Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Rocket

Director: Kim Mordaunt

Starring: Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam, Bunsri Yindi, Sumrit Warin, Alice Keohavong

Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe) is ten years old and the surviving twin. Local Laos customs dictate he should have been killed at birth otherwise he would bring bad luck to the village. His mother (Alice Keohavong) flatly rejected the custom and decided to bring him up. Ahlo’s grandmother (Bunsri Yindi), is the only other person aware of the circumstances of his birth, continues to be the boy’s harshest critic. When personal disaster strikes the family the grandmother reveals his secret to his hitherto unaware father (Sumrit Warin), arousing conflicting emotions in the stalwart paterfamilias. Ahlo’s village is forced to abandon their ancestral home to make way for a dam. The villages are promised to be relocated to a new town called Paradise but must live in squalid conditions meantime. After Ahlo provides his friends with an electrical supply the entire family is driven from their jerrybuilt home, hitching a ride on a cartful of the unexploded bombs that litter the countryside. When the young larrikin discovers a local village holds an annual rocket-launching contest with a large cash prize he decides to prove he is not the cause of all disasters and win the cash prize for his family. Endearing, gripping and heartwarming coming of age film which is pretty intense, even for adults. Well worth seeing.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Frances Ha

Director: Noah Baumbach

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Charlotte d'Amboise, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Grace Gummer, Patrick Heusinger

Bitter sweet womance about two twenty something best friend New Yorkers, who share a flat. Frances Halliday (Greta Gerwig) and Sopie (Mickey Sumner )’s friendship is seriously tested when Sophie nips off with Frances’s ex. Now with nowhere to stay Frances needs to come of age and she does as the film will attest to some comic effect. Reasonable performances in this black and white Manhattan-esque comedy. Sure fire art house.

Jobs

Director: Joshua Michael Stern

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J. K. Simmons, Matthew Modine, James Woods

The dramatized life and times of the late Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) founder of Apple is overly sentimentalized but none the less watchable despite its length of 2 hours. The scenario draws in part on interviews with many Jobs acquaintances, but not on Walter Isaacson’s best selling Jobs biography. Ironically there are no bells and whistles.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Bling Ring

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga

Based on a true story the movie tells of how a group of pampered L.A. teenagers systematically steal millions of dollars in cash and property from celebrities (like Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan). Following the location of their targeted celebs on gossip websites they strike when no one is at home. The Bling Ring relish the lavish life style of their victims and openly boast about their illicit exploits on Facebook. Inevitable capture means instant celebrity in this truly 21st century crime wave and their true mission is accomplished. The ringleader Rebecca (Katie Chang) is a reality-TV-obsessed girl who finds a kindred spirit in Marc (Israel Broussard). Blooded after burglarizing the home of a friend they swiftly advance to more noteworthy victims. The thrill of it all soon attracts Nicki (Emma Watson) and her adopted sister, Sam (Taissa Farmiga) to the gang and the quartet live large on their ill-gotten gains until reality bites. Good performances in this quasi-satire on celebrity obsession. The film has a fluid morality which makes it more interesting but the main attraction(for me anyway) is the memorable sound track.