Nov 042015
 

6c991d5e-265c-4e0b-ad43-d388394bbb9b-2060x1236

The 2015 British Independent Film Awards were announced yesterday and Yorgos Lanthimos’ wonderful new film The Lobster led the surprisingly offbeat field with seven nominations, including Best Best, Director, Screenplay and Lead Actor – Colin Farrell. Co-Best Film nominees 45 Years and Macbeth each scored six, while Ex Machina and Amy were handily rewarded with five.

Brooklyn also scored five nominations, including three for acting, and one for Nick Hornby’s screenplay. Ben Wheatley’s hotly anticipated and expectedly divisive High Rise was similarly honoured, while Oscar contenders Suffragette and The Danish Girl were relegated to just acting nominations. Suffragette led that field with four, while the The Danish Girl received just a single nomination, for lead actress Alicia Vikander. Vikander has been touted as one of the top contenders for the Supporting Actress Oscar, but the voters her saw that claim dubious and voted her into the lead. Vikander could easily have been nominated for Ex Machina, but it was overlooked for acting, with production design and visual effects deservedly honoured in the ‘Achievement in Craft’ category. I was also quite pleased to see Palio score a Best Documentary nod. It is one of the most thrilling experiences I had in the cinema this year.

45 Years, Suffragette and Brooklyn are looking to be the most likely to feature amongst the Oscar contenders, but we now know we cannot write off The Lobster. It is likely ‘too weird’ for Oscar voters, but it is sure is pleasing to see it gather attention. Australians hoping to see some of these films don’t have to wait long. You can catch up on Amy and Ex Machina on home entertainment, while The Lobster is currently in cinemas. 45 Years, Brooklyn and Suffragette are all screening at the British Film Festival, which is running presently. Suffragette and The Danish Girl have Boxing Day releases, with Brooklyn and 45 Years scheduled in 2016.

You can check out the full list of nominees after the jump: Continue reading »

Oct 212015
 

‘Bridge of Spies’ by DreamWorks Studios.

In cinemas this week – Bridge of Spies, Burnt, The Lobster, Alex and Eve and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.

Bridge of SpiesIn Steven Spielberg’s compelling and competently crafted new espionage drama Tom Hanks stars as James B. Donovan, an experienced and respected Brooklyn insurance attorney who is tasked with the duty of defending Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet spy arrested on U.S soil. Due to his involvement in the trial he is recruited by the U.S Government to negotiate the release of a U-2 spy plane pilot shot down over Russia at the height of the Cold War. Donovan journeys into East Berlin to make contact with both the Soviets and the Germans, offering his client Abel, whom he has saved from the Death Penalty, as a bargaining chip for their safe release. Donovan would become a celebrated humanist for this timely negotiation (and another exchange following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion), and wrote a book, ‘Strangers on a Bridge, The Case of Colonel Abel’, detailing the event. My review at the link.

Burnt Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) had it all – and lost it. A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different every time out, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive Michelin star though, he’ll need the best of the best on his side. This remarkably funny and emotional story is about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances. A sloppy screenplay and erratic editing prove distracting, but the film comes alive and finds comfort in the kitchen chaos. This is a flinty depiction of a flawed man seeking redemptive perfection and learning the lesson that chemistry in the kitchen stems from treating his team like human beings and not another utensil for manipulation [AB]. Sam’s review is at the link.

The Lobster – Winner of the Cannes Jury Prize, this is the new film from Yorgos Lanthimos (Alps, Dogtooth). In the near future, single citizens are sent to a hotel where they have 45 days to pair off with a mate – or be turned into the animal of their choosing and hunted in the woods. It features an all-star cast including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seyoux and John C. Reilly. Reviews suggest that The Lobster is fiercely, unmistakably Lanthimos: surreal, grimly funny and strangely moving.

Weekly Recommendation: From the two that we have already seen this week, we like Bridge of Spies. We are very much looking forward to The Lobster. Will be well worth seeking out.

Oct 092015
 

colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz-in-the-lobster

Winner of this year’s Cannes Jury Prize, the new film and English-language debut from the idiosyncratic mind of Yorgos Lanthimos (Alps, Dogtooth) is a deadpan absurdist satire of modern romance that could only have come from the Greek auteur.

In the near future, single citizens are sent to a hotel where they have 45 days to pair off with a mate – or be turned into the animal of their choosing and hunted in the woods. Reviews suggest thatThe Lobster is fiercely, unmistakably Lanthimos: surreal, grimly funny and strangely moving.

The Lobster features an all-star cast including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seyoux and John C. Reilly, and comes to limited Australian cinemas from October 22. Check out the trailer below:

NSW – Dendy Newtown, Palace Verona

VIC – Cinema Nova, Palace Brighton Bay

ACT – Palace Electric

QLD – Palace Centro

WA – Luna Leederville

TAS – Hobart State Cinema

SA – Palace Nova East End (From October 29 following Adelaide Film Festival screening)

May 252015
 

Dheepan-Cannes-Film-Review

The Cannes Film Festival, the world’s most prestigious international film festival, is over for another year. Over the course of last twelve days 19 titles screened in the official competition before a jury led by the Coen Bros. Amongst some of the best received critically, at least from what I interpreted through my feed, were Todd Haynes’ Carol, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin, Laszlo Nemes’ Son of Saul, Nanni Moretti’s Mi Madre, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth and Denis Velleneuve’s Sicario. 

But, the jury award the Palme d’Or to Jacques Audiard for Dheepan, a drama about a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and ends up working as a caretaker outside Paris. Audiard’s last two films A Prophet and Rust and Bone both screened in the official competition, with the former winning the Grand Prix in 2009.

The Grand Prix (second prize) was awarded to Son of Saul, which sounds tremendous –  1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster was awarded the Jury Prize (third prize). This is the first English-language feature from the Greek director, featuring a cast including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly.  Set in a dystopian near future, single people are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days or are transformed into animals and released into the woods. Lanthimos won the Grand Prix in the Un Certain Regard section in 2009 for Dogtooth.

Best Director was awarded to Hsiao-hsien for The Assassin and Best Screenplay was awarded to Michael Franco for Chronic. There was a lot of discussion about the possibility of Tim Roth winning Best Actor for his performance in Chronic, so the screenplay win was a surprise. Best Actress was shared by Rooney Mara for Carol and Emannuelle Bercot for Mon Roi. The former film was wonderfully received, and the performances for both Mara and Cate Blanchett were celebrated. Mon Roi, Maiwenn’s follow-up to the award-winning Polisse, was not well-received at all. Best Actor was awarded to Vincent London for The Measure of a Man, directed by Stephane Brize.

For a full list of this year’s winners, visit the official Cannes Film Festival website.

While it has been hard to gauge just how strong this year’s line-up is, there are certainly a bunch of Competition titles that sound very intriguing. In addition to the aforementioned winners I most look forward to when Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, Matteo Garrone’s The Tale of Tales, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs all make it to Australian screens over the next twelve months.