Thursday, 30 November 2017

November 30th 2017

Disaster Artist
Tulip Fever
Killing of a Sacred Deer

Unfortunately yet again the lack of internet continues in this household, and I’m wondering who out there has advice on how to deal with the behemoth Telstra who insist it takes 6 days to send a tech, even though there is a cable languishing off its moorings on the nature-strip. Aarghhh! Anyway I battle on, and review another raft of films, some already released but only caught up with.

Director: Stephen Chbosky
Length: 113 min
© Roadshow – another film needing a box of tissues
but tackling important subject matter
Young Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) has been born with a congenital facial deformity, and his mum (Julia Roberts) has home-schooled him for all his life so far. Now it’s time to go to real school, and face the challenges of other kids staring, taunting and bullying. This film has won the “Truly Moving Picture Award” and justifiably so. Yes, it’s emotionally manipulative, but the issues tackled are relevant to all bullying situations, and so this is an important film, especially for schoolkids to see. Young Tremblay is superb in the role, and whatever the make-up department has done to balance his strange look with an appearance also vulnerable and appealing really works! Roberts and Owen Wilson (as Auggie’s Dad) are just right together, while the serious subject matter is well-balanced with a goodly dollop of humour.
3.5 – well recommended!

The Disaster Artist
Director: James Franco
Length: 103 min

© Roadshow – good fun - insight into a
truly bad filmmaker
Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is a handsome aspiring actor. In acting class he meets the mysterious wealthy Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) and the two head off to LA to try to make it in Hollywood. After countless rejections, Tommy decides they should make their own film, and with his ability to bankroll it they do just that. The resulting film The Room is so incredibly bad, that somehow it ends up getting cult status as “the best bad film ever made”. For those who have seen The Room (which has shown to late night audiences at Nova for more than a decade) it should be a fabulous insight into Wiseau the man, and for those who haven’t, it’s a bizarre look at a man’s ambition and his "artistic process”. The film is great fun, with a poignant undercurrent; one can’t help but feel for Wiseau with his well-paid rent-a-crew laughing at him behind his back. This is a winning performance from Franco, and all up is a major entertainment.
4 – highly recommended!

Tulip Fever
Director: Justin Chadwick
Length: 105 min

© Roadshow – visually lovely -
old fashioned story-telling
In Holland in the 1600s the market for tulip bulbs was as crazed as Wall Street before a crash. This period romance is set against that background. Sophia (Alicia Vikander) is taken from an orphanage and married off to wealthy spice merchant Cornelis (Christoph Waltz). When Cornelis commissions an impoverished artist Jan van Loos (Dean de Haan) to paint the couple, attraction flares between the young wife and the artist, who hatches a crazed scheme to get Sophia out of her marriage so she can escape with him. Needless to say the scheme involves buying into the tulip market. Despite there being not a lot of credible chemistry between the young couple, this is a handsome film which evokes the period really well, and looks gorgeous, using the palette of colours as used by artists of the day. It is old fashioned solid story telling that certainly engaged me, and while breaking no barriers the film makes for a good couple of idle hours of viewing (and who doesn’t want to gawp at the gorgeous Vikander!)
3 - recommended!

Killing of a Sacred Deer
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Length: 120 min

© Madman- very disturbing and compelling
Director Lanthimos sure knows how to disturb an audience. This is the story of cardio surgeon Steven (Colin Farrell) married to ophthalmologist Anna (Nicole Kidman). Steven has befriended Martin (Barry Keoghan), son of a man who died on his operating theatre some years earlier. When Steven’s kids Bob and Kim become inexplicably paralysed, it seems Martin, who declares the kids will die soon, is implicated! Steven is asked to make a horrendous sacrifice to restore order. Freaky and unsettling are the two words I’d use to describe this strange but powerful film. From long camera shots down corridors of a hospital, to ultra close-ups of faces, along with a distressing plot and edgy string-based music, Killing of a SD manages to present a scenario which straddles themes of revenge, justice (maybe) and psycho-horror in a slick and compelling way. Performances are uniformly excellent. While it’s not everyone’s cuppa, with a win for Best Screenplay at Cannes, it’s certainly something out of the ordinary.
3.5 - well recommended!

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