Category Archives: Film Reviews

Isle of Dogs (2018) Film Review – *spoiler alert*

In a fictional future Japan, a cat loving dictator exiles all dogs to an island. One young boy goes on a mission to save his dog.

I really wanted to like this film. It’s beautiful and sweet and the animation is adorable, and I’m a bit of a Wes Anderson fan. But. So many problems. There’s a bit of cultural issues (my key one being the one non-dog and non-Japanese character – felt a bit “Thank god there’s an American to save the day”). Then there are the female characters. On the surface, there almost seem to be a couple of semi-decent females, just don’t look too close. Especially at the dogs. Apparently, female dogs are small breeds with pretty hair, whereas male dogs are big and strong. Perhaps someone needs to tell Wes that dogs don’t work that way. I just wish films would do better.

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Africa Screams (1949) Film Review

I’ve never seen a whole Abbott and Costello film. I’ve enjoyed seeing short routines like ‘Who’s one First’ and ‘7 x 13 = 28’, but a whole film? That’s a lot of Abbott and Costello. I actually have no idea why I had this DVD, but I felt I had to watch it before taking it to the op shop. Yes, the relationship between the two of them is pretty fantastic, but overall, unsurprisingly, it’s… shall we say, of its time? (Read racist and sexist – especially massively racist – oh my goodness, so massively so!). Mind you, there is some early special effects that are… we, there. And then there are a lot of animals, and you just know that these animals wouldn’t have been treated all that well.

I’m happy to leave these type of films well and truly in the past.

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The Room (2003) Film Review

Publicised as being the worst film ever made, I had little interest in seeing it. But I have some interest in seeing The Disaster Artist, and given that I believe it is about the making of The Room, and especially as it was available on SBS On Demand, I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s terrible. It’s a ridiculous story, poorly written, terribly acted and just totally shit. There were no redeeming features at all. It was a total waste of time.

And then I talked to friends who loved it, and I couldn’t help quoting it, and laughing at particular scenes, and reminiscing about how appalling it is, and I suddenly get it. It’s not about the seeing of it, it’s about laughing with your mates. I see why there are cult late-night screenings, and why people are obsessed by it. I never want to see it again, but I’m glad I have seen it the once.

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Queen Margot (La reine Margot) (1994) Film Review

It’s France in 1572. The royal family is catholic, but the protestants are rising up. To try to broker peace, Princess Margot (Isabelle Adjani) is married to Henri de Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), but then thousands of protestants who’d come to Paris are massacred. This film covers that and then a series of events afterwards.

It’s quite beautiful, spectacular costumes. I got a little confused about who was who as there was a very large cast, mostly white men with brown hair who all looked pretty similar. It’s mostly an extremely good film, but with moments that are totally appalling which really ruined it. But it seems like this is a fabulous story, especially as a very brief bit of research has shown that there seem to have been a whole heap of rumours spread around about Margot and everything to do with her. This has to be a mini-series… well, there is a novel by Alexander Dumas, so that’s a good start. There doesn’t appear to be a series… yet.

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The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) Film Review

For me, the best part of The LEGO Movie was Wil Arnett’s Batman, so I was pretty happy to watch a whole film. Batman, the lone hero, realising that he needs to work in a team if he is to succeed? The type of cheese ideal for a children’s film. There was enough Wil Arnett in it to keep my attention, but I can’t say I loved it – have I finally outgrown kids movies? (Say it ain’t so!)

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Bad Moms (2016) Film Review *slight spoilers*

Amy (Mila Kunis) is the perfect mother, ensuring her children have access to everything from soccer to Japanese lessons whilst overworking in her part-time job and picking up the slack from her lazy husband. And inevitably, she loses her shit and quits – and ends up befriending Kiki (Kirsten Bell), a mother of four who is barely coping under the gaze of her overly critical husband, and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), a single mother with a hedonistic lifestyle. They drink, they stop doing every little think for their children and they take time for themselves, and learn that maybe being a bad mum is better for everyone.

I really enjoyed this film. After having huge rants about the female representation in Jumanji:Welcome to the Jungle, I was looking for issues, and was really surprised to find few. You could read it as a bit woman-hating the fact that the woman who enjoyed sex was depicted as a sleaze who was constantly leering at men and touching them inappropriately, but really she was just playing a ‘bro’ like character only female, and it was pretty fun seeing those roles reversed. Especially because it was Kathryn Hahn, who is just magnificently funny. I also had a bit of an issue with the fact that the relationship with the hot dad had to turn into a romance at the end and couldn’t have just been a bit of fun. But generally, I thought it depicted the nasty habit of mother-shaming (especially from other mothers) in an exaggerated but funny way, it had strong female characters and it had some of the best use of slow motion since 300.

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Much Ado About Nothing (2012) Film Review

Recently attending an excellent performance of Much Ado About Nothing at the Pop-Up Globe in Melbourne reminded me of my teenage obsession with the Kenneth Branagh adaptation, but on the recent ridiculously hot day which forced much of Melbourne to literally Netflix and chill, I decided finally to watch the Joss Whedon interpretation. Filmed over a couple of weeks in his house, it’s pretty low-key. Black and white, hand-held and set in contemporary times, so little in the way of costumes and finery. And really fun.

It was interesting to see how differently lines can be interpreted, lines which were played for laughs on the stage and played with earnestness in the Branagh version were, in this, more serious, or more ‘natural’, or more cutting. The performances were fast talking – like an Aaron Sorkin script – but conveyed the meaning of the dialogue and the overall theme. The cast was great, though for me the real standouts were Benedick (Alexis Denisof) Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Dogberry (Nathan Fillion), though they are all the most fun and funny roles in the play, so it may also be somewhat my own bias.

 

 

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