In cinemas today: Mistress America, The Dressmaker, Sleeping With Other People, The Last Witch Hunter and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.
Mistress America – Tracy (Lola Kirke) is a lonely college freshman in New York, having neither the exciting university experience nor the glamorous metropolitan lifestyle she envisioned. But when she is taken in by her soon-to-be stepsister, Brooke (Greta Gerwig) – a resident of Times Square and adventurous gal about town – she is rescued from her disappointment and seduced by Brooke’s alluringly mad schemes. I loved the latest Noah Baumbach-Greta Gerwig collaboration, it is one of the most relatable comedies of the year. Sam has reviewed the film, check it out at the link.
The Dressmaker – Based on the best-selling novel by Rosalie Ham, this bittersweet, comedy-drama is set in early 1950s Australia. Tilly Dunnage, a beautiful and talented misfit, after many years working as a dressmaker in exclusive Parisian fashion houses, returns home to the tiny middle-of-nowhere town of Dungatar to right the wrongs of the past. Not only does she reconcile with her ailing, eccentric mother Molly and unexpectedly falls in love with the pure-hearted Teddy, but armed with her sewing machine and incredible sense of style, she transforms the women of the town and in so doing gets sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.
Sleeping With Other People – Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as two romantic failures whose years of serial infidelity and self-sabotage have led them to swear that their relationship will remain strictly platonic. But can love still bloom while you’re sleeping with other people? Writer/director Leslye Headland’s (Bachelorette) sexy romantic comedy co-stars Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, and Natasha Lyonne. Bachelorette was a lot better than most gave it credit for, and with likeable leads this should be fun. I expect it is one for DVD though.
The Last Witch Hunter – The modern world holds many secrets, but the most astounding secret of all is that witches still live amongst us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world. Armies of witch hunters battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including Kaulder, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful Queen Witch, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the Queen curses Kaulder with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today Kaulder is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. I think this one is for Vin Diesel fans only – it feels…familiar.
A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting on Existence – Like his previous features Songs From the Second Floor and You, The Living Swedish director Roy Andersson takes up the theme of “being a human being” with this meticulously crafted, dreamlike black comedy. Sam and Jonathan, a pair of hapless novelty salesman, take us on a kaleidoscopic tour of the human condition in reality and fantasy, unfolding in absurdist episodes: a sing-along at a 1940s beer hall, a randy flamenco teacher, a thirsty King Charles XII of Sweden en route to battle, and a diabolical metaphor for the horrors inflicted by European colonialism. It is a journey that unveils the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, life’s grandeur, and the humour and tragedy hidden within us all. I caught this at SFF, and while not completely enamoured with the film Andersson has meticulously crafted this original comedy with a generous serving of individual highlights.
Weekly Recommendation: Pigeon is a Melbourne exclusive, I understand, so Sydney-siders will have to live without it at the moment. But if you are a fan of Baumbach’s cinema (While We’re Young, paired with Mistress America, makes 2015 the year of the Baumbach) you can’t miss his latest. It is our pick of the week, though we are looking forward to seeing what Kate Winslet gets up to in The Dressmaker.