Thursday, March 17, 2016

Film Stuff March 17

This week I've been busy listening and editing my Audible of Deadly Messengers.  My wonderful voice artist Anne JohnstonBrown did such an amazing job. I know if you choose to listen you are going to enjoy your experience. Its like a new book.

So that has kept me busy. I'm chipping away at the edits of The Troubles Keeper. Finally I received the paperback proofs of the new covers of all my books. They are gorgeous. You can order them very soon. Just a couple of minor changes and they will be good to go.

Now off to the movies. I caught a few films that had already opened where I missed the previews. So a few to check out. Please, too, if you have any feedback or want to ask any questions about my books, just email me at susanmay21@iinet.net.au  

I've officially worked out how to quickly turn my weekly radio spot into a podcast, so you will always find that here on a Friday since I'm on air on Thursday afternoon, and it takes me that extra time to edit it and post it up. Jenny Seaton and I have a lot of laughs, so I recommend you sign up at iTunes or Podcast Bean to receive a feed of the podcast. You can also search at those sites by Film & Book Stuff.  That way you will never miss out. Also, please give it a rating or review. This really helps with rankings.

Catch you next week.



SON OF SAUL ✪✪✪✪✪ Opens March 17 2016 Luna Palace cinemas
   László Nemes conceived of the film from the book The Scrolls of Auschwitz. This was a collection of testimonies by Sonderkommando members, also known as Geheimnisträger (bearers of secrets). He discovered this during the production of Béla Tarr's The Man from London in 2005 when he was working as Tarr's assistant. He was further inspired by Prof. Gideon Greifs' book "We Wept without Tears" to create a film dedicated to the Sonderkommando assigned surely the most horrific task during the Holocaust. They were the workers who under threat of their own deaths were used to assist in the crematoriums and gas chambers in the extermination camps. These poor men, because of their knowledge, were only kept alive for four months or so and then gassed themselves. Only a handful of men survived from the several thousand who were part of these squads, which due to their termination lasted around 14 generations.
  Nemes struggled to get funding for the film because of it’s sensitive material and, also, as he had no experience. Finally the Hungarian National Film Fund funded the film with 1.8 million Euro.
   The film is strikingly immersive due to the unusual choice of filming with a 40 mm lens and the Academy aspect ratio of 1.375:1. Basically, the image looks nearly square on screen. This delivered shallow focus and a narrow field of vision, blurring images around the main character Saul, played remarkably by New York City-based Hungarian poet Géza Röhrig who hadn’t performed in a role since the 1980s. Sound postproduction was a laborious five months of work. It was intentionally created vivid and striking as a focal point in opposition to the extremely narrowed imagery, with eight languages dubbed during the process.
  Now this film is certainly not for everyone. As a film enthusiast it was a must see for me. The experience of watching is hell. This is probably the most gut-wrenching film I’ve ever seen. It feels so personal as though you’ve flown back in time and are right there, right there in a place you never want to be. However I also believe we must witness these types of films, because if these people’s stories are not told, then it feels as though we are negating them. So if filmmakers from these countries, so scarred by war, feel compelled to tell their stories, I feel personally that I must see them to pay homage.  This is not entertainment. Son of Saul is a tortuous thought-provoking visit to recent history, but you won’t find a better-crafted film on the atrocities of Nazi Germany. Future generations of filmmakers will study it.
   I don’t think I will ever forget the experience, and as I walked back to my car I wished I didn’t have those images in my head but, strangely, I’m also glad I saw it. It certainly puts our privileged lives in perspective and drives you to hug your children a little tighter. These poor people, who endured the unspeakable, are you or me in the wrong place and time. Honor them and go see this film so that we can tell the stories of their lives to our children and remain determined that this will never happen again on our watch.

Film Blurb
László Nemes painfully poetic drama insists on the meaning of an individual life. A prisoner grave-digger in a Nazi camp wants to see his son buried in the proper way October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer (Géza Röhrig) is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkomando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child's body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner's Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.
   An extraordinary debut feature from Hungarian filmmaker László Nemes that took Cannes by storm and won the Grand Jury prize, SON OF SAUL is devastatingly intimate cinema about history’s most unimaginable and unspeakable horrors. (Hungarian, Yiddish, German and Polish language, English subtitles)
Winner Academy Award 2016: Best Foreign Language Film
Winner Golden Globe 2016: Best Foreign Language Film
The Spirit awards 2016: Winner Best International Film

Zootopia  ✪✪✪✪½  (opens March 17 Most cinemas)
Usually if a film hits all the clichés we weary critics blast it for its lack of originality. Zootopia takes every character stereotype and plays it for all its worth. That’s what makes it work so well. It’s also one of the cutest films I’ve seen in years. The characters are fluffy gorgeous, want-to-eat-them up in a lovely way, not dinner way. The voice talent are simply a suburb match. Jason Bateman as the wily fox and Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps are perfect. There’s much to keep the little ones entertained and plenty of adult references to popular culture to keep the adults laughing; references for instance to Jessie and Walter as henchman drug dealers and other film (48 Hours) and TV characters. The scene with the sloth at the DMV is too fabulous and hilarious.
   At our screening most of the little kids seemed very happy. You can always tell if they’re not engaged; at some point, you start seeing kids climbing up and down the aisle stairs. My teenagers liked it but didn’t love it. So I think teenage girls, young ones, and the adults are those who are going to get a kick out of this. Bravo Disney and executive producer John Lasseter (Toy Story) and the team. They continually manage to come up with wonderful new characters and stories, never ceasing to amaze and delight me, and millions of others.

Film Blurb
In a world populated by anthropomorphic mammals, Judy Hopps, a rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow, fulfills her dream of becoming the first rabbit officer in the police department of nearby city Zootopia. After graduating valedictorian upon being presented as the new Zootopia Police Department member by Mayor Leodore Lionheart, she is assigned parking duty by Chief Bogo who doubts her potential due to her being a rabbit and thus smaller than most of the large animals on the force. During one of her shifts, she meets Nick Wilde, a con artist fox, and his partner Finnick. Together they become an unliekly team in search of missing citizens.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE  ✪✪✪½   March 10 2016 (Most Cinemas)
   This is a smart little horror-mystery film. The extent you enjoy it will depend upon how willing you are to go the whole way with J.J. Abrams vision. He must have been a fun, wildly imaginative kid. The film started life as a script titled The Cellar, but during production under Bad Robot Productions, it evolved to become what producer J. J. Abrams described as "a blood relative" or spiritual successor but not "a literal sequel" of the 2008, shaky cam film Cloverfield. This might give away some of it, although you won’t know until the last twenty minutes what is really going on.
   Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a great job as the confused woman who awakens to be told by her benefactor, a doomsday prepper, played so creepily by John Goodman, that there has been some kind of attack and he’d brought her to his bunker to save her.
   My tough film critic kids liked it, but the thirteen year old mentioned it freaked him out a little. I’m very glad to hear Abrams is going to make this into a loosely connected series in his downtime from all his other major franchises. It’s fresh and different and small budget, but it has that ‘big idea’ concept.
   It’s produced by Bad Robot, which is an American film and television production company owned by J. J. Abrams, responsible for the television series Alias, Lost, Fringe, Person of Interest and Revolution alongside the feature-length films Cloverfield, Star Trek, Super 8, Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Trek Beyond.
  More Cloverfield and more of this type of innovative stories please. Good on Abrams for giving a director Dan Trachtenberg who has no huge Hollywood experience the reigns. Special note: the voice of Michelle’s boyfriend Ben (literally a few lines) is Bradley Cooper.

Film Blurb
A young woman wakes up after a terrible accident to find that she's locked in a cellar with a doomsday prepper, who insists that he saved her life and that the world outside is uninhabitable following an apocalyptic catastrophe. Uncertain what to believe, the woman soon determines that she must escape at any cost.

Embrace of the Serpent ✪✪✪ (COLOMBIA/ VENEZUELA/ ARGENTINA)
UWA Somerville:          Monday 21st March—Sunday 27TH  March
ECU Joondalup:           No Joondalup sceening

Filmed in black and white, which gives this film an austere mood, despite the beautiful scenery in which it is filmed. I’m sure the director chose this in order for us to pay attention to the story and the message. There’s a beautiful naivety to this film, and yet it packs a wallop. You feel as though you, too, like the characters are carried along into an alien country in a dream. I learned so much about the devastation of the South American jungles and the damage to its people’s culture by the Western World intent on mining it for its rubber and anything else they can make money from. This film is poetry and resonates deeply within you. All the reviewers with me really enjoyed it. However, I don’t think it is for everyone. It’s not action packed and there is much left for your to decipher. If you are seeing it though at Somerville here in Perth, I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to see a beautiful film about appreciating nature and the fine balance of sustainability.
Film Blurb
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, this exquisite, dreamlike tale of Amazonian adventure is a treat for all the senses. In 1909, German scientist Theodor Koch-Grunberg travelled down the Amazon to learn about its people and search for a fabled healing plant. Thirty years later, American Richard Evans Schultes tried to repeat Koch-Grunberg ’s research. Embrace of the Serpent is a poetic, philosophical and even trance-like journey through time and space, full of gorgeous images, strange thrills and potent ideas.

THE WITCH: A NEW ENGLAND FOLKTALE Opens March 17 2016 (Luna Palace cinemas)

I didn’t attend the preview, but, boy, the trailer sure makes it look dark and creepy. I’m almost glad I missed it.
     
Film Blurb
A Devout family in 1630's New England turns on itself in trying to discover a  cause  for  a  string of misfortunes   blighting them. In 1630s New England, a farmer is cast out of his colonial plantation and forced to move his family to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest that is rumoured to be controlled by witches. Almost immediately, strange and unsettling things begin to happen - the animals turn violent, the crops fail, and one of the children disappears, only to return irrevocably changed. As suspicion and paranoia mount, everyone begins to point the finger at the farmer’s teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy). They accuse her of witchcraft, which she adamantly denies... but as circumstances become more and more treacherous, each family member's faith, loyalty, and love will be tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.

London Has Fallen (opens March 17 2016 Most cinemas)
Not reviewed yet, but this is the follow up to Olympus has Fallen. Stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhardt, and Aussie Rhada Mitchell. Doesn’t get great reviews and they didn’t preview it here in Perth, which never bodes well, but if it’s your cup of British tea to see London decimated, might be worth a look.
                                 
Film Blurb
After the British Prime Minister has passed away under mysterious circumstances, all leaders of the Western world must attend his funeral. But what starts out as the most protected event on earth, turns into a deadly plot to kill the world's most powerful leaders and unleash a terrifying vision of the future. The President of the United States, his formidable secret service head and a British MI-6 agent who trusts no one are the only people that have any hope of stopping it.

THE DAUGHTER ✪✪✪½   (Opens  March 17 Luna cinemas)
My Thoughts
  The interesting thing about this Australian film is that it is an adaptation of an Ibsen play from the late 1800s. It does feel very much like a play, too. However, it has strong performances from the leads who are, for the most, international stars: Geoffrey Rush, Miranda Otto, Sam Neill, Paul Schneider, and worth seeing for their performances. Newcomer, Odessa Young, who also starred recently in Looking for Grace, really has a huge career ahead of her. I’m sure she will be stolen away by Hollywood shortly.
I can’t say I enjoyed this film. The subject matter is dark and the characters other than poor Hedvig the daughter (Odessa Young), around which the story centers, are reasonably unlikable. Still it does have fine production values and keeps you guessing until all is revealed. I just didn’t buy the responses from the characters at the end, and the rather dramatic and gut-wrenching final scene is tough to watch. You do find yourself thinking what would you do. However I think the characters’ responses would feel more realistic if this had been set in the era of it’s source material, where people would be less enlightened. Still bravo to the producers for picking up a play from more than one hundred years ago and turning it into a modern day drama. It's a moral drama most people will find thought provoking and worth seeing.

Film Blurb
Acclaimed actor and stage director Simon Stone makes his highly impressive debut in feature filmmaking with this adaptation of his award-winning play The Wild Duck featuring a top-flight Australian cast in an emotional & unsettling drama of family life. In the last days of a dying logging town, Christian (Paul Schneider) returns after a long absence to his family home for his father Henry’s (Geoffrey Rush) wedding to a much younger woman. While home, Christian reconnects with his childhood friend Oliver (Ewen Leslie), who has stayed in town working at Henry’s timber mill and is now out of a job. As Christian gets to know Oliver’s wife Charlotte (Miranda Otto), daughter Hedvig (newcomer Odessa Young), and father Walter (Sam Neill), he unearths a devastating secret that could tear Oliver’s family apart.

SPECIAL EVENTS
Chicks at the flicks
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 
Date: March 23
Time: 6pm Festivities 7 pm Film Screens
Location: Event Cinema Innaloo Details and Booking

Opa, get ready for a fabulous night out filled with laughter! You’re cordially invited to another Big Fat Greek Wedding as our next Chicks at the Flicks event! Tickets: Traditional $26 Vmax $30  Gold Class Package $70

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 reveals a Portokalos family secret that will bring the beloved characters back together for an even bigger and Greeker wedding.

The 27thAlliance Française French Film Festival


Date: Opens 16th March–7th April
Time:  Various Times
Location: Cinema Paradiso, Northbridge, Luna on SX, Fremantle & Windsor, Nedlands Details and Booking

   The 27thAlliance Française French Film Festival will return to Luna Palace Cinemas in March with an exceptional array of contemporary French cinema guaranteed to delight, stimulate and indulge.
    Presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, uniFrance Films and the gracious support of globally renowned Principal Sponsor, Peugeot, the festival will present a truly thrilling line-up of 48 titles featuring the best French and indeed, worldwide acting talents. Nine evocatively named sections will include highlights such as director Jacques Audiard’s 2015 Palme d’Or winning masterpiece DHEEPAN, as well as A PERFECT MAN, LOVE AT FIRST CHILD, MARGUERITE, MON ROI, FIRST GROWTH, TAJ MAHAL, UN PLUS UNEand VALLEY OF LOVE. Five of France’s most
popular television shows will also appear.

AN AFTERNOON AT THE OPERA
MARGUERITE
Date: Opens March 20
Time:   3:30pm for drinks and sweet finger food, and live entertainment. Film Screening at 4pm
Location: Windsor Cinema Details and Booking

 Join French film fans for an Afternoon at the Opera with a special screening of MARGUERITE. The afternoon will begin with a drink on arrival and sweet finger food, live entertainment followed by the film screening. Wealthy Marguerite Dumont (the multi award-winning Catherine Frot) loves to sing passionately for an avid crowd of friends and devotees. The only problem is she's terrible! A merciless dissection of class pretensions, this was a resounding favourite on the Lido at the Venice International Film Festival in 2015. Consummately filmed, richly complex and cringingly hilarious, this is one for all lovers of fine cinema done well, and great music done very badly.

TASTE OF FRANCE
FIRST GROWTH
Date: Opens March 24
Time:   6:00pm for drinks and wine related activity. Film Screening at 6:30pm
Location: Cinema Paradiso Details and Booking

Enjoy a taste of France with a glass of red wine on arrival and a wine related activity followed by a screening of Premiers Crus - First Growth.
   Bursting with sumptious cinematography of the vineyards of Burgundy, an assured cast and a feel-good script, FIRST GROWTH is vintage French film-making about the art of making wine.
   The story concerns Charlie, the son of a wine grower who left his vineyard home to become a renowned Parisian oenologist and the author of a hugely successful wine guide. When Charlie returns to help his family's failing enterprise he struggles with tempramental weather, a delicate grape and the doubts of his father (Gérard Lanvin, Get Well Soon - Festival 2015). Can the wine critic become a wine producer?

NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: AS YOU LIKE IT
Date: Friday March 19 & Sun March 20
Time: 1:00pm  Saturday and Sunday  (check Luna Cinemas site for exact times)
Location: Luna SX & Luna Leederville Details and Booking
Approx RT: 3 hours 6 minutes

Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and change comes to the National Theatre for the first time in over 30 years, with Rosalie Craig (London Road, Macbeth) as Rosalind. With her father the Duke banished and in exile, Rosalind and her cousin Celia leave their lives in the court behind them and journey into the Forest of Arden. There, released from convention, Rosalind experiences the liberating rush of transformation. Disguising herself as a boy, she embraces a different way of living and falls spectacularly in love.

OUTDOOR CINEMAS

Lottery West Film Festival Somerville
Moonlight Cinemas
Details and Booking
Date: December - March
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm  
Location: Synergy Parkland in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Enter from May Drive.

Films of note this week: 
Kung Fu Panda 3 Fri March 19
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Advance Screening) Tuesday March 22
Eye in the Sky (Advance Screening) Wednesday March 23

Burswood Outdoor Community Cinema
Details and Booking
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.30pm Film commences 7:45pm
Location: Burswood, Bassendean, Mandurah, Murdoch
Run by over 700 volunteers, they proudly donate all profits to kids charities. To date we've raised over $6 million for kids in a health or physical crisis.

Films of note this week
Kung Fu Panda 3
Concussion (Will Smith)  
Spotlight
Deadpool

Rooftop Movies
Details and Booking
Date: Runs to March
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: City of Perth Roe St car park LEVEL 6 NORTHBRIDGE

Films of note this week: 
Open until this Saturday, but all films are now sold out. That’s a wrap until next Summer.

Camelot Outdoor Movies
Details and Booking
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park

Films of note this week: 

All the Oscar Films:
Brooklyn, Spotlight, How to Be Single, Trumbo

Luna Outdoor Movies
Details and Booking
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8.15 pm
Location: 155 Oxford Street, Leederville (tickets & entrance Luna Cinemas)

Films of note this week: 
The Witch
The Daughter

LOTTERY WEST FILM FESTIVAL
Details and Booking
Date: 23rd November to 10th April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: Somerville UWA & ECU Joondalup Pines

Films this week:
Embrace of the Serpent (COLOMBIA/ VENEZUELA/ ARGENTINA)
UWA Somerville:          Monday 21st March—Sunday 27TH  March
ECU Joondalup:           No Joondalup screening

Filmed in black and white, which gives this film an austere mood, despite the beautiful scenery in which it is filmed. I’m sure the director chose this in order for us to pay attention to the story and the message. There’s a beautiful naivety to this film, and yet it packs a wallop. You feel as though you, too, like the characters are carried along into an alien country in a dream. I learned so much about the devastation of the South American jungles and the damage to it’s people’s culture. This is film is poetry and resonates deeply within you. All the reviewers with me really enjoyed it. However, I don’t think it is for everyone. It’s not action packed and there is much left for your to decipher. If you are seeing it though at Somerville here in Perth, I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to see a beautiful film about appreciating nature and the fine balance of sustainability.
Film Blurb
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, this exquisite, dreamlike tale of Amazonian adventure is a treat for all the senses. In 1909, German scientist Theodor Koch-Grunberg travelled down the Amazon to learn about its people and search for a fabled healing plant. Thirty years later, American Richard Evans Schultes tried to repeat Koch-Grunberg ’s research. Embrace of the Serpent is a poetic, philosophical and even trance-like journey through time and space, full of gorgeous images, strange thrills and potent ideas.

Rams (not reviewed) ICELANDIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
UWA Somerville:          Monday 14th March—Sunday 20TH  March
ECU Joondalup:           Tuesday 22nd  March –27th March

Film Blurb
Gummi and Kiddi are brothers and neighbours, yet they have barely spoken in 40 years. They are rival famers in a tiny sheep-breeding community, hemmed into a remote Icelandic valley. Men of immense pride but very few words, Gummi and Kiddi are forced to interact when their rams are threatened by disease. A thread of deadpan Nordic humour runs through this tale of sheep, liquor, stubbornness and deep-buried love, which was a major crowd-pleaser at the Cannes Film Festival.

Miles Ahead (not reviewed) (USA)
ECU Joondalup:           Tuesday March 15 –March 20

Film Blurb

After changing music forever, not once but multiple times, Miles Davis disappeared from public view in 1975. Afflicted by painful health problems and nursing both a drug habit and a broken heart, Davis slunk into wary, reptilian hermitage in his chaotic New York apartment. This fascinating episode of Davis’ life, incorporating his fleeting flashes of creative alchemy, is captured by director and leading actor, Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda). Oscar-nominee Cheadle has made a film for fans and newcomers alike; it’s a gutsy, absorbing account of Davis’ complexity, and a demonstration of how to depict a mercurial genius.

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