Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weekly Film Review Round-Up 4th May 2013

THIS WEEK'S PREVIEWS

This week the best drama you will see this year, an Aussie surfie flick with great heart, a moral drama that fails to ignite my morals and I get my Ryan Gosling fix.

(My movie Pick of the week)

The Hunt ★★★★
Opens in Australia: 2nd May 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
You will watch this film with your hand covering your mouth. This could happen to anyone and that makes it a horror film.  Mads Mikkelsen who gives a thrilling performance in everything (catch him at the moment in the Hannibal TV series) is extraordinary as the innocent teacher accused of paedophilia.  The blurb about this film is correct—it is the best drama you will see this year at the cinema.  The Danes certainly know how to craft their films.  My suggestion is don’t miss it.  It will frighten you forever how easily your life can be stripped from you. 
STUDIO BLURB
        Mads Mikkelsen (NBC's Hannibal, A ROYAL AFFAIR, CASINO ROYALE) won the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for his penetrating portrayal of Lucas, a former school teacher who has been forced to start over having overcome a tough divorce and the loss of his job. Just as things are starting to go his way, his life is shattered when an untruthful remark throws his small community into a collective state of hysteria. As the lie spreads, Lucas is forced to fight a lonely fight for his life and dignity. (c) Magnolia

DRIFT ★★★½
Opens in Australia: 2nd May 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
I wasn’t going to see DRIFT. Surfie Culture was something I dabbled in (I lived near the Gold Coast so it was compulsory) when I was seventeen but I have long moved on from that. But a reviewer friend whispered in my ear that it really was worth getting off my comfy couch to see. And he was right.  It is indeed a film with heart considering it’s a debut for the filmmakers. Very much a quintessential Aussie story, it was good to see big name stars like Sam Worthington grace our humble WA shores to bring this one to the screen.  The surfing shots are quite incredible.  If you love surfing and the culture, then this one is a no-brainer.  If you don’t enjoy sand in your hair but love a good little story with some great acting check it out.  West Australian talent shows the Hollywood studios how to do it.

STUDIO BLURB
Australia. 1970s. The Kelly brothers Andy and Jimmy, both in their twenties, have one great passion: riding big waves. They’ve honed their surfing skills in the sleepy WA town of Seacliffe near Margaret River, which hosts some of the world’s most challenging and dangerous waves. Knowing how to shape the perfect board and encouraged by new friends, the brothers quit their jobs and launch a backyard surf gear business.  They rethink traditional design, craft homemade wetsuits and sell their wares out of the back of their van. But their new found success is threatened when Jimmy gets mixed up with a local biker gang. Set in breathtaking locations and inspired by the true story of Australia’s legendary surfwear companies, Drift inspiringly charts the transformation of surfing’s laidback lifestyle into a global phenomenon. It’s a story told through a personal tale of passion, courage, friendship and fractured loyalties.

Promised Land ★★★
Opens in Australia: 2nd May 2013
Other Countries: Release Information  
IN Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
A few years ago I saw the documentary, GASLAND (and if you haven’t seen it, do catch it on DVD or pay TV). It made me so angry.  These poor farmers’ livelihoods are destroyed by this crazy mining practice, Fracking.  Fracking has come to Australia too, even to WA. So, I expected to feel the same way with this dramatization of that story.  However, whilst it was a reasonable film, it just didn’t grab me by the jugular and make me want to march in a parade to Parliament House.  The Director Gus Van Sant’s previous work, MILK, did so that made it more of a disappointment.  It’s more of a tele-movie and  a bit of a waste of some of my favourite actors. Whilst watching Frances McDormand on screen I kept wishing I was re-watching the fabulous FARGO instead.  Didn't deliver on its promise.

STUDIO BLURB
Promised Land is the new contemporary drama directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk). Matt Damon plays Steve Butler, an ace corporate salesman who is sent along with his partner, Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand), to close a key rural town in his company's expansion plans. With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company's offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (John Krasinski), as well as the interest of a local woman (Rosemarie DeWitt). Promised Land explores America at the crossroads where big business and the strength of small-town community converge.

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES  ★★★½ 
Opens in Australia: 9th May 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
First up let me say that I am partial to the Gosling.  He cannot do anything wrong in my books. I’ll tolerate the worst movie just to watch him because he lifts anything out of the quagmire of average and elevates it to watchable.  And that may be the problem here.  It’s a good movie and it will no doubt haunt viewers long afterwards with the idea that the mistakes of any parent may be visited upon the children.  However, Gosling is so good that he leaves a big gap to fill for Bradley Cooper in the second half of the film, and I don’t think Cooper is quite up to the job.  Still, it’s a solid—if not a little too long—drama.   

STUDIO BLURB
The highly anticipated new drama from director Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine") powerfully explores the consequences of motorcycle rider Luke's (Academy Award nominee Ryan Gosling) fateful decision to commit a crime to support his child. The incident renders him targeted by policeman Avery (Golden Globe Award nominee Bradley Cooper), and the two men become locked on a tense collision course which will have a devastating impact on both of their families in the years following. (c) Focus



What have you seen this week? Did you find our comments helpful or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with us.