Sunday, June 1, 2014

Weekly Review Round Up 1st June 2014

This week we have a gross out film, courtesy of Seth McFarlane. Disney unleashes the dark fairytale Maleficent, and for those who love art house, quirky films The Double is your film and my pick of the week.

(My movie Pick of the week)

The Double ✪✪✪✪  

Opens in Australia:               29th May 2014
USA: 15th May 14 (festivals) UK: 4th April 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas

This is a great example of an art house film that works. When I say art house, I mean it’s not a blockbuster by a big studio, but a small film with a small budget but filled with big ideas. Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska are such extraordinary talents that if they walked back and forth across a screen for an hour I would probably still enjoy watching.
In The Double, you are drawn into more than a film, but the mood of insanity and hopelessness. These are not wonderful places to visit, but the screenplay is so clever and the direction so deft that I’m happy to go there. It will have you thinking. There is no definitive answer at the end, but it’s not a film you will forget in a hurry. It’s interesting that the film is adapted from a book by Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian author who died in 1881. It makes me grateful that I live in Australia in this lifetime. The world of The Double is a fascinating place to visit for two hours, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Eisenberg plays Simon, a timid, isolated man who's overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams (Wasikowska). The arrival of a new co-worker, James (also played by Eisenberg), serves to upset the balance. James is both Simon's exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and good with women. To Simon's horror, James slowly starts taking over his life. (c) Magnolia

A Million Ways To Die In The West ✪✪✪

Opens in Australia:               29th May 2014
USA: 30th May June 14          UK: 30th May 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

After getting off to a shaky start that elicited more groans than laughs from the audience and this reviewer, A Million Ways To Die In The West’s comedy finally arrives via some quite funny slapstick.
Nothing is sacred in this film, and Seth MacFarlane doesn’t hold back from anything that may offend, bouncing from sexual jokes to racial slurs to scenes with penises and graphic descriptions of vaginas. There are moments of hilarity along with several priceless cameos—including one that had the audience applauding.
It could have been a lot funnier if they hadn’t been going for total gross-out. I liked it a lot better than Ted, which I didn’t find funny at all, so I’m not certain if that is great praise. If you did find Ted funny, then you will certainly enjoy this. If you have to choose between Bad Neighbours and dying in The West, I would visit with the Neighbours.

Seth MacFarlane directs, produces, co-writes and plays the role of the cowardly sheep farmer Albert in A Million Ways to Die in the West. After Albert backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man. When a mysterious and beautiful woman rides into town, she helps him find his courage and they begin to fall in love. But when her husband, a notorious outlaw, arrives seeking revenge, the farmer must put his newfound courage to the test. Starring alongside MacFarlane are Oscar (R) winner Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman and Neil Patrick Harris. MacFarlane reunites many of the filmmakers behind Universal and MRC's hit film Ted including Scott Stuber (Bluegrass Films) and Jason Clark who produce, and Wellesley Wild and Alec Sulkin who co-wrote the script. (c)Universal

Maleficent ✪✪✪½    

Opens in Australia:               29th May 2014
USA: 30th May 2014               UK: 28th May 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

This film is very dark, not only in colour palette, but also in its theme. Angeline Jolie is beautifully made-up, cheek prosthetics and all, and she really pulls off a great English accent. In fact, she is quite mesmerising to watch. The antagonist, her childhood friend who grows up to become Maleficent’s enemy, on the other hand is woefully miscast, which spoiled it a little for me. However, the special effects are extraordinary, and the twist on the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is kind of cool. It’s definitely much better than Oz The Great and Powerful, but I wouldn’t take little ones to see this. There will be very little sleeping that night if you do.

"Maleficent" explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the classic "Sleeping Beauty" and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king's newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever. (c) Walt Disney Pictures

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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