Monday, July 7, 2014

Film Review Round Up 7th July 2014

Phew, these reviews are late this week, but I have an excuse. I’ve been watching loads of films in the last few days at the fabulous Perth Revelation Film Festival plus finishing off the 2nd edits of a book I wrote in May/June. 

The Revelation Film Festival continues until the 13th July and from what I’ve seen so far, if you live in Perth, do try and catch a few films. I’ve started a second page to review the films that I have seen, click through here to check them out.

So, to this week of releases. It's school holidays, so there are a few for the littlies. Plus, a few smaller films in Calvary and the documentary Tim’s Vermeer. As well, my pick of the week, Jersey Boys is well worth catching to put you in a good mood.

(My movie Pick of the week)
Jersey Boys ✪✪✪✪
 Opens in Australia:               3rd July 2014
USA: 20th June 2014    UK: 20th July 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
Last year we saw the theatrical performance of Jersey Boys and loved it. Anyone who has seen the show at the theatre will enjoy Clint Eastwood's imagining of it on film, and you’ll also note that it is pretty much word for word. Most of the roles, too, are played by the original Broadway cast.

If you haven’t seen it in the theatre, you will still enjoy the film tremendously; it’s a great musical and story, regardless. I think those who lived through the era (like me) will find that it garners an extra star for sentimental value. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You has always been my favourite son. The songs take me back to my childhood and hearing them played in pinball arcades and the beer gardens that were popular in the sixties and seventies. When I was a kid, we used to holiday on the Gold Coast and these songs remind me of the Coolangatta Hotel beer garden and drinking pink lemondades. Franki Valli, Neil Sedaka, The Ronettes, and the Beach Boys were always playing on the tinny speakers or by the cover band. Yep, I’m that old. 

Anyway, I digress. Go see it. It’s uplifting and fascinating, with fantastic—absolutely fantastic—music, and they’ve done a good job of it.

STUDIO BLURB
Clint Eastwood's big screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of the four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic `60s rock group The Four Seasons. Their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the hit songs that influenced a generation, and are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical.(c) Warner Bros.

Rio 2  ✪✪✪
Opens in Australia:               3rd July 2014
USA: 11th April 2014    UK: 4th April 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
If you enjoyed Rio, then you will enjoy this one, too. It’s bright, colourful and carries the usual conservation message. A very nice one for the younger kiddies, who might find the dragons in How To Train Your Dragon 2 a little too scary. My kids quite liked it, as did the friends that came along. I really love Jesse Eisenberg’s voice as Blu. In fact, I love him in anything, so that really added a sparkle for me. He’s a great voice talent and actor.

 STUDIO BLURB
It's a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids in RIO 2, after they're hurtled from that magical city to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all - his father-in-law. All our favorite RIO characters are back, and they're joined by Oscar (R) nominee Andy Garcia, Grammy (R) winner Bruno Mars, Tony (R) winner Kristin Chenoweth and Oscar/Emmy (R)/Tony winner Rita Moreno. RIO 2 also features new Brazilian artists and original music by Janelle Monae and Wondaland. (c) Fox

The Pirate Fairy   ✪✪✪½
Opens in Australia:               3rd July 2014
USA: DVD                     UK: 14th February 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
How mean am I? My boys had a day off school when the media screening was happening for this, and I dragged them to it. As you may know, they’re eleven and thirteen. Totally outside the intended audience for this film, but tough, I thought, I have to sit through countless soccer games and swim carnivals, so they can sit through Tinker Bell. In any case, they didn’t hate it and they weren’t bored, and that’s a testament to a good storyline regardless of the characters delivering it.

Tinker Bell and The Secret of The Wings was a lovely film for the Tink fans two years ago. Disney is back again with The Pirate Fairy, and though I didn’t love it as much as the previous one, it still hits the mark. For all the moms with the darling little Tinker Bell fans, this one is a goodie.

 STUDIO BLURB
From the world of Peter Pan comes The Pirate Fairy, a swashbuckling new adventure about Zarina (voice of Christina Hendricks), a smart and ambitious dust-keeper fairy who's captivated by Blue Pixie Dust and its endless possibilities. When Zarina's wild ideas get her into trouble, she flees Pixie Hollow and joins forces with the scheming pirates of Skull Rock, who make her captain of their ship. Tinker Bell (voice of Mae Whitman) and her friends must embark on an epic adventure to find Zarina, and together they go sword-to-sword with the band of pirates led by a cabin boy named James (voice of Tom Hiddleston), who'll soon be known as Captain Hook, himself. Enjoy the laughter, heart, magic and thrills of The Pirate Fairy.

Tim’s Vermeer ✪✪✪✪   
 Opens in Australia:               3rd July 2014
USA: 6th December 2014       UK: No release that I can find
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
Art fans, this is for you. A fascinating documentary on a crazy guy—with way too much money and time—who decides to prove that Johannes Vermeer used a secret method to paint his extraordinarily photorealistic pieces. It does sound very droll, if you read the blurb. However watch the trailer and you will see why it’s quite an engrossing watch. I’m not sure why it’s getting a theatrical release though. It’s rather short at eighty minutes and I imagine only one for the curious and the art fans.
If the trailer appeals, go see it. http://youtu.be/CS_HUWs9c8c At the very least you will have some art vocabulary to show off at the next dinner party.

 STUDIO BLURB
Renowned illusionists and professional debunkers Penn & Teller document the quest of their friend Tim Jenison, who sets out to prove his theory about the secret methods of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer's by endeavouring to create an exact replica of the painter's masterwork The Music Lesson. This exactitude of detail has sparked controversial theories from painter David Hockney and architecture professor Philip Steadman, who suggest that Vermeer may have worked with a camera obscura to project an image onto a canvas.

Calvary ✪✪
Opens in Australia:               3rd July 2014
USA: 1st August 2014             UK: 11th  April 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
Hubby and I hated this film. Hated it. In fact, some of the dialogue and vision offended me. Not the swearing, but the images created by the dialogue of some of the characters. It’s not bad like The Counselor bad, where the script, acting, and direction are a mess. No, its well acted, and directed and has some incredible layered and quirky characters. Brendan Gleeson, in fact, is extraordinary

It’s a cynical commentary on Ireland and religion and it’s a nasty and ugly one, which, of course, is a director’s prerogative to create. However, it’s billed as a black comedy, and I didn’t find it funny. It meanders all over the place, and in the end, there is no real redemption. None of the characters were sympathetic, and for the rest of the afternoon, after viewing it poor Hubby (I say poor because he'ds  ragged to indie films that he mostly doesn’t like) and I felt quite cranky.

In saying all this, many fellow reviewers that I quizzed, loved it. One reviewer, who I respect tremendously, actually said it was her favorite film of the year. So, perhaps you need to go see it for yourself and decide. It’s one of those ones that divides reviewers and theatregoers. I won’t say don’t go, just do your research beforehand.

STUDIO BLURB
CALVARY's Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is a good priest who is faced with sinister and troubling circumstances brought about by a mysterious member of his parish. Although he continues to comfort his own fragile daughter (Kelly Reilly) and reach out to help members of his church with their various scurrilous moral - and often comic - problems, he feels sinister and troubling forces closing in, and begins to wonder if he will have the courage to face his own personal Calvary. (c) Fox Searchlight



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