Sleeping with Other People (2015) MIFF Film Review


Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) meet at college and lose their virginity to each other, then don’t see each other for about twenty years. In this time, Jake has been wildly womanising, and Lainey has been having an on-again-off-again affair with the man she has been in love with since college, a gynecologist played by Adam Scott. Oddly, I just went searching for his character’s name, which is used a lot in the film, but seems to be missing everywhere online. Odd. Anyhow, they become mates, trying to help each other get to a healthy relationship.

I don’t think it is a brilliant film. It is certainly an interesting one as far as romantic comedies go – it doesn’t follow your standard storyline. But I loved it, and it is definitely worth watching in a cinema full of people wanting to laugh. Unless you are the woman sitting next to me who was grumpy throughout.

The Look of Silence (2014) MIFF Film Review


A few years ago, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer went to Indonesia and made the documentary The Act of Killing, a film that introduced the world to men who had been part of the killing of thousands of communists (read by this Chinese people, plus a whole lot of other people they just didn’t like). These men are still in power and their actions are celebrated – so much so that they are happy to reenact the killings, and jeepers, some of them are brutal. In The Look of Silence, the film maker takes a man whose brother was killed around this time to meet the people who killed them. It was the Q&A afterwards that explained a lot about how this came about, and I’d recommend watching some of the videos that are available online of Joshua Oppenheimer talking at events.

It’s amazing, horrible, terrible, heartbreaking, awful and totally important. Both films are very hard to watch, but I cannot recommend them enough.

The Act of Killing is available on DVD. The Look of Silence will be screening at Cinema from November 17.

The Wolfpack (2015) MIFF Film Review


One day, filmmaker Crystal Moselle was walking along a New York street when a group of teenagers, all quite striking looking with long, black hair, raced past. Intrigued, she followed to ask them who they were, and this was when she met the Angulo brothers. The six brothers, along with a younger sister, lived in an apartment with their parents. But their father feared the outside world, and only rarely took them outside the apartment. The boys had an extensive DVD collection, however, and would spend much of their time recreating the films inside their home. By the time Moselle met them, they had more freedom, but their own archival footage along with interviews give a good sense of what their lives were like.

It’s a fascinating idea, and one which leaves the audience needing to know more. How did they go once they were freed? Why exactly where they kept this way? What now for them? The boys are so engaging, and the Q&A session after gave me confidence that they were not just a project that would then be dumped. They have a future; but from what a strange beginning.

The Wolfpack opens at Nova Cinemas on August 27.

Do I Sound Gay? (2014) MIFF Film Review


Approaching forty and recently single, director David Thorpe had a lot of self-loathing, and ended up focusing it on one thing: his voice. He hated his gay voice, and this documentary shows him meeting with speech therapists to try to sound more straight. Along the way, he interviews a lot of gay men, from his friends, to random people on the street, to famous folk such as George Takei and David Sedaris.

It’s really fascinating; there was some old footage, black and white movies, with ultra camp bad guys who clearly are just supposed to be evil gay men. The voice is not new, is it a self-imposed identifier (in some cases, potentially yes), or is it an actual genetic thing? Is it because some gay men spent more time with women as young kids? Is it actually anything?

Fascinating, and a really nice, fun documentary. At this stage, Do I Sound Gay? does not have an Australian release date, but hopefully at the very least, it will get a screening on SBS in the future.

Body (2015) MIFF Film Review


I love it when MIFF gives me films I’d never see otherwise. Take Body, the Polish film about an attorney who is dealing with mysterious and often extremely horrible cases at his work, meanwhile grieving for his recently deceased wife and trying to care for his bulimic daughter. Then add into the mix a counsellor who, in her spare time, channels the dead.

It’s strange and odd, but ultimately heart warming and delightful. And extremely funny, in a most dark manner.

7 Chinese Brothers (2015) MIFF Film Review


Larry (Jason Schwatzman) is a bit of a loser who gets fired from a lot of his jobs, drinks a lot and hangs out with his dog. He spends time with his friend, Major Norwood (Tunde Adebimpe) who is an orderly at the home where Larry’s grandma(Olympia Dukakis) lives. Norwood also supplied Larry with prescription medication from the home. Then Larry falls for Lupe (Eleanore Pienta) the manager of a lube change workshop for cars, and he takes a job to woo her. Throughout, things kind of happen to Larry. Or near him. And eventually, he kind of needs to address this.

I picked it from the MIFF guide as it was directed by Bob Byington, and I really enjoyed his previous offering, Somebody Up There Likes Me. And this one – I quite liked it too. Low budget, not particularly true to life yet also fairly honest. The dog is magnificent – snorty little creature. Overall, it was a really nice way to spend a few hours. I think it would be worth seeing at an outdoor summer cinema. And I don’t know if I missed something, but I have no idea about the title. Apparently it’s taken from an REM song. Huh.

At this stage, there is no Australian release date for 7 Chinese Brothers.

The Witch (2015) MIFF Film Review


It’s 1630 in America, so there are a lot of forests and not a lot of buildings. William (Ralph Ineson) and his wife, Katherine (Kate Dickie) are very religious, but have been shunned by their community. They take their four children to a remote area to live the hard but good life. Then Katherine has a baby who suddenly disappears during an intense game of peek-a-boo, and strange things start to happen, especially revolving around their intense daughter, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy).

Somehow, this film won best director  for Robert Eggers at Sundance. The fact that I say ‘somehow’ probably gives you some idea of what I thought of it. I thought it was terrible. The soundtrack was kind of good, though way heavy-handed. The scenery was amazing, but for me, that was about it. To be fair, I was exhausted and was nodding through some parts, but if the hype is to be believed, this is one of the scariest films ever made. I don’t do scary films because they freak me out far too much. So probably not that scary. Really, I found it quite boring. Having said this, I spoke to three other people after the session and while one agreed with me, the others quite liked the film; in fact, one loved it. Goes to show we can have differing opinions! (Though personally, I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone). If you don’t fear it, check out the trailer.

Currently, The Witch does not have a release date for Australia, but given the hype, I’m sure it won’t be too long before you can check it out and make up your own mind.