Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review Round Up 19th July 2014

Having just come back from three nights away in the little seaside town of Busselton, I’m relaxed and ready for the full couple of weeks of movie previewing coming up. Only two releases this week, but one packs an emotional punch with a tragic Australian issue. The other is a biopic that I don’t hold a lot of hope for in Australia, even though it's quite good. And I catch up with that monkey film I missed reviewing last week.

THIS WEEK'S PREVIEWS
(My movie Pick of the week)

Charlie’s Country  ✪✪✪✪ ½
Opens in Australia:               17th July 2014
USA: No Release                  UK: No Release
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
Every Australian over the age of 14 should see this film. It is arguably the best film since Rabbit Proof Fence to depict the chronic issues we, as a country, are struggling with in our attempt to live with the true owners of this land we call Australia.

Based loosely on David Gulpilil’s (Charlie) life, it is, initially, endearing and funny, then provocative, and ultimately heartbreaking. As the end credits rolled I was in tears, and I just wanted to get to my car and have a good sob. 

It asks questions that seem extraordinarily difficult to answer and, yet, must be answered sooner than later. Why are indigenous Australians so misunderstood, and why are they treated with such disrespect? We can watch Rabbit Proof Fence and soothe our guilt by pointing out these inhumanities happened decades ago when we didn’t know any better. However, there is no excuse now that this disregard continues in present day as portrayed by Charlie’s Country. As if there has ever been an excuse for any of the atrocities at any time.

This is probably one of the most important Australian films in the past decade. That aside, it’s beautifully scripted, acted, and director Rolf de Heer allows the actor’s and their story to shine through naturally and dramatically. Please see Charlie's Country and tell your friends.

STUDIO BLURB
Blackfella Charlie is out of sorts. The intervention is making life more difficult on his remote community, what with the proper policing of whitefella laws now. So Charlie takes off, to live the old way, but in so doing sets off a chain of events in his life that has him return to his community chastened, and somewhat the wiser.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes  ✪✪✪½
Opens in Australia:               10th July 2014
USA: 11th July 2014               UK: 17th July 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
Every reviewer everywhere loves this film. “Best blockbuster this summer (or winter for us)” they say. Yeah… yeah… yeah. I don’t agree. Great visual effects, but that’s about it. Not a terrible script, but such a rehash of so many other films— Braveheart with hair, really. I did really enjoy the first film Planet of the Apes, and the very original with Charlton Heston (saw it at the drive-in when I was a kid). I didn’t hate this one, and I know most of you will want to see it. So do go. It’s by the numbers and, for me, the numbers just added up to same ol’ same ol’. And a tad slow, while I’m having a whine.

 STUDIO BLURB
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species. (c) Fox

Reaching For The Moon  ✪✪✪½ 
Opens in Australia:               17th July 2014
USA: 2013 Festival Release  UK: No release that I can find
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
It’s beautifully shot. I was just drooling over the clothes, the houses, the scenery, even the furniture. There’s a desk in it that I would sell one of my children to own.

A bit of a soppy romance film in parts, while in other ways it is an interesting biopic of a clearly talented writer. However, I really question how well this will do outside the USA.  A lesbian love affair between an alcoholic poet and a South American architect doesn’t really set off the “must see” bells. Still, its nicely done and, again, that furniture and the beautiful architecture really had me salivating.

 STUDIO BLURB

DAYS IN SEPTEMBER, DONA FLOR AND HER TWO HUSBANDS) returns with a sophisticated tale of an unlikely romance between two extraordinary artists, set against the backdrop of political upheaval and a clash of cultures. Grappling with writer's block, legendary American poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) travels from New York City to Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s to visit her college friend, Mary (Tracy Middendorf). Hoping to find inspiration on Mary's sprawling estate, Elizabeth winds up with much more - a tempestuous relationship with Mary's bohemian partner, architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Glória Pires), that rocks the staid writer to her foundation. Alcoholism, geographical distance and a military coup come between the lovers, but their intimate connection spans decades and forever impacts the life and work of these two extraordinary artists. The attraction of two polar-opposite women has rarely been so volatile and so erotically charged on the big screen.(c) Wolfe

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