Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mrs Carey's Concert

Director: Bob Connolly and Sophie Raymond

Starring: Teachers and students of the Methodist Ladies College in Burwood, Sydney

Mrs (Karen) Carey is the Director of Music at an inner-Sydney church-run private school offering music scholarships to the best and brightest. She established a biannual concert at the Sydney Opera House which involves the entire school. As part of the curriculum, students are required to participate in the event. Not all of the students however look forward to this but are none-the-less swept along anyway with Mrs Carey’s, personality, drive, and enthusiasm. The classical repertoire is demanding and a real battle of wills ensues as we observe the 18 months leading up to the big event. A true coming of age metamorphosis is captured in this lovingly crafted documentary which is a superb piece of work from one of Australia’s finest documentary maker. Compulsive viewing.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Brighton Rock

Director: Rowan Joffe

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Andy Serkis, Helen Mirren, John Hurt, Phil Davis, Sam Riley

Based on Graham Greene’s novel this is a remake of the of the Boulting Brothers' movie of the same name which starred Sir Richard Attenborough. Now set in 1964 in Brighton to the background of pitch battles between mods and rockers, the moral tale of vicious thug, Pinkie Brown and his nasty gang is told. The ambitious teenage, hoodlum played by Sam Riley wishes to replace local crime boss, Colleoni, (Andy Serkis), a resident in the seafront, Continental hotel. Pinkie has an Achilles heel however following the murder of a rival villain. He needs to retrieve condemning evidence to save himself, and the naïve waitress, Rose (Andrea Riseborough) holds the key. The guttersnipe decides rather than menace her, he will marry her to prevent Rose from giving evidence against him in any future murder trial. The café manageress and tart with a heart of gold, Ida (Helen Mirren) makes it her business to bring Pinkie to book but so too does mob boss, Colleoni have Pinkie’s card marked. Just who comes out on top? Well you will need to see the movie to find out. However not for lovers of the original novel nor movie for that matter.


Mad Bastards

Director: Brendan Fletcher

Starring: Dean Daley-Jones, Lucas Yeeda, Greg Tait, and Douglas Macale

A father and son movie. TJ (Dean Daley-Jones), is a street tough Aboriginal going nowhere and his son, Bullet (Lucas Yeeda), a wild teenager in an Aboriginal-led rehab camp. The pair has never met but TJ decides the time has come. The journey is a revelation and along the way we meet a bunch of characters including the gentle Uncle Black (Douglas Macale)who encourages TJ to voice his inner feelings. However TJ’s violent reputation precedes him and local lawman Texas (Greg Tait) is not about to let an outsider cause trouble. What happens when father meets son, well you need to see Mad Bastards to find out. You will not be disappointed. Mad Bastards is beautifully shot in Western Australia’s Kimberley region and the movie was cast of non-professional actors. All of which makes for a good movie.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Paul

Paul

Director: Greg Mottola

Starring: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

Si-Fi road movie with Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost) playing English nerds on a wacky road trip from San Diego Comic-Con through the great UFO locations of the American Southwest. Along the way, they meet a wisecrackin' alien Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who need a needs a ride to a rendezvous point because it's time for him to leave our planet and head home. In hasty pursuit are government agents Jason Bateman, Joe Lo Truglio and Bill Hader. Full of quirky characters the best of which (for me) was Kristen Wiig who plays a one-eyed creationist whose mind is blown by Paul's existence. The movie has some comedic moments and the special effects are pretty good too but it is not Oscar material. (Despite a cameo from Sigourney Weaver.) Scripted by Pegg and Frost, in retrospect it may not be their best works but Paul will certainly appeal to their fans and with so many references Sc—Fi, a must for all Trekkies and co.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Murundak* - songs of freedom

Written & Directed by Natasha Gadd & Rhys Graham

A feature documentary of Aboriginal protest music. The Black Arm Band takes to the road with their songs of resistance and freedom. Filmed from the concert halls of the Sydney Opera House to remote Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory, on show is the very best of Indigenous talent singing up the country’s troubled past through their stories of sorrow, anger and hope. This histo-documentary charts the Aboriginal protest movement from its inception in the late 70s to the present time. Beautifully filmed the movie not only informs and entertains but also enlightens the audience to the power of story-telling and the richness of indigenous culture. A must for all Australians and delight for lovers of cultural music, everywhere.
*In the Woirurrung language, 'murundak'  means ‘alive’


'murundak - songs of freedom' - Official Trailer from Daybreak Films on Vimeo.

Murundak Songs of Freedom

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Incendies

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Remy Girard

Adult twins Jeanne (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) arrive at the office of Jean Lebel (Remy Girard), a notary for the reading of their mother’s will, Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal). Her instructions are simple: to deliver two sealed letters, one to their father they thought was dead, and the other to a brother they did not know they had. Nawal also wants to be buried naked, no prayers, and face down (away from the world). Jeanne takes up the final tasks but brother Simon decides not to accompany her to the Middle East. The intriguing history of young Nawal is told in flashbacks as Jeanne discovers the family secrets played out against the Christian Muslim conflict. The film is based on a play by Lebanon-born writer Wajdi Mouawad and conveys the dehumanization of civil war, the horror of genocide, and the scourge of unbridled violence that rapes the lives of innocents. Great performances all round.

Never let me go

Director: Mark Romanek

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley

Based upon Kazuo Ishiguro novel of the same name. Wise, Kathy H. (Carey Mulligan), shy, Tommy (Andrew Garfield), and curious, Ruth (Keira Knightley), are three friends who spent their formative years at Hailsham boarding school for special children. Twelve years later, In narration Kathy reflects on their formative years. It soon becomes apparent not all was what it seems in this sci-fi drama. A powerful tale of propaganda and conditioning full of red herrings the film is endearing enough if not rather predictable. Good performances from Carey Mulligan and Andrew ¬Garfield as two clones who love each other but are kept apart through the selfishness and allure of Ruth (Keira Knightley).

Friday, March 4, 2011

My afternoons with Margueritte (La tête en friche)

Director: Jean Becker

Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Gisèle Casadesus, and Sophie Guillemin
Small town bruised fruit; Germain (Gérard Depardieu) finds an unlikely friendship with a 95-year-old Marguerite ( Gisèle Casadesus), and former international civil servant. The dungaree-wearing simpleton was abused by his cruel mother and belittled by his teacher. The odd job man is barely literate and the figure of fun at the local bistro. Germain does have a steadfast girlfriend (the gorgeous, Sophie Guillemin), and through the touching friendship with Marguerite based on the love of books, she transforms Germain’ life. This is a charming, sentimental (rather sugary), and well-acted movie.