Monday, July 7, 2014

Get your Rev on!

Showing at the Revelation Film Festival 3rd – 13th July Perth

If you are in Perth and are a cinephile like me, you will already know that the Revelation Film Festival is the place to be between the 3rd and the 13th July. So many films and not enough time, that is my chant for the ten days.

However, I’m catching a few of them where I can, so here’s my thoughts on some of the films I’ve seen so far. Most are still playing, so seek them out on the program timetable.

You can purchase tickets 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 there are films you will want to see.

Time Lapse ✪✪✪✪✪

Those of you who follow my reviews regularly (and if you don’t, you really should) will know that I rarely give five out of five to a film. I reserve that score for films that are different, and deliver perfectly to their intended audience. I’ve given Time Lapse the ultimate score not because its perfectly filmed or acted or will win Academy Awards but because its just the best mind bender of a film that I’ve seen in ages. Think Cabin In The WoodsTriangle, Donny Darko (and if you haven’t seen those, immediately rent them). It has the same, low-budget feel but, like those films, what it does have is a story that will knock you from here to tomorrow (which is exactly what’s kind of going on in the story-line).

Having just written a time slip genre book, (Back Again) I take my hat off to Bradley King, first time director and co-writer, along with co-writer and producer, BP Cooper. It's beautifully imagined, a tight script, and they work wonders with a small set and small budget. Time slip is one of the toughest genres to pull off and they've done it remarkably well.  Can King and Cooper please be brought in to write and direct some of the big Hollywood blockbusters we endure where the scriptwriters haven't a clue how to create suspense? I loved it so much that I’m hoping to catch it again at the Festival next weekend.

It’s on again this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. DO NOT MISS IT!

When their neighbour vanishes, three twenty-something roommates - Callie (Daniella Panabaker), Finn (Matt O’Leary) and Jasper (George Finn) – enter his apartment. Inside they find dozens of photos of themselves taped to the walls. But this is not the home of a peeping tom, and the trio rapidly discover that the strange neighbour has invented a mysterious machine that takes pictures 24hrs into the future. What they decide to do with the images and the future that they reveal becomes increasingly dangerous as the ramifications of their knowledge and their actions rapidly escalates, spiralling out of control.

With its ensemble cast and tightly constructed narrative Time Lapse offers a claustrophobic study of a variety of forms of human selfishness and greed. In part narrative playing out like a cross between the work of Philip K Dick and Stephen King, but this is an original genre work. Writer and first-time feature director Bradley King has delivered a unique genre film, while the cast deliver calm performances that help to build up the increasingly uncanny atmosphere.


Okay, this was this week’s Saturday night B grade horror flick for the festival. It started at 10:30pm and we left the cinema at 1am by the time the feature and the short film before it had ended.

I took the Walking Dead mad teenager to see this little Nazi zombie number. I thought it would be a good mother-son bonding time together. Yes, this is a legitimate thing to do for a film-mad, film critic mum. Everyone else, it might be a little too much for your kids. Mine are specially raised to appreciate this sort of art.

We loved it and so did the audience, so much so that it received a round of enthusiastic applause at the credits. Although the son did say that they ruined zombies, because these ones just hacked people to death and according to him they need to eat people to death. (No emails on what a bad mum I am, okay. He knows hacking and eating people to death is not appropriate behaviour.) Now I want to see the first one Dead Snow. This was the one and only screening of this at the festival, so you’ve missed out, but come along to next week’s horror films.

Next week it’s THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and WILLOW CREEK as the late night features. I really recommend you go along to one or both. It’s quite an experience. I’ll be there at both for sure.

Beginning at the very moment the first movie ended, Dod Sno 2 see’s more of the same mayhem that made its predecessor so much grisly entertainment. Of course, this time the gore, violence and general insanity is turned-up to eleven! Dod Sno 2 sees the legion of resurrected Nazi zombies as they head for their new target. But the rotting squad of Nazis haven’t reckoned on the abilities of the Zombie Squad and the addition of a few new twists to the genre - what follows is destruction and annihilation and bucket loads of blood, guts and gore, as the zombies and their opponents square off in the Norwegian countryside.  
Most horror gives you a few remarkable set-pieces. This is ALL set-piece, and maintaining that level of entertainment without turning into monotonous garbage is quite a feat. This isn’t a roller coaster; it’s a bullet train.” – Film Threat

The Congress   ✪✪✪½

It’s a pretty fascinating idea and not too inconceivable. Jumping into a world of animation half way through was interesting, although it didn’t work as well as I think the director was hoping. However, it is one of those experimental films that I admire, and I can say I still enjoyed it. Robin Wright is absolutely stunning in her portrayal of herself.

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 ✪✪✪½

I love documentaries. This one will impress you with the photographs taken by Vivian Maier. Now that I’ve seen this, I really would love to see an exhibition of her work. It goes to show you that the world is filled with incredible, talented people that you will never know about unless this happens. Everyone has a story. Fortunately, the filmmakers realized that and documented the journey of discovering this extraordinarily, talented, and mysterious woman.

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 ✪✪✪✪

You will either love Under The Skin or hate it. It was chosen as the opening night film for the Revelation Film Festival for this very reason. It took ten years to bring to the screen, and Scarlett Johansson actually adlibbed many of the scenes in the care where she was picking up men (amazing that she wasn’t recognized. The hubby didn’t love it and wondered what the heck they thought they were doing on the film. He just felt like quite a few people that it didn’t really tell the story that could have been there.

However, I did enjoy it and found it utterly mesmerising, with beautiful cinematography. A few people I spoke to felt the same as me, and there were others who varied from hating it to meh. So I think it is one to see if you are a film fan to understand what all the fuss is about and join in the debate.

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. “

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 that is 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


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.


Official selection: Venice Film Festival
Official selection: Toronto Fim Festival
In a small southern town, fifteen-year-old Gary is looking for work to support his family. Trying to avoid his violent and abusive alcoholic father, the youth slowly forms a friendship with Joe, the local agricultural employer - an ex-con with a chequered past whose personal demons are continually threatening him. As the hardboiled southern gothic narrative develops and events start to escalate, slowly spiralling out of control, what happens may offer all a chance of redemption or ruin.
Directed by David Gordon Green (whose credits include direction on the pitch-perfect George Washington and producer credits on Revelation favourite Shotgun Stories) this film is a gritty and dark tale that is driven by both its atmosphere and powerful characters and marks a return to his southern roots for the director. The cast offer standout performances with Tye Sheridan winning an acting award at Venice for his portrayal of the Gary, while Nicolas Cage’s Joe is a brooding, powerful turn that plays to the actor’s undoubted strengths.
Adapted from the classic novel by hardboiled southern author Larry Brown - whose literary style has been compared to the likes of Cormac McCarthy, Harry Crews, William Faulkner and Charles Bukowski – Green is faithful to the strength and vision of Brown’s writing, while simultaneously allowing his own signature strengths to play throughout the movie.

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 – whose previous feature, the excellent It Came From Kuchar, documentary screened at Revelation - 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.


As part of Revelation’s celebration of the analogue, a Perth Premiere for Vladmaster’s wonderful View-Master reels!
Duration: 50mins
Vladmasters are lovingly handmade View-Master reels. As the audience sit their viewmasters in hand a soundtrack starts. This simultaneous audio soundtrack accompanies the 3D stereoscopic slides, the audience clicking-on the viewers as the soundtrack demands. What unfolds is a magical and visionary form of storytelling as the audience enter a world of unusual, eclectic and wryly humorous tales, where the music, narration, sound effects and dings that let the audience know when to advance each image or change discs. Vladmasters are both a totally new form of public entertainment yet also familiar from everybody’s childhood -  Vladmasters are a joy to experience.
Having Vladmaster events across the world – from venues ranging from cinemas, galleries, art centres and festivals – Vladmasters create a unique form of expanded cinema performance...and very clever.

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