Thursday, January 9, 2014

Weekly Review Round Up 9th January 2014


My two films this week are both five star winners. I’ve seen Saving Mr Banks twice and I just recommend it to everyone. Don’t miss it.  And 12 Years a Slave I am about to see again during its run at the outdoor cinema Sommerville.  This one is a masterpiece.  It’s exciting to see 2014 starting of with such top films.  If you are in Australia, also don’t miss seeing Frozen or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. There is something for everyone at the moment and all worth your dollars.

(My movie Pick of the week)
Saving Mr Banks ★★★★★
Opens in Australia: 9th January 2014
USA: 20th December 2013
UK: 29th November 2013 
Other Countries: Release Information

Who doesn’t love Mary Poppins? Seriously, is it not the most delightful film ever made? It so easily crosses generations to please young and old even now. So, it may surprise you to know that the true story behind the making of this Disney classic was not so sugar and spice and that it took more than a spoonful of sugar for this movie to go down.
It seems P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins’ Australian author, was very protective of her “Mary.” In fact, she considered the Banks and Mary her family. This is the story of how Disney (Tom Hanks) after twenty years of pursuit, persuaded Mrs. Travers (Emma Thompson)—and, please only call her Mrs. Travers—to, finally, allow him to make the film. Why the film is called Saving Mr Banks will only be revealed at the end.
In telling the story, we alternate between the curmudgeonly writer of today and the imaginative, intelligent child in outback Queensland living with her troubled father and mother. It’s from the story of the past that we come to understand the complex woman who is giving poor Walt a run for his money.
I’ve seen this film twice now and I think I loved it even more the second time around. The tough-critic children enjoyed it too. It’s a perfectly made film, with beautiful performances. Emma Thompson owns the screen, and if she doesn’t get an award win for this then I am supercalifragilistic-ing someone. Now, I am off to go fly a kite.

When Walt Disney's daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers' "Mary Poppins," he made them a promise one that he didn't realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against an, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling, and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney's plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn't budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.

12 YEARS A SLAVE ★★★★★

Somerville 13-19 Jan, 8pm   Joondalup Pines 21-26, 8pm

Opens in Australia: 30th January 2014 general release
Other Countries:          Release Information

Expect this one to show prominently in many categories when the Oscar nominations are announced on January 16th. It’s the type of film the Academy likes.
This is the most authentic film I’ve ever seen on slavery in the U.S. south and is based on an 1800’s memoir by Solomon Northup.  Thus it makes it a very difficult film to watch at times. While I had heard the violence was graphic I actually didn’t find that the case. What is graphic and probably more horrific is the absolute belief by the land owners and those involved in the slave trade that these people were chattel. There is no reticence in displaying this on screen and that was the hard part to stomach.  Some scenes involving a mother being separated from her children are so heart-wrenching they hurt.
It’s a beautifully made film. Some visuals are art in their framing. Everything means something, even just the burning of a letter and the camera holding on the image until the last ember has burnt itself out before the screen fades to black. It’s just beautiful imagery.
Chiwetel Ejiofor as  Solomon and Michael Fassbender as the cruel slave owner Edwin Epps give everything to their roles, along with a multitude of amazing performances. Nice little appearance by Brad Pitt and Paul Giamatti.
It’s a fascinating, ugly, amazing, shouldn’t-be-missed piece of cinema. And if you are lucky enough to live in beautiful Perth, you have the added benefit of seeing it at the incredible outdoor cinemas Somerville or Joondalup Pines.

12 Years A Slave is Steve McQueen’s fiercely powerful rendering of the memoirs of Solomon Northup. A free man in New York in the 1840s, Northup was tricked, kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. At the inhumane hands of plantation owners, he faces a monumental struggle for survival. Vivid and nuanced, 12 Years A Slave is one of the most widely lauded and hotly anticipated films of the year.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AUDIENCE AWARD Toronto International Film Festival 2013