Friday, May 1, 2015

Film Stuff 30th April 2015

   This week I'm the one in a performance, when I take a visit to the theatre to participate in The Confidence Man. No, I haven't given up writing to become an actor. Hell, the critics are too scary! No, this was an interactive theatre experience. If you live in Perth, Western Australia, I recommend checking out my review of it and getting along to see The Confidence Man during it's season. 
   Surprisingly, I enjoyed a found footage film as well. If you are easily scared, you may want to skip Unfriended. Now that I live with teenagers, nothing scares me, so I enjoyed it.  
   I'm on to editing my next book Messengers. The edits came back from my editor about four weeks ago, but I wanted to finish the first draft of the book I will release around August ,The Troubles Keeper. 
   For some reason, The Troubles Keeper was a lot more difficult than I expected. Goes to show you, as experienced as you become, you can never take for granted that writing and creating a story is an unknown quantity. However, I have now learned some new techniques for when I am stuck. I think that's why I love writing so much. It's always different and always challenging. 
   If you aren't on my mailing list yet, might I humbly suggest you register, Clicking here. You probably will only receive an email every now and then, but with a new book coming out in a month or so, I usually organise a few giveaways to celebrate, and that's only for those lovely readers who are signed up. 
   Now off to the movies and the theatre...

FILM REVIEWS

UNFRIENDED  ½

(Opens 30th April - most cinemas) 

 An innovative take on the 'found' footage style of film. You know those ones where someone has a handicam or an iPhone and runs around filming, while you keep reminding yourself why you don't like 'found' footage films (they usually have a lame plot or the shaky camera makes you feel sick).  
   This one is different in that the whole story plays out on a computer screen with the teen actors playing to a computer camera as they interact on Skype. The first half of the film is truly fascinating. The way the characters are so relaxed and know their way around social media and computer programs will have you feeling dizzy if you are over the age of twenty-five.
   The story comes a little unstuck toward the end, but that doesn't ruin what is a fascinating and fun little film. Mustn't have cost them much to make. Set up six computers, turn on their cameras, and edit it all together.  
  A word of caution, my fourteen-year-old son found it quite frightening and watched with his hands over his ears and eyes for some of it. However, he did say he liked it.  What I find more frightening is the topic the film addresses... cyber-bullying and the mere seconds it  takes for young person or people to damage their lives and other lives via the ease of distribution of private information on the internet. 
   I hope most teens, to whom this film is targeted, will take heed of the events. No, a ghost won't come get you if you cyber-bully, but just like these kids discovered, you don't know what you're unleashing when you play with other people's emotions. Probably should be considered compulsory viewing by all students over the age of thirteen, even if it does give them nightmares. Bullying is the stuff of nightmares.

 Film Blurb 

   Unfriended unfolds over a teenager's computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure who seeks vengeance for a shaming video that led a vicious bully to kill herself a year earlier. 

BOYCHOIR  ½
(Opens 23rd April – Luna Cinemas & most cinemas.) 

  This is a lovely film with the spotlight on the world of boy choirs. I had no idea there are schools where the focus is on singing to the degree of this one. The voices are absolutely heavenly and even though it’s a by-the-numbers troubled boy comes good with the encouragement of kindness and finally accepts his talent, it is still entertaining. If you see the trailer and like the look of it, go see. You will definitely enjoy it. 

 Film Blurb 

   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. 

FILMS OPENING (NOT REVIEWED)
Trash 
(Opens 30th April – Luna Cinemas) 
From the multi award winning director of The Hours, Billy Elliot and The Audience, Stephen Daldry, comes a thrilling suspense based on the best-selling novel by Andy Mulligan. Set in Brazil, three kids who make a discovery in a garbage dump soon find themselves running from corrupt cops, gangsters and one another in an attempt to right a terrible wrong. Co-starring Golden Globe winner Martin Sheen, Rooney Mara plus two of  Brazilian cinema's  biggest stars Wagner Moura and Selton Mello.
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SPECIAL EVENT CINEMA
THE 2015 SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL 
SCREENING AT CINEMA PARADISO until 6th 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 

WILD TALES   ½
Showing at Paradiso on 5th & 6th May for Spanish Film Festival 
Then opens on 21st May at Luna General Sessions
   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.

New York Metropolitan Opera
Iolanta & Duke Bluebeard's Castle - The Met Opera
Screens Luna Leederville and Luna on SX Sat 2 May - Sun 3 May
Intriguing double bill, consisting of an enchanting fairy tale (Iolanta) followed by an erotic psychological thriller (Duke Bluebeard’s Castle). On the heels of her triumphant Met performance in Eugene Onegin, soprano Anna Netrebko takes on another Tchaikovsky heroine, starring as the beautiful blind girl who experiences love for the first time in Iolanta. In the second opera, Nadja Michael is the unwitting victim of the diabolical Bluebeard, played by Mikhail Petrenko. Both operas are directed by Mariusz Trelinski, who was inspired by classic noir films of the 1940s. Valery Gergiev conducts both operas. 


Confidence Man
Showing at State Theatre Centre 30th April - 10th May
CLICK HERE: More Info & Tickets


My thoughts
Me as the character Susan!
   You can't get more audience interactive at the theatre than with The Confidence Man. The audience are actually in the play! This innovative theatrical performance is so clever and so fun it should be illegal. 
   We knew we were in for a fun time as we descended the steps to the basement theatre at the State Theatre Centre, when we were greeted by a group of twenty-somethings who exclaimed excitedly they'd just attended the six-thirty performance and it was the "best fun."  Four of them had been in the play. They were so enthusiastic, I thought to myself, When would I ever get an opportunity to be in a play? So I promptly nominated myself to be a character. The only downfall being,I wouldn't get to watch or appreciate the whole storyline. My husband would have to fill me in later. There was a real air of excitement as the audience and the characters awaited the beginning of the play.
   Play participants are taken downstairs and briefed fifteen minutes before. We are still told nothing about the play; it's more about what to do if technical difficulties occur. So if you want to be a character, get there at least thirty minutes before and make yourself known to an usher near the door of the theatre. 
   The six participating audience members wear headsets underneath their big costume heads. Each character has his own audio track. As my character was Susan, yes, Susan, I would only hear her track and voice. I needed to follow the directions on my track, react and respond to the dialogue with gestures and movement even though I had not idea what was coming up or what was happening. 
   It was a lot harder than I expected, in fact. You don't know where anything is; you don't know the storyline; and you have a big head on. We were told not to worry if we made mistakes. That was the partial entertainment value for the audience, watching people goof off. I felt like I wasn't doing very much, while everyone else seemed to be gesturing and playing their role so well. My husband assured me, though, that I did a good job. You see, I had forgotten when I saw the others waving their arms around and putting hands on hips that they had their own separate track telling them what to do. As did I. You are kind of on auto-pilot while listening, so I didn't even realise I was gesturing as much as I was.

Each watching audience member is given a smart phone and headset, and they follow the story by switching between the six character's monologue tracks. It's easy to do as the phone screen has six heads relating to the six characters. You simply press the character to hear their track.  So while I'm chatting to my daughter character, Anita, the audience could choose to listen to the track of the baddies, or my husband character, Peter.
  The show is only an hour long, but a lot happens within the story in an hour. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. So much so, I'm going back again to watch the show and so my husband can experience being one of the characters.
  My husband enjoyed watching it as well, and I found it interesting afterward that I had to ask him what had actually happened, because while I was in the story, I missed the ins-and-outs of how the story progressed to the finale and how the plot was resolved.
   The play was created by Perth's own award winning Side Pony Productions, and I take my hat off (or should that be my head off) to these young playwrights and actors who came up with such a clever idea. I hope they create another story using the same concept.
  Try and get along to this event. You will be talking about it for a long time after, especially if you dare to become one of the characters. It's not expensive, and it's always a fabulous experience to visit the State Theatre Centre. Grab a meal in Northbridge after and make a wonderful, memorable night of it. Thank you to Perth Theatre Trust for our tickets, which were given in exchange for an honest review. I honestly loved it! 

What's it about 

Presented by Perth Theatre Company Created by Perth’s award winning Side Pony Productions and featuring vocal performances by some of Perth’s finest actors, this interactive audio experience places you at the centre of the action. When a bag full of cash is brought into Peter’s very ordinary home, his family finds themselves caught up in a sinister and disturbing chain of events. You are invited to step onto the floor and into this gripping thriller, experiencing first-hand the sordid betrayal and moral philandering that’s about to smother this suburban dream. Six audience members, equipped with masks and headsets, are guided through the story, experiencing events first hand. Those who prefer to watch can survey the action from the perimeter, eavesdropping on the characters’ most private thoughts and conversations.

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