Thursday, February 4, 2016

Film Stuff 4th Feb 2015

   The kids are back at school, after seven weeks of summer holidays, and all is peaceful in my house. Now I can devote myself to writerly pursuits. The great thing about writing is that you can put your family first, which I always do. Although any professional writer who loves what they do will tell you that you feel guilty when you’re not writing. It may sound selfish, but these characters and stories are just as demanding as loved ones. So the days and weeks I don’t write my fiction, I feel itchy. Stephen King said once he gets a headache. I get an itch that I can’t scratch except with words. Films are my hobby and I do love them, but writing stories is under my skin, in my DNA, and I thank my lucky stars I can do this for a living.
    A mixed bag of films this week. Nothing great except for a very good documentary. I return to another circus, but this time I’m not part of the show. In fact, I could barely see the show.

Steve Jobs  ✪✪✪½  (opens 4th February 2016 Most cinemas)
   Despite the wonderful cast, a screenplay by one of the best in Hollywood, Alan Sorkin (The Social Network), Steve Jobs just doesn’t scale the heights of greatness it should. Having seen the 2013 Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, it probably doesn’t add anything new to what we already knew of the enigmatic Steve Jobs. This isn’t to say it isn’t quite an enjoyable film; it just disappoints on a wasted potential level. 
   Probably its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: the dialogue and character interaction. Set backstage at various Apple product launches, the script is heavy on rapid-fire exchanges. Certainly it is a marvel in sharp and poignant conversations, however being so dialogue heavy it fails on a dramatic, engaging storytelling level. We feel distant from the characters.
   On a positive note, Kate Winslett is fabulous and nails a European/American accent. Still an engaging film because of the Jobs story, although if you don’t know the full story you might become a little lost with the politics. Jobs changed the world, so will always fascinate us. I recommend the film, especially if you haven’t seen Kutcher’s Jobs. It’s just not as good as you’d imagine, considering the talented cast and crew.

Film Blurb
Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicentre.

The Choice  ✪✪✪✪½  (opens 4th February 2016 Most cinemas)
I’m not a huge Nicholas Sparks fan. I enjoy killers not lovers (blame my childhood diet of nasty books). However I did love The Notebook and, to my great surprise, last year’s adaptation, The Longest Ride. Although I feel a great deal of my enjoyment was due to the gorgeous Scott Eastwood (Clint Eastwood’s son) playing the lead role of handsome cowboy.
   So I was again expecting very little with The Choice. However, moment by moment, the actors and the storyline won me over. This isn’t award-winning filmmaking, but for the audience niche for which it is squarely aimed, it will be very entertaining.
  These Nicholas Sparks films do seem to attract the up and coming beautiful young actors, and that’s another reason to like them. Everybody has got to start somewhere. You’ll find yourself musing, “Now who is that?” I’ll help you out. The male lead is the very charming Benjamin Walker (The Heart of the Sea), his sister is Maggie Grace (Taken 1, 2 & 3), the gorgeous love interest is Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), and the other girlfriend is Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas, Percy Jackson), the father is Tom Wilkinson (who is a veteran actor and been in everything (Selma, Batman, The Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Grand Budapest Hotel).
   Check your cynicism and boyfriend or husband at the door and just wallow in the love.

Film Blurb
When feisty medical student Gabby Holland moves in next door to perennial ladies' man Travis Shaw, it sends them both on a romantic journey neither ever dreamed possible. Travis has always believed a serious relationship with a woman would cramp his easygoing lifestyle, while Gabby is all set to settle down her long-term boyfriend-until an irresistible attraction between the unlikely couple upends both of their well-planned lives. After a whirlwind courtship, Gabby and Travis wed and build a family together, making every decision hand-in-hand until one of them is forced to make the most important choice of their life alone. A poignant and life-affirming celebration of love, marriage and family that explores the most heart-wrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

Anomalisa  ✪✪✪✪  (opens 4th February 2016 Most cinemas)
  Charlie Kaufman (Writer of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is a most original director and always surprising. His mind doesn’t work like any other directors’ or screenwriters’. He’s fascinated by the idiosyncrasies of the faltering human psyche. So, of course, Kaufman would choose to explore mid-life crisis using stop-motion characters.
   They puppets felt characters are so realistic it will blow your mind as you are entertained and drawn into Michael’s dilemma and unhappiness with how his life has turned out. The Academy thought enough of it to nominate Anomalisa for an Oscar for Best Animated Picture. I think it has a great chance of winning.
   See this for something completely different. There’s something very human about these non-human actors. This is not Wallace and Gromit. Do not take your children. There is a very erotic love scene which for some reason really made me blush because they weren’t human. Felt puppet on puppet is a strange experience.
Film Blurb
   Venice Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner. Charlie Kaufman, the celebrated screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation and director of Synecdoche, New York, and Duke Johnson venture into the world of stop-motion animation with this fable about a motivational speaker seeking to transcend his monotonous existence. Michael meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) on a speaking-tour stop in Cincinnati. Lisa is an anomaly.
    Michael and Lisa begin with prickly, cautious conversations and then move towards love. But, unlike in a conventional Hollywood romance, that romantic arc is neither simple nor obvious. The love scene at the heart of Anomalisa should instantly rocket up the list of cinema's greatest. It's intimate, awkward, heartbreaking, and deeply erotic despite the fact that the lovers are made of felt.

SHERPA: TROUBLE ON EVEREST ✪✪✪✪  
(opens 8th February 2016 Lottery West Film Festival Perth)
My Thoughts
     Since Sherpa, Tensing Norgay, became one of the first two individuals known to reach the summit of Mount Everest with Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953, we have been fascinated with this endeavor. The recent film Everest with its all-star cast, had us scratching our heads and asking why? Now we know why some of the summiteers climb. Sherpas are the unsung heroes of these Everest attempts. They climb for a very understandable reason. They need the money.
   Where a climber will travel maybe four times over the dangerous ice flow area, these Sherpas will climb back and forth dozens of times while carrying the necessary supplies and equipment to camps higher up, in readiness for the paying customer. Their jobs are beyond dangerous, but you don’t hear about Sherpas or the injury and death they suffer. Yet they do. Every year.
   Sherpa is a beautifully filmed documentary, and the makers had the good fortune or the misfortune of being on hand in 2014 when a controversial and tragic event occurred, which changed everything for the business of Everest climbing.
  I highly recommend this documentary. It’s fascinating, enjoyable and puts you in the middle of an historic Nepalese event with little intrusion or setup. Sherpa tells the story of what really happened on Everest through the eyes of those who know the mountain best.
Film Blurb
A moving story of courage and greed, set against the magnificent backdrop of Everest. This documentary was filmed during the calamitous 2014 climbing season, when 16 Sherpa guides were killed while moving across an ice-flow to aid Western climbers. Following the disaster, climbers and Sherpas entered into a tense mountaintop stalemate. This exhilarating film exposes many truths about money, Nepal, and the meeting of first and third worlds atop this alluring, spiritual peak.


SPECIAL EVENTS
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST HD
Date: 6th & 7th February
Time: 1 pm Saturday and Sunday
Location: Cinema Paradiso Northbridge & Windsor Cinema Nedlands Details and Booking

Don’t miss Olivier Award winner and Poirot star David Suchet as the formidable Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s much loved masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest which will be captured LIVE for cinemas from London’s Vaudeville Theatre.  A superb satire on Victorian manners and one of the funniest plays in the English language, the delightful repartee and hilarious piercing of hypocrisy will make you laugh out loud!

Directed by Adrian Noble, (Amadeus, The King’s Speech, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)  Written shortly before Wilde fell foul of society’s unbending condemnation, The Importance of Being Earnest fizzes with wit as he delights in debunking social pretensions. Two bachelor friends, upper crust dandy Algernon Moncrieff and the most reliable John Worthing J.P., lead double lives to court the attentions of the desirable Gwendolyn Fairfax and Cecily Cardew. The gallants must then grapple with the uproarious consequences of their ruse, and with the formidable Lady Bracknell.

MET OPERA: LULU
Date: 6th & 7th February
Time:  11:30am Saturday & 1 pm Sunday
Location: Luna Leederville & Luna Essex Details and Booking

Berg’s Lulu NEW PRODUCTION Acclaimed artist and director William Kentridge (The Nose) applies his unique theatrical vision to Berg’s notorious femme fatale who shatters lives, including her own. Musically, the masterful score is in the sure hands of Met Music Director James Levine. Soprano Marlis Petersen has excited audiences around the world with her portrayal of the tour-de-force title role, a wild journey of love, obsession, and death. Susan Graham joins a winning cast, including Daniel Brenna and Johan Reuter.. CONDUCTOR: James Levine. (Sung in German with Met Titles in English) Approximate RT: 4 hours 30 minutes incl. intermission

THEATRE
LIMBO
Fringe World Festival
Date: 30th January to 21st February
Time:  Various times in the evening. Check Website. 
Location: Palais des Glaces Spiegeltent Elizabeth Quay Details and Booking

Probably this evening was not going to go well from the start, when I realized my son and I were sitting directly behind two very tall young guys. So even though Limbo underwhelmed me, it may have been the poor seating as opposed completely to the show. Although, the show, in my opinion, doesn’t hold a candle (or a flaming sword) to La Soiree (still showing at Fringe World Festival).
   The Spiegeltents are charming and atmospheric, but their downfall, I now realize, is that if you don’t have a good seat, they may not be conducive to the best experience. The son and I spent the entire ninety minutes with our heads twisted at a ninety-degree angle to try and catch some of the action on the stage. Even then, half the stage was obscured.
   What I did see was not terrible, but the first half was closer to good busker entertainment you may catch in the Hay Street mall than a world class show. If you really want to enjoy quality cabaret/circus/adult entertainment then see La Soiree first.
   I don’t like being negative, so the only reason I am reviewing Limbo is to share a tip. If you want to make up your own mind about LIMBO, and please do, because everyone else seemed to enjoy it, then I suggest springing for the Premium tickets at only $10 more than A Reserve. This will put you in the first four rows with minimal obstruction. Also, go early, at least forty-five minutes to an hour as its first come-first served. The $75 A Reserve tickets are where we were sitting, and they had me close to walking out. If I’d paid $75, I certainly would have left and asked for my money back. Overall, my Limbo experience was La Limp.

Theatre Blurb
   LIMBO is dirty & dangerous circus-cabaret, whisking audiences worldwide into a sinister netherworld of jaw-dropping contortion, gut-churning aerial acrobatics & staggering illusions.
   This record-breaking, award-winning sensation is a celebration of otherworldly proportions, directed by Scott Maidment, and presented in a magnificent 1920s inspired Spiegeltent. LIMBO’s stunning international cast also features: Coney Island’s sword swallower and vintage beauty, Heather Holliday; French gravity-defying Chinese pole master, beatboxer and clown, Mikael Bres; Australia’s acrobatic dancing sensation Hilton Denis; the exquisite French-Canadian aerialist, Evelyne Allard; the unstoppable hand balancer Danik Abishev; and mind-bending contortionist and acrobat, Tigris.
   Come and see what all the fuss is about. Don’t miss your chance to see the show so hot, Madonna came twice!         

OUTDOOR CINEMAS
Moonlight Cinemas
Date: December - March
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm  
Location: Synergy Parkland in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Enter from May Drive.

Details and Booking

Films of note this week: 
The Revenant     Saturday Feb 6
Brooklyn (Advance Screening) Sunday Feb 7
Zoolander 2 (Advance Screening) Wednesday Feb 10

Burswood Outdoor Community Cinema
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.30pm Film commences 7:45pm
Location: Burswood, Bassendean, Mandurah, Murdoch.
Run by over 700 volunteers, they proudly donate all profits to kids charities. To date we've raised over $6 million for kids in a health or physical crisis.

Details and Booking

Films of note this week: 
Rocky Horror Picture Show Thursday Feb 4
Bridge of Spies   Sunday Feb 7

Rooftop Movies


Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: City of Perth Roe St car park LEVEL 6 NORTHBRIDGE
Details and Booking

Films of note this week: 
Ghostbusters      Sunday Feb 7
Strictly Ballroom     Tuesday Feb 9
                                                                              
Camelot Outdoor Movies
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park
Details and Booking

Films of note this week: 
Joy                           Most of the week
Bridge of Spies          Friday Jan 29\
Brooklyn               Wednesday Feb 10

Luna Outdoor Movies
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8.15 pm
Location: 155 Oxford Street, Leederville (tickets & entrance Luna Cinemas)
Details and Booking

Films of note this week: 
Anomalisa all week

LOTTERY WEST FILM FESTIVAL


Date: 23rd November to 10th April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: Somerville UWA & ECU Joondalup Pines
Details and Booking

Films this week:
SHERPA: TROUBLE ON EVEREST (SHERPA, NEPALI AND ENGLISH) WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
UWA Somerville:        Monday 8TH February—Sunday 14th February
ECU Joondalup:         Tuesday 16th February –21ST February

See my review above
Film Blurb
   A moving story of courage and greed, set against the magnificent backdrop of Everest. This documentary was filmed during the calamitous 2014 climbing season, when 16 Sherpa guides were killed while moving across an ice-flow to aid Western climbers. Following the disaster, climbers and Sherpas entered into a tense mountaintop stalemate. This exhilarating film exposes many truths about money, Nepal, and the meeting of first and third worlds atop this alluring, spiritual peak.

THE WAIT (L'attesa) (ITALIAN/FRENCH) with English subtitles
UWA Somerville:        Monday 1ST February—Sunday 7th February
ECU Joondalup:         Tuesday 9th February –14th February

Single mother Anna (Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche, The English Patient, Chocolat, Three Colours: Blue) is in shock following the death of her teenage son Giuseppe. Shuttered up in a villa in mourning, she is visited by Giuseppe’s girlfriend Jeanne, who is unaware of recent events. And Anna is in no hurry to reveal the truth. The Wait is a calm, stylish and atmospheric tale, with a spinetingling central performance from Binoche as a woman in denial.
DHEEPAN ✪✪✪✪ (FRANCE) French & Tamil with English subtitles
ECU Joondalup:         Tuesday 2nd February – 7th February

Film Blurb
   Winner of the top prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Dheepan is the latest masterpiece by director Jacques Audiard (The Beat That My Heart Skipped, 2006 PIAF).
   In the aftermath of civil war in Sri Lanka, Dheepan flees to make a new life in France. He arranges with two strong women to pose as a family in their Paris apartment, but outside, trouble is brewing.
   An utterly absorbing drama, Dheepan is one of the year’s most important films.