30th Aug2016

Golden Years (DVD)

by timbaros

12039747_583726331803592_5654593030295481167_nThe pensioners in the new DVD release ‘Golden Years’ try to get even at the system that they feel is robbing them.

It’s 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 is ill with Crohn’s disease, eke out a living on their pension while spending time at their local social 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, while the guard inside the truck inadvertently hands over 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 rob banks. Who would expect pensioners as bank robbers, with cucumbers acting as guns, 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 are, however, a bit unbelievable and far-fetched, especially when they’re attempt at running away is basically a slow walk. 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 available on DVD & Digital HD from 29th August
www.facebook.com/goldenyearsmovie @goldenyearsfilm



Golden Years Grand Theft OAP [DVD] (DVD)

Starring: Bernard Hill, Phillip Davis, Simon Callow, Sue Johnston, Alun Armstrong
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

New From: £4.49 GBP In Stock
Used from: £3.06 GBP In Stock

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30th Aug2016

Film actor Gene Wilder dies

by timbaros

images-420Comedian and Actor Gene Wilder has died at the age of 83 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Stamford, Connecticut.

Wilder was a wildly popular actor and comedian who is best known for playing the lead role in the memorable Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). Wilder teamed up with Mel Brooks on several films – The Producers (1968) – which earned Wilder a Best Supporting Actor nomination – as well as Blazing Saddles (1974) and Young Frankenstein (1974), earning his second Oscar nomination for his first-time screen-writing efforts (along with Mel Brooks) on the latter. Wilder teamed up with Richard Pryor on Stir Crazy (1980) and Silver Streak (1976). Wilder’s last screen role was in 1991’s Another You. He turned his hand to television in the 1990’s and was memorable in a recurring role in Will & Grace. Wilder’s late wife was Gilda Radner, who passed away in 1989.

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26th Aug2016

War Dogs (Film)

by timbaros

ARMS AND THE DUDESHow 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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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.



Holding The Man [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Neil Armfield
Starring: Guy Pearce, Geoffrey Rush, Ryan Corr, Craig Stott, Kerry Fox
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

New From: £5.99 GBP In Stock
Used from: £8.99 GBP In Stock

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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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04th Aug2016

Rotterdam (Theatre)

by timbaros

Rotterdam - Alice McCarthy and Anna MartineExcellent performances and a very timely storyline make ‘Rotterdam’ a must-see show.

Fiona (Anna Martine) has been in a long-term relationship with Alice (Alice McCarthy) for seven years. They’re English but moved to Rotterdam so that Alice could avoid coming out to her parents. Fiona is Alice’s first girlfriend – when they initially met Alice was dating Fiona’s brother Josh (Ed Eales-White). It’s a rocky relationship, even more so when Alice finds it very difficult sending an email to her parents to announce to them that she’s lesbian and is in a lesbian relationship, and has always told them that Fiona was her roommate. However, one day Fiona announces that she wants to transition to become a man, and that she always felt like she was a man in a woman’s body. It’s not easy for Alice to accept this bombshell, but when Fiona decides to starts to living as a man and tells Alice to start calling her Adrian, their relationship is put the test, even more so when Alice starts taking a liking to Lelani (Jessica Clark), a very sexy and very vivacious lesbian woman at her work.

The running joke in the play is that why would anyone want to live in Rotterdam? We’re told that it’s a city where things pass through, not stop, that it’s a place for transition. And that’s exactly what Fiona is about to do – transition – she is cisgender. And Martine really pulls the role off. She’s got the toughest part in the play where in the first half she’s Fiona but in the second half she’s the masculine-looking Adrian. It’s an excellent transformation. The rest of the cast are all almost as perfect. McCarthy is good as the stressed out girlfriend who doesn’t quite know what to do or how to handle Fiona’s transition. And Clark is delicious as the ‘other woman’ – with her sexy moves and even sexier accent.

Writer Jon Brittain hits the nail on the head in dealing with this issue, so in the news because of Bruce Jenner’s recent transition to Caitlyn Jenner. ‘Rotterdam’ was originally produced at Theatre 503 in Battersea and makes a superb transition to the Trafalgar Studios. And Donnacadh O’Brian excellently directs the cast in the smaller of Trafalgar Studio’s theatres, with a clever set and great pulsating music by Robyn. Make a stop and see ‘Rotterdam.’

To get tickets, please click here:

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/rotterdam/trafalgar-studios/

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