Showing all posts tagged: film

Acting is not a glamorous career says Russell Crowe

7 December 2022

New Zealand born Australian actor Russell Crowe, also president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, speaking at the AACTA Awards this evening:

“The perception of glamour is merely a marketing tool that we take advantage of when it suits us. The reality of a creative life is workdays that never finish, crippling imposter syndrome, and the juggling act of trying to find a way to make your living in the gig economy,” said Crowe.

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Elvis directed by Baz Luhrmann wins eleven AACTA Awards

7 December 2022

Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has cleaned up at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards, held at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion tonight, with his latest feature Elvis.

Among the eleven ACCTA Awards haul for the Elvis Presley biopic, were best director, best film, best lead actor, going to Austin Butler in the title role, and best supporting actress to Olivia DeJonge, for her portrayal of Priscilla Presley.

Other productions to be recognised included The Stranger, The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, and River, which won the best documentary ACCTA. Full list of winners here.

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Trailer for Moja Vesna the debut feature of Sara Kern

27 November 2022

Moja Vesna is the slow-burning, deeply affecting, debut feature of Melbourne based Slovenian-Australian filmmaker Sara Kern, which premiered at the 2022 Melbourne International Film Festival. The trailer is certainly gripping.

In Melbourne’s outer suburbs, reticent Moja, her well-meaning Slovenian father Miloš and her volatile older sister Vesna all struggle to cope with the impacts of a significant death. But Vesna is in denial about the demands of late-stage pregnancy and Miloš barely speaks a word of English, so Moja is forced to assume the role of stabilising presence and cultural mediator — with little chance to mourn the loss of their mother.

Moja Vesna commences a theatrical season in Australian cinemas from today.

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Apples a film by Christos Nikou a world without social media

16 November 2022

If we really are witnessing the demise of social media, then Apples, trailer, the 2020 debut of Greek filmmaker Christos Nikou, might offer a glimpse of this brave new world. Of course some people will find the scenario familiar, but others — those who grew up with a parent’s smartphone constantly in their hand — might be left feeling disorientated.

Apples is set in contemporary Athens, the capital of Greece, where the world is in the grip of a pandemic that causes instant, and in many cases, permanent amnesia.

Recently widowed Aris (Aris Servetalis) is one of the virus’s victims. As he was carrying no identity documents at the time he lost his memory, Aris is taken to a hospital where he waits to be “claimed” by friends or relatives. Medical staff warn this may never happen though. His near and dear may have also succumbed to the disease, and no longer have any memory of him.

When it becomes apparent this is the case, Aris is placed on a program that gives patients a new identity and life. He is given an apartment and a living allowance, but must complete a daily task set by his doctors. Instructions are left on a cassette placed in his letterbox, which he listens to on a cassette player. He is also required to photograph his exploits, using a Polaroid camera.

Assignments variously include riding a bike, going to a horror film, and even crashing a car in a low-impact collision with a fence or a tree. The exercises are intended to help victims of the virus create new memories. While on one of his missions, Aris meets Anna (Sofia Georgovassili), herself a virus victim, and they begin to form a bond.

But nothing is quite what it seems to be in this world devoid of an internet, where people must interact in person, or call around to each other’s apartments if they wish to see each other. At times though it seems quite comforting. People appear to live normally, as if the advent of social media and the internet were a passing blip in history.

Could it be that straightforward though? Simply forget the internet — and anything else for that matter — both the convenient and inconvenient it has brought to the world? I doubt it, and so to, I think, do the protagonists in Apples.

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Academy says Apollo 10 1/2 by Richard Linklater is animation

10 November 2022

American filmmaker Richard Linklater’s animated feature, Apollo 10 1/2, is free to be nominated for an Oscar award in the animation category, following a change of heart by the Oscar animation committee. Last month the Academy ruled the feature was based upon too much live-action footage, and accordingly was ineligible for nomination as animation.

According to the Oscars eligibility rules, an animated film is defined as a “motion picture in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique, and usually falls into one of the two general fields of animation: narrative or abstract.”

While Apollo 10 1/2 certainly looks like animation, a technique called rotoscoping was used to make the live-action film used in production look so. The decision is good news for Linklater, and fans of the film. Even if Apollo 10 1/2 had missed out on an animation nomination, it’d doubtless prevail in any other award category it was nominated for, if you ask me.

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The Wonder by Emma Donoghue now a film by Sebastian Lelio

8 November 2022

Manna from heaven is all eleven year old Irish girl Anna O’Donnell needs to sustain herself. She eats no other food. Or so she, and her family, say. Along with the inhabitants of the nineteenth century Irish Midlands village where Anna lives.

Her situation has come to the attention of the authorities. But is it true? Is the girl able to survive without eating? Or is it a stunt? A ploy contrived to lure curious, cashed-up, tourists to the region?

To ascertain whether the phenomenon is a medical anomaly, or perhaps a sign of something more divine, Lib Wright (Florence Pugh) an English nurse, is dispatched to investigate.

Together with a nun, Wright will take turns to keep watch on Anna (Kíla Lord Cassidy), to see what is happening, in Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio’s adaptation, trailer, of Emma Donoghue’s 2016 novel (published by Pan Macmillan) of the same name.

I read the novel in 2019, and am looking forward to seeing the story on the big screen. If the trailer is anything to go by, Lelio’s film looks like a faithful adaptation of Donoghue’s book.

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The Neighbors’ Window a short film by Marshall Curry

29 October 2022

Here’s some weekend viewing for you. The Neighbors’ Window, a short film made in 2019 by American filmmaker Marshall Curry, is a story about two middle-aged parents who become obsessed with a twenty-something couple who move into an apartment across the street.

The Neighbors’ Window tells the story of Alli (Maria Dizzia), a mother of young children who has grown frustrated with her daily routine and husband (Greg Keller). But her life is shaken up when two free-spirited twenty-somethings move in across the street and she discovers that she can see into their apartment.

Any film with the word window in it is just about always going to draw the inevitable comparions to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, but as The Neighbors’ Window goes to show, things are never quite what they seem to be.

Based on actual events, as recounted by writer and filmmaker Diane Weipert, Curry’s fictional work has won a slew of awards, including Best Live Action Short at the 2020 Academy Awards.

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The Novelist’s Film a film by Hong Sang-soo

29 October 2022

The Novelist’s Film, trailer, the 2022 feature from Seoul based South Korea filmmaker Hong Sang-soo, casts a spotlight on “the importance of authenticity in the dishonest world of cinema.” And chance encounters.

The story might strike a chord with authors who have been fortunate enough to have a book of theirs adapted to film, though the writer here seems to be taking a slightly unorthodox approach to bringing her novel to the big screen:

A female novelist takes a long trip to visit a bookstore run by a younger colleague who has fallen out of touch. Then she goes up a tower on her own and runs into a film director and his wife. They take a walk in a park and meet an actress, after which the novelist tries to convince the actress to make a film with her. She and the actress get something to eat, then revisit the bookstore where a group of people are drinking. The actress gets drunk and falls asleep.

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Wrought a timelapse video of food gracefully going rotten

26 October 2022

States of decay can have a beauty to them. Depending on what’s in decay, and how up close you are to the action, that is. Leaves that have fallen from trees during autumn can be a colourful spectacle as they decay and breakdown. The same could be said — in some cases at least — for rotting food.

If you can’t see what possible appeal there is in watching food go off though, Wrought, trailer, a short timelapse film by Winnipeg, Canada, based producers Joel Penner and Anna Sigrithur, just might change your mind. After all, microbes spoil food, but sometimes they can enrich it:

While the very word ‘rot’ might give rise to revulsion — perhaps the memory of a mildewed fruit or the pungent stench of a past-its-prime cut of fish — the processes it describes often yield delicious results. Indeed, many of the world’s most popular foods, from beer and bread to kimchi and cheese, are born of chemical conversions that would, in other contexts, constitute a food ‘going bad’.

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Iron Island (Jazireh ahani) a film by Mohammad Rasoulof

19 October 2022

Living amongst a tight-knit community aboard a ship as it sails the world’s seas might be a dream come true for some people. But that’s not quite the case for the residents living on a disused oil tanker anchored in waters off the the south coast of Iran, in Iron Island, trailer, the 2005 debut feature of Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof.

It may not be any world cruise, but the vessel isn’t exactly stationery either. It is slowly, oh so slowly, sinking. But for the moment this is the least of ship master Captain Nemat’s (Ali Nassirian) problems. The enterprising, some might say exploitive, captain is barely out of frame as he struts about the rusting hull being all things to all people.

One minute he’s greeting new residents, the next he’s fending off the vessel’s owner, who wants to sell the ship for scrap. But that’s probably because Nemat has the same idea. Nemat doesn’t ask rent payments from his tenants, instead they become his employees, and he deducts rent from the salary he pays them.

Everyone except children — whom Nemat provides a school for — and the infirm, are put to work. Work that entails gradually dismantling the crumbling hull of the vessel they call home. Biting the hand that feeds. Any fixtures and fittings that Nemat deems superfluous are cut away and taken ashore to be sold as scrap metal.

Captain Nemat is a compelling character, and one has to wonder what his true motives are. Is he really looking out for the interests of the down-trodden who have no choice but live on his leaky ship? Or is he a shrewd, calculating, business person who sees the ship’s residents as a captive workforce, who will follow him no matter what?

This is the question viewers are left with, when everyone must leave the vessel. While Nemat may not want to see members of his community end up truly homeless, he doesn’t want to lose faithful employees either. Nemat offers them an alternative, but is there any substance to it? Worse still though, does it even matter?

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A guide to your spooky season Michael Myers-Briggs Type

17 October 2022
Arms wrapped around trees trunks, spooky, photo by Simon Wijers

Image courtesy of Simon Wijers.

Hot off the desk of writer, actor, and comedian Simon Henriques. Understanding your Michael Myers-Briggs Type is never more important than during spooky season:

It’s important to keep in mind that no Michael Myers-Briggs Type is the “correct” one — every style of silent, masked stabbing spree is equally valid. Instead, use your type as a jumping-off point to honestly reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, as well as just your personal preferences for how you enjoy to ruthlessly murder.

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Sofia Coppola Instagram to show making of Priscilla Presley film

17 October 2022

The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, Somewhere, and The Bling Ring, are among Sofia Coppola made movies I’ve loved. Now the American filmmaker has started work on her new feature, a biopic about Priscilla Presley. And in what is sure to be a treat for fans, Coppola has created an Instagram page where she will document production of the film.

Coppola’s first post shows a well-worn copy of Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me, placed on top of some script pages from her forthcoming adaptation. Starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, Priscilla will chronicle Presley’s torrid, one-of-a-kind romance with the king of rock and roll.

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Irish filmmaker Alan Gilsenan’s take on James Joyce’s Ulysses

11 October 2022

Ulysses | Film, a documentary by Irish filmmaker and theatre director Alan Gilsenan, is screening as part of this year’s online Irish Film Festival. The work is Gilsenan’s own interpretation of Irish author James Joyce’s novel Ulysses.

Alan Gilsenan’s Ulysses | Film is a personal response and cinematic ‘reading’ of Joyce’s novel. Fractured and poetic, this non-narrative film/installation is a myriad of images and sounds evoking Joyce’s imaginary world. Intended as a creative echo of Joyce’s work and life, this work is neither a film of the book nor a visual illustration of the novel. It is instead a personal interpretation of the book, acting as a doorway into the work, an invitation to read or re-visit this seminal piece of literature.

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Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, a film by Yaniv Raz

10 October 2022

James Whitman (Lucas Jade Zumann) is a troubled sixteen year old. With only one friend, Kwane (Odiseas Georgiadis), who sees the friendship as a social experiment more than anything else, James’ life is in turmoil following the disappearance of his older sister Jorie (Lily Donoghue), a month earlier.

If things were bad at home before Jorie vanished, they’ve taken a turn for the worse since. His father, Carl (Jason Isaacs), whom James refers to as “the brute” is an angry ex-navy officer, who won’t hesitate to hit his mother Elly, (Lily Donoghue) when he loses his temper.

Elly meanwhile is disillusioned with her life. In her younger days a promising career as an artist in New York City beckoned. But she was forced to abandon these ambitions because Carl wanted to move to a small town and open a sushi restaurant. Or so she tells James.

A ray of light arrives in the form of James’ classmate Sophie (Taylor Russell). Sophie is the editor of the school’s literature zine, and asks James if he can track down a poem Jorie promised to submit for publication before she disappeared. Sensing Sophie may be seeking more though, he’s happy to oblige.

While searching Jorie’s room — which Carl had placed out of bounds — for the poem, he instead finds a photo of Jorie with some friends, a few of whom James recognises. Believing they may know her whereabouts, he sets off with Sophie, who has agreed to help him, to locate his sister.

Despite its comedy billing, Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, trailer, has more than a few dark moments. James is not as well as his father likes to believe, and as the pressure builds, James begins unravelling.

Light relief in the form of the titular Mr Bird, a pigeon voiced by Tom Wilkinson, who dispenses wisdom to the downtrodden James, lifts the mood. As do the musings of James’ hero Walt Whitman (voiced by Michael H. Cole), along with nods to the work of Wes Anderson, who is clearly a hero of director Yaniv Raz.

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The Stranger a film by Thomas M Wright with Joel Edgerton

8 October 2022

Daniel Morcombe, a thirteen year Sunshine Coast boy, went missing in December 2003, as he set off to do some Christmas shopping. In August 2011, after an extensive police investigation, and a sting operation, Brett Peter Cowan, who would later be convicted of Morcombe’s kidnapping and murder, was arrested by detectives.

The Stranger, trailer, directed by Thomas M Wright, is a dramatisation of the police operation to apprehend Cowan, and is based on the 2018 book, The Sting, by Kate Kyriacou. But The Stranger is not a direct re-telling of Morcombe’s disappearance. Instead it focuses on efforts to bring the person responsible to justice.

Australian actor and director Joel Edgerton stars as Mark, an undercover police officer, who befriends a man named Henry Teague. Teague is suspected of committing a serious crime, but police lack sufficient evidence to charge him. Mark sets about gaining Teague’s trust, and he hopes, an admission of Teague’s guilt.

A friendship forms between two strangers. For Henry Teague, worn down by a lifetime of physical labour, this is a dream come true. His new friend Mark becomes his saviour and ally. However, neither is who they appear to be, each carry secrets that threaten to ruin them and in the background, one of the nation’s largest police operations is closing in.

The Stranger is currently screening in Australian cinemas.

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Andor will take you back to the Star Wars you grew up with

24 September 2022

The trailer makes Andor, the latest Star Wars streaming series by Disney, look fascinating, but as we all know, trailers sometimes over-sell the story they’re promoting.

Set in the five year period prior to Rouge One, Andor however promises to take us back to the Star Wars we grew up with, says Michael Idato, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald.

At the centre of the series is Cassian Andor, and his involvement with the then fledgling rebellion against the Galactic Empire:

The “Andor” series will explore a new perspective from the Star Wars galaxy, focusing on Cassian Andor’s journey to discover the difference he can make. The series brings forward the tale of the burgeoning rebellion against the Empire and how people and planets became involved. It’s an era filled with danger, deception and intrigue where Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero.

Andor has been screening since Wednesday 21 September 2022. Jack Seale, writing for The Guardian, describes it as the best Star Wars show since The Mandalorianonce it gets going:

In its third instalment, Andor finally becomes the gritty, kinetic spy thriller it has been billed as, after a surfeit of thoughtful world-building. Thankfully, somebody at Disney+ has their head screwed on, because Andor has debuted with a triple bill. Make it through that opening marathon and you have what’s shaping up to be the best Star Wars show since The Mandalorian.

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A trailer for Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey by Rhys Waterfield

2 September 2022

Christopher Robin was one of the main characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, originally written by British author A. A. Milne, nearly one hundred years ago. Together with a posse of friends — based on soft toys — including a teddy-bear called Winnie-the-Pooh, they lived in an imaginary forest called the Hundred Acre Wood. Readers of the books and poems written by Milne, will recall Christopher Robin one day left the forest to go to boarding school.

The parting of ways appeared to be quite amicable. Christopher Robin’s soft toy friends, including Piglet, Kanga, and Tigger, held a farewell party before he left. But it seems the geniality didn’t last, with Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet later becoming resentful of Christopher Robin’s departure. So much so, that when the boy returns to Hundred Acre Wood as an adult with his girlfriend, they are intent on murdering their one time friend, and those close to him.

That’s the situation at least in Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey, trailer, by Rhys Waterfield. Never return to your past, what else is there to say? Think I’ll be sleeping with the lights on tonight though…

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Exquisite Gucci ad by Alessandro Michele a Stanley Kubrick homage

31 August 2022

Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, shows off the Italian luxury fashion house’s latest designs and accessories in an advert blending numerous Stanley Kubrick films, as a homage to the late American filmmaker.

2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut, are among Kubrick’s work that Michele decided to re-inhabit:

As an act of love, I decided to reinhabit Kubrick’s films, pushing to the core this incendiary approach. I took the liberty of disassembling, blending, grafting and reassembling them. Sticking to my creative praxis, I seized those movies, resemanticizing them, populating them with my clothes.

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Trailer for 6 Festivals by Macario De Souza

24 August 2022

6 Festivals, trailer, is the latest feature from Australian filmmaker Macario De Souza:

Maxie, Summer and James share a deep bond and love for music. When James receives a devastating diagnosis, the friends throw themselves into a whirlwind of festivals in an attempt to escape reality.

De Souza’s debut was his 2007 documentary, Bra Boys, about the surf culture at Sydney’s Maroubra Beach, and a local gang called the Bra Boys, whose name derived from the last three letters of Maroubra. De Souza co-directed Bra Boys with Sunny Abberton, who founded the gang with his brothers Koby, Jai, and Dakota.

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Trailer for Where Is Anne Frank by Ari Folman

22 August 2022

When writing her journal, World War II diarist Anne Frank imagined she was relating her experiences to a girl called Kitty. Kitty was not a real person, but Frank felt she needed to write to someone, rather than merely document her thoughts in a dairy she believed not a single person would ever see.

Seven decades later, Kitty has been bought to life by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman, director of Waltz with Bashir, in his new animated feature Where Is Anne Frank, trailer.

The film follows the journey of Kitty, the imaginary friend to whom Anne Frank dedicated her diary. A fiery teenager, Kitty wakes up in the near future in Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam and embarks on a journey to find Anne, who she believes is still alive, in today’s Europe. While the young girl is shocked by the modern world, she also comes across Anne’s legacy.

Talking of Anne Frank, reports have been surfacing on social media that Dairy of a Young Girl, the journal she wrote while in hiding with her family in Amsterdam from the Nazis during World War II, had been banned by a school district in Texas. While it is true a recently published graphic-novel version of Frank’s dairy has temporarily been removed from the shelves of school libraries in Texas, pending a review of its content, other versions of the title remain available for reading.

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