Thursday, 28 July 2016

July 28th - this week:  
Embrace of the Serpent
The Second Mother
Jason Bourne

This week's releases will have to compete with the biggest thing in film: MIFF. Our homegrown 65-year-old festival is off and running after a splendiferous opening night which premiered the intriguing Melbourne-based film The Death and Life  of Otto Bloom. So if you're not too busy checking out the festival offerings ( there are a couple here really worth seeing. 

Embrace of the Serpent
Director: Ciro Guerra
Length: 124 mins

Set in the Amazon jungle in two different time frames, this remarkable film almost defies categorisation. It is based upon the true travels of two adventurers. The first was ethnologist  Theo Koch Grunberg in the early 1900s and the second  botanist Richard Schultes 40 years later.  In this powerful filmic reimagining of their stories, both men meet Karamakate, a solitary shaman, who in the past and present leads the men into the jungle in search of healing and sacred plants. The film deals with first contact between whites and these remote tribes, unexpected friendships that develop, and the associated issues of trust, brutality, betrayal, and misguided Christianity. Ultimately it is about respect for a culture that is so often misrepresented. This is possibly one of the most unusual films I've seen in many years, but if you allow yourself to be taken on the adventure it makes for compelling viewing. 

4.5 - Wholeheartedly recommended!
For a full review from ChrisThompson:

The Second Mother
Director: Anna Muylaert
Length: 115 mins
Exclusive to Cinema Nova

© Globo Films Cinema Nova - Regina Case blitzes in the role!
In Brazil class barriers are alive and well, as seen in this story of live-in nanny and housekeeper Val. She's like a mum to Fabinho, the son of wealthy Carlos and Barbara, while her own daughter Jessica is looked after by relatives. Val knows her place in society - they are the bosses and she is the servant - that is until Jessica comes to stay with her and life is turned upside down. Val is superbly acted by Regina Case, who has won several awards for her performance. The warmly engaging story is entertaining, while also being a thought-provoking look at what could possibly be seen as modern slavery. 

4 - Wholeheartedly recommended!!
For my full review: 

Jason Bourne
Director: Paul Greengrass
Length: 123 mins

© Universal - it's all action from start to finish
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is back, living off the grid and surviving as a free-fighter in northern Greece. When fellow ex-CIA agent Nicky gets hold of some "black ops" files all hell breaks loose with CIA director (Tommy Lee Jones), computer whizzkid (Alicia Vikander) and hired killer (Vincent Cassell) on the trail of Nicky and Bourne. 
What can I tell you? The action never lets up, and the settings are pleasing. Some segments such as the opening Athens riots are immersively engaging, but when it got to the totally ludicrous and overly long car chases, it lost me. I'm not saying it's a badly made film - it keeps the viewer in the moment, and I believe there is definitely an audience for this genre of film. Unfortunately it's not my genre and by the end I didn't really care about any of the characters. (Was great to see the gorgeous Vikander, however!)    

2.5 - Maybe!!
For a full review from a colleague who seemed to like it a lot more than I did, go to:
And of course from Cinephilia's Bernard Hemingway:

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