who want to hurt her. It takes sometime until we learn what those dangers are, but when you do, the story takes on a whole different life of its own. Suddenly you are thrown into the realm of a very thought provoking Sci Fi movie which is masterfully told through the eyes of a child. Lexie Kolker who plays Chloe gives an amazing performance in her first major leading role, supported by Emile Hirsch.
THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM website review by Bruanna Reynolds
REVIEW: The Australian Dream By Bryanna Reynolds
In this truly beautiful and groundbreaking Australian sporting documentary we see into the world of Adam Goodes. If there was ever a history making film you should see its this one. The audience are taken behind the scenes and into the life and times of legendary and history breaking AFL footballer and Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes.
This documentary is a tale of hope, history and an in-depth look at racism and its effect in this country. If you are looking for a film that is bound to change your views and philosophies on football and this country then this is a must see. Having worked in sports broadcast for 4 years with a network in Melbourne there was so much I learnt from this film that I simply never thought about. It truly opened my mind and I hope it will open yours too.
Starring Adam Goodes the legendary footballer, Brownlow medalist and Australian of the year recipient, Goodes shares his own experiences of being Aboriginal and the effects of racism in the sporting industry. His story is one you will want to hear and is so beautifully and cinematically told.
Along with Goodes there are interviews from sporting talent such as Michael O'Loughlin, Nova Peris, Gilbert McAdam, Nathan Buckley, Paul Roos and Eddie MacGuire to name a few. The best part about the film is that they truly capture the spirit of sporting history in the making.
I would recommend this film to anyone who is familiar with the history of sports in particularly the AFL in Australia. Although it would be as easy to understand the concept and narrative, even if you are not familiar with the sporting landscape of the great game. I always feel like if you leave a cinema having had your life changed from viewing a film, then the film has had a positive impact on your life. This is definitely one of those films.
Make sure to see it on the big screen whilst in the cinema now. This is a film not to be missed and you will walk away a changed person both in mind and spirit.