SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME NEW website review by Elice Thomas
SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME
As a white woman, how do I begin to understand the experiences of the Black community? I will freely admit that I had a sheltered upbringing, since I was home-schooled by my mum in a predominantly white, middle-class, Christian home-schooling group. I wasn’t exposed to different lifestyles or perspectives until I started a casual job when I turned sixteen. Because of this, I don’t want to speak over or make assumptions about the experiences of any marginalised groups. The best thing I can do is let them speak: I wholeheartedly believe in giving voice, wherever possible, to the disempowered and oppressed. When it comes to this film, then, it strikes me as a good introduction for anyone with privilege who hasn’t realised just how good they’ve got it; it opens up a dialogue in a way that is easy for most people to understand. However, in making the story of Roy and Denver palatable for the masses, it also fails to push the narrative in any ground-breaking way. The film in and of itself is well-crafted and eloquent. The struggles of the poor and homeless are given voice, and by letting the characters share their stories on their own, we are confronted by our own judgements and biases without being preached at. Greg Kinnear and Djimon Hounsou, as the titular Ron Hall and Denver Moore, are superb, bringing a gravity and sense of warmth to their roles that grounds them and avoids the sort of moralising high-ground that Ron Hall’s character, in particular, could have fallen into. Renée Zellweger breathes gentleness and quiet steel into Deborah Hall, a lovely person who I genuinely believe wanted to do her best with the position she had. There are many beautiful moments throughout the film, when the characters are given time to breathe without hurry or hassle. This is a calm movie, in which every character, whether son or grandparents or angry homeless lady, have a moment to speak.
Nonetheless, this film is being re-released at a difficult time, to put it lightly. Racial tension in the United States has climbed to an all-time high, and dialogues about privilege and oppression are being had all over the world. I’m going to be honest, I’ve been given the task of reviewing this film but I don’t want to speak over Black people’s lived experiences. That being said, I’ve done what I can to listen to what they are saying, and what they want out of this renewed spotlight on their struggles. This movie fails to deliver. Granted, it is based on a true story, but it comes across as more ‘white saviour’ than anything. We’ve seen this story before, over and over again, where the wealthy white man saves the poor black man – Intouchables and The Blind Side follow the exact same formula. It feels indulgent, almost, as the white person pats themselves on the back for taking this disadvantaged person under their wing; as they give the Black man treats in the form of cinema and museum outings, so is the audience reminded of how benevolent and good the white man can be. This is not the message to be sending out into the world right now. We don’t need stories about how good a wealthy white person can be, if they feel like it; what we need is Black stories, told by and through Black people. Give us more Black voices, not Black voices told through the voice of a wealthy white man. Don’t cushion your message of privilege and accountability in comfortable terms – we are passed that. Challenge your audience to fully examine their biases, not just of other cultures but of the entire system we live under.
While “Same Kind of Different As Me” is a quality film, it is a film that does more to mollify the white audience it is directed at than it does to challenge them. After watching this film, challenge yourself. Help those who are crying out. Lift up their voices, in any way you can. Follow in the example of Ron Hall and Denver Moore, and help the disadvantaged.
It is difficult to describe the feelings that you experience after watching. Perhaps the first thought that came to my mind was: “If I didn’t know for sure what it was, I really would have decided that it was taken from Nicholas Sparks.”
"I Still Believe" is not a typical film about love, moreover, it is not a film designed for teenage girls (although the participation in it of Kay Jay Apa clearly makes them the target audience). The film contains something that is not customary to talk about between young people: faith and love for God, the realization that everything is His will and the only thing that remains for us, the people, is to continue to believe, in the hope of a miracle.
The story of Jeremy Kemp is told in the spirit of classic melodramas. We see acquaintance, first kiss, love and an obstacle in the form of a disease that divides the lives of the main heroes on "before" and "after". Kay Japa and Britt Robertson got along well in their roles. It is amazing that a film in which faith is preached does not look like “sectarian” cinema (whatever that means), given the rather high proportion of the philosophical component of the dialogue of the main characters.
The two main components of the film, in my opinion, are music and aesthetics, which harmoniously complement each other. When I started watching the film, in spite of the timekeeping at almost 2 hours and watching every 10 mintes how much is remaining, I went and took it in one breathe.
Of course, not everyone will like this film. There is no alcohol, no smoking, no swearing, no vulgar jokes and remarks, and even the topic of sex does not slip in a hint, because it’s all not important when something more is at stake: the love for which you are ready to sacrifice
A realism-gritted movie of the 21st century workforce, where we are presented a view of the life of a young college graduate, Jane, who works as a personal assistant to a business tycoon - who is never shown through the course of the film.
The feature is about a single day in the office, and of the sequence of events that unfolds over the span of sunrise to sundown. The director, Kitty Green, offers us another possibility - that of the mundane setting that a typical assistant is pushed through, and of the abuses and power play that comes with it.
The Assistant is a powerful reminder that there are unsung heroes that are in our blindspots, everyday of our lives.
Starring: Kerry Mack - Christine Ralph Schicha – Walter Maresch Judy Nunn – Mrs Lewis (Christine’s mother)
Hostage is based on a novel of the same name by Christine Maresch. It outlines her “adventures” with a sadistic German criminal with Neo-Nazi sympathies
Set in the 1970s in regional New South Wales and based on a true story, 16-year-old Christine runs away to a fair/circus to escape her mother. The first scene shows a naive Christine boarding a truck
Whilst working at the one of fair’s sideshows, Christine meets handsome Walter Maresch, a German immigrant. In very bizarre circumstances and under the threat of Walter committing suicide, a pregnant Christine feels blackmailed to marry him. A priest supports the marriage by saying “it’s a godly act”. Christine gives birth to a daughter and they travel to Germany.
Christine soon realises that not only is Walter, a sadistic criminal has taken her hostage. He prevents her escape by locking her up, monitoring her every movement, and controlling her by physical violence and drugs. Walter spent four years in prison and also ascribed to the tenets of the Baader-Meinhof group. Undaunted by his previous sentence, Walter forces Christine to become an accomplice in a series of bank robberies both in Germany and when they return to Australia.
This film made in 1983, has now been restored and is soon due for re-release. It has all the hallmarks of a film made in the 1980s with the cinematography and fashions of the time. Though terrifying, I found it rather melodramatic and laboured at times. No doubt, it will impress fans of this genre. Through Christine’s terror she let opportunities pass where she and daughter could have escaped this monster, especially after she returned to Australia with her daughter. However, this film’s re-release maybe quite timely with today’s emphasis on family violence.
ENDINGS, BEGINNINGS NEW website review by Olga Kirk
Director: Drake Doremus Writers: Jardine Libaire, Drake Doremus Stars: Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan, Sebastian Stan
Daphne’ (Shailene Woodley) life is in crisis, in her 30’s and on an emotional and physical time out, she is looking for stability but lives for drama. She recently just broke up with her boyfriend of four years, quit her job and lives in her sister's guesthouse and is desperately looking for long-term love. Then, at one of her sister's parties, Daphne meets two handsome guys - Frank and Jack who also happen to be best friends. Both are very attractive to her: one is the bad boy, unpredictable, and always ready for adventure; the other one is a successful author, sober, intelligent, smart, and investing in his career as an academic and woos her with words. Unable to choose between these polar opposites, Daphne finds herself bouncing between them and has strong feelings for both of them. It's as though she's auditioning different versions of herself and the life that might be waiting for her. But fate has a way of making unpredictable decisions, in the end Daphne is forced to accept that the troubled centre of this crazy love triangle, in this leisurely romantic drama leads her to the true love, a new page of life. Acting is amazing! Watching this film you feel like you’re actually watching someone’s life. This film is very raw and realistic which I really love.
For the first time since I began writing professional movie reviews, I don’t know what to say about a movie. I like to think that I keep an open mind when I dive into a new story, but I cannot think of one good reason why this movie was made. The premise sounds like something a couple of nine-year-old kids dreamt up, and that might have been okay if the film didn’t take itself so damn seriously. There is not one joke in its entirety, even though the main character literally sucks things into his bum where they’re transported (somehow) into a gigantic, poo-covered version of his intestines. He starts with soap and a TV remote and then, for reasons I cannot fathom, moves right onto small dogs and babies. I ask again, why was this film made? Am I missing something? Unfortunately, the quality of the acting and writing doesn’t redeem the story either. None of the main characters are likeable, least of all the anti-hero Chip Gutchell; Tyler Cornack’s performance is stodgy and does nothing to redeem the loathsome character he plays. Tyler Rice’s detective Russel B. Fox is slightly better but often cliché, while the only reason I like him is because he is in direct opposition to Gutchell. My favourite character is Kai Henderson’s Andrew Lee, and unfortunately he doesn’t survive the entire movie.
The best thing this film can hope for is that it becomes so bad it’s good, but even that is a stretch. At the end of the movie I didn’t know what to think, but I felt very uncomfortable. Don’t watch this; you don’t want it in your memory.
review by Marygrace Charlton
Director:Tyler Cornack, also a writer and known for Tiny Cinema (2016), The Pocketeers (2016) and most recent, Butt Boy (2019)
Screenplay: Tyler Cornack, Chip Gutchel is a bored and totally dissatisfied IT Engineer. Life has become an agonising burden for this middle aged husband and father. His boredom is so acute he is unable to focus at work or home and finds himself continuously drifting off elsewhere in his mind. Unfortunately the viewing audience is unable to establish where he travels in his mind as this is not evident. Tyler Cornack writes, directs and also plays the lead role.
After a routine prostate exam, Chip realises a previously unknown (to him) fetish which becomes uncontrollable, addictive and sinister.
Russel B. Fox (Tyler Rice) portrays a tough and aggressive police detective. He is assigned to investigate a missing persons case.
Coincidentally Chip and Russel meet at the local AA where he (Chip) is appointed Russel’s sponsor.
After a few meetings between the two men, where they share each other’s experiences, Russel starts to suspect Chip might be the criminal he’s seeking.
This movie has been classified Thriller, Comedy, Thriller/Comedy. Personally, I find these categories entirely inappropriate. I suggest, given this movie’s puerile and bizarre concept, Absurdist, Black Comedy or Dark Fantasy is more suited.
Everything about this movie is fourth rate – the script, acting (or lack thereof), photography all pitiable. Frustratingly slow at the start, it gains no momentum or interest. The only positive remark I can make is that unlike any other movie I have seen, it’s unpredictable and so keeps you guessing throughout the entire movie.
During his career Gavin O’Connor has already shown that he loves the cardinal techniques of cinematography. Sports dramas are especially pleasant to him. One of his pictures was the biographical hockey tape "Miracle" with Kurt Russell. Later, O’Connor tore the Audience Award with his "Warrior" and played a complex fraternal drama with scuffle, where young Edgerton and Hardy played. The film then made a fuss and encouraged many boys to go to sport sections and train. Now, for the third time, the director tried to throw a three-pointer with his new sports drama "The Way Back", where his eyes turned to another popular sport (especially in the USA), basketball. Unfortunately, out of his three pictures on sports subjects this one is the weakest and the "most sterile".
Gavin O’Connor’s new film can be compared with way too many similar films. He relies on the shoulders of his more successful and recognized predecessors. First one of all is an excellent and bright Coach Carter's tape with Samuel L. Jackson comes to mind. In that movie coach Carter is an example of how to shoot a sports drama about basketball. “The Way Back” is a bright example of how you shouldn’t shoot the film. I can immediately recommend you more successful films on similar topics. For example, “Second Chance”, “Remembering the Titans”, “Coach” with K. Costner. Yes, they are not about basketball, but they are delivered and spelled out much better than O’Connor’s movie indeed. It seems that his main problem is that with the potential and always up-to-date scenario, the film does not touch, does not move us, does not fell us "cared", does not force the plot to live together with the characters and so on and so on. I tried to watch it three times and I had the same feeling over and over again. The movie is simply way too plain. It slowly rolls along the scenic rails from the starting point to the final credits. It is making stops from time to time for superficial everyday reasoning but not causing stormy impressions and emotional responses from the viewer. Full stop!
There are a lot of shortcomings but one of the most significant is the choice of an actor for the main role. You probably need to start with the fact that the role in this picture is not suitable for Affleck. He seems not interested in it, there is no chemistry between him and the "game", he does not pull it emotionally (although the topic of alcohol is clearly close to him), spiritually or physically - not on any level. Ben does not look like a former basketball player (although he looks like a drunk). He looks as a coach, to put it mildly, but even this is not closely convincing; it is more close to opposite: ridiculous and unconvincing. Even in key scenes, Affleck fails to achieve strong engagement and chemistry with the team. He looks like he got on the set, but having read a completely different scenario... and it's not that he plays poorly, he performs, no, he is cool... Let's be honest. Affleck has always been an actor not lively and plastic enough for heavy and interesting dramatic roles. This person is not able to pull a similar film on his shoulders. In "Coach Carter" movie the main actor was able to make the movie better than it could be due to his powerful energy, persuasiveness and charisma. The same applies, for example, to "Remembering the Titans". However, in this film Gavin O’Connor and the rest of the characters for some reason got a little time. Team players are spelled out very badly. Their lives and characters remain behind the scenes and again if they surface a bit they make us "not caring" again. All of them are extras and empty vessels. There is no weight. All the attention of the picture is riveted to Jack Cunningham and it would be nice if O’Connor opened it better somehow. All those interesting topics just freeze in the air and later are completely forgotten. For example, religion: about the protagonist who was disappointed in God, which could be more advantageously used in history. There is only one short dialogue on this subject with Jack's school chaplain on the bus which is limited to a couple of suggestions. It all goes in the spirit of: "You think someone on top of it cares what I tell the children!"
Sadly, with all of this, Gavin O’Connor cannot be blamed for negligence as a director. He is true to himself. Everything was shot normally, but simply, now, it doesn’t catch our attention and makes us care more. There are no catchy drama scenes or even game scenes. In general I believe that the theme that he chose is still beneficial and relevant for the cinematography but it was in this case that his on-screen statement turned out to be very dull and trivial. The story is no less sad than Ben's swimming, his unshaven face, regularly flashing in the frame and radiating indifference to everything around him. This is so symbolic! His sour and unhappy face that we keep observing for the whole hour and a half is accompanied by the same sour indifferent mood of the film. It is possible that Affleck was interested in this role and even needed it, given his problems with alcohol, but it can hardly be called a solid contribution to his acting career as well as to cinematography in general. This movie also will be clearly lost in the director’s portfolio. Perhaps this is some kind of intermediate leap for O’Connor, and he needs it to gather his strength and give out something stronger, more sticking and more original. To add to the above mentioned, this film, completely devoid of originality and using all the old tricks, is simply lost against the background of American past sport films work. There is not a single fresh thought and it will be hard for me to recommend it to any fans: be they Affleck's fans, O’Connor’s work followers, lovers of dramas or any basketball devotees.
This movie has got to be NOT your regular 'run-of-the-mill' sort of thriller.
It is fresh, it is bold, it is creepy. With all these boxes ticked off, the director (Lorcan Finnegan) presents us with a fast-paced intellectual and psychological run, daring the audience to merge in a more complete a manner with the story arc.
Vivarium begins with a young couple (Tom and Gemma) who is drawn to a new housing development (named Under) by an eccentric character called Martin, who is seemingly enthusiastic in promoting Yonder. While inspecting the house with the couple, Martin disappears - and strange events begin unfolding, with the couple being drawn centre-stage of the mysterious circumstances evident throughout the movie.
This is one of the few thrillers that would, undoubtedly, leave you cringing in your seat!
review by Elice Thomas
VIVARIUM *beware spoilers*
The worst type of ending is one where nothing has changed from the beginning of the film, and one of the worst pitfalls a film can fall into is to promise the audience an exciting mystery and many threads to pull at, only to never reveal any of the answers. Vivarium falls prey to both of these mistakes. I went into this film with no knowledge or expectations of its premise, but I would have preferred someone to tell me that I would wait 90 minutes for something to happen, only to be rewarded with crumbs and little satisfaction.
Vivarium has a promising beginning, quickly establishing an unsettling atmosphere in the likes of Martin the real estate agent and ‘Yonder’, a suburb of identical green houses in a rabbit warren of identical green streets. Tom and Gemma, the couple looking to buy their first home, are mercifully normal and relatable as their world quickly goes from happily regular to scarily regular. With Yonder’s perfect clouds and immaculate appearance, this film feels like the evil cousin of The Truman Show. And boy, does it get evil, not just to hapless Tom and Gemma but to the audience too. That being said, if Vivarium had ended as soon as the couple picked up the baby in the cardboard box, that would have been a perfect ending. The words printed on the box sum up the rest of the story neatly: “Raise the child and be released”. There is no need for any further elaboration, with an open ending in which the audience can speculate on Tom and Gemma’s fates in this cuckoo-world to their hearts’ content. I was surprised to note that there is an entire second half of the movie after this scene, and assumed that that meant we would dive deeper into the sickening mystery of Yonder and exactly how and why they are forcing couples to raise babies brought to them in cardboard boxes. Unfortunately, Vivarium fails to provide anything new in its second half. Threads that are established early on, such as Tom digging a hole to freedom and the child watching incomprehensibly alien TV shows, are never concluded. We are left with a climax which focuses almost entirely on Gemma’s reactions to what she is seeing, and not on what she is seeing. We follow Gemma and Tom as they carry out the same menial tasks over and over, desperately hoping, as do they, that something will change, only for nothing to change. The end of the film is exactly the same as the beginning of the film and myself as the audience is left wondering, Why did I bother watching that? It’s the equivalent of the protagonist waking up at the end of the movie and saying, Thank god, it was all a dream, nothing I just experienced matters!
To its credit, Vivarium does a wonderful job with its cast. Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots are wonderful together as Tom and Gemma. I relate so very much to Tom’s increasingly desperate attempts to keep it together while everything fights to tear you apart. Gemma’s journey is one of the best aspects of the movie, and her relationship with Tom is heart-breaking and remarkable. The fact that they stay together, and never quite give up on each other, is a rather wonderful optimism in this otherwise gloomy story. Senan Jennings deserves a special shoutout as well; he took the idea of ‘creepy kid who never stops staring at you’ to a whole new level, and his impersonations of his ‘parents’ are equal parts delightful and disconcerting. Jonathan Aris similarly perfects his role as strange and disquieting Martin, leaving an indelible impression after only ten minutes on screen. Vivarium often focuses on each character’s face, allowing the actors to show their reactions rather than tell – a journey of emotions throughout the story. The dynamic between each character is spot-on.
There is a very clear message throughout this film, and a constant reminder of the ideas at work here – inescapable regularity and the patterns of our daily lives that, in this instance, lead us to an early grave. Vivarium would have worked perfectly as a short film, setting up the stage and then letting the audience guess as to its conclusion. That it continues the story but never satisfactorily answers the questions ‘why?’ or ‘how?’, is its ultimate downfall. To kill off the two best characters, the characters we have been following for the last 90 minutes, with no repercussions and all their efforts coming to nought, is the nail in the coffin. I wish I could love this film, because I love the ideas behind it, but you killed off Tom. How dare you.
A feature film with epic performances, brilliant camera work, and a nightmarish tale to boot. This is definitely one which brings about a fresh angle to the horror genre of recent years - and you could definitely count on Elijah Wood's amazing depth and complexity in advancing a character that you would feel a strong connection to.
The story starts from a journeying youngster Norval Greenwood, portrayed by Elijah, who is responding to his estranged father's letter - a man whom he had never met before. It is a moment of discovery for the two of them, though several instances of bizarre behaviour of his father trails deep into Norval's psyche. And then, the drama unfolds quite rapidly, whereby his father's past catches on to him, unraveling a chain of events that tugs a sensation of creepiness to the audience.
Come To Daddy is brilliantly expressed, catalysed by its state-of-the-art cinematography. However, this is a movie for mature audiences, and they would not be left disappointed.