Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review Round Up 27th November 2013


This week the Perth Lottery West Film Festival opens for the summer with Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. Until April, Perth folk will be lucky enough to catch some fabulous, quality films in breathtaking outdoor cinema surroundings. You can drink wine, eat yummy food and feel so very avant-garde. If you live overseas, it’s worth coming here just for this.
Two other good movies open this week as well. Horror fans, the very good remake of Carrie is here. Apocalyptic fans… How I Live Now is for you as a very dark take of a future war.

(My movie Pick of the week)
Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing ★★★★ ½

                                        Somerville 25 Nov-1 Dec, 8pm   Joondalup Pines 3-8 Dec, 8pm
Other Countries:   Release Information

First, let me share that if you are in Perth, Western Australia you need to attend one of Lottery West Festival films at Somerville or Joondalup Pines. It is simply stunning sitting there amongst the pine trees.

Allow me to fill you in if you are not a geek fan of Joss Whedon’s work.  He’s the director and writer who brought us the record-breaking Marvel’s The Avengers, the highly fun Cabin in the Woods, cult-hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the current TV series my son loves, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
So, you just wouldn’t take him for the kind of guy to delve into Shakespeare.  But delve he does in a highly unique take. In fact, the film was shot in the director’s own home in 12 days, in the time between the conclusion of principal photography on Marvel’s The Avengers and his director’s cut of the film. 
I just marvel that over four hundred years later we are still laughing at this comedy and the relevance it still maintains. It’s been modernised and shot in black and white and I laughed more in this than most of the romantic comedies I’ve seen this year. It’s a treat and one I hope to enjoy again in the wonderful surroundings at either Somerville or Joondalup Pines.  Bravo to Lottery West Film Festival for choosing this film as their opening film for the season.  It is perfect.  If you miss this, you are missing something special.

As clear and light as a California wine, Shakespeare’s most sparkling dialogue meets its match in Whedon. 
Joss Whedon, cultural icon and director of The Avengers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, brings his signature style and an infinitely sexy ensemble cast to this wildly fresh reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s most playful comedy. Moving from slapstick to calamity and back with dizzying speed, the screen crackles with a charmingly wayward energy that recalls the classic romantic sparring of the studio era. Will love prevail?

How I Live Now ★★★★ 

Opens in Australia:     28th November, 2013
Other Countries:          Release Information
Perth, Australia:           See at Luna Cinemas

        How I Live Now is the adult version of all these YA dystopian films arriving en masse to the cinema screens ever since Twilight revealed teens like to watch teenagers in fantasy/sci-fi stories translated from books.
        It’s hard-hitting, emotionally draining and grim, and even though there is a teen love story, it’s meshed between the horrors of a future WW3. When I say horror think Nazi films horror.
And therein lays its problem. It’s going to struggle to find an audience. Adults will find it difficult to identify with the teen love story and teens won’t enjoy the exposure to the terrible drama surrounding the children. There are some scenes that left my friend and I quite devastated.
       The feelings at our media screening were very mixed.  A few of us enjoyed it—well not enjoyed, but found it interesting and absorbing—while others thought the story was problematic and couldn’t identify with the lead Daisy (Saoirse Ronan). But director, Kevin McDonald (Last King of Scotland, State of Play) isn’t known for pulling punches, and he doesn’t here either. In a way, I am grateful for that. It’s good to watch non-homogenised stories sometimes. Go see this knowing it’s going to punch you in the emotional chest. And don’t take your tweens. It’s not that kind of love story.
        Set in the near-future UK, Ronan plays Daisy, an American teenager sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside. Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings, and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay). But on the fringes of their idyllic summer days are tense news reports of an escalating conflict in Europe. As the UK falls into a violent, chaotic military state, Daisy finds herself hiding and fighting to survive. (c) Magnolia

Carrie ★★★ ½ stars

Opens in Australia: 28th November, 2013
Other Countries:          Release Information

Carrie is a disturbing, horror film.  Pretty nasty, actually. Lots of blood, too.  So, if you like that sort of thing, you will like this. The reviewers didn’t like it very much. In fact, I think every one of them has written that it’s a pale imitation of the original 1976 Brian De Palma classic telling of Stephen King’s first book.  But, let’s keep in mind that this 2013 version is aimed at a teen audience whose parents or even grandparents were the ones screaming in ’76 when Sissy Spacek copped the bucket of pig’s blood. So, I don’t really think they care which one was better. They will probably never see the original and why shouldn’t they get to enjoy a little pig’s blood for their generation.  It would also work well for an “anti-bullying” campaign.
There are some rather harrowing scenes and my friend (who was hugely eager to come along) had to cover her eyes for a bit until I told her it was safe to look again.  Sorry, I can’t remember the scene as I was too amused by her to pay attention.
Chloe Grace Moretz does a good job as the odd-girl-out Carrie. She is a talent to watch. Julianne Moore, sporting very bad hair, slightly overplays her crazy Mom, but it is Carrie so we shall forgive her. All in all if you are looking for a forgettable but well executed one trick horror film this is it

Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King.

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

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