May 102015
 


 
After playing at Sundance earlier in the year, Unexpected has been announced as part of the Sydney Film Festival programme.

The synopsis as per IMDB is as follows

An inner-city high school teacher discovers she is pregnant at the same time as one of her most promising students and the two develop an unlikely friendship while struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies.

I like the look of the trailer, but the film could be treading some well-worn ground with the roles of the characters. However, what excites me is that the film is broaching the topic of working mother’s and the struggle to balance work and life. It’s something most women deal with but it’s not something talked about very often in film. It also touches on having an identity that is more that being a mother, something I know that some women struggle with.

The film is written and directed by Kris Swanberg (Joe Swanberg his her husband) and co-written by Megan Mercier. It stars Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean and Elizabeth McGovern.

Mar 292015
 


 
I am a massive Jake Gyllenhaal fan. He is on an absolute role right now with the likes of Enemy, Prisoners and Nightcrawler. Will Southpaw continue this trend of incredible performances in great films? It’s hard to say.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer), Southpaw tells the story of Junior Middleweight Champion Billy “The Great” Hope (Gyllenhaal), who fights his way to the top, only to find his life falling apart around him.

It also stars Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Rita Ora, Naomie Harris and 50 Cent.

I love Training Day, but I find Fuqua a little hit-and-miss. His films can be quite formulaic, and favour action sequences over character development or plot.

One thing is for sure, Jake has been working out. Comparing this hunk of muscle to the sickly looking character he played in Nightcrawler, it’s hard to believe it’s the same actor. It is said that he gained 15 pounds of pure muscle, training twice a day for seven days a week.

Southpaw releases in Australia on August 20, 2015.

Feb 132015
 


 

Writer-director Cameron Crowe (We Bought A Zoo, Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire) is back with his first new movie in 4 years. This one looks to be a take on the classic love triangle – a man, his ex (was she the one?) and a new women. With Crowe writing and a cast that includes Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski, it’s sure to be worth a watch. I think it looks great – there are too few “nice” films out these days. Sometimes it’s nice to switch off and watch some quality fluff.

Official synopsis

In Aloha, a celebrated military contractor (Bradley Cooper) returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs – the US Space program in Honolulu, Hawaii – and reconnects with a long-ago love (Rachel McAdams) while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog (Emma Stone) assigned to him. From Academy Award®-winner Cameron Crowe, the writer-director behind such films as Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, Aloha also stars Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, and Alec Baldwin.

 
IMDB has June 15 2015 listed as the Australian release date for the film.

Dec 162014
 


 
I’ve watched this trailer half a dozen times today. I am intoxicated by its photography – so utterly Lubezki, so completely Malick. Without knowing who was behind this film, you would surely pick these two names. Just from the trailer it feels like some sort of Tree of Life-Wolf of Wall Street-Spring Breakers mash-up. How great is the music? I can only imagine how intense, how energetic the score might be, particularly in the clubbing scene(s).

Once there was a young prince whose father, the king of the East, sent him down into Egypt to find a pearl. But when the prince arrived, the people poured him a cup. Drinking it, he forgot he was the son of a king, forgot about the pearl and fell into a deep sleep.

Written & Directed by Terrence Malick, the film is set to première at the 65th Berlin Film Festival in February 2015. The impressive cast (including 3 Australian actors) is as follows: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer, Imogen Poots, Armin Mueller-Stahl and the voice of Ben Kingsley.

Nov 212014
 


 
SELMA is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated in the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama that galvanized American public opinion and persuaded President Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act in 1965. 2015 is the 50th anniversary of this pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

David Oyelowo (The Butler) stars as Martin Luther King and is joined by a cast that includes Tom Wilkinson, Giovanni Ribisi, Oprah Winfrey, Tim Roth and Cuba Gooding Jnr.

SELMA has received very positive reviews after its première at the recent AFI festival in LA. In his review for Variety, Scott Foundas says:

DuVernay’s razor-sharp portrait of the civil rights movement — and Dr. King himself — at a critical crossroads is as politically astute as it is psychologically acute, giving us a human-scale King whose indomitable public face belies currents of weariness and self-doubt.

SELMA is set for release in Australia on February 5 via STUDIOCANAL.

Nov 032014
 

Winner of the 2014 Sydney Film Festival Prize, Two Days, One Night gets a cinema release in Australia this Thursday (November 6th).

From writer-directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid with a Bike, Rosetta), it is a moving and poignant film which is so relevant for our current economic climate.

The official synopsis as is follows:

Academy Award®-winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) is Sandra, a married woman with two children who plans to return to her factory job after a breakdown. However she’s told that she is to be made redundant, while her co-workers will receive a bonus. In order to help her, Sandra’s best friend at work has convinced their boss to hold a vote – do the workers want to save Sandra’s job, or keep their bonus? It is Friday and the vote will be held on Monday – Sandra has the weekend to persuade her workmates to keep her employed, or to sacrifice their bonus they need to make ends meet.

I was rather affected by this film and the moral conundrum that it presented. I’m sure that all of us would like to think that we would be one of the people to give up our bonuses for our colleague’s job, but I’m not sure it would be so easy to say goodbye to that sort of money. It’s a fascinating idea, one which speaks to the humanity in us.

Marion Cotillard delivers one of the year’s best performances in this film, particularly in regards to displaying the mannerisms and moods of someone who is dealing with mental health issues. Sandra is a complex character and Cotllard gives her incredible depth.

A list of cinemas playing Two Days, One night can be found here.

Oct 172014
 


 
Top Five was a big hit at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is one of those films that I am kicking myself for missing out on. Friends who have seen it have all said how smart, funny and fresh it is. It’s another film which is in some ways examining identity and the performer – something which I feel has been a very prominent theme in 2014 (Venus in Fur, Clouds of Sils Maria, Birdman are a few examples of others).

The official synopsis is as follows:
Written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, “TOP FIVE” tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind.

The cast is absolutely packed with comedic talent including Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, and Cedric The Entertainer.

Top Five will be released in Australia on January 29.

Sep 302014
 


 
To call this trailer highly-anticipated would be an understatement. Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film Inherent Vice is set to screen at the New York Film Festival (currently underway) ahead of its theatrical release. Australia isn’t going to get this until early 2015, so by then I’m sure we’ll have a pretty good idea of how the film has been received.

The film is adapted from Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name, which I made it 1/4 into reading before abandoning. It’s not that the story wasn’t interesting, it’s that I found the way it was written incredibly hard to digest. I’m hopeful that the film will be more accessible, we’ll see…

The official synopsis is as follows:

When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…well, easy for her to say.
It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused—except this one usually leads to trouble.
With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists… Part surf noir, part psychedelic romp—all Thomas Pynchon.

So, what do you think?