Season of the Witch (2011) Film Review

It’s the fourteenth century, Nicholas Cage, Ron Pearlman and some others are knights travelling the world when they are asked to transport a witch to a monastery where the monks are planning to try to ascertain whether she has caused the black plague and to figure out how to deal with that whole situation.

This is a terrible move, by all accounts. The plot makes little sense, the acting is inconsistent and confusing, there is really little to redeem it. And, of course, I kind of loved it. Sometimes, especially mid plague (or pandemic) there’s nothing like a bullshit movie about the plague to get you through.

The Croods (2013) Film Review


Meet the Croods – father Grug (Nicholas Cage), mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), Gran (Cloris Leachman) and the kids, including the eldest, daughter Eep (Emma Stone). After seeing many of the families around them killed through a variety of factors, Grug keeps them safe most of the time in a cave. But Eep is not happy with this, and wants to be free. Then she meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a different kind of person who showed then a different way to life their lives, and after their cave is destroyed, they need to follow him or meet their end.

I loved that the women in this film were not drawn as spindly, crazy-skinny stick figures, but had some shape and spunk. It’s a fun film, yes the morals are pretty stock standard for a kids animation – parents need to let their kids make mistakes and cannot protect them forever no matter how dangerous the world may be. But it was fun, with a good sense of humour and just a lot of good, nice stuff going on.


The Croods was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film and a BAFTA for BAFTA Kids Vote – Feature Film.

Joe (2013) MIFF Review


US   90 Mins

Joe (Nicholas Cage) is a hard-living, chain-smoking, heavy-drinking man living in Mississippi, running a work crew who are poisoning trees in the forest so they can be cleared for a pine tree plantation. Gary (Tye Sheridan) comes to work for him, a fifteen-year-old who is trying to support his family despite the selfish behavior of his destructively alcoholic father, Wade (Gary Poulter).

A couple of days after watching Joe, it keeps playing in my mind. It was such a hard film.

The slow pace dragged out the pain that the characters are going through and raised the torment for the audience – and this was particularly painful during the scenes with the evil Willie-Russell (Ronnie Gene Blevins). Joe loses control a few times and this would have been the perfect place for some crazy Nicholas Cage acting, but instead it was a considered and sinister release of the rage we see building up throughout the rest of the film.  Tye Sheridan is rapidly building a great rep, and I hope that he has good support and is able to continue to pick strong roles and build an excellent career.

I was surprised to learn that, apart from a few of the key actors, most characters are played by non-professional actors, including Gary Poulter who played Wade. I find this type of casting often doesn’t work as I become distracted by the poor acting, but not in this film. Wow. Just… wow.

Joe is screening at 9pm on Monday August 4 at Hoyts and at 6:30pm on Thursday August 7 at The Capital. Book tickets at MIFF or call 9662 3722

Kick-Ass (2010) Film Review


Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) was a really normal, somewhat geeky guy, loving comic books and wondering about the state of the world. So, he becomes Kick-Ass – a real life comic hero. But when things get real, he needs to be saved by some real superheroes: Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and his eleven-year-old daughter Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz). But they have an ultimate goal – to get the king pin who ruined their life, Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). D’Amico’s son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) offers to help, but things get out of control. And then they must… Kick Ass.

The film got a lot of flack from many sides for having an eleven-year-old killing people left right and centre and using very foul language, but dammit – it’s great. Very violent and gruesome, but very, very funny and ace.