Friday, 13 September 2019

No. 82. (2019) The Good Boys. September 11th.

Film No. 82 (2019) Sept. 11th.  7:00 PM EVENT CINEMAS Innaloo.                        

"You can say f*ck in the trailer, but you can't watch yourselves. Now that's really F*cked up" (Producer Seth Rogan discusses ground rules in relation to promoting Good Boys with the three key young actors Jacob, Keith and Brody in a promotional trailer for the film).

An at times laugh out loud film for adults about kids, this is Good Boys and it's a film with a unique concept as its poster and promo trailer below would suggest. But then again if you're familiar with the antics on display in Superbad or Sausage Party then little in Good Boys will surprise; although it does have one unique idea which works. The risk the film takes relates to taking child actors delivering somewhat sophisticated dialogue in an adolescent setting. Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) are reaching that part of life when their tight friendship will change, a la Stand By Me. In a part Home Alone (Max's dad's drone saga), Superbad (overcoming sexual insecurity) premise the lads need to triumph thus securing a key coming of age performance indicator. Yes, you're right, nothing groundbreaking here but the method cuts new ground. It's all in the script and like Booksmart of a couple of months ago most of the characters are likable with plenty of redeeming features. 9GUMS.


Sunday, 8 September 2019

No. 81. (2019) The Keeper (Trautmann). September 3rd.

Film No 81 (2019) Sept. 3rd.  4:00 AM  LUNA PALACE Leederville. 

"You think you can play football and everything is forgiven? Have you forgotten that you robbed us of our youth?" (An angry Margaret speaks her mind after learning her father had recruited Bert into the village football team).

An endearing, if mainly cheesy, yarn about a German WW2 POW who became one of the greatest football goalkeepers the world has seen. This German/U.K. co-production is, in the main, a love story. Legend has it that Bert overcame much adversity as an ex-POW then was suddenly plucked from his camp near Manchester to play first, club football, then subsequently playing for one of the nation's premier teams, Manchester City. I knew nothing of Bert Trautmann, and found the simple way The Keeper unfolded using David Kross as the likeable lead made for terrific entertainment. U.K. character actor John Henshaw thrives as village coach Jack Friar, the architect responsible for plucking Trautmann from scrubbing prison latrines to goalkeeping on the local pitch. Freya Maver is perfect as the coach's daughter who falls for Trautmann then ultimately becomes the wind beneath his wings as they team up to overcome all that life throws at them. This includes prejudices, tragedy, pain, and ultimately enduring love. A ripping yarn most handsomely told. 9GUMS.



No. 80. (2019) Animals. August 31st.

Film No 80 (2019) August 31st.  10:45 AM  LUNA PALACE Leederville. 

Girls are tied to beds for two reasons:Sex and exorcisms. So which is it with you? (The opening lines of Animals, delivered by Tyler as she wanders into Laura's room, observes the predicament her housemate is in and thus makes her enquiry).

Accomplished Australian director Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays) takes to the international stage with this tale of friendship. Given the theme of the friendship of two early thirties women, built on boozy romps through and around the streets of Dublin, the slice of life drama is quite endearing. Hyde has an intelligent way of connecting her characters with her audience. Odd couple housemates Laura (Holliday Grainger) and Tyler (Alia Shawkat) seem not to have a care in the world as A grade party ANIMALS, that is until Laura becomes side-tracked emotionally (a couple of times). Does she "grow-up" and age gracefully? Where will life as Tyler's sidekick end? Is that fox she spies roaming the streets of Dublin a sign? Either way the themes of Animals must ring true to many young extroverts, (mainly extroverts) who must grapple with life after partying. And isn't that what film is all about? Pricking one's consciousness? Hyde along with writer Emma Jane Unsworth (screenplay and novel) have created a splendid small budget film. Although I still haven't worked out the significance of the fox! 10GUMS.


Friday, 30 August 2019

No. 79. (2019) Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood. August 27th.

Film No 79 (2019) August 27th.  1.30PM  PALACE CINEMAS Raine Square,  Perth City . 

"So, is this your son? " (Al Pacino's Marvin Schwarz ironically asks Rick Dalton who this bloke at the bar is, the Brad Pitt, Cliff Booth).

"No, he's my stunt double, Cliff Booth." (Responds Dalton, without a single sense of embarrassment).


I'm a child of the sixties. I'm a devoted fan of Tarantino. I'm a believer that Jackie Brown is his smartest and most accomplished film. So it was going to be entirely probable Once Upon A Time ... in Hollywood was going to be thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable and an altogether fulfilling experience. And it was. My interpretation of OUTIH, Quentin's fantasy, will be different to many, and none of us will be wrong. This unique film-maker presents an homage to the 60's; via the year 1969, a year Tarantino quite obviously depicts as the turning point for different times ahead. 

Tarantino uses DiCaprio's Rick Dalton and more pointedly Pitt's Cliff Booth (Dalton's stunt double and personal assistant) as conduits through which to lather us in an era people of a younger generation may see as simply make believe. The fairytale factory was Hollywood. Dalton and Booth were both cowboys of a kind in that factory. Tarantino plays with us as scene after scene plays out randomly, and not necessarily with great continuity, but with dialogue which is never wasted. We meet interpretations of Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis), Charles Manson (Damon Herriman), Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) as Tarantino surmises what he thinks was going through their minds at the time.

Then there is the Tarantino commentary along the way - like riddles embedded into the narrative. Is Rick's smoking habit an ironic reference to The Marlboro Man? DiCaprio is noted for his dedication to method acting, Dalton gets a lesson from an unlikely source in a brilliant scene. Was T.V. even taken slightly seriously by Hollywood as he extracts scenes from The FBI and Combat? Tarantino is continually creating food for thought. Oh, and then there is his ultimate twist to bring the curtain down, beautifully played out.

Yes this is more than just my usual Sliver but for good reason; there is simply so much to digest. There has been a very mixed response to OUATIH. I'm part of the adoration team. I now have two favourite Tarantino films; Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and yes, Jackie Brown. 12GUMS




Thursday, 29 August 2019

No. 78. (2019) Angel of Mine. August 26th.

Film No 78 (2019) August 26th.  6:45 PM  LUNA PALACE Leederville. 

I had a little girl once. A little baby. She was in an accident. A fire. (Lizzie explains herself to the subject of her obsession, Lola).

A tightly scripted, well cast, psychological thriller with a twist that wasn't entirely surprising. Using a universal theme of character sanity against the odds, Kim Farrant, director of Strangerland, has delved back into a world of misconstrued view-points, culminating into an ending that satisfies to a point. Lizzie (Noomi Rapace) is on medication to dull the tragedy of 7 years previous which has made her unable to function normally from day to day. Claire (Yvonne Strahovski) meets Lizzie by chance and it's her daughter Lola (Annika Whiteley) that becomes the target of Lizzies obsession. Farrant cleverly uses close-ups, mainly of the slightly unhinged but beautiful Rapace to build a tension and to heighten our experience of Lizzie's delusion. We are hopeful, like her family supporting her, she can move on and allow time to heal her deep psychological wounds. There is a twist of course and while we are never quite sure how it will end, the twist is not totally surprising. 9GUMS.


Wednesday, 28 August 2019

No. 77. (2019) Amazing Grace. August 23rd.

Film No 77 (2019) August 23rd.  6:45 PM  LUNA PALACE Leederville. 

It's the closest thing to witnessing a miracle - just some cameras, a crowd and a voice touched by god. (Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine gives a snapshot of his impression of Amazing Grace).

This is a must see for Franklin fans who I imagine are entwined in the magic that gospel music brings to the world.

The film is not a biographical study of the legend, it's the culmination of a vision and a recording that took place in Los Angeles in 1972 when a 29 year old Franklin performed for her own Baptist congregation over two days culminating in the album Amazing Grace; her biggest selling album of all time. Why then has it taken 47 years to surface and have audiences spellbound by it's magnificence? Well the story goes that Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, Out of Africafilmed the event but was unable to edit it as the analogue soundtrack did not sync with the vision. How does that change things? Digital technology, that's what. So without further ado, please enjoy Amazing Grace. Sadly Aretha and Sydney, the stars behind the film's brilliance are no longer with us. This will serve as a magnificent tribute. 10GUMS.


Saturday, 24 August 2019

No. 76. (2019) Dogman. August 20th.

Film No. 76 (2019) Aug. 20th.  6:40 PM  PALACE CINEMAS  Northbridge. 

"I know he's a friend of yours. Whatever you do, don't trust a word he says" (Marcello's friend, the jeweller, warns him that his friendship with Simoncino could cause him harm).

Director Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) loves this dour southern Italian coastal strip as a backdrop to his often "based on fact" tales of human fragility. Dogman tells the tale of a crime which reviled Italians in the 80's but as Garrone says, this film only used the story as its starting point. Marcello Fonte plays Marcello, a dog groomer and petty criminal living his life out of a dirty, damp shop in a stark unkempt town on the coast of Campania. A human wrecking ball, Simoncino, rules over the town but more particularly Marcello. We invest emotionally with Marcello in the hope he'll wrestle back his independence, but given his small stature and gentle nature, his challenge may be insurmountable. Fonte won the ultimate individual gong at Cannes for this role. Garrone is a filmmaker with an innate talent for bringing unique regional Italian stories to the world through the eyes of vulnerable characters. Dogman is raw, bold and brilliant. 11GUMS.