In 1939 T. S. Eliot wrote a collection of poetry called Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Nearly 50 years later in 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber managed to tie this whimsical anthology together with a thin and questionable plot combined with some of the best music and costumes Broadway had ever seen. Now 38 years later, that musical is getting a film adaption that tries even harder to force a plot into existence and look as pretty as possible; at the expense of all else. A goal, that if they had succeeded, may have even been enough to save the film. Reality is rarely so kind, however.
While no one can deny that director Tom Hooper was able to obtain some serious talent, pulling in Hollywood heavyweights like Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Idris Elba, the script that Hooper and Lee Hall wrote for the film gives the actors so little to work with that even they end up looking like bad parodies of themselves. Combined with what was done to the iconic music of the play, shortened run times, absent pieces, invented inserts, and arbitrary cutaways, even the musical giants dragged into this mess, such as Jason Derulo, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, and Rebel Wilson were made a mockery of. My own personal thoughts about Taylor swift aside, I can respect the song written for this production, (Beautiful ghosts) as an exceptional song, but its inclusion doesn’t take away from what was removed.
All these factors together with the (rightfully) controversial aesthetic of the film. Mean that while this film clearly had a budget that could any non-Disney producer nervous. It doesn’t end up with anything that actually looks good. It’s striking certainly, but in the way a defaced print of the Mona Lisa is striking. It draws your attention and makes you look closer in order to work out exactly what the situation is, but it doesn’t make you happy to see it and it certainly doesn’t inspire a second viewing.
To give credit where it is due thou, Cats does possess one saving grace that may yet secure its place in pop culture has something other than a burning train wreck. The dancing. As anyone who has seen In the Heights or Hamilton can tell you, Andy Blankenbuehler is one hell of a choreographer. With classically trained Ballet stars such as Francesca Hayward, Steven McRae, Robert Fairchild and Eric Underwood working alongside new-age dancers such as Les Twins and others. Blankenbuehler makes use of all their unique skills and puts them all on display one after the other. If nothing else, this film stands a wonderful showcase of dance styles and techniques.
Alas, Cats is not a dance theatre performance, it is a live-action adaption. Here we reach the sliding scale of success vs relevancy. As a performance showcase, it is quite good. As a musical film, it is alright. As a theatrical film debuting alongside Star Wars, it is bland and forgettable at best. As an adaption of Andrew Lloyd Webbers Broadway masterpiece, it is an insult and worthy of a public apology to all those unfortunate fans unlucky enough to have bought tickets.
THE GENTLEMEN NEW website review by Katherine Kelly
Produced and directed by Guy Ritchie of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels fame, The Gentlemen is a convoluted, fast-moving crime comedy with many layers.
With a star-studded cast including Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery Charlie Farrell and Henry Golding, The Gentleman tracks the story of Mickey Pearson, who is keen to divest himself of his “vocation” a multi-million-dollar Marijuana production business. With the possibility of legalisation of the weed in the UK, it might be the time for Mickey to turn his hand to something else. Something to keep his seemingly “expensive” wife (Michelle Dockery) content and on his side.
Word about Mickey’s plans circulates rapidly, enacting a world of plots, elaborate schemes, stealth and blackmail as “competitors” attempt a variety of “coups”.
THE IDEAL PALACE NEW website review by Katherine Kelly Ideal Palace – Le Palais Ideal Hauterives
A film by Nils Taverner
Screenplay: Laurent Bertoni Fanny Desmares Nils Tavernier
Starring: Jacques GamblinLe facteur Joseph-Ferdinand Cheval Laetitia Casta Philomène Cheval
In French with English subtitles.
Set in beautiful scenery around Hauterives in Southern France with pristine waterways and muted landscapes, this film tracks the true story of Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, the village (Jacques Gamblin) postman who spent 33 years (1879-1913) constructing “an ideal palace” for Alice (Zelie Rixhon) his daughter. His interest in nature, temples and palaces in Asia spawned a dream to construct a “palace”. This dream materialised after he stumbled over an unusually shaped rock during one of his ten-hour delivery rounds. With the use of rocks and other materials he collected and limestone, he painstakingly constructed an amazing edifice representing the mythologies and beliefs of many countries which dwelt in his imagination as he never travelled abroad.
The film paints Cheval’s life through poignant scenes with his wife Philomene (Laetitia Casta), daughter Alice and later Cyrille (Louka PetitTaborelli), a son from his previous Marriage to Rosalie (Melanie Baxter-Jones).
Prior to viewing this movie, I had never heard of this tenacious person – who spent “10,000 days, 93,000 hours, 33 years of ordeals” constructing what is now a cultural landmark. It is indeed a tourist attraction which induces me to board the next plane to France.
BLACK CHRISTMAS NEW website review by Jeanette Russell
Black Christmas is a film that's genre is suspense mystery and horror. I was suitably on tenterhooks with bated breath , myself at times. With some scary heart starting moments I felt, this movie does the job as a thriller.
Sophia Takal directed the movie and in tandem with April Wolfe did the screenplay. This one is a remake of BlackChristmas made, in 1974. On this occasion, the movie is released by Universal Pictures.
As the story begins Hawthorne College is slowing, for the holiday season. One by one, sorority sisters, are being targeted, and another has been slain. It seems there is a underground cult of men, responsible for the murder, and subsequent threats. Our main heroine, Reilly, played by Imogen Poots, in the picture, discovers these conspirators.
She is a marked women, then herself along with her counterparts, in the story, who are banding together to get to the bottom of what's happening. At the same time, these very brave, strong and thoughtful young women, are keeping each other alive and safe. Aleyse Shannon portrays Kris. The actors do believable and very watchable performance.
Quite the cliff hanger / thriller. Worth the watch, especially for, horror fans, I feel. It has an M rating. Appreciate the opportunity to review it.
MARIANNE AND LEONARD NEW website review by Vellu Khanna
Marianne & Leonard
A very entertaining documentary of the elusive romance between Leonard Cohen, poet, novelist, singer, and that of Marianne Ihlen, a Norwegian girl whom he had met while vacationing in the island of Hydra in Greece in 1960, tripping on acid and sipping on wine, and discovering each other's inner being.
We see the topsy-turvy ride that the relationship takes through the years, edging from the struggling song-writer who've had to leave Hydra in order to pursue his dreams, arriving thence at New York, right on to the path of Freedom Movements that Marianne undertook in London, and many other tangential events that have a capacity to cause these two lovers to part ways.
The director, Nick Broomfield, is relentless in the telling of the truth of this tale. Estrangement is but one of the facades, but the audience is made aware of the underlying bond between Leonard and Marianne, which came to a close when both were on their deathbeds.
A remarkable study of the Canadian singer, and what he considered to be his 'everlasting muse'.
FINKE: THERE AND BACK NEW website review by Vellu Khanna
Finke: There And Back
A rush of adrenaline. A pump of the accelerator. And the track - five hundred kilometres in the desert off the outskirts of Finke, near Alice Springs.
This is a documentary-stylised movie on the annual motorcycle racing in northern Australia, where six hundred riders from around the country compete in a two-day race in the most harshest of conditions, where dust and all manner of physical devilry lie in wait.
Narrated by the renowned Eric Bana, the movie exposes us to the riders who are both favourites and who are underdogs, as well as those who are back to finish a race that they started ten years ago. The undercurrent emotion that arises is that of pure awe to the commitment of the riders in this behemoth of a race.
A well-directed movie that every Australian should watch, paying tribute in itself to a daredevil sport that only a few dare to partake.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Jaeden Martell, Lakeith Stanfield, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford, Riki Lindhome.
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller.
Rating: M. Running time: 130 Minutes. Film Review: By Maxwell M. Lyons
Knives Out takes the stereotypical Agatha Christie who-done-it murder mystery and flip it on its head. Following the presumed suicide of bestselling mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) the night of his 85th birthday party, further investigation into the circumstances appears to reveal a far more telling narrative of events, with every single familial relative of the late author a potential suspect, in addition to his nurse Marta (Ana de Armas), one of few relatable characters among the dysfunctional bunch.
Leading the investigation is the cryptic yet ever-so charismatic private investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), the self-decreed “last of the gentleman sleuths” who speaks with a near-flawless Southern drawl; an impressive feat for the acutely British Craig. Accompanying him is an all-star cast making up the late Harlan’s extended family, including his children (Jamie Lee Curtis & Michael Shannon), relatives (Don Johnson & Toni Collette), and grandchildren (Chris Evans, Katherine Langford, & Jaeden Martell). Then there’s Marta, the only suspect seemingly unwilling to indulge in subterfuge for the sake of retaining personal clout, no benignity spared — there is a rather large inheritance at stake after all. Consequently, Blanc forms an immediate connection with Marta, though it remains unclear whether this stems from trust, intrigue, or suspicion, only complicated further by her constant disquiet nature, adding to the accusatory ambiguity of her character. She also possesses a rather unique peculiarity, unable to lie without immediate visceral reaction (she throws up); at first, a seemingly all-too-convenient act, though thankfully one not overused to the extent it be classified a MacGuffin, placed strategically throughout the story such as to add an extra layer of uncertainty to the suspiciously overt narrative.
As the investigation proceeds, each recollection of the fatal night’s prior events presents with an accompanying flashback, allowing for a fresh albeit subjective perspective morsel that progressively reveals the larger mystery. What separates Knives Out from its derived genre, however, is its method of delivery, seemingly showing its hand before a greater charade can be established. As a viewer you know there has to be more to the mystery than it present, yet the narrative presents so brazenly as to create dissonance from one’s own self-doubt.
In the end, Knives Out was an absolute pleasure to enjoy. Though narratively unorthodox, the film will have you on the edge of your seat enthralled by the mystery it allures. The acting, cinematography, and sound design are all immaculate in their own right, all with a touch of subtle social commentary to add to its relish. Knives Out is a thrilling ride from start to finish and one that never dulls even once the culprit emerges. Highly Recommended!
will be released in cinemas Australia-wide on November 28, 2019.
Just when you'd think that the retelling of a tale of the First World War would most likely arouse subdued feelings of death and despair in an era long forgotten, Universal Pictures have brought us a picturesque adventure of the ordeal that stems around a single word - electric!
The 2-hour film acclimatises the viewer to a narrative that is truly engaging right from the title scene, where two subalterns of the British Army are prescribed to a clandestine mission, treading some distance away right onto the German frontier. Not unexpectedly, they discover a world of challenges and obscurities along the way, to which a dampened heart sings a melancholic note. And to top it all off, the entire movie was made to emulate a single, lengthy shot!
Sam Mendes (the director of the movie) spared no expense in the culminating of the historical accuracies of WW1 - battle engagements, materials and uniform that had been issued to both British and German belligerents, and even the layout of the terrain that the protagonists traversed to reach their target. Sam Mendes sheds light as to why the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George deemed it to be 'the war to end all wars'.
This is a movie that is undoubtedly to surge well and through the Christmas season, right onto welcoming the New Year. Do take your family in for this wonderful cinematic treat, and brace yourself for, alas, electric!
Judy and Punch is a historical drama about husband and wife, two professional puppeteers, who ran very successful shows in the past and stop at the village next to the sea where they decide to rejuvenate the program and cheer up the villagers.
We say in Russia if the husbands beats his wife it means he loves her. Who said it? Was that person who wrote that line ever beaten? Doe she know that it is actually very painful not only mentally and emotionally but physically.
But it is not just about the domestic violence in the family. It is far beyond it. It is about the violence in general in any art form and what it can project on us, the people who observe the art. The violence on the stage of puppet theater is highly supported by Judy's husband, Punch.
As I mentioned before the action takes place in the village next to the sea where the villagers love going to the theater and watch Punch (Damon Herriman) enjoying his super-ego on stage while Judy (Mia Wasikowska), a taleted puppeteers supports him in all his deeds. The union seems to work, well almost work: they have a child and well... almost as Punch apart from his show-off and narcissistic character who speaks with his reflection in the mirror has another "beautiful" habit: drinking. With drinking there are lots f other issues coming alone as it would be perfect if one habit would come with no consequences than we would all drink and smoke to the end of days. When Punch is drunk he gets more violent and more irresponsible, he looses his head over women of "light" and frivolous behavior and he tends to forget where he left his child. With bad habits come bad problems.
In his show Punch uses a stick to punch everyone he meets: a girl on the street, a man who is just on his way and even a devil itself. It turns out that he is no better at home with his wife. Yelling start to turn into using hands.. Hands using turns into using objects. One day the unspoken happens and he beats her to [almost] death. Judy wakes up in the company of strange people , mainly women who live in the forest. Judy gets cured slowly and the more she feels well the more her feelings grow of abhorrence towards Punch. .Judy's revenge is unavoidable... More to her own pain she remembers that her husband "accidentally" kills her child.
While Judy learns how to master her own feasts, Punch himself goes through quite a binge journey and even gets himself a new "wife". Life is no better with the new wife though: the violence continues in the family.
The little village lives at the same time its full of lawless and anarchic believes life, where common and sometimes very stupid laws of one villager decide the faith of many "heretics" and "witches" around. The law that is not governed properly and objectively means no laws. There is no established power; here, each resident individually represents power and the one with more physical power and less brain usually wins. In addition to the absolutely gorgeous historical surroundings, the film shows an imaginary city that is drown in the river of fear, superstitions, callousness and rudeness of the rules of the crowd. It is an allegorical historical tale with lots of black humor that is mixed up with the story with unpredictable turns and twists. Here, in the village everyone obeys the laws of the crowd. At first, puppeteers cannot put up with what is happening around. However, the longer they stayed in this place, the more Judy was seized by the power of anarchy.
Judy;s life, saved by Dr. Goodtime (Gillian Jones) turns into the most interesting discovery of Self. After her cure Judy forgets the past and builds her future instead of winging on what is gone forever. She learns quickly and her teaches are the best in feminist movement and protection women from violent men.
In the director's chair was the Australian actress Mirra Folk whose debut in full glory.was a total success IMHO. Damon Herriman and Mia Wasikowska are superb to say the least so are the other cast members. Mia Wasikovska is amazing everywhere she goes )my personal view as I adore this actress) and I love love love her: she rides Valiant (Kryal Castle owner Phillip Leitch ) magnificently well as if she knew the gorgeous stallion for ages. The main actors together looked great, they created not only the show for the villagers but for us as well. There will be lots of hidden messages in the film when you watch it: please watch very attentively as you will see them only if full attention is paid. The director is super talented to hide so much in one film! And... my favorite character was of course the puppy Tobby who was stealing sausages from Punch (and well, paid with his life for that!!).
I loved the film and the messages it carries!.
The film was first shown in the Sundance competition at the beginning of the year, after which it traveled through several more festival before reaching the main screens.
The case takes place in the 19th century, but it seems that the feminist agenda is never complete. Another man - another Punch.How many of them should we see in life? How to stop the violence and abuse of women physically, mentally and emotionally?
It was an extravagant and absurd spectacle in it s full magnificence shown to us. I recommend to watch it 100$. I would give the film 8/10 but added one point for Mia, Tobby and Valiant.
It is the mid 17th century in a tiny town called Seaside (nowhere near the sea).
Worn out and ruined by poverty and neglect, the lives of the townsfolk have spiralled into violence, mob rule and God-fearing hysteria, which includes witch stonings.
Among the chaos, a glimmer of artistry remains in the form of Punch and Judy’s marionette puppet theatre.
The charismatic Punch (Damon Herriman) and his talented puppeteering wife Judy (Mia Wasikowska) try to use their show to reach greater heights.
That is a sentiment pushed by Punch and accepted by Judy, who also looks after their baby.
She is clearly the superior puppeteer and has the skill and dexterity of a great artist, but it is Punch who owns the limelight.
A narcissist with a dangerous penchant for the bottle, his ambition and egomania are the antithesis of her gentle, practical nature.
What starts out with promise ends in tragedy and then there’s the issue of retribution.
Judy & Punch is a liquorice all sorts picture that fails to excite.
By that I am saying it is various parts a comedy, a drama, a pantomime and a fantasy and is not satisfying in any of its guises.
It consistently fails to strike the right tone.
It is badly written and directed by Mirrah Foulkes.
The score exacerbated the problems.
The whole thing looks awfully stage managed – from the sets to the costumes – and I simply didn’t buy into it.
The best things about it were twofold.
The careful manipulation of puppets by husband and wife at the very beginning whet my appetite nicely. That was clever.
Then, the black and white footage of kids in bygone days enjoying a real Punch and Judy show – during the final credits – was priceless. I refer there to the expressions on the littlies’ faces.
In between we are fed dross.
Mind you, Mia Wasikowska is strong in the lead and Damon Herriman has his moments.
The basic premise is sound, but its execution is clunky, heavy handed and totally unbelievable.
I didn’t appreciate the lightweight treatment of the subject matter either.
In fact, I just wanted to fast forward through to the end and exit the cinema.
I was frustrated and bored by large tracts of it.
The sad part is that I am sure there is a decent film to be made from the basic source material. It is just that this isn’t it.
Rated MA, Judy & Punch scores a 5 out of 10.
NTL: HANSARD NEW website review by Katherine Kelly
Hansard – written by Simon Woods Starring Alex Jennings and Lindsay Duncan Directed by Simon Godwin
Distributed by Sharmill films www.sharmillfilms.com.au
Produced from National Theatre Live – nt.live.com Broadcast live from National Theatre London
Now showing a Cinema Nova 380 Lygon Street Carlton
Set in May 1988, Hansard is a live broadcast of a play performed at the National Theatre London. Thatcher’s Conservative party is in power and currently debating Section 28 of the Local Government Act (LGA), aimed at restricting Local government bodies from promoting homosexuality. A short documentary film prior to the screening of the play provided footage of that period with protests staged by the LGTBI people of the day.
“My God she is still alive” exclaims Robin Hesketh (Alex Jennings) on greeting his wife Diana (Lindsay Duncan) on his weekly return to their Cotswold home. We learn that Robin is a Junior Minister in the Thatcher Government and Diana is severely hungover and complaining that a fox has been destroying their former pristine garden. Amidst a homely domestic setting, the couple commence some light sparring. With politically disparate views they disagree on the issues of the time: Section 28 of the LGA, de-conservation of the green belt to facilitate a dual carriageway, privileged lives of Thatcher’s cabinet ministers, the Falklands, and coal miners.
The sparring descends into an extremely dark place where the couple are forced to face and combat their demons.
The performances of Alex Jennings and Lindsay Duncan are superb in depicting this challenging period in British political history.
Ken Loach’s new film does not seem to promise anything new: filmed in the usual, semi-television style (for this director) with abundance of medium plans, the delivery form is simple, even trivial as much as possible, but it is absorbed by the viewer very easily and without those "Hollywood cliches". The got a powerful impact, almost like a boxer's knockout from this film.
Despite the burden and the array of disasters of the life of one ordinary people shown on the screen, the audience giggled, laughed and sneered. I tried to calm down and cover my disturbance after this film, convincing myself that this is not the "usual" situation the couple went through but I could not. It was way too realistic to be even taken not as a documentary... It was close to a documentary. Bery much close.
Sorry, We Missed You hits the target without exchanging trifles and sentimentality. It is one honest panorama of the social security of one common proletarian family, its ordeals in the circles of bourgeois hell, an open clash with a ruthless boss, the logic of social Darwinism, the willingness to work even harder - all of this was submitted by the creators of the picture without revolutionary rhetorics and a call for barricades and fights, but the very development of the film suggests that such an existence degrades human dignity.
Loach and Laverty show how the laws of the market and competition, which liberals like to pray to, destroy the family and how family and social problems in the film intertwine creating a Gordian knot that cannot be untied by any reforms. Like Dreiser’s novels, Loach and Laverty’s films are inexorable in their logic, in their every detail that works for the design: even a short walk down the street to school demonstrates that these streets in poor areas of London are not cleaned and clogged with garbage. The myth of "Western social well-being" is destroyed and shattered. Well, gentlemen-liberals, have we not read Balzac and Zola, Dreiser and Jack London? Didn't we watch Rosie and Costa Gavras? Do not take us for fools please!
Sorry, We Missed You is a simple story of a parcel delivery man, gradually getting bogged down in troubles, his wife who works in the social services and cares for the disabled and the elderly and their two children who can hardly bear the failures of their parents. Gradually, the problems of this poor family are growing like a snowball bringing a climax behind a climax, exacerbating the nervous situation inside the house where the family lives and checking the strength of family ties. Loach, with his more than half a century working in film and television, impeccably chooses characters from a simple hard worker to a ruthless businessman. His actors are the performers with unimpressed faces (often not-professionals) who work better than famous stars.
The only way out of the social impasse is when the forces are clearly unequal for the enemy has everything, and the workers have nothing (for Loach and Laverti) is solidarity: inside the family and overall: universal. There should be mutual assistance. The revolution is not coming soon, and whether it will even happen and lead to anything worthwhile other than the redistribution of power and property, this is no longer a question. Therefore, while it is not there, we must somehow get over it, survive and endure. Despite the gloomy ending, the characters of the film do it and find their way to live.
Loach, who is already 83 witnessed the social regression he tells us about. Therefore, he knows what he is talking about when he shows how people work in the 21st century, 14 hours a day. That means all the achievements of the proletariat of many centuries was cancelled by the work of f"cking "globalisation" and "new Barbarism". We all went though his too - we all worked for 16-20 hours a day. No payments, no extras, no bonuses, just work. What kind of security, what kind of legal state, what kind of civil society is there, in the West? Where are those sacred cows of liberalism we can talk about? It is all a political myth, the ideological bluff of bourgeois ideologues and capitalism, and Loach and Laverty understand this well.
It is one of Loach’s best film: , there is no call for an ax, h is not a Marxist fanatic, but he is a sober director who can see reality as it is and empathize with ordinary people. Where else if not in Loach’s films do you hear cockney characters speaking proletarian slang? Therefore, his films are not just true, they are authentic with no mockery about human suffering. If you did not live there you would not know...
Sorry We Missed You (MA) – 101 minutes – by Alex First
Gritty realism at its ugly best. That’s Ken Loach’s latest working class, slice of life film.
As painful as it is to watch the struggles of the family at the centre of it, it is another beauty.
It is a story about decent folk who get a bad deal in life, which keeps on delivering.
You can’t but help feel for what they are going through.
While there is a strong bond between them, they are struggling.
Father Ricky Turner (Kris Hitchen) has held a number of jobs but is looking forward to working for himself as a parcel delivery driver, contracting to a large company.
But first he has to find the not inconsiderable sum to buy a van.
That entails selling the car his wife Abby (Debbie Honeywood) uses for her job caring for a series of elderly and infirm patients.
Caring and compassionate, henceforth she will do so by catching the bus.
He is immediately beholden to the firm, working 14-hour days, with constant deadlines to meet.
Any days he wants off he needs to find a replacement driver, otherwise he will be fined.
His boss is a particularly hard arsed individual who isn’t willing to accept any personal excuses.
He is proud of the fact that his depot is the standout in the business’ operations.
The couple has two children – Seb (Rhys Stone), a 16-year-old who is acting up, skipping school and going tagging with his mates instead – and Lisa Jane (Katie Proctor), a sensitive, whip smart 11-year-old.
Suddenly, despite the tireless efforts of both husband and wife they and the family unit are under more pressure than ever.
Their lives are imploding before our very eyes and we are powerless to do anything to help.
I say that because we build an affinity for the players and their plight.
That’s in large part due to Loach’s direction, but first and foremost the penmanship of his usual collaborator, screenwriter Paul Laverty.
That is to take nothing away from the intrinsic value in the performances.
Hitchen makes a good fist of it as the stoic but struggling father, while there is a fortitude and decency in Honeywood’s role as mother.
Proctor shines as the daughter who feels everything and longs for harmony.
Stone is – for the most part – aloof and brooding as the wayward son.
One of the strongest showings comes from Ross Brewster as the unsympathetic boss Gavin Maloney.
I describe Sorry We Missed You as a “perspective” film insofar as it makes you thankful for what you have and for not having been dealt a similarly stacked deck.
When the barking of their beloved dog Todd leads to eviction from a tiny apartment in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, John and Molly Chester make a choice: they dare to leave the city for 200 acres on the foothills of Ventura County, naively trying to build one of the most unique farms of its kind in complete coexistence with by nature based on the investments from their friends and friends of friends who also believe in their amazing dream. However, the land they have chosen is completely depleted of nutrients and suffers from severe droughts. They are very lucky to get another friend on board who understands a lot in sustainable farming and they follow his advises step by step... The film tells about eight years of the couple's hard work and their stunning idealism, the story that is very knowledgeable and wise. When they try to create the utopia that they seek and they plant 10,000 fruit trees and more than 200 different crops they believe the world is perfect well... until one disaster comes after another and with the death of their friend who was helping them all these years they still do not loose their hopes.. Apart from all plant varieties they add animals of all kinds, including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Fat Rooster.
It seems to me that I agree with Alice's words and "Mother Nature has never been so inspiring”. Alice Waters herself is a celebrated chef and also, in a way, mother of the US biodiversity movement. Documentary director John Chester with his wife Molly and dog Todd are the heroes in my eyes. I can not even imagine how much work they do to make it all work at this farm. People hardly can manage their own smallest gardens on the backyards. The important condition of such sustainable farming is to faithfully follow the principles of ecological agriculture, the essence of which is explained to the viewer in detail by the film characters.
John, becoming a farmer, does not cease to be a film director. He turned his farming odyssey of 8 years into a breathtaking movie that became a hit of American documentary film festivals (and a series of short films about animals from his farm, shot in parallel, received several Emmy awards). There are idyllic shootings of nature, and the drama of the struggle with badlands and impudent coyotes, and captivating optimism of people who are confident that they are doing the right thing. If you use gastronomic comparisons, then The Biggest Small Farm is a healthy food for both the mind and the heart. You will enjoy it 100% in you are into conscious living on this planet!
The Addams Family Directors: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon Stars: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz The Addams family moves to a faraway suburb where the family can live their odd lives for 13 years. The daughter of local reality show host from "Perfect and Pink" town exacerbates conflict between the families.
Dad Gomez (Oscar Isaac) loves long walks in inclement weather. Mom Morticia (Sharlize Theron) believes that black is the brightest. The cemetery is the children’s favorite playground. Grandmother (Bette Midler) drinks a couple drops of poison before going to bed. Do you still think your relatives are weird? Meet the Addams family.
What may seem strange to ordinary people is commonplace for the Addams family. It is on this that the main humor of the picture is built. The difference in views on the rules of behavior, entertainment, ways of learning and life in general - the film jokes about everything. And I must admit that it does this quite successfully. Yes, at the end of the humor did not fit into the general atmosphere of what was happening and rather interfered with the denouement, however, in general, the creators managed to create perhaps the most extraordinary comedy cartoon in recent years.
However, the jokes still managed to focus on contemporary problems of society. The film joked about herding feelings, dependence on social networks and life in "pink glasses". But the main problem was the impossibility of reconciling with other ideals that differ from the generally accepted different opinions just because it is different from their own. The film was embellished with a pleasant and cheerful soundtrack, which will easily sit in the head of the viewer.
What is the cartoon about? That there is nothing worse than being part of a herd. The fact that all people are different and it does not matter how and what the other person does. Everyone should have a freedom of choice. The choice to be yourself. Isn't that perfect?
PLAYMOBIL NEW website review by Evie Skliar (12 years old)
Playmobil has a great message, the message was never give up on your dreams ,even if something bad has happened. I believe that there was too much drama, and it did not make a lot of sense. Everything you need to know happened at the start and spoiled the rest of the movie. The movie was quite predictable. There was a good choice of camera angles, but some of the scenes made me feel dizzy. Throughout the movie there was too much happening at the same time. This movie was a mix of Wally, Dora The Explorer and the LEGO Movie. In one of the parts there was a random dance which did not make sense to me and did not fit in to the movie. There were too many songs throughout the movie. In one scene they were jumping into a trash can but they copied that scene from a Show. The background music kept saying Rex Dasher which got a bit annoying. There was a large animal and somehow they got wings but the wings were 20 times smaller than the actual character, which made no sense and was not realistic [yes the movie was an animation but still made no sense.] The story was telling the viewers how some poor romans were killed back in the day. It is a bad example for little children because one of the characters kidnapped people from there family’s and killed them for entertainment. There was way too much romance for a G rated movie. In my opinion the movie should have been rated PG not G. At the end a certain character did a something not on porpoise and I think that movie is leading to a part 2. In conclusion this is not the best choice for a kid’s movie. This movie was not the best movie I have ever seen but it had a good story line
review by Guna Segar
I went to see Playmobil movie with my 3 year old. The time went quickly, movie was dynamic with lots of adventures. The fact that it could hold my 3 year old attention for one and a half hours was also a good sign. Before the movie I watched a trailer and honestly was not too excited to go see it just purely from the trailer. But the movie was much better and I truly enjoyed it. I liked the education aspect of seeing different cultures / lands- Vikings, American Western, Pirates, Ancient Rome, etc... There was not too much violence. The jokes were not too funny too, but I didn’t mind. The Rex Dasher secret agent was my favourite and the funniest character. After I watched the movie, I found out that his voice was Daniel Radcliffe’s. I think they should have promoted it more - maybe even in the trailer. I loved the integration of live actors and cartoon, similar like LEGO movie and raising emotional connection / family value awareness importance between older sister and a younger brother. And lesson to believe in yourself than anything is possible. My 3 year old boy loved the unicorns the best in the movie and he didn’t like the bad guys (as expected). He did find it funny by laughing loud at some fight scenes. Overall good times at the cinema with my little boy watching this adventurous movie.
MRS LOWRY AND SON NEW website review by Jeanette Russell
L S Lowry was a painter, who painted various works of art, that depicted life including industrialist , seaside, and mill scenes, in England. Portraits, even a fight, and cricket match, were other facets captured by Lowry. In the film Mrs Lowry & son, the audience has a view into his relationship with his ailing mother. " Crowds can be the loneliest of places " he tells his mother, about one of his famous pieces. He proceeds to paint these scenes of existence, and the human state. He describes himself " I'm a man who paints, nothing more nothing less"
Mrs Lowry can be a handful keeping Laurie on his toes. She does not seem to be a fan of his works, as a rule. When however the neighbour Mrs Stan hope comes to visit, mother is happy with a seaside picture, sailing boats, that her neighbour has appreciated.
Laurie is a dedicated carer, patient and thoughtful. He is played by Timothy Spall. His portrayal is exceptional. Vanessa Redgrave's character is Elizabeth Lowry, and she does a stellar job, during her performance, very believable and real. Adrian Noble directs the movie, which is produced by Debbie Gray.
During the story, set in the "1930s", we see many of Lowry's works come to life. as he tries to describe to his cantankerous mum what his art means to him. As well as, what he sees in, and feels about, his craft. Elizabeth doesn't often want to acknowledge him, his talent, or his feeling, vulnerable side.
A sometimes emotional, expressive, and sensitive show. An interesting record of the life and times of this brilliant, popular, notable, and deep man, who was L. S Lowry. Thank you for the opportunity to view it.
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE NEW website review by Vellu Khann
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Tuning to the discovery of our innermost desires is something that we all struggle with in the contemporary world. However, one would scarcely imagine that this would be a similar struggle for a couple of French women a century before.
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is a feature-film with brilliant story-telling of a romantic shade, as we see a young lady who is about to get married and the people surrounding her on an island of the French Colonies. And she dares on to tread on forbidden realms with the matters of the heart, a feeble soul who is engulfed in flames.
With the focal point of just a handful of characters, the director had been able to bring out the nuances of human emotions that we all experience, though seldom voice out to the world. The hues of the movie is captured excellently. Though we may feel that they are continually recycled, it does actually stem into the everyday living of regular folk, and the audience would undoubtedly feel the connection to the characters.
This is one breathtaking documentary about the life of a deer
We find ourselves wandering around Lapland to see the the struggle for the survival of a small wild reindeer. He is so graceful and so fragile standing up carefully on his four legs he makes us thinking about our own lives and the world around us. He is vulnerable facing the threats that entwine around the first year of his life.
This is a true story that will of course make you wonder who it was all filmed so beautifully and so well... It is the story of the young reindeer awakening in the world of wildlife, in the heart of the majestic landscapes of Lapland.
You will walk out of the theater as if you have visited the other planet... Indeed - gorgeous film you can watch with your family.
Francois Ozon made a film about Catholic pedophile priests
It was one of the first filmsshown at the Berlin Film Festival in the competition program. Grace of God is the film by the French director Francois Ozon. The picture is based on the real story of the Catholic priest Bernard Prein from Lyon who was accused of molesting minor parishioners in 2017 (by his own admission, there were 13 of them, witnesses reported 70 victims). It is the film certainly important for the history and worthy of the Berlinale award.
The first epithet that comes to mind when talking about Francois Ozon’s film By the Grace of God has nothing to do with his artistic qualities: this is the word 'important'. The champion of the European art mainstream, "the chameleon" director, who tried in his career, it seems, all genres and intonations, managed to once again surprise his usual audience. He shot a picture based on the events that are not just real, but happening right now - and he did it so professionally, thoroughly and dryly that it was absolutely impossible to guess the author of Krysyatnik, Basseyn, Angel and Franz in this particular movie. By the grace of God is a necessary film as well. It is good that it appeared.
We are talking about an old and respected priest from Lyon, Father Bernard Prein, who was accused of pedophilia several years ago: he broke the lives of dozens of boys whom he had been molested while they were at vacations in the scout camps. Some of them grew up and ventured to talk about it out loud. It began with Alexander Guerin - a successful business man, a Catholic believer, a happy family man and a very good father of three children. Once having learned that Preyna was still working with children, he could not stand it and spoke out. Soon the other victims joined his voice, in particular, Francois Debord, who founded a special association for Prein’s victims and a website on which their testimonies were posted in deatils. The matter reached the trial which is still ongoing. Preina was taken into custody and the verdict will be issued on March 7. The decision of the court and its regulators are waiting. The most interested party in this decision is the influential Cardinal of Lyon Barbarin, who long ago knew about Prein's crimes but hid them from the world and let him continue his Ggod's "evil deeds".
Thus the film of Ozone is intended to become the decisive argument. It is not legal, but more ethical and emotional. In the public debate about Catholic pedophile priests it is a must to see movie to educate yourself what you believe it in the fist place and in the second place: how to raise your own children. This is the film's highest value in my opinion.
By the grace of God was conceived as a documentary picture. Ozone carefully studied the matter, met and talked with the victims of Prein. Guerin gave him his correspondence with the church authorities. Ozone with his permission inserted letters in the script. The writings sound like a narrator's voiceover. Everything here is extremely correct and very close to reality: real names and facts are all kept as they are. There are no concessions to artistic conventions. Most of all the picture resembles a decent mini-series in three parts. They seem a bit log in my own opinion though. First part is basically the story of Guerin (the favorite of Ozone's, the noble Melville Pupo) is told. Then the baton goes to Deborah (the cheerful and healthy Denis Menouche) and, finally, to the nervous intellectual epileptic Emmanuel (Swann Arlo). There are wives, children, partners and parents of the victims shown as well, everyone is so supportive of each other as they can. It s hard not to re-act to such film!
The nobility of the intentions of the director who has lost all his playfulness, love of stylizations and shifters, postmodern courage, impudence and wit, is in direct connection with the chosen topic. There’s nothing to joke around here however one involuntarily recalls the Bad Education made not so long ago by Pedro Almodovar - a movie on the same topic, but not in an example more refined and complex. Time is running fast, standards are changing. Ozone is no longer guided by the European tradition of author's cinema, but by the "journalistic style" with so called "In the Spotlight" - a wonderful Oscar-winning film of 2015, the name of the director of which few remember offhand (this is Tom McCarthy). So that no one doubts, one of the scenery of the Ozone painting on the wall is a poster of American drama.
The paradox is that in the theory of Grace of God - it could turn out to be a unique statement on an extremely interesting topic: about male fragility, which radical feminists adore making fun of. The first name of the project was Crying Man but ultimately, the intimate part was obscured by the social part. Ozone carefully hid his directorial fragility, so touchingly noticeable in the previous film, “The Double Lover” but there is nothing personal here of course.
By the Grace of God (M) – 137 minutes – by Alex First
The church has a lot to answer for ... and to continue to answer for.
By the Grace of God concerns the devastating impact of child sexual abuse on its victims and victims’ families.
It unfolds like a horror story as the sufferers, most of whom have maintained their silence for decades, come forward ... many reluctantly at first.
Once the doors are prized open, the film unfolds through the snowball effect of that.
At first it is the story of a 40-year-old good Catholic banker – Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) – with a nice home, a loving wife and five children who has carried the burden of his dark secret since he was in primary school.
With two of his boys about to undertake confirmation, he seeks answers about why the church didn’t do more to protect him and others like him.
More than that, why the priest at the centre of the allegations was protected and still works with children today.
He has face-to-face meetings with the man of the cloth who preyed upon him, Father Preynat (Bernard Verley) – who acknowledges what he did was wrong – and his superior, Cardinal Barbarin (François Marthouret). . Still, the church is slow to take action, specifically to defrock Father Preynat.
Working against Alexandre holding the priest to account in a court of law is the 20-year statute of limitations.
That’s when Alexandre goes searching and that leads to a 33-year-old man whose life has been ruined by Father Preynat’s sick sexual perversion.
Further, another married family man – François (Denis Ménochet) – comes forward and starts an organisation to unearth still more cases and to hold Father Preynat and those in the church who hid his dirty secret to account.
As you can imagine, it is all tawdry stuff done to boys as young as eight, who previously thought the world of the priest.
By the Grace of God is an all too common story of persistence and sleuthing to uncover the truth, involving the church, the clergy and the police.
For all the revelations, you are left with the uncomfortable knowledge that the church hasn’t done anywhere near enough ... that transparency and accountability is still severely lacking.
It is a brilliant, intelligent, heavily dialogue-driven script written by François Ozon (Swimming Pool), who also directs. It presents as all too real, with credibility in every word spoken by an outstanding cast.
I quickly bought into the characterisations because they had authenticity about them.
Those affected are all different – rich, poor, educated, not so much, old school, conservative, passionate and so on.
Some parents (in this film … and, I dare say, in real life) simply want the past to stay in the past, but the vast majority demand justice.
This is a subject that won’t go away any time soon – and nor should it.
Hopefully films like this will serve to embolden others who, too, have been exploited by those in positions of authority.
Rated M, By the Grace of God scores a 8 to 8½ out of 10.
The film Farming written, directed and played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje tells a slightly modified childhood story of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. The film is based on the true events that happened in the 1960s-1980s, told in the words of main character. It can be viewed as an autobiography or a display of greatness of the author.
The life story of a boy black boy Enitan who was given or farmed to a white couple in Essex, UK at the aged of 6 weeks with a hefty payment for fostering, starts off very sad and might trigger a lot of angry emotions in the modern society. For the rest of the movie the boy had to face mistreatment, abuse, bullying and violence aimed at him. The film presents racial hatred as the main cause of the negative emotions of the boy.
But as the viewer watches the film, he would eventually start to realize that a lot of the hatred and violence comes from the boy himself. Either intentionally or unintentionally the skinhead hooligans even though were antagonizing, and threatening do not kill or stab anyone in the film. The teenager Enitan ends up doing more violence then the racist hooligans. And at the end of the film salvation comes from the hands of the boy’s teacher, his parent and the government that give the education that allowed Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje to become a very successful and influential actor. Altogether watching the film without knowing that it is based on the life of a famous person would cause misunderstanding. The true meaning of the film is to show everyone that with patience and hard work and a lot of talent everyone can become successful.
PLAYING WITH FIRE NEW website review by Guna Segal
"Playing with Fire": “Playing with Fire” is a comedy with John Cena, the famous wrestler as the lead actor. As my seven year old son is a big fan of John Cena, we were excited to see this movie. Before the movie, my son asked if there will be any wrestling scenes with John Cena, and was a little disappointed that this movie was about firemen. Good to hear that after the movie, he did not miss the wrestling scenes and the movie was still very entertaining. My son said, that this movie even made him want to be a fireman. We found this movie funny, cool, full of action and we would recommend it to kids and adults. Although it would had been good to have more fire rescue scenes. The movie had good acting. We found Axe’s character (Tyler Mane) very funny, even though he did not say much. There are some funny bits at the end of the movie - bloopers / outtakes, therefore recommended to stay till the end!
review by Max Lyons
Director: Andy Fickman.
Starring: John Cena, Brianna Hildebrand, Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, John Leguizamo, Finley Rose Slater.
Genre: Comedy, Family.
Running time: 96 Minutes. Film Review: By Maxwell M. Lyons
Playing with Fire is a family “comedy” starring John Cena as superintendent Jake “Supe” Carson, a straight-faced by-the-book smokejumper — specially trained wildland firefighter. In a role near frequent enough to be donned a typecast, the squared-chinned Cena and his crew cut fronts a stoic emotional-brick jock-like persona with a hidden heart-of-gold; the endearing brute. Following the abrupt departure of half his men (the overtly named ‘alpha team’), he’s left with a crew of questionably competent men (‘beta team’… get it) to keep the station afloat all the while attempting to prepare an application for a big promotion. To complicate matters further, the team is forced to babysit three siblings for the weekend after saving them from a burning building, waiting on their absent parents’ arrival. And with that, hijinks (or more accurately sequential less-than-humorous events) ensue.
At its heart, the central narrative holds a heartfelt tale of family, self-growth, and cross-generational understanding. Unfortunately, the movie that surrounds this message is a mediocre slog of poor writing, low-brow humour, splat-chop plot points, and uninspiring direction. There are chuckles here and there, but for a comedy movie boasting the talents of Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, and Tyler Mane the laugh are unacceptably few and far between; made worse by the seemingly intentional pauses following each ‘joke’, as if to accommodate for the gleeful uproar of the viewing audience before progressing forward. As talented as the cast may be, their mastery can only match that of the material they’re given and based on director Andy Fickman’s recent screenwork (‘Parental Guidance’ and ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’) and the inexperience of co-writers Matt Lieberman and Dan Ewen it’s quite apparent where the deficit lies. Even a cinema full of energetic children seemed eerily quiet throughout the film’s screening, a clear sign they’ve missed the mark.
On a finally note, it should be mentioned that the film’s release comes at an unfortunate time as horrific wildfires currently rage across both NSW and California, LA. Though Paramount Studios are not entirely at fault here — Playing with Fire was schedule for an early 2020 release before production delays on the new Sonic The Hedgehog movie caused it to be pushed up to fill the slot — some positive action has come from it. Following the film’s US release, Cena invited Paramount to “Pick a charity that aids our first responders…”, announcing that “…on behalf of ‘Playing with Fire’ and out of respect to the people I truly believe are heroes, [I] will … donate half-a-million-dollars to that cause.” Both California Fire Foundation and Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation were suggested.
In the end, you can smile knowing a good deed has come from the existence of this film, but don’t let that smile fade by actually going to see it. Not recommended.
will be released in cinemas Australia-wide on December 12, 2019.
I AM NO BIRD NEW website review by Vellu Khanna
This documentary-stylised movie revolves around four women from different cultures, from Turkey, India, Mexico and Australia. And they are about to tie the knot with the person they love.
The wedding preparations ensue for all four of them, and the sequence of events unfolds steadily to the big day - from the littlest of ceremonies to the procuring of the wedding cake. Needless to say, the audience become a witness to the wondrous union of individuals, beholding the assemblage of beautiful emotions that friends and family radiate throughout the movie.
A remarkable work of art of the contemporary age, it hits a note that any person would readily attest to.
Emu Runner Director and Writer: Imogen Thomas Stars: Rhae-Kye Waites, Wayne Bliar, Rob Carlton
Gem mother’s death propels a 8-year-old girl to seek comfort in her Mother Lands, where she forms a wonderful bond with a wild emu. The wild life connection not only rebuilds her broken spirit but also brings her into an unpredictable conflict with a young and inexperienced social worker who could break her family apart.
Gem is the main character and the driving force of Emu Runner. It is through her eyes that the story unfolds in front of the film spectators. She is a child full of joy, innocence, wonder and intrigue and anchored by the deep cultural roots of her native Ngemba people and country, and thus her sense of belonging is implicit. Her remote country town may struggle to exist, and yet, it is a place that offers great freedoms, home-like warmth and a way of life where time slows down and simple pleasures are found for the soul to rest and rehabilitate. At the same time Emu Runner movie presents the fragility of this world and how quickly it can change and how we are sometimes unable to adapt to such changes quickly.
Emu Runner invites audiences into Gem’s world as she faces the most difficult test of her life.
Emu Runner presents a child’s perspective of life in an Australian outback town and this is reflected in the cinematic language. The mood and the tone is visceral, honest and immediate, instantly engaging the audience in Gem’s world. It is the film, worth of watching to open our eyes and hearts!
review by Vellu Khanna
Emu Runner is a featurette exploring the ways of life and loss of an Indigenous family, with the central figure being that of Jemma, a young school girl who had recently lost her mother.
The audience is brought through a journey of the interiors of Australia, and are given a view of the world through the eyes of original custodians of the land, with their spiritual essence and ceremonies that they have imbued with it. As such, Jemma befriends a particular wild emu who appears periodically on the path to her school, which seem to have a bond with her.
Over the course of the story, we understand a deeply-set relationship of all things within the land of the ancients, and that when something ends, another path seemingly nudges us onward to a new beginning.
Official Secrets Director: Gavin Hood. Starring: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, Indira Varma, Conleth Hill, Adam Bakri, Hattie Morahan, Monica Dolan, Tamsin Greig
For millions of people around the world, information about the invasion of the allied forces of the United States and Britain in Iraq was like a cold shower, because this incident automatically entailed consequences that few could have foreseen. Just having coped with the worries of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the civilized community was forced to accept the fact of another war, in which innocent victims could not do without. Nevertheless, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and their political allies, in spite of everything, started a complex party, which could not do without substituting truth and facts.
Attributing the creation of weapons of mass murder to the regime of Saddam Hussein, the allies in the most arrogant way deceived everyone and went to bomb Iraq. As you know, winners are not judged, because they are always right, but in the modern world things are not so simple, and the new film by director Gavin Hood shows us what the price of truth is and what a person can do to high principles when revelations fall into his hands, on which the reputation of power and people's faith in democratic institutions depend.
In the center of the plot is British intelligence officer Catherine Gan, who accidentally discovers extremely important data that the government was least willing to make public. Having familiarised themselves with them and realising that the invasion of Iraq was actually a grandiose scam, Catherine must decide for herself what to do next. On one side of the balance is calm, humble acceptance of the given, blind observance of the oath, and justice on the other, honor and own conscience. Katherine chooses, in her opinion, the most correct path and finds herself under a special eye that can destroy her life once and for all. But the choice has been made; retreating is pointless.
It was surprising to me that such a movie was shot, and even with such significant actors as Keira Knightley, Matt Smith and Ralph Fiennes. The American and British government, as well as large studios that are directly dependent on politics, are not always in a hurry to return to sensitive issues that were planned to be forgotten and not to return to them. But the situation with the war in Iraq still bears fruit, far from the best, and therefore the public resonance around the question does not subside, from which Gavin Hood decided to take a chance and, as practice shows, his efforts deserve special attention. Much of what is shown on the screen actually happened; in this film there is also an admissible artistic invention, which allows to warm up suspense and drama. Together with the heroine of Cyrus Find, we embark on a tense and unpredictable adventure. Moreover, the debates in the cabinets and interrogations cause no less interest than any adventures of James Bond in an exotic country.
In addition to Gavin Hood, the “weather” in this film is made by the incomparable Keira Knightley, who, as for me, has long outgrown the level of primitive blockbusters and has become a confident dramatic actress no worse than Meryl Streep. In this film, she goes as far as possible from the image of a standard beauty and gives out a powerful game that forces us to follow her every move.
“Official secrets” touch upon a very difficult topic, introduce us to an interesting heroine and make us think about where the verge of truth and lies should actually be located. Believe me, you will not be disappointed.
9TH IRANIAN FILM FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT website review by Katherine Kelly
9th Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) 7 – 13 November Nova Cinema, Carlton
The 9th Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) opened at the Nova Cinema on Thursday 7 November. Speaking to a fully packed theatre, IFFA Director Armin Miladi welcomed guests saying how far IFFA had progressed over the past nine years. He showcased Iranian first time film makers and three international premiers being: Hosein Doumari and Pedram Pouramiri’s Alive; Ali Hashemi’s Zaferanieh, July 5; and Reza Gouran’s Repression, starring the IFFA’s special guest Sara Bahrami. These three films are competing in the newly created Golden Pomegranate Award for the best first-time director.
IFFA is also very proud be presenting restored classics by world-renowned Iranian auteurs, including Nasar Taghvai’s 1986 film Captain Khorshid - based on Hemingway’s To Have and to Have Not. A short documentary about Taghvai’s life and work was then shown. Born in 1941, Taghvai was active on the Iranian film scene from around 1967 until the early 2000’s. This documentary served as a tribute to this notable director who now very sadly suffers from Alzheimer’s.
Reza Mirkarimi’s Castle of Dreams (Winner, Best Feature Film, 2019 Shanghai International Film Festival), opened the Festival - a very sad drama emphasising familial fragmentation, secrets and taking responsibility.
Following the screening, guests were treated to delicious Iranian food and drinks from the Nova Cinema Bar.
IFFA: CASTLE OF DREAMS website review by Katherine Kelly
Castle of Dreams Director: Reza Mirkarimi
Sounds of children playing and a picture of a house on a wall herald the beginning of this drama – a family drama about loss, secrets and broken dreams.
A morose Jalal (Hamed Behdad) returns to his estranged wife’s home after serving a prison sentence to collect her car while she lies critically ill in hospital. His brother and sister-in-law, who have been caring for his two children, five-year-old Sara (Nioosha Alipour) and nine-year-old Ali (Youna Tadayyon) won’t let him leave without them. Jalal wants nothing to do with his past life, but he reluctantly takes them.
After a brief hospital visit where he fails to see his wife, he and the children set off to the castle of dreams – in other words a journey to nowhere. The children’s mother drew a castle on their wall at home and told stories about an idyllic future life in order to shield the children from reality. Sara very happily runs with this idea whilst Ali, a child older than his years, eventually discerns that things aren’t as they should be.
An eventful road trip ensues. Jalal picks up Namjeh (Zhila Shahi) his girlfriend who also has dreams – those of a life together with Jalal and having their own children – a dream that goes nowhere – like the car trip.
The monotony of the trip has is alleviated by Nioosha Alipour’s amusing and sometimes heart rending portrayal of Sara. In contrast, Youna Tadayoon’s performance as Ali has a mature and somewhat subdued effect.
As Jalal drives through the beautiful mountainous scenery, many events take place and piece by piece we learn the story behind the story.
TEHRAN: THE CITY OF LOVE website review by Katherine Kelly
Tehran city of love
Director: Ali Jaberansari
Looking for love in any big city can be fraught. But Tehran City of Love illustrates what dating possibilities (or impossibilities) exist in this comedy of errors.
Three lonely people search for love and recognition in their own unique ways: Mina (Forough Ghajabagli) a bitter, obese, unattractive receptionist in a beauty clinic with a penchant for ice cream. She seductively, prank calls men masquerading as the beautiful model Sara to set up dates and watches as her “victims” arrive at the restaurant for the date;
Hessam (Amir Hessam Bakhtiari) a taciturn, bearlike body builder instructor only has eyes for his attractive body building student who he trains for the championships;
Vahid (Mehdi Saki) an introverted funeral cantor searches for ways to escape his situation. Recently dropped by his girlfriend, he attempts wedding singing in his own mournful way. He tries his luck with Mina’s friend Niloufar (Behnaz Jafari).
This is a tragi-comedy which tracks these three hapless characters as they add to their self-inflicted pain. The sadness of their respective unrequited loves is very cleverly interwoven with subtle comical interludes.
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 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’.
LAST CHRISTMAS FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE 8/10
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 FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO 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.
My rate is low in my own opinion - it is 6/10
BALLOON FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE: 9/10
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 FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO 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 BEST MOVIE OF THE MONTH 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.