Wednesday, 12 September 2018

September 13th
Christopher Robin
Three Identical Strangers
A Simple Favour
America's Musical Journey
Czech and Slovak Film Festival
Italian Film Festival

Again a ludicrous number of new offerings roll onto our screens this week. From psychological drama, to lightweight mystery, childhood nostalgia, top-notch documentary  and musical history, there is plenty to choose from. Oh, and don't forget the two Festivals. 

Christopher Robin
Director: Marc Forster
Length: 104 min
© Disney - a man and his bear are 
friends for life
Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is all grown up, married with a wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and daughter Madeline. He has lost all of the imagination he had as a child and works in a stuffy job for a luggage company. His devotion to work leads him to neglect his family. When he is unexpectedly reunited with his childhood friend Pooh, Christopher starts to reassess his life. Confession time: I am a Winnie the Pooh tragic, having been raised on the stories of the magical stuffed animals in the Hundred Acre Wood. So how could I not love this film. Despite my inbuilt bias, I find it extremely well executed. The blending of computer-generated furry characters (pleasingly more true to the original Shepherd drawings than the cartoon characters) with real actors is seamlessly effected, while the story is touching, with a few home truths about losing touch with childhood innocence and succumbing to the big bad adult world of corporate greed. The sense of the original A A Milne stories and characters is kept, the animal characters are a delight, and there is a nostalgic innocence and sweetness that should really hit the spot for viewers of many ages.
3.5 - well recommended!

Director: Michael Pearce
Length: 107 min
© Icon - gripping stuff leaving you guessing 
till the very end. 
On the island of Jersey Moll (Jessie Buckley) feels stifled by her upper class, overly protective family, especially her mother (Geraldine James). When she meets rough outsider and tradesman Pascal (Johnny Flynn) she falls heavily for him, feeling she can at last breathe and be herself. But then a series of murders occur on the island and Pascal becomes a suspect. How Moll and Pascal react is, in a sense, the pivot point of the film. One gradually begins to ask just who is the "beast" in this odd love pairing? This is nuanced and chilling stuff featuring startling performances from the two leads, especially Buckley who plays Moll in a dramatic arc from shy and retiring, to an unhinged force to be reckoned with. The scripting is tight and smart - never giving away too much, always leaving us guessing and not revealing some crucial background about Moll until late in the film. The little critic group with whom I previewed the film came out debating and mulling it all over - always a good sign that a thriller has done its job really well.
4 - highly recommended!

Three Identical Strangers
Director: Tim Wardle
Length: 96 min
Exclusive to Cinema Nova
© Nova - truth is way stranger than fiction 
in this astonishing documentary!
On his first day at college back in 1980, Bobby Galland found himself constantly mistaken for someone called Eddy Shafran. Upon contacting Eddy, Bobby discovered they were in fact twins separated at birth and adopted out. Then the unthinkable happened - a third sibling, David Kellman, was discovered, and a media circus erupted. The less you know from here the better; suffice to say the remarkable story is true, and, while there is much joy in the tale, there is a deeply disturbing dark side to the origins of these extraordinary events. What is revealed has enduring implications not just for the triplets, but for other twins who were also adopted at birth. The doco is riveting from go to whoa, with a mix of the brothers and their adoptive families speaking to camera today, along with amazing archival footage, especially from TV shows which featured the boys when the news broke. Psychological theory abounds, with experts speaking out about the old chestnut of "nature versus nurture". A simply wonderful and revelatory documentary.
4.5 - wholeheartedly recommended!

A Simple Favour
Director: Paul Feig
Length: 116 min
© Roadshow - school moms - unlikely friends - 
twists and turns and a really convoluted plot
Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a "mommy blogger" who video-blogs with recipes, home hints and more. When her new best friend, the sexy mysterious  Emily (Blake Lively) asks Steph to pick up her son from school, she is only too happy to help. But that's the last she sees of Emily.  Steph and Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) team up to try to discover what has happened. As the "truth" emerges it seems things are much more complicated that they appear. The film is based upon the sort of novel usually seen as a B-grade pot-boiler, and your enjoyment will probably totally depend upon whether you go for this sort of thing. There are more twists and turns than a bag of snakes, and some of the revelations are as hackneyed as you can get in this sort of comedy-thriller. But the two female leads do their thing really well, and Kendricks, with her oddball mix of elfin naivete and wacky comedy is perfect in the role. Overall it's fun, but forgettable.   
2.5 - maybe!

America's Musical Journey
Director: Greg MacGillivray
Length: 45 min
Exclusive to IMAX
© Imax  - a Chicago flash mob dance to Blacc's music
The ubiquitous Morgan Freeman returns to do voice-over for the journey of singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc, who travels to iconic cities in the USA where different genres of music had their origins. We learn of the birth of jazz in New Orleans, blues in the deep south then Chicago, country music in Nashville, and are taken on fleeting visits to Miami, New York and a few other places. Though tantalising, what exactly we can glean in a mere 45 minutes, is miniscule. If I were a child getting my first overview of the history of American music I would no doubt be thrilled with this - as an adult I am frustrated - I WANT MORE!! This would be a great trailer for a 10 or even 20-part series on the topic. Nevertheless there is enjoyment to be had: seeing cities I've visited, watching Elvis gyrate on the IMAX screen, enjoying a flash mob dancing up a storm in Chicago, and simply reflecting upon the vast legacy of musical styles that have emanated from the rich mix of immigrants to the USA.
2.5 - maybe!

Lavazza Italian Film Festival

Melbourne Sept 13-Oct 7
Palace Cinemas
For dates in other states, bookings and timetables visit

This festival is always a highlight of the film calendar and this year is no exception with 37 feature films and docos, including 30 Australian premieres. There is also a spotlight on Turkish/Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek, who directed one of my all-time favourite films, Facing Windows which you can catch at the festival.
I've previewed three films from the festival.
Boys Cry: A tense, dark film about two teenage friends who are involved in a hit-and-run accident. This leads them to involvement with Rome's underworld, with its life of questionable morals.
Put Nonna in the Freezer: A lively comedy in which granddaughter Claudia lives off her grandma's pension, so when the old gal dies, Claudia sees fit to freeze her until finances improve. When an overly zealous tax collector turns up, things get hairy. This is zany light-hearted fun.
Euphoria: An emotional drama about two very different brothers who come back together when one is taken ill. It features stunning performances from Riccardo Scamarcio and Valerio Mastandrea. 

Czech & Slovak Film Festival
Melbourne Sept 12-26
For bookings and timetables visit
© CaSFFA - Domestique is a truly chilling 
psychological drama
CaSFFA turns 6 this year with a fine selection of films from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and a sidebar of Hungarian films. A few classics are in the mix including Ecstasy from 1933 and The Firemen's Ball from 1969. A standout from the festival is the drama Domestique. Be warned - it's not for the faint-hearted. 
Dir: Adam Sedlak
Length: 116 min
Roman is a cyclist desperate to be in the big league. He devotes his time to training and embracing increasingly risky measures to becomes top of his game. His wife Sarlota is hell-bent upon falling pregnant, and similarly devotes herself to what she sees as the best regimen to achieve the result. As each of them becomes more obsessed and single-minded, things become progressively stressed in the household. This could almost be funny if it weren't so horrific - there are elements of body horror, and self-destruction that become really hard to watch. Set almost entirely in their claustrophobic apartment, the film is wonderfully shot and edited, and is a psychological drama that will really make you question whether the results are worth the pain. 
Bear With Us: A sweet-natured ensemble comedy about a couple who are about to sell the holiday cottage which they no longer visit. Before finalising the deal they decide to gather the family together for one last time. Gramps has Alzheimers, Gran is a battle-axe, and the couples kids are both going through relationship crises. This is amusing and slightly familiar fare about what happens when families get together, warts and all. But the European sensibility, in its lovely forested setting, gives it a gentle and quirky edge.  

1 comment:

  1. بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم تقدم لكم شركة الكمال جميع خدمات رش المبيد يجميع انحاء المملكة بافضل انواع المبيدات للقضاء على جميع الحشرات الطائرة والزاحفه كالصراصير والفائران والنمل الابيض والبق والذباب والناموس
    شركة رش مبيدات بالطائف
    شركة رش مبيدات بجازان
    شركة رش مبيدات بحائل
    والسلامه عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته