May 282014
 

the trip

A couple of years on from their trip through Northern England, the Observer newspaper have decided to send Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on another foodie adventure, this time through Italy following the footsteps of great Romantic poets such as Blake as Coleridge. Much like The TripThe Trip to Italy is less about the food and more about the men and what is going on in their lives at the time. Coogan is more comfortable in his skin here, content with his life, while Brydon is the one aching for something more.

The Trip to Italy has even more impersonations and impressions, ensuring that you’re never too long between laughs. The men have upped their comedic games with Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Robert De Niro and Roger Moore among the range of actors to be covered. These two are great to watch together and have fantastic comedic timing. Their love-hate relationship creates some great debates and the dialogue (which you have to assume contains a lot of improvisation) is packed with fantastic zingers. Oh how I wish I could insult someone in that way.

Italy is stunning and I enjoyed escaping to the beautiful landscapes, gorgeous seashores and mouth-watering restaurants. I only wish that there had been more of the food. However there was a character development in the film which really didn’t ring true for me. This development and the subsequent actions of this character seemed to go against everything we knew about him. I’m not saying people can’t change, but the change (as it played out) wasn’t believable here. I also think the film lingered for a little too long, although I didn’t mind the moments of reflection which involved characters staring at the gorgeous scenery. Can I go to Italy now?
 

3/5
 

The Trip to Italy is written & directed by Michael Winterbottom and stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. The film is released in Australia & New Zealand on May 29

May 262014
 

x-men

The war has come and Mutants are a species on the brink of extinction. They and their kin are hunted and taken out with absolutely no mercy. Some have outrun their hunters, but they are fast running out of places to hide. What if there was a way to stop this war happening before it even begun? X-Men: Days of Future Past is reviewed after the jump.

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May 252014
 

winter's sleep

The Festival de Cannes has wrapped up for another year with the Jury (Jane Campion (president), Willem Dafoe, Carole Bouquet, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jeon Do-yeon, Jia Zhangke, Leila Hatami and Nicolas Winding Refn) awarding Turkish drama Winter Sleep the Palme d’Or. Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is no stranger to winning at Cannes, he has previously been awarded the Grand Jury Prize (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia), best director (Üç Maymun) and the FIPRESCI critics’ award (Iklimler). The director’s lengthy, slow-paced films aren’t exactly the most accessible cinema, but there is no doubt about their power or beauty.

Italian film-maker Alice Rohwacher’s (whose first feature Corpo celeste played Critics’ Week in 2011)  The Wonders took up the Grand Prix (2nd) prize. The film was incredibly well received by critics at the festival, with Robbie Collins saying (in his 5 star review):

The film was photographed not on digital cameras, but Super-16 film stock: a dying way of seeing dying things, and yet everything it captures seems to flare and crackle with life. There’s so much here to remind you of the Italian neorealist pictures, particularly in Rohrwacher’s brilliant deployment of her mostly young and inexperienced cast, but it also shares an underlying magic with Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbour Totoro, the great Studio Ghibli animations about children whose rural lives have a quiet profundity that transcends incident or plot. The film comes and goes without commotion, but its magic settles on you as softly and as steadily as dust.

I was particularly happy that Canadian film-maker Xavier Dolan was awarded for his first official competition appearance at Cannes. Mommy was jointly awarded the Jury (3rd) Prize along with Jean-Luc Goddard’s 3D film, Goodbye to Language.

The extremely well reviewed Leviathan took home best screenplay, with Mr Turner walking away with a best actor award for veteran British character actor Timothy Spal. Other highlights among the award winners were Bennett Miller receiving the best director award for Foxcatcher (which has to be one of the most anticipated films of 2014 now) and Australian actor David Gulpilil receiving best actor in the Un Certain Regard section for his role in Charlie’s Country.

The complete list of award winners is after the jump.
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May 232014
 

suff

The Sydney Underground Film Festival is one of my favourite festival experiences. The SUFF team bring together the weird, the wacky, the controversial, the erotic and the just plain crazy, for a festival quite like no other. SUFF is a non-for-profit festival, with all the funds going back into festival. This year they have launched a Pozible campaign to make sure the 2014 edition of the festival is the best yet.

From the SUFF team:

As the 2014 festival approaches, we are pretty darn motivated and excited about what the year has in store – but we are a not-for-profit endeavour. We work for the love of independent cinema, and we always seek to deliver the best festival we can. This year, we are asking for your assistance to do just that. This Pozible campaign will enable us create the greatest festival yet, and have a little more freedom than we are used to.

Last year at SUFF I saw one of the best films of the year (A Band Called Death), one of the weirdest films of my life (The Dance of Reality) and I had a great time drinking beers and chatting all things film with friends between sessions. I don’t usually push campaigns (there are just so many out there!) but I honestly think this is a worthy group to give some cash to.

Support the 2014 Sydney Underground Film Festival Pozible campaign here
May 212014
 

cannes May means two things for me, Cannes and Sydney Film Festival. While Sydney Film Festival isn’t until June, May is all about the pre-fest screenings and the research into the programme. With limited money and time, there are only so many films I can see and I try to get the mix right. I really enjoy following Cannes vicariously online, reading the first reactions to films and skimming the reviews. I must admit I’m partial to a little red carpet glam too. With this in mind, here’s my festival-heavy Film Link Goodness for May 2014.

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May 192014
 

David Michôd’s The Rover premiered at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, where it received mixed to positive reviews.

The Guardian – Peter Bradshaw (★★★)

The Rover is an undoubtedly atmospheric and brutal drama set in an apocalyptic future after a “collapse”: the endless bush has telegraph poles on which crucified bodies are displayed from some unspecified insurgency or crackdown and the economy now depends on US dollars. It has something of a surlier, meaner Mad Max, a flavour of Australian New Wave pictures like Wake in Fright, and even something of Spielberg’s Duel

Variety – Scott Foundas

Pearce is fiercely impressive here as a man who gave up on the human race even before the latest round of calamities, and if there are occasional glimpses of the kinder, gentler man he might once have been, we are more frequently privy to his savage survival instincts. But it’s Pattinson who turns out to be the film’s greatest surprise, sporting a convincing Southern accent and bringing an understated dignity to a role that might easily have been milked for cheap sentimental effects.

Michôd’s Animal Kingdom is one of the most critically acclaimed Australian films ever made, so to say that this film was highly anticipated by the film community in Australia would be an understatement. I love the idea of the outback as a setting for an apocalyptic film and the photography in the trailer hints at something special. I’m looking forward to seeing Pattinson in a more gritty role, and am encouraged by the positive reactions to his performance.

The Rover has its Australian Premiere on June 7th at the Sydney Film Festival, before being released nationally on June 12th.

May 172014
 

godzilla-image

As a life-long fan of everybody’s favourite city-wrecking, people-stomping, all round bad-ass giant irradiated lizard, I went into Godzilla with pretty big feelings of anticipation. The marketing for this movie seemed to hint at something truly special: a modern re-imagining of the 1954 classic which stays true to the spirit of the original. But as I popped the hated 3-D glasses over my eyes, little did I know I would leave two hours later wishing I had watched Roland Emmerich’s deeply flawed 1998 version instead. My review of Godzilla after the jump.

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