Wednesday, 31 August 2016

SAUSAGE PARTY

A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence. —IMDB

Very, very clever satire supported by good looking animation. Goes too far at times and, unless viewers are familiar with some of the nuances of religion (especially fundamentalist) and a bit of philosophy, I suspect it will go over a lot of people's heads. It's a secularist Veggie Tales (some of you will know what that means). It also critiques some forms of atheist moral subjectivism. It perhaps fails in presenting racial stereotypes with some of the characters. It absolutely earns its MA rating. If anyone's offended by explicit sexual references, profanity, or mocking of theistic world views, don't see it!


Friday, 26 August 2016

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

A rather dismal week for new releases this week… they’re all in the maybe/maybe not category or not worth seeing at all.


MAYBE/MAYBE NOT

Ricky Gervais stars in a The Office movie spinoff called DAVID BRENT: LIFE ON THE ROAD. A camera crew catches up with David Brent, the former star of the fictional British TV series The Office (2001), as he now fancies himself a rockstar on the road. The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton says that ‘David Brent remains an enduring comic grotesque, but this sporadically amusing big-screen resurrection is more cash-in reunion tour than killer comeback album.’ People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **1/2

FREE STATE OF JONES is about a disillusioned Confederate army deserter (Matthew McConaughey) returns to Mississippi and leads a militia of fellow deserters, runaway slaves, and women in an uprising against the corrupt local Confederate government. It’s based on actual historical events. It’s pretty average despite its significant subject matter. I agree with TheWrap’s Robert Abele: ‘That you may learn a good deal about an unusually driven man, but never quite feel emotionally connected to him, means Ross has hit a workmanlike middle, crafting a handsome textbook more than a blood-pumping portrait.’ My review soon. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **1/2 ◉ Me ***

THE CARER is a comedy with the tagline: When the question is to be or not to be, there is only one answer. Doesn’t tell us much. It’s a UK comedy. People ***1/2

A man is on his way home when the poorly constructed tunnel he is driving through collapses, leaving him trapped, in the South Korean drama, THE TUNNEL. People ***1/2

TO AVOID

Finally, and very disappointingly, the remake of the classic BEN HUR is getting mainly negative reviews from critics. In case you don’t know the storyline, Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge, but finds redemption. According to TheWrap’s Robert Abele, ‘This Ben-Hur may not be an epic fail, but its steady stream of shortcomings are certainly a cautionary journey for anybody with the hubris to try and rebuild the monuments of movies past.’ People **1/2 ◉ Critics **

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

<NOTE> Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.

 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

LOUDER THAN BOMBS

The fractious family of a father and his two sons confront their different feelings and memories of their deceased wife and mother, a famed war photographer. —IMDB

A very melancholy movie! Seeing all the different family members struggling, in their different ways, with the death of their wife/mother, was intriguing and, at times, surprising. A very deep look at death, grief, family, and father/son relationships. Acting was good, script was good. Definitely worth a look if you  want something deep and meaningful.


Monday, 22 August 2016

THE SHALLOWS

A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills. — IMDB

There are two reasons to see this movie. 1) To see a beautiful woman (Nancy, played by Blake Lively) surfing through crystal clear water and tackling big waves with grace and ease. 2) To see Nancy fighting for her life as a Great White Shark attempts to eat her. Lively does a great job of the one-on-one struggle with the shark. She and the shark are the best things about this movie. The shark looks real and the attacks are believable. Unfortunately, the narrative that brackets the middle is cheesy and poorly acted. If you can forget those two aspects of the movie and just focus on the middle, you’re in for a pretty intense, on the edge of your seat, experience. A refreshing change to the tiresome block buster hero movies that are saturating our screens at the moment.


Friday, 19 August 2016

NEW RELEASE DVD RECOMMENDATION - THE JUNGLE BOOK

SUMMARY: After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free spirited bear, Baloo. —IMDB

MY REVIEW: Absolutely brilliant. Quintessentially Disney but with a contemporary flavour. The entire movie is animated except for Mowgli wonderfully played by Neel Sethi. The CGI and animation are so realistic that you forget the forest and animals are not real - they look and feel totally authentic as if it's real life action. You've got to see it to believe it. The story is wonderfully rich and uplifting. The voicing of all the animals is perfect. There is gentle humour alongside some thrilling action sequences. There's a couple of well known songs but this movie is definitely not a musical (for which I'm grateful). Totally engrossing. Don't miss it!


YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

Lots to choose from this week when it comes to new movies at the cinemas…

TOP PICK

Top of the list is an animated family adventure called KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS. In this visually stunning movie, a young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armour worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past. This is not for young children who would probably get bored. But for the rest of the family, definitely worth seeing. TheWrap’s Sam Adams says that ‘It's not a flawless movie, but there's real magic in it, and that's more important, and no less rare, than perfection.’ My review soon. People **** ◉ Critics **** ◉ Me ***1/2


OTHERS TO SEE

Now here’s a weird documentary that I imagine will provide some humour — but there’s also a very dark side. In TICKLED, journalist David Farrier stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition online. As he delves deeper he comes up against fierce resistance, but that doesn't stop him getting to the bottom of a story stranger than fiction. Variety’s Dennis Harvey describes it as ‘An alarming cautionary tale about how easy it is in the Internet age to ruin people's lives while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity … the pic boasts a humorously titillating entry hook that soon gives way to engrossing conspiracy-thriller-like content.’ People **** ◉ Critics ****


MAYBE/MAYBE NOT

Don’t know much about HIGH-RISE other than that it is about life for the residents of a tower block that begins to run out of control. Time Out New York's Joshua Rothkopf says, ‘The movie ultimately feels both too glib and too hermetically sealed to resonate beyond its chaotic interiors.’ People *** ◉ Critics ***

In THE SHALLOWS, a mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills. Nothing like a good shark attack thriller, is there! I don’t think this will be as good as Jaws was, but it might be entertaining. For Movie Nation’s Roger Moore, ‘Things get into the area of “Oh come on” before they're done. But The Shallows never tries to pass itself off as deep. It's a straight, simple and primal thriller playing with our darkest deep sea fear - getting eaten.’ People *** ◉ Critics ***

WAR DOGS is based on the true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America's allies in Afghanistan. It’s billed as a comedy war drama! It’s a bit hard to tell what this one is going to be like. According to indieWIRE’s David Ehrlich,
‘Hill [who plays Diveroli] embodies everything that's best about the film around him: He's funny, daft and broken in a way that's more fun to gawk at than it is to fix. In a story that's supposedly about the payoffs and perils of taking big risks, he's the only one who puts his money where his mouth is.’ People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ***

TO AVOID

Finally, one to avoid. The Chinese romantic drama SWEET SIXTEEN (Xia You Qiao Mu) tells the story of Xia Mu, a troubled child whose salvation comes in the form of Shu Yawang. When something terrible happens to her, he seeks revenge. Nothing is the same in their lives after that.’ Give it a miss. People **1/2

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

<NOTE> Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

TRUMAN (Spain)

Julián receives an unexpected visit from his friend Tomás, who lives in Canada. The two men, accompanied by Julián's faithful dog, Truman, will share emotional and surprising moments prompted by Julián's complicated situation. —IMDB

A beautifully humorous and sensitive drama comedy about death and dying and friendship. The Truman of the title is a dog and Julián, who is the one dying of cancer, is really only concerned about making sure his animal companion is well cared for after Julián dies. His friend, Tomás is confronted by his friend’s approach to his clearly impending death. The two lead men, two of Spains top actors, are brilliant and their performances make this most definitely worth seeing. The director has walked a careful line between sensationalism and excessive melancholy. One might think that the themes of death and dying will be depressing. But I found calming and reassuring. It avoids any superficial “Hollywood” ending and comes across as intimate and carefully observed. Don’t miss it.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

BAD MOMS

When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence. —IMDB

Every mum should see this movie — and every dad should go with her. It’s great fun but also has a significant message in a world where mothers are supposed to be perfect — cooking healthy meals, taking their kids to extra-curricular activities, always looking good — and a host of other expectations. Mums will watch this movie with a sense of relief — they don’t have to be perfect! The three lead mums are very different and they work together with good comic effect. We come to care about them and revel in their outrageous behaviour. One of the best comedies this year. I really enjoyed it.


Friday, 12 August 2016

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

There are a couple of good choices for movies this week — and none you need to avoid (unless you don’t like vulgarity — see below)! TOP PICK Top pick this week is a South Korean action horror thriller called TRAIN TO BUSAN. While a zombie-virus breaks out in South Korea, a couple of passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan. There’s nothing like a good zombie movie! Screen International says that, ‘Although it lacks the layers evident in Yeon's acclaimed animations (including the thematically-linked Seoul Station), this is still an entertaining ride, as well as providing political commentary when it overtly references the Korean government's response to the MERS virus alongside commenting on the country's class system.’ I’m going to check it out! People **** ◉ Critics ***1/2 OTHERS TO SEE LOUDER THAN BOMBS is about the fractious family of a father and his two sons who confront their different feelings and memories of their deceased wife and mother, a famed war photographer. For Slant Magazine’s Jesse Cataldo, ‘Louder Than Bombs is a parable that takes depression seriously as a condition and a state of being.’ Sounds interesting. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ***1/2 When I saw the trailer for SAUSAGE PARTY, I wondered whether it would be worth seeing (given that Seth Rogen is involved) but it is getting mainly positive reviews from the critics. Wait for it… it’s an animated film about a sausage that strives to discover the truth about his existence. The Film Stage describes ‘Sausage Party [as] a mixed bag of comedy, but when it finally has the gusto to ratchet things up on a visual level, the surrealistic vulgarity is something to be appreciated, even if you may feel assaulted once the lights come up.’ Note the word vulgarity in that description. It’s a Seth Rogen vehicle, so that should give you an idea. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ***1/2 MAYBE/MAYBE NOT When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence. That’s BAD MOMS. According to the Guardian’s Jordan Hoffman, ‘There aren't too many weird or original moments in Bad Moms...but Lucas and Moore, who wrote the script for The Hangover, know how to clear the stage for talented performers that can spin gold from next to nothing.’ I liked it and I’ll post my review shortly. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics *** ◉ Me **** I don’t know much about DOWN UNDER other than it’s a black comedy set during the aftermath of the Cronulla riots (an actual historical event that occurred in Australia). It is the story of two carloads of hotheads from both sides of the fight destined to collide. People **** I happened to be in Melbourne recently and caught a screening of TRUMAN before it opened here in my home town this week. It’s a Spanish movie in which Julián receives an unexpected visit from his friend Tomás, who lives in Canada. The two men, accompanied by Julián's faithful dog, Truman, share emotional and surprising moments prompted by Julián's complicated situation. I really like this humorous, yet profound, story and will post my review for you shortly. People ***1/2 ◉ Me **** That's it for this week. See you at the movies! <NOTE> Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE

After attracting both media and police attention for accidentally knocking Kate Moss into the River Thames, Edina and Patsy hide out in the south of France. —IMDB

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS is most definitely not absolutely fabulous. In fact, it is a completely missable movie. The jokes are lame, the plot unoriginal and superficial. Joanna Lumley is occasionally funny and Barry Humphries does a cameo that is excellent. But these don’t go any way towards improving a terrible movie. There are about three funny moments and the rest of the jokes just don’t work. The whole thing looks tired and out of date. It should never have been made nor should it be seen. Avoid it!


Sunday, 7 August 2016

3D SUICIDE SQUAD

A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned super villains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos. —IMDB

The critics are almost universally rating this movie very low. But I quite liked it. It’s not, by any means, the best superhero movie, but it is better than Batman vs Superman! It’s loud, frenetic, messy, and fun. You won’t need coffee to feel on edge ;-) Margot Robbie is the standout. Pleasant escapism. Worth checking out in 3D.


Saturday, 6 August 2016

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

This week we don't have anything to watch of any significance. I've still got a couple of reviews to post, so keep an eye out for them. They're better choices than the new ones. Anyway, here's the new ones on offer...

TOP PICK

Top pick, amongst a bunch of average options, is SUICIDE SQUAD in which a secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency. This is a frenetic, loud, comical crazy movie. Screen International's Tim Grierson is pretty hard on it. He says, 'Boasting a darker, more nihilistic streak than the typical comic-book film, this Warner Bros. release has its kinky pleasures and some amusing nastiness, but in the final analysis there's simply too much flexing of empty attitude - and far too much self-congratulation for how edgy it thinks it is.' I didn't mind it and will post my review shortly. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ** ◉ Me ***1/2

MAYBE/MAYBE NOT

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE in which, after attracting both media and police attention for accidentally knocking Kate Moss into the River Thames, Edina and Patsy hide out in the south of France. I suppose if you like the Tuva series you'll probably head to see this one. Empire's Helen O'Hara describes it as '?... scatty, scrappy and thoroughly OTT, but then that's like the characters themselves.' People *** ◉ Critics ***

When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. The documentary EMBRACE follows Taryn's crusade as she explores the global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies. People ***

TO AVOID

Remember the brilliant As Is It Is in Heaven? The sequel is in cinemas but don't bother with it! In HEAVEN ON EARTH, 'a group of people live in the small village "Ljusåker" in the most northern part of Sweden. When the choir director, world-renowned conductor Daniel Dareus, dies, he leaves his choir and the love of his life behind, the beautiful soprano Lena, who also is expecting their child.' (Written by cradlefilth88 -- IMDB) Apparently, it is really bad. People **

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.