Joker

Oct 02, 19 Joker

IN CINEMAS OCTOBER 3

SYNOPSIS:

Director Todd Phillips “Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.


https://roadshow.com.au/titles/movies/wb/2019/joker

Thanks to Roadshow Films

REVIEW:

Nerida

Whether you end up loving or hating Joker; Todd Phillip’s gritty and Scorsese-like take on the legendary DC comics villain – there’s no denying that the cinematic comic book adaptations landscape has been changed forever.

Just as Nolan changed our expectations for what a comic book film can be with his Dark Knight trilogy, Joker’s examination of the birth of a nefarious villain hellbent on chaos and anarchy is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before – stripping the well known character back to the bare basics as we’re introduced to the sad life of the misunderstood and unloved Arthur Fleck.

Sharing more in common with dramas such as Taxi Driver and Serpico, rather than it’s other comic book cousins, Phillip’s and his mindbogglingly good leading man Joaquin Phoenix take us into the mind of a broken man trying to fit into a world that doesn’t want to open its arms to him – in what’s an engaging, cant look away, character study that slowly but surely descends into a dark and uncomfortable place that befits the name and reputation of its title being.

It may seem far to early to call, but I for one am confident in saying that Phoenix’s full embodiment of Fleck goes down as one of the most singularly impressive acting turns of not only the decade, but all time.
Phoenix commands every second of screen time he gets in Phillips dark tale, in what must surely be the biggest sure fire bet for an Oscar you could ever hope to get.

From the way in which Fleck appears physically, from a simple walk, through to a slight facial tick, right through to a haunting and hard to forget collection of haunting laughs, Phoenix appears in virtually every scene of Joker and never ones fails to enthrall. In doing so he’s managed to do the seemingly impossible of allowing us to understand a deeply flawed and depraved creature, but a creature you begin to understand and at times even feel sympathy towards.

For all the great incarnations of the character, it’s hard to think of a better way in which the Joker could be born into existence and by bringing his own flavour and nuances to Fleck. There’s no point in comparing Phoenix to Heath Ledger’s iconic take on the face painted mad man, with this take a whole different beast entirely.

As good as Phoenix is, it would’ve only taken the film so far had Phillip’s and his team not come to the party – but for a relatively small budgeted film, Joker’s astounding overall quality ensures it can comfortably sit in the top class of 2019 films.

It’s amazing to think that this is a film from the same man that gave us Old School and The Hangover ,but Joker sees Phillip’s grow into a whole new level with his on point direction, giving Joker an epic and unforgettable cinematic verve that brings it’s A game to match its captivating leading man.

While first and foremost a believable tale of a man pushed to the edge of his already teetering limits, Joker also manages to throw in a number of surprising narrative and comic book throwbacks that will be no doubt be discussed ad-nauseam by die-hard fans and naturally tie together Fleck’s story to a much broader universe without ever feeling forced or unnatural – all within a tale that is as confronting and even topical as you’d get regardless of genre.

Final Say –

Bleak, beautiful and boundlessly inventive, led by a Joaquin Phoenix performance for the ages, Joker is an outstanding cinematic achievement that’s sure to be talked about for years yet to come.



read more

Ad Astra

Sep 23, 19 Ad Astra

IN CINEMAS NOW

SYNOPSIS:

A paranoid thriller in space that follows Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) on a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.

https://www.foxmovies.com/movies/ad-astra

Thanks to 20th Century Fox Australia

REVIEW:

Nerida

How much Brad Pitt acting do you really need to sell you on this movie? I’m gonna start with a compliment, before I dive into what I feel are my major flaws with this film. Brad, as expected, is excellent.

The visual aesthetic is incredible! This project simply looks beautiful; every few minutes there will be amazing wide-angle space shots, exquisite astral images and gorgeous planets. Even the directive choices are pretty clever – they add a few front-angle jump scenes,and first-person perspective shots, that gives you this really cool video-game vibe; Kinda like you’re playing a video game. I saw it in VMax at Event Cinemas, so I was spellbound the entire time.

The rest of this film is a real slog-fest. After a very enticing first act, this movie get sloooowww. By the 60 minute mark, you’ll feel the dip; 90 minutes in,and I was just waiting for it to end. That’s not entirely a bad thing – if slow films are your vibe, you won’t mind this. But for me, I just got a bit bored.

The plot also didn’t interest me. The key focus is a father-son relationship, which is fine, but not what I expected. The sub-plots in this story would’ve made for much stronger content. There’s a mission on the far side of the moon, where they’re ambushed by lunar space pirates (which lasts 2 minutes). There’s a rescue mission, stylised as horror, where experimental primates take over a space shuttle (this is about 10 minutes). There’s an entire mini-segment about humans living on mars that is literally 20 minutes. The rest of the story is just dedicated towards his father, which is a let down.

This eventually led to a very underwhelming, unsatisfying climax, which had me going: “Just end it. Say what you need to say, and finish it already. I don’t care anymore”. Honestly, towards the end, I didn’t even want to know what happens, because anything I found interesting was brushed off.

Its really not as horrible as I’m making it sound; its just underused and wasted potential. I, personally, would not recommend it if you’re expecting a bit of action and a draw to keep you entertained; but if you’re happy with the pretty pictures, Brad Pitt, and don’t mind a slower based film, I think you will enjoy it.

read more

Spider-man : Far From Home

Jul 05, 19 Spider-man : Far From Home

IN CINEMAS NOW

SYNOPSIS:

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. 


https://www.spidermanfarfromhome.movie

Thanks to Sony Pictures Australia

REVIEW:

Nerida

The MCU is in great hands! I personally have been of the opinion that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man and that the MCU has handled Spider-Man better than previous iterations. I believe Far From Home is proof of that.

I am blown away at the quality of this film – The writing, action, story, and characters are all at a higher calibre than we’ve seen in most of the previous MCU films. I did not once find myself bored. I was always entertained by some aspect of the movie. The high school romance, the elemental battles, and most of all Mysterio.

Mysterio was the big highlight of this. I never thought I’d see Mysterio on the big screen and now we have him in movie where he is done PERFECTLY. He was absolutely flawless and a big stand out character of the MCU. Jake Gyllenhal was born for this role and was used to the fullest of his abilities and the characters abilities.

In the end, this is what Spider-Man should be. Tom Holland is fantastic and is set to lead the future of the MCU.



read more

Balloon

May 31, 19 Balloon

IN CINEMAS NOW as part of the
GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL

SYNOPSIS:

Known for Germany’s all-time biggest grossing movies Manitou’s Shoe (2001) and Dreamship Surprise (2004), comedy personality Michael “Bully” Herbig now makes his directing foray into thrillers, recreating a gripping historical event.

1979, East Germany at the height of the Cold War. Günter Wetzel (David Kross, The Reader), a bricklayer, and his friend Peter Strelzyk (Friedrich Mücke), an electrician, can no longer bear the oppressive regime. The two men and their wives resolve to undertake a mission to secretly build a hot air balloon from scratch that will carry them and their families over the border fence to freedom. Over the course of the next 18 months they sew 1,000 square metres of cloth and gather countless weather reports from West German radio with the Stasi (State Police) hot on their heels. A nerve-racking battle against the clock begins…

https://germanfilmfestival.com.au

Thanks to Palace Cinemas & The German Film Festival

REVIEW:

Nerida

‘Why do we bother guarding the border? Wouldn’t we be better off without those traitors?’ This question by a Stasi-official pinpoints the paradox of communism: if a system without freedom would be better than a free society, why would citizens escape this system? The German film ‘Balloon’ doesn’t elaborate on the pros and cons of political systems; instead, it is a thriller filled with suspense, about two families trying to cross the border between East and West in a home made hot air balloon. The thriller-element is far more important than the political side of the story. The director doesn’t shy away from classic Hollywood screenwriting clichés, but he gets away with it.

I was gripped by the story, although it’s clear that it’s made more exciting than it was in reality. The excellent Wikipedia-entry ‘East German balloon escape’ is interesting reading material for those who want to compare the film with reality. Besides being a fine thriller, ‘Balloon’ also shows very well the effects authoritarian societies has on its citizens. They risk their own lives and those of their young children, in order to stop living in a big lie. Many films have shown the gruesome aspects of East German communism, but this brings you another aspect of it all.

read more

Crazy Rich Asians

Aug 21, 18 Crazy Rich Asians

IN CINEMAS AUGUST 30!

SYNOPSIS:

The story follows New Yorker Rachel Chu (Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.

Thanks to Roadshow

#CrazyRichAsians

 

REVIEW:

Nerida

The romantic comedy genre is a flavour that gets a bad rap for being one-note and heavily playing on sappy/silly tropes, even if that is not always the case. I have learned to expand my horizons when it comes to the genre and fit more good titles in there that don’t necessary hit that mark. Last year, we were graced with the best of the genre staple I’ve seen in a long time in The Big Sick because of its strong writing. I am pleased to say that we have a winner again this year, and a lot of it has everything to do with how the editing complements the writing and directing.

 

Crazy Rich Asians is an entry that treads lightly on both the romance and comedy (there are plenty of laughs to be had, I just never got an abs workout or fell out of my chair is all) and instead delivers a story built around culture, respect and trust, taking pages from Meet the Parents and The Devil Wears Prada. It is an absolutely accessible film for all audience members. Through framing, editing and choice of music, director Jon Chu finds a way of bringing about action in a film that is entirely devoid of it. He really highlights Singapore as a character in the film full of vibrancy and vivacity, claiming set-pieces to dictate entire acts of the story. There is a lot of symbolism that is foreshadowed very subtly, and almost everything has a payoff instead of making the audience question what a certain setup was meant for. We get to see the crazy-rich invite us to their fantastical routines as side-characters like Awkwafina hilariously bask it all in and takes nothing for granted. We envy their possessions, even if we may not envy their lifestyle.

 

Our main protagonist couple is a duo worth rooting for as they yearn for a cathartic endgame with one another, despite what morals stand in their way. They drive the story’s purpose, but they are on the bland end of personality when it comes to delivering the comedic goods, and this is totally okay; they let those around them bring us most of the character and laughs. A couple of them are thrown in for the cheap shtick, but there are nearly a dozen characters which get the limelight with their own romantic subplots. This ends up being more than just one love story, and normally I would consider this a detriment but this drawn out middle act of the film spends a lot of time establishing tangible and intangible values, and these characters’ interactions are a big part of that. We get a lot of conversation regarding the betterment of characters from each side of the proverbial fence that separates rich versus not-rich, Chinese versus American cultures, and wants versus needs. In a movie that could have easily only stated messages for an elite class of individuals or specific ethnic group, they spend a long time catering to the other 99% so we can be a part of the journey and not just seeing it from a particular lens.

 

From the earlier marketing, I did not expect this movie to win me over. It did, and I think you will feel the same if/when you decide to check this one out. Story-wise I felt some unevenness, but Jon Chu strikes enough visual flair to make a duvet out of a blanket. What could have been a tedious sitting was instead a raucously good time, and I really feel like there is something for everybody here. It is a recommended watch. Go check it out.

read more

BlackKklansman

Aug 15, 18 BlackKklansman

IN CINEMAS AUGUST 16!

SYNOPSIS:

From visionary director Spike Lee comes the provocative story based on Ron Stallworth’s real life as Colorado Springs’s first African-American police officer who went undercover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Unbelievably, Detective Stallworth (John David Washington) and his partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) penetrate the KKK at its highest levels to thwart its attempt to take over the city. Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award® winning Get Out, Spike Lee uses his trademark take-no-prisoner style and humour to tell this story often missing from the history books.

Thanks to Universal Pictures Australia

#Blackkklansman

 

REVIEW:

Nerida

Spike Lee remains one of the most interesting American directors working at this moment, regardless of the varying quality of his work as of late, it’s immediately apparent with any of his projects that even in his early 60s he remains just as eager to experiment and indulge as he was when he got out of film school. Even his outright bad films contain so much cinematic flair and so many flat out ballsy choices, that they are worth watching. BlacKkKlansman, his best film of late, bounces with so much energy that it’s easy to forget how much of the runtime is given to discussion, how much is dedicated for varying parties to reveal their view points and logic. Its a film which bounces effortlessly between black comedy and police procedural, which is filled equally with gut busting wit and sweat inducing suspense, and most importantly which never skimps on entertainment. But Lee is always aware that his film is first and foremost a vehicle to deliver social commentary, and he ends the film on a left field gut punch the likes of which haven’t been seen since Do the Right Thing. After 2 hours of laughter and a good time, the final frames of this film left me speechless in a way that few films have, and crystallise the films message in the boldest terms imaginable. Many people will hate this film because of its politics, because it states things that are frankly uncomfortable to think about, but the message is supported by top notch craftsmanship, the film making on display is inspired to say the least, and it feels like Lee is again filled with the same infectious energy which made him a legend 30 years ago.

read more