Thursday, July 30, 2015

Film Stuff 30th July 2015

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FILM REVIEWS
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation ✪✪✪½
(Opens 30th July most cinemas)
My thoughts
   #5 in the Mission Impossible franchise that began in 1996 (19 years ago, can you believe?) has arrived. Are we tired of Tom Cruise playing Ethan Hunt the super spy yet? Not me. Not if they keep writing scripts as good as this and pulling off thrilling action sequences like they have in Rogue Nation and the previous Ghost Protocol. This film keeps you so far on the edge of your seat that you are at risk of falling on the floor.
   Director Christopher McQuarrie who also wrote the script has an assured hand with the action and fight sequences. He also wrote last year’s Tom Cruise time-repeat thriller Edge of Tomorrow (one of my favorites) and the extraordinarily clever Usual Suspects. This talented writer knows how to weave suspense and thrills and make the incredible look, at the least, credible. He’s cut all dull dialogue and left us with enough humor to play against the outrageous stunts and seemingly impossible chase and heist scenes. It’s a touch long at 131 minutes, but they were clearly having fun. And so do we. 
   Relative newcomer to the big screen Rebecca Ferguson is a fabulous female spy (akin to a modern day Emma Peel of the original British TV show Avengers). She’s breathtaking and is as physical on screen as Tom Cruise. The other usual suspects are there. Simon Pegg reprising his role as computer geek Benji, a great comedic foil; Jeremy Renner as Brandt the head of now embattled IMF defending his team and department against head of CIA Alec Baldwin who doesn’t believe the department is necessary, and Vhing Rhames as Luther, tech genius, whose been there since the beginning.
   This film won’t win any Oscars, but I score it high because it delivers exactly what it promises, full-on action entertainment. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is what we go to the cinema to enjoy: action, adventure and star power at its best. Tom Cruise may have lessened himself in some people’s eyes from his couch jumping some ten years ago, his promotion of Scientology, and his misguided arguments around post partum depression. He is still, though, at 53, arguably the greatest action star alive and a pleasure to watch on screen. My advice is to accept this assignment and go see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation before it leaves the big screen. IMAX if you can. Rogue Nation is why I love films.

Film Blurb
Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate - an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.

TRAINWRECK  ✪✪✪✪ (opens 30TH July—screens at most cinemas)
My Thoughts
  I think it’s a sign of the times that a few recent films are about the problems of binge drinking. Drinking is a huge problem in society these days, and it’s good to see films dealing with the subject aimed at the right demographic (who hopefully will take note). The recent Australian film on out-of-control drinking Reuben Guthrie was well received by the critics.
   Now we have TRAINWRECK starring Amy Schumer (the current IT girl in the comedy scene). Schumer wrote the screenplay and the film is directed by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, This is 40). Both the direction and screenplay are smart and sharp. Something I wasn’t expecting from the film.
   The trailers don’t do it justice. TRAINWRECK looks like all the other so-socially-wrong-they-are-funny films. Most of which lately have been so socially wrong they’re NOT funny. TRAINWRECK, while being right up there with the most bawdy comedy I think I’ve seen, is a romance at heart. And a darn good one. While it might not be as uproarious as the filmmakers hoped, it has more depth than just going for laughs. It has wonderful character development, great cameo’s by sports stars and actors like Matthew Brodrick, real charisma between the leads, and a good well-rounded story. It’s worth seeing just for Tilda Swinton’s portrayal of Amy’s caustic editor. I love Swinton; she morphs into any role and is barely recognizable.
  I expected to hate it and be appalled; instead, I was charmed, amused, and walked away thinking what a great message it sends. Unlike most of these comedies where drinking and taking drugs is glorified and made to look cool, this film shows the damage binge drinking can do to your life.
  I lament sometimes that we’ve gone so far past the boundaries of socially acceptable humor, and the subsequent bore it’s become in films. If this is how it’s going to be, though, then let all the comedies be written by Schumer. TRAINWRECK is a modern comedy that works extremely well, and it’s as far from a film train-wreck as you can get. It’s another winner from Universal Pictures who are having a very good year.

Film Blurb
Since she was a little girl, it's been drilled into Amy's (Schumer) head by her rascal of a dad (Colin Quinn) that monogamy isn't realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo-enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment-but in actuality, she's kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she's writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.

SPECIAL EVENTS
THE GREAT BRITAIN RETRO FILM FESTIVAL
Date: Thursday 6th August 2015 – 19th August
Location: Windsor Cinema Nedlands               Details and Booking


   The first season of THE GREAT BRITAIN RETRO FILM FESTIVAL is here, a celebration of 19 classic British films rarely seen on the big screen films, made from 1939 to present day screening at the Windsor Cinema. Created exclusively as a RETRO celebration and Australia’s most awarded and high profile film critic, DAVID STRATTON will be the festival’s patron.
   Highlights include Hitchcock’s 39 Steps, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, Lawrence of Arabia with Peter O’Toole, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, Don’t Look with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, Slumdog Millionaire. Many other films from the forties, fifties through to the last decade.

La Traviata - Met Opera Winter Encore
Date: Saturday 1st August & Sunday 2nd August 2015
Time:  11:30 AM (SX on Saturday) & 1:00 PM sessions
Location: Luna Leederville & Luna Essex Fremantle  Details and Booking

   Natalie Dessay puts on the red dress in Willy Decker's stunning production, in her first Violetta at the Met. Matthew Polenzani sings Alfredo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky is Germont, and Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi is on the podium.
Conductor: Fabio Luisi; Production: Willy Decker; Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani, Dimitri Hvorostovsky. Originally screened: 2012


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