Thursday, December 17, 2015

Film Stuff 17th Dec, 2015

  If you enjoy these musings, you might enjoy my latest book DEADLY MESSENGERS which readers are calling the most terrifying, impossible-to-put-down thriller of 2015.


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Star Wars: The Force Awakens has arrived. Word out from the previews in the US is it’s everything fans were hoping for. Yesterday I was at Event Cinemas and their publicist told me they were putting on extra screenings at midnight as the midnight sessions had sold out. Amazing and unprecedented. I’m seeing it this Saturday on my own dime. Disney didn’t preview it. They didn’t need to.
  I am pausing my reviews until mid-January. I’ll still be attending previews, but you’ll find most of the films coming out during the rest of December in my previous reviews or here. My pick for the Xmas releases is The Revenant and for a kid’s film The Good Dinosaur. Wishing you and your families a lovely Christmas and a wonderful start to 2016. 

Alvin & The Chipmunks ✪✪✪   (opens 26th December 2015 Most cinemas)
My Thoughts
The Chipmunks are the chipmunks. This is the fifth film. Yep, fifth! So you know what you’re going to get going in. I don’t love this franchise, but that’s my age showing. I find their squeaky little voices too annoying. However, my kids loved them when they were younger, and my good natured fifteen-year-old came along to this. He was hosting some of the younger ones’ friends who wanted to see the film. Youngest harsh film critic had soccer tickets.
Still I always like to see a film without swearing and with good wholesome values at its heart even if it’s squeaked at me by a bunch of furry rodents. This one was really quite enjoyable and sweet. They are cute, despite the voices and a couple of the singing and dance routines were pretty fun. The five to ten year olds I checked with after really enjoyed it. Several saying it was the best of all the Chipmunk films. I concur. So if you have some chipmunk fans in the family, I think you will have fun with this one.
Film Blurb
Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in New York City... and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.

Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie ✪✪½ 
 (opens 1st January 2016 Most cinemas)
My Thoughts
Charlie Brown is my era, and growing up with him and the gang, this should have been right up my alley. Sadly, it was a miss. It’s pitched very young and drags along. There’s no adult jokes for us to think ‘how clever,’ and it feels overly nostalgic. Very slow. At the end, there is a lovely scene that will have a few wipe away a tear. However, I just found it far too tedious getting to that point.
I’ve given it 3 stars because it may be it wasn’t aimed at me, but at real littlies, although I doubt the little ones know who Charlie Brown or Snoopy are. So I do wonder how it will fare. Only for the die-hard fans and ones with young ones who know the characters.
Film Blurb
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved "Peanuts" gang make their big-screen debut, like they've never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Charlie Brown, the world's most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron.

Joy  ✪✪✪✪½  (opens 26th December 2015)
My Thoughts
   One thing you know watching this film is Jennifer Lawrence is a superstar actress. She is mesmerizing on screen and just gets better and better with each new role. Without her in this film, of a woman who is battling against all odds to succeed, you would probably have just another feel-good quaint film. With her, you have a very special and moving experience.
   You think you’re watching one type of film, the usual Hollywood fare of an idiosyncratic family, and then it morphs into something completely different, almost a caper film with a pit-in-your-stomach and tear-in-your-eye crescendo and conclusion. 
   I loved Joy. I loved Jennifer Lawrence. Billing it as a girl’s film is doing it an injustice. It’s an inspiring story of a human being whose beaten but never broken. Go see Joy. It’ll sprinkle magic into your heart. We all need a little Joy in our lives to remind us what can be done when we fly at impossible.
Film Blurb
This is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy's inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces.

Carol ✪✪✪✪ (opens 14th January most cinemas. Also Luna Cinemas)
My Thoughts
    This is a beautiful period film set in the fifties. The clothes and set are just divine. Director Todd Haynes is known for his complex female character portrayals as in Far From Heaven and the very good TV series Mildred Pierce. He has a way of slipping you inside the character. It’s unsettling but incredible at the same time.
    Some may find this film slow and drawn out. Think long, loooong, lingering looks and conversations about character’s desires and wants. However, if you go with it, as though you were a fly on the wall, you will find something substantial and thoughtful in this film. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are simply wonderful in their roles. Cate Blanchett is certainly in the same league as Meryl Streep as an actress who can inhabit any character convincingly.
   This is art-house but high production values art-house. Might I say, also, it’s refreshing to see a same-sex love affair treated so beautifully. You might watch this film and be appalled at the way Carol is treated in the fifties because she is gay. Yet, until we legislate for same sex marriage, we haven’t really moved that far from condemning gay love as an aberration, have we? Love is love, and with a few of these good same-sex films coming out, I hope finally Australia will allow all people in this country equal rights. Love is love!
Film Blurb
A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol, an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens. While Carol breaks free from the confines of marriage, her husband threatens her competence as a mother when Carol's involvement with Therese and close relationship with her best friend Abby comes to light. As Carol leaves the comfort of home to travel with Therese, an internal journey of self-discovery coincides with her new sense of space.

Sisters ✪✪✪ (opens 7th January most cinemas)
My Thoughts
   I like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, but this film just didn’t hit the mark for me. Long-time readers of my reviews know I’m not keen on these noughties comedies filled with sex, profanity, and binge drinking. However, for a good film with something to say I’m happy to ignore it, as I did with Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck. That, at least, showed binge drinking and drug-taking for what it is: stupid and a ticket to ruin your life.
    While Sisters doesn’t have the smarts of Trainwreck it isn’t a disaster, either. If Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s humor is your cup of tea or ‘shot of tequila’, then you’ll enjoy this so wrong-it’s almost right comedy. I polled quite a few other reviewers and it was a mixed response. Some gave it the not great but not terrible badge, like me. Others said it was the funniest thing they’d seen this year. For this one, I’ll give my usual advice: check the trailer and if it looks like your kind of film, then you will probably enjoy.
Film Blurb
Two disconnected sisters are summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates, which turns into the cathartic rager that a bunch of ground-down adults really need.

Tale of Tales ✪✪✪✪   (opens 4th January Lottery West Film Festival)
UWA Somerville:        Monday 5th January—Sunday 10th January
ECU Joondalup:         Tuesday 12n January – 17th January
My Thoughts
This film was something refreshingly new. I loved it. I was totally along for the ride. It’s three dark fairytales told in a European/UK collaboration with an Italian director. It’s whimsical, magical, and beautiful onscreen. The ending doesn’t quite stick, which lost it one star from what would have been five. You do expect all the stories to come together, which they half do. However, I was just happy to enjoy the ride. See it at Lotterywest Film Festival in the glorious setting between the pines. I cannot imagine a better film to see in such a majestic setting with a lovely glass of wine.
Film Blurb
Three classical Italian fairy tales are told with mad abandon by an all-star cast in luscious Baroque surroundings. These magical, feverish stories, drawn from the original 400-year-old The Tale of Tales by Giambattista Basile, weave the surreal into a parable of desire. Full of humour, mythical beasts, bawdiness and dark power, and exuding Neapolitan style, this is an evocative, full-blooded film, born for the big screen.

FILMS OPENING

Suffragette ✪✪✪  26th December
The BĂ©lier Family (M) ✪✪✪✪ 26th December
Youth (M) 26th December
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict  (not reviewed) 24th December
Daddy’s Home  (not reviewed) 7th January
The Revenant  ✪✪✪✪✪ 7th January
The Big Short ✪✪✪✪½ 21st January December

SPECIAL EVENTS
GREMLINS Immersive Event
Date: 20th December
Time:  9:00pm
Location: Luna Leederville Details and Booking

***Limited Tickets On sale *** 
Monkey Collective and Luna Palace Presents: Gremlins Immersive! Screening on December 20th at Luna Leederville. Pre-screening entertainment from 8PM, film screening 9PM. Tickets $22 include a goodie bag. This is no Ordinary Screening … With Mogwai comes great responsibility.
    Tonight you are IN the film!! Your goodie bag packed with items and chants to play along with through the screening. From 8pm you can grab pre-show drinks, Use our very strange/gross Photobooth and be attacked in the foyer by…WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS?!
In Cinema Bar with Cocktails and Costume Competition!
Strictly 18+We will be rude, crude and extremely unapologetic! Disclaimer: Shining Lights, Feeding and wetting things is not deemed “smart” behaviour and is at your own risk.

OUTDOOR CINEMAS


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

Films of note this week: 
Lion King
Die Hard
Spectre
Bad Santa (Billy Bob Thornton)
Blade Runner
                                                            
Camelot Outdoor Movies
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park

Films of note this week: 
Bridge of Spies
Spectre
Learning To Drive
Suffragette
The Program

Luna Outdoor Movies
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8.15 pm
Location: 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park

Films of note this week: 
Bridge of Spies
The Room
The Dressmaker  

PRIVILEGE CARDS
For just $25.00 annual joining fee you and a friend can see films for just $13.50 each.
You also receive a free double pass on your birthday. Join up online or at any of our cinemas, including Camelot.

LOTTERY WEST FILM FESTIVAL



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

Films this week: 

Tangerines (Estonian, Russian & Georgian)
ECU Joondalup:         Tuesday 15th December – 20th December

Oscar-winners Benicio del Toro (The Usual Suspects, Sicario) and Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) shine in this witty Balkans-set comedic drama that has proved a hit with audiences worldwide.
The year is 1995 and a group of humanitarian aid workers, led by world-weary veterans del Toro and Robbins, are nearing the end of their tour in mountainous Bosnia. A village’s water supply has been contaminated and amid the mayhem the workers’ seemingly straightforward quest for a rope soon becomes quite the ordeal.

The Crows Egg (India)
UWA Somerville:        Monday 14th December—Sunday 20th December
ECU Joondalup:         Tuesday 22n December – 27th December

   Cheeky and street-smart, young brothers Big Crow’s Egg (aged 8) and Little Crow’s Egg (aged 6) are the masters of mischief in their hectic Chennai neighbourhood. When a pizza restaurant opens in the smart part of town they become desperate to taste this exotic new dish, trying every trick in the book to raise money to buy a slice. But even if they have the cash, will this snooty pizzeria tolerate kids from the ‘wrong’ part of town? A hit with audiences from Sydney to Mumbai, this colourful, music-laden film has bundles of energy, joy and charm.

Tale of Tales ✪✪✪✪ (ITALY/FRANCE/UK)
UWA Somerville:        Monday 5th January—Sunday 10th January
ECU Joondalup:         Tuesday 12n January – 17th January

See my review above
   Three classical Italian fairy tales are told with mad abandon by an all-star cast in luscious Baroque surroundings. These magical, feverish stories, drawn from the original 400-year-old The Tale of Tales by Giambattista Basile, weave the surreal into a parable of desire. Full of humour, mythical beasts, bawdiness and dark power, and exuding Neapolitan style, this is an evocative, full-blooded film, born for the big screen.