Category Archives: fallen for film

The Descendants

We had high expectations going in to see The Descendants & we surely were not disappointed. What a wonderful film. Filled with all those moments that are funny, heartwarming, sad and, well, funny this film has an original story (this trailer pretty much tells you the premise of it) but it is not just the story but the characters, the relationships (& how these develop over the course of the film) & the perfectly cast crew that make this film a strong & memorable one. George Clooney is fantastic in it. As is Shailene Woodley who perfectly plays his eldest daughter. As is that guy from the first Scream (Matthew Lillard). As is pretty much everyone else in the film… and the incredible Hawaiian setting. Alexander Payne, love it, you’ve done good. Four and a half stars.

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Visually arresting with laugh-out-loud moments, Submarine, the directorial debut for Richard Ayoade is an absolute gem of a film.

Craig Roberts is perfect as Oliver Tate who falls in love with a classmate and also sets out to fix his mum and dad’s marriage. Each character is perfectly cast & forms a fine ensemble to tell this common story of adolescent love, problems & worries in the most engaging, funny and refreshing way.

Off beat, wry and fun (with a gorgeous performance from Noah Taylor as Dad) this visually sublime film hit a great note in the tone & we absolutely loved it. Four and a half stars.

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The Ides Of March

Whether through his directing, acting, screen writing, producing or all of the above, George Clooney always has the ability to bring to, & tell, us a political story in laymans term. Well, put them into more decipherable terms for the not-so-politically-minded like us anyway. Take Syriana (written & directed by Stephen Gaghan) for instance. Executively produced & acted in by George Clooney, this incredible geopolitical thriller still easily sits in our top 5 films of all time.

The Ides of March may not be positioned here but it is still a pretty damn great film.
If you didn’t know, George Clooney directed it, produced it, acted in it & hell, co-wrote the screenplay too (based on a play called Farragut North).

It is set in the ‘crucial’ Ohio in the lead up to the American Presidential election. As each character, ‘married to the campaign’, works towards this top job- anything goes, including ideals. As the campaigning goes on through the movie, we witness increasing pressure on all characters &, slowly revealed are, the dodgy dealings and betrayal that, sadly, seems to be a normal part of politics. Oh yay, thanks George Clooney for reminding us of this. No, just kidding, we loved this intense political thriller (& we know from Drive that the Dish- oops, I mean Ryan Gosling- does ‘intense’ well!) and we give it four and a half stars (the extra half comes from the mere fact that George Clooney & the all star cast turned something political which is, for us, as dull as Brussels sprouts into something incredible).

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We were never one for motor car racing. So the name Ayrton Senna registered little & the desire to watch this doco about the Brazilian Formula 1 racing driver, widely regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all times, was fairly minimal.

There is something though about getting a glimpse into the life of a prominent figure in our generation no matter what their field. & the fact that he was a bit of a dish didn’t hurt either.

Stitching together never before seen footage, this doco takes us on a journey through Senna’s career, following his struggle on track with his french nemesis Alain Prost & off the track with the heavily political sport, & through his 3 F1 world championship wins. Humble yet with fiery determination, his spirit, passion & love for racing and his spiritual relationship with the sport not only brings tears to the eyes but inspires & captures the heart.

Although the doco itself, with its little narration, assumed we knew more about both Senna & F1 than we do, it was still great because, well, we can fill in the gaps with Wikipedia can’t we! Senna, the doco, three and a half stars. Senna, the star himself, a big incredible five.

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16 year old killing machine. need we say more. 4 and a half stars.

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yet another powerful & devastingly moody piece from danish director nichola winding refn, comes the film drive. driven by ryan gosling’s captivating ability to say little but express so much, he is driver- a stuntman by day, a getaway driver by night and a loner all his life. until he falls in love with his neighbour (carey mulligan). not such a girl next door, because it is from her connections & past that trouble comes for driver as he falls deeply in love & gives all he has for her.

gripping, sexy, moving and downright violent, & with a great soundtrack to boot, drive will take a firm hold of your breath & not let it go for the next 24 hours. four and a half stars.

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mad bastards

Inspired by the red crackling earth of the outback, we thought we would devote this Saturday’s film blog post to Mad Bastards, a film that takes you to a remote part of Western Australia and brings to you the lives, loves, struggles, celebrations & culture of the characters involved.

It is a first feature film for writer/director Brendan Fletcher & for most of the actors, it is their first too as many of the cast members are non professionals whose characters are based on their own real lives. This brings a strong sense of reality to the dialogue as we are taken on a journey with TJ, an Aboriginal man with a fiery edge, as he travels to a frontier town to meet his son whom he has never met. It is not a rosy reunion & so the story follows the damaging affects of the absence of a strong father figure & the repairing and reestablishment of relationships. All set in the back drop of the stark, beautiful outback and with beautiful melodies from the Pigram Brothers woven in, it is a moving tale that is hilarious in parts, hard in others & heartwarming for the remainder. Three and a half stars.

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norwegian wood

we read this novel a very long time ago & so, much of the story had escaped our memories… except for certain parts, so beautifully written they left a vivid image in our minds. & of course, as with many haruki murakami books, a powerful and intoxicating sense of aloneness (is that a word?), love, sorrow and emptiness.

norwegian wood, the film, has captured our memories of this mood & tone perfectly- thanks to the breathtaking work of tran anh gun (the director & writer).

this film is so beautifully spoken that our breath catches in our chest & never escapes. visually sublime, each frame is like a still photograph into which you can lay down & envelope yourself in for hours on end. from intimate close-ups (it helps when it involves the intoxicating faces of rinko kikuchi & kenichi matsuyama) to breathtaking wide shots of stark white haunting snowy landscapes. this film perfectly portrays the fragility, the love, the desire, the pain, the sorrow and the encroaching emptiness that is this beautiful , heartbreaking tale of a moment in one person’s life in love. four & a ‘alf stars.

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horrible to think we live in a world where people like john bunting exist. named ‘australia’s worst serial killer,’ he was responsible for the horrific bodies in barrels or ‘snowtown’ murders that shocked the nation back in the 90’s.

‘snowtown’ is based on his story. a great manipulator of people, a few came under his wings to assist in the killings. the film focuses on his influence on one of these people: the young & very impressionable james vlassakis.

eery, confronting & down right disturbing in parts, ‘snowtown’ offers up a context that gives insight into how these atrocities could have occurred- how Bunting so ‘cunningly infected the minds’ of the degenerate subculture around him to the extent that they aided in his killings.

it’s one of those films that leaves chills in your bones and makes you wonder if it is necessary for this story to be relived & told in detail… in a way, from a public perspective, it was good to be able to attach a background to the ‘bodies in barrels’ news we heard about way back when. but how must the victims’ family feel to have to go through it all again? it is a powerful (& well written & shot) film. but just gonna leave it unrated for now.

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the white ribbon

set in a northern german village just a little before world war 1, this tale takes a dark look at societal & family politics.

in the director michael haneke’s words, this film is about “the origin of every type of terrorism, be it of political or religious nature.”
and so we see a series of mysterious & cruel incidences that start occurring throughout this small village.
with the culprits unknown, an atmosphere of fear is set… & it doesn’t help that a group of children (off springs of the puritanical Pastor, one of the powerful members of the community) dressed in their floor skimming early 20th century gowns haunt many scenes. there’s something scary about children dressed in long gowns descending a long, dark staircase. and marching in a big group across wheat fields. it doesn’t help either when one of them, with uncharacteristically dishevelled hair, cruelly impales a parakeet with a letter opener.

but let us not spoil anymore of the story. this film is incredibly effective, draws you in, leaves you unnerved & is a must see. 4 and a half stars!

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M. Night Shyamalan, you never fail to leave us jittery after watching any of your tales!

Raised on horror movies* (mum is a big fan) we forgot there was a reason why we left them in our childhood. & so Devil was borrowed. & all the reasons came flooding back. Now we’ve spent the past few days since watching the film feeling nervous in dark, empty spaces… & avoiding elevators.

Think confined spaces, think evil, think the unknown, think everything is ALL bad & you have one hell of a fear instilled in you. Four stars.

* whilst thinking about this little review of ours, we thought we’d read a little about the perfect horror film formula. number crunchers have come up with a formula… have a read, cos yup- that pretty much applied to Devil!

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i am love (Io sono l’amore)

this is a italian film from a few years ago that we have been meaning to watch.

tilda swinton’s regal height, whip thin frame & odd combination of facial features never fail to captivate us. nor do the characters she portrays: often tender & motherly, always strong & interesting.

as emma recchi in ‘i am love’ she is all of the above. wife to the patriarch of an haute bourgeoisie family, this film focuses on her (& her illicit affair) as it muses on milieu, social classes, social structure & how individuals react within it.

this film is at times succulent & is peppered throughout with beautiful 1950’s touches: in the titling, music, camera angles, the beat & more. but the pepper didn’t cover all &, add a bit of jarring editing to it, we felt that this ambitious film fell slightly short of the awesome grandeur it could have been (although watching tilda speak italian throughout the entire film was pretty awesome). three stars.

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From Mike Mills, the director of Thumbsucker, comes Beginners- another genuine, moving & funny film about… well, life & love.

The story is semi-autobiographical with Hal (Christopher Plummer) the father of the late-thirties Oliver (Ewan Mcgregor) coming out as gay at the age of 75 & exploring & enjoying this aspect of his life fully before his death 4 years later.

The non-linear approach to the film, with narration by the soft lull that is Oliver’s voice, gently & poignantly takes us back & forth between Oliver’s past & present as he deals with his father’s death at the same time as meeting the captivating Anna (Mélanie Laurent).

Playful, tender, touching &, at moments, downright hilarious- make sure you have a net ready cos your heart will for each & every one of the characters (yes, including Hal’s dog whose mind we read via subtitles). four & a half stars!

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the square

yay! it’s saturday, our designated day to indulge in film sharing!

we have to admit we have a bit of a filmmaker crush on nash edgerton. ‘stuntman and film director’, need we say more.

perhaps it’s because of this stuntman background that his short films* never fail to draw a collective gasp & jolt from the audience at one point or another.

The Square (2008), his feature film, is no different. co-written by joel edgerton & matthew dabner, we don’t know why it came & went without much attention. because this gritty thriller is dark, high impact & filled with well devised tension that will have you clutching the edge of your seat till the very last jolt. 4 & a half stars!

* to get a feel for his work (& sense of humour!) check out our favourite shorts of his, both ‘spider‘ & it’s sequel ‘bear’.

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passe ton bac d’abord.

passe ton bac d’abord. we have many a reason to love this film & none of them to do with the actual film itself.

ok, that sounds a little harsh, because this 70’s film is quite the hip young thing…

…but LOOK AT THAT CAT. EVERYTHING, including the film itself, is going to be completely & utterly eclipsed by this devastatingly HOT piece of awesomeness. we ♥!

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