28th May2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass (Film)

by timbaros

alice-and-hatter_9908d9eaDisney’s new film ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ hits theaters this weekend and it’s bound to be a huge moneymaker for the studio who is having an excellent year so far.

Disney has 13 movies coming out in 2016, but if 2015 was the studio’s best year ever (‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ sequel were massive hits), 2016 looks to be even brighter and bigger for them.

‘Zootopia,’ ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Captain America:Civil War’ have made, as of May 16th, close to $1 billion each (!!), and they are still raking in money at the box office, with ‘Captain America’ only a few weeks into it’s release. With the release of ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass,’ is poised to take in more than the 2010 ‘Alice in Wonderland’ film which peaked at just over $1 billion.

‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ sees the return of the same actors playing the same characters from the 2010 film. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) travels back in time to try to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). Along the way she reconnects with her friends including the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), Absolem (the late Alan Rickman) the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Matt Lucas), the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) and of course the Mad Hatter. We’re also treated to a delicious turn by both Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen (and Alice’s sister) and Sacha Baron Cohen (as Time).

Alice has spent several years sailing the high seas (and following in her father’s footsteps). When she returns to London, she is asked (and demanded) to sign away her ship to her ex-boyfriend James (Ed Speelers). When she attends a meeting with him and her mother (Lindsay Duncan), she goes to an upstairs room and steps through a mirror, and through this mirror Alice takes a journey (literally through the looking glass) to Wonderland. It’s here where she sees all of her Wonderland friends, but something is not right with the Mad Hatter. She needs to turn to Time to correct things in the past that will make the Mad Hatter’s life better. Alice ends up taking a device called the Chronosphere, which allows her to travel back in time. She sees ways where she can help the Mad Hatter, but also comes across the events in her own life, which include a lie that she told as a young girl that tragically affected her sister the Red Queen. It’s all told, as expected from Disney, in very visual colors and 3D.

There was no way that anyone could top Tim Burton’s 2010 film, but James Bobbin (‘The Muppets’ and ‘Muppets Most Wanted’) successfully manages to bring the story back to life, with the help of screenwriter Linda Wolverton (who also wrote ‘Alice in Wonderland’). But no film would be as good as this if it were not for the excellent cast. Wasikoska does her bit as Alice as well as she did in the 2010 film, but it’s the addition of Cohen as Time that adds a fun element to the film, where he, and the Red Queen, live literally in time. And it’s Carter as the Red Queen who steals every scene she’s in. With a huge head, and a huge head of hair, and makeup that’s expertly applied on her face to give her a highly unusual look, Carter chews up every scene she is in (and in my opinion it’s an Academy-Award worthy performance, though it’s rare for a performer to receive one in a Disney movie – though Meryl Streep was nominated for ‘Into The Woods’ – but of course it was Streep!). Expect ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ to break the $1 billion ceiling. It will be another hit for Disney, and will keep the studio on track to continue it’s dominance at the box office this year, where they have ‘Finding Dory,’ ‘The BGF,’ and ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ still to come.

Off
28th May2016

The Propaganda Game (DVD)

by timbaros

image001Spanish filmmaker Álvaro Longoria was granted access to film in North Korea and he has turned this footage into a documentary called ‘The Propaganda Game.’

Is what he is filming propaganda? Are the people in the streets real or is it all staged? Longoria was granted controlled access by the government of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to film in 2014. Him and his team were taken around the country by national officials, and not left alone at any time.
They meet up with Alejandro Cao de Benós, a native of Spain who because of his belief and love of communism ended up living in North Korea and is now one of the mouthpieces for the DPRK and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Benós takes Longoria around the country, where Longoria is ‘allowed’ to speak to the locals who work at the museums. He’s also taken to the gym where Jong-un worked out (just once), and gets to speak to tour guides on the street. He’s even allowed into a Roman Catholic Church (where all the attendees happen to be very good singers).

We are shown North Korean life via Longoria’s camera: woman dancing in a pagoda, a wedding party taking photos of the bride and groom, children skateboarding and laughing – are these people really happy? North Korea is a country of 24 million people, yet has the fourth largest standing army in the world. They are armed with 20 nuclear warheads and have an increasing sophisticated missile defense system. And the country spends 16% of it’s GDP on the military. Yet the regime seeks to dominate every aspect of it’s citizens lives, and also terrorizes them from within. While they are given free housing, free education and free medical care, it is known that there is a severe food crisis, that some of it’s citizens are held in concentration camp-like prisons, and there is absolutely no freedom of expression or speech. It’s a Totalitarianism regime.

But the locals who speak to Longoria all have a mistrust and hatred for the United States. One official says ‘The U.S. tries to stifle and threaten our country.’
The documentary mentions the recent turmoil surrounding the film ‘The Interview’ where Seth Rogen and James Franco are sent on a mission to assassinate a Jong-un-like dictator – it almost led to a war. Longoria is also one of the very people to be taken to the Demilitarized Zone (which in theory it is not) – the line that separates North and South Korea. It’s fascinating to be able to see it and to see the intercut footage of Barack Obama on the South Side and Jong-Un on the North side during one of their separate visits in years past.

We are shown shiny new apartment buildings, new and expensive museums that are shrines to Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong-il (one that was empty on a Sunday), and huge statues and photos of both men in various parts of Pyongyang. Yet where does all the money come from to build this? How does North Korea’s economy work? ’The Propaganda Game’ raises more questions than what it answers. But it’s not at the fault of Longoria, it’s the mystery and secretiveness of a country where the children are practically brainwashed. It’s a fascinating documentary.
‘The Propaganda Game’ is now in UK cinemas and is now available to buy on DVD (See way below)



The Propaganda Game [DVD] (DVD)

Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

New From: £11.41 GBP In Stock
Used from: £14.50 GBP In Stock

Off
21st May2016

Sing Street (Film)

by timbaros

phoca_thumb_m_sing_street_band_10It’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.

Off
21st May2016

Showboat (Theatre)

by timbaros

showboat_140212It’s a show that’s older than you and me. It’s a show that has stood the test of time. It’s ‘Showboat’ and it’s back in London.

Now playing at London’s New London Theatre on Drury Lane, it’s a spectacular recreation of the show that had it’s first performance in 1927 in New York, staged by Oscar Hammerstein II. Yes, that’s how old this show is, almost a century, and it’s new production shows that ‘Showboat’ has got sea legs.

If you don’t know the story, ‘Showboat’ is a show that is made of two parts. The first part is where we get introduced to the boat (called ‘Cotton Blossom’ which is spectacularly recreated on stage), it’s a boat that’s used to put on shows. It’s captained by Andy Hawks (Malcolm Sinclair) with a cast of whites and a crew of blacks. Captain Hawks’ single and carefree daughter Magnolia (Gina Beck) works on the boat, and it’s there where she meets and falls for the handsome yet mysterious Gaylord Ravenal (Chris Peluso). They get married and eventually have a daughter, but it’s the second act that gets dark. You see, Gaylord’s a gambling addict, can’t control his addiction, and can’t support his family, especially after they move to Chicago and have a baby girl. The lifestyle they knew and loved on the boat becomes a distant memory. As the years roll on, she and Gaylord split, and he disappears. But eventually her family and friends rally around her. It’s all told in great musical style with a cast that has loads of talent.

The original London production opened in May, 1928 at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane. It came back in 1971, and then again in 1998 at the Prince Edward Theatre. There was a short-lived production in 2006 at the Royal Albert Hall, and now it’s back for a new generation to see and it has not lost it’s life. Classic songs such as ‘Ol’ Man River’ (sung by Emmanuel Kojo) to ‘Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man’ (sung by an ensemble of the woman) are given new life by the singers. It’s the very talented cast, chief among them Beck, Peluso, and Danny Collins as a fellow performer, and Sinclair, who stand out. Masterfully directed by Daniel Evens, with lots of great musical numbers including entire ensemble dance routines, this ‘Showboat’ is a must see, especially in the New London Theatre where every seat in the house is a good seat.

To buy tickets to ‘Showboat’ – please click here:

http://showboatmusical.co.uk

Off
19th May2016

Green Room (Film)

by timbaros

CiWLn6nWEAAnNVZ.jpg-largeFive members of a rock band find trouble in the most unexpected place in the new thriller ‘Green Room.’

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 (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 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 as the band are witnesses to a crime, Banker plans to not let the band live! It’s up to each individual 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 rollercoaster of a ride featuring a very good ensemble cast.

Off
14th May2016

Cannes Film Festival (Film)

by timbaros

740f4da215cd9647789997805f7c8867Where will the film business movers and shakers be from May 11th – May 22nd? In Cannes at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival. Anybody who is anybody in the film business will be spending at least one night in five star hotels, in limosines, and on the red carpets to the many premieres promoting their latest film. And this year, like all other years, the star wattage is turned on extra high. Offerings from Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen and George Clooney prove that this year’s festival is no Sundance – it’s better and bigger, warmer, and more expensive, with lots more sun and skin!

thumb_1496_film_poster_240x320

The opening night film of the festival is Woody Allen’s 47th – ‘Café Society.’ It’s a romantic comedy-drama (of course) about a young man who arrives in 1930’s Hollywood and gets swept into the whole scene. Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Blake Lively star.

thumb_1820_film_main_240x320

‘BGF’ is Steven Spielberg’s first live-action 3D film. Starring Mark Rylance, who Spielberg directed to an Oscar for last year’s ‘Bridge of Spies,’ it’s about a Big Friendly Giant from a magical land. Expect lots of buzz for this fantasy movie.

Jodie Foster is back at Cannes, this time as director of ‘Money Monster.’ She directs an all-star cast about a broadcaster and producer who are held hostage in their own studio. Clooney, Julia Roberts and hot young star Jack O’Connell (’71’) star. The red carpet will be chock-a-block for this premiere.

Films in Competition include:

thumb_1373_film_poster_240x320

‘Julieta’ – Pedro Almodovar is back with another film about a woman’s trials and tribulations.

Cannes darling, and wonderkid Xavier Dolan, is back to Cannes with his new film ‘It’s Only the End of the World.’ The 27-year old wrote and directed this movie about a terminally ill writer (Gaspard Ulliel) who returns home after a long absence to tell his family that he is dying. Dolan has won an amazing 6 Cannes film prizes for his last four films, expect more accolades for this one as well.

Sean Penn directs Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem in ‘The Last Face,’ about a director of an international aid agency in Africa who meets a doctor amidst the turmoil of war around them.

There are 19 films competing in the festival’s Un Certain Regard competition, including:

‘Captain Fantastic’ (USA) – Director Michael O’shea’s story of reclusive single father of six kids who have to leave for the outside world, forcing them to rethink their existence. Viggo Mortensen stars.

‘The Red Turtle – a dialogue-less animated film from The Netherlands follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island.

Another film that is showing out of competition is Shane Black’s ‘The Nice Guys.’ Out in the U.S. on May 20th, Ryan Gosling, Matt Boner, Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger star in this film about a private detective who investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970’s Los Angeles.

Director George Miller will be presiding over the jury this year, a jury that includes Kirsten Dunst, Donald Sutherland, and Vanessa Paradis (yes, Johnny Depp’s ex).

British Film Director Andrea Arnold is represented by the film ‘American Honey.’ Starring controversial actor Shia LaBeouf, it’s a road movie about a group of traveling magazine salespeople.

‘The Neon Demon,’ from Nicolas Rinding Refn (Drive), is a horror thriller about an aspiring model whose youth and beauty are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means to get what she has.

The Full line up of the festival is below:

Competition
“Toni Erdman,” directed by Maren Ade
“Julieta,” directed by Pedro Almodovar
“Personal Shopper,” directed by Olivier Assayas
“American Honey,” directed by Andrea Arnold
“The Unknown Girl,” directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
“It’s Only the End of the World,” directed by Xavier Dolan
“Slack Bay,” directed by Bruno Dumont
“Paterson,” directed by Jim Jarmusch
“Rester Vertical,” directed by Alain Guiraudie
“Aquarius,” directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho
“From the Land of the Moon,” directed by Nicole Garcia
“I, Daniel Blake,” directed by Ken Loach
“Ma’Rosa,” directed by Brillante Mendoza
“Bacalaureat,” directed by Cristian Mungiu
“Loving,” directed by Jeff Nichols
“The Handmaiden,” directed by Park Chan-Wook
“The Last Face,” directed by Sean Penn
“Sieranevada,” directed by Cristi Puiu
“Elle,” directed by Paul Verhoeven
“The Neon Demon,” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Un Certain Regard
“Varoonegi,” directed by Behnam Behzadi
“Apprentice,” directed by Boo Junfeng
“Voir du Pays,” directed by Delphine Coulin and Muriel Coulin
“La Danseuse,” directed by Stephanie di Giusto
“Clash,” directed by Mohamed Diab
“La Tortue Rouge,” directed by Michael Dubok de Wit
“Fuchi Bi Tatsu,” directed by Fukada Koji
“Omar Shakhsiya,” directed by Maha Haj
“Me’Ever Laharim Vehagvaot,” directed by Eran Kolirin
“After The Storm,” directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu
“Hymyileva Mies,” directed by Juho Kuosmanen
“La Large Noche de Francisco Sanctis,” directed by Francisco Marquez and Andrea Testa
“Caini,” directed by Bogdan Mirica
“Pericle Il Nero,” directed by Stefano Mordini
“Captain Fantastic,” directed by Matt Ross
“The Transfiguration,” directed by Michael O’Shea
“Uchenik,” directed by Kirill Serebrennikov

Out of Competition
“The BFG,” directed by Steven Spielberg
“Goksung,” directed by Na Hong-Jin
“Money Monster,” directed by Jodie Foster
“The Nice Guys,” directed by Shane Black

Special Screenings
‘L’ultima Spiaggia,” directed by Thanos Anastopoulous and Davide del Degan
“A Chad Tragedy,” directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
“The Death of Louis XIV,” directed by Albert Serra
“Le Cancre,” directed by Paul Vecchiali

Midnight Screenings
“Gimme Danger,” directed by Jim Jarmusch
“The Train to Busan,” directed by Yeon Sang-Ho

Cannes will wrap up it’s last night with a highly exclusive awards ceremony, and then the next day the rich and famous will flock to Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix, leaving other people to clean up their messes in Cannes.

Off
08th May2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass Press Conference (Film)

by timbaros

Johnny DeppJohnny Depp 1 IMG_6627
Johnny Depp trying to balance a plate of cupcakes on his head at today’s ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ press conference at the Corinthia Hotel in Central London

Left to right:
Sacha Baron Cohen
Johnny Depp
Mia Wasikowska

Highlights from the press conference:

-An elaborate stage which looked like something out of the film, with real cupcakes, tea, porcelain bunnies and flowers.

-Cohen and Depp joking with each other very playfully

-Cohen said ‘I wanted to wear tights (in the film) because I have ladies legs’

-Depp said that ‘it was great to come back and explore this story of Alice and the Madhatter It’s a very different side of the Madhatter.

-Sacha ate, then disliked, the cupcake he chose to eat.

-Depp said that ‘music was my first love since the age of 12, still my first love. Movies became my day job.’

-Mia said on the fact the film shows a strong-willed girl: ‘We’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way to do.’

-On his accent on the film, Sacha says: ‘I have a real passing German accent.’

-Burton chimed in that he said the main character was based on Jean-Claude Van Damme

-When asked by an Italian member of press how the Madhatter got mad, Depp responded that ‘Harvey Weinstein went mad once. Disney made him made once. Hatter was mad because he couldn’t get Apple TV.’

-Depp said that it’s a less male version of the Madhatter. When told by a member of press that time has been on his side he repled ‘Time has been on my side? Because I’m still alive?’

-On how the Madhatter is so mad, Depp said: ‘`If you were crazy, if you aren’t aware, great. If aware, it will eat you alive!’

-On fame, Depp added ‘If anyone gives you any shit, beat the fuck out of them.’

Depp was low key throughout most of the press conference.

And finally, Depp made a jab at the recent trouble he had illegally bringing his dogs into Australia by saying: ‘I would like to apologize for not smuggling my dogs into London because it would’ve been a bad thing to do.’

Off
07th May2016

Evolution (Film)

by timbaros

ChxbjFYVAAAMydj.jpg-largeYoung 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.

Off
06th May2016

Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party (DVD)

by timbaros

HGBP_cc_21050420.00_40_43_05.Still001It’s Henry Gambles’ birthday and we’re all invited to the party!

It’s the new DVD/VOD release called ‘Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party’ where the viewer is an attendee at Henry’s birthday party – or at least that’s what it feels like while watching the film. Henry Gamble (an excellent Cole Dolman) it turning 17 years old and his family is throwing him a barbecue pool party at their very nice home. Gamble’s family, including his mother Kat (Elizabeth Laidlaw), father Bob (Pat Healy) and collegiate sister Autumn (Nina Ganet), are a religious Christian family where Bob is a pastor and their circle of friends are mostly from the church community, including Henry’s friends.

But it’s Henry’s big day, and lots of people come to the party. But each member of the Gamble family are struggling with issues that may go against their belief in the church. Kat confesses to Nina that she had an affair with a close family friend who was terminally ill, Nina, meanwhile, is having trouble with a guy she likes (and whom she slept with – a no no in her religions’ beliefs), but she’s angry at him for not being in contact. And Henry is not struggling with but accepting the fact that he is gay. So theirs, and lots of other friends’ issues come to the fray during the party. It’s lots of splashing around the pool, with the young lithe teenagers in their skimpy bathing suits offending one of the older female attendees, while the son of the wife of the husband who Kat had an affair with is having a hard time coming to grips with the death of his father. But all these people come together for Henry, he’s the nicest guy around, goodlooking enough so that the girls fancy him and the young men want to be his friend, including closeted young Logan (Daniel Kyri), who likes Logan but has a hard time penetrating into his circle of friends. It makes for a lot of celebration and drama in this 86-minute movie.

‘Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party’ is a coming out story that’s not, forgive the pun, all preachy about being accepted for being gay. It’s a celebration and a masterfully directed film not just about a young man who happens to be coming out of the closet but also about the Evangelical Christian community. And Director Stephen Cone masterfully interweaves several stories going on at the same time that’s not a bit confusing but provides an element of actually being there and eavesdropping on everybody’s conversations. Dolman is a true find at Henry Gamble. His face (and smile) practically lights up the screen – he’s a natural and hopefully will have a very successful acting career in his future. But credit goes to award-winning filmmaker Cone (who also wrote the script) for creating a film that makes it a fun experience to be a part of. Bring your swimsuit.

Off
06th May2016

Golden Years (Film)

by timbaros

WZ4A4415Old age. Retirement. Pensions. Medication. Disease. Death. This is what the pensioners in the new film ‘Golden Years’ are dealing with. But they also try to get even at the system that they feel is robbing them.

‘Golden Years’ is a cute and funny film about older people trying to get back what’s theirs. They feel the system is corrupt, so they take matters into their own hands. Retired couple Arthur Goode (Bernard Hill) and his wife Martha (Virginia McKenna), who’s ill with Crohn’s disease, eke out a living on their pension while spending time at the local club with friends Royston (Simon Callow), Brian (Philip Davis), and Shirley (Una Stubbs). But one day Arthur finds out that the company he spent a lifetime working for has gone bankrupt, and so has his pension. He doesn’t know what to do…….how is going to be able to take care of Martha? An opportunity presents itself when, while in front of a bank when money is being delivered, one of the guards trips, falls and gets knocked out on the ground, and the guard inside the truck inadvertently passes a container of money to Arthur, who gladly takes it and runs. It sets off an idea where he enlists Martha, and eventually his friends, to take back what is rightfully theirs. Who would expect pensioners as bank robbers, with guns (actually cucumbers), and with pellet guns to black out CCTV cameras, of stealing money?

‘Golden Years’ is a delightful film with a cast of great actors all relishing their role as bank robbers. It gets even funnier when the local police keep thinking that the bank robbers are a malicious and very dangerous gang. I would’ve liked to have seen more of Ellen Thomas, the loquacious and horny local diva, she’s got some of the best lines in the film. Some of the robberies the gang pulls off, however, are a bit unbelievable and far-fetched, especially when they’re trying to get away but walking as slow as pensioners do. But nonetheless it’s a charming film that will make you think what retirement holds in store for you – perhaps robbing banks to get even with the system.

‘Golden Years’ is now playing in UK cinemas.

Off
03rd May2016

In the Heart of the Sea (DVD)

by timbaros

Image 20-12-2015 at 19.40Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth, director and star of 2013’s hit film ‘Rush,’ have teamed up again to bring us a film that can only be described as the epic action adventure film of the year. It’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea.’

‘Rush’ was the true story of two Formula One racing rivals, and the film had lots of pulse racing car races. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ does it better by telling the real-life maritime disaster that would inspire Herman Melville’s book ‘Moby Dick,’ – the whale that roamed around in the Pacific ocean and caused the deaths of many shipmen. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ reveals the aftermath of the ship’s crews disastrous meeting with the whale, how they survived at sea for over 100 days, braved storms, starvation, blazing sun and doing the unthinkable, to survive. It’s a movie that could’ve been sunk by any other director, but Howard, who also directed ‘Apollo 13′ and ‘Beautiful Mind,’ superbly directs this film which is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling 2000 book ‘In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.’

The cast and crew make this film a believable tale of a whaling ship called the ‘Essex’ that goes out to sea in search of whales for oil. It’s led by inexperienced captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), but First Mate Owen Chase (Hemsworth) is more qualified than him to be in charge of the ship. Cillian Murphy plays Second Mate Matthew Joy. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is told not through the eyes of any of these men but it’s told by seaman Tom Nickerson, who was 14-years old when he was on the crew of the Essex. He relays this epic story to novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) 30 years later. Melville would go on to write a book about the catastrophic event called ‘Moby Dick.’

While ‘Moby Dick’ is a work of fiction, ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ brings to life the true epic journey that begins in 1820 in New England when the whaling ship Essex leaves it’s port to embark on a journey that would find it sailing to the southernmost tip of South America, where it would encounter a whale the size of enormous proportions. It’s a whale that turns on them, and soon enough the hunters become the hunted. And there’s tension between Pollard and Chase; Chase being the more experienced seaman leads the ship’s crew almost every step of the way, however Pollard’s inexperience causes him to make some bad decisions, decisions which endanger the lives of the crew. It’s up to Second Mate Joy to try and smooth the waters between them. And also on the boat is the young 14-year old Nickerson (played by Tom Holland), experiencing his first whaling expedition, and probably the first time out on his own. He’s witness to the catastrophic unfurling events that take place on the boat, not just the life-threatening encounters with the whale, but also being on a lifeboat, with the other men, on the open seas, and surviving to tell the tale. Thirty years later, as the last survivor of the Essex, he’s reluctant to relive the story, but Melville, in the film’s fictional account, get’s Nickerson to tell his story. And what a story it is.

‘In The Heart of the Sea’ is an incredible journey of survival and and the lengths a man is willing to go to save his own life and the lives of others. We are literally transported to another time and place, and for 121 minutes (which fly by), we are taken on a ride that is very convincing and unforgettable. Hemsworth does a fine job as Chase, rugged good looks notwithstanding. Murphy ups the acting stakes as the loyal and determined Second Mate Joy – he’s loyal and has a strong will to live but luck is not on his side. And the whale; it’s a living presence in the film. It’s always lurking in the background, and it looks very real. But credit goes to Howard for allowing us to be swept up into the drama and action as it’s happening. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is one of the best films of the year.

Off
02nd May2016

Demolition (Film)

by timbaros
Jake Gyllenhaal as "Davis" in DEMOLITION. Photo by Anne Marie Fox. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Jake Gyllenhaal as “Davis” in DEMOLITION. Photo by Anne Marie Fox. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

A man loses his wife in a terrible car accident and has a hard time coping in the new film ‘Demolition.’

Jake Gyllenhaal gives another excellent performance as Davis, an investment banker who works for his father-in-law’s firm. He and his wife Julia (Heather Lind) have a very comfortable life, a beautiful house and perhaps everything they have always wanted. However, all this is shattered when while driving in Manhattan, their car is hit side-on, it’s an accident that leaves Julia dead and Davis shaken and broken up. As the days go by after the accident, David can’t seem to cope and can’t even open up to those around him, including his father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper) and mother-in-law Margot (Polly Draper). His parents come to stay with him but they can’t seem to help him cope either. But Davis has his own way of coping; he sends a complaint letter to the vending machine company in the hospital where his wife died because the M&M’s he bought didn’t fall down. Davis doesn’t stop at just one, he sends a successive chain of letters, all very confessional about his life and about his late wife. He confesses in these letters questioning if he really did love Julia, and he questions the decisions and choices he has made in his life. These confessional letters catch the attention of the vending machine company’s customer service manager Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts). She calls him to discuss these letters and eventually they meet and they both form an unlikely connection, with the help of Karen’s androgynous son Chris (Judah Lewis.) But Davis is still not coping, his behavour becomes very erratic and aggressive, both at work and elsewhere where he starts dismantling objects around him, including the toilet doors and computer at work and items at home. He also volunteers to be a part of a crew tearing down a house, and enlists Chris to help him demolish his house as well. But David eventually realizes that something was missing in his marriage, something to do with him, but it’s too late, Julia is gone forever.

‘Demolition’ is another triumph for Gyllenhaal, who has yet turn in a bad performance. As Davis, Gyllenhaal is on the verge of a massive breakdown, starts demolishing everything in sight, and yet can’t realize he’s lost the most precious thing to him in life. Director Jean-Marc Vallée, who directed Matthew McConaughey to an Oscar in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, and Reese Witherspoon to an Oscar nomination for ‘Wild,’ knows a thing a two about showcasing his performer’s talents. The rest of the cast are stellar, especially Cooper as the aggrieved father and Watts as the single mother trying to cope. A flop in the U.S., don’t expect ‘Demolition’ to be winning an awards, but it’s worth seeing for Gyllenhaal’s performance alone.

‘Demolition’ is in UK cinemas on Friday.

Off