Thursday, 18 August 2016

August 18th - this week:  
Kubo and the Two Strings
Latino Film Festival
Motorkite Dreaming

Yep, another film festival hits the screens, along with a seriously intelligent dialogue driven drama, a delightful animation set in Japan, and a 3-night only screening of a very special Aussie adventure doco. 

Director: James Schamus
Length: 110 mins

© Roadshow - Logan Lerrman is a strong screen presence
Did you ever read Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth? If you did, you'll know his fondness for themes of adolescence and sex, which feature in the novel upon which this film is based. Set in the repressive 1950s, it's the story of Marcus (Logan Lerman), who comes from a confining Jewish family, and heads off to a Christian University in Ohio, to escape his parents and being conscripted into the Korean War. At college he does battle with the Dean (Tracey Letts), and rails against all the traditions of the institution. He also falls headlong for gentile blond bombshell Olivia (Sarah Gadon). The film features top performances by the three leads, and also some intelligent dialogue, in which Marcus defends (with indignation) his right to follow his own path. The sexual moral code of the day comes under scrutiny, and all combine to make for a compelling and thought-provoking look at life choices and their ramifications.   

3.5 - Recommended!
For my full review:

Kubo and the Two Strings
Director: Travis Knight
Length: 101 mins

© Universal
This animated action adventure is set in a mythical Japan, in the Samurai era. A young boy, Kubo, plays his instrument, a shamisen, and tells stories to a captivated audience. He accidentally summons up evil spirits, and must go on a quest to find a suit of armour to protect himself and save the world. His companions are a giant beetle and a snow monkey.  Before you dismiss animation, let me stress there are often meaningful messages in such films, not to mention visual beauty, and gob-smacking technical effects. The stop-motion animation is awesome, including a six-metre tall fearsome skeleton puppet! The use of origami figures coming to life is simply magical. Top-calibre actors voice the characters - Charlize Theron, Matthew McConnaghy, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes and Rooney Mara. I'm not sure if it might be a bit difficult for little ones to comprehend, but it's a worthy look for animation fans and those who appreciate the aesthetic and culture of Japan. 

3 - Recommended

Cine Latino Film Festival
Melbourne - August 17-31
Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth

If you haven't overdosed on Rio Olympics, you can now sample the best of Latin film-making with offerings from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela. 
Fans of Gael Garcia Bernal should enjoy Neruda, a story of Chile's Nobel-Prize winning poet on the run. 
For fans of the thriller/horror genre, I highly recommend the Peruvian film, The Womb. This is a chilling tale of Silvia, a 45-year old widow who employs a young maid Mercedes. When Mercedes falls pregnant to the handyman, life looks promising for the young couple, until Silvia's sinister agenda becomes apparent. 
The possible standout of the program is the closing night film Argentina, from top Spanish film-maker Carlos Saura. For fans of dance film, this should be unmissable.    

3.5 - Recommended!
For all the details of screenings, times and places:

Motorkite Dreaming
Special Melbourne event screenings:
Lido August 24th, 7pm; Cameo Belgrave Aug 26th, 7pm; Como August 27th 4pm

Fresh from the HotDocs Festival comes a special touring event featuring this extraordinary Aussie adventure film. Director Charlie Hill Smith follows friends Aidan and Daryl as they take to the skies flying 4000 kms from Australia's south to north, across 5 deserts, and over the traditional homelands of twenty indigenous nations. They follow songlines and connect with the world's oldest living culture. The film is highly entertaining and a heart-stopper, as the boys are flying what are virtually kites powered by lawnmower engines! The magnificent views of our great country are something most of us will never see - except in this film! 

4 - Wholeheartedly recommended!
For all the details of screenings, times and places:

For more about the film:

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