Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Miss you already

I saw this film at the beautiful Orpheum cinema in Cremorne, on a cold blustery evening. I treated myself to a salted caramel choc top - yummy!  The film stars Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore as Milly and Jess, two women in their 30s who have been friends since childhood.  Inseparable, they've shared everything - all of life's ups and downs.  The film portrays a period when both of them are dealing with life changing news.

I thought that the film was going to be a bit cliché ridden but I have to say I was very moved by it.  It deals with challenging issues in an upfront but gentle and perceptive way, and it has the added bonus of being set in London and Yorkshire, so I was feeling all homesick by the end of the film.  Some strong supporting performances by Dominic Cooper (husband of one of the women), Jacqueline Bisset (mother of one of the women) and Frances de la Tour.

The film is based on a radio play by Morwenna Banks, and is directed by Catherine Hardwicke.

I would definitely recommend the film, though prepare to weep!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Still Alice

I watched this film at the Dendy Opera Quays cinema in Sydney.

It tells the story of Alice, a professor of linguistics at Columbia University, who at around 50 is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers.  The film movingly portrays the impact on both Alice and her family (husband played by Alec Baldwin, plus three grown up children) as she moves through the years after her diagnosis.


I watched this film at the Dendy Opera Quays cinema in Sydney.

It is the story of Louie Zamperini, an american prisoner of war survivor in World War 2, and an Olympic runner (he competed at the Olympics in Berlin in 1936).

Lou was part of an aircrew that ditched into the Pacific during the war, leading to him and two colleagues being adrift at sea for over six weeks.  They were eventually captured by the Japanese and interned in a camp.  The film portrays the brutality of the camps very well, and Lou's strength of character in pulling through.  However, I felt there was something missing in making this a great film - hard to out my finger on why.


I watched this film on my iPad.  It is an Australian crime thriller focused on a police detective (played by Joel Edgerton) who on his way home from a police drinks do, knocks over a young boy on his bike.  He calls an ambulance but then denies that he knows anything about the accident.  The film unpicks the impact of this lie, mainly via interaction with his cynical boss (played by Tom Wilkinson) and an honest young fellow cop (Jai Courtney).

The film is played out at a pleasingly leisurely pace, carefully portraying the moral and psychological pressures of being in such a situation.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Red, White, Black and Blue

I watched this film on an Emirates flights between Dubai and Sydney.  It is a documentary, following a rugby team as they tour New Zealand.  The group comprises a boys team and a girls team, and they are from central Los Angeles.  Stuart Krohn, a teacher and former rugby player himself, leads the group, and is an engagingly gruff character.

The members of the squad are amazingly disciplined and focused on their rugby and their studies, with the aim of getting into the most prestigious colleges in the USA.  You get some glimpses of their family situations, which add colour to the film.

Overall, an endearing and thought provoking documentary


I watched this film on an Emirates flight between Venice and Dubai.  It tells the story of the joys and pitfalls of growing up over a 12 year period - the film was shot between 2002 and 2013.  It is shot through the eyes of a boy called Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) and his sister (Lorelei Linklater).  As each year passes, you get to share different experiences with the family:  family meals, road trips, birthday parties.

I found it an endearing and thought provoking film - all the actors' performances are good.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Before midnight

I saw this as a preview in NFT1 with Hilary (no popcorn!).  It is the third in a series of films, telling the story of the relationship between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.  The films are spaced roughly ten years apart, and there is a comfortable familiarity of style between them all, as they are essentially based on the relationship between the two main characters - there are very few other people in the films.  It is quite a tribute to the film-makers that the film includes several long 20 minutes scenes where Julie and Ethan are basically just talking to each other, or arguing with each other, and yet it remains captivating. I wonder if there will be one in ten years time....