The Tomorrow Man (2019) Film Review

Ed (John Lithgow) spends his life preparing for disaster – hoarding food and supplies, obsessed to the point of destroying relationships with his family. When he meets Ronnie (Blythe Danner), he thinks he’s found a like-minded soul. But love is rarely smooth sailing.

I was so bored during this. I’m a huge John Lithgow fan (not just from the amazing Third Rock from the Sun, but find recordings of him reciting poetry – perhaps on the Selected Shorts podcast. He’s fabulous), but even his presence couldn’t make this work for me. Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more, something finally happened… and then the credits rolled. I just didn’t get it, though it was nominated for awards at a few festivals, so perhaps I’m on my own on this one… wait… no, I just had a look at Rotten Tomatoes. I’m not the only one.

Paper Champions (2020) MIFF Review

Rey (Luke Saliba) is living a pretty safe life; he has a safe job, sticks to a strict routine and gets along. He’s not really unhappy, but it’s clear he’s stuck in a rut. Then he meets Holly (Tessa de Josselin) and leans on friends and family to break free and find joy.

There’s a lot to love in this film. It’s got the good, slightly nuts humour of many low budget Aussie films (reminds me vaguely of things like Muriel’s Wedding and Strictly Ballroom, though how much of that is the suburban Aussie setting as much as content or style I’m not sure), performances are great, seeing Geelong onscreen was awesome. I felt like it just needed something a bit more script-wise to take it from a charming romp to a knock-me-over romantic comedy.

On the Record (2020) MIFF Review

The #metoo movement has impacted many industries, although perhaps none as publicly as the entertainment industry. However, it’s been mostly film and television which have been the focus rather that the music industry. On the Record looks at the accusations of assault which have been laid at the feet of Russell Simmons, one of the most prominent men behind Def Jam Recordings.

The film looks at the fallout from assault on the victims, which goes way beyond any phsycial or psychological harm. Drew Dixon was a producer and forging a strong career which she left behind because she could not continue to work in the field. This is a rarely talked-about aspect of assault. Countless women’s careers have halted because they need to distance themselves from the assaulter or the environment in which the assault happened.

The film also looks at the challenges that face a black woman accusing a black man in a time of extreme racial divide in the US. It can been seen by some as letting down the black community to accuse a black man – as if the needs of the many win out over the assault of an individual. This is certainly not helped by the way feminism and the #metoo movement has had a large focus on white women over BIPOC people.

It’s an important film which shows how we need to do better in many ways.

Elli and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) (2020) MIFF Review

Ellie (Sophie Hawkshaw) is trying to figure out how to ask her classmate, Abbie (Zoe Terakes) to the school formal When her dead aunt, Tara (Julia Billington) turns up as her fairy godmother to try to help, things start to get confusing.

It’s a delightful love story. Charming, frustrating, and utterly delightful. Plus a fabulous cast (for me, any time Rachel House turns up in anything, I’m happy). Watch it. Just watch it.

Dark City Beneath the Beat (2020) MIFF Review

TT the Artist has made a documentary about the Baltimore club scene. It’s filled with music and dance and hope in a city that is better known for it’s darker side. The music and dance is aggressive but has an uplifting quality, and the film celebrates the city’s community and love.

City So Real (2019) – MIFF Review

While the results of the Chicago mayoral election have nothing to do with me in any possible manner, I loved watching this 4-part documentary. Filmmaker Steve James takes us through many parts of Chicago, at times following the many mayoral candidates as they fulfil the bureaucratic steps to be on the ballot and through their campaigns, or going into the corners of everyday life in Chicago.

I found this utterly fascinating. A real snapshot in a time of Black Lives Matter, or governmental and police corruption, of change and history-making.

Untouchable (2019)-MIFF Review

This documentary interviews several of the high-profile accusers of Harvey Weinstein as they tell their stories, and looks at the world he created that gave him the power to do really whatever he wanted. Allegedly.

It was never going to be an easy watch, and while I found at times, it was a little slow, that slowness gave respect to the victims and their stories. At the time of writing Weinstein is, only just being tried in New York and has had charges laid in LA. I can only hope that our culture is changing so that predators with this kind of power are not only stopped, but also brought to justice.

The Dead Don’t Die (2019) – MIFF Review

Jim Jarmusch is back. Either I haven’t been paying attention (entirely plausible), or it’s been a while for a Jarmusch film. And he’s done a zombie film, how wonderful. A small town is being hit by zombies and it takes a while for them all to figure it out. And then… what to do?

I loved it. The cast is amazing, from the somewhat innocent police department (Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny and Adam Driver) to the mysterious hermit (Tom Waits) to the creepy new funeral director (Tilda Swinton). It’s dumb and funny and crazy and weird and I just dug it a lot.

The Day Shall Come (2019) MIFF Review

Moses (Marchant Davis) has a tiny religious commune in Miami who preaches about a black uprising, but has no power and no real hope of wielding any. However, when the FBI have a case go disastrously badly, they need a win, and when chatter shows that Moses could be a threat, they go after the win no matter what.

This is an extremely hilarious film until it isn’t, and then it really isn’t. It makes such a comment on the way things can go hugely badly when politics and law enforcement influence each other. I loved it, but geez, it was hard. It was funny and wonderful and fantastic.

Mr Jimmy (2019) MIFF Review

Akio Sakurai is a Jimmy Page impersonator, but he is obsessed and a real perfectionist. He has costumes made to exact measurements, guitars and amps tweaked and tampered with to try to get the real original sound, he watches the videos and listens to the recordings to hit every single note right. This documentary follows all of the details of his life, through his performing in Tokyo, then moving to the US and working his new band to the bone. Films about obsession can be hilarious, but also a bit difficult to watch, and this is no exception. Akio Sakurai is a fascinating character pursuing his love, but it must be very difficult to be anyone sharing his life.