Thursday, 18 February 2016

You may wonder why so many of my reviews give a good rap to so many of the films,  and so few are negative. Well, I'm in the lucky position of not being compelled to see everything - I pick and choose and generally only choose what sounds promising. I'm not much into what I call popcorn movies - those big noisy blockbusters, or crude teen flicks - which is not to say there haven't been a few gems in that genre over the years. I call it like I see it, and for the most part it's the more serious stuff that calls to me, and I end up liking it - a lot!  


45 years 
Director: Andrew Haigh
Length: 96 mins

© Madman
How can you pass up a film with Charlotte Rampling (who is also nominated for a Best Actress for this role!) She plays Kate Mercer, married for 45 years to crusty old Geoff (Tom Courtney). As their party planning is in full swing, a disturbing piece of news comes to light. The body of Tom's ex-girlfriend, killed falling down a crevasse 50 years ago, has been found. The disturbance to this seemingly solid marriage is palpable, as Tom starts dwelling on the past, and Kate unearths secrets that prove her husband has been less than honest. This is classy film-making, with two of Britain's top actors giving it their all. Beware - it may stir up trouble in your household! 

Absolutely worth seeing!

For my full review:

Director: Jay Roach
Length: 124 mins

© Entertainment One
If you loved him in TV's Breaking Bad you'll be thrilled to see he is in contention for Best Actor at the 2016 Oscars. Bryan Cranston plays Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, one of many movie folk blacklisted back in the 1950s for his supposed "un-American" and Communist activities. The fun part is that, while banned, Trumbo still managed to keep writing (under pseudonyms), and even win a couple of Oscars!  Cranston is charismatic as the chain-smoking Trumbo, with Helen Mirren as gossip journalist Hedda Hopper, and Diane Lane as Trumbo's supportive wife. The era is superbly recreated, with some terrific sequences featuring notable Hollywood personalities of the day. "Commie-bashing", with its  paranoia and irrationality, has resonance for today's world. Another strong film, not without amusing moments,  about people with strength to stand up for their beliefs.

Definitely worth seeing!

For a full review from Chris Thompson:

Director: Peter Landesman
Length: 124 mins

© Village Roadshow
Will Smith plays real-life Pittsburgh coroner Bennet Omalu who discovered, in 2002, the connection between professional football and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a brain injury acquired from too many head knocks. After several ex-players start behaving crazily or commit suicide, Omalu does some serious research to discover why.  
Smith, in one of his best roles yet, portrays a gentle but determined man who takes on the corporate giant that is the National Football League. The film sports medical detail, a solid tense plot, a good moral stoush, and a fine cast of supporting actors including Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, David Morse,  and the beautiful Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Omalu's wife. Concussion is powerful, and no need to be a footy fan to get its importance (not the least for AFL players here).  

Definitely worth seeing!

For my full review:

Felix and Meira
Director: Maxime Giroux
Length: 105 mins

© Metafilms, JIFF and Lido
A delicate Canadian film from this year's JIFF (Jewish International Film Festival), portrays young Hassidic wife and mother, Meira, who feels trapped in her oppressive marriage. Her strict husband won't even allow her to listen to music. Walking out with pram and baby, Meira meets Felix, still Jewish, but much less religious, and a friendship slowly blossoms. This is a finely observed and very moving film that speaks to the possibilities of life outside of that which one knows - the idea that people can be different yet still connect. Impressive cinematography and lovely performances make this a gentle treat.

Well worth seeing!
Showing now exclusive to Lido Hawthorn.

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