Golden Teacher Films Tyler Chandler – Filmmaker Nicholas Meyers - Writer
Cast Adrianne Herself Tyler Chandler Himself Nicholas Meyers Himself Rick Doblin Himself Rosalind Watts Herself Ingrid Pacey Herself Trevor Millar Himself Gabor MateHimself Mark Haden Himself Garyth Moxey Himself Mark Howard Himself Robyn Howard Herself Geoff Acres Himself Gary Cook Himself Patrick Fishley Himself Maud Lundestad Herself Chor Boogie Himself James Jesso Himself Paul Stamets Himself
“The question is not why the addiction but why the pain”. Gabor Mate
This documentary from Vancouver Canada follows the course of Adrianne, who starting taking opiates and other substances as a teen. She was in mental pain with anxiety and depression, and first looked to alcohol and cocaine to alleviate this. With alcohol being the gateway, she descended into addiction with the frequent use of Fentanyl, rendering her homeless a few times. In fact, Adrianne was playing Russian Roulette every she took it. She had been a bright student at school with a dream to study Law until the “black dog” of depression and anxiety overtook her life.
Adrianne became suicidal after years of medication - both prescription and illegal. In desperation, she turned to underground healers to alleviate her depression, anxiety and opiate addiction with illegal psychedelic medicine such as psilocybin – more widely known as magic mushroom. She later managed to participate in a psilocybin trial with gradual success. She underwent Ibogaine therapy for her opiate addiction. Ibogaine comes from the root of the Iboga plant found in Gabon, Africa - a plant used for several centuries for medicinal and ritual purposes. Ibogaine is legal in Canada and is used to treat patients with depression, anxiety and addictions under strict therapeutic supervision and monitoring.
The way to recovery was not a day in the park for Adrianne. She gradually overcame the darkness, self-hate and the childhood trauma that had led her to addiction as a teen. It was a hard journey – a journey that led to self-compassion, self- knowledge, and the courage to confront her emotions. In her words: “The best way to love yourself is to be yourself. Care about yourself so that you make better choices. Get to know yourself. Only a short time you have with others.”
Dosed is a very powerful documentary aiming to promote the benefits of plant based therapy for mental health and addictions, as opposed to the more traditional modes.
This film is of particular interest to me as my grandfather on my mother’s side was Macedonian, but unfortunately I have no link to that side of my heritage. Following these two families living in the north of Macedonia was like watching something from another world – a world far removed from my own. Yet that world still holds a significant link for me. Quiet and pensive, this movie acts less like a film and more as a silent observer, shadowing two, very different, families: Hatidze Muratova and her dying mother Nazife (as themselves), and the Sam family of mother and father and too many children (as played by themselves). Hatidze is one of the last women beekeepers in Europe, and her traditional methods are threatened when the Sams become her neighbours and take over the beekeeping business. It is a sombre and almost anachronistic look at a way of living which straddles two periods – that of the Indigenous Macedonians, and the modern 21st century.
“Honeyland” is a simple film. I immediately noticed the lack of music, and this, coupled with the organic way the story unfolds, made me pay attention. It allows the people within the story to speak for themselves, without embellishment or hand-holding. We as the audience are not told what to think. Instead, events play out and we are left to make up our own minds about these characters. However, this isn’t a movie in the usual sense. There is no script or overarching plot. These are real families going about their lives, except that cameras are involved. This does mean that sometimes I couldn’t keep up with what was going on, as some scenes do feel disjointed or unclear, such as why the father is desperate for money or why he doesn’t heed the advice of Hatidze, who, up until a certain point, had been a great neighbour to his children. For the most part this criticism falls by the wayside as it isn’t important to the big picture.
This film takes its time in telling its story. Beautiful landscape shots of the Macedonian countryside and pensive close-ups of the small village these families live in tell as much of a story as the families themselves. It is only an hour and a half in length, and in this time there is no exciting climax or terrible retribution for the characters. On the surface, it can seem like nothing much happens at all. However, the interactions between these two different families speak of many small, but significant, conflicts, not to mention the fears and hopes of the main characters. I particularly enjoyed the moments between Hatidze and one of Hussein’s sons, as he learnt how to beekeep in a sustainable way, or accompanied her on a hike to a wild beehive. While the Sam family overall, and particularly Hussein, is portrayed as a noisy and uncaring interruption to the idyllic village, his son portrays the defiance and thirst for knowledge of the younger generation. His frank curiosity against Hatidze’s much older wisdom and quiet demeanour is a delight to watch, and made me smile on more than one occasion. I highly recommend “Honeyland”. A wonderful and thought-provoking film, it delivers a heart-warming and relatable story in its own quiet, careful way.
AFFFF 2020: HOW TO BE AN ASTRONAUT NEW website review by Elice Thomas
HOW TO BECOME AN ASTRONAUT
I wasn’t prepared for how poetic this documentary on becoming an astronaut would be. Thomas Pesquet is as romantic about space as he is talented, and following his journey over the one year before rocketing out into space was incredibly interesting. He is the youngest French astronaut to be chosen for a 6-month mission on the International Space Station, alongside
American Peggy Whitson and Russian Oleg Novitskiy. Over the course of this documentary it becomes very clear just how much physical, mental, and emotional energy these astronauts put themselves through, just for a glimpse of the Earth from space. It’s incredibly uplifting. As Thomas says, these aren’t people who seek fame or medals, but the ever-constant, never-satiated pursuit of knowledge and meaning, and the answer to the question, “How far can humanity go?”
The documentary splits the journey up into “acts”, so to speak, using Thomas’ words as chapter titles covering the many different facets of astronaut training. My favourite was “The other side of the mirror”, when Thomas meets with an apnea instructor to learn breathing and meditative techniques in case he meets with high-stress situations while deprived of oxygen. I’ve always been fascinated by the deep ocean, so I especially enjoyed hearing about the similarities between the emptiness of space and the darkness of the deep sea. The film covers many different aspects of a future astronaut’s training, not just space-related but also the impact it has on their mental state and their friendships. I have a newfound respect for the discipline they commit themselves to, considering how wide-reaching it has to be. I appreciated the acknowledgement that Thomas gave to the wider team around him, for, as he says, he never feels like things are beyond hope when he has thousands of experts back home supporting him.
One of my favourite quotes in the film, from Thomas, is that “Our generation never had the Moon landing to remember. Instead, we look ahead to the future, and to Mars”. It’s a poignant and optimistic reminder that things will always be changing, but always for the better.
It’s unfortunate that the documentary ends so abruptly. Rather than accompanying Thomas to the big day we’ve been counting down to, we instead see him last in Normandy, where his grandparents originated. After all of the suspense and sacrifice we as the audience follow him through, it would have been satisfying to see Thomas leaving Earth, maybe with a final, poetic message for his family. Conversely, even some footage of him in the ISS, playing his saxophone as he promised he would, would have rounded off the documentary and the journey. Apart from the ending, though, I was moved almost to tears by the words of these astronauts, and the sacrifices they make. This was a poignant and heartfelt film, and I’m glad I watched it.
QUEEN AND SLIM NEW website' review by Maarina Sklyar
Captivating romantic crime drama where two complete opposites decided to meet after chatting on Tinder, each got they own reason Angela who is criminal defense attorney needs someone to talk to as she had a bad day, Eanest who works as a guard for Costco wants to meet a female for good times and maybe more. The dinner conversation doesn’t take them very far, as Angela presents herself as a cold, obnoxious woman, who knows it all . Eanest being a kind and naive man doesn’t count on getting lucky with Angela, and is taking her home. They get pulled over by a white cop for a minor traffic violation who takes law into his own hands. The tension between officer and Eanest, and then Angela gets out of control and gets Angela wounded, and the cop dead.
Angela commands Eanest to get in the car and keep driving, as she makes him believe that once he becomes states property they will through away the keys, as there is no faith justice system especially if you are black. They have little money , and no plan except just to keep driving. The video of the incident goes viral, and just about everybody who is anybody recognizes the couple. To their surprise this video works in their favor and people are willing to go out of their way to help couple escape the justice system. During the trip those two strangers who probably would have never given each other a second chance, got an opportunity to get to know one another and fall in love, Angela for first time was able to reveal her secret which been haunting her, be able to feel what’s love is and give back. Eanest on the other side learned how to be a stronger man to make decisions. For this couple in love nothing matters any more, but the fact that they have found each other and they are making a legacy for others to follow. Trust no one, enjoy the little things, sun, scenario, wind. Don’t wait for tomorrow to do what you been wanting to do all your life. Get outside your comfort zone!! Love life and it will love you back.
AFFFF 2020: THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL NEW website review by Elice Thomas
THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL
I knew not to expect a light-hearted film when I first started watching “The Swallows of Kabul”. I had very little knowledge of Kabul, but knew that it had been a dark period in Afghan history. Needless to say, I was not prepared for the emotional onslaught that this film thrust me through. It doesn’t hold back on painting the absolute truth on what life was like under the rule of the Taliban. Prepare to be confronted with the horror of humanity.
“The Swallows of Kabul” follows the journeys of two women living in Kabul with their respective partners: the older Mussarat (Hiam Abbass), who has been diagnosed with cancer, and Zunaira (Zita Hanrot), a young and striking woman who aspires to be a teacher and artist in a world free of the Taliban presence. Mussarat’s husband, Atiq (Simon Abkarian), runs the local women’s prison, and has learnt to take a unemotional, cynical view of the world. Zunaira’s partner, Mohsen (Swann Arlaud), has not yet been trodden down by the Taliban’s rule, but finds it increasingly harder not to internalise their beliefs, especially toward women. Both women, and their partners, find their lives intertwined over time as the story reveals more and more of the harsh truth of this city. The ending is an optimistic one, but at a staggering cost of much pain and sacrifice. What stood out to me the most in this film were the long, lingering moments when the story took a breath. Whether it was a shot of Kabul on another hot, sunny day, or of Zunaira as she lay on her bed, breathing deeply, these moments provided clarity and reconciliation between all of the heavy commentary and horrific acts being played out. On the other hand, a few moments stood out to me which drove home those horrific acts, and the terrifying, pitiless brutality of the lives of these families. In these moments I cried unashamedly for the loss of joy and life, and anything worth living for. The film balances the heavy-hitting with the more playful and light-hearted scenes in a wonderfully clear-sighted way, although the playful scenes are few and far between, as befitting the period.
No review of the “The Swallows of Kabul” can go without mentioning the beautiful, watercolour art style by which it is animated. This style lends the lacklustre Afghani land an elegance, and brings out the subtle contrasts in the burnt hues of Kabul’s colour palette. One scene can be packed with so much detail that I almost felt compelled to pause the film. Despite the awful acts being suffered upon them, one beauty in all the tragedy is Kabul itself, devoid of people. The art style is simple, combining basic solid colours with few lines, yet only a few lines are needed to capture the emotions these characters experience. Paired with the evocative animations is superb voice acting work. I was left aching for these people, who became as real to me over two hours as my own friends and family.
I highly recommend “The Swallows of Kabul”. While it will leave you in tears, and confronts you with the worst of humanity, ultimately it is a story of redemption and hope, and optimism despite everything.
“It Must Be Heaven” by Elia Suleiman is quite a funny and poetic film about Palestine without political propaganda and with a director who plays the main part.
He plays himself in the film - or rather, he plays a curious observer who almost does not react to what is happening around.
The filmas I menntioned devoid of any propaganda and takes place in Nazareth, then in Paris and in New York coming back to Nazaret. The story in the nushell: the director is travelling around the worl and trying to find funding for his new film.
The film starts with the large religious procession with candles and in formal robes that goes up the steps to the mysterious treasured gates, singing a hymn. We have no idea what is going on.
There is a bishop at the head of the procession who knocks on these gates and ceremonially orders them to open.
But the doors remain locked. Moreover, a mocking voice behind teh closed gates replies that he is not going to open.
Then the bishop takes off his headdress, rolls up his sleeves and prepares to break the door ...
A new film by Elia Suleiman “It Must Be Paradise” takes off from this startling scene, absurd and metaphorical at the same tim.,
Such strange introduction plus the title of the film promises that the picture about "getting to heaven" is not so simple.
Suleiman is a unique filmmaker.
It is not only because it has a specific, deeply personal style and cinema language, combining silent comedy and social drama.
It can not be compared with anything I have seen so far. Suleiman is probably one of the most famous and titled Palestinian director. A native of Nazareth, a Christian Israeli city with a predominantly Arab population, determines his nationality.
In 1996, his Chronicle of Extinction won the prize for the best debut in Venice. In 2002 Divine Intervention won the jury prize in Cannes. At the same time, he is extremely far from the fighters of the invisible front, who remove politically charged pamphlets about the Israeli occupiers and the suffering of the Palestinian people.
His screen image itself contradicts this. Suleiman is not religious (and closer to Christianity than Islam), who eagerly drinks, considers women indifferently, and includes Leonard Cohen in the soundtrack with pleasure.
But most importantly and it is all in contexts, on the screen or beyond, he keeps himself aloof and keeps his distance, not wanting to merge with the crowd.
Suleiman, the same as the other Palestinian filmmakers, collects a budget for his ascetic world-famous paintings (France, Germany, Canada, Turkey and Qatar have invested in It Must Be Heaven), but does not engage in propaganda, remaining highly artistic.
Palestine interests him in much the same way as the first crusaders or Zionists. For him, this is a state of mind, the Promised Land, an unattainable paradise that still does not really exist.
At the same time, Jews, Arabs, and in the new film - also the French, Japanese, Americans and Mexicans, lead an equally sad and funny existence, as if not noticing how similar in essence.
Suleiman’s films are deprived from a straightforward plot, they are composed of expertly verified and directed episodes somehow bind together. In the center of each episode thee is the director himself, who is also a performer; he is a fragile and poorly shaven elderly man with an astonished look and an awkward half-smile, with a straw hat and glasses.
But is he really in the centre? He is more acting like an observer who remains the main character.
No matter what happens, he does not react and is silent to what happens wround him. People though see him and talk to himD.
YOu should really decide for yourself whether to see a silent movie in this homage or an ironic comment about the state of the world, which is better not to intervene.
Something is happening, God knows what in this world...
However, each of the scenes is recognizable, no matter who is present there.
Father and son: there are Suleiman's neighbors in Nazareth ; they are sitting on the neighboring balconies, apathetically cursing each other with the last words.
Two menacing Muslims demand compensation from a waiter in a restaurant for feeding their sister chicken soaked in white wine: a woman should not touch alcohol!
A Japanese couple in Paris looks expressively at a Palestinian gentleman and asks if he is Bridget? Hehe - aparently he is not :)
The ambulance stops at the clocheard lying on the sidewalk and unexpectedly generously presents it with a multi-course dinner.
Femail activist in New York Central Park, wearing angel wings, shows her bare chest, painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag.
These are Halloween days; on a nearby street death, holding a scythe under his arm, devours a burger with an appetite.
The taxi driver, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, discovers that the Palestinian is lucky and comes in unexpectedly unbridled delight. “A trip at my expense, I adore your Karafat!” - the black healthy man exclaims joyfully. In this small episode, the whole essence of Western support for Palestine is sarcastically condensed.
The only thing that does not change from city to city, from country to country is the equally silent and unperturbed repressive institutions: the police, always harassing or searching someone, even guarding so that it’s uncomfortable to look at it. In one scene there are three gendarmes on monowheels chasing a man with a bouquet of flowers. He steals them like a murder weapon, runs away and throws them under a parked car. We can involuntarily recall the famous Banksy graffiti on which a street extremist throws not a grenade, but the same bouquet of flowers.
Suleiman's cinematography is the same peaceful protest against aggression sewn into the basic program of modern mankind.
This makes him akin to the antipode film (and, at the same time, his closest relative) - “Synonyms” of the Israeli Nadava Lapida, where a resident of the same state sought refuge in the same city of Paris, with the same varying success. Only the hero Lapida tried to escape from his identity, and Suleiman, on the contrary, could not catch up with it.
The plot is revealed closer to the finale.
From his native Nazareth, Suleiman goes to Paris and New York for a reason, and in search of funding for the next film. “Comedy on a peaceful Arab-Israeli settlement?” LOL :)
It's already funny, good luck! - it indifferently stands up the American producer.
The Frenchman, refusing the director, is more correct: “We respect you very much, and your project is wonderful ... but understand it correctly, it’s somehow not too Palestinian! As if this could happen in any country. ”
Drama "Monos" was released to Australian Film Distribution list adding a rich variety to the cinema repertoire.
This amazing picture was appreciated not only in Berlin and at Sundance Festival, but also at many festival across the world. Alejandro Landes received the prize for best directing at many of them.
From the first minutes the film creators let us know the majotr message: we will learn more about savage teenagers who are trained under the leadership of the person from a certain gorilla organization (fully or partially: but definitely, military).
There are no peaceful goals that are being pursued - it is understandable clearly because of the armory in hands of teenagers and because there is a hostage in their camp.
What will all this lead to?
It is impossible to predict as you start watching the film, and this can be attributed to the undoubted advantages of the picture! It is simply superb!
Take just the choice of locations and atmospheric musical accompaniment! They are pure delight indeed.
What are there mountains and ruins wrapped in clouds, living in which is more like another component of the plan for the survival of heroes than a full-fledged housing with a claim to comfort. The characters unfold among the breathtaking scenery and the Spartan setting, with the starting point being ... the cow. However, we can do without details.
What is happening on the screen causes a storm of emotions in your soul. It is all due to the fact that in front of us are children and it looks disturbing what they know and how they act having that knowledge in hands.
They are children who were gutted mentally in order to subsequently forcibly stuff the complete opposite of more appropriate things: games, walks, going to the movies with friends and more peaceful encounters all teenagers do...
Yes, sometimes this is what causes disruptions of varying severity, yes, sometimes "children" in the best meaning of that word wake up inside of them anyway, but the conflict that flares up inside resembles a fire that cannot be put out.
This fire will burn them out to the very end and to the group. It is their power in a good and bad way.
We see mountains, ruins, viscous mud - not all that awaits the heroes.
Alejandro Landes sends them to the South American jungle: the most important stage for the development of a society divorced from the world, in which everyone has a specific role.
“Monos” due to the redeployment of child-soldiers can be easily divided into two logical parts: primarily according to the visual appearance of its heroes.
Of course, everything is not limited to just one picture/visual, so we are watching the further transformation of the characters, noting the growing degree of cruelty, twists and turns of their characters, uncompromisingness and the thirst to rule over the immediate environment.
Conditions do not seriously affect basic desires, which is why we see opportunism and self-esteem as our own significance against the background of a deadlocked future.
When viewing, you catch yourself on various thoughts that go beyond the picture frame.
The point is not in that it is South America, not that thy are lost children, doomed to become cannon fodder when a corresponding order from above arrives.
Our world is rolling into the abyss, and some people cease to be humans.
The foundations are changing, generally accepted rules are being replaced by more convenient for specific people or systems - the list goes on and on, without forgetting about terrorism, the environment and much much more.
This is true, but at the same time, there is no reason to dive into the well of depression and disappointment.
The American writer Henry Miller owns the words that are relevant in this case: "Chaos is the name we give to an order that we do not understand". We have the right not to accept this chaos, we have the right to do something for the desired changes, however, no one is immune from adapting to a new reality by coincidence.
This is also true. In this case, nothing should interfere with enjoying life, no matter what the surrounding conditions are...
The new adaptation of the novel "Little Women" received 6 nominations for the Oscar. It was singled out as a contender for the title of best film of the year. The picture, despite of its familiar plot, intrigues with a non-standard approach to the chronology of events. It also draws attention to the impressive cast, which brought together representatives of different generations of talented actors.
The film tells the story of the four sisters played by Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen. They grew up in a close-knit family, united on the backdrop of the events of the American Civil War. Although the main characters were brought up in the same house, the characters and aspirations of the sisters formed in totally different ways. The film alternates events from the youth of all four girls and shows how their lives were changed over several years, dispelling or fulfilling the dreams of each of them.
The "Little Women" by the writer Louise May Alcott became a classic in literature, which was repeatedly transferred to the big screen. In the 1980s, Japan broadcast anime based on the book, and in 1994 a quite successful film was released, in which Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon and Christian Bale starred. In addition, there are a couple of lesser-known films and serials that convey the events of the book.
It would seem to many: why waste time on the next film adaptation, the decoupling of which is known in advance? Nevertheless, the director Greta Gerwig (who made her debut three years ago with the drama "Lady Bird") found several tricks that completely revived the novel of 150 years old. This is not only due to an impressive cast, joined by Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Timothy Chalamet and even Louis Garrell.
Greta Herwig managed to set up relevant and emotional accents in the old material, making it interesting again. It is worth saying right away that this by no means is a radical feminization of the era of romanticism (as, for example, in the "Dickinson" series).
All the characters of the new film behave in accordance with the manners of that time, but in no case picking up modern trends. As for the topic of the feminine part discovery, this is what the novel is all about, so no extra plot additions appear in the film. The picture only represents the story of the expectations dictated by the society, and shows what the heroines really strive for, without denying family values.
"Little Women" was rightly nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay. This is the merit of the same Greta Gerwig, who changed the chronology of the events of the novel: first, the film shows the life of adult sisters, and then shows episodes of seven years ago jumping backwards and forward several times.
So Gerwig creates a new intrigue by comparing characters from the past and present, as well as understanding what decisions have become decisive for them. Color correction of frames helps to navigate in numerous flashbacks, which indicates the special atmosphere reigning in a carefree period of youth in warm colors.
Curiously, at the end of the film, Gerwig allows himself a little liberty in the line of Joe's character (her role is played by actress Saoirse Ronan). Gerwig hints that Joe has become the literary embodiment of writer Louise May Alcott. Therefore, the director barely subtle bifurcates the finale, showing what choice in the book Joe will make, as well as what life compromise Alcott will come to in real life.
Of course, to film such a large work, and even supplemented by the director's vision, you need at least two hours (even a little more). Whether they fly by quickly or not depends on the willingness of the viewer percieving the story of the growing up of four heroines.
In fairness, it is worth noting that the creators of the movie are trying hard to extract from the picture everything that can inspire boredom. Dialogs are often brightened up by camera work, thanks to which you can feel the emotional mood of the scene. Actors convey the charming features of their characters, and the design of the locations and costumes immerses you in a cozy home world.
Finally, instrumental soundtrack of a talented composer Alexander Despl, nominated for an Oscar for best music for this film, helps to capture the right atmosphere.
10/10 from me!
TRANSITIONS FILM FESTIVAL 2020: I AM HUMAN NEW website RATE: 6/10
I AM HUMAN is a full length documentary. with the focus on human brain and technology. It follows a breaking trough technological solutions to assist three people with different sicknesses to become at least partially functioning and close to normal humans. The implanted technological devices in their brain can apparently change the way they even think. The implants modern technology is incredible and it is taking place now. It also reminds us how human life is fragile and how often we take our own good health for granted. It is quite a thought provoking film.
ESCAPE AND EVASION NEW website review by Vellu Khann
REVIEW - Escape And Evasion
'Escape And Evasion' is a careful review of a soldier's coping of PTSD, tangentially drawn from a recent Australian engagement in a conflict in South East Asia.
The protagonist is Captain Seth, part of a guerrilla team sent out to the jungles of Burma (Myanmar), and a series of untoward events unfold within a short period of time, splitting the paradigms that govern rationality and insanity for all members of the team. It then flows into a tale of mystery, a classic good ol' whip of 'whodunnit' that elevates the viewer's level of adrenaline as the movie progresses.
'Escape And Evasion' does well in its cinematography and phasing into the scenes which depicts the backstory of Seth, with a fresh view of a soldier's life in contemporary times, quite unlike any movies till date. We see Seth's current struggle back at his home in Australia, and we are also presented with a recent dark past, one which he would like to be kept hidden, especially from himself.
A top-notch flick of mystery and combat.
SAINT JUDY NEW website review by Marygrace Charlton
Film Review: Saint Judy By Marygrace Charlton
Director:Sean Hanish, also known for his direction of Return to Zero and Sister Cities.
Writer:Dmitry Portnoy. Attending Pepperdine Law School (Malibu, California) Portnoy worked with Judith Wood as one of a number of interns.
Saint Judy is a biopic, released in March 2019, telling the story of the real life Attorney At Law, Judith L. Wood (Michelle Monaghan). It explores Judy’s legal battle to change U.S. policy in relation to approvals for immigrants and refugees seeking asylum, and her eventual victory. The real Judith L. Wood appears in cameo at the conclusion of this film. A successful attorney and public defender for 10 years practicing in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2003, Judy resigns and moves to Los Angeles. The reason for this relocation is to enable her son Alex (Gabriel Bateman) to spend more time with his father Matthew Robinson (Peter Krause) following their divorce and the subsequent shared custody.
Judy’s new employer in L.A., Ray Hernandez (Alfred Molina, who is also an executive producer of the film) runs the Immigration Law Office. Ray informs Judy on her first day of his “quick fix” approach i.e. get the paper work done, signed off and return the refugee to their native country in minimal time. In addition, he states as a priority “all staff are to record every minute of time spent assisting their clients” for the dollars to roll in. This heartless attitude astounds Judy, leaving her shocked, and frustrated.
After a short stint Ray fires her for non compliance and Judy opens her own business in immigration law, dedicating her life to helping people without a voice and without a fee.
The film predominantly focuses on Judy’s most famous case, that of Asefa Ashwari (Leem Lubany) a Muslim teacher who had educated young girls in her native country, Afghanistan. On one occasion Asefa, along with another teacher, takes her young students for a walk through the village as a public display of women’s rights. Seen as a political demonstration, a “Crime against God” and a dangerous threat to the Afghan way of life, Asefa is reported to the Taliban, imprisoned, tortured and raped.
Asefa awakes in a hospital in Pakistan, where she discovers she had been taken with the help of her friends. From there she manages to flee to America.
Judy finds Asefa in Mira Loma Detention Center where she has been incarcerated for 12 months, drugged and unable to be questioned. After a bureaucratic conflict Judy with the aid of expert medical intervention is able to ensure Asefa is drug free. After recovery, Judy is then able to hear of Asefa’s plight.
Subsequent to a number of lengthy hearings, Judy is finally able to have the case heard by The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the largest of the thirteen courts of appeal in the federal court.
Finally, mission accomplished, Asefa’s appeal for asylum is granted and the U.S. law for immigrants seeking asylum in the United States is changed forever. Considered a saviour by those fighting for asylum status in the USA, Judy earns the title of Saint because of her relentless dedication and altruistic passion for people’s rights. She is famous for her tireless work on human and refugee rights for over 30 years. “A person with a broken spirit is why I fight,” Judy once said. She is undoubtedly a true crusader for justice.
I had not heard of Judy prior to watching this movie. I found the film thought provoking and inspirational. It’s certainly a story that had to be told.
Saint Judy was nominated for an LA Muse award at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2018, Best International Film at London Raindance Film Festival 2018, and a Mind the Gap award at Mill Valley Film Festival 2018. Michelle Monaghan was nominated for Best Performance at London Raindance Film Festival 2018.
Drama based on the true story, Mark Ruffalo as Robert Biliott plays a defence lawyer who has just recently become a parnter in the law firm ,which are specialising in envoromental issues, company directors/lawyers rub sholders and have fine dinning with the top manufaturing companies who they are about to sue and revela the real faces.
Just after becoming a parner in the law firm Mark Ruffalo gets a visit from a farmer who has been neighboring with Mark’s grandmother in West Virginia, whom Mark had known as a child, the farmer gives Mark boxes of the DVD vidios to show that something is not right in the waters running on his farm, those waters are doing his cows harm.
With a huge curiosity Mark visits the farmers farm and witnessings the ugly truth of a non curable desease in animals, whom farmer has been berrying one by one. The farmer has runed out of options as EPA and all the manufaturing companies are hidding the truth so well, that it took Mark 12 years of his career to reveal the ugly truth and proof it.
I had chills and goose bumps watching this movie, as the the chemical product which were/is used in manufacturing TEFAL cookware, in our beauty products, hugine producs and many other products, the waste was damped into the the neighboring drinking waters which made all the cows die and go crazy prior, most town residents are diagnosed with some sort of non curable desease, cancer, baby deformations.
This movie reveals chemical crime, to which all the authorities such as EPA, indepandant Bio labs, medical staff were given little information and if anybody would raise questions that person would no longer be walking. You just did not stick your nose in to somebodys business.
In my eyes Mark Ruffalo is a hero, who has stood up to big companies, he had made a lot of sucrifieses in his life, even had put in jeopardy his own life and carrer, and potentially his family.
All he wanted was to proof and make those giants liable for peoples sufferings and make public aware what is exactly in the water and the products we consume on a daily basis.
Mark Ruffalo was able to get the financial compensation to the victims in the town, the case is still going on, needless to say the TEFAL are still producing the non stick cookware, and adding chemicals to our hugine products without warning that it can harm your body. That movie made me think twice and revise my cookware products and products I use for hugine. This chemical is now present in everyone of us, who knows what long term affect it will play in our humans.
Once again we see that money got the power and plays a dominant part in everyones lifes, where you can buy just about anything.
If you have never heard of Miss Fisher then the movie is certainly not the place to start. Unless of course you are suffering from insomnia and could do with an hour or so of shut eye. Only die-hard fans of the TV series would be forgiving of this fizzler.
The movie set in the 1920s begins with Miss Fisher freeing a young girl named Shirin out her unjust imprisonment in Jerusalem. From there the story plods along until the first murder occurs and Miss Fisher ends up a suspect. Miss Fisher must dangerously set out to clear her name, and begins to unravel the mysteries behind an ancient jewel and the truth behind what happened to Shirin’s tribe. The movie jumps around between three locations – Melbourne, London, and Morocco. The dull plot never manages to spring to life and at times was hard to follow, not because it’s overly complicated but more so due to its inability to create any suspense or drama. I wish I can tell you more about the plot, but I spent most the movie cringing and losing interest.
The drawn out dialogue and gags that miss the mark are only the start of problems. Miss Fisher’s glitzy wardrobe and opulent locations are not enough to disguise the cheap special effects and bland cinematography. Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Diamonds looks and feels cheap, making it one of the most painful movies I have endured in a long time.
photos: Red Carpet Sydney, Hakam Soufan
WILD BUTTERFLY NEW website review by Elice Thompson
WILD BUTTERFLY: THE CLAIRE MURRAY STORY
It’s clear to me that Claire Murray’s story is one that needs to be told. The refusal of medical professionals to give her a second chance at a liver transplant, based solely on the fact that she relapsed into drug use, highlights a prejudiced neglect that needs to be examined. Psychotherapist Shireen Narayanan’s dramatized documentary Wild Butterfly brings to light the story behind Claire’s heart-wrenching end in a Singaporean hospital, and the stepping stones that led her there. Unfortunately, this documentary left me with a lot of questions. The choice to over-dramatise Claire’s life pulled the focus away from the facts, instead reminding the audience at every possible moment, in every shot and edit, that this is a tragic and unjust story. Her story is unjust, and that fact should be allowed to prove itself through the self-evident things that happened in Claire’s life – being bullied and sexually assaulted, feeling no retribution for those wrongs done to her, and then being refused the waitlist when her first liver transplant failed. Rather, this documentary shoves a very emotional point of view in the audience’s face every chance it gets. The only perspectives we receive are from Claire’s parents, her counsellor, and her aunt. While it’s important to hear from those closest to Claire, I would have preferred to also hear from other sources, such as her doctors, the police officer assigned to her case, and her friends. Did Claire have friends growing up? Did she talk to anyone after being assaulted? What drove her to taking drugs, and, in particular, heroin? How old was she when she began taking drugs? What sort of help did she receive throughout her ordeal? The film relies on heavily-edited shots and stereotypes to elicit forced empathy in the audience. What’s more, some important events in Claire’s life are brushed over. In particular, the fact that Claire’s mother took her daughters away. Val admits that this sent Claire into a downward spiral but little more is said about it. However, the documentary isn’t without its positives. It highlights a narrative that needs to be more widely known. Public opinion turned against Claire and her family when they heard that she was a drug user, but in the future this film will hopefully change people’s minds and put more pressure on the Australian medical community to put aside their prejudices and investigate all possible causes to a life-threatening condition. Claire deserved better, as does anyone who finds themselves with a crippling addiction. Wild Butterfly is an important film to showcase for anyone who has been ignored or had their suffering minimised.
THE INVISIBLE MAN NEW website review: Jo Malone and Misha Marchev
What do you get when you cross a sociopathic narcissist with a brilliant scientist specialising in optics? The Invisible Man, of course. Based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name, the line between illusion and reality becomes blurred as it tells the story of Cecilia’s (Elisabeth Moss) attempted escape from the physical, emotional and mental prison cleverly constructed by her controlling partner, Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). The psychological game that ensues is cleverly enhanced with brilliant camerawork, suspenseful visual aesthetics and sound to keep you constantly guessing, rather than your typical blood-and-gore horror.
As Cecilia tries to settle into a normal routine while living with her childhood friend, James (Aldis Hodge), she is plagued by memories of her past and struggles to overcome her fears of Adrian’s vengeful mind. After hearing of Adrian’s death and the inheritance he has left for her, she finally begins to move on with her life. However, Cecilia is afflicted by a series of strange occurrences, causing her to doubt the truth of Adrian’s death as she feels his presence all around her. Questioning her own sanity, an invisible tug-of-war ensues between Cecilia and her mental captor. Her paranoid projections quickly begin to manifest into her physical reality, and as Cecilia starts losing her grip, her friends and family begin to seriously question her state of mind. Adrian’s stronghold on her life begins to unravel, and the parallel realities that exist between Celia and her external environment diverge more and more rapidly as her mental health declines further. Desperate to prove she is not crazy, Cecilia attempts to expose Adrian as the one responsible for her torment. Rapidly losing trust from those closest to her, Cecilia realises that she must take matters into her own hands to reclaim her power. An excellent psychological thriller, The Invisible Man is a stark reminder of the power of the hidden hand that manipulates the minds of the masses. This includes you!
Undertow is an achievement in Australian filmmaking. A bewitching, sensual thriller, this movie isn’t afraid to take it slow. That being said, the premise is established early in the story – photographer Claire (Laura Gordon) suffers a brutal miscarriage, and soon after catches her husband (Rob Collins) lying about his whereabouts when she sees him at a motel in the company of a young woman (Olivia DeJonge). The pace of the story then slows considerably, but it’s not a painful change of pace. Rather, the film slowly dives into a world that seems ordinary on the surface, but becomes increasingly more discomfiting the deeper we’re taken. It’s almost leisurely, the build toward the climax. It lulls you into a false sense of normalcy. There are no mad twists or horrifying skeletons in this story, only a steady, inescapable fall into unreality – the subtle thriller. Captivating shots of the Surf Coast further draw out the story, often echoing the emotional maelstrom that Claire is caught in. When the climax finally hurtles home, it does so with all the power and inevitability of a wave against a cliff. It’s a climax that will leave you feeling disconcerted, as the suffering and trauma of not only Claire but Angie too comes to a devastating conclusion. Rounding off this feat of filmmaking art is the score, which serves to underline the thick, sexual tension and gradual duplicity of Claire’s world. Be warned, this is an overtly sexual film. Director Miranda Nation does not hold back or censor her creation. Undertow is beautiful and satisfying and poetic. As Nation’s debut feature film, it deserves its place as a spearhead for this year’s International Women’s Day as it explores conflicts borne of miscarriage, jealousy, duplicity and the unattainable image of the “independent woman”.
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD website review by Hakam Soufan / Natasha Marchev
It is a rather "secretively emotional" and "tempting with manipulation" picture depending who watches it. The film starring Tom Hanks premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
If you did not grow up in the States with his soft, soft advice, Mr. Rogers may be a mystery at best, and inappropriate at worst. But can you ever forgive me? Director Marielle Heller skillfully satisfies both fans and the "uninitiated" film watchers, with the help of this warm, cozy embrace of the film, which prefers to glorify the universal compassion promoted by the children's TV presenter, rather than delving too deeply into.
Creating a distinctive, Rogers brand right out of the gate with an extended reconstruction of his folk show, Heller provides an accessible tutorial from which one can observe one person’s personal interaction with a small screen saint. Based on the 2017 Esquire cover material of Tom Junode (“Can You Say ... a Hero?” Worth Reading), “A Beautiful Day...” introduces us (with the help of fancy miniature sets) from the worn-out journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) who is estranged from his boorish father (Chris Cooper) affects his ability to handle childhood trauma and be fully present for his own little son. A born cynic who prefers to write a military report rather than profiles, he hardly seems to be the best hack to send interviews to the famous joyful and brilliant Mr. Rogers (Tom Hanks, wonderful) for the Esquire’s Heroes problem. But, like Lloyd, when we meet the human definition of “good” Hank - all the soft cadences, sparkling eyes and knitted sweaters - a kind of charm begins. How, Lloyd and we are wondering, can a person be so admired in the world? So patient? So kind? And, asking why there is such a suspicion of sincerity, we are forced to wonder why, as a society, we are prone to skepticism by default. As Mr. Rogers becomes a catalyst for self-therapy and emotional healing for Lloyd, Zen Hank's performance generates a shared meditative experience. This is especially true of the powerful scene in a busy diner where Mr. Rogers begs Lloyd to complete his self-education by closing his eyes for a moment and thinking about "all the people who loved you in existence." When Lloyd agrees, the diner falls silent, and Hanks turns to gently look at the lens, inviting viewers to step inside the screen to do the same.
If such unpleasant things make you feel uncomfortable, most of the film may seem down-to-earth and deceiving - just a series of platitudes with bumper stickers strung on a narrative about daddy's problems. Little can be learned about what drives Mr. R., except to let him in, sometimes to knock the piano keys in desperation. So, if your goal is to explain the riddle, then the document speaks more about facts than feelings.
But for those who seek solace, kindness, and a sense of caring in a turbulent world that seems to reward cruelty for caring, A Beautiful Day will become a cinematic balm. Surrender and bring the piece of fabric to the screening.
Written and directed by Peter Strickland Produced by Andrew Starke
Cast Marianna Jean-Baptiste – Sheila Woodchapel Hayley Squires - Babs Leo Bill – Reg Speaks Gwendoline Christie – Gwen Fatma Mohamed – Miss Luckmoore Julian Barratt – Stash Steve Oram – Clive Barry Adamson – Zach Jaygann Ayeh - Vince
In Fabric is a horror/dark comedy film from Writer/Director Peter Strickland. About a red dress with special and ultimately lethal powers, it falls into the hands of recently separated Sheila Woodchapel who purchases the dress for a date from Dentley and Soper - a unique store with outdated mechanical cash carriers and creepy assistants wearing knee length black Victorian style crinoline dresses and elaborate bouffant hairstyles. Even the dress mannequins appeared to be living!
The dress creates a havoc of destruction in its wake causing skin lesions, a dog attack, washing machine breakdowns, the deaths of all those who wore it, and the ultimate destruction of Dentley and Soper
Domestic settings were dark with velvet furnishings and dimly lit rooms with mirrors being very effective in enhancing these foreboding scenes. Of note telephones from 20-30 years ago were in use, eschewing current technology.
Music was minimal but what was used fitted in with the mood of the movie.
Strickland drew from many aspects of life which he modified to suit the work. An example is the employers’ conversations with Sheila (the first dress owner): “Why did you have mysterious toilet breaks before feeding time”. I felt it was a take on today’s employee conditions where managers can tend to be petty and uber vigilant.
The film’s effects were definitely scary and horrifying, but I could also detect the inherent comedy of the work.
In Fabric left a lasting effect on me yesterday when I passed clothing stores and spotted several mannequins staring out from front windows.
This film possesses none of the typical Hollywood happy endings and definitely is not for the faint hearted. Strickland’s followers will not be disappointed when it opens on 12 March.
A documentary of the revolution amidst the bombing of Aleppo (Syria) for the years spanning the Battle of Aleppo, and it is one packed with the intense scenes and the offshoots of everyday life in that part and period of the world.
ForSama takes on a first-person depiction of the regime of Bashar al Assad, through the eyes of a young mother called Waad, her newfound love interest, Dr Hamza, and her newborn daughter and the namesake of the movie - Sama (which means 'The Sky' in Arabic). The raw view of the bombings and the massacres are riddled with the authenticity of it having actually taking place in front of Waad, who goes on documenting them with her video recorder, and it is definitely a rollercoaster of a ride - tangentially igniting your adrenaline and empathy all the while.
Though the movie stands firm in its message of peace and the adherence to a life of normalcy that everyone seek, this is not for the faint of heart. However, reality could sometimes be as harsh as the loss of loved ones and the cries of despair that the movie features.
ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 202) LA BELLE EPOQUE website review and photos: Elice Thomas
FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL AND “LA BELLE ÉPOQUE”
I’ve been wanting to experience the French Film Festival for many years now, ever since I began learning French in high school. I’ve always missed out for one reason or another, but after last night, I’m glad I had to wait. This experience was so memorable. Alliance Française put on a delightful media screening, as a preview to this year’s 31st French Film Festival. We had a wonderful time, also thanks to the generous hosting of Palace Cinemas. Rosé cider and champagne, bread and blue cheese, not to mention some delicious canapés such as tomato macaroons and salmon cones, were some of the suitably French cuisine we were offered. It was all delicious. We were shown the wonderfully-made film “La Belle Époque”. I can see why they chose it to usher in the film festival. It was a wonderful mix of charm, wit, sincerity when called for, and hopeless romance. I loved the unique perspective the movie took on relationships, particularly a relationship that has already weathered many decades and suffered for it. Without spoiling too much, the 70-something year old main character, Victor, rediscovers why he fell in love with his wife through a meticulous recreation of the 1974 café where they first met. This is possible through his son, whose business gives clients the opportunity to experience different periods in history through careful set design and skilled actors. It puts a unique spin on Victor’s relationship with his wife, who we see as her original, older self, and through the interpretation of an actress playing her younger self for Victor. At its heart, this film is fantastically optimistic, but never misleading – this is love at its most complicated and stupid and wonderfully painful. The relationship between two of the supporting characters, Margot and Antoine, underline this message. While theirs is a young and passionate relationship, in stark contrast to Victor and Marianne, it is no less painful or complex.
In the starring role, Daniel Auteuil plays Victor with grace, veracity and a satisfying side of sarcasm. Even though his character seems rough around the edges – unwilling and unable to embrace change – from the beginning Auteuil has us empathising with the plight of this man stuck in the past. His co-star, Guillaume Canet, also shines as the volatile Antoine, who will cross any line to help Victor, his role model and idol. Most of all, however, I adored the performance of Doria Tillier as Margot. Her vivacity in playing an actress who is deeply in love with Antoine, but also wants to stay true to herself, struck a chord with me.
I was impressed with every scene in this film. Each one deserved its place in the story, laden as they were with wit, cynicism and emotion. A passionate glimpse into love both young and old, to be sure, and the connections we make as humans that we can’t help but revisit, over and over.
Want to take a trip to the 1800s? This film is what you are looking for. Step into a time of wealth, elegance, grandeur, excesses, banquets, pageantry, gallantry, the precise English language, and of course, impeccable manners.
“Emma” is the latest film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel published in 1815. A comedy-drama directed by Autumn de Wilde, also known for her films The Postman Dreams (2016) and Rilo Kiley: The Moneymaker (2007). A previous film version starring Gwyneth Paltrow was released in 1996.
Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch and Split) at age 21 is a young woman living in the fictional village of Highbury in the Georgian-Regency era (1800s) in England. The real life Firle Place manor house near Surrey, a country estate in West Sussex is the location for this period movie. This exquisite house where Emma and her father (Bill Nighy) live is jaw dropping, showcasing the many magnificently painted and sumptuously decorated rooms, the notable paintings, superb porcelain and grand antique furniture.
Firle Place manor house is complemented by the surrounding private gardens and the lush, green fields that cover nearly 300 acres which form a stunning background.
As a genteel woman of her time, with nothing better to do, Emma occupies herself with matchmaking. A well meaning and yet sometimes a selfish young woman, she is occasionally misguided, and often meddles in the lives of her friends and family.
Attending the marriage of Miss Anne Taylor (Gemma Whelan) her beloved governess and companion of sixteen years, to Mr Weston (Rupert Graves), Emma is proud and elated with her achievement. Having introduced the couple to each other and observed the blossoming relationship which successfully led to this wedding, Emma concludes she must be a master matchmaker.
Harriet Smith (Mia Goth) is a young unsophisticated girl living in a nearby boarding house whom Emma takes under her wing and then becomes the subject of Emma's next matchmaking project.
While Emma is busy matchmaking, she fails to see that George Knightley (Johnny Flynn - lead singer and songwriter of the Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit band) is in love with her and has been for some time. George is the very handsome and wealthy (of course!) neighbour and close friend of Emma and her father. He is the owner of the estate of Donwell Abbey, across the field from Emma’s house. He is often shown walking to Emma’s house spending time there in conversation with both Emma and her father and dining with them often. While this movie is classified comedy/drama, I feel the only character that brings any sense of comedy and lightheartedness is that of Miss Bates (Miranda Hart). A spinster of Highbury’s lower class, she is the town’s gossip and a compulsive talker. Although a minor role, Miranda Hart convincingly portrays this not well liked character.
The movie spans a year, showing the different seasons and with that the corresponding costumes and fashion designs of that period. Costume designer, Alexandra M. E. Byrne should be ecstatic with her results and skills.
It’s an enjoyable movie if you are an “Austen” fan, watching the characters come to life. I especially enjoyed the cinematography and the fashions. However, I think it’s more suited to TV than on the big screen as it lacks power and the ability to keep audiences interested.
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN website review by Vellu Khanna
The Professor And The Madman
A masterful biographical film of an academic and an army surgeon who suffers from mania, set in the post-Victorian era. And they collaborate on the task of amalgamating the most comprehensive version of the Oxford English Dictionary, it clearly being a behemoth of a task.
These characters are, in turn, played by two behemoths of the industry - Mel Gibson and Sean Penn, both of whom have won Academy Awards. Needless to say, they have enhanced the complexity and repertoire of the characters they portray a thousand-fold, and we see their deepening friendship and the aspects of life taking a hold of them over the course of the film.
The cinematography is also worth noting, for they continually inspire the mannerisms and lifestyle of contemporary England. One might be left with an allegorical-styled notion that there is a hidden meaning behind the many scenes of the movie - and they may be right. For the emotions that are awakened are myriad and wonderful all the same.
CITIZEN K FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE: 7/10
Alex Gibney presents the film "Citizen K", a documentary about Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Alex Gibney paints a realistic portrait of the once richest man in the country, and now the exiled oligarch who lives in London and is engaged in human rights activities abroad.
Alex Gibney, Director speaks:
"At the first meeting, he keeps people at a distance. I think he is a little shy, puts up a wall through which it is difficult to break through. Therefore, I did not know what to think about him. I knew that he was a tough guy, it can be seen right away, he’s like tank. Even when he smiles, there is hardness in his eyes. But with time, when you recognize him, you see some kind of soft side. This contradiction is interesting. "
According to the director he pains the history of the modern Russia to the viewer in parallel with the history of Khodorkovsky as you can not separate this man and the history of his country.
The head of "Yukos" was arrested in 2003 on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion. Khodorkovsky himself considered the matter political. In his own words, having $15 billion, he could leave the country, but decided to stay in order "not to lose respect for himself."
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, businessman speaks:
"The prison has completely cured me of business ambitions. I’m just bored of doing business. I sometimes have to do this in order to have the funds for the work that I’m doing, but for me it’s now a boring technical obligation."
After serving almost 10 years, Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Vladimir Putin in 2013, and in 2016 the businessman was again put on the wanted list in the murder case. Now Mikhail Khodorkovsky lives in London and is engaged in the development of the "Open Russia" public organization. For those friends of mine Russian speaking I recommend to read this website before attending to see the film.
One anciaent philosopher said: " When two tigers fight, the rest of the forest creatures remain silent" so I will not comment, I wil remain silent. Just one thing to mention: my political views are different. I do not see coutries, I see people. I do not see politics , I see Earth. I do not take sides. I thin kth efilm is good but I was upset and digusted to watch it for many reason. My other point is: Power can not be not corrupted as it becomes Power only Through corruption. I can see the points of both sides. I can see the truths of both sides. There is no right and no wrong. We will never know the truth and we will never know the history as it really was.
Hero or villain? Murderer? Opportunist. Oligarch. Jailed dissident. Campaigner for a democratic Russia.
These are just some of the triggers in a fascinating and insightful documentary about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was once Russia’s richest man (head of the oil giant Yukos) and now lives in exile In London.
As you can imagine, Russian president Vladimir Putin features prominently. This is very much cast as a story about his dominion – his power and control over the country and its people.
The documentary begins with the changing tide in Russia with the election of Boris Yeltsin in 1991 and how, remarkably, with the country on its knees with the help of the oligarchs he was able to secure a second term.
Putin rose from obscurity to become his second in command and then a leader, arguably without precedent.
While Yeltsin fought for democratic change, Putin pushed for state control and the overthrow of the oligarchs.
The most politically active of these was Khodorkovsky, who dared take on Putin.
Director Alex Gibney (We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks) has accessed a surfeit of pointed historical footage to make his case.
It is damning of the state-sanctioned control and manipulation that saw Khodorkovsky painted as an enemy of the people.
Nevertheless, Gibney doesn’t try to present Khodorkovsky as a saint or anything close to it.
During his ups and downs, Khodorkovsky shed thousands of workers’ jobs and all but forced his whole workforce to take a 30 per cent pay cut for his business to stay afloat.
Khodorkovsky is nothing if not stoic and fatalistic.
When he knew he was about to be jailed, he didn’t flee, when he could have.
Instead he dealt with his fate through not one but two trials – the second presented as a complete sham.
In fact, the charges in the second trial were a direct contradiction to those that saw him jailed the first time around.
Still, after seven years in prison, he was given a further 13-year sentence.
Among those interviewed, along with Khodorkovsky, are those who were in business with him, one being the founder of the independent The Moscow Times newspaper, and Khodorkovsky’s legal counsel.
With a deft hand, Gibney has crafted a detailed – if overly long – portrait of two bulls, Khodorkovsky and Putin, neither of whom has been prepared to take a backward step.
It is also an examination of power in Russia and the political conflicts and contradictions ailing the country today.
The name of Michael Leunig for Australia is iconic, unique and associated with talent and laughter with the intelligent message behind it. Michael is Australian famous cartoonist. He is regarded as the most original artist, whose art works art full of heart and soul soul as well as deep a philosophical message attached to each message. Michael is the face of our nation. Ask every Australian - they all know and can recognise his images line-likee drawings of fun and whimsical little characters who own big noses and always appear naked. They are so pure in their appearance that it is almost effortless for us to read the message they bring. The messages are strong but full of lightness. Michael's artistic journey started 50 years ago. His images grew from the ordinary newspapers to the posters and then to the art exhibitions of the true master. His images show humble humans who live their ordinary lives, walking pups to walks, growing flowers, finding ducks in the ponds and brewing lovely tea in the teapots.
Michael is our nation's hero who suddenly grew from a fragile little kid to an old man who appears in front of our eyes in this documentary.
His style is seemingly naive, but inspiring bringing and showing us the more beautiful world around us through the artist's imagination. His images though created many angry waves around him.
This film focuses on many personal and intimate moments of Leunig's life. It bring us to his studio full of artist's tools. It also takes us back in time and tells us about Michael's family.
The documentary is gorgeous 2 hour film to say the least to praise it. The film brings to surface the true character of Michael without any "color-brushes" to paint him better or more sophisticated. Michael as a solitary character, he is not accepted by his famiiy which sounds very sad but it also looks like hie likes such lonely life. He has his narrow but warm circle of friends nevertheless.
The more we found out about Leunig 's character the more questions than answers we got. You will love the film as I do not know anyone in this country who would not like this extra ordinary painter.
The Leunig Fragments (M) – 100 minutes – by Alex First
Quirky. Supremely talented. A national living treasure. Whimsical. Amusing. Playful. Reflective. Provocative.
A cartoonist. A painter. A writer. A philosopher. An observer of life and its vagaries, Michael Leunig (born 2nd June, 1945) has plied his trade for decades.
He has become a one-man industry, churning out his left of centre, but highly familiar drawings, artwork and original poetry.
Of course, over the distance, he has been interviewed by superior minds like Andrew Denton and Virginia Trioli, snippets of which are included in this documentary. That is coupled with other historic interviews.
Filmed over five years, The Leunig Fragments tries to piece together what makes the man tick ... why he does and continues to do what he does and what drives him.
Estranged from his now deceased parents and siblings, wives and children (only one of his four children was interviewed), Leunig comes across as a one of a kind whose talent was first recognised by an observant teacher, who encouraged him.
He is considered but distant and in a world of his own, but somehow he can relate to others. That is his dichotomy.
He makes a lot of the little things in life that appeared to have driven his consciousness.
The feeling of having a fish on the line. Falling in love for the first time ... as a child. The devotion of a duck, one of his totems, which he first included in a cartoon when pushed for ideas on a deadline.
While Leunig is interviewed for the doco and family photos shown, reconstructions of his childhood come from actors and are cleverly woven into the narrative.
I was eager to learn more about the man and his perceived mission and the documentary certainly opened up his scrambled life.
We see where he works and his seemingly simple and ordinary existence – this remarkable visionary who acknowledges he is preoccupied by death.
I reached the conclusion that he simply is who he is – a man whose mind works differently from others, a man who cares and has several outlets to let others know how he feels through his craft and utterances, for us to interpret as we will.
He has devoted and fiercely loyal supporters – those who are endeared by his freedom of expression – and others who are offended and outraged by his musings.
The Leunig Fragments is a celebration of Michael Leunig, the enigma.
It is only through the persistence of writer, director and co-editor Kasimir Burgess that we gain some insights into a being who won’t be defined or labelled.
Rated M, The Leunig Fragments scores a 7 to 7½ out of 10.
FANTASTIC FUNGI BEST MOVIE OF THE MONTH website RATE: 10/10
There is pretty much what I expected. Some years back I did my own investigation about mushrooms as I was fascinated by their intelligence. The film pretty much covered all that I already knew. There was may be 20% of the information that was new for me in this film. Also they did not mention many things that I research, so I have more on the subject. Perhaps 20% more from what was delivered. Something that the film said: "Mushrooms brought life into this world" is so true but I would add more: Mushrooms were probably those who literally brought the human with his mind to this world: it is believed that the first initiation when the man first appeared in 3D word was him drinking the substance made out of mushrooms and "seeing" this world of duality.
“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend”says Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception. Your life will never be the same.
Do you remember now Alice? Alice in Wonderland goes down the rabbit hole and meets this bloke (below) who happens to be sitting on a magic mushroom smoking dope
"I thought I'd share what got me interested, and hope to hear other stories from members to see what got you interested in mushrooms.
I've read several books by a guy named Stuart Wilde. One day on his website I read this.
Mushrooms Mushrooms are one of the most interesting things on the planet. They come up overnight, which tells you something. They are good to eat and some of them are very pretty colors.
Magic mushrooms are very strange. And I’ve stood in a field of a thousand magic mushrooms, and not been able to see a single one. Then, some children came along and they saw them all, and they picked them. So I followed the children, because children are not stupid, and they gave me the mushrooms. Well, some of them.
I have read over 10,000 books. The greatest literature, the sacred texts, all the modern teachers, some of the ancient ones, the Greeks and so forth, mathematics, cosmology, physics, self-help, gestalt therapy, all of the above. And I learned more in one day on mushrooms than I ever read in a book.
Mushrooms are illegal in most places, because the authorities sure as hell do not want you to figure out what is real and what is not. If you eat mushrooms you better be brave. Because they will show you something that is very spooky which is also very beautiful. Magic mushrooms are God’s gift to us lowly humans.
However, I would suggest that you stay away from peyote, because it’s a cactus and makes you throw up, and it always comes with a rather dubious Indian gentleman who is rather pompous, and arrogant, and he usually wants something from you.
Last year I went out to Las Vegas to a weekend program by Stu, and he described his first mushroom experience. He was in a sacred forest with the Druids in Ireland for their mushroom ceremony. What he experienced was that he left his body, but his body was still interacting with others, so he was perceiving both experiences simultaneously. What he could see in his out of body self, was the energetic signatature of everyone, which showed their true self, or as he says their shadow self. He also was able to see all the nature spirits in the forest and what they were doing, along with this, it opened him to the world beyond our sight, and how it all exisits with ours.
He then told us that if Mushrooms were like moving from High School to your first year in College, Ayahuasca would be like getting your Doctorate.
I had no interest in mushrooms prior to this, but that was the spark that got me going, and growing."
My recommendation: if you know nothing about fungi go and see the film and if you know a lot about mushrooms still see it just to remind you how magical this world is
Ryan is having a hard time breaking up with his girlfriend. Despite the pain caused by the betrayal, he still does not manage to leave their long and wrong relationship and looks with lots of sadness in the past. He continues to send SMS to his ex, just losing hoping that the happiness passed will come back again. One of Ryan's friend forces him to go to the club and to get out of this mind state. The evening does not pass without a trace, and Ryan meets Laura. She is equally unsuccessful in love and tries to avoid being alone, clinging to any, even the craziest chance. A few cocktails at the bar turn into an excellent evening, preserved only in fragments as they both hardly remember what happened. Now Laura and Ryan are waiting for the next test - a second date and a huge number of advisers tell how to conduct this new, second meeting.
Pretty quickly the second date gets out of control and turns into a chamber of "American Pie" with a British darling. The heroes are taken directly from teen comedy, without undergoing any special changes. It is simply NOT FUNNY AT ALL! Some habitually amaze with their awkwardness, others bend with confidence, but most importantly - they constantly talk and think exclusively about sex. Everything is closed on it: the plot, the simple and sometimes even lame jokes and the characters themselves. Even locations follow this principle. As expected, the bedroom becomes the magnet of thoughts and actions, in which most of the communication of the "uncertain" couple takes place. There is the main problems that is born in the bedroom too: “where to put your hand”, “how to lie on the bed and keep it in the proverbial room”, “in which cup to pour alcohol”, “which film is better to include”, “why he hasn’t jumped on me yet” . The world around him does not seem to suggest other thoughts in the minds of 25-year-olds. None of the characters are trying to find real problems, giving priority only to sex, as the only panacea. At the end everything, of course, will be turned upside down, helping Ryan and Laura to know the true feelings, but they will also have to be fixed in bed without fail.
Was it boring to watch? To all your satisfaction: EXTREMELY BORING!
A Guide to Second Date Sex (MA) – 81 minutes – by Alex First
Dates can be awkward encounters at the best of times with each party trying their best to impress the other and not make a total fool of themselves.
An unexpected encounter in a bar leads to a few faux pars, but ultimately to a tangible connection for Laura (Alexandra Roach) and Ryan (George MacKay).
But what then? A second date, of course ... where the weight of expectation grows.
Both are nervous as heck preparing for it, taking advice from their respective friends ... and, in her case, her mother – whether asked for or not.
And then everything goes pear shaped, not once, but twice on that second date, which is simply embarrassing in seemingly every way possible.
Obviously, the filmmaker, namely writer and first-time feature film director Rachel Hirons, was out to highlight and exploit that.
It is about the conversation and lack thereof, the unseemly movements and the surprises.
Previously Hirons made the short Worst First Date.
A Guide to Second Date Sex is an adaptation of her own critically acclaimed play, which enjoyed sold-out shows at London’s Soho Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The film is designed to make us squirm ... and laugh.
While to an extent it succeeds, there is hardly enough here to sustain what on the surface of it is a decent enough notion for a film.
One idea that does work is the respective thought tracks attributed to Laura and Ryan while they are trying to get physical.
Another positive is the mysterious house mate (Tom Bell), whose name Ryan doesn’t know.
Still, for me, there weren’t enough belly laughs and in spite of the, at times, saucy talk the idea of Laura having sex while wearing a bra just didn’t ring true.
Notwithstanding that, I thought Alexandra Roach was better than George MacKay in their respective roles. I found her more naturally nerdish.
And the sudden arrival of Ryan’s ex-girlfriend Tufts (Emma Rigby) has but one really funny moment involving the kitchen sink.
So, A Guide to Second Date Sex brings a few smiles, but is little more than a one trick pony.
Rated MA, it scores a 5½ out of 10.
COLOUR OUT OF THE SPACE website review by Max Lyons
Director: Richard Stanley.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight, Tommy Chong, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard.
Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller.
Running time: 111 Minutes. Film Review: By Maxwell M. Lyons
Color Out Of Space, directed by Richard Stanley, is the latest attempt at translating the literary works of occult sci-fi author H.P. Lovecraft to the big screen. Based on the 1927 short story of the same name, the film follows the Garner Family, having recently relocated to a rural farmland estate, and the horrifying metaphysical phenomenon they start to experience following the crash of a strangely (almost indescribably) coloured meteorite.
Starting shortly before the crash, we are introduced to Ward Phillips (Elliot Knight), a hydrologist surveying the water table in planning for a hydroelectric dam, as he has a run-in with elder daughter Lavina Garner (Madeleine Arthur) while she is performing a Wiccan ritual to restore her mother’s health. From there we meet the rest of the family, including conservative patriarch Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage), harried mother Theresa (Joely Richardson), elder son Benny (Brendan Meyer), and younger son Jack (Julian Hilliard). These opening sequences establish the family’s dynamic leading up to the crash and from thereon out it doesn’t take long for things to devolve, both in plot and execution.
A few brief positives, Cage’s performance is fairly enjoyable (poor writing notwithstanding), though for better or worse the film’s narrative devolves in such a way that brings out a familiar crazed canniness in his character’s hysterics, eliciting more of a humorous chuckle often inconsistent with the intended emotional impact. Supporting performances are also respectable, albeit suffering from poor direction (more on this later), and when the film goes all out in its third act it’s hard to not at least smile at the stark carnage unfolding (though favouring grandiosity at the expense of emotional punch). Now to the negative…
One of the most glaring problems with adapting any Lovecraft story is the crux of ineffability riddled throughout his works, laden with horrors so imperceptibly frightful they can only be described as indescribable. As far as literary works go, particularly horror, this is a perfectly acceptable style, leading readers up to the proverbial cliff face then provoking the depths of their imagination to identify the horrors laid beyond. In a movie, however, there must be some predefined ruling on the visuals of such vagaries, consequently doing away with much of the mystery and limitless monstrosities that made the original text so impactful. And as amazing as some of the V/SFX are, they too are inconsistent, making it quite apparent which scenes were able to utilise more of the film’s budget.
Regardless of how true to the source material the movie adhered or whether one could truly discern the arcane plot of the Lovecraft narrative, the movie itself suffers from inconsistent tone and pacing, one-dimensional characters, and disconnected performance dynamics. The movie goes out of its way to highlight (often to the point of undue) very specific narrative facets, but none of these end up being of significant consequence to the plot.
For example, there is Theresa’s affliction stemming from her recent breast cancer treatment, her constant flurry as she “haemorrhage[es] clients” due to a poor internet connection, Lavinia’s fascination of Wicca and love interest with Wade, and Benny, who smokes weed and also smokes weed (and did I mention he smokes weed). None of it is ever meaningfully elaborated on nor ever narratively consequential, and it does nothing but prolong an already bloated dry first act and isolate each character within their own performance.
Compounding everything is the fact that the world-building is poorly executed and the rules of the supernatural phenomena ill-defined. And trust me, there’s more to criticise, like an alpaca milking scene that’s thrown into the mix of the family’s farm life, or the fact that certain pertinent characters just disappear for entire acts. All sense of logical consistency and narrative minutiae is thrown out the window as if an intentional ploy to capture the mythos of the text it derives from but in the end, it just makes for a nonsensical mess of dull characters and pretty colours.
Colour Out Of Space may, in fact, live up to the aberrant B-grade movie standards of past Lovecraft-adapted incarnations, albeit with a handful of cool visuals, but that’s not a very high standard and certainly not one worthy of praise. Ultimately, everything wrong with the film comes down to its script and directorial oversight. In the end, it’s an arduous overstimulating slog and one I’d recommend only to the most hardcore of Lovecraft devotees.
will be released in select Australian cinemas on February 6, 2020.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton this film follows the career of Bryan Stevenson as he attempts to help men on death row, obtain justice. Based on a true story he is a defence attorney who dedicates himself to finding out if he can save these inmates from their certain fates.
Stevenson is played by Michael B Jordan. Jamie Foxx portrays Johnny D, who Bryan has taken a special interest in. Eva Ansley is Stevenson's willing college and assistant. Her character is played by Brie Larson. Johnny D in the 80s was facing the electric chair, accused of murdering, an 18 year old white girl. The case is very thin at best, and as the story unfolds it seems Johnny has been wrongly accused of the murder. Bryan pulls out all the stops to find out the truth, in the hopes that Johnny can finally be freed.
It's a moving and powerful movie. The actors., I feel do an amazing job of portraying their characters with depth and feeling. An interesting, entertaining and gripping tale, that I believe is really worth seeing.
MEETING GORBACHEV A documentary of one of the most astonishing political figures of the 20th century, where we see the rise of a young Mikhail Gorbachev, from his early days as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Soviet Russia to being the last President of the union that he besought to dismantle for better economic efficiency. The movie strikes a point-blank analysis of the true testaments of a leader who thought only of the welfare of Russia, outlining the events that would shape the ideas and ideals of a post-communist nation - including the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.
The alliances he had built with contemporary world leaders - George Bush Sr, Margaret Tatcher and many others; aligned a framework that will forever change the path of Russia’s history. This movie is a fine tribute to a leader who was never fearful of getting onto the ground as part of his ‘Perestroika’ and ‘Glasnost’ models of complete national restructuring and openness.
Regards / Vellu
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON website review : Jeanette Russell
Thank you for the opportunity to review this screen er called the Peanut Butter Falcon. A touching story of an adventurous and thrilling journey for the two main characters who have cause to run away from their lives. A trip of a lifetime for these men who not only become great companions but very special, to one another.
The movie stars a young man who has down syndrome Zac, and is played by Zac Gottsagen who makes his debut. At the same time, Zac, fulfils his own dream of becoming an actor. The story is written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz. Zac in the script portrays a man with Down Syndrome, in a facility mainly for the elderly, and as he has no family, he is forced to stay there. His yearning desire is to escape to meet, and train with, his hero Salt Water Redneck who is a wrestler running a wrestling school. Eleanor ( Dakota Johnson ) who has cared for Zac in the home, searches for him. Quite the expedition, Zac and his new comrade Tyler (Shia LaBeouf ),who is in deep trouble with other fisherman chasing him, go on a real quest together. On their trek they encounter obstacles, joy and harrowing times. They are later joined by Eleanor on their mission, after she finds them. Worth a look a feel ,I found the film to be engaging, moving and entertaining.
NTL: PRESENT LAUGHTER website review by Elice Thomas
When I first walked out of the cinema after experiencing Noél Coward’s PRESENT LAUGHTER, the first thing I thought was, “Wow. What a ride!” There’s barely time to draw breath as the dialogue whips between each of the main characters with the speed and adrenaline of a finals tennis match. From the very first line the audience knows what it’s in for: a play with the energy of a musical, contained within one intimate set and only ten characters. Each actor pours their heart and soul into their character, delivering delectable wit and sarcasm with obvious enjoyment. Shining most brightly is Andrew Scott’s performance as the tortured, theatrical matinee idol Garry Essendine. His unforgettable entrance sets the tone for the entire play; he is clearly loving this role as he prances and grovels and leaps around the stage. Scott delivers his performance with all the fervour in the world, with each little mannerism – clasping his hands, rubbing his elbows, casting his eyes dramatically around the set – acting as icing on one very melodramatic cake. His wit is delightful. The tongue-in-cheek flourishes serve Garry well, enhancing the undercurrents of his personality rather than detracting from them.
While both halves of the play deliver the same breathless energy and volume, they set very different tones. During Act One I enjoyed watching these close friends yell at each other, especially when one friend would try to guide another onto a better path. Ultimately, they would feel exasperated and unheard. It reminded me very much of my loving arguments with those I care most about, when the thought “Why won’t you just listen?!” will cross my mind at least half a dozen times. It convinced me, as I watched, that these friends must care deeply for each other. However, Act Two, while beginning in an entertaining parallel to Act One, quickly reveals the true hearts of these friends. What began in the first act as entertaining repartee between an intimate clique, soon transforms into a revelation of obsession. Garry is, of course, at the centre of everything as each character around him pleads their infatuation with him. Each takes the spotlight in their big, show-stopping speech, before being overtaken by someone else, as the play rockets toward a climax that I, for one, did not see coming. At the centre of it all, Scott is breath-taking, as one can’t help but hold their breath as he delivers monologue after monologue with all the heart he has. The last moments of the play impressed me with the revelation that these characters, although friends for a long time, lack any sort of empathy for each other. Garry is spread dangerously thin as those around him demand that he become someone different for each one of them. I highly recommend this play. As soon as I the curtain fell, I wanted to experience it all over again; to pick up on lines lost on me the first time around, or subtext that I’d missed. This tells me that this play is something special, and won’t disappoint.