Thursday, 10 November 2016

November 10th:  
Neon Bull
Nocturnal animals
Russian Resurrection Film Festival

Two blogs in one week!! It just goes to show the plethora of films and festivals releasing at present.  The must-see is Nocturnal Animals - what a masterful film. 

Nocturnal Animals
Director: Tom Ford
Length: 115 min

© Universal - Adams and Gyllenhaal are superb! 
Prepare to be seriously impressed by this immaculately crafted story within a story. Susan (Amy Adams) runs a successful avant-garde gallery but is unhappy in her marriage. One day a manuscript arrives, written by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) and dedicated to her. The novel tells of a family travelling on a lonely West Texas highway, when they are terrorised by a carload of thugs, with devastating consequences. As she reads the story Susan becomes progressively affected, reflecting upon her life. 
It's a long time since I've seen a film that engaged me so deeply, especially since it tells two stories. Gyllenhaal also plays the father in Edward's novel. His depiction of each separate character is nothing short of brilliant. This is also possibly Adam's best work to date, and with the amazing Michael Shannon as the Sheriff  investigating the highway attack, you've got a near-perfect cast. The story within the novel is extremely tense and distressing, and raises many moral issues, especially about courage. But the resonance, obscurely, for Susan's real life is also disturbing, with so many layers of guilt, regret and sadness overlaid. I also love the look of the film, and its creative use of music and effects to seamlessly interlace the two plot strands. 

4.5 - Wholeheartedly recommended!
For a full review from my equally impressed colleague Chris:

Neon Bull
Director:Gabriel Mascaro
Length: 103 min

© Potential Films: Fascinating and unusual - and definitely sexy! 
It's always a privilege to be transported to another world via film, and this latest from Brazil is definitely in that category. We meet a small group of people who transport a herd of bulls to perform at rodeos.  Iremar works with the animals, but his dream is to design costumes, which he already does in a small way for his fellow-traveller Galega, an exotic dancer. The lives of the people are dusty and dirty, yet  the film has an earthiness and seething sensuality about it, which heads into full-blown sexuality towards its conclusion. Many scenes are confronting, whether it is regarding the animals, or the humans, but there is a warmth and fascination generated by this group of people, all hoping for something more than they have. 

3.5 - recommended!
For my full review:

Russian Resurrection Film Festival
Melbourne 10-20 November - ACMI
(see guide for other states)

Russophiles rejoice - the Festival is back with quality films new and old. There are comedies, dramas, horror and more, along with iconic classics like Ivan the Terrible. 
If you are a fan of the blockbuster action adventure there is one notable offering called Flight Crew. (two screenings  to come). It's an edge-of-your-seat suspense about an aircraft that heads into an earthquake/volcano zone to rescue people, but itself gets into strife. It stars Russia's biggest name in acting today - Danila Kozlovsky - and the quality of the nail-biting action, with its believability (well, near enough!) could teach Hollywood a thing or two. I almost shredded my blouse with the suspense. 

For more on the films and times: 

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