Showing posts from March 11, 2018

Review: Killing Ground

Harriet Dyer and Ian Meadows are a young couple wanting to spend New Year’s out in the bush, camping for god knows what reason. They’re advised by a gruff man to head for a nice beach spot to pitch their tent, as he helpfully gives them directions. We are also introduced to parents Maya Stange and Julian Garner and their two kids. A couple of days later, Dyer and Meadows are disturbed to find a seemingly abandoned baby with no traces of its parents. Meanwhile, the man who gave them directions (Aaron Pedersen) calls up his mate Chook (Aaron Glenane) to ask if he wants to go on a hunting trip. Lean and mean, this 2017 offering from debut feature writer-director Damien Power (whose background is in short films) shows that when we put our minds to it, Aussies can make solid genre entries like this killer-thriller. Like “Wolf Creek” it won’t be to all tastes and will likely disturb the delicate sensibilities of some wine-sniffing, opera glass-wearing members of the Australian cri

Review: Churchill

It’s 96 hours before the planned D-Day invasion of Normandy, France during WWII and British PM Winston Churchill (Brian Cox) is having a crisis of conscience. Plagued by the memories of all the corpses of fallen soldiers during the Gallipoli campaign in WWI, he’s just not sure he can send British men- boys, really- to their likely deaths. Other interested parties like Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery (Julian Wadham, seemingly doing David Niven) and American President Dwight Eisenhower (John Slattery) can’t understand Churchill’s dithering. Miranda Richardson plays Churchill’s long-suffering wife Clementine, whilst James Purefoy plays the stuttering King George VI (who of course had his own film, and played by Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” ). I haven’t seen the “The Darkest Hour” yet, but based on the trailer I think Gary Oldman seems entirely miscast and unconvincing as Winston Churchill (his Oscar win suggests I may be wrong), and one thing I can say about this 2017 bi

Review: Manchester By the Sea

Casey Affleck is living a modest existence in Quincy, Massachusetts doing odd jobs no one else likely wants to do, including fixing toilets. He’s dragged back to the title coastal Massachusetts town with the news that his older brother (Kyle Chandler) has died of congestive heart failure, which wasn’t entirely unexpected. What is unexpected however, is when he arrives in town to find through the family lawyer (Josh Hamilton) that Chandler has left Affleck trustee of his estate and the legal guardian of Chandler’s teenage lothario son Lucas Hedges (He’s got two girls lusting after him). The boy’s mother Gretchen Mol was a substance abuser who abandoned her family years ago. Affleck has no idea how to look after a teenager. In fact, the self-loathing handyman can barely give two shits about himself. You see, he and his ex-wife Michelle Williams were struck by tragedy a few years back, a tragedy that Affleck was unintentionally personally responsible for and he has never allowed himse

Review: Wolf

New York book editor Jack Nicholson is bitten by a wolf late one night after accidentally hitting it with his car. His luck worsens when he gets to work the next day to find that his rich boss Christopher Plummer has demoted him in favour of butt-kissing upstart James Spader. The married Nicholson also starts taking an interest in Plummer’s rebellious daughter Michelle Pfeiffer, despite being married to Kate Nelligan. Meanwhile, ever since his encounter with the wolf, Nicholson has started to notice changes in himself...heightened senses, an increased hunger and aggression. It appears he has been cursed to live by night as a werewolf! Om Puri plays an East Indian lycanthropy expert whose fascination with the subject is to the extreme to say the least. “Frasier” co-star David Hyde Pierce turns up as Nicholson’s loyal co-worker Roy (Does Niles Crane look like a ‘Roy’ to you ?), Prunella Scales is an author associated with the publishing house, and Richard Jenkins is a nosy cop.

Review: La La Land

Set over five seasons, Ryan Gosling is an aspiring jazz club owner currently making a living playing 80s covers in a party band and soullessly playing Christmas carols on piano at a swanky restaurant. Emma Stone plays an aspiring actress, who is similarly just getting by right now. They meet, they fall in love, and it’s not entirely smooth but there is still the music. It’s well established by now that, with a few exceptions, I don’t like musicals. I like them even less when the people doing the singing are not good singers (Case in point, Woody Allen’s incredibly awkward “Everyone Says I Love You” ). I also can’t much take to Emma Stone on screen. This 2016 flick from writer-director Damien Chazelle (whose debut was the well-received but slightly overrated “Whiplash” ) has all of this working against it even before it starts. The good news is you’ll probably love it, especially since I too enjoyed it enough to give it at least a soft recommendation. I have my issues with it,

Review: Live By Night

Set in the 1920s and 30s, Ben Affleck stars as a small-time crim with a police captain for a father (Brendan Gleeson). Affleck gets in cahoots with Irish mob boss Robert Glenister and falls for his mistress (an unconvincing Sienna Miller), before a botched robbery sees several cops dead, and dear old dad standing by while Affleck gets beat up by some disgruntled cops. Gleeson does however, pull enough favours to ensure his wayward son only serves a few years in prison. Out of the slammer he defects to opposition gangster, Italian Mafioso Remo Girone who sends him to Florida. Along with his right-hand man Chris Messina, Affleck is assigned the task of working alongside a Cuban bootlegger (after booting Glenister out of the operation), and hooks up romantically with said Cuban bootlegger’s sister (Zoe Saldana). He also forges a tenuous relationship with Tampa sheriff Chris Cooper, whilst getting on the wrong side of the sheriff’s idiot KKK-member brother-in-law Matthew Maher. Elle Fa