Friday, April 24, 2015

Film Stuff 24th April 2015

Tomorrow is Anzac Day here in Australia and New Zealand. For those of you who live overseas, it is a day Australians and New Zealanders remember those who served and died in wars and peacekeeping efforts around the world.
   One of my reviews is of the adaptation of Vera Brittain's memoir of living through WW1 Testament of Youth. I didn't love the film as much as those around me, but I can respect what she endured and the hundreds of thousands of others whose lives have been disrupted and devastated by war. 
   I don't have anything grand or motivational to say. Only that I am thankful to those who have defended our country and still do, so that I can live my life in freedom. So wherever you are in the world maybe think of those who send their loved ones to war, who stay behind spending no doubt much of their day ad night hoping they stay safe. It must require tremendous strength to raise your children and go about your life not knowing where your loved one is, what they are truly experiencing, and if they are okay.
   I try and do my bit with my children to move toward peace. I teach them that hating is a wasted emotion. That everyone is different. Everyone has the right to live their life the way they choose if it is not hurting anyone else. Everyone has the right to believe in their own God and create their own heaven. Hopefully enough children will grow up believing this to eventually end these terrible wars that still exist across the globe.
   The world has changed in the fifteen years since my first son was born. We can have friends in New York, London, Dubai, even from tiny islands off the coast of Africa via social media. It doesn't matter their job, their religion, their ethnicity. We can become friends and enjoy learning about the differences in our lifestyles and beliefs. My children don't understand national boundaries the way we used to.
   The internet and technology may be the bane of our lives at times, but for all its diversions, challenges and sometimes dangers, it has brought us together as well. We can walk in other's shoes, watch other people's lives, hear their thoughts, get to know them, even though we will never meet them in person. That good of it overrides everything else.
   Tomorrow I will remember those soldiers who gave their lives so that I can complain about how slow my internet connection is and how much I dislike spam, so that one day we may all celebrate our differences instead of fighting over them.

REVIEWS
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON  
(opens 27TH April) – Screens at most cinemas
My Thoughts
Three years ago film audiences thrilled to the first Avengers. It had everything you could want in a blockbuster, popcorn-fest film: breathlessly thrilling actions sequences, hilarious and witty one-liners, good twists in the storyline, and a credible, relentless and charming foe in Loki, Thor’s brother. Screenwriter and director Joss Whedon was hailed as a genius.
   This time round the action scenes, which were so beautifully handled and choreographed in the first, are over-abundant and feel haphazardly thrown together. The one-liners are there but far more subdued behind an odd, unheralded romance between Black Widow (Scarlett Johanssen) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). The nemesis of the group, Ultron (voiced by James Spader), is less intimidating and, sometimes, a touch laughable. (He has several woe-is-me scenes where he seems to be bordering on tears.)
   Tony Stark’s been developing Ultron as an A.I. peacekeeping program, but he can’t quite pull it together until the team manages to get hold of Loki’s sceptre and the Infinity stone. The resultant program, after Tony and Dr. Banner have a play, becomes sentient and decides the best way to keep the peace is to destroy humanity. I wonder where we’ve seen that plot before?
   Several new Avengers are introduced: Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Vision (Paul Betteny). They’re all interesting new characters, but there seems too many superheroes here to make for a satisfying well-rounded film. We learn a little more about Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) along the way, and the concluding scene perfectly sets up for the next film, Captain America: Civil War.
   The original Avengers was always going to be a hard act to follow. Whedon’s direction this time round seems closer to Michael Bay’s bang, crash and destroy Transformers, than the cleverly staged and plotted stories we’ve come to expect from these quality Marvel films. At 141 minutes, it also felt overly long. For those die-hard fans who wait for the end credits for the extra scene, please note there is only one segment not the two of the previous film.
   After loving all of the preceding ten films set in the Avengers galaxy, I was disappointed. However, one of my sons and husband loved it. No matter mine or any reviewer’s opinion this film will still hit the billion dollar mark. Despite it’s failing, it is still reasonably entertaining, just not brilliant and memorable, as we’ve come to expect. Perhaps its flaw being, too many super-heroes spoil the plot.

Film Blurb
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure. Written by Marvel Studios

TESTAMENT OF YOUTH  
Opens 23rd April – Luna Cinemas & most cinemas.
My Thoughts

    Everyone around me was sobbing when the lights came up, while I felt unmoved. It wasn’t that the film wasn’t reasonably interesting, I felt oddly disconnecte from the characters, when I knew I should be engaged and concerned for their wellbeing.
   The first half deals with headstrong Vera Brittain’s desire to break from the confines of early nineteenth century sensibilities and gain an education at Oxford. We are also introduced to her brother Edward (Taron Egerton), his friend Victor (Colin Morgan), and Vera’s eventual fiancée Roland (Kit Harrington). In the end, WW1 intervenes in their lives, and their goals and dreams are put on hold. 
   The storyline is slow and attempts determinedly to yank on every emotional heartstring the audience possesses. Clearly from those around me they achieved this for many. I found the ending rushed, despite the long and winding road we took to get there.
   I’ve never read the book; in fact, I’ve never heard of the book, but it has been heralded as one of the most important memoirs of the First World War, especially as it is from the point of view of a young woman and not a soldier. While it is an interesting story in parts, I felt as if I’d seen it all before in other WW1 war films that didn’t dawdle along so much. Alicia Vikander as Vera Brittain is extraordinary in that she is Swedish but delivers a perfect early nineteenth century accent. She’s really making a name for herself in films such as Ex Machina, A Royal Affair, The Fifth Estate and Perth-filmed Son of A Gun. One for the girls or if you’ve read the book.

Film Blurb
A searing story of love and war. Based on the classic First World War memoir, this is the incredible true story of one young woman's struggle to survive the horrors of war, which robbed her of everyone and everything she held dear, but was ultimately unable to break her extraordinary spirit. (C) Lionsgate UK

FILMS OPENING (NOT REVIEWED)
Boychoir
A troubled eleven-year-old boy at a prestigious East Coast music school clashes with the school's demanding choir master (Dustin Hoffman), in this inspiring drama co-starring Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas, Debra Winger and Glee's Kevin McHale. Boychoir is the story of a talented youngster struggling against the odds to find his voice.

Boychoir - Windsor Sunday Soiree
April 26th 3:45
Join other film lovers on Sunday April 26 from 3.45pm at the Windsor in Nedlands for some pre screening Anzac entertainment, with a glass of Brown Brothers Pinot Grigio and Brown Brothers Shiraz on entry courtesy of MGM Wines, Anzac cookies and the Perth Male Voice Choir Association performing before the film commences at 4.15pm.
Details and ticket bookings: CLICK HERE

Banksy Does New York
Showing at Luna Cinemas
A chronicle of British street artist Banksy's "Better Out Than In" project, a surreptitious residency in New York City boroughs that drew a devoted following eager to find a new piece for each day in October 2013.

THE 2015 SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL
SCREENING AT CINEMA PARADISO 23 APRIL - 6 MAY


The Spanish films in general have vibrancy and a wicked, dark sense of humor you don’t find in other films.
This year’s Spanish Film Festival program exclusive to Palace Cinemas around Australia boasts 38 features from across Spain, Latin-America, and beyond, as varied as the ceramic tiles on a Gaudi masterpiece.
More information: Program & Tickets

SPECIAL EVENT
THEY ARE ALL DEAD
April 30th, 6.30PM at Cinema Paradiso
   6pm arrivals for 6.30PM film screening at Cinema Paradiso for the screening of the quirky black comedy THEY ARE ALL DEAD preceded by Torres wines, cheese plates and live entertainment.
   Spanish actress Elena Anaya plays Lupe, an agoraphobic Spanish/Mexican former pop-rocker whose days of being wild are long behind her. Yet she’s trapped by memories of her youth, and especially by the death of her band mate and brother Diego, for which she blames herself. Worst of all, she has no connection to her teenage son, who in turn despises her.
   When her mother, stoic Paquita (Angélica Aragón) discovers she is dying, she determines to set things to right between her isolated daughter and grandson. On the Day of the Dead, she asks for her departed son Diego’s help…and he responds.

The Life of Brian Experience
Luna Leederville April 26th  8pm Film Screens 9pm
Monkey Collective and Luna Palace Presents The Life of Brian Experience! Screening on April 26th at Luna Leederville. Pre-screening entertainment from 8PM, film screening 9PM.
This is no Ordinawy  Film Scweening.......
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 albatross snacks, Have your photo taken on our very offensive photo booth and witness Actors run amok in the foyer. In Cinema Bar with Cocktails and Costume Competition!
Tickets $22 include a goodie bag. Tickets onsale and online

FILM NEWS

   There’s talk of turning Bunbury into the movie capital of Australia. South West production company Vue Group is talking of developing a new movie studio after the success of its cartoon Kung Fu Style on its opening day in China where 330,000 people viewed it.
   In a deal witnessed by dignitaries from the State Government and Bunbury last year, Vue and joint venture partner Shanghai Hippo Group agreed to build a multi-storey movie studio and training facility in Bunbury.
   Plans are afoot to float the joint venture in Australia, Hong Kong or London. Chinese movers and shakers in the industry say Bunbury was an unusual location for a movie studio, but “the picturesque area would draw filmmakers and talented staff from around the globe” and it could become "the Asian Hollywood."
   Efforts to boost the South West's movie credentials got a lift earlier this year when one of China's leading film-makers, Jia Zhangke filmed his movie Mountains Day in Bunbury and Dawesville. Perth and Fremantle made an appearance, too. The movie portrays the two towns as an ideal future world with blue skies and clean air. This comes on the tail of several other films released last year filmed in Perth last year: Paper Planes, These Final Hours, Son of a Gun, The Reckoning.

Entertainment News
PERTH GREEK GLENDI! Sunday 26th April



Glendi it’s Greek for Party! A taste of Greece in Perth
   Not so much news on film but, hey, I’m a fan of souvlaki and loved Zorba the Greek starring Anthony Quinn. The Perth Glendi Greek Festival is going to be a fun filled day of Hellenic culture, music, dance and food.
   So save the date and bring your family and friends to enjoy this spectacular day.
Offering mouth-watering Greek food and sweets, traditional Greek dancing including plate smashing, beach style chill out bar, celebrity cooking demonstrations, market stalls, children’s fun fair and much more.

World Record Zorba Dance attempt
10,000 dancers needed.
At the Perth Glendi Greek Festival this year they are attempting to create the largest Zorba Dance ever seen in Perth, in fact, the world.


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Friday, April 17, 2015

Film Stuff 17th April 2015

   School holidays are almost done, and we'll be back into the swing of taxi-driving the children to their social and sporting events next week and enjoying all the stress associated with that. As much as the boy's fighting gets on my nerves while they're at home, I will miss them, albeit I will get a lot more writing done.
   I had a little revelation watching the film Age of Adeline earlier this week. Somewhere along the way I have stopped kissing my boys goodnight (they're 12 and 14). They're boys and not very mushy, so over the past few years, we have stopped being too physical with them. I try and kiss them goodbye when I drop them off at school, but they look uncomfortable and hesitant, so I find myself doing it less and less. I know they don't want to be embarrassed in front of their friends, and I get that and respect it.
   In a scene in the film, the mother of Ellis Jones, Adeline's love interest, enters the dining room and kisses her son good morning while he is eating his breakfast. It struck me that I never did that with the boys anymore. In fact, most of the time, I greet them with: Have you brushed your teeth? Pick up that plate and put it in the dishwasher. Put your shoes on. Then I wonder why our day doesn't start very well. 
   So I've started kissing them goodnight and good morning. They actually seemed to like the good night kiss, and we're working on the good morning. 
   When my husband asked me why I had suddenly started doing it, I replied, "I saw it in a film." 
   That's kind of a terrible admission: that I had to relearn a parenting skill/gesture of love I'd forgotten from a film. Yet, that's what I love about films and books. They remind you what it is to be a human being. Every person takes something different from a story, based on their own experience. Films aren't just about entertainment. They, also, allow us to look at ourselves through the eyes of the storyteller or walk in someone else's shoes and understand the world a little better. That's why I'm a story addict, and I will never tire of reading or sitting in a darkened theater. I have the added bonus of creating my own worlds and stories and exploring the human experience in even more depth. It's what keeps me writing... my curiosity of what a person will do in a given circumstance. Many times, it doesn't reflect my own personal beliefs, and that's the fun of it, understanding why that character would behave in a way I wouldn't. 
   Two lessons in this little story. Think of your movie ticket or your book as a learning experience as well as entertainment. It's very good value when you think that way even if you don't totally love the film or book. Most importantly, if you have children, no matter their age, kiss them a little more often than you have been if you've fallen into my trap, (whether they like it or not). Otherwise, how will they learn to kiss you back.

REVIEWS
Age of Adeline 4/5 Stars  (opens 16TH April) – Screens at most cinemas
My Thoughts
This is a lovely, whimsical film about Adeline Bowan (Blake Lively) who through an odd accident doesn’t age past twenty-nine. Blake Lively as the lead is beyond stunning in the role. She is simply breathtaking and infuses the character with a detached but wise persona that keeps you involved in what is reasonably slow proceedings. The sets and costume design are also beautifully done. Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker play the parents of Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman), a charismatic character, who attempts to win Adeline’s heart against her better judgement. For the first time in forever, I actually enjoyed a Harrison Ford performance. Who knew he could act? Even though it was a touch twee in the end, it is still a lovely film to be gobbled up by the romantics.

Film Blurb
After miraculously remaining 29 years old for almost eight decades, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has lived a solitary existence, never allowing herself to get close to anyone who might reveal her secret. But a chance encounter with charismatic philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) reignites her passion for life and romance. When a weekend with his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker) threatens to uncover the truth, Adaline makes a decision that will change her life forever. (C) Lionsgate

Wild Tales 4.5/5 Stars 
Screens at Cinema Paradiso as part of the Spanish Film Festival Wed 6th May-7th May

My Thoughts
   I loved this dark and twisted sextet of short stories. Be prepared to be shocked, mortified, but ultimately entertained by the dark humor and ironic twists in these tales. The Spanish have a black sense of humor, and this is a perfect example of everything wonderful in this language’s foreign films.
   What is unfortunate is that the opening story centers on a plane and its passengers and a tragic accident. It’s a little too close to home with the recent Germanwings tragedy. Don’t let that put you off, though. Book your tickets now for this particular film, and maybe, also, indulge in a few of the other offerings. You will not be disappointed.

Film Blurb
Director Damián Szifrón has executed a wonderfully entertaining revenge film comprised of six rebellious vignettes that are nothing short of what the title suggests - WILD. A deadly case of road rage, a wedding gone wrong, accidental manslaughter…everyday situations in which the darkest side of good people shines through and proves there is an animal in all of us.
Described by Variety as “wickedly delightful”, this compendium of stories ooze the blackest of humour by demonstrating how everyday people can be pushed to their farthest limits. The superbly drawn characters are embodied by the brightest stars of Argentinian cinema including, Ricardo Darín, Darío Gradinetti and Erica Rivas.

FILMS OPENING (NOT REVIEWED)
The Gunman
THE GUNMAN, the new action thriller from Pierre Morel, the director of Taken, stars Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance. (C) Open Road
It Follows
After a strange sexual encounter, a teenager finds herself haunted by nightmarish visions and the inescapable sense that something is after her. (C) Radius-TWC
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Notable as having 0% rating on RottenTomatoes review website. After six years of keeping our malls safe, Paul Blart has earned a well-deserved vacation. He heads to Vegas with his teenage daughter before she heads off to college. But safety never takes a holiday and when duty calls, Blart answers. (C) Sony

FILM NEWS
   Netflix is planning to make its shows more accessible to the blind following complaints from customers. The issue came to a head because Daredevil, a new Netflix show about a blind lawyer with superpowers, didn’t initially include audio descriptions, which are spoken explanations for actions occurring onscreen.
   On Tuesday Netflix changed course, and announced that it plans to add audio descriptions to Daredevil and other Netflix original series like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. Other shows and movies that are not original to Netflix will get the feature later. SOURCE: Time.com

SPECIAL EVENT CINEMA
THE 2015 SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL
SCREENING AT CINEMA PARADISO 23 APRIL - 6 MAY


The Spanish films in general have vibrancy and a wicked, dark sense of humor you don’t find in other films.This year’s Spanish Film Festival program exclusive to Palace Cinemas around Australia boasts 38 features from across Spain, Latin-America, and beyond, as varied as the ceramic tiles on a Gaudi masterpiece.
More information: Program & Tickets

OPENING NIGHT
SPANISH AFFAIR
April 23rd, 6.30PM at Cinema Paradiso
   The biggest Spanish box-office hit in history is this bright and breezy (occasionally wicked) romantic comedy set in the exquisitely charming and verdant Basque countryside.
   Opening night is with the mischievous romantic comedy SPANISH AFFAIR. Followed by the last ever after party at THE BAKERY - drinks by Torres Wines, delicious Spanish treats will be provided by Kamal's Quarter Catering, prizes from MultiCultural Language Centre in WA, musical entertainment by Randa and The Soul Kindgom. So come join us and dance the night away! Program & Tickets

Entertainment News
PERTH GREEK GLENDI! Sunday 26th April



Glendi it’s Greek for Party! A taste of Greece in Perth
   Not so much news on film but, hey, I’m a fan of souvlaki and loved Zorba the Greek starring Anthony Quinn. The Perth Glendi Greek Festival is going to be a fun filled day of Hellenic culture, music, dance and food.
   So save the date and bring your family and friends to enjoy this spectacular day. Offering mouth-watering Greek food and sweets, traditional Greek dancing including plate smashing, beach style chill out bar, celebrity cooking demonstrations, market stalls, children’s fun fair and much more.

World Record Zorba Dance attempt
10,000 dancers needed.
At the Perth Glendi Greek Festival this year they are attempting to create the largest Zorba Dance ever seen in Perth, in fact, the world.

OUTDOOR CINEMA
Last few days of the outdoor cinemas. We say goodbye until later in the year when the warm weather returns.

LUNA OUTDOOR CINEMA LEEDERVILLE
For Tickets and Times: CLICK HERE
CLOSES APRIL 19th
BIRDMAN
BIG EYES
THE ROOM (sold out)

CAMELOT OUTDOOR CINEMA
For Tickets and Times: CLICK HERE
CLOSES Saturday APRIL 18th
BIG EYES
THE IMITATION GAME (Jazz & oyster night with Peter Evans)
Together with celebrity chef & seafood extraordinaire Andy Grljusich, who shucks fresh oysters for your indulgence.

McDONALDS COMMUNITY CINEMA
CINEMAS are at Burswood, Mandurah, Murdoch, Bassendean and Curtin
For Tickets and Times: CLICK HERE
Burswood Highlights
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If you enjoyed this musing, do hop over and register for my very random newsletter. Straight away you will receive two fantastic short stories FREE. You'll also be the first to know when I have exciting news to share like free books (international) and film ticket giveaways (Australia). Hop over here: http://eepurl.com/3P-Wz