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Captain Fantastic (2016)
A movie old beyond its time
Diane and I viewed this, stick in your mind, film yesterday at the theater on Essex in Fremantle. Diane and I leave a movie, and our impressions are much the same but with Captain Fantastic it is different; our perceptions of what we just watched were based on her background in studying literature and mine were mere opinions of a movie attendee.
We both, probably because of our ages, have seen the theme worked a few times before and earlier to the germination of the entire idea of "dropping out." This film version at the beginning, when they were still in the forest, pressed too many buttons, "we've seen this done before and better because it was closer to the source." These scenes with the father acting like "army drill sergeant." didn't ring true.
We were also skeptical of the placidness of the children; only the one boy rebelled and the other five just absorbed all of the direction. I was happier with the movie during the last two-thirds when they left the forest and confronted the world as it is not as their father would like it to be.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
A Totally Enjoyable Film
Diane and I saw this film in Fremantle yesterday and both of us greatly enjoyed it. This film will soon point out its origins because of the quite staggering beauty of the backgrounds: one might say unequaled in the world.
Leaving my obvious enamor of New Zealand I enjoyed the script and the two lead actors: Sam Neill and his young sidekick, Julian Dennison. Neill plays a gruff Grey-bearded Bushie who is married to a young woman who heads a cast of exceptionally good fill-ins who take roles in this massively enjoyable film that devolves into a man-hunt for this very unlikely pair by equally unlikely searchers; however, the film does not in any way lose its enjoyment factor in the least.
Of course, there will be commentators who will trot out the "usual suspects": slack script, cardboard characters, actors that just mouth their lines, we have read all of these comments before if they have any pretension of "true film academia" but in my opinion forget that film is for enjoyment and Hunt for the Wilderpeople is for pure enjoyment.
A Month of Sundays (2015)
A delicious film about difficult life issues.
We saw this great film at Luna Essex several days ago and both of us relished the film; it was superbly completed with an equally superb cast of film experts working at their best in all aspects of movie construction. I should not demean any one of them by mentioning our favourites; however, the actors led by LaPaglia, Julia Blake as Sarah, plus the two Clarkes bring Australian actors centre stage for this marvellous Australian movie.
We were moved by the humanity of this movie; albeit, the plot may stretch the credulity of some viewers but do not worry, it is a simple movie that examines simple life conflicts. The pieces of the plot fit very snugly together and lead to a satisfying completion.
The movie's examination of our life's passages will be reflected in viewer's acknowledgement that these instances are prevalent in the simple act of being alive. Those pieces are manifestly part of the human condition and it was a pleasure to see them handled so gently in this sweet movie.
Where to Invade Next (2015)
I dare conservatives watch it
We watched this delightful movie yesterday and we both enjoyed it hugely. Yes, it had elements of typical Moore films in that it took major swipes at American society not so much in an anti-American diatribe but simply to present them with life alternatives so they might begin the long climb down from their red state arrogance.
As other commentators have pointed out, Moore is at pains to show segments of American society that, in my opinion, do not live up to segments of other greater or lesser socialistic models in other countries. Of course conservatives probably would not be caught dead watching a Moore film because they have their own preconceived notions of how America is to be operated and those notions have nothing to do with governmental interference with any aspect of capitalistic life.
The one or two-star reviews write at length about Moore's misconceptions regarding American society but they never come to grips with the substance of the reality of the situation in Europe. One commentator wrote at length about the troubles caused by foreign immigration into their heretofore uni-nationality homelands and they took advantage of freedoms that they had not known before.
If you are not already a closed minded conservative then view this film by all means; if you are a Red State conservative then continue pulling your shell over and dumb-down your mind until America dies from internal disease of its own making.
Woman in Gold (2015)
Brings reality to a strange historical episode
Diane and I watched this superb film last night on CD; we both thought that it was meaningful and brought an interesting perspective on a situation that we knew about but had not seen it take shape as a film. This film brought substance to situations large and small that confront people on both sides of the political/social spectrum. Even the two of us living on the edge of the cultural world, have heard stories of the concern felt by people inhabiting dwellings throughout Western Europe who see cars moving slowly past their homes wondering if they lived in the home previously owned by Jews; the people in the car were their relatives and perhaps wanted it back. There are a huge number of stories that revolve around these circumstances, not just concerning houses but artefacts such as this movie define so well.
This was a true story involving a very famous painting and the role played by Mirren and Reynolds was virtually perfect. Her role was enacted superbly in that she conveyed that anguish of not: wanting to return to Vienna, wishing to force an issue regarding the ownership of the painting and confronting old memories that had long-since been mentally buried.
The script revolves around her attempt to access the painting and as such she is involved in myriad court cases in America as well as Austria. Reynolds is the lawyer that handles her case; the film also revolves around the legalism of her attempts to regain the picture. Therefore, the film has these two sides: the legal and the emotional/historic.
I believe the Director did a marvellous job of taking the plot back to the original characters, as of 1938, when Anschluss joined Hitler's Germany to Austria. It was a very good technique in that the viewer could get some idea of the time period when all of this activity took place. Everything about this film is without error and extremely timely and therefore should be sought out and viewed.
Today's Special (2009)
Diane and I saw this enjoyable film last night and equally enjoyed the entire movie meaning that there were no slow spots anywhere in the film. Neither one of us knew any more about what we were to see accept that which was written on the back of the box containing the CD; therefore, the development of the movie was paced very well thanks to the director's sure grip on the progression of the film.
The cast universally played their roles extremely well. The film revolves around the failure of an Indian restaurant in New York and is saved, improbably, by an Indian raconteur.
Those wiser in the ways of movie scripting will say, quite correctly, that "Today's Special" is made up of "cardboard characters" with an easily anticipated script moves and I totally agree with those commentators; however, Diane and I, she of the much wiser movie critique ability, enjoyed the layout of this film very much. The characters were so good and as Indian film notables, so believable that any criticism can be deflected. Although there were only two major female roles it would be a definite must see "chic flic."
The Daughter (2015)
A wonderful selection of Australian actors but the script?
Diane and I saw this film several days ago at the Luna on Essex and it had nearly the largest audience I have ever seen at the theatre so the word must have gotten out about the quality of this movie. As I implied in my summary I was underwhelmed by the script. This is not to say that the picture was negative in any way but it was for me. Diane followed the twists of the script far better than I so her end satisfaction exceeded mine greatly. On the other hand, the actors followed the script beautifully, and those collection of actors were truly marvelous. Given that the actors were so good: Sam Nell, Geof. Rush, Miranda Otto, Odessa Young, Paul Schneider and my personal favourite, Ewen Leslie.
After reading the fulsome comments submitted by other commentators I am embarrassed at my poor overall opinion of this film; they and Diane understood the film better than I so please make your own evaluation.
English and Film majors should be able to find meaning
I got caught with this one; I like the movies I choose to see but this was pretty poor. Diane and I saw it this arvo on the strength of Michael Caine's presence but the script as well as the direction and editing let him as well as both of us down.
I confess at the outset that I do not like films by the Cohen Bros. or their trendy ilk probably because I have watched too many Australian films which are the exact opposite of these trendy Euro movies. I kept thinking while I watched this sharply cut piecemeal movie that it was very much like a metaphor for contemporary cooking where the plate has a dab of three or four sauces daintily spotted around the plate with small serves of the main course: it no doubt appeals to some but not to my taste. The comparison I am trying to make involves the piecemeal way the film is assembled which is very similar to the "deconstruction" of contemporary food on a plate. I don't like to reassemble food that I am eating nor do I like to assemble a movie that I am viewing.
I will not repeat the substance of the script but just be prepared for a segmented story with some excellent acting as well as all the other components that constitute a modern movie. It is the script and directorial problems that let the picture down.
Gracious me, how political movies pull out the comouflaged conservatives
Diane and I saw this Hollywood production of, what it comes down to, a political script/story of arguably a tipping point in recent American politics; therefore, I am going to discuss the film from that angle regardless of how "university" the "HATE IT" commentators try to disguise their essentially political comments. I think trying to attack the film on essentially artistic grounds is a "front" and commentators should be honest with themselves and their readers; "I am a conservative GOP voter and I think what these two TV commentators were just a front for their own political views." I realise that some commentators came close but they failed to drag their views out of the confabulation in which readers find themselves.
The movie, the substance of which, need not be regurgitated in this poor comment; I believed the information as it was presented about Bush at the time. After seeing the movie I am totally convinced that our president did not meet the same obligations as the rest of his not so rich nor connected compatriots across America. Yes, he lied and fabricated all that nonsense about being, legitimately in the Texas Air Natl. Guard and anybody that believes he was is truly following a conspiracy brewed in Karl Rove's fertile imagination: it sure worked though.
It becomes increasingly obvious as the film rolls on that the reasons behind the public submission and the reasons that were manufactured by Rove et al got Bush a second term. Not only do the "winners get to write the history" they also get the media version of events accepted. It sure worked in this story.
The Dressmaker (2015)
Another in the long line of delicious Australian movies.
Diane and I saw this wonderful movie just a day ago and we both enjoyed it tremendously. Diane was attracted by the subject matter: dressmaking in rural Australia while I knew nothing about the film. To be honest making dresses took a very modest amount of time but albeit several critical scenes in a complex story.
The complexity of the film rolled out fairly quickly and then seemed to me to plateau before picking up speed and then continuing along slowly before the conclusion of the film.
The interweaving of the characters of this very small country town was magical to someone like me who knew nothing about the story. I unashamedly love outback movies set in small country towns during a time set somewhere between WWI and the middle of the previous century. Be prepared to be subject to beautiful: set scenery, photography and acting.