Cinema

A SIMPLE FAVOUR : BEWARE OF GEEKS BARING STIFFS

Heart-throb leading man from Crazy Rich Asians, Henry Golding turns up as a nonplussed husband in the glam noir, A SIMPLE FAVOUR.

Golding plays spouse to yummy mummy Emily, lively played by Blake Lively, a shady lady who befriends Stephanie, a cute cookie cutter single mother whose son attends the same school as Emily’s boy.

It’s an unlikely alliance of chalk and cheese with plenty of talk and tease as the women share secrets and lies during a series of Martini meets. Emily is the obvious femme fatale but sunny Stephanie has some pretty dark clouds around her silver linings.

When Emily vanishes, presumed dead, Stephanie decides to do some detective work which leads her into a tangled web of intrigue and the tangled sheets of Emily’s bed, not to mention the shoes of Emily’s cupboard.

A SIMPLE FAVOUR is simply, a stylish post-modern suburban noir that sets Stephanie Smothers on a sleuth seeking mission to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily Nelson’s sudden disappearance from their small town.

Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie, and what a performance, a range from butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth to forensic ferret.

The comic chemistry crossing between Kendrick and Lively is put in a beaker and under the Bunsen to boil to a thrilling brew by director Paul Feig, in arguably his best picture to date. There’s comedy in the caper and a real sophistication in the thriller elements.

His use of jaunty pop tunes to infuse the film sets an ambience of chic and chicanery that muscles into your music memory like an endorphins evoking ear worm.

Jessica Sharzer’s script, based on Darcy Bell’s novel, is crisp and whip smart, with cracking comedic dialogue laced with thriller pace.

As Stephanie says, “secrets are like margarine, easy to spread but bad for the heart”.

A SIMPLE FAVOUR is an easy spread of murder mystery that’s god for your funny bone.

Do yourself a simple favour…

CRAZY RICH ASIANS : AN OCCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN

Lacking the charm and heart of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, CRAZY RICH ASIANS nevertheless purloins that template in a brash and vulgar display of avarice masquerading as a model of Hollywood inclusiveness.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS begins with an Asian mother with children in tow seeking a room in a London hotel. The racist receptionist sneeringly tells the rain soaked woman that there is no room in the inn, unbeknownst to him that the establishment of his employ has been bought by her husband, a doyen of the Singapore elite.

Fast forward, and the son of that woman, who has been a tertiary student in America, is bringing home to Singapore, the girl he intends to marry, a well educated but socially unconnected Chinese-American.

Snobbery and class discrimination exists in all societies and the snubbing of the beloved here leads to a family schism with all the drama and comedy of oft told tales of star crossed lovers.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS is Mean Girls Malay style, with hoary old whorey scandal stacked on social non-acceptance with a sneering veneer of unbridled avarice.

Based on the best selling book, CRAZY RICH ASIANS has been lauded as a significant step in having an all Asian cast in an American studio picture. Hullo? What about The Joy Luck Club?

Well, that was back in 1993. And now things have changed. But for the better?

The Joy Luck Club was about the Asian immigrant experience in America. CRAZY RICH ASIANS is just a big fatuous roll in affluence, not even honest aspiration, but flatulent avarice.

Sure, Constance Wu and Henry Golding make a handsome romantic couple, Michelle Yeo a striking mother not to be fucked with, and Lisa Lu a matriarch of tungsten heart, but this lauded – really laundered – prefabricated film is peppered with people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN – CEZANNE: PORTRAITS OF A LIFE  

The latest of the excellent Exhibition on Screen series looks at the CEZANNE: PORTRAITS OF A LIFE  exhibition that was on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London earlier this year.

As is the usual format the documentary, narrated by Brian Cox, features an intimate insight in to the artist’s environment ( here Cezanne’s house and studio – the film opening with a dizzyingly shot sequence of the studio window leading to the studio today at Les Lauves, Aix-en-Provence ) – and detailed intense close up inspection of the paintings. There are beautifully filmed landscape sequences of both Paris and the countryside of Aix-en-Provence . it also features a specially commissioned score.  We see how the exhibition is cleanly, coolly and elegantly designed and beautifully hung and some of the HUGE heavily ornate frames the works have. Continue reading EXHIBITION ON SCREEN – CEZANNE: PORTRAITS OF A LIFE  

QUICK! IN LIKE FLYNN GIVEAWAYS

Buccaneer, smuggler, gambler, street fighter, gold prospector and one of the most charismatic movie stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Errol Flynn’s life, before he found fame as an actor, was not for the faint-hearted!

IN LIKE FLYNN is a colourful celebration of Flynn’s early years, is the story of a man whose real-life adventures eclipsed those that he portrayed on-screen. Continue reading QUICK! IN LIKE FLYNN GIVEAWAYS

AMERICAN ANIMALS: GIVEAWAY TO A PREVIEW SCREENING

searching: following the digital footprint

Searching for an excellent B movie? Search no further than SEARCHING a social media sleuther that’s as contemporary as a Trump tweet

A missing person maybe murder mystery SEARCHING is about determined dad, David, and his search for his disappeared daughter, Margot with the help of sympathetic but no-nonsense Detective Vick.

SEARCHING is written by Aneesh Chaganty & Sev Ohanian and directed by Chaganty and focuses on the digital footprint rather than the physical fingerprint to solve the crime.

SEARCHING is as much about modern tools of communication as about the mystery itself, with social media, texts, emails, photos and video snippets, and internet search engines cleverly and seamlessly woven into the fabric of the narrative and mise en scene. Continue reading searching: following the digital footprint

beast: a beauty

Writer/director Michael Pearce feature film debut, BEAST is a beauty.

Leonine flamed mane actress, Jessie Buckley is incandescently captivating as Moll, Johnny Flynn as Pascal Renouf, the rough trade craftsman and poacher, bringing a modern take on the Lady Chaterly’s Lover riff salted with bloody back story for both the protagonists, unfurling a fairy tale for adults.

The Beast of the title, you see, lurks within both of them, indeed, lurks within everyone. Continue reading beast: a beauty

musings: homage to pedro

A new short film Musings, about a frustrated academic who writes monologues for her much younger actress girlfriend, causing her latent jealousy to unravel, is an homage to Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, and a scathing satire of the Australian film industry.

The film will screen in an event scheduled to coincide with the Spanish director’s 69th birthday and will be preceded by a discussion about ‘whitewashing’ in Australian films that looks at why so many Aussie films have a stoic ‘Anglo’ sensibility to the exclusion of more flamboyant types of cinema enjoyed by people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds and the LGBTIQ community.

The event, “Whitewashed: Minorities on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” will take place at the theatre at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School on Monday, September 24th at 6pm. Continue reading musings: homage to pedro

hearts beat loud: an unexpected delight

“When life hands you conundrums, you turn them into art.”

It’s a sage comment from Frank Fisher, widowed father of a teenage daughter, whose dreams of happy ever aftering were curtailed by the cycling accident death of his wife.

An aspiring rock and roll career stalled, he opened a record store in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn to raise his daughter, Sam, now a pre med student, booked to study for her degree at UCLA. Continue reading hearts beat loud: an unexpected delight

JUST FRIENDS: ITS ALL ABOUT BALANCE

Majd Mardo and Josha Stradowski in Gewoon Vrienden (2018)

JUST FRIENDS (2018), original title Gewoon Vrienden, is a Netherlands TV film which is playing as part of the Queer Screen Film Fest and what a delight it is.  A romantic comedy, it is a film of perfect balance, the beginning hilarious, the middle romantic and the finale deliciously moving.   Featuring two terrific actors in the lead roles and a quirky collection of family behind them, it is a story of opposites and their attraction.

Josha Stradowski is Joris. Rich and unmotivated, he balances his time between riding his not quite a classic, older motorcycle to solitary places to play with his high-tech drone or doing a partnerless work-out at the gym.  Majd Mardo is Yad, a young man of initially indiscriminate heritage, obviously not from  Dutch stock, who has been a bit too heavy into the party scene in Amsterdam has returned to the family home in Almere, Flevoland, Netherlands. His balance in life revolves around his love of windsurfing. Continue reading JUST FRIENDS: ITS ALL ABOUT BALANCE

the miseducation of cameron post: come as you are

There is no such thing as homosexuality. There is however the sin of same sex attraction.

So says a so called psychologist in the subtly scary THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST.

And, apparently, the sin of same ex attraction can beat out of you when God bothering polyester shirt wear wearing proselytes take their Bible belt to you.

A camp – an odd nomenclature for a place to send them to cure them of being camp – called God’s Promise is the setting of this film which should be an historical drama but all too sadly is contemporary as the Donald’s America. At God’s Promise, you become a disciple – a disciple of self disgust, an apostle of run by evangelical fun police who wash away the sin of same sex attraction with carbolic baptism of shame. Continue reading the miseducation of cameron post: come as you are