Reviews written by registered user
|119 reviews in total|
On a rainy winter's day I loved watching the Blu-ray of Wes Anderson's stop action animated feature film of Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr Fox". The Blu-ray makes the most of the brilliant colours, minutely perfect detail, gorgeous surround sound and wonderful music (including The Rolling Stones to great effect). The voice actors Clooney, Streep, Murray and Gambon all turn in gifted performances. A valuable bonus is the extra 45 minutes of video which detail several aspects of the creation of the film - which makes the viewer value every second on the screen as part of two years of dedicated craftsmanship by a huge team of artists. I like that Wes Anderson has added a new prequel and sequel to Roald Dahl's original book, and that the resulting seamless "trilogy" has warmed the heart of Roald's widow (who appears in most of the bonus feature segments on the Blu-ray).
On the weekend I recommended this film to friends who had told me how
much they enjoyed the film "Christopher And His Kind" (starring Matt
Smith). A few days later I realised that my friends are (as with Chris
and Don) in a 30+ year relationship, with the younger man facing the
impending loss of his beloved through cancer.
So the part of the film which I am worried might be too distressing for them is when Don shares his experience of caring for Chris at home at the end of his life - which was of course extremely challenging, but exactly what they both wanted. I feel privileged to have been allowed such a personal view to this vital act of love - which is an integral part of their story, of lives well lived.
The documentary presents a great deal of interesting material about the life Christopher Isherwood shared with Don Bachardy (and we hear Don's honest first hand opinion throughout). While they were very much in love, it wasn't all wine and roses (I think very few relationships are). Chris wrote "A Single Man" at a time when Don had requested a trial separation and he was not at all confident that Don would return.
Don lives on in the house they shared for many decades and is a duly successful artist (a talent Chris had recognised in him and actively encouraged). The DVD edition comes with several cards of Don's work - including portraits of Chris.
"Chris & Don" is a magnificent testament to the reality of true love and to the value of commitment - and is much more effective in this regard than any other film I've seen.
Went to the Palace Barracks in Brisbane tonight with good gay friends to see "Weekend" - with confidence that it would be good, due to glowing reviews by respected Australian critics. I found this to be an intensely real film about lust, communication, honesty and love. There's so much to like about "Weekend":- beautiful direction and a very involving script, faultless acting, and truly astounding sound design (with immediately impressive original music too). I loved it. Don't wait for the DVD or Blu-Ray - this is a worthy big screen / big sound system experience to share with friends or a room full of strangers (I like that you hear people around you laugh, gasp, tutt and emote - and not in unison.)
"The Question of Equality" series is stylishly and professionally
presented, and each of the four parts is a self-contained view of the
evolution and modern history of queer identity. In a highly
entertaining format we follow the ongoing struggle for equitable (or at
least reasonable) treatment by the law - and the struggle for equality
in acceptance by family, friends, workmates etc.
So much care, energy and informed expertise has gone into making this series that they demand repeat viewings. Tons of valuable archival footage is combined with living treasures speaking from personal experience.
Men and women are equally represented - and for a change people of colour are given a strong voice. Queer youth are seldom adequately represented in media, but "Generation Q" deals with their real life & death issues and needs and calls for older queer activists to have the guts to fight in support of queer youth rights (rather than cowering in paranoid fear of paedophilic accusations).
The Question Of Equality provides the best quality entertainment while informing and empowering viewers to be proactive in improving their own lives and those of future generations.
Just as relevant now (2011) as it was in 1995, and equally relevant to viewers, like myself, who live outside of the USA. This series aired on ABC TV here under the title "Over The Rainbow".
True to the DVD cover art, "You Should Meet My Son" doesn't masquerade
as being anything other than light and fun entertainment, but it is
also honest and passionate. In brief, a young gay man has tried far too
hard to keep his sexuality secret from his mother and aunt - to the
point where his partner leaves for greener pastures. Brian's mother and
her sister discover the big gay truth and quickly dispense with their
culturally acquired bigotry. They then set out on a mission to find
heartbroken Brian a suitable gay male partner - taking a crash course
in gay community diversity and etiquette, but thankfully things are not
that simple (and only marginally overladen with stereotypes).
Keith Hartman does a wonderful job with the script - keeping things fresh, lively and relevant. Hartman also ought to take a deep bow as director in his first feature film - and he happily gives plenty of due credit to the talented crew he assembled to make this film always look beautiful and interesting, and to also sound wonderful (especially, as we learn from the commentary tracks, in quite challenging circumstances). The editing is particularly praiseworthy - my award goes to Donna Matthewson. The slightly surreal colours remind me very much of the UK original 1999 Queer As Folk series (NB: the cinematrographic quality is much better in this film - due no doubt to the improvement in digital technology.) I recommend that anyone who likes the film should also take the time to watch the DVD with each of the two commentary tracks - and then watch the film again with the original soundtrack. Your appreciation is significantly amplified, making "You Should Meet My Son" a film which you're likely to recommend to all your family and friends, and to enjoy re-watching with them any number of times. An excellent original music soundtrack adds further lustre.
The cast all do a fine job and they must be very proud of the final edit. It's no surprise that this has been an award winner at gay and lesbian film festivals.
I am highly impressed by every aspect of "I Love You Phillip Morris"
with brilliant performances by Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.
The Blu-Ray's extra features give an excellent overview of the production and of how the actors brought their characters to life - and they also verify that this is an incredible, all but impossible, yet true story of an unrelenting conman's unbounded commitment to love.
Ewan describes it best as "funny, tender and sweet". Superb production values, and gripping entertainment. A fantastic soundtrack and score too.
In 2001 Sony Pictures considered themselves to be very brave in making a big budget film with unapologetically gay characters - "The Broken Hearts Club". However I think those producers would have fainted after reading the script for " I Love You Phillip Morris". A great sign of progress is that a truly wonderful story imbued with comedy, romance and drama has not been limited by the reality of the sexual orientation of the characters.
The quality of the acting, direction, editing, cinematography and audio
are all very good. This film presents an inter-generational
relationship which isn't viewed as scandalous, nor should it be. Both
these men are above the age of consent and they know what they're
doing. In fact they share a similar age difference to Sir Ian McKellen
and his NZ partner (and nobody batted an eyelid).
This week I heard a New Zealand radio interview the film maker Christopher Banks in which he criticises "Brokeback Mountain" for having a tragic end for one of the characters, when "Communication" both opens and closes with tragedy. However the two films share the fact that lovers must learn to survive loss and live on.
I've yet to see a Jewish themed gay related film in which the lovers are both happy and alive at film's end. Death and depression are too often the dominant themes at LGBT film festivals and in a proportion well out of kilter with reality.
"Communication" ends on a hopeful note - but so did "Brokeback Mountain". In my opinion Annie Proulx's story and Ang Lee's film are equally magnificent and passionate classic works of art. "Communication" is not in that league, not by a long shot, but I can well understand why it is receiving praise and awards at LGBT festivals and the film makers deserve to be very proud of it.
Carla Smith Holloway writes a fantastic review - I agree completely.
In 2004 Australia's conservative dominated federal government, with the scandalous full support of the "liberal" opposing party, marched hand in hand with George W Bush by amending the Marriage Act to specifically exclude same sex couples.
Six years later, with a change of governing party, there's at least a possibility of marriage equality, but some Australian LGBT activists are being complicit in their own persecution by suggesting they might accept civil unions, rather than fight for marriage equality. I challenge them and any rational person to watch this film and yet fail to realise that marriage equality is a necessity as an option for all - not a pipe dream, nor a nicety.
While our Federal Law defines that we deserve discrimination, the Churches who hate us will continue to feel vindicated in active oppression, and too many youth will be rejected, or feel rejected, will self-harm or suicide, as a direct result.
"8: The Mormon Proposition" affirms that it's a case of you're either on the side of equality, which includes equality in marriage rights, or you're on the side of the bigots and must accept partial blame for all the harm caused by their intolerance.
This film will do good wherever it is viewed in the world.
The only person who deserves positive credit for Tru-Loved is whoever
edited the trailer, because it gives the distinct impression of a
cutting edge, highly relevant and entertaining film, but sadly the
trailer contains the only good and valuable few minutes of the entire
Tonight after just five minutes I was seriously thinking of pressing the fast forward or eject buttons, but since I'd paid $29 (Australian) I was determined to see it through. What a tragic waste of time and money (for myself as well as the filmmakers). Tru-Loved is bloated, limp and literally drips with cheese - and in spite of being obviously well intended, it manages to fail in every regard as acceptable cinema.
I was especially annoyed that there was so little skill demonstrated in the sound design. There were repeated scenes (mainly in the tree house) where the voices dropped so low that I had to pump the volume on my amp to understand what was being said - and even then the voices were being drowned out by the sound of the actors' footfall. I had to then quickly adjust the amp volume back down as the next scene blared out. That sort of careless attention to detail reflects directly on the technical quality of the whole film.
I had bought this DVD thinking it would be a youth positive asset for an LGBT community film night, but sadly it's much more likely to go in the bin (as did "The Curiosity Of Chance" and "Tan Lines").
I agree fully with my friend Ian's statement: "What 'Avatar' does is
change the standard formula for making a big film." I was very
impressed. I can't see a thing wrong with it, while having lots to
Avatar has set the highest imaginable standard for the amount of detail and the attention to perfection applied in every aspect of the images (including the three dimensional aspect) and with similar attention devoted to the sound design.
I find it hard to understand those who could not appreciate that the three dimensional aspect was a valuable factor in at least 90% of the film.
I was happy that the Pandora flora and fauna looked much more realistic on the big screen than they do in the bits I've seen on TV, and it doesn't require much suspension of disbelief in the cinema.
This is a very sound story too - just with the invading humans getting much less punishment than they clearly deserved.
Today James Cameron announced that in mid-year he'll be doing a cinematic release of the "director's cut" - with 40 minutes extra footage. I'd be happy to see that too - but I sincerely hope that they include an intermission. Even the original edit tests the limits of bladder control.
Every minute and effort put into the making of Avatar has been well spent - and I am in awe of the proved skill and devotion.
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