The Kids Are All Right (2010) Film Review


Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) and their two children Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) live a pretty idyllic life – they have plenty of money, Joni is about to head to college and things are great. Then, when Joni turns 18, Laser pushes her to contact their donor father, Paul (Mark Ruffalo). When Paul enters their life, things become difficult for everyone.

It is a great film, which is clear by the quality of the cast it attracted. The story is plausible and it doesn’t shy away from difficult scenes. Having said that, I did wonder (spoiler alert) about how easily a woman in  a strong, long-term same-sex relationship was wooed away by a man. Seems quite insulting to the strength of the relationship and dangerously could be seen to suggest that a lesbian just needs to meet the right man. Perhaps it was just that it all seemed fast – the passing of time is not overly clear throughout the film. There are a couple of moments where characters seem to take the easy way out of a situation, but for believable reasons. As far as a story is concerned, this is generally a good yarn.

The Kids Are All Right was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Annette Bening), Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Mark Ruffalo) and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg).

Tim Winton’s The Turning (2013) Film Review

Tim Winton's The Turning

Based on a collection of short stories by Tim Winton, The Turning comprises of a series of short films with a wide variety of known and unfamiliar actors directed by a whole heap of directors. Each has its own feel and pacing, and have some connections, although I didn’t pick up on a lot of the connections.

With eighteen different chapters, it is quite hard to summarise in a short form review. I think each of them worked in its own way, and as a whole collection, they held together. What I will say, in particular, is that it was a terribly depressing experience watching all of these films in a row, however for the beauty (albeit depressing and desolate a lot of the time) and Australian feel of the films, check it out.

Lawless (2012) Film Review


The Bondurant brothers are bootleggers working in rural Virginia, managing stills in the hills and running spirits into towns. Legend is that the brothers are indestructible, which seems likely during several of the particularly violent and gory scenes in this exceptionally violent and gory film. Things are going well for the Bondurant brothers, with young Jack (Shia LaBeouf) finally stepping up into the business. Then there is a new lawman in town – the ever-creepy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) and things getting rapidly worse.

I am currently addicted to Boardwalk Empire and have been enjoying the Ken Burns documentary on the prohibition that’s been playing on SBS. It was great to see the other side of the prohibition, especially tied in with aspects of the depression. But it wasn’t the plot that made the film for me. It was the characters. In many ways, Jack was the weak link of the characters. I didn’t want him to get cocky. He spent his life not living up to his brothers, and I just wanted him to do what he needed to and not be an idiot. But, without him being an idiot, it would have been a different story. It just seemed a bit clichéd to have one character’s arrogance bring down the whole story. The annoyingness of Jack was by far outweighed by the other marvelous characters, most notably for me, Charlie Rakes. Guy Pearce looks incredibly creepy in this role, with his shaved parting and his foppish suits, but it was the coldness behind his camp behaviour that made him the evil character that he was. In direct contrast was Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Forrest Bondurant. Straight talking, when he talked. A man with no airs, no graces and certainly no bullshit. Yet he was the criminal that the audience sided with and loved.

Lawless looks into a time in the world where people were struggling and the line between legal and moral was blurred.  It’s a great yarn. Enjoy it.

In Treatment -TV Review


HBO television series are great. I think I can safely say that I have enjoyed every HBO series that I have watched.

In Treatment consists of half hour (well, about 21 minute) episodes following the sessions of psychiatrist Dr Paul Weston(Gabrielle Byrne). Season one, which I have almost finished, goes through nine weeks, with each episode following particular patients. There is Laura (Melissa George) who has fallen in love with him, Alex(Blair Underwood) a pilot in the armed services who dropped a bomb in Afghanistan that killed a group of children in a school, Sophie (Mia Wasikowska), a teenage gymnast and Olympic hopeful who needs a psych assessment after a car accident and couple therapy for Jake(Josh Charles) and Amy (Embeth Davidtz),a couple who have fallen pregnant after a long series of attempts but are now considering termination. On top of this, Paul visits Dr Gina Toll (Diane Wiest) his own psychiatrist, to deal with his marriage which is in trouble, plus the issues he has with his patients.

It’s very, very good. Very, very, very good. All of the actors are magnificent in their roles, and the characters are frustratingly real. I found myself getting very annoyed at their behaviour and having to remind myself that they are in therapy for a reason. More often than not, this very annoying behaviour. The short drama format is great, too, especially with each episode generally based in one location and focused on one conversation.

I cheated a little and have looked to the episode titles of the next season, and was very disappointed to see that it is a whole new bunch of patients. I’ll miss these guys. But I look forward to the next two seasons.

Gabriel Byrne won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama in 2009. Blair Underwood, Dianne Wiest and Melissa George were all nominated for Support Golden Globe awards.