Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekly Film Review Round Up 24th May 2014

For the first time I really enjoyed an X-Men film, and it wasn’t just due to Hugh Jackman’s nude scene. I also urge to you to go out and see a small Australian film, The Babadook. It's one of the best horror films you will see this year. Warning: Don’t take the kids if you want them to continue to go to bed with the light turned off. Releasing next week is The Trip to Italy, which is more of the same as the first one if you caught that. Though, it sure does make me want to get on a plane for Italy. Until next week… Ciao!

(My movie Pick of the week)

The Babadook ✪✪✪✪½

Opens in Australia:      22nd May 2014
USA: 6th June 14    UK: 24th October 2014
Other Countries:          Release Information
Perth:                          Luna Palace Cinemas

This horror or, depending on your take of it, psychological thriller is creepy… very creepy. Its an extremely well executed story that is a patchwork of Hitchcock inspired scenes, striking visuals inspired from The Ring, and anticipatory set-ups reminiscent of Paranormal. Horror usually suffers from feeling too derivative of horror films watched in our teenage years.

The Babadook probably shouldn’t have worked. Somehow, though, it manages to skilfully pull everything together, in no small part due to the assistance of some compelling, raw performances from the two leads: Essie Davis as single mother Naomi and six-year-old Noah Wiseman playing her son Oskar. Wiseman gives an extremely nuanced, authentic performance of a troubled boy attempting to deal with a mother who is becoming unhinged.

Naomi is still mourning her husband’s death the day her son, Oskar, was born. Oskar’s behaviour is becoming increasingly worrying; he insists that Mr. Babadook, a character from a disturbing book that has just turned up in their house, wants to kill them both. Oskar’s obsession with the monster causes him to be expelled from school, and creates a rift between Naomi and her sister. Whether the monster is real or part of Oskar’s and his mother’s imagination is the heart of the story.

First time feature Director, Jennifer Kent, also penned the script, and she’s pulled of a great feat, creating a well-paced storyline, immersive visuals, and eliciting confident, stylish performances from her small and mostly unknown cast.

A good horror thriller is a rarity; a director who knows how to create the immersive feel required to soar above cliché into unsettling thrills, even more rare. We may not want The Babadook under our bed, but we certainly want more films like this on our cinema screens.

A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

X-Men: Days of Future Past ✪✪✪✪   

Opens in Australia:               22nd  May 2014
USA: 23rd  May 2014              UK: 22nd May 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

Marvel releases are the best popcorn films around these days. You are guaranteed wit, action, good looking, muscle-bound superheroes and no-expense spared special effects. The one exception, for me, is the X-men series. From the very first episode, they have always managed to be just “good enough,” but not exciting. The story lines just haven’t grabbed me and they feel kind of a poor cousin to The Avengers and Spiderman.

So with a decided lack of excitement, I sat ready to be unimpressed much to the consternation of friends who are fans of the great Wolverine and his gang of straggly heroes in uncomfortable looking suits. It was quite a surprise to discover that from the opening sequence, through to the very interesting concept of Wolverine travelling back in time to work with the younger versions of Charles Xavier and Magneto, I was hooked.

James McAvoy as Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto really shine. But the real show stealer is Evan Peters as Quicksilver. The scene in the kitchen where we steal a slowed-down peek of his view of the world as he moves at super-speed will probably be my favourite scene of the year.

This film feels fresh, original, and has turned a non-fan into an X-men follower. Now I am eagerly awaiting the next installment, and that surprises me.
P.S. Stay for the end credits.

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, "X-Men: First Class," in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save our future.

The Trip to Italy ✪✪✪      

Opens in Australia:      29th May 2014
USA: 29th April 14        UK: 25th April 2014
Other Countries:          Release Information
Perth:                            Luna Palace Cinemas

The hubby and I enjoyed the first one of these, The Trip. This one is more of the same, although I do think its too much more of the same. There’s also an odd storyline thrown in, among what is improvised comedic scatting, which I don’t think works very well.

Something is a little off in this one, and it’s definitely lost some of its original charm. The views of the Italian countryside are glorious, but around the half way mark, I just kept thinking that they had now overstayed their welcome and that they needed to cut their trip a little short—and I’m a big Steve Coogan fan.  If you are a huge fan of the original and are hankering for more of the same, do go along. For the rest, wait for its showing on television or catch on DVD

Michael Winterbottom's largely improvised 2010 film, The Trip, took comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon or semifictionalized versions thereof on a restaurant tour around Northern England. In this witty and incisive follow-up, Winterbottom reunites the pair for a new culinary road trip, retracing the steps of the Romantic poets' grand tour of Italy and indulging in some sparkling banter and impersonation-offs. Rewhetting our palates from the earlier film, the characters enjoy mouthwatering meals in gorgeous settings from Liguria to Capri while riffing on subjects as varied as Batman's vocal register, the artistic merits of Jagged Little Pill, and, of course, the virtue of sequels.

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

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Film Review Round-Up 10th May 2014

Great week for film releases, people. A feel good film that will leave you very hungry, an hilarious “so wrong” comedy, and a reasonably decent period piece.  There’s truly something for everyone. Go buy a movie ticket this week and chill out for a few hours of fun.

(My movie Pick of the week)
Chef ✪✪✪✪½    

Opens in Australia:               8th May 2014
USA: 9th May 2014                 UK: 18th June 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

Do not go to this film on an empty stomach. You will come out starving. There’s a lot of loving food preparation, and its not only interesting but mouth watering. A friend called it “food porn.”

Jon Favreau is a charm as Chef Casper along with everyone else in the cast playing so well together. When they talk about chemistry between actors this is a good example. Occasionally you get these little gems out of Hollywood where the comedy is fun, the story simple but genuine, and the actors all play well together. Robert Downey Jr. even makes an unnecessary appearance, but, hey, he’s always good value.

First film, too, that I’ve seen that deals with social media going terribly wrong and terribly right. Having seen this twice, once on a smallish private cinema screen, and then again on a big screen, I must say that something magical happened on the big screen. That magic caused me to change my rating from three and a half stars to four and a half. The audience at the screening applauded at the conclusion louder than I’ve heard in a long time, too. This one deserves your money, and you will benefit from the big screen experience.

If you wait for the DVD, you may find yourself wondering what all the hoopla was about. Well it’s about seeing a film as it’s intended to be seen—on the big screen. I recommend it with a hearty meal and a glass of wine. Do not miss this delicious delight.
P.S. Stay for the end credits. There is a great outtake.

Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what's next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen -- and zest for life and love. (c) Open Road

Belle ✪✪✪           

Opens in Australia:               8th May 2014
USA: 2nd May 2014                 UK: 13th June 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

One of the most remarkable films last year was 12 Years a Slave. I saw it twice and, of course, it won the Academy Award for Best Picture this year. Belle is a period piece addressing a different issue with regards to slavery and the prejudice of the English based on the color of skin. This story is told through the character of Belle who had the good fortune to be born the illegitimate daughter of an aristocrat. She is taken in by his family and enjoys the lifestyle that comes with that, although she is still limited in her future because she is dark-skinned.

Although it is quite a nicely done film, it doesn’t have the dramatic punch necessary to elevate it above what is probably a film you can see on the ABC. It also dabbles in the same love triangle set ups of a Jane Austen tale, as well as a retelling of an historic legal case, and this causes it to feel muddled. Strictly for those who revel in historic pieces with a touch of romance.

BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle's lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing. While her cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) chases suitors for marriage, Belle is left on the sidelines wondering if she will ever find love. After meeting an idealistic young vicar's son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England. (c) Fox Searchlight

Bad Neighbours ✪✪✪✪ 

Opens in Australia:               8th May 2014
USA: 9th May 2014                 UK: 3rd May 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

When the publicist for a film stands up the front of the theater and informs you that if your sensibilities are delicate consider leaving now, then you know what kind of film you’re about to watch. I expected to be offended, and I was. I expected I would be mouthing, “no way” and I did. I expected I would hate it and give it 1 star, but guess what? I didn’t!

As much as many of the jokes were in bad taste, the characters were over-the-top charactetures (unless I’m hanging around with far too tame folk) and the running time was just a tad too long, I still loved it. Its funny, irreverent, and probably packs as much bad taste as There’s Something About Mary did in the nineties. But it has heart.

Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne, as Mac and Kelly Radner living happily with their six-month-old who find they’re residing next door to the frat house from hell, work well together as a credible couple. I give them kudos alone for the breast-milking scene. Yes, they’ve gone there folks, and there is footage.
Zac Efron as the president of the frat house, Teddy Sanders, is wickedly arrogant and fun. Efron is doing a great job shaking off the High School Musical persona. Girls, there’s shirtless scenes!
Once the frat house gang decides that Mac and Kelly are the enemies, there are some laugh-out-loud scenes as each neighbor exacts revenge on the other. A few years ago, l lamented the nose-dive into crassness our comedies had taken. I must be finally softening up. If you can’t beat them, join them, especially when a script is as good as this one, delivered by a cast who knows how to work the material. Seth Rogan is the go-to guy for these films.

Go visit Neighbors. Don’t eat too much or drink too much while watching or you might find it in your lap during the hilarious scenes. With neighbors like this, you’ll be glad you’re only visiting for a few hours.
Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne lead the cast of Neighbors, a comedy about a young couple suffering from arrested development who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. Neighbors is directed by Nick Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek). (c) Universal

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

Saturday, May 3, 2014

PERTH Film Fans-Discount to opening night frivolities

This sounds like brilliant fun and Luna has asked me to let you know that for readers of my blog you get the same price as a Luna Privilege Card Holder.
After you’ve bought your ticket online or at the door, mention that you heard about the deal from An Adventure in Film or Susan May.
Grab some friends and get along for a very different evening.

For some “Reel Inspiración” don’t miss the impressive and exciting award-winning array of films that we will present at this year’s upcoming Spanish Film Festival, presented by Estrella Damm. Starring in the festival are emotional road-trips, spirited comedies, swindle rom-coms, suspenseful thrillers, stylish dramas, and high-octane action rides, all topped off with some hearty battles-of-the-sexes and plenty of laughter all the way.

When:               Tuesday 6th May
Time:                 6PM
                            AFTER PARTY AT THE BAKERY with Estrella Beer, Torres                                           wines, tasty treats by Kamal's Quarter
                             LIVE ENTERTAINMENT by Banda Fuego

ONLY $45 for Film, Food, Drinks and Entertainment
Normally $50
Simply click on this link and choose Luna Privilege Card.

The 2014 Spanish Film Festival is screening at Cinema Paradiso 6 -21 May and the OPENING NIGHT is just around the corner! As a friend of Luna Palace Cinemas we are offering you a special concession price ticket of $45. Simply click on this link and choose Luna Privilege Card.

Join us on the 6th of May, 6PM for a screening of the highly praised 6 Goya Award winning Living is Easy with Eyes Closed, followed by an after party at The Bakery with Estrella Beer, Torres wines, tasty treats by Kamal's Quarter & live entertainment by Banda Fuego to kick off the Spanish Film Festival with a bang! To purchase tickets and read more click here