Friday, February 20, 2015

Film Happenings 20th February 2015

How quickly is time flying? My children have been back at school for three weeks now, and my feet haven't touched the ground. In between their activities, film watching, and book reading, I have been madly editing my next book MESSENGERS.  

It's turned into quite the thriller, and next week it wings it's way to my editor in the USA. If you love a free book, sign up for my newsletter, because every person on there will be receiving an early eCopy for absolutely FREE. Expected release date is early April. Click here to join.

Now on to why you are here... films. I only saw a couple this last week, but they were goodies. Enjoy my film friends.

Rosewater  ✪✪✪✪ (opened 18th Feb) – Limited Screening at Luna Cinemas 
My thoughts
   Rosewater is a topical film with the recent release of Australian journalist Peter Greste after 400 days in a Cairo prison after being accused of spreading propaganda for the Muslim Brotherhood. It seems every time you open a newspaper or watch the news, a journalist or aid worker has been captured in the Middle East and is held prisoner. This is based on a true story and is quite an incredible look at the terror behind the headlines of these captures and imprisonments.
   In 2009 journalist, Maziar Bahari, was in Tehran, his home city, reporting on the elections. He was, at the time, living in London with his wife and was a Canadian citizen. After sending back to the BBC footage of the street riots, he comes to the notice of the Iranian government. While being interviewed in Iran, at the same time, by comedian and satirist Jon Stewart of the “Daily Show,” Stewart jokingly asserts they are spies. Bahari is, subsequently, arrested by a man calling himself "Rosewater." For the next 3 ½ months he is tortured and interrogated and believes he is going to die, and has no idea what is happening in the outside world or if his wife even knows where he is.
   This is an impressive directional debut by Jon Stewart, who also co-wrote the screenplay and co-produced. It’s a compelling drama, with a strong performance by Gael Garcia Bernal and supporting cast. A drama well worth seeing. It also gives you a greater insight into the horrors of these international political prisoners.

Film Blurb
Rosewater is based on The New York Times best-selling memoir "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival," written by Maziar Bahari. The film marks the directorial debut of "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, and stars Gael García Bernal.
Rosewater follows the Tehran-born Bahari, a broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship. In June 2009, Bahari returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mousavi's supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad's victory declaration hours before the polls closed, Bahari endured personal risk by sending footage of the street riots to the BBC. Bahari was arrested by police, led by a man identifying himself only as "Rosewater," who tortured and interrogated him over the next 118 days. With Bahari's wife leading an international campaign to have her husband freed, and Western media outlets keeping the story alive, Iranian authorities released Bahari on $300,000 bail and the promise he would act as a spy for the government. (C) Open Road Films

’71  ✪✪✪✪ (opening 23rd Feb)  
Showing Somerville:                    23rd Feb to 28th Feb
ECU Joondalup Pines:      Not showing

My Thoughts
   The Hollywood Reporter has touted ’71 as the best British film of last year, and I tend to agree. It’s also a bit of a history lesson on the sheer horror of the political conflict in Belfast between the loyalists (the Protestants) wanting to remain within the United Kingdom and the Irish nationalists (mostly Catholics) wanting to join a National Ireland. It’s another film that walks us into the ugly territory of war and plonks us in the middle of IRA homeland.
   Jack O’Connell, who has recently been seen in Unbroken and 300: Rise of an Empire, (and just one the 2015 BAFTA Rising Star Award)  is terrific as the young soldier, Gary Hook, who is accidentally left by his squad behind enemy lines. He can’t even open his mouth to speak for fear his English accent will give him away.  

   It is a real edge-of-your-seat thriller. There are some confronting violent scenes and it certainly brings home what a tumultuous time this was in the history of Ireland with the IRA. ’71 is one of the best films that I’ve seen on the subject. Don’t miss it, especially under the stars at Somerville.

Film Blurb
Accidentally abandoned by his unit on the hostile streets of Belfast, a young soldier (Jack O'Connell, 300, Skins, This is England) must survive a long night in the riot-torn city at the height of the Troubles in 1971.
Bruising and brilliant, this highly acclaimed thriller captures the deceptions, power abuses and errors committed by all sides, leaving you breathless as the young private’s fate hangs in the balance.


Art on Screen: Girl with a Pearl Earring
Sat 28 Feb - Sun 1 Mar at Cinema Paradiso

My Thoughts
All I knew about this painting until last year was from the film, Girl with a Pearl Earring starring Scarlett Johansson. I haven’t seen this film, yet, but I think I might try and catch it. Last year I saw a documentary entitled Tim's Vermeer made by Penn of Penn and Teller fame, documenting his friend, Tim Jenison, prove that Vermeer used a type of camera technology in the 1600s to paint his incredibly life like paintings. He actually reproduced one of Vermeer’s masterpieces ‘The Music Lesson,’ without ever having painted before. For those who love art and can’t afford to hop on a plane to visit the Hague, this film might be the next best thing.
Next up in April is Van Gogh.
Film Blurb
Discover the secrets behind one of the world’s most enigmatic masterpieces. After its world tour, the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ returned to the much-loved Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands, which has just completed extensive renovations. Enjoying unparalleled exclusive access to this historical exhibition, the film takes the audience on a journey as it seeks to answer many of the questions surrounding this enigmatic painting and its mysterious creator, Vermeer. Using the recently completed and highly complex makeover of the museum as its starting point, the film goes on a behind the scenes detective journey to seek out the answers that lie within the other masterpieces housed in in the collection.

A beachside cinema has been approved at Scarborough and Matisse Beach Club confirmed via social media overnight it has received approval to screen movies every Tuesday night for 12 weeks, with headphones distributed to patrons to render the cinema effectively silent. Two more are under submission. CLICK HERE FOR INFO:

Lotterywest Festival Films Somerville & Joondalup Pines
Salt of the Earth 16th Feb to 1st March Documentary: Moving portrait of great Brazilian photographer, Sebastião Salgado, following his fascinating life across war-torn countries to the ends of the earth.
’71  (UK/Irish) 23rd Feb to 28th Feb See Review above.

LUNA Outdoor Cinema (opened Thursday)  Visit:

RoseWater See Review above

CAMELOT Outdoor Cinema)
Grand Budapest Hotel
The Theory of Everything

McDonalds Community Cinema Burswood
CINEMAS are also at Mandurah, Murdoch, Bassendean and Curtin
Highlights showing at Curtin:
Pitch Perfect starring Rebel Wilson
Water Diviner

Highlights showing at Burswood:
Girls' Night Out screening Wednesday 25th Feb - special GNO Sparkling packs are available for $49 & Crystal packs for $39
Dirty Dancing starring Patrick Swayzee and Jennifer Gray

Chinese New Year Fireworks Screening Saturday 21st Feb
Chinese New Year fireworks presented by Crown Casino just after their special family screening of BIG HERO 6. The fireworks commence after the screening.

This weekend, you might like to catch. Every other screen is showing Fifty Shades of Grey

If you find value in my reviews and film guides, then buying an ecopy of any of my books is a great way to say thanks and keep me in coffee. My latest Back Again is only $3.99, less than a coffee. Click here to choose.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Film Happenings 13th February

An interesting week in film with the record breaking Fifty Shades of Grey, now the biggest box office release in Australian history. Who would have thunk it. And then there's The Interview, the film that supposedly the North Koreans didn't want us to see. Plus a few other good films to catch. With this hot summer we are having in Australia, sitting in an air-conditioned cinema certainly seems a great idea. So go out and watch.


Fifty Shades of Grey
Opened on Thursday but I haven’t seen it. A few critics quotes:
  • West Australian website gave its story the heading: Critics give 50 Shades a good spanking.
  • Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says: I'm shocked - shocked, do you hear me?!? - that the film version of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey is such a dull, decorous affair, about as erotic as an ad for Pottery Barn. Strictly intended for gluttons for punishment-by boredom.
  • Leigh Paatsch of the Herald Sun says: Overall, no-one's going to be needing a cold shower after this.
  • A leaked memo from British DIY store B&Q said staff had been asked to prepare for an increase in demand for rope, cable ties and tape.
Selma (opened 5th Feb) - Screens wide ½ ✪✪✪½
My thoughts
It’s an interesting story and, of course, it’s heartbreaking to watch the way African American’s were treated. David Oyelowo in the lead role of Martin Luther King certainly embodies the man. The speeches are inspiring and powerful. It is clear why King was such a catalyst for change and why people were prepared to follow him, sometimes, into dangerous situations where they were injured and killed. However, it dawdled along and felt more like a very good midday movie. It’s an Oprah production, and I do find that a lot of her films have that feel. If the topic is of interest, I think you will enjoy.

Film Blurb
Nominated for Best Picture for Oscars & Best Original Song with Glory, which won the Golden Globe for the song. SELMA chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernays (C) Paramount

The Interview (opened 12th Feb) - Screens wide ✪✪½
My Thoughts
This is the film we weren’t supposed to see, which sparked all the controversy about freedom of speech, when supposedly the North Korean government hacked Sony Films website and stole confidential emails and released them on the internet. Then supposedly terrorists from North Korea threatened that if the film was shown they would blow up the cinemas. Later it turned out that it was someone inside Sony who had hacked their system. That aside it was good publicity for what is a pretty dumb film. You know going in that any comedy with James Franco & Seth Rogan involved is going to be crude, rude, and aimed at the younger male audience. I like these guys, but this one is pretty lowbrow and probably insults every minority, women, and men, and mocks Asians. I kept thinking where are they going to go next? There is nothing left to shock us anymore. Go see if you absolutely must see every Seth Rogan film and love crass comedy.

Film Blurb
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show "Skylark Tonight." When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un. (c) Sony

Citizenfour - Snowden Revelations ✪✪✪✪
Luna Leederville opens 12thFeb at Luna Leederville & Luna Outdoor Cinema  TICKETS:
My Thoughts
This is an engrossing, unbelievable tell all of what we have suspected for a long time but is actually happening now. Our privacy is no longer a given or a right; the US government is spying on every one of their citizens. Like everyone, I have nothing to hide, and there is an argument to be made that this is how we are protected in this era of terrorism. However, what happens when they get it wrong? This is one film that is guaranteed to create a LOT of conversation and debate. Fascinating.

Film Blurb
In January 2013, Poitras was several years into making a film about surveillance in the post-9/11 era when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as "citizen four," who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The film that resulted from this series of tense encounters is absolutely sui generis in the history of cinema: a 100% real-life thriller unfolding minute by minute before our eyes. Executive Produced by Steven Soderbergh. (C) Radius
Love Is Strange ✪✪✪✪
Showing at Somerville until this Sunday, 15th Feb
ECU Joondalup Pines from 17th to 22nd Feb
My Thoughts
John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are beautiful as a just married gay couple who have been together for 39 years. It feels very real, as if you are a fly on the wall in this poignant story of love, family and navigating the difficulties that life throws at us. My heart just ached for this couple and for the families who took them in. A perfect film to see under the stars at Lottery West Films

Film Blurb
After 39 years together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are finally able to marry, but when George loses his job soon afterwards, they are forced to sell their apartment and temporarily live with friends and family – separately.

As they inexpertly navigate life under other people’s roofs, Ben and George juggle the complexities of familial bonds but, ultimately, reaffirm our essential need for connection in this joyful portrait of love in all its forms.

THAT SUGAR FILM ✪✪✪✪✪ (40 stars out of 5 actually, which is the number of teaspoons the average Australian consumes a day of hidden sugar)
Showing at Luna Leederville & Luna SX
Q&A Screening Event on Monday 23 March at Luna on SX at 5.30pm & 6.15pm (6.15pm SOLD OUT) and Tuesday 24 March at 6.45pm at Luna Leederville (due to popular demand!) with Australian actor, TV star Damon Gameau (Underbelly, Balibo), who presents and  talks about his revealing debut documentary feature that  looks at the effects of sugar on our  health following the evening session.  Joining Damon will be a health professional and health food advocate.

Film Blurb
THAT SUGAR FILM is one man’s journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. THAT SUGAR FILM will forever change the way you think about ‘healthy’ food.

Lotterywest Festival Films Somerville & Joondalup Pines
Currently showing:
Salt of the Earth 16th Feb to 1st March Moving portrait of great Brazilian photographer, Sebastião Salgado, following his fascinating life across war-torn countries to the ends of the earth.
Love is Strange (USA) stars John Lithgow & Alfred Molina

LUNA Outdoor Cinema (opened Thursday)  Visit:


CAMELOT Outdoor Cinema)

McDonalds Community Cinema Burswood
CINEMAS are also at Mandurah, Murdoch, Bassendean and Curtin
Highlights showing at Curtin: Pitch Perfect starring Rebel Wilson, Water Diviner
Highlights showing at Burswood:  Friday 20th Feb. 7:45pm Paper Planes 10:30pm screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show

This weekend, you might like to catch: