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Monday, 19 February 2018

No. 15 (2018) The Mercy February 15th.

Film No. 15 (2018) February 15th.  6.30 PM  LUNA Paradiso, Northbridge

"Alone on a boat for 9 months, you're either drunk or mad!" (Friend Ian sums up his impressions of Donald's aim to sail around the globe).

The mystery surrounding Donald Crowhurst's disappearance on the Atlantic while endeavoring to sail single-handedly around the world in 1968/69 is re-told in the steady hands of Firth and Weisz. This version gives us a chance to get inside the head of Crowhurst based on his logs and diaries which were found completely intact on the abandoned vessel in 1969 in the southern Atlantic. Did this seemingly sane inventor lose all sense of reality on the high seas?, did he simply fall overboard? or was his pride for family and face so strong he found it impossible to return home? The Mercy is a slightly uneven take on a man who dominated headlines, world wide, for eight months in the late sixties. It works and the gentle beauty Weisz gives Clare Crowhurst leaves one wondering how this devoted wife coped while protecting herself and her children from the weight of rumour and innuendo as time passed. 8GUMS.    

Sunday, 18 February 2018

No. 14 (2018) A Fantastic Woman February 10th.

Film No 14 (2018) February 10th.  10:45 PM  LUNA PALACE Leederville . 

"You won't go to the funeral or the wake, is that clear." (The first of many orders barked by Sonia at Marina after the death of ex-husband Orlando).

Marina Vidal played by the multi-talented Daniela Vega captures our admiration early on in A Fantastic Woman. She loves Orlando (Francisco Reyes) an older man with a complicated life. She has recently moved into his apartment in downtown Santiago, their love for one another is genuine and passionate however at the peak of their devotion Orlando's life is taken suddenly by an aneurysm . Vega, herself a highly respected Chilean transgender actor and model, plays a transgender singer here, yearning to grieve but stifled at every turn by a family (Orlando's) hellbent on wishing her away at the wave of a hand. Vega dignifies Maria with such uniqueness A Fantastic Woman is a raw gem of a film. Chile could well be in raptures during this year's Oscars. It's favoured to take out best Foreign Feature.  10GUMS.         

Thursday, 15 February 2018

No. 13 (2018) God's Own Country February 7th.

Film No. 13 (2018) February 7th.  8.00 PM  PIAF Film Festival, The Pines Joondalup.

"It's beautiful here, but lonely; no?". (Gheorghe talks to Johnny about life on a farm in Yorkshire).

This powerful, earthy love story opens our eyes to a workspace where one persons feeling of loneliness and inevitable hopelessness can change in an instant when the company of another is unexpectedly, extremely comforting. Is God's Own Country a comment on the Brexit situation in the U.K.? A resourceful Rumanian farm-hand arrives one Spring in cool Yorkshire to assist Johnny Saxby with the day to day chores on the family farm. Johnny is a binge drinking, loyal son and grandson to Martin, recently crippled by a stroke (Ian Hart) and Deirdre (Gemma Jones). Johnny is in need of a saviour. Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) is every bit the breath of warm air needed by this sad family. Director Francis Lee breaks from the shackles of safe T.V. drama to deliver a powerful but risky film. An award winner deserving of every accolade. 10GUMS.  

Monday, 12 February 2018

No. 12 (2018) Finding Your Feet February 5th.

Film No 12 (2018) February 5th.  6:30 PM  LUNA PALACE Windsor, Nedlands . 

"I divorced him on religious grounds. He thought he was god and I didn't" (Jackie (Joanna Lumley) reports on the outcome of the most recent of her five marriages).

If the truth be known, the distributors of Finding Your Feet wanted a Christmas release but were not prepared to take the risk. Their decision might just add a little extra to their box office receipts. 
The unoriginality of its script and predictability of its plot may have played against Finding Your Feet in trying to attract the older generation away from the alternative, taking grandchildren to Paddington 2. Given this, and the fact the trailer gives up the best one-liners, FYF is a sweet, slightly funny, sad at times, safe U.K. dramedy for the mature set. British stalwarts Staunton, Spall, Imrie and Lumley are the reasons this film will have a following. 7GUMS.      

Thursday, 8 February 2018

No. 11 (2018) Lady Bird February 3rd.

Film No 11 (2018) February 3rd.  10:45 PM  LUNA PALACE Leederville . 

"You both have such strong personalities." (Larry McPherson explains in warm terms to his daughter why she is often butting heads with her mum).

Coming of age films are a risky business for film makers. There are so many but the really outstanding ones are few and far between. So first-time director Greta Gerwig dips her toe in the whirlpool and gets it right first time with Lady Bird. Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson is a final year high school student from Sacramento (importantly) with attitude and, luckily for us, mesmerising charisma. The trailers would suggest the key moments in Lady Bird revolve around mum (Laurie Metcalfe) and daughter banter but for me the most telling scenes are with dad (Tracy Letts). No spoilers from me here. Gerwig has captured a difficult genre partly because she's an expert actor where timing, charm and charisma are key. At last a 90 minute film, cut to perfection and hardly a wasted moment. Bingo! 11GUMS.   

Monday, 5 February 2018

No. 10 (2018) Phantom Thread January 27th.

Film No. 10 (2018) January 29th.  6:45 PM Greater Union Event Cinema,  Innaloo. 

"Reynolds has made my dreams come true and I have given him what he deserves most in return. Every piece of me." (Alama voices her appreciation for the new life Reynolds Woodcock has bestowed upon her).

Wes Anderson excels as a film maker with range, depth and perception. Phantom Thread could be the torchbearer for that brilliance. Daniel Day Lewis meticulously brings women's fashion genius Reynolds Woodcock to life a very delicate way. The film is less about fashion and more about love, mystery and the lessons even a man like Woodcock can learn in life. Vicky Krieps as Alama and Lesley Manville as Woodcock's overseer and sister Cyril help bring 1950's London to life in a manner Hitchcock would be proud of. Love for a difficult man can be tamed and Alama has a plan. The sadness in Phantom Thread is the fact that with it, Day Lewis has taken his final bow. I hope, like many, our man is having second thoughts, but if not, don't miss this mysterious, potboiler of a film even if just for Daniel's final bow. 10GUMS.  

Saturday, 3 February 2018

No. 9 (2018) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri January 27th.

Film No. 9 (2018) January 27th.  4:30 PM Greater Union Event Cinema,  Innaloo. 

"You know, if you hadn't stopped coming to church, you'd have a little more understanding of people's feelings." (Father Montgomery visits Mildred's house to offer some advice after the artwork on the billboards is completed).

The Golden Globes (Best Drama) have already rewarded Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri(TBOEM) which is not to be sneezed at. Frances McDormond is tipped to win Best Lead in a Female role at The Oscars, so there is lots to like about this highly entertaining film. So why do I think it's a good film but not an award winning film? Martin McDonagh has a reputation for devising and directing sharp, clever, funny dialogue. In Bruges rates as a black comedy of epic proportions. TBOEM seems to want to be taken more seriously, or does it? An example being, bad guy Dixon (Sam Rothwell) changes his demeanour suddenly and far too conveniently, for this highly entertaining film to be taken as seriously as McDonagh would like. I think I expected more but got a bloody good film anyway. TBOEM won't disappoint. 9GUMS.