Wednesday, 30 January 2019

No. 7 (2019) On The Basis of Sex. Jan 26th.

Film No 7 (2019) Jan. 26th.  11:00 PM  LUNA PALACE Leederville . 

"To learn more about his work, so I can be a more patient and understanding wife". (Ruth sarcastically answers the Dean of Harvard's question as to why she has taken a place at the university usually set aside for a man).

RBG is the 2018 release which gives an insight into Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This documentary gives an insightful (RBG sanctioned) view of possibly the most influential law maker in the history of the United States. The Basis of Sex (also RGB endorsed) is an entertaining, if not sanitised, version of Ruth and Marty Ginsberg's (Felicity Jones & Armie Hammer) early years and how the depth of their relationship both lovingly and professionally changed a law (constitutional) on the basis of sex. The case, Moritz v Commissioner of IRS, forms the foundation of the film. It's the case that began Ruth's determined efforts to seek change to U.S. discriminatory  (sex based) laws. Jones and Hammer give the film a Hollywood chemistry. The two hours breeze by. It's a story worth telling, about a lady who to this day has a cult following. 9GUMS.


Tuesday, 29 January 2019

No. 6 (2019) Shoplifters. Jan 25th.

Film No. 6 (2019) Jan. 25th.  8.00 PM  PIAF Film Festival, The Pines Joondalup.

"What the people who pretend to be her family were doing in this house remains shrouded in mystery". (A network news reporter voices her commentary from the street in front of "the family house").

Life on the fringes of Japanese society is a rarity for the greater international cinema going public to experience. Shoplifters takes us on a heartfelt journey using one of the most unconventional families you'll ever experience on-screen. Osamu (Lily Franky) and Sakura (Nobuyo Shibata) oversee rather than parent a family in a cluttered but strangely homely apartment on the outskirts of Tokyo. The family are scammers, it's the only way they know. The major scam comes via the kidnapping (rescue) of cold and lonely Rin (Miya Sasaki) from a balcony where she is left by her uncaring parents. It's at this point we pick-up this intriguing and unique journey where unethical behaviour is the norm. Ultimately it's the love and care for each other that unfolds on screen that affects us, the audience, giving us no idea where it will take us. Cannes awarded Shoplifters it's highest accolade in 2018. No wonder. 11GUMS.         

Saturday, 26 January 2019

No. 5 (2019) Green Book. Jan 24th.

Film No 5 (2019) Jan. 24th.  1.10PM  PALACE CINEMAS Raine Square,  Perth City . 

"We'll be interacting with some of the wealthiest people in the country. It is my feeling that your diction could use some finessing." (Shirley suggests some modifications to Vallelongo's communication habits).

Based on an inspirational true story, Green Book is a thoroughly entertaining road movie. I'm not sure it's Oscar material though, there's a predictability to the narrative, so well worn, that audiences are whispering predicted outcomes in the dark. The thing is Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) was a world renowned negro musician who travelled the U.S. touring his trio through segregated states. Anthony "The Lip" Vallelongo (Viggo Mortensen) was his driver during a two month tour in late 1962. It's true. Vallelongo used The Negro Motorist Green Book guide, thus Shirley stayed in appropriate motel accommodation in designated states. They formed a strong friendship along the way. Peter Farrelly (Something About Mary) has directed Mortensen and Ali effectively and without risk. But don't get me wrong. You'll still get a lump in your throat exactly on cue. It's just that BlacKkKlansman treats the same message far more effectively, I think. Go see Greenbook, it's entertaining cinema even if the message is partially forced. 9GUMS.


Thursday, 24 January 2019

No. 4 (2019) Private Lives. Jan 22nd.

Film No. 4 (2019) Jan. 22nd.  7.35 PM  NETFLIX,  Sitting Room,  Leederville .

"We are doing everything we can short of kidnapping to start a family". (Richard tries to convince Rachel that he has a part to play in this epic chapter of their life story).

For we couples lucky enough to breed with a minimum of fuss, Private Life will have us counting our lucky stars. For those who have endured the infertility maze that professional couple Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Gianatti) endure in this Netflix gem, you may want to look away. This warts and all fictional tale will be too real for some. Hahn and Gianatti match each other blow for blow. Their brilliant timing rings true in every sense. Then there is Richard's niece Sadie (Kayli Carter) who brings an extra loving warmth to Private Life. It's the dimension which polishes this worthy contribution to realism through naturalism on film. Only the U.S. had a big screen release for Private Life, more's the pity. It deserves a grander display. As for happy endings; watch and see, it deserves your attention. 10GUMS.


No. 3 (2019) Cold War. Jan 20th.

Film No. 3 (2019) Jan. 20th.  8.00 PM  PIAF Film Festival, The Pines Joondalup.

"He mistook me for my mother, and a knife showed him the difference". (Zula explains the truth to a rumour Wiktor had heard relating to her past).

Sitting out in the open, with  warm Perth air wafting over me, while watching a brilliantly told love story on the big screen last Sunday eve has left an impression. Cold War, the latest Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida) film, is a deeply affecting love story, an example of quality film-making. Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig) find each other through art (performing) because of the cold war. It's love with depth, this is made obvious from the very first crisp black and white digital image. Zula is besotted but won't elope at a key moment early in this tale. Their love however endures ('49 till early 60's), but their meetings can only be consummated with fleeting passionate rendezvous across 4 European countries. The final scenes cleverly capture a six year time lapse that etches a mark into our compassionate sensibilities. Life is littered with sliding door moments, Cold War reminds us in clear, crisp black and white terms of this fact. 11GUMS.


Saturday, 19 January 2019

No. 2 (2019) Mary Poppins Returns. Jan 15th.

Film No 2 (2019) Jan. 15th.  11:10 AM  FENWICK CINEMA 3 Esperance W.A. 

"It's a good thing you came along when you did Mary Poppins". (Sweet Jack the lantern lighter reaffirms what Mary knows is true for sure).

So, how was a remake of Mary Poppins going to shape-up in 2018/19? Pretty well as it happens. Emily Blunt's take on the role Julie Andrews has owned for decades has an edginess which suits our era. Super nanny Mary lands via umbrella (that old fashioned idea hasn't changed) just in time to help Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) save the family home from mean banker Wilkins (Colin Firth, believe it or not). So the story is simple but there are moments of magic. Meryl Streep is a show-stealer as Mary's cousin Topsy, the return to old fashioned animation in a clever interpretation of images on a valuable china bowl will have you smiling. To top this off, at the ripe age of 92, Dick Van Dyke does his own stunts, priceless. So, 54 years on, what a great time for Julie's devotees to take their "grandies" to a remake worth its weight in sweeties and home-made kites. Blunt's talent is unending. 9GUMS.      

Monday, 14 January 2019

No. 1 (2018) Can You Ever Forgive Me. Jan 3rd.

Film No 1 (2018) Jan. 3rd.  10:50 PM  LUNA PALACE Leederville . 

"Nobody is going to pay for the writer Lee Israel right now. My suggestion is, you go out there and find another way to make a living". (Marjorie, Israel's agent, lays bare the reality of life for Lee).

This is an engaging story and surprisingly so. Not because the story lacks merit, it's a fascinating tale. It is more that our two key characters are so unlikeable. Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) and Jack Hock (Richard E Grant) play a pair of fraudsters in a re-enactment of Israel's confessional autobiography of the same name. We meet Israel in the early 90's, she's an alcohol dependent author, down on her luck. By accident she discovers a letter from 20's star Fanny Brice during research for a book she hopes to write. Local book dealer Anna (Dolly Wells) buys the letter and the seed for fraudulent behaviour to help make ends meet is planted. The ultimate odd couple, Hock and Israel, steer the story as a pair of losers. McCarthy and Grant are brilliantly detestable. 9GUMS.