18th Dec2016

War Dogs (DVD)

by timbaros

war_dogs_290932The true story of two young men who sold weapons to the U.S. government, and got too greedy

How did two twentysomethings get into the business of selling arms to the U.S. government? ‘War Dogs’ tells this story.

Based on the Rolling Stone article ‘Arms and the Dudes’ by Guy Lawson, Miles Teller and Jonas Hill play David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli. Packouz is a massage therapist, constantly being sexually harassed by his very wealthy male clients. He also sells expensive high quality bed sheets to old age homes but he’s told they don’t want to buy them because it would be like wrapping a lizard in very nice bedsheets. But when he runs into long lost friend Diveroli at a funeral, his life takes a dramatic turn. Living with his girlfriend Iz (Ana de Armas) in a cramped flat, Packouz takes up the opportunity to work at Diveroli’s company – AEY Inc. to make more money. It’s a company Diveroli set up to sell weapons to the U.S. government, with silent partner dry cleaner owner Ralph Slutzky (Kevin Pollack). AEY is initially tasked with obtaining beretta guns for a general in the thick of the Iraq war. When the italian-made guns can’t be transported directly into Iraq, it’s up to the Packouz and Diveroli to drive the truck to Iraq via Jordan, and that’s exactly what they do, risking their lives for a $2.8 million payoff. They then discover that the U.S. government has what seems like billions of dollars to give out to companies just like theirs in order to procure weapons, and all bids listed on a government website.
With a lot of cash now in hand, and with fabulous new properties they’ve bought (plus a new baby girl for Packouz and Iz), AEY decides to expand their business. They head to Las Vegas for Vegas X, a comicon-like convention with grenades and not comics. This is where they meet Henry Girard (a very good and subdued Bradley Cooper), who puts them in contact with the Albanian government to help them obtain ammunition to arm the Afghan military (money which the U.S. Government will pay. Their $300 million bid is amazingly accepted by the military generals but they tell them that their bid was $50 million less than the lowest bid. The men carry out the order, not realizing until too late that the ammunition the Albanian authorities are selling them are actually Chinese, which they re-brand and re-package (illegal). Diveroli’s greed and his and Packouz’s crumbling relationship gets the best of them, and it all comes down to not if they will be caught, but when.

While ‘War Dogs’ is a very good film, reminiscent of a Martin Scorcese movie, though not all of what you see in this film actually happened. In the beginning we’re told that ‘War Dogs’ is ‘based on a true story,’ so several events in the film didn’t actually take place (driving the truck from Jordan to Iraq.) Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and produced by Phillips and Cooper, ‘War Dogs’ succeeds, however, in the performances of both of it’s leads (though neither one of them look in their 20’s and Hill is quite chunkier than usual), and the film’s script is clever and witty. ‘War Dogs’ also has an excellent movie soundtrack, with songs by The Who, Pink Floyd and House of Pain, carrying the spirit of a 1990’s Scorcese gangster film. If ‘War Dogs’ were a fictionalized film, then it would’ve been fine the way it is. But there’s no reason why the filmmakers couldn’t have just stuck to the real version of events of these two very young arms dealer – it would’ve made for a more compelling and very realistic tale.

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26th Nov2016

Jason Bourne (DVD)

by timbaros

gallery4-5719055980b79-1Matt Damon is back and is better than ever in the new Bourne film appropriately titled ‘Jason Bourne.’

This is Damon’s fourth outing as the rogue CIA agent (Jeremy Renner stepped in to star in 2012’s The Bourne Legacy), and he comfortably steps back into Bourne’s shoes, a role Damon made his own back in the first of the series – 2002’s The Bourne Identity. In the new film, directed for a third time by Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips and Green Zone), Bourne is seen in several countries around the world, attempting to find answers about his past, while at the same time still being tracked by CIA chiefs. Among them is Tommy Lee Jones who plays CIA director Robert Dewey (Jones looks like he’d rather be elsewhere). With him is CIA Agent Heather Lea (recent Oscar Winner Alicia Vikander), who’s not given much to do except hunch over computer terminals tracking Bourne’s every move. But ignore the scenes that take place in the CIA headquarters as it’s the shots of Bourne in various parts of the world where the film really kicks ass. In Greece, Bourne is reunited with agent Nicolette Parsons (Julian Stiles) who has been in hiding but it takes a drastic turn for the worse and it takes Bourne to Berlin, Istanbul, London and lastly Las Vegas where he finally meets up with Dewey and Lea in a final scene that feels contrived and a bit ridiculous. In between Bourne’s running all over the world is a subplot involving a social media wunderkind (Riz Ahmed) who has entered into an agreement with Dewey to provide data for the CIA, a plot line that’s a bit irrelevant and unnecessary. It all makes for one head spinning action adventure movie.

Greengrass displays excellent directorial technique in the action sequences and less so in the scenes with Jones and Vikander – their performances are quite stiff. So the action that takes place in Greece (which is really Malaga), Paddington, and especially in Las Vegas are where the film excels. These action scenes are fast and frantic, involving lots of quick editing and camera work, with expertly staged car crashes and bystanders caught up in between it all. Vincent Cassel pops us as an assassin out to get Bourne, but we really don’t get to know much about him and why he’s on the CIA’s side. But poor Vikander and Jones, both Oscar winners, who take a huge back seat to Damon’s rough and ready and on the run Bourne. Could we see more of him and less, or none, of them in the next one?

 


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22nd Nov2016

Shared Rooms (DVD)

by timbaros

alec-manley-left-and-christopher-grant-pearson-right-in-shared-rooms-courtesy-of-wolfe-videoThe story of a set of three couples grappling with life, love, and children is told in the new gay comedy ‘Shared Rooms.’

Set in Los Angeles, these three couples are all somehow connected to each other. There’s married couple Laslo (Christopher Grant Pearson) and Cal (Alec Manley Wilson) who live in a very cozy home and make fun of their friends with children – always telling themselves that ‘they are not that couple’ who ‘always have to arrange play dates for their children.’ And then there are roommates Julian (Daniel Lipshutz) and Dylan (Robert Werner). Dylan travels 36 weeks out of the year for work, so Julian rents his room out to strangers on LGBTQBnB while he’s away. But Dylan comes home early from a business trip to find a stranger named Frank Turner (David Vaughn) in his bedroom, so he has to share Julian’s bed, a thought, and fantasy, Dylan has had for two years! And finally third couple Sid (Justin Xavier) and Gray (Alexander Neil Miller), who casually meet up on an app called Manfinder. They instantly connect, while Sid shares with Gray a deep dark secret about his past, and lucky for us, they spend all of their time together naked.

These men all happily share their lives, and their rooms, with other men, during Christmas, however, there is drama lurking in the background. Houseguest Frank Turner is in town to look for his long lost kidnapped brother, and Cal’s gay nephew Blake (a very good and natural Eric Allen Smith) arrives after having been kicked out of his parent’s house.

‘Shared Rooms,’ by writer and director Rob Williams, is cleverly written and very cute and funny. It’s like watching a gay version of ‘Modern Family’ – everyone is a bit dysfunctional yet sweet and charming in their own way. Everything wraps up a bit too easily at the end, culminating in a New Years Eve Party where everyone has found what they were looking for (if only life were that easy), but it’s a funny and cute journey to get there.

Now available on DVD & VOD via Wolfe Video

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18th Nov2016

Lazy Eye (DVD)

by timbaros

lazyeye_reunited_000078A flame from the past contacts an L.A. graphic designer which puts into doubt the relationship he has with his husband in the new film ‘Lazy Eye.’

FIfteen years ago Dean (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) and Alex (Aaron Costa Ganis) were boyfriends in New York City. But after their breakup, Dean moved to Los Angeles to start a new life. But out of the blue Dean receives an email from Alex and Dean, after working up the courage, and giving it some thought, invites Alex to come visit him in California. Dean still has feelings for Alex (now both in their late 30’s), feelings that actually never went away, and Dean gets excited with the thought of seeing Alex again. Dean tells Alex to come and spend the weekend with him at his house in the desert near Joshua Tree.

So when Alex arrives him and Dean pick up right where they left off, jump right into bed. But fifteen years is a long time for them to have last seen each other, and unfortunately sex is the only thing they have in common. And you see Dean forgot to tell Alex that he is in a long-term relationship with another man, who happens to be in Australia for work. This puts a strain on their weekend and then there’s more drama when Alex suggests him and Dean get back together again, permanently.

‘Lazy Eye’ ( a really poor name for a film this good – the name comes from the beginning of the film when Dean has to get bi-focals because he’s got a lazy eye) is a gentle, easygoing and lovely story about two men who were, or were not, meant to be with each other (we’ve all been there!). Subtle and quiet direction by Tim Kirkman (who also wrote the clever screenplay) and great music by Steven Argila (and great scenery of the Joshua Tree area of the California desert) make ‘Lazy Eye’ a nice crystal clear viewing, perhaps on your own or with an ex.

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12th Nov2016

Burning Blue (DVD)

by timbaros

empire_state1la-et-burning-blue-movie-review-20140606In 1995, I saw a play in the West End called ‘Burning Blue’. It was a brilliant telling of a story about the relationship between two gay men in the U.S. Navy in the 1980’s. It was brilliant, memorable, and award-wnning. A new film version of the play has just been released and it’s quite the opposite.

The play was written by David Milne Greer and is based on his experiences as a U.S. Navy Aviator in the 1980’s. The fictional story is about an investigation into a naval accident that turns into a gay witch hunt and is based on Greer’s knowledge of the treatment of gay men in the U.S. Navy. Two Navy fighter pilots – Daniel (Trent Ford) and Will (Morgan Spector) – live and work aboard a Navy destroyer in very close quarters with other servicemen. But an accident that involves Will gets investigated by the higher ups and puts their unit under intense scrutiny. Complicating things is the arrival of a third pilot Matt (Rob Mayes), and him and Daniel end up falling in love, causing Matt to leave his wife. But this type of behaviour was not accepted during the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ era; homosexuality in the Navy was just not allowed and there were serious consequences for out gay men. Needless to say, Daniel and Matt’s relationship can’t endure the Navy’s ant-gay policy, and then suddenly theirs, and Will’s, lives are changed forever after another accident kills one of the men.

You would think a film about this timely subject would expertly crafted and well told. Well, it’s not. The pacing and acting of the movie is just horrible; scenes go on for a longer than what they should, the acting (unfortunately), is stiff and wooden, and quite a few of the dramatic scenes are funny. ‘Burning Blue’ has the look and feel of a ‘Murder She Wrote’ episode, and it lacks the drama and intensity of the stage play. ‘Burning Blue’ only gets 1 star – for tackling the theme of gay love in the military – but it tackles it very bad.

Now available to watch on digital download on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Xbox, Sky Store and Vubiquity.

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06th Nov2016

Beautiful Something (DVD)

by timbaros

brian-sheppard-as-brian-in-beautiful-soemthingFour gay men, all with issues in their lives, experience a night of mystery and sex in the beautifully told Beautiful Something.

Writer Brian (Brian Sheppard) is sexy and picks up guys in bars and on the street – but they love him and leave him. Then there’s Jim (Zack Ryan), a wannabe actor who doesn’t realize that the man he lives with really really loves him. And that man is Drew (Colman Domingo), a tortured and passionate artist who uses Jim as his muse and model. And then there’s Bob (John Lescault), a wealthy talent agent who is chauffeured around town picking up men but not necessarily for sex. It’s one night in Philadelphia, and these mens lives intertwine in search of meaningful connections on a night when anything is possible.

After a one night stand that for some reason goes horribly wrong, Brian goes for a walk and meets Jim, who’se just had a bustup with Drew. They are immediately attracted to each other and have sex in the house that Jim shares with Drew. Drew, meanwhile, is so involved in his art work that he’s doesn’t realize that Brian and Jim are downstairs getting it on. But this is not enough for Jim, and after Brian leaves and not wanting to stay home, Jim goes for a walk and is picked up, and intrigued by, Bob. They share a meal only after Bob tells Jim that if he’s an actor he must get out of the car. So Jim lies to Bob and they have dinner and eventually go back to Bob’s palatial home. Meanwhile Brian looks up an old flame, and Drew wonders what is really going on in Jim’s head. All this drama takes place in one sublime night, with the sprinkling lights of Philadelphia providing a romantic and perfect backdrop to the movie.

Beautiful Something beautifully explores the need for us gay men to seek out romance and adventure in the hopes of finding something, anything, meaningful. Director and writer Joseph Graham successfully captures a night these men, nor us, won’t forget. With excellent and realistic performances throughout, Beautiful Something, inspired by real-life experiences, will put a twinkle in your eye and the optimism of love in your heart.

Available on DVD & Digital HD on November 7th, 2016

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25th Sep2016

Green Room (DVD)

by timbaros

green_room_140591After witnessing a murder, a punk rock band is forced to fight for their lives in this chilling thriller.

The Ain’t Rights are not the most successful band around, and they’ll play anywhere, anytime for some cold hard cash. So when they get invited to perform at an Oregon bar they jump on the opportunity. The group, whose members include Tiger (Callum Turner) the band’s vocalist, Reece (Joe Cole) the drummer, Sam (Alia Shawkat) the guitarist, and Pat (the late Aton Yelchin) the bassist, don’t know what type of crowd, or the type of venue, to expect, all they know and care about is that they are going to get paid. But the crowd is not the most hospitable, and at first don’t take to the group’s music. But after a few songs the crowd gets into it, and when their time slot is up they head to the green room. It’s here where they find a dead body, surrounded by a couple of guys who ‘work’ at the bar. This is when they realize that they have stumbled onto something sinister, and something illegal, and they immediately try to run away. But what they don’t know is that the club is for white supremacists, run by Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart), and they weren’t supposed to see the dead body, but now that they have, Banker and his gang of thugs won’t let the band leave. In fact as the band are witnesses to a crime, Banker plans to not let the band live! It’s up to each band member to escape the clutches of Banker and his boys to get the hell out of there.

Green Room is a taut thriller that takes us on a ride from the unknown to the downright scary. As the band fight for their lives, Banker and his associates also attempt to fight for theirs, not realizing how tough the band members are. Written and Directed by Jeremy Saulnier (who wrote and directed the acclaimed 2013 thriller Blue Ruin), here he ups his game and gives us a roller coaster of a ride featuring a very good ensemble cast.




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15th Sep2016

I Saw the Light (DVD)

by timbaros
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BO0R0866.JPG

‘I Saw the Light,’ a film about the life of country music legend Hank Williams, was released earlier this year to mostly negative reviews.

What could’ve been a promising, and perhaps an award-wining film, with Tom Hiddleston playing Williams, arrived dead on arrival. It’s perhaps the lack of energy and excitement that’s missing from a film about a rowdy, wild, womanizing, chain smoking, alcoholic singer who died at the very young age of 29 in 1953. It also could be Hiddleston’s less than lackluster performance in a role that should’ve actually gone to an American actor who could sing with a real southern twang, for this is what Williams was best known for.

The film charts the rise, and rise, of Williams’s music career coupled with his relationship with his first wife Audrey (Elizabeth Olsen). It’s a turbulent one, not helped by Williams constant drinking, womanizing, and the effect his meteoric rise to fame had on his health and personal life. It was fame that was well-deserved but, as we’re shown in the film, he couldn’t really handle. Hiddleston doesn’t quite fit the part – he’s way too clean cut and looks as healthy as ever from the beginning to the end of the film. But we don’t really feel his joy and excitement of singing for the first time at country music’s holy grail the Grand Ole Opry – we really don’t feel much of anything for him – but we do, however, feel the love he has for Audrey, that is until their relationship is over and he falls for one beauty after another. Perhaps Marc Abraham was the wrong choice to write and direct this film. His one other writing and directing credit was 2008’s ‘Flash of Genius’ (never heard of it? Neither have I), so for him to be given the reins of creating a music biopic on one of country’s living legends was perhaps not the best choice. ‘I Saw the Light’ could’ve been another ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ classic but instead it’s an unfocused film that never really comes close to capturing its subjects popularity and appeal more than 50 years after his death. And at 123 minutes, it’s just plain too long.
The film doesn’t do much for Hiddleston’s career, and neither did his two-minute relationship with Taylor Swift.

‘I Saw the Light’ is now available digitally and on DVD

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01st Sep2016

Boys on Film 15: Time and Tied (DVD)

by timbaros

G OCLOCK 1Peccadillo continues to champion gay short films by coming out with their 15th gay shorts compilation. This one’s titled ‘Boys on Film 15: Time and Tied’ and it showcases a selection of British short films that are either sexy, funny or meaningful or all three.

The best by far is ‘Trouser Bar.’ Directed by famous gay porn director Kristen Bjorn, ‘Trouser Bar’ takes us into a gay shop that sells clothes made of corduroy clothes, which gets both the staff and customers frisky. It’s pulsating music and mustached actors mimic the best elements of a 1970’s gay porn film, and it builds to an exciting climax. Porn star Ashley Ryder is practically unrecognizable as one of the shops customers, with Julian Clary making a quick cameo. This short is an 18-minute masterpiece.

‘Crossroad’ doesn’t have any dialogue, but it’s a hard-hitting 11-minute short about a young man who lives with his girlfriend. He’s angry and revengeful over the black man who ran over and killed the man he was in love with. Directed by gay actor Leon Lopez. Powerful.

‘Dawn’ introduces us to a young blind man who’s waiting at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere, and unbeknownst to him the woman he’s speaking to is transgender. They share a special moment together in this 11-minute short directed by Transgender filmmaker Jake Graf.

‘Sauna the Dead’ is a fantastic gay horror film about one man looking for love in a sauna where the patrons turn into zombies who then try to eat him and a fellow Indian customer alive. Very original and excellently shot at Chariots Vauxhall. Directed by Tom Frederic (who also stars), it’s 23 minutes of scary fun.

‘G’Clock’ is a relevant and timely short about a chemsex party where a paramedic and a younger man re-connect from a pervious encounter. Though it ends abruptly, it’s very glossy style with a very sexy cast make it’s ten minutes too short. The film includes the infectious song ‘Look at Me’ by DPSC. With Leon Lopez (again) and a bevy of real life porn stars.

‘Closets’ (18 minutes) is a poignant and emotional story about a camp young teenage boy in 1986 who likes to dress up in his mother’s clothes. She gets angry at him so he retreats into his closet, and then comes out of the closet (no pun intended) to meet another young gay man 30 years in the future whose gay lifestyle, and dressing up, is more acceptable. This 18-minute beautiful film is directed by Lloyd Eyre-Morgan and has a fantastic performance by Tommy Knight as the 1986 gay teen.

‘Putting on the Dish’ is basically two gay men sitting on a bench in a park talking about gay men and sex. Their accents and the too short story make it a bit hard to understand and pretty much irrelevant.

The above is just a taster of all the short films that are featured in this two hour compilation that’s all about showcasing some of the UK’s best emerging talent. Tie yourself to your DVD player and make this a much watch!

BOYS ON FILM 15: TIME AND TIED

NOW AVAILABLE TO OWN ON DVD & ON-DEMAND WORLDWIDE

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21st Aug2016

Holding the Man (DVD)

by timbaros

Holding The Man 1A moving and very emotional film about a gay couple during the height of the AIDS crises is beautifully told in the new film ‘Holding the Man.’

‘Holding the Man’ is based on the 1995 book of the same name by Timothy Conigrave. It’s a poignant true life love story between two Australian men, Conigrave and John Caleo, who met and fell in love at an all boys school in Melbourne in the mid-70’s. It’s a relationship that lasted 15 years.

‘Holding the Man’ is one of the better, or perhaps maybe the best, of all the films that’s dealt with the AIDS crisis. It’s a movie that simply tells a story, a love story so enduring and epic that it’s irrelevant whether the characters are gay or straight. And it’s a story that some of us, who were around in the 1980’s and 1990’s when friends and partners were dying right and left from AIDS, can unfortunately relate to.

Ryan Corr plays Timothy Conigrave, while Craig Stott plays John Caleo. ‘Holding the Man’ is directed by Australian Neil Armfield (2006’s ‘Candy’ with Heath Ledger), with a screenplay by Tommy Murphy, who adapted it for the stage in 2006.

Stott is the football player and football loving Caleo, a man who anyone could fall in love with. But it’s Conigrave, an aspiring actor, who tackles and gets him. (In Australian Football holding the man occurs when a player is tackled without the ball). They start dating and almost immediately fall in love. But these two men were exploring their sexuality in the 1970’s, a time when HIV and AIDS had yet to rear it’s ugly head. So it was a time when gay men were getting infected both in the U.S. and Europe – and Australia was no exception – without knowing it. It is 1985 when they discover that they are both HIV positive.

‘Holding the Man’ continues to tell the delicate and ever increasing sad story of these two men and their caring and loving relationship, how Caleo was the first to get sick, how their parents and family dealt with both men’s illness, and how Conigrave coped with Caleo’s deterioration.

Corr and Stott are terrific and give it their all (Anthony LaPaglia is especially good as Caleo’s stern and unforgiving father). But it’s in the storytelling where this film excels. Credit goes to director Armfield and writer Murphy for successfully bringing this story to the screen. It’s a story that’s been told a few times (‘Philadelphia’), but not in such a meaningful, and very realistic, way. However it’s Conigrave’s book on which this film is based, it’s his book about his relationship with Caleo, a sort of love letter to him, and we’re all very lucky to be able to see what an amazing, yet heartbreaking, relationship it was. This film is highly recommended.


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15th Aug2016

Where to Invade Next (DVD)

by timbaros

wtin3_206579Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore finds that there is life (and much better life) outside the United States

In his latest documentary, Michael Moore ‘invades’ several countries to learn about an aspect of their system that he could possibly take back to America with him.

Moore decides ‘Where to Invade Next’ as he plants a flag in each country he visits. These countries were chosen by him because they do something better than America – it’s European Socialism he says. He first visits Italy, where they get seven weeks of vacation, versus the U.S. standard of only two weeks. We meet a couple who make the most of their seven weeks, travelling during their time off and planning a longer holiday in August when the country practically shuts down. They even get 15 days off for their honeymoon! Then he visits an elementary school in France. His visit is timed with their lunch hour. He’s shocked to see how civil the kids are during lunch, how the food is practically gourmet, and how serious the school’s chef and the school system take over the nutritional content of their lunch. This in comparison, he shows us, of the lunch provided to the American school children which appears to be largely unidentifiable slop on a plate. He next visits Norway, where we see a prison that is nestled in a beautiful location where the prisoners lounge around, have pretty much all the amenities of home, and are treated like human beings, unlike in American where the prisons are overcrowded and extremely dangerous. Among other countries is a visit to Slovenia, where college education is free. Students don’t have a huge debt to pay once they get out of college. We meet a few American college students at a college in Slovenia who are happy attending a school that’s free and where there are more then 100 courses taught in English, where in the U.S. students protest over ever increasing college fees (and huge debt after leaving school). And Moore brings up an excellent point when he visits Iceland and discovers that the one bank that didn’t fail during the 2008 financial crises was a bank run by women. He likens that if Lehman Brothers were run by women (‘Lehman Sisters) it probably would not have failed. And Finland, where they’ve abolished homework for their students with the emphasis being spending free time with friends and doing what makes you happy.

Moore brings up a lot of valid points in ‘Where to Invade Next’ that makes you wonder how certain countries are able to better provide for their citizens while the U.S can’t do anything close . Moore has written and directed several controversial (and popular) documentaries including ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ (the aftermath of American from 9/11 – which is the highest grossing documentary ever) and ‘Bowling for Columbine’ (his Oscar-winning documentary about gun violence in the U.S. in the aftermath of the deadly massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado). ‘Where to Invade to Next’ might be one of his most light-hearted documentaries, and also a bit silly with the premise of ‘planting’ an American flag in each country he visits. But as usual he makes valid points that are useful comparisons of the American way of doing things versus the European way of doing things. And while during the film he visits world leaders and opinion makers, he makes absolutely no effort to dress and clean himself up before these meetings. But there’s lots to learn in ‘Where to Invade Next,’ to learn how countries do things better than America. According to Moore, ‘The American dream is alive and well, but not in America!’

 

 

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15th Aug2016

Sing Street (DVD)

by timbaros

sing-street-review-sundance-picIt’s 1985 and the music of Duran Duran, Tears for Fears and Spandau Ballet were at the top of the charts. ‘Sing Street’ follows the story of one young man during this era who decides to start his own band to woo a local girl.

Dublin during this time was not a very good place to grow up. People were flocking to London where careers and money were to be made. Fresh, young and innocent Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), baby-faced yet intelligent and going through puberty, is struggling with the eminent divorce of his parents. They no longer can afford to send him to private school so he’s chucked into attending the very rough Synge Street school where he immediately gets beaten up by the school’s bullies. But Cosmo comes up with the idea of forming a band because he wants to impress pretty 16-year old Penny (Maria Doyle Kennedy) who he spots sitting on her stoop at a girl’s boarding house where she lives. Cosmo immediately takes a liking to her but she says that she’s going to become a model and is planning on moving to London with her ‘adult’ boyfriend. But Cosmo is really keen on her and in order to impress her, together with his mates, they form the Sing Street band, but there’s a small matter of sourcing instruments and getting others (preferably talented) to join. After lots and lots of practice in a friend’s living room, Sing Street actually become very good. But Cosmo is still keen on impressing Penny, so he and the band invite her to star in their music video, made on the very cheap. As Sing Street continue to get better and better, and with fellow band members, they become local celebrities. With Cosmo’s no good for nothing brother Brendan’s support (Jack Reynor), who was never actually able to follow his dreams of leaving Dublin, Sing Street continue their plans to be successful and to conquer Dublin.

’Sing Street’ is a good old fashioned British musical that could’ve been made with the Monkees back in the 1960’s. But it’s now 2016 and ‘Sing Street’ is a very good throwback to that era and captures the look and feel and sound of that time. ‘Sing Street’ really works thanks to a great young cast and crisp direction and writing by John Carney (the Oscar-winning 2007 film ‘Once’). But it’s the music in ‘Sing Street’ that will get you to tap your toe and to hum along. Music by the actual actors in the Sing Street band in the film, Duran Duran, Hall & Oates, and Adam Levine make this musical comedy drama a must see.

 

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16th Jul2016

Marguerite (DVD)

by timbaros

Marg_D23_24-3596An aristocrat who thinks she can sing but really can’t is the new French film Marguerite.

Marguerite is played by delicious French actress Catherine Frot. She’s a very wealthy woman in France in the 1920s who lives in a huge mansion with her husband and several members of her staff. She loves music and the opera, and loves to give small concerts and parties in her home. She’s a woman who has it all, except for a great singing voice.

She has always yearned to be a singer, and she takes it upon herself to sing at one of her parties, right after the performance of young woman who has the voice of an angel. Once she opens her mouth and sings, the crowd winces, holds their collective breaths, and pretends to enjoy it, then breaking out in furious applause when she’s done (at the insistence of her attentive servant Madelbos (Denis Mpunga). Of course no one would tell her to her face that she can’t sing.

A young journalist (Sylvain Dieuaide) decides to write a rave review about her (only because he’s looking for a rich benefactor), and Marguerite starts to believe that she really can sing, and so she wants to follow her dream – to perform in front of a crowd.

Her husband Georges (Andre Macon) wishes that she won’t go through with it,though he won’t tell her to her face but he does tell his mistress. Marguerite is so determined to put on a concert that she hires opera performer and singing teacher Atos Pezzini (a very good Michel Fau), along with his staff of five, to get her voice ready for the show.

But it’s them and the rest of the house staff who have to suffer, for every time Marguerite opens her mouth to sing, they cringe and put in ear plugs to drown out her awful voice. Will Marguerite ever realise that she can’t hold a tune? Will anyone in her circle tell her the truth? It all comes down to a hilarious unexpected ending.

Marguerite is an uproarious comedy about a woman’s desire to follow her passion at any cost. The film combines pretty visuals, set design and costumes, a funny script, and an electric and funny performance by Frot.

Director Xavier Giannoli has crafted a film that, while a bit too long and with a couple storylines that go nowhere, is sumptuous and funny. ‘Marguerite’ is loosely inspired by the life of amateur operatic soprano singer Florence Foster Jenkins, soon to be a movie directed by Stephen Frears and starring Meryl Streep to be released later in the year. ‘Marguerite,’ featuring music from Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi, is a true French film – dramatic, gorgeous and funny.




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27th Jun2016

Evolution (DVD)

by timbaros

evolution_140074Young boys and their mothers are the only inhabitants in a seaside town in the highly unusual film ‘Evolution.’

It’s a world without men, a world where each woman has one son, where they all live in similar white-washed yet minimalistic homes, right off the coastal rocks of an unnamed country. It’s here where Nicholas (Max Brebant) lives with his mom (Julie-Marie Parmentier). She feeds him a greenish-like goulash soup at every meal, and also makes sure he takes his medication. She takes Nicholas to play along the rocks of the ocean with the other boys in town, each with their mothers close at hand. But at the heart of soul of this community is a hospital, staffed entirely by women, where all the boys are eventually hospitalized. It’s here at this hospital where the boys are subject to strange medical treatments that perhaps undermine the role of evolution. They are given shots in their stomach, administered to them while they lie strapped to a bed, females nurses surrounding them, with no emotion, all white, and wearing white. What does it all mean? What are the boys being given? And why does Nicholas’ mother, along with the other mothers, venture late at night next to the ocean and writh naked with each other in the rocks?

French with English subtitles, ‘Evolution’ messes with our head with the idea that evolution (the beginning of life) is created by women, and that perhaps God is woman. It’s imagery, tone and darkness reveals too much yet not enough. It’s a film that leaves the viewer attempting to intrepret what they’ve just seen, what they’ve just witnessed. ‘Evolution’, directed by Lucille Hadzihalilovic, is a film that she says is steeped in elements from her childhood. The barren landscapes, a faceless hospital, and the rough seas gives us a dreamlike haze into a world of innocence, beauty and cruelty. It’s film that’s not easy to watch – there’s big gaps of silence, and the ending may be a bit confusing, but upon watching it you’ll get the idea of what message the film is attempting to deliver. It’s beautiful yet strange



Evolution [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Starring: Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

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