Thursday, July 23, 2015

Film Stuff 23rd July 2015


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FILM REVIEWS
Mr Holmes ✪✪✪✪  (Opens 23rd July most cinemas & Perth Luna Cinemas)

My thoughts
   Ian McKellen is a divine actor. Best known for Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series and Magneto in the X-Men series. At 76, he has a considerable 109 screen credits. His portrayal of a frail 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes is probably one of his greatest portrayals. I felt every creaky step that he took and every frustration as Holmes tries to remember his last case, thirty years before. 
   This is not a typical Holmes story. There is a mystery to be solved, but it’s more a lovely, slow study of a fictional character in the very twilight years. It made me a little sad to see the wonderful Sherlock Holmes so lost and struggling with his age. However, the relationship the cantankerous Holmes develops with Roger, the young son (Milo Parker) of the housekeeper (Laura Linney), is beautiful and charming. A slow but worthwhile journey. The mystery solved at the end, perhaps isn't as grand as some other cases, but if you are looking for a take on what becomes of Sherlock Holmes that is thoughtful and intelligent, this is it. I believe it is based on a book.

Film Blurb
"Mr. Holmes" is a new twist on the world’s most famous detective starring Ian McKellen. 1947, an aging Sherlock Holmes returns from a journey to Japan, where, in search of a rare plant with powerful restorative qualities, he has witnessed the devastation of nuclear warfare. Now, in his remote seaside farmhouse, Holmes faces the end of his days tending to his bees, with only the company of his housekeeper and her young son, Roger. Grappling with the diminishing powers of his mind, Holmes comes to rely upon the boy as he revisits the circumstances of the unsolved case that forced him into retirement, and searches for answers to the mysteries of life and love – before it's too late.

13 Minutes ✪✪✪✪  (Opens 23rd Perth Luna Cinemas)

My thoughts
   This is a tough film to watch. Many of the foreign language films dealing with WW2 and the Nazi invasion are not only fine dramatic films, but they pull no punches in delivering the horrific events that occurred. 13 Minutes is one of the most disturbing I’ve watched. There are a couple of scenes were I had to hold my hands over my eyes. I just couldn’t bear the images. 
   Yet, I’m hugely glad I saw it. I always say that as difficult as these films are to watch, we need to bear witness to what has occurred, so we're always reminded this can never happen again on our watch. It’s one of those films that will keep you thinking for days and weeks after. The bravery of this man, Georg Elser, and the terrible misfortune that but for 13 minutes, a war might have been averted and millions saved is haunting. It’s the kind of thing novelists play with in going back in time. Bravo to German director Oliver Hirschbiegel, nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar for a previous film Downfall, he certainly doesn’t shy away from tough scenes. Go in expecting to be moved and sickened yet again by events that are sadly true.

Film Blurb
During Hitler's anniversary speech on November 8, 1939, a man is arrested on the Swiss border for possession of suspicious objects. Just minutes later, a bomb explodes in the Munich Bürgerbräukeller, immediately behind the Führer's lectern, killing eight people. The man is Georg Elser (Christian Friedel), a carpenter from Königsbronn in the Swabia region. When a map of the site of the assault and detonators are found on him, he is sent to the head of the Criminal Police in the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, Arthur Nebe (Burghart Klaussner) and the head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Müller (Johann von Bülow) to be questioned. From them, Elser learns that his attempt has failed – that the man he wanted to kill in order to stop the bloodshed of the World War that had just begun, has left the Bürgerbräukeller 13 MINUTES before the explosion. For days, Elser is interrogated by Nebe and Müller, for days, he holds out against their questions - he looks back at how National Socialism slowly metastasised in his home village. how he attempted to oppose it with his best friend Josef Schurr and how he had to turn away from those he loved because of his plans - until he finally confesses and relates the story of his deed.

The Gallows ✪✪ (Opens 23rdh July most cinemas)

My thoughts
   This is one of those found -footage films. You know the ones filmed on a shaky hand-held camera or phone, like every teenager runs around holding a camera for hours on end. Mine won’t even carry their jackets for more than five minutes. 
   It’s very silly and relies heavily on things jumping out at you. I have enough grey hair already, thank you. If you like the Paranormal series and all those types of films, then you might like it. I personally found all the hanging sequences pretty unsettling. The characters are also really quite despicable and annoying, so I was rooting for the killer or ghost or whatever he was. I can’t judge whether a film is scary or not. I’ve seen too many. Sorry, enter at your own risk.

Film Blurb
   Twenty years after a deadly freak accident at a high school play, a misguided attempt to re-stage the play and honor the student proves that some things are better left in the past.

Self-less ✪✪✪  (Opens 23rdh July most cinemas)

My thoughts
   This could have been a very good film. It has the always charming and good looking Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley who is always grand, and a good supporting cast. It’s a great idea and the initial first thirty minutes are intriguing. Then exit Ben Kingsley and enter him supposedly in Ryan Reynolds body and it all becomes one big chase thriller.
   We don’t need another so-so chase thriller. What we need is a thoughtful examination of what it means to be alive and connected to people, which this could have been if more thought had gone into fleshing that out. I’m sure the producers went this route thinking if they didn’t throw in chase and fight scenes, then they wouldn’t come within a mile of a multiplex. 
   It’s not terrible, but it’s probably more an entertaining Saturday night DVD stream. I will say one thing, we saw this at Backlot Studios and the special effects soundtrack was amazing. Filmed and recorded in some new way (sorry, I didn’t pay attention when they told us) I’ve never heard gunshots sound so realistic or film look so vivid. It might be just Backlot having an amazing sound system, but I sure noticed the difference.

Film Blurb
   In this provocative psychological science fiction thriller, an extremely wealthy man (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body's origin and the secret organization that will kill to protect its cause. (C) Focus

Underdog  (Svenskjävel) ✪✪✪½  (Screens @ Scandinavian Film Festival Cinema Paradiso)

My thoughts
   This film was screened for the launch of the 2015 Scandinavian Film Festival. I have a real passion for Scandinavian films. If you don’t like subtitles then you are missing out on some of the best cinema you will see. This is a sweet film beautifully acted. It’s simply about the difference anyone can make in a life. Be warned, the Swedes have no problem with full frontal nudity or sex scenes.

Film Blurb
   23-year-old "Dino" (Bianca Kronlöf) dreams of a different life. Like an abundance of Swedes her age, she has fled the mass unemployment of her home country in search of a more worthwhile existence in a nouveau-riche Oslo. But her new life is caught in deadlock - Dino finds herself stuck in a destructive loop of temporary jobs, financial trouble and hard partying. A broken arm incidentally leads to a position as a housekeeper in a Norwegian middle-class home. Dino is thrown into a reality very far from her own. During a few sultry summer weeks she ends up the centre of an odd love triangle, an unpredictable struggle for affection as well as dominance. "Underdog" is a tender and raw story of privilege and longing, yet at the same time a humorous and unmerciful observation of the shifted power balance between Sweden and Norway - an actuality where Swedes have become the Norwegians' servants.

SPECIAL EVENTS
THE 2015 SCANDINAVIAN FILM FESTIVAL
Date: Thursday 23rd July 2015 – 29th July
Location: Cinema Paradiso               Details and Booking


   After the stunning success of the debut Scandinavian Film Festival last year, the 2015 program, presented by Palace and Luna Palace Cinemas, will showcase the most exciting dramas, comedies and thrillers from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland.
   Other highlights include the multi-award-winning Icelandic drama LIFE IN A FISHBOWL (Vonarstræti); critically acclaimed Swedish-Norwegian production UNDERDOG (Svenskjävel); Finnish comedy THE GRUMP (Mielensäpahoittaja); the follow-up to last year’s festival smash-hit (THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES) THE ABSENT ONE (Fasandræberne); the wry and humorous OUT OF NATURE (Mot nature); and Amanda Adolfsson’s longed for dreamy debut YOUNG SOPHIE BELL (Unga Sophie Bell).

National Theatre Live: The Audience
Date: Saturday 18th to Thursday 30th July 2015
Time:  11:30 AM & 1:00 PM sessions
Location: Luna Leederville & Luna Essex Fremantle

   Helen Mirren reprises her Academy Award®-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II in encore screenings of the original West End production of The Audience, captured live in London in 2013, and featuring an exclusive new Q&A with key members of the cast and creative team.
  For sixty years, Queen Elizabeth II has met with each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a private weekly meeting. This meeting is known as The Audience. No one knows what they discuss, not even their spouses.
   From the old warrior Winston Churchill, to the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, Blair right up to today’s meetings with the current incumbent David Cameron, the Queen advises her Prime Ministers on all matters both public and personal. Through these private audiences, we see glimpses of the woman behind the crown and witness the moments that shaped a monarch.
   The Audience is written by Peter Morgan (The Queen) and directed by two-time Tony Award® winner and Academy Award®-nominated director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) and was presented in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries
Tony Award Winner 2015:
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play Helen Mirren, The Audience 
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play Richard McCabe, The Audience

 

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