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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Don't look for the dirt beneath the carpet you might find a mirror
Diane and I saw this film several days ago and I immediately wanted to see it again; she, on the other hand, could not allow herself to see it again. We both discussed the film later but she said that she did not have the stomach to see it again because although she was far beyond being naive enough to disbelieve what was on the screen, she was not prepared to watch the bottom-hugging activities of the film. I too was not surprised by anything that I saw on the screen however, I just wanted to see the parts that I probably missed the first time; although the film is about three hours long, it moves so quickly that it would easy, at least for me, to miss not only the dialogue but some of the visuals.
I have nothing but praise for the acting, the script, the direction and the set direction; I saw nothing in the film to criticise. The enormity of the evil played before our eyes was nothing less than staggering. It would be easy to say that the film exaggerated the events but the limited amount of time I have spent socializing with business people leads me to believe that the events in the film could easily happen given the people making the decisions.
The old saying, business is business and nothing personal meant can be blown up into the visuals on the screen. Once a person believes that screwing another person is just how business is conducted then it takes little imagination to see how that mental palate can be adjusted to the extent that virtually anything can be allowed. This is a hugely damning movie for any business that works on the premise that "business is business."
Mystery Road (2013)
The usual suspects will dislike this film for the usual reasons.
Diane and I watched this under rated beaut on TV several nights ago; I was totally absorbed in the film. Sure, all the aspects of film that upset people will be trundled out to smear this movie but pay no attention to them; pay attention to the marvellous script that uses minor plots to magnify the larger story. Of course anytime you try to make an action film using indigenous actors in main roles you will have naysayers degrading the film for using stereotypes but disregard these comments I found the film very interesting with no dull patches at all. The script was well done and the actors doing their roles to the best as far as I was concerned. The collection of actors both male and female, Anglo and Indigenous were superb. I think that another role played but receiving no credit was the remarkable landscape where the movie was filmed. The dryness of the small town was palpable after watching only the first sections; it was as if a bad metaphor had been dropped into the film but the burnt scenery eventually took on more than just a palate upon which the film was acted out.
I love our films and this one was no exception; there was a palpable sense of doom that was going to catch these people and that doom could not be reconciled. It would need to be played out.
Brilliance on film!
Diane and I saw this brilliant film at Luna on Essex several days ago and we had the same conclusions as to the depth and excellence of this film. We both love watching Judy Dench in any film in which she appears. I believe that this role was hers; it seemed to be written specifically for her because she stepped into the role perfectly. I could find no mistakes in her accent or in the believability of her reactions in the script that called for the subtlety of people confronting who must confront vastly different features of life in different parts of the world.
The script was knowingly written on many levels and as any traveller will immediately recognize those confronting episodes. The script cleverly introduces aspects of what happened to mothers and children the world over. Here in Australia we must deal with the history of "The Stolen Generation" and here in my state of Western Australia is located a place called Fairbrige Farm where children were taken before they were adopted; Coogans' script was extremely truthful and extremely will acted.
A beautiful slow paced film that draws you in.
Diane and I watched this understated but lovely film on TV last evening. We both thought that it was a gorgeous film, superbly acted by both Bottoms and Smith who played their characters accurately from beginning to end.
As opposed to other commentators I found the script married perfectly with believability as well as drama in that I just watched the film and, in its slow pace, let the peacefulness of the film roll over me. The slow pace of the film allowed me to admire the cinematography which I thought was exemplary in that the slowness allowed the viewer to take moments looking at the scene. This quietness allowed the camera shots to become beautiful stills with an existence on their own. The director chose the shots but the cinematographer decided what to do with the shot selected and his decisions were generally perfect.
Other commentators found the story too improbable but we let the mood of the film envelope us. The motivations of the two characters could easily be seen. The scenario many not be the most common but the circumstances of the story could easily find traction in many situations.
We loved the film; it was so different from the mindless junk being served to us by Hollywood today.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Allen's look at New York is superb
Diane and I saw this film several hours ago at the Luna on SX in Fremantle (Go the Dockers) and both of us were blown away by this superb Woody Allen film. The acting, led by Cate Blanchett, was outstanding; both of us could find no fault with any of the secondary characters, although in the film they stood out so strongly that a viewer could be forgiven for even thinking they played "secondary" roles.
In some movies I tend to lose attention to the acting and watch the photography, camera angles, set decoration, locations and costumes but in this film I was totally consumed by the acting, particularly of Blanchett but also by all the secondary roles; they were superb! Of course Allen's script was a magnificent tableau upon which this New York world could be displayed for all of us "common" people who do not have the wherewithal to act upon such a "glamorous "stage. We must imagine that the substance of this film actually exists in the more rarefied neighborhoods of the Big Apple and it is to Woody Allen that we must thank for bringing these scenarios to the screen. I lived some years in San Francisco so my comfort was with that aspect of the film.
Blue Jasmine is a brilliant film; please make an effort to watch a movie where Hollywood gets it right rather than relying on car chases, murders or Walt Disney talking human look-a-likes.
La migliore offerta (2013)
A world few of us will ever see.
To me this was a sleeper of a movie; I knew nothing of the content before going so I was swept up in plot and therefore was surprised by the outcome. I did not anticipate all that would happen. I enjoyed Rush's performance greatly; the man would have to be one of the greatest actors in the English speaking world. The other characters play their roles perfectly and they matched each other to a tee but Rush stood out.
Diane and I thought the script was virtually perfect also. It gave an ordinary person like myself a peek into the world of hugely expensive art collecting.
Beyond the "nuts 'n bolts" of art auctions the movie develops into quite a mental thriller for which I was totally absorbed to the last minute. If you like mysteries and thrillers then definitely put this one on your "don't miss" list.
Red Dog (2011)
A beautiful, peaceful very gentle movie.
Diane and I saw this gem last night on TV because, unfortunately, we missed it when it was on the big screen some months ago. I adore Australian films; they are everything that Hollywood isn't: warm, believable, non-violent, real, heart-warming, under-the-top.
The "critics" seemed to dislike the film for all these reasons: these were absent from this true story. I have read their critic comments and they have thrown in those word-gems that any person commenting about a film can always pulls out; that action in itself is the cliché' that they fulminate against. These critics and commentators have a folder filled with words and phrases that they use if the film is actually a believable, human film that is something to which a person can relate.
The film itself takes place in an area of this state in which I live; an area that is hugely rich in iron ore but an area that is extremely hot, isolated and difficult in which to live. This area is home to people of a calibre that I could never hope to be: strong, resilient and stoic. Therefore, for people (mainly guys because of the nature of the work) with these personality traits to show such respect and love to a stray dog says something positive about them. Yes, they do fall into personality types; the core of the film, humans bonding with animals, has been seen many times before but who wrote the rules for script writing. Screen coldness is out of date, its old hat; it has been seen in all its forms and it comes up wanting more times than not.
Red Dog is a story from which many, many elements can be wrung. Rent it, you will not be sorry!
The real America
Diane and I watched this marvelous movie this afternoon at the Luna on Essex in Fremantle and both of us enjoyed it tremendously. It is an unexpected movie in that it has nothing to do with those dumb Hollywood cartoons with the life-like human figures nor does it have exploding cars doing end to end special effects. No, this film is quiet, atmospheric and more European than the mind numbing stuff of which Hollywood seems unable to divest itself.
My uncle told me years ago that as a young man he spent about a year living on an uninhabited island in the Mississippi River; this would have been sometime at the end of the 19th century so I was particularly interested in seeing how this story was filmed in terms of the island flora. It was very good and very real (at least by my conventions of what an island in the middle of the river should be like.) The actors were particularly well cast and followed through their roles excellently. Diane was taken by the acting quality of the two boys, the accuracy of their dialog exchanges as well as the sympathetic handling by the actors of the unifying concept of love and its expression under the varying differences of wealth, age, and sex.
This is a wonderful American movie and gives the viewer faith that it is possible to make "small" movies of superb quality in Hollywood.
Behind the Candelabra (2013)
A great movie of a Fifties icon!
Douglas must at least be nominated for an Academy award for this one because he, at least to Diane and I, slipped seamlessly into his character as Liberace, the masterful entertainer that filled the TV screens during those early days of TV in the Fifties. Hollywood really got it right when they decided to take the book written by Daemon's character and converted his insights into the life of this great entertainer into what became this masterful look into Liberace's life. Thorson, the author as well as the second character in the movie, wrote what seems to be a very fair portrait of himself and Liberace, warts and all.
I remember listening to Liberace's TV shows as a kid during the Fifties and not really caring for much of anything about him: his demeanor, his dress nor his music. He did not need me in his audience though; obviously the blue rinse set were his fans and he was exceptionally good at giving them what they wanted, glitz and talented piano playing.
Isn't it interesting that certain very talented people appear on the scene at critical times and had it happened later or earlier that talent would have gone unrecognized? It is sad to see people with huge amounts of talent but they appear at the wrong time; Liberace didn't!
Before Midnight (2013)
Such an enchanting yet painful exploration of love.
Diane and I watched this third leg of the trilogy of similar movies yesterday and enjoyed it so much we watched the first one on DVD at home that evening. The story has many elements of our own romance: meeting in Europe, talking our way through darkened streets and trains playing an important side role. Fortunately we avoided the stress of their relationship (ours is 40 years and stronger) so beyond those fleeting intersects their story is not ours. It does, however, go some way in explaining why both of us love these three movies and particularly yesterday's: the third one. I think this movie is a phenomenon; I was continually amazed that Hollywood would financially back a film centred on the relationship of two people who are on camera for the entire film. This film had trains rather than exploding cars, gentleness rather than aggression and intelligent talk rather than interminable shouting. This film was so un-American in that it was built around two people talking to each other for the length of the film. These two people exchanged ideas constantly; they talked about ideas rather than simply talking about the mundaneness of life: what's for dinner, who does the shopping, are we getting a good deal from the tradie, etc. Before Midnight was such an endearing film because it had people talking about the "glue" that held their relationship together and this makes the movie a massive cut above others; these people actually have subjects of substance to say to each other. As a viewer you might get tired of this constant dialog but to us it was refreshing. I would recommend that you make every effort to see this film and if you already haven't rent the previous gems so the story gets filled in.