Saturday, June 28, 2014

Weekly Review Round Up 28th June & The Revelation Film Festival

No Movie Pick of the Week this edition. There’s only two films, so I don’t like handing out prizes in a two horse race. 

I did want to highlight for Perth film lovers, the Revelation Perth International Film Festival 2014 opening next week on the 3rd July and running through until the 13th July. This is a festival of quality independent films and a truly international event with many of the creative forces, behind the films, flying in for Q & A sessions with the screening of their work. We are very lucky.

In case you didn’t know, I’m an independent author by choice. I like the freedom to create stories that I choose, how I choose, and release them when it suits me. While it’s probably a more labor intensive road—because I do EVERYTHING—I pay that price because I think my work benefits from that freedom.

Filmmakers face similar choices, and sometimes when they follow their hearts and not a big studio’s budget, they create truly astonishing, wonderfully unique art. Check out some of the films showing at the Revelation Film Festival this year and I guarantee you will be salivating. Incredible, incredible choices. So get some friends or go on your own and make some friends, but go see at least a couple of these films. The people behind Rev are passionate cinephiles and they deserve your support. They’ve certainly got mine. Don’t ask me out to anything from the 3rd to the 13th. I’ll be going to the Rev with all the other film lovers.

If you still want to read the reviews for the week, they follow the Revelation Film Festival information.

Here’s a couple of picks from the Festival, but there are so many. Click through on the link and check them out. You can purchase tickets here HERE and since each film only has a limited few dates, I suggest you pre-purchase or buy a Festival Membership or multiple entry pass that will give you access to all the films. I’m assured these are films you will want to see. I’m listening to the experts and catching these. So many amazing films, so little time.

The Congress
The Congress follows actress Robin Wright playing herself, who, faced with a dwindling acting career, elects to give-up her actress self to the studio. The studio then scan every inch of her body and every expression she can muster, so that she can live forever in whatever movies they choose to make, all she has to do is give up her identity as an actress. But times change and all decisions have ramifications.  What follows is the kind of mind-bending speculative science fiction that opens up endless utopian possibilities and limitless dystopian nightmares. With a visually stunning and deeply psychedelic palette The Congress explores virtual reality, transforming-chemistry, the collapse of identity, copyright, the function of performance, the hallucinatory nature of reality and the deconstruction of time itself. In The Congress Folman has created a visually stunning, profound movie.  With a cast that includes Harvey Keitel and Paul Giamatti, this is an exceptional work.

Finding Vivian Maier
When she died, Chicago nanny Vivian Maier left behind boxes of coats, hats, old clothes and 100,000 photographic negatives. Chanced upon by John Maloof, when he purchased a box of negatives at an auction, and following as he slowly archives the incredible photographs, organises an exhibition of the work and tries to get it recognised by the art world. Meanwhile a far larger mystery needs to be uncovered, and Maloof finds himself wondering about the life of the mysterious photographer and what possessed her to take so many photographs...

Under The Skin
In Under The Skin Scarlett Johansson plays Laura – an alien who has taken on the form of a beautiful woman in order to lure men to their deaths with the promise of sex. Adapted from the book of the same name by Michael Faber, the film stunned audiences when it screened at Venice Film Festival.
Many of the scenes where Johansson's character picks up men were unscripted conversations with non-actors, filmed with hidden cameras. Director Jonathan Glazer – whose previous feature credits include the excellent Sexy Beast and Birth – crafts a visually stunning science fiction film that, as the movie progresses, transforms Scotland into an alien world. Complete with a haunting soundtrack by Mica Levi, Under the Skin is a remarkable, bold and sensuous science fiction movie that examines gender, sexuality and what it means to be human. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw rated the movie 5/5, describing it as “visually stunning and deeply disturbing: very freaky, very scary and very erotic. “

Cold in July
When Richard (Six Feet Under and Dexter’s Michael C Hall) Dane kills a burglar the locale police inform him that he’s killed a wanted, dangerous man. It appears to be an open-and-shut case and Dane returns to his daily life. But then he meats the dead man’s father, the angry, vengeful Ben Russel (the always excellent Sam Shepard), and then things really start sliding out of control…
Based on the novel by cult author Joe R. Lansdale, Cold In July is a rare thriller that throws the audience deep into contemporary film noir movie set in rural Texas. With a cast that includes an excellent turn from Don Johnson, as well as Hall and Shepard, multi award winning director Jim Mickle (whose credits include We Are What We Are and Stake Land) turns in a powerful crime drama that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats till the final credits roll.

To Be Takai
George Takei first entered the public imagination playing Sulu in the cult TV series Star Trek, a role reprised in subsequent movies, and which alone would have guaranteed him a significant place in the pop cultural pantheon. But George Takei’s career has extended far beyond the bridge of the legendary star ship Enterprise, taking in numerous popular television shows, films and theatrical productions, as well as regular appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show. He has also garnered millions of online followers thanks to his Facebook posts that move from the wryly humorous to the camp to the political. Perhaps most importantly Takei has become an outspoken activist for same sex marriage and equality. 
Director Jennifer M. Kroot has gained exceptional access to Takei’s life, and she follows the actor and his spouse through numerous public appearances and speeches as well as their home life. What emerges through these sequences – and interviews with the Takeis as well as Star Trek cast members (including Leonard Nimoy, Nicholle Nichols, Walter Koenig and a very - perhaps unintentionally - funny William Shatner), alongside family members, friends and activists - is a portrait of a man deeply committed to equality and social justice.

Locke ✪✪✪✪   
Showing at the Revelation Film Festival 3rd – 13th July Perth
Opens in Australia:               19th June 2014
USA: 25th April                      UK:    8th April 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas
I saw this as part of the launch of the Perth Revelation Film Festival 2014. Great pick, guys.

I take my beanie off (it’s cold in Perth at the moment) to filmmakers and scriptwriters who can create such a dramatic piece filmed entirely in the cabin of a car with one lead actor driving the entire film. He only interacts with the cast via his phone. Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a man whose life spins out of control during a two-hour drive to London.
How can the filmmakers make such a great cinematic experience with such a constrained focus and minimal budget and filming time? The script, my friends, the script. Plus a top notch actor and a fine director. Hundreds of millions they spend on these rubbish sci-fi flicks we’ve endured this last year (all except Edge of Tomorrow, my fave) and all they needed was a good script. Producers of Transcendence and After Earth, go see Locke and learn. Please learn.

Ivan Locke (Hardy) has worked diligently to craft the life he has envisioned, dedicating himself to the job that he loves and the family he adores. On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul. All taking place over the course of one absolutely riveting car ride, LOCKE is an exploration of how one decision can lead to the complete collapse of a life. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Knight (EASTERN PROMISES, DIRTY PRETTY THINGS) and driven by an unforgettable performance by Tom Hardy, LOCKE is a thrillingly unique cinematic experience of a man fighting to salvage all that is important to him.(C) a24


Transformers: Age of Extinction ✪✪✪
Opens in Australia:               19TH June 2014
USA: 13th June 2014    UK: 1th July 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

First up, before you see this film do make a bathroom stop. It is 2 hours and 45 minutes. I didn’t check this little detail, so about eighty minutes in I felt the urge, but thought I would wait until it was over. Little did I know that would be another eighty-five leg-crossed minutes.
The reviewers hate this one. The only thing that could make it worse for the general consensus is if Adam Sandler was in it—they hate him as well.

However, bizarrely—and I say bizarrely because I barely liked the other Transformer films—I didn’t mind this film. Neither did my family mind it (and I keep telling you, they are tough on films). I can’t see what is worse in this than the other three. This one, at least, is unabashed about its offering: it’s loud, over the top CGI, with action forever, and the token girl with tiny shorts, and a script with an even tinier storyline. Age of Extinction has Mark Wahlberg, and that’s a whole big improvement over Shia LaBeouf.

If you are a fan of Michael Bay’s unsubtle work, you love these big, popcorn, CGI films, then this one is for you. Enjoy it in all its loud glory, and ignore the critics. We saw it in 3D IMAX, which was quite the experience. Just remember the bathroom first, right!

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION begins after an epic battle left a great city torn, but with the world saved. As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history...while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs. With help from a new cast of humans (led by Mark Wahlberg), Optimus Prime and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet. In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world. (C) Paramount

Yves Saint Laurent ✪✪✪✪   

Opens in Australia:               3rd July 2014
USA: 20th June 2014    UK: 21st March 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas

It should be an exciting piece of cinema, a French film about a French style fashion icon and how the house of Yves Saint Laurent came to be. What I found was that YSL seemed rather a bore, and I wanted to know more about his partner, Pierre Bergé. The shame of it is that I started thinking I wish Hollywood would take this story and make the film. That is a rare occurrence. For the most part, they totally mess up when they translate these foreign films and the story invariably loses what makes it special. However, I think this film needs a touch of the Hollywood glamor.

Yves Saint Laurent is an epic odyssey of creation, love, glamour and fashion and gives us a privileged insight into the mind and life of one of the greatest visionary designers of our time.
This fascinating film unveils the life of prolific French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. At just 21 years, Saint Laurent is called upon to run one of the world’s great fashion houses – Dior. During his triumph there, he meets Pierre Bergé. Lovers and business partners, together they create the Yves Saint Laurent company and revolutionise the world of fashion. Yves Saint Laurent is an epic odyssey of love, creation, glamour and style; with a privileged insight into the mind of a great visionary, and the doubts and demons behind the genius. Receiving full support from Pierre Bergé and the Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, the filmmakers utilise breathtaking original YSL designs, including the acclaimed 1976 Ballets Russes Collection, and film inside Laurent’s opulent homes from Paris to Marrakech. (Arabic, Russian, French, Japanese, English).

If you’ve enjoyed these reviews, please share with your friends and followers on social media and I will be very grateful. I love new readers who love film.

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