Aug 052015

In cinemas this week: Trainwreck, The Fantastic Four, Last Cab to Darwin, Good Kill and The Farewell Party. 

Trainwreck The latest film from writer/director Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) is just as much an Amy Schumer joint. The current stand-up comedy queen and creator of hit television series Inside Amy Schumer writes and stars in the overstuffed and rough-edged, but undeniably entertaining rom-com Trainwreck. From a young age Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) has taken her father’s mantra that monogamy isn’t realistic to heart. Now a writer for men’s magazine S’nuff and in her early 30’s, she continues to live by that credo. Uninhibited by what she perceives to be stifling romantic commitment, she is a freewheeling partier, sleeping around and always drinking too much. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy starts to consider that there might be someone out there she is willing to commit to, and begins to reconsider her wild ways. Full review at the link.

The Fantastic Four A contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. The drawcards here: Josh Trank (director of Chronicle) and the young cast including Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell.

Last Cab To DarwinThis tender film unites some of Australia’s finest actors in a story about life and love. Director Jeremy Sims has worked on the project for 13 years, since its inception as a play at the Sydney Opera House, but has now realised his dream of bringing it to the screen. Rex (Michael Caton) is a cab driver who has never left Broken Hill. When he discovers he doesn’t have long to live, he decides to drive through the heart of the country to Darwin, where new euthanasia laws could enable him to control his fate. Unwilling to burden them, or even talk about his condition, Rex leaves behind his best friend Polly (Ningali Lawford-Wolf) and his crew of drinking buddies, and sets off on the 3000km journey. Along the way, on his very Australian odyssey, Rex meets people who force him to re-evaluate his life. With pitch perfect performances from the leads and a supporting cast that includes Mark Coles Smith, Emma Hamilton and Jacki Weaver.

Good Kill – In the shadowy world of drone warfare, combat unfolds like a video game-only with real lives at stake. After six tours of duty, Air Force pilot Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke) yearns to get back into the cockpit of a real plane, but he now fights theTaliban from an air-conditioned box in the Las Vegas desert. When he and his crew start taking orders directly from the CIA, and the stakes are raised, Egan’s nerves-and his relationship with his wife (Mad Men’s January Jones)-begin to unravel. Revealing the psychological toll drone pilots endure as they are forced to witness the aftermath of their fight against insurgents, Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) directs this riveting insider’s view of 21st-century warfare, in which operatives target enemies from half a world away. Saw this provocative film at TIFF, and beside the compelling performance from Hawke and the convincing and unsettling representation of drone strikes this unfortunately lacked substance at every juncture. 

The Farewell Party – A unique, compassionate and unlikely funny story of a group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home who decide to help their terminally ill friend. When rumors of their assistance begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the friends are faced with a life and death dilemma.

Weekly Recommendation: Last Cab to Darwin is a beautifully photographed and rather powerful personal odyssey with an impressive central performance from veteran icon Caton, as well as terrific support from the two youngsters Smith and Hamilton. Trainwreck is loaded with laughs and reflects well – and sure to entertain whether you go along for Amy Schumer’s comedy or Lebron James’ astonishing acting debut – but isn’t quite up to the level of the rest of Judd Apatow’s resume. 

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