Shutter Island (2010) Film Review

 

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US Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is sent to a mental asylum set on an inhospitable island with his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients. There, they meet Dr Crawley (Ben Kingsley) and Dr Naehring (Max von Sydow) and find that things are not what they seem.

I remember watching this years ago and really hating it – finding the twist extremely obvious and the whole thing quite annoying. I’m not a huge Scorsese fan, and was just a bit unimpressed. Then I heard it discussed on Plato’s Cave, the RRR film criticism show, and while they are all massive Scorsese fans, they said to watch it just as a thriller with a twist will be disappointing because it is deliberately so obvious. However, if you watch it with that knowledge and just enjoy the way it unfolds, you can really appreciate it. So, I gave it another go and, dammit, they were totally right. It’s very clever and intense and just great. I’m so glad I went back and watched it from a different mindset.

 

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Shameless vs Shameless – TV Review

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From the estates of Manchester to the projects of Chicago, Shameless tells of the Gallagher family. A group of six kids aged from two to twenty with an absent mother, a severely alcoholic father and how they get by – breaking the law, getting into trouble, but always finding ways to support each other.

The show was created by Paul Abbot in England and started being screened in 2004. The family patriach, Frank, was played by a David Threlfall, a repulsive, pants wetting, staggering, muttering creep. Yet, somehow he is love/hated by everyone he knows. This was the character who was played by William H Macy in the US version, which first screened in 2011, and while I have seen Macy in a variety of roles, playing a wide range of characters, I just couldn’t see it. Yet… I should have known that he would be fabulous. It’s not quite the same Frank – some of the edges have been softened, but the essence is there.

I was a huge fan of the first two seasons of the UK show – perhaps even three seasons. But by the fourth season, many of the actors who had started the orginal cast – we’d lost Fiona (Anne-Marie Duff) who was the oldest sister who kept everything together – or lost it all. I seem to recall we only had James McAvoy playing Steve McBride for the first season, but he did go on to have a big-time Hollywood career, so what can you do? I think it was when the neighbours, Veronica (Maxine Peake) and Kev (Dean Lennox Kelly) went that I really started to lose interest. Storylines became more and more outrageous, and I just couldn’t be bothered anymore – which really says a lot given how much I hate leaving things unfinished. According to IMDB, it ran until 2013. Perhaps one day I’ll attempt a revisit, but unlikely.

Perhaps because the UK version had lost me, or perhaps because I couldn’t see it translating well to the US, I avoided the US version for a long time. Why oh why? It’s one of those shows, like The Office, that started from something unique in the UK then actually worked as well, or possibly better, in the US. The first season was essentially the same script as the first season from the UK but slightly Americanised and with some storylines somewhat lighter. After this, it felt as though they had found their feet and were able to take the series wherever they wanted.

For me, special highlights have included the addition of Joan Cusack in the cast in early seasons and in the most recent season I have watched (Season 6 which has just come onto the Australian Netflix), it’s been great seeing Sherilyn Fenn.

I’d recommend starting both. If you like them, obviously keep watching. But if you find, as I did, that you started to lose interest in the UK version, don’t beat yourself up for letting it go.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Film Review

 

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I have to admit to a couple of things here; First, I thought this was the next in the series of Star Wars films and was confused for a while. Second, I did sleep through a fair bit of the first part of this film. I was going to not review it until I saw it again – and saw some parts of it for the first time… but talking to several people, apparently there is a lot of slow setup stuff in the first part and so long as I felt I knew what was going on later, it probably didn’t matter missing it. Certainly, I loved the second half, with a whole heap of action and fighting and really cool stuff happening.

I’m not going to pretend that I knew all the plot – just the key stuff. So, the film is about the Rebel Alliance (that’s the same group that Princess Leia and all of them are a part of, against Darth Vader and all of them) attempting to steal the plans for the Death Star as it is being built. It’s important for the world of Star Wars, and it’s very exciting, with a lot of cool people being cool. What I saw, I loved.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Achievement in Special Effects.

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Rain Man (1988) Film Review

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Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is a yuppie who is running some kind of a scam involving importing luxury cars or something (no idea – it was complex and had to be completed within a certain amount of time which caused Charlie much stress throughout) when his estranged father passes away. Expecting to inherit his father’s fortune, Charlie is left with a beautiful old car and little else. In tracing where the remaining money is going, Charlie discovers that he has an older brother who has been living in assisted care for decades. Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) is autistic and requires set routine. Charlie takes Raymond from the facility, thinking he can blackmail the lawyers into giving him money. But the road trip across the country ends up being more than just a physical journey.

This is really a great film. It’s a little obvious at times, but that’s fine. Hoffman is great as Raymond, and while at times, I felt that Charlie was making choices that weren’t really fitting with his personality, it all allowed both of the characters to grow. It is dated, but in a good way. I just really liked it.

Rain Man won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Lead Role (Dustin Hoffman), Best Director (Barry Levinson) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. It was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Score.

 

 

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Ghost River by Tony Birch – Book Review

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It’s the late 60s, working class Collingwood in Melbourne. Ren’s life is changed when he becomes mates with Sonny next door – a rough kid with a drunk, violent dad and no fear. Ren and Sonny start hanging out at the river, a dangerous, fast place that Ren has been told to avoid. There they have adventures, they jump into the water from heights and they befriend a group of vagrants who tell them stories. But the joy of freedom and youth cannot remain the same.

The writing captures a world now gone with nostalgia, but also with honesty. The kids have the freedom to escape and be free when they are at the river, but they also have adults who bully both verbally and physically. Ren and Sonny are both innocent and world-weary, with much in their lives that they are trying to figure out without getting in to too deep. It’s a beautiful read, and I highly recommend it.

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Awards Season 2017

Oscars 2017

Actor in a Leading Role

Casey Affleck (Manchester by Sea)

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

 

Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)

Dev Patel (Lion)

Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

 

Actress in a Leading Role

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Ruth Negga (Loving)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Emma Stone (La La Land)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

 

Actress in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis (Fences)

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

 

Animated Feature Film

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zooptopia

 

Cinematography

Arrival

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Silence

 

Costume Design

Allied

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

Jackie

La La Land

 

Directing

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)

Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson)

La La Land (Damien Chazelle)

Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

 

Documentary (Feature)

Fire at Sea

I am not your Negro

Life, Animated

O.J.: Made in America

13th

 

Documentary (Short Subject)

Extremis

4.1 Miles

Joe’s Violin

Watani: My Homeland

The White Helmets

 

Film Editing

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

La La Land

Moonlight

 

Foreign Language Film

Land of Mine

A Man called Ove

The Salesman

Tanna

Toni Erdmann

 

Makeup and Hairstyling

A Man called Ove

Star Trek Beyond

Suicide Squad

 

Music (Original Score)

Jackie

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Passengers

 

Music (Original Song)

Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – La La Land

Can’t Stop the Feeling – Trolls

City of Stars – La La Land

The Empty Chair – Jim:The James Foley Story

How Far I’ll Go – Moana

 

Best Picture

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

 

Production Design

Arrival

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

Passengers

 

Short Film (Animated)

Blind Vaysha

Borrowed Time

Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Pearl

Piper

 

Short Film (Live Action)

Ennemis Interieurs

Le Femme et le TGV

Silent Night

Sing

Timecode

 

Sound Editing

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Sully

 

Sound Mixing

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

La LA Land

Rogue One:A Star Wars Story

13 Hour: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

 

Visual Effects

Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Arrival

Fences

Hidden Figures

Lion

Moonlight

 

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea

20th Century Women

 

Golden Globes 2017

 

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Moonlight

Hell or High Water

Lion

Manchester By Sea

Hacksaw Ridge

 

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

La La Land

20th Century Women

Deadpool

Florence Foster Jenkins

Sing Street

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Amy Adams (Arrival)

Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane)

Ruth Negga(Loving)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Casey Affleck (Manchester By Sea)

Joel Edgerton (Loving)

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Emma Stone (La La Land)

Annette Bening (20th Century Women)

Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply)

Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Colin Farrell (The Lobster)

Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Jonah Hill (War Dogs)

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Viola Davis (Fences)

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Michelle Williams (Manchester By Sea)

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Dev Patel (Lion)

 

Best Director – Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)

Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

 

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water)

 

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Zootopia

Moana

My Life as a Courgette

Sing

Kuba and the Two Strings

 

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Elle

Divines

Neruda

The Salesman

Toni Erdmann

 

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)

Nicholas Britell (Moonlight)

Johann Johannsson (Arrival)

Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka (Lion)

Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch (Hidden Figures)

 

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

La La Land – City of Stars

Trolls – Can’t Stop the Feeling!

Faith – Sing!

Gold – Gold

Moana – How Far I’ll Go

 

Television

 

Best Television Series – Drama

The Crown

Game of Thrones

Stranger Things

This is Us

Westworld

 

Best Television – Musical or Comedy

Atlanta

Black-ish

Mozart in the Jungle

Transparent

VEEP

 

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

American Crime

The Dresser

The Night Manager

The Night Of

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Sarah Paulson (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)

Riley Keough (The Girlfriend Experience)

Charlotte Rampling (London Spy)

Kerry Washington (Confirmation)

Felicity Huffman (American Crime)

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager)

Ri Ahmed (The Night Of)

Bryan Cranston (All The Way)

John Turturro (The Night Of)

Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

Claire Foy (The Crown)

Outlander (Caitroina Balfe)

Keri Russell (The Americans)

Winona Ryder (Stranger Things)

Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Billy Bob Thornton (Golliath)

Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)

Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)

Matthew Rhys (The Americans)

Live Schreiber (Ray Donovan)

 

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)

Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)

Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce)

Issa Rae (Insecure)

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Donald Glover (Atlanta)

Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)

Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle)

Nick Nolte (Graves)

Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Olivia Colman (The Night Manager)

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)

Chrissy Metz (This is Us)

Mandy Moore (This is Us)

Thandie Newton (Westworld)

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Hugh Laurie (The Night Manager)

Sterling K. Brown (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)

John Lithgow (The Crown)

Christian Slater (Mr. Robot)

John Travolta (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)

 

BAFTAs 2017

Best Film

Arrival

I, Daniel Blake

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

 

Outstanding British Film

American Honey

Denial

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I, Daniel Blake

Notes on Blindness

Under the Shadow

 

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Hard Stop

Notes on Blindness

The Pass

Under the Shadow

 

Film Not in the English Language

Dheepan

Julieta

Mustang

Son of Saul

Toni Erdmann

 

Documentary

13th

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years

The Eagle Huntress

Notes on Blindness

Weiner

 

Animated Film

Finding Dory

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

Zootropolis

 

Director

Arrival

I, Daniel Blake

La La Land

Manchester By The Sea

Nocturnal Animals

 

Original Screenplay

Hell or High Water

I, Daniel Blake

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

 

Adapted Screenplay

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Hidden Figures

Lion

Nocturnal Animals

 

Leading Actor

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

 

Leading Actress

Amy Adams (Arrival)

Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)

Emma Stone (La La Land)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

 

Supporting Actor

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

Dev Patel (Lion)

Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

 

Supporting Actress

Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Viola Davis (Fences)

 

Original Music

Arrival

Jackie

La La Land

Lion

Nocturnal Animals

 

Cinematography

Arrival

Hell or High Water

La La Land

Lion

Nocturnal Animals

 

Editing

Arrival

Hell or High Water

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Nocturnal Animals

 

Production Design

Doctor Strange

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

Nocturnal Animals

 

Costume Design

Allied

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

Jackie

La La Land

 

Make-up & Hair

Doctor Strange

Florence Foster Jenkins

Hacksaw Ridge

Nocturnal Animals

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

Sound

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

 

Special Visual Effects

Arrival

Doctor Strange

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

The Jungle Book

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

British Short Animation

The Alan Dimension

A Love Story

Tough

 

British Short Film

Consumed

Home

Mouth of Hell

The Party

Standby

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Batman vs Superman: the Dawn of Justice (2016) Film Review

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The world of Metropolis is reeling from Superman’s battle against the bad guys in the last Superman film. Batman’s not happy with this and wants to stop Superman, and they’re unaware being controlled by the new and evil Lex Luthor. And then there is Wonder Woman?

Ok, I got really lost. I wasn’t sure what world we were in… was it after the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight films? No. But it was after the recent Superman? Yes. So, Superman lives in Metropolis? Yes. And Batman lives in Gotham? Yes. So, they are nearby? Apparently. How does Wonder Woman fit in? I’m still a little confused on that one.

I enjoyed the fighting and stuff. And I quite like Henry Cavill as Superman, and Amy Adams as Lois. Jesse Eisenberg was great as Lex Luthor – I think he was the highlight of the film for me. Ben Affleck as Batman? No, he didn’t work for me. Perhaps I could have enjoyed this more in a cinema, perhaps I would have followed the whole thing a lot better, but as it was I felt like it was a totally confusing mess.

 

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