May 312015
 

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I made six visits to the cinema in May, double the amount of April but still relatively slim in comparison to last year. But, I have not been short of viewing options. Having gained media accreditation for the Sydney Film Festival I have been working through a bunch of screeners. Some amazing. Others average. Coverage will come during the festival so I can’t discuss any of these films here. I am seeing 30 films during the 12 days of the festival so June is going to be crazy. As has been a 2015 trend, and what I feel is a work requirement, I have been watching a lot of DTV films released on VOD platforms. There are some gems in there. It just takes a little bit of research, but a complete unknown could appear on your best of the year list.

Mad Men is over. Sam and I very much enjoyed finishing the show, after watching from Season 3 together. Very satisfying. Speaking of satisfying I finished Dragon Age: Inquisition on PS4. 85 hours committed and not a regret. I have started ‘My Career’ mode in NBA 2K15 – a whole new addiction. I have also been listening to a lot of music recently, and I discovered two of my favourite albums of the year this month – The Epic by Kamasi Washington and Frozen Niagara Falls by Purient. On the novel front, been reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. Every bit as great as I was led to believe. You can never have too much Bourdain in your life.

I watched a total of 32 films in May. Read about a selection after the jump:

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May 282015
 

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In cinemas this week: Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Partisan and Gemma Bovery. 

Tomorrowland – Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (George Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world-and them-forever. Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Tomorrowland promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of. Sam liked it more than I and her thoughts can be found at the link.

San Andreas – In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his estranged daughter. I like The Rock a lot, but I don’t race out to see disaster movies these days. Carla Gugino and Alexanda Daddario co-star.

Partisan – The film stars Vincent Cassel as Gregori, a cult leader, and tells the story of Alexander, a young assassin raised to see the world through Gregori’s eyes who is starting to think for himself. The feature marks Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman’s directorial debut, and he wrote the film with his girlfriend Sarah Cyngler. Partisan premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and sounds like an intriguing story. Cassel is always a compelling screen presence. Guy gives me the creeps.

Gemma Bovery – Life begins to imitate art in uncanny ways when earthy British beauty Gemma (Gemma Arterton) and her furniture restorer husband Charles Bovery (Jason Flemyng) move to the very same Norman village where the graphic novel was written. Local baker and Flaubert fan Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini) falls for the lovely and charming newcomer and sets out to be her mentor. It doesn’t take long before his wild imagination leads him to draw parallels between the literary and real life woman, as he insinuates himself into her life. She soon finds herself at a crossroads that seems to be fulfilling Joubert’s worst fears that her destiny is mirroring that of Flaubert’s doomed heroine. Director Anne Fontaine’s clever adaptation of the graphic novel is at once a cheeky literary mash-up, a sensuous romance, a witty feminist commentary, and a heady celebration of French provincial life. I have not heard very much about this at all.

Weekly Recommendation: If I hadn’t yet seen Tomorrowland, I would be blindly recommending it. But I have. It is certainly worth a look but don’t get too excited. Depending on what you feel like, San Andreas and Partisan are going to appeal, and I expect will deliver in their own way.