Saturday, August 31, 2013

Film Review Roundup 31st August 2013

THIS WEEK'S PREVIEWS

Some good films to choose from this week, and all of them with mixed reviews I am afraid.  So it’s up to you whether you trust the critics.  Poor old Mortal Instruments really took a caning with 12% rating at Rotten Tomatoes Website, but it’s not aimed at middle-aged reviewers. I’ve taken a tempered view of it. Stoker and What Maisie Knew are very good indie flicks. Jobs proves Ashton Kutcher can act or at least walk like Steve Jobs.  And number two in a fun franchise is here with Red 2. 

(My movie Pick of the week)
Stoker★★★★

Opens in Australia: 29thth August, 2013
Perth, Australia:      See at Luna Cinemas 
Other Countries:          Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
    We have here a very good, very creepy psychological thriller.  Mia Wasikowska is captivating to watch, and Nicole Kidman always does a good woman on the edge. This is Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s first English language film.  It’s interesting to learn that he actually doesn't speak English and required a translator.  Since this film has three Australian actors, (also Jackie Weaver), and English lead in Matthew Goode (and a Korean director), I just wonder if there are any Americans still working in Hollywood?
STUDIO BLURB
When India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) loses her beloved father and best friend Richard (Dermot Mulroney) in a tragic auto accident on her 18th birthday, her quiet life on the family’s secluded estate is suddenly shattered. Exquisitely sensitive, India’s exhibits an impassive demeanor which masks the deep feelings and heightened senses that only her father understood. Thus acclaimed Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook’s (OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE) first English-language psychological thriller STOKER comes to life.
India finds herself drawn to her father’s long-lost brother, Charlie (Matthew Goode), who unexpectedly arrives for the funeral and decides to stay on with her and her emotionally unstable mother, Evie (Nicole Kidman). While India initially mistrusts her charming but mysterious uncle, he fascinates her as well, and she begins to realize how much they have in common.
As Charlie reveals himself to her little by little, India becomes increasingly infatuated with her charismatic relative and comes to realize that his arrival is no coincidence. With her uncle to guide her, she is about to fulfill her unusual destiny.

Jobs
★★★★

Opens in Australia: 29th August 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
Ashton Kutcher gives a fine portrayal of Steve Jobs in this biopic. Say what?  Let me repeat that in case you thought you read wrong.  Ashton Kutcher can actually act! 
A few of the complaints may be that Jobs is portrayed as a real arrogant a-hole but I’ve read a few of the books on him, and it appears that really is him.  In his defence, if you are going to change the way the whole world operates you probably will, and should be allowed, to behave however you like.
Don’t be waiting through the whole film for the story of the development of the iPod.  It only tells the story leading up to the launch of the iMac.  But we mostly all know the iPod story by now don’t we?  (We’ve Googled it on our smart phones.)  However, it is still fascinating and well-paced and did I mention Ashton Kutcher does a good job?
STUDIO BLURB
It only takes one person to start a revolution. This is the extraordinary story of Steve Jobs, the original innovator and ground-breaking entrepreneur who let nothing stand in the way of greatness. The film tells the epic and turbulent story of Jobs as he blazed a trail that changed technology -- and the world - forever. (c) Official Site

Red 2
★★★½

Opens in Australia: 29th August 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
I couldn’t wait to see this film.  Our family really enjoyed the 2011 Red. And I know the critics didn’t like it but we still had fun.  Helen Mirren and John Malkovich play it up so well.  It’s a popcorn film and it does what it’s meant to do. Perhaps not as witty as the original Red, but we knew what to expect this time around. Die Hard and Bruce Willis fans I notice there is another Die Hard film slated for 2015, Die Hardest. I hope they leave the Red franchise at two. We don’t need a Red Redder or a Red Reddest. It would be enough to turn you pink.
STUDIO BLURB
In Red 2, the high-octane action-comedy sequel to the worldwide hit RED, the team of “Retired, Extremely Dangerous” CIA operatives are reunited as they use their old-school style to take on a new set of enemies across Europe.
Retired black ops CIA agent Frank Moses (Willis) reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives – including former colleague Marvin (Malkovich), ever deadly sharp-shooter Victoria (Mirren) and Frank’s beloved Sarah (Parker) – for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.  To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assasins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials in a mission that takes them to London, Paris and Moscow.

Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones
★★★½  for fans
★★ if you are over 15

Opens in Australia: 22nd August 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
This film is an adaptation of a young adult series of books which were originally written as Harry Potter fan fiction (the author took the H.P. characters and made up her own story with them) which, when it became successful the character’s names were changed. The first half of it has a very Harry Potter feel until it comes horribly unstuck at a love scene.  There were many groans and much laughter in the audience from this point on. However, my 13 year-old-son really enjoyed it.  And I actually think kids between 10 and 15 will enjoy which is a good thing because there is not much for them at the cinema these days.  If you are over that age or have never heard of Mortal Instruments I fear this one is not for you. 
STUDIO BLURB
Lily Collins stars as a young girl whose life is upended when she realizes that she's part of a long line of demon-slayers in this Screen Gems adaptation of Cassandra Clare's first book in her series of best-selling novels. Lena Headey and Jonathan Rhys Meyers head up the rest of the starring cast.

What Maisie Knew
★★★

Opens in Australia: 29th August 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
This is from the producers of 2010 top notch indie release The Kids are AlrightWhat Maisie Knew is a pretty tough film to watch with two narcissistic parents ignoring this beautiful innocent child.  By the end of the film you will want to punch something.  I attended the preview with my cousin who works in education. Her first words after the film had ended, were that, sadly, she’d seen similar in real life. And that just made me even angrier. Onata Aprile, the little actress playing Maisie, is extraordinary. How gorgeous is she in this poster?  Caution: this film is still haunting me days later.
STUDIO BLURB
A contemporary reimagining of Henry James' novel, WHAT MAISIE KNEW tells the story of a captivating little girl's struggle for grace in the midst of her parents' bitter custody battle. Told through the eyes of the title's heroine, Maisie navigates this ever-widening turmoil with a six-year-olds innocence, charm and generosity of spirit.


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