Friday, August 28, 2015

Film Stuff 28th August 2015

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Rikki & The Flash  ½  (Opens 27TH Screens at most cinemas)
My Thoughts
   Sadly this music film is the complete opposite to the brilliant biopic Straight Outta Compton. It is simply dull and there’s no story. We are forced to sit and listen to Meryl Streep sing badly across from Rick Springfield for at least 30 minutes of the 101 minutes. If I wanted to listen to a bad pub band I’d go to a pub. In fact, I wouldn’t. I don’t want to listen to a bad pub band. 
   If they had at least played Jessie’s Girl I would have given it an extra star, but no cigar. Boring mess that was trying to beat us over the head with the idea that if you abandon your kids and you’re a woman you are perceived as a bad person whereas a man can and that's okay. These days I don't think we think that. If you abandon your kids, well, you reap the consequences no matter if you're a father or a mother. This story will have you believe if you want to make it all right again, then just go sing badly at your son’s wedding. Strictly for Meryl Streep die-hard fans, and even then it's her real life daughter Mamie Gummer who steals the show from her mom.
Film Blurb
  Meryl Streep takes on a whole new gig – a hard-rocking singer/guitarist – for Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody in Ricki and The Flash. In an original and electrifying film loaded with live musical performances, Streep stars as Ricki Rendazzo, a guitar heroine who made a world of mistakes as she followed her dreams of rock-and-roll stardom. Returning home, Ricki gets a shot at redemption and a chance to make things right as she faces the music with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer; Rick Springfield, portraying a Flash member in love with Ricki; Kevin Kline as Ricki’s ex-husband; and Audra McDonald as Kline’s new wife.

The Gift ✪✪  (Opens 27TH August Screens at most cinemas)
My thoughts
   I heard Joel Edgerton discussing this film on radio last week and it sounded really good. So maybe my expectations were high. It’s produced by Jason Blum who is the producer behind all the Paranormal films, Unfriended, Insidious, basically horror films, but also the recent brilliant Whiplash. So go figure.  
   While a few of the reviewers actually liked it and it's receiving very good reviews, I thought it was really only a DVD film. It’s also very slow and I feel I've seen this all before. Think Fatal Attraction meets The Cable Guy. Good to see Joel Edgerton, though over in Hollywood doing well. He wrote, directed and starred in this, alongside Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses). You might enjoy it or you might think what is with this hype.
n.b.  Thanks to Roadshow though for my lovely little gift. Creepy, but still nice. You have to see the film to get the joke. 

Film Blurb
Simon and Robyn are a young married couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter with an acquaintance from Simon's high school sends their world into a harrowing tailspin. Simon doesn't recognize Gordo at first, but after a series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts prove troubling, a horrifying secret from the past is uncovered after more than 20 years. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon and Gordo, she starts to question: how well do we really know the people closest to us, and are past bygones ever really bygones? (C) Styx

She’s Funny That Way  ✪✪✪½   (opens 27TH AUGUST—Luna cinemas)
My Thoughts
  This is more Woody Allen than last week’s Woody Allen film Irrational Man. It’s a throwback to screwball comedies of the olden days of Hollywood. Quite understandable as the director Peter Bogdanovich directed such classics as What’s Up Doc, Paper Moon, The Last Picture Show, Mask (Cher). Some of my favourite films of old.
   It’s a fun, pleasant ensemble piece to wile away a couple of hours. Stars Rhys Ifans, Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots,and Jennifer Aniston as the most terrible, meanest but very funny therapist. I quite enjoyed it and laughed throughout. I wouldn’t call it hilarious, but its still fun. Nice to see a comedy that doesn't go crazy with swearing and simulated sex.

Film Blurb
  From renowned director Peter Bogdanovich, SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY is a screwball comedy featuring the interconnected personal lives of the cast and crew of a Broadway production. When established director Arnold Albertson (Owen Wilson) casts his call girl-turned-actress Isabella "Izzy" Patterson (Imogen Poots) in a new play to star alongside his wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn) and her ex-lover Seth Gilbert (Rhys Ifans), a zany love tangle forms with hilarious twists. Jennifer Aniston plays Izzy's therapist Jane, who is consumed with her own failing relationship with Arnold's playwright Joshua Fleet (Will Forte), who is also developing a crush on Izzy. (C) Lionsgate

Kill Me Three Times director Q&A
Date: Monday 31st August
Time:  6:30pm
Location: Luna Leederville Details and Booking

   Join us on Monday 31 August  at Luna Leederville as we present a Talking Pictures Q&A screening with guest director Kriv 'Red Dog' Stenders who will talk about his latest film Kill Me Three Times, filmed in WA following the 6.30pm screening. Hosted by Travis Johnson film critic, cultural commentator, X-Press Magazine and  
   Kill Me Three Times, a comedic thriller directed by Kriv Stenders whose hit film Red Dog became a beloved favourite among home-grown and international audiences. His latest film couples the same fresh approach and sense of fun with a  comic darker wit. Produced by Tania Chambers (Tango Underpants), the film stars Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom), Alice Braga (On the Road), Teresa Palmer, Callan Mulvey, Luke Hemsworth and Bryan Brown,
   Acclaimed  British actor Simon Pegg is a charismatic hitman who  acts as the spark that ignites murder, blackmail and revenge in  sun-drenched West Australian  town. Having been hired by a wealthy gent (Callan Mulvey) to ‘take care’ of his wife (Alice Braga), this mercurial assassin gets down to business only to discover there’s more than one person after her. Throw in a gambling addict (Sullivan Stapleton), a small-town Lady Macbeth (Teresa Palmer) and a corrupt cop (Bryan Brown), and you’ve got the makings of a saga that rises to Rashomon-esque heights.

The Room
Date: Sunday 30th  August   
Time:  7:00pm
Location: LunaSX Fremantle Details and Booking
ALSO: 20th September Luna Leederville 7:00PM

   Throw your spoons! The Room is back on the Big Screen at Luna Cinemas  Leederville.  The evenings will be hosted by our resident  Room gurus  who will guide you through a really strange, bizarre & unique cinematic experience! Viewer guides and plastics spoons provided.
   Bring your friends and plastic spoons and join us once again as Wiseau returns to the big screen for another sensational night of this of the cult phenomena that’s so bad it’s good! The Room is basically a love triangle set in a San Francisco apartment building. But it’s filled with sub-plots that go nowhere, dodgy green-screen skylines, lots of un-sexy sex scenes and acting that wouldn't pass muster on a soft-focus soapie. The Room has garnered a massive world-wide cult following (especially in Perth!) leaving audiences stunned and laughing and is beloved by comic actors such as Kristen Bell, Paul Rudd and Alec Baldwin.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Quiet End by Nelson DeMille

A Quiet End (John Corey Book 7)My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved Nelson DeMille's earlier books. I've read all his books in the eighties. I can still remember scenes from the Charm School and that would be thirty years ago that I read that one. Then I lost touch with his work, until this book arrived in the mail from a publisher for review.

I wish I could say that I loved it, but it's too uneven and slow in pace for me. There's one part of the book that is exciting with the terrorist's perspective, and I thought, "oh yay, here is DeMille kicking in". Then the next section was back with the John Corey character, who I do like. However there was too much talk with him and not enough action.

There was also a lot of repetition of information from the two different perspectives. You also know from about 70 pages in who the baddies are and what they're up to. So it's up to DeMille to then keep the action happening to discover how they are going to thwart the terrorist attack. I don't think he managed to do this.

I would still give another of his books a go, base on how much respect I have for his earlier work. I do see that this is #7 in the series, so maybe the earlier books are better. Sometimes I think when you get to #7 of anything you start to lose the freshness.

However, I see a lot of people thoroughly enjoyed this book, so it could be my tolerance for the slower pace and lack of mystery that colors my view. In the end, far too quiet a story and a very quiet end (as the title suggests). It's called something else in other countries, but Australia/UK it's A Quiet End.

View all my reviews on Good Reads

Friday, August 14, 2015

FILM STUFF 14th August 2015

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Man From U.N.C.L.E. ✪✪✪✪✪  (Opens 13TH August Screens at most cinemas)
My thoughts
I’m a sixties child, so I grew up watching Man From U.N.C.L.E. and loved it to pieces. The interaction between the suave American spy Napoleon Solo and the skilled, but somehow always coming off second, Russian spy Illya Kuryakin was funny to me even as a child.
   There hasn’t been much hype around this film, so we went in expecting it to be another bad remake of a sixties or seventies show with its director Guy Ritchie being very hit and miss of late. Instead, there I was, along with my family, laughing, smiling, and thoroughly enjoying ever minute of this sophisticated, witty, and hugely entertaining spy caper.
  We meet Napolean Solo (Henry Cavill) in the early 1960s as he is sent behind the Berlin Wall to rescue Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander). She’s the daughter of a scientist whom the CIA believe was building a nuclear bomb for the Americans but has disappeared. They believe he is now working with a criminal organization, which spells disaster for the world. The CIA believe Gaby might be the key to finding her father.
   Enter the Russians, who task KGB spy Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) with stopping Solo from leaving with Gaby. After Kuryakin fails this mission, both men, surprisingly and suspiciously, find themselves forced to work together when their respective governments decide that in order to save the world they need to join forces.
   What follows is a hilarious caper of the two working together begrudgingly, along with Gaby (who creates the love interest tension so well) to find the missing scientist and avert disaster.
  The enjoyable part of the movie for me was how close Richie, who also wrote the script) stuck to the character tensions and amusing asides, which made the TV show starring Robert Vaughan and David McCallum such a treat. Even if you haven’t seen the original show, you will still revel in the wit and clever way Ritchie moves the story along.
   This story isn’t about the action, although there is action. It’s about the relationship and tension between the two men who have very different theological approaches to life and the job of spying. I hope this turns into a franchise. I don’t love sequels, but this is too good to stop at one. It’s a classy five out five star film.

Film Blurb
Henry Cavill ("Man of Steel") stars as Napoleon Solo opposite Armie Hammer ("The Social Network") as Illya Kuryakin in director Guy Ritchie's "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," a fresh take on the hugely popular 1960s television series. Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." centers on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo's only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.

IRIS  ✪✪✪½ star (opens 13th AUGUST—Luna cinemas))
My Thoughts
  We don’t know much about Iris in Australia, but apparently, she is the toast of New York fashion. I love her, too, now. She talks about not being considered good looking when she was younger, not ugly, just not stunning. So she had to make something of herself to get by. Fashion shouldn’t be boring and the same, she says. Hallelujah to that sentiment. She’s is a wonderful free spirit. At 93, her energy puts most people to shame. Even her centenarian husband is still getting around in flora pants and blingy baseball caps. Bless them both. Go along if you are looking for a little life injection.

Film Blurb
  From legendary documentarian, the late Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter), comes IRIS - which is much more than just a fashion film, it’s a story about creativity, design and how Iris Apfel's soaring free spirit continues to inspire. The quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old New York style icon and muse delights on-screen and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment.


Fabergé: A Life of its own
Date: Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th August
Time:  1pm
Location: Cinema Paradiso Details and Booking

   This captivating new event tells the fascinating story behind the most prestigious name in luxury: Fabergé. Enjoying unprecedented access to the most esteemed private collections, insights from world experts and interviews with the descendants of the Fabergé family, this is a rare opportunity to discover the genius of the family behind the finest objects ever created.
   The event features the extraordinary unveiling of two historic new pieces – the first new Fabergé egg in almost 100 years, and a lost treasure, recently discovered in America’s Midwest by a scrap metal dealer – and presents them exclusively to international cinema audiences, before they return to the secrecy of their very private collections.
   Experience the wonder of seeing Fabergé’s exquisite objects in stunning detail on the big screen for the first time.
    Fabergé. is a household name synonymous with wealth and opulence, frequently referenced in popular culture with appearances in the likes of James Bond (Octupussy), The Simpsons and Ocean’s 12.

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, A Man for All Seasons, Great Expectations, Brassed Off, Lawrence of Arabia with Peter O’Toole, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, The Third Man, Peeping Tom, Don’t Look with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, Slumdog Millionaire. Many other films from the forties, fifties through to the last decade.