07th Oct2017

London Film Festival Press Conference for “The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected”

by timbaros


As part of the The 61st BFI London Film Festival, today there was a press conference held at London’s glamorous Corinthia Hotel for the film “The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected.” Attending were the film’s stars Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler, as well as writer and director Noah Baumbach.

“The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected” is the gala for the Laugh strand of the festival. In the film, Dustin Hoffman plays a moody patriarch in a film about a screwed-up New York family. To suggest that sculptor Harold Meyerowitz (Hoffman) is a model father would be pushing it. His adult children, like his artistic career, have not exactly met his expectations, but he has succeeded in selling them a rather delusional version of his own achievements. His eldest son Danny (Adam Sandler) is coasting through life while Harold’s daughter Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) enjoys being in the background. Matthew (Ben Stiller), who live on the West Coast, is very successful. Meanwhile, there is Harold’s drunk bohemian fourth wife Maureen (Emma Thompson). It’s pure dysfunction all the way, more so when Harold winds up in the hospital and everyone has to decide what’s best for Harold, together.

“The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected” is out in UK cinemas on October 13, 2017.
04th Oct2017

London Film Festival Opening Night Film “Breathe”

by timbaros


The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® launched tonight with the Opening Night Gala, the European premiere of “Breathe,” directed by Andy Serkis and starring Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield.

Joining Serkis, Foy and Garfield on the red carpet, and on stage before the screening, included co-starts Tom Hollander and Hugh Bonneville.
“Breathe” is an inspirational love story about a couple who defy the odds and try to live a normal life. When dapper and adventurous Robin Cavendish (Garfield) meets self-assured Diana (Foy) at a cricket match, a whirlwind romance ensues. Soon after their wedding, they set out for Nairobi where Robin works as a tea broker. But their new life together takes an abrupt turn when he contracts polio and is given only weeks to live. Determined that her husband’s life should not be restricted by medical and social prejudice, Diana ignores all advice and breaks him out of the hospital. With the support of her twin brothers (both played by Tom Hollander) and friend Teddy (Hugh Bonneville), an Oxford professor who invents a wheelchair with a respirator attached, Diana creates an environment in which Robin can thrive and he goes on to lead a long and full life. “Breathe” is based on the true story of producer Jonathan Cavendish’s parents. “Breathe” is released nationally in the UK on October 27, 2017.






“Breathe” Producer John Cavendish, Claire Foy, Andrew Garfield, Director Andy Serkis, Writer William Nicholson and moderator Terri White at today’s press conference before the film premiere

02nd Oct2017

Raindance Film Festival – Best of LGBT Films

by timbaros


“There is a Light” (Il Padre d’Italia)

A beautifully written and told and acted story of gay man Paolo who, unusually, encounters a very pretty young pregnant woman – Mia – in a backroom gay sex bar. She’s presumably looking for her boyfriend who ditched her. Paolo befriends her and they leave together and embark on a road trip that turns into something a bit more. Luca Marinellil and Isabella Ragonese are a revelation in the leading roles, and the great soundtrack is an added bonus. Look for this film anyway you can.

“Discreet” – written and directed by Travis Mathews, who collaborated on “Interior Leather Bar” with James Franco, as well as a documentary series of gay men in several cities, brings us a film that is about a gay drifter Alex (Jonny Mars) who takes up residence in his supposed mute grandfather’s house. At the same time he pursues a local young teenage boy and spends time at the local gay cinema with a muscular Italian man. Alex is also hypnotized by some sort of strange sex website run by an oriental woman that seems to help him drive his inner ego. It all makes for a very strange and uncomfortable movie wth an awful narrative, a self-indulgent work on Mathews part. This one is a miss.


“Anatomy of a Ballet Dancer: Marcelo Gomes”
A documentary about the life and career of one of ballet’s biggest stars, who has been with the American Ballet Theatre for 20 years. This film is not just for ballet fans as we get too see the inner workings of the mind of Gomes, who had talent at a very young age. This film also deals with how he overcame his parents divorce, as well as coming out of the closet in a big way on the cover of a magazine, and how he has become one of ballet’s biggest stars. The documentary shines a light on his relationship with his father, who for some reason does not want to go see Gomes dance on stage in his hometown of NYC. Gomes comes across as such a nice and down to earth guy, and it doesn’t hurt that he parades around in really really tight ballet clothes that leave nothing to the imagination.


“The Joneses”
Jheri Jones is a fascinating woman, and in this excellent documentary we learn that Jheri is no ordinary woman, she used to be Jerry. But to her four male children, one of whom is gay and comes out in the documentary at the age of 37, Jheri is actually both mom and dad (their actual mother passed away years ago at the age of 59). Including Jheri’s two understanding grandchildren, “The Joneses” show how the family have accepted and embraced Jheri’s transition (which took place years ago). But it’s Jheri who is the star of this documentary- she fascinating, fun, fierce, and fabulous.

“The Misandrists”
Controversial film director Bruce LaBruce is, as always, in unusual form in this strange film about a school for girls and the powering teachers who lead them and who call themselves the Female Liberation Army. But all is not what is seems with the girls, some are hiding secrets, and one of them is hiding a male soldier in the basement dungeon. But it gets to be a bit too much when a penis is surgically cut off which leads to, at the very end, a lesbian orgy that leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s 90 minutes that’s a bit too much to take.

A Mexican film with English subtitles, it’s the story of a young pregnant woman, Martina, who escapes her life in Mexico City to go look for the father she never knew in Berlin. Of course while in Berlin she encounters all sorts of people, including a memorable drag queen played by the fabulous Dieter Rita Scholl. But Martina’s boyfriend comes looking for her in Berlin, and she’s got a strange habit of spontaneously stealing things. “Mist” is worth a watch for the performances.

“Apricot Groves”
Aram (Narbe Varten) has just flown back to Armenia from where he’s living in California to ask the parents of his girlfriend for her hand in marriage. He is squired around town by his confident and worldly brother Vartan (Pedram Ansari). But another purpose of Aram’s trip is for him to undergo surgery, and it’s this revelation at the end of the film (and a bit in the beginning) that makes “Apricot Groves” a real treasure.

“Boys for Sale”
Having never been to Tokyo, I didn’t realize that there was such a huge male escort scene there. In this well done documentary, we get to meet several ‘urisen’ (male sex workers) in Tokyo’s Shinjuku 2-chome gay district, where they all talk to the camera about their lives and what led them to this type of work. It’s a fascinating film by director Itako and Executive Producer Ian Thomas Ash. It also includes very clever and compelling drawings of a sexual nature that depict the urisen’s non-exciting sexual encounters. Try to find this documentary anyway you can.

While not specifically LGBT, two other films at Raindance are recommended because of their great music stores. “Trendy,” about a man who moves to London from up north to escape a bad incident, is shot almost entirely in East London and many scenes take place in Berlin-style underground clubs. “Afterparty” is just what you’d expect. It takes place in a huge nightclub in Belgrade, focusing on one of the bartender’s quest to become famous, and where the music is just as fast and furious and thumping as the main character.

24th Sep2017

Borg vs McEnroe

by timbaros

borg-mcenroe-011980 was a massive year in sports. It was the year that the U.S., and other countries, boycotted the Olympic Games held in Russia. It was also the year that an unknown woman by the name of Rosie Ruiz cheated her way to the finishing line to ‘win’ the Boston Marathon. But it was also the year that Swede Bjorn Borg competed against American John McEnroe for the Wimbledon men’s championship, and what a game it was. The new film “Borg vs McEnroe” totally captures this exciting match.

Not only does the film capture, in very good detail, the match to end all matches, it also goes deep into the lives of both men, their upbringing, their careers as the world’s top tennis players, as well as their relationships with others. However, this being a Swedish production, the film mostly focuses on Borg (played by a practical look-a-like in Sverrir Gudnason). McEnroe, played by Shia LaBeouf, is also very good as the bad boy of tennis which almost mirrors LaBeouf’s offscreen behaviour.

We see Bjorg as young man (played by his own son Leo) in the city where he grew up and started playing tennis against a wall near his home; we see him as a successful tennis player, living the life of luxury, high atop a luxurious apartment building in Monaco which he shares with his partner Marianna (Tuva Novotny). She stands by his side, and allows him to stay focused on his games, even if that means him being very obsessed with the preparation of each match, and the torment by his parents who have taught him never to be second best. Borg’s relationship with his coach Lennart (an excellent Stellan Skarsgard) is a volatile one, but it’s also like father and son. Meanwhile, McEnroe has demons of his own – his reputation precedes him, and it’s going to be a dual to the finish at the Wimdledom championships as to who’s going to come out the winner.

“Borg vs McEnroe,” a multilingual film, ends with the play by play of the 1980 men’s championship final. And if you don’t remember who won, it’s a nail-biting 20 minutes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. And it’s this finale that makes “Borg vs McEnroe” one of the best sports films since 2013’s racing car film “Rush.” Danish Director Janus Metz keeps the suspense and drama very much alive while writer Ronnie Sandahl expertly crafts the 110 minute movie to include aspects of both champions lives as well as their tennis successes.

02nd Sep2017

God’s Own Country (Film)

by timbaros

image.php-138In 2005 there was Brokeback Mountain, and in 2017 there is now “God’s Own Country.”

Being referred to as a West Yorkshire Brokeback Mountain, “God’s Own Country” tells the story of a young farmer who works on the family farm and has casual sex with some of the local boys. But when a Romanian migrant worker shows up to help him out on the farm, their working relationship turns into more than just work, changing both their lives. Shot against the beautiful backdrop that is Yorkshire, “God’s Own Country” is definitely this year’s hottest and most mainstream gay film. Director and writer Francis Lee, in his feature length directorial debut (he has acting credits that go back to 1994), has crafted a gay romance set on a farm, a romance that, when it gets lit, is explosive.

Josh O’Connor is fantastic as Johnny Saxby, a young man who thinks he has only one purpose in life – the farm. He lives in a house on top of a hill with his grandmother (Gemma Jones) and sick father (Ian Hart). But as his father is unable to participate in the hard daily chores, Romanian immigrant, and ruggedly handsome, Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) arrives, and with his arrival comes the romance that we know is going to happen. I didn’t find “God’s Own Country’ a perfect film, Johnny and Gheorghe’s first stab at having sex, outdoors, right in the middle of the farm, was a bit unbelievable (and it looked cold). And Johnny’s habit of taking presumably straight men into his local pub toilets for sex (that would be every gay man’s fantasy – no?) is far-fetched. But “God’s Own Country” is beautiful, complex and engaging, and it doesn’t hurt that we get to see both O’Connor and Secareanu naked. “God’s Own Country” has already won several awards, including Best Film at both the Berlin and Edinburgh International Film Festivals as well as the World Cinema Directing Award at Sundance. And it’s gotten rave reviews, with some critics calling it “The British Brokeback Mountain,” but better.

02nd Sep2017

Patti Cake$ (Film)

by timbaros

Can a white overweight girl from New Jersey become a rap star? You bet – and her name is “Patti Cake$”.

Danielle Macdonald plays Patricia Dombrowski, an unemployed 23-year-old who has been given the nickname ‘dumbo’ by her contemporaries. There’s very little opportunity for her; she’s been fired from her most recent job, her mom is an alcoholic, her grandmother is confined to a wheelchair, and she’s a dreamer about hitting the big time. But when she gets together with her friends, including pharmacist Jheri (Siddarth Dhananjay), she’s no longer just plain Patricia, she’s Patti Cake$. And when an opportunity arises for them to enter a rap contest, Patti has doubts, not only because the competition will be fierce, but also because she lacks the confidence which she never got from her own mother (Bridget Everett), who is always trying to show her up. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and Patti and her gang (now called PBNJ) must prove that they’ve got what it takes. And this makes Patti Cake$ a sweet and engrossing tale of a misfit girl who can and will make it.

Australian Danielle Macdonald is superb as Patti Cake$. She nails it as the rough around the edges but very soft to the core Patti who will have the audience in her corner. Everett also has a showy role as Patti’s mother, always trying to look good for potential male suitors. New Jersey native and music video director Geremy Jasper showcases the real New Jersey in this film and brings us a sweet tale of a girl who has larger than life dreams and tries to make them happen.

28th Aug2017

Logan Lucky (Film)

by timbaros

Steven Soderbergh said in 2013 that he planned to retire from filmmaking. Well, his short retirement is over and he’s back in the cinema with “Logan Lucky.”

The man who gave us “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” “Out of Sight,” “Erin Brokovich,” “Magic Mike,” and the Ocean’s Trilogy has returned with a film that, while it’s not groundbreaking, is littered with excellent performances but its a case of been there seen that.

So alike “Logan Lucky” is with “Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen” that it could as well have been Ocean’s fourteen but set in the Confederate state of Virginia. “Logan Lucky” is the story of a bank robbery, a bank robbery that’s so cleverly planned and executed that it’s a bit unrealistic and unbelievable.

Channing Tatum is down on his luck Jimmy Logan who can’t seem to get a break and keep a job due to his permanent limp. His daughter, Sadie (a memorable and amazing little Farrah MacKenzie) is a beauty pageant winner wanna be, and she’s in the care of his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (a very good Katie Holmes). His one-armed brother Clyde (a good as usual Adam Driver) owns a bar called Duck Tape, and they have a sister Mellie (Riley Keough). Jimmy, after talking to brothers Sam (Brian Gleason) and Fish (Jack Quaid), who have mentioned that their other brother Joe (Daniel Craig, at his best ever, better than his James Bond character), who happens to be incarcerated, can and will break out of jail and can help the gang break into the underground cash-handling system at the Charlotte Motor Speedway during one of the it’s busiest days of the year – the Coca Cola 600 race. Did I mention that the plot is a bit far-fetched?

Clyde (who got himself arrested just for the sole purpose of helping Joe escape jail for the day) and Joe successfully, in another ridiculous moment, escape jail. And it’s then a dream team attempting to steal money from a stadium chock-a-block full of people yet there is absolutely no one guarding the underground area where the money is dropped in via a tube system. Absolutely no one, not a security guard, employees, garbage collectors, no one at all. And all seems to go according to plan, thus lacking in any suspense whatsoever.

It’s in the performances where “Logan Lucky” is saved, barely. Craig is fantastic as the seasoned thief, Driver is good (as always) as the one-armed brother. Holmes surpasses expectations as Jimmy’s ex-wife who is now married to a wealthy man (more of her in the future please), while Seth MacFarlane is unrecognizable and fantastic as an arrogant personality famous for who knows what. The script, by Rebecca Blunt, has some very good moments but “Logan Lucky” is basically “Ocean’s 14” but with a better cast and a cool and quirky Southern vibe. Perhaps Soderberg’s next film will be an original, this one certainly wasn’t. But he’s putting together “Ocean’s Eight” at the moment, so it will be more of the same.

15th Aug2017

Raindance Film Festival (Film)

by timbaros

20768037_10155650003862803_8328159887117642741_nThe 25th annual Raindance Film Festival announced its line-up this morning at London’s Vue Cinema in Leicester Square, and it includes world, international, European and UK premieres. The Festival will take place at the same cinema from September 20th – October 1st, 2017.

The UK Premiere of Atsuko Hirayanagi’s Oh Lucy! (USA), starring Josh Hartnett is the opening night film. The film is a drama-comedy and tells the story of Setsuko Kawashima, a lonely, chain-smoking office lady in Tokyo who is past her prime and adopts an American alter ego. The Festival’s Closing Night film will be announced later in the month.

Raindance received a record-breaking number of submissions this year from over 120 countries, the highest it has received to date and will screen over 200 projects – including features, shorts, WebFest, VR and music videos.

Jamie Campbell Bower (Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2), Raindance Jury Member, announced the line-up alongside Elliot Grove, Raindance Founder. Alongside Bower, this year’s competition films will be judged by a panel of industry members and film journalists including, including: Jack O’Connell (Money Monster, Unbroken), Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy), Christopher Eccleston (Thor, Dr Who), Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman, Trainspotting), Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones series, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie).

To recognize the outstanding achievements of this year’s filmmakers, the jury will go through each of the Feature Films, selected for Official Competition, in the following categories; Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Performance. Films nominated in these categories include the international premiere of Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s feature debut, Maya Dardel (USA), starring Lena Olin and Rosanna Arquette, which tells the story of a famous writer, who states her intention to end her own life during an interview on NPR, and invites male writers to compete to become the executor of her estate; The Constitution (Croatia), directed by Rajko Grlic, follows four people who live in the same building but avoid each other due to differences in their assets, sexual habits, nationality and religion; Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s Mukoku (Japan), tells the story of a security guard, whose best days are behind, until a chance encounter changes everything.

Additional features in Official Competition include both narratives and documentaries vying for Best UK Film, Best Documentary and the coveted Discovery Award, which is given to Best Debut Film. Films nominated in these categories include; the World Premiere of In Another Life (UK), Jason Wingard’s directional debut, set against the backdrop of the Calais Jungle, where refugee Adnan battles to be reunited with his wife in the UK; The Family I Had (USA), directed by female co-directors Katie Green and Carlyle Rubin, is a documentary featuring a mother recalling how her teenage son shattered their idyllic family through one violent act; Children Of The Night (Italy / Belgium), Andrea De Sica, grandson of four times Academy Award winner, Vittoria De Sica, tells the story of Giulio, a seventeen-year old from a well-to-do family, who is sent to a remote boarding school the Alps, where iron-clad rules limit all contact with the outside. He makes friends with Edoardo, an oddball, and their friendship is sealed by frequent escapes at night, to a nightclub hidden in the forest.

Other noteworthy films playing at the festival include You Are Killing Me Susana (Mexico / Canada), by Robert Sneider, producer of Frida, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal, and tells the story of a Mexican native adapting to life in the USA; Heitor Dhalia’s On Yoga The Architecture Of Peace (Brazil / USA) is based on Michael O’Neill’s book of the same name, and tells the story of the 10 years the author spent photographing Yoga’s great masters; RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save The Planet? by David McIlvrid and Roger Williams, follows internationally celebrated river conservationist Mark Angelo on an around-the-world journey by river that uncovers the dark side of the fashion industry; Tom Gustafson’s Hello Again (USA) starring Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, is the film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical, it explores 10 fleeting love affairs across 10 periods of time in New York City history.

The LGBT strand will showcase legendary queer director Bruce LaBruce’s latest feature, The Misandrists (Germany), about a young man who unknowingly is taken in by members of the Female Liberation Army – a lesbian separatist stronghold; Becks (USA), co-directed by Daniel Powell and Rebecca Drysdale, starring Mena Suvari, sees a Brooklyn musician move back in with her Midwestern mother, after a crushing breakup with her girlfriend. As she navigates her hometown, playing for tip money in an old friend’s bar, an unexpected relationship unfolds; Travis Mathews’, Discreet (Germany) tells the story of an eccentric drifter who returns home and discovers his childhood abuser is still alive.

This year’s films directed by women include Leslie Ann Coles’ debut documentary Melody Makers (UK) which stars Melody Maker Magazine’s Chief Contributing Photographer, Barrie Wentzel, who tells the story of the rise and fall of the magazine, which marked the end of a style of rock ‘n’ roll journalism that no longer exists today; Barrage (Luxembourg) directed by Laura Schroeder, stars Academy Award nominee Isabelle Huppert, and her real life daughter Lolita Chammah, following the journey of Catherine (Chammah), who is returning to Luxembourg after ten years abroad, to catch up with her young daughter who has been brought up by Catherine’s mother (Huppert), and kidnaps her taking her on a road trip; City Of Joy (USA) is Madeline Gavin’s inspiring documentary following the first class of students at a remarkable leadership centre in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region often referred as “the worst place in the world to be a woman”.

Running between September 28 – October 1, the newly established virtual reality strand will feature the Raindance VRX Awards, VRX Summit, VRX Market and the VR Arcade. The brand new VRX awards will recognise pioneering virtual reality experiences in 10 categories: Best Interactive Narrative Experience, Best Mobile Interactive Experience, Best Cinematic Narrative Experience, Best Documentary Experience, Best Animation Experience, Best Music Experience, Best Branded Experience, Best Sensual Experience, Best Social Impact Experience and Best Sound Design Experience.

There is so so much more that Raindance will offer this year. All the information can be found on their website – Raindance.org.
Tickets go on sale on the website later today.

The Online Festival box office will be open from noon on August 15th, 2017, the cinema box office will be open from September, 20th 2017.

Festival tickets can be purchased through the Festival website:

Raindance Film Festival

Festival passes can be purchased through the Festival website: http://raindancefestival.org/register-now/

Press can apply for accreditation through the Festival website:

Press Accreditations

Industry can apply for accreditation through the Festival website:

Accreditations 2016

10th Aug2017

Tom of Finland (Film)

by timbaros

LAURI TILKANENWe all know who Tom of Finland was, but not many people know the real life story of the man behind the sexy images – Touko Laaksonen. The new movie ‘Tom of Finland,’ tells us about his fascinating, and interesting life.

But it’s a bit of a shame because the film is not very exciting. It should have been given that this man is most famous for his drawings of muscular and very well-endowed men in various incriminating sexual positions, but this aspect of the film takes a bit of a backseat to the more biographical nature of his life. Laaksonen, (ably played by Finish actor Pekka Strang), was a decorated officer in WWII and fought in battles against the Nazis where he was face to face with the enemy, and which makes an indelible impression on him for life. After the war he returns home to live with his homophobic sister Kaijia (Jessica Grabowsky) and leads a very unexciting life working at an advertising agency. It’s only when he starts drawing men is when he starts feeling alive, more so because he starts to explore his sexuality in a place where it was illegal. Laaksonen then falls in love with the young lodger Veli (Lauri Tilkanen) him and his sister take in. This relationship instills confidence in Laaksonen and this is when his artistic talent starts to blossom.

Instead of getting sexier and more erotic, ‘Tom of Finland’ the film maintains its understated and muted tone. As Laaksonen’s work (who by now goes by the name Tom of Finland given to him by his Jewish publisher) becomes more well known around the world, he goes to Berlin and then is whisked away to Los Angeles at the behest of a rich gay patron (played by Seumas Sargent) where we get glances of men frolicking in a swimming pool but it’s not enough to warrant any sort of excitement in a film that should be releasing hormones right and left. Some of the supporting characters start getting sick but there’s no real mention of the words HIV or AIDS in the film and it’s this disease that hits his community hard, at a time when no one really knew how the virus was contracted. And with no timeline mentioned in the film it’s a bit difficult to know when these events took place to put the story into some sort of context.

Directed by Finnish Director Dome Karukoski and written by Aleksi Bardy, ‘Tom of Finland’ has, of course, a very Finnish feel to it (definitely foreign and a bit dull and grey), which may or may not have impacted the film’s lack of excitement and dramatic possibilities. But the cast are all very believable and Strang does a very good job of playing Laaksonen’s life over a span of 50 years (!!). But Laaksonen deserves a more fitting tribute. He was a seminal figure in gay culture, one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture, and ‘Tom of Finland’ the movie is not quite what I’d hoped it would be.

If you want real excitement, there is the Tom of Finland Organic Vodka to try – launched in the UK last month. Made in Finland from a blend of the finest organic wheat and rye with no added sugar, the vodka pays tribute to Tom of Finland through it’s smooth, spicy taste and flavor and it’s sexy packaging. The vodka was launched to coincide with the release of ‘Tom of Finland.’

The vodka is available now from select retailers including Gerry’s Wines and Spirits in Soho, London for an RRP of £32.50/50cl. I’ve tried it and it is superb.

27th Jul2017

The Big Sick (Film)

by timbaros

Kumail Nanjiani as "Kumail" and Zoe Kazan as "Emily" in THE BIG SICK. Photo by Sarah Shatz.

An unusual romance blossoms between a Muslim comedian and a white American woman in the new light-hearted comedy “The Big Sick.”

The not funny title is completely intentional because halfway through the film Emily (Zoe Kazan) gets really sick and falls into a coma. But before this we see the beginnings of a romance (and the breakup) between her and aspiring comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani). Even though they come from two totally different backgrounds, they fall head over heals with each other after Zoe heckles him at one of his shows. But it’s when Zoe is diagnosed with a mystery illness, and after they break up, that Kumail decides that he really wants to be with Zoe, but he’s got to share her hospital room with her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, who are both excellent). Meeting her parents for the first time in the hospital tests him and his love for Zoe, but it’s also her parents who have to do some soul searching themselves because they are not quite yet able to accept a Muslim man as their only daughter’s boyfriend. And to make matters worse for Kumail, his family insists he marry a Muslim girl with his mom constantly inviting single Muslim women over for dinner and tells Kumail that ’they happen to be in the neighborhood.’ Kumail has lots of dilemmas in his life.

“The Big Sick” is the true life story of Kumail and his real life wife (Emily V. Gordon), who had become very sick when they were dating, and this is where the story of this film comes from (they co-wrote the script together). Directed by Michael Shwalter, “The Big Sick” is a very funny and light hearted comedy that will tug at your heartstrings. And it’s Nanjiani (from television’s “Silicon Valley”) who lays his heart out and lets us in on his real life relationship that has now been turned into a very good romantic comedy.

25th Jul2017

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (Film)

by timbaros

captain-underpants-sq1300_s840_f243_RGB_FIN_rgbA cheeky children’s series of novels has now been turned into a gleeful and silly animated film. It’s “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.”

Yes, in case you weren’t aware of this popular children’s book series by Dav Pilkey, it has our superhero fighting crime wearing a cape and his white underpants – Y fronts. But he’s actually the creation (and from the imagination) of George (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch), 4th grade friends and next door neighbors. They are king of the pranks at their elementary school so it’s no surprise that when principal Benjamin Krupp (Ed Helms) threatens to separate them, they, through their self-created comic book, and after one unfortunate prank that goes wrong, turns Mr. Krupp into Captain Underpants! But the boys want to keep Mr. Krupp in his superhero kit so he doesn’t turn back into the mean principal who is going to separate them. But they can’t keep him wandering around town in his underpants all the time. They also have to deal with the nerd inventor prodigy Melvin (Jordan Peele) as well as the new mad science teacher Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll), who is up to his own evil plans.

For the little boy in you (and that would be boys who will sure find this animated film funny, as it’s pretty much that kind of humor), but the rest of us will shake our heads at the silliness of it all.

If this is the first (as per the name of the movie) in a series of more Captain Underpants movies, I’m not too sure it’s going to be a good thing.

20th Jul2017

Scribe (Film)

by timbaros

1364759-francois-cluzet-plonge-film-espionnageAn unemployed accountant takes a job that puts him in the middle of a political conspiracy in the new film “Scribe.”

“Scribe (La mécanique de l’ombre)” is a timely taut French thriller that builds it’s suspense in events that lead up to a political election. François Cluzet is Duval, a recovering alcoholic who takes a job as a transcriber that is literally offered to him with no questions asked. He is tasked with typing telephone conversations from tapes that are numbered and left for him in a non-descript flat where he is all alone. He is told by his boss Clément (Denis Podalydés) to keep to himself, to remain unnoticed, and to not smoke in the flat. He is supposed to open the curtains when he arrives at 9 a.m. and to close them when he leaves at 6 p.m. But as the days go on and the conversations on the tapes he transcribes become all too realistic and downright criminal, it’s clear to Duval that the organisation he is working for is somehow involved in trying to manipulate the upcoming election. After a high profile figure is murdered, the conversation of which is on one of the tapes, it’s just a matter of time before Duval gets caught up in the conspiracy, and a murder,
and eventually his life is in danger by the very organization that employs him.

“Scribe” has all the ingredients of being a great political thriller in the same vein as “The Manchurian Candidate” and 2006’s Oscar wining German film “The Lives of Others.” Director Thomas Kruithof superbly builds the tension while at the same time not giving too much away during the film until it’s explosive ending. This film is well worth a watch.

“Scribe” is in cinemas and on demand from 21st July

15th Jul2017

Cars 3 (Film)

by timbaros

NEXT-GEN TAKES THE LEAD — Jackson Storm (voice of Armie Hammer), a frontrunner in the next generation of racers, posts speeds that even Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) hasn’t seen. “Cars 3” is in theaters June 16, 2017. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
Lighting McQueen is back in the latest instalment of Disney’s Cars movie franchise.

If you remember him from “Cars” and “Cars 2,” Lightning McQueen is a racing car whose red exterior and very likeable and loveable interior melts children and adults hearts alike. But in “Cars 3,” the world is changing and Lightning McQueen (voiced by Luke Wilson) can’t keep up with the new mangled fangled super fast highly technologically-advanced new cars now racing, and this includes the shiny and cocky Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). So what should Lighting McQueen do, retire? No way! After a nasty car accident in a race, McQueen is sent to Radiator Springs to recover from the crash, and from there he joins a new racing facility so that he can up his game to compete with the new cars. There he meets Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), a feisty female personal trainer who whips cars back into racing shape. Ramirez also had hopes of being a championship race car but she gave these dreams up years ago. But McQueen has to follow her instructions and at the same time he has to convince his owner Sterling (Nathan Fillion) that he can and will win his next race, for if he doesn’t, then he will give up racing altogether and just stick to endorsements. With McQueen getting into tip top shape, and Cruz’s confidence picking up and raising hopes of her going back to racing, it all boils down to the big race where McQueen has to show what he’s now made of, all thanks to Cruz.

As in “Cars” and “Cars 2,” “Cars 3” is an entertaining movie that provides us with excellent animation and a story where we route not just for Lightning McQueen but for Cruz as well – a minority female character with an inspiring storyline – a rarity in animation films. Expect Disney to have another big hit on their hands with this film as it appeals to both children and adults alike, and perhaps expect “Cars 4” to come our way in a few years time.

19th Jun2017

Rock Dog (Film)

by timbaros

0300RAD_0140_master_v025.l.0246 0300RAD_0140_master_v025_l_0246A young dog from the Tibetan mountains heads to the big city to pursue his dream of being a rock star in the new and fun animated film Rock Dog.

Bodi (Luke Wilson) lives with his father in a tiny village high up on Snow Mountain. His father Khampa (J.K. Simmons) is a leader of the village, and it’s him who is in charge of a motley gang of sheep guards who protect the village from the dastardly, and hungry, wolves who are constantly trying to attack them. Then one day a plane drops a box into the village, and it’s Bodi who is there to investigate it’s contents. In it is a radio which Bodi turns on and instantly he’s in love with the music of a musician by the name of Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). Bodi tries to copy the sounds of Scattergood by piecing together items found in the village to make a guitar – and Bodi thinks he’s found his calling! After an incident which causes havoc on the village, it is agreed that Bodi should be given a chance to head to the bright lights of the big city so that he can further explore his passion for music and his admiration for Scattergood. But once Bodi leaves the mountain, he is followed by two of the wolves who plan to kidnap him and use him as bait in order to take control of Snow Mountain. But in the big city Bodi meets fellow music and Scattergood enthusiasts in a place called Rock and Roll Park, it’s where Scattergood began his career. It’s not too long before Bodi comes face to face with Scattergood, but he also comes face to face with the wolves, who, at the behest of their leader Linnux (Lewis Black), vows to kidnap Bodi and do whatever it takes to take control of Snow Mountain.

This Chinese-American production is a simple tale of someone from a small village out to seek fame and fortune and explore his passion in the big city, themes most of us can relate to. But Bodi has more than a sense of adventure, he’s got charm and curiosity and a wit about him that should make this film appeal to both children and grownups alike. This film has been a flop, both in the U.S., with a measly gross of $20 million versus a budget of $60 million, and in China, where it has only earned $5.7 million (the film, though not explicitly mentioned, takes place in China). But in my opinion, it’s a great tale told very well with animation that’s passable and an excellently-voiced cast (even Matt Dillon pops up as a yak). It’s a cute story with cute characters – Rock Dog Rocks!