Calvary (2014)

  • Director – John Michael McDonagh
  • Starring – Bredan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Domhnall Gleeson
  • Writer – John Michael McDonagh
  • Year – 2014
  • Running Time – 101 Minutes
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Right from the very first line of Calvary it is abundantly clear the direction that writer/director John Michael McDonagh (The Guard) is heading. With him, we travel on a short, but eventual trip, to spend eight dark and bleak, though at times hilarious, days in Sligo, a small town in Ireland.

Here we are introduced to Father James Levelle (Brenden Gleeson), the local troubled-priest, who whilst holding confession, hears the chilling news that his confessor plans to kill him the following Sunday, therefore giving him eight days to get his house in order. Whilst this could have been the premise for the latest Taken film, instead what we get is a note-perfect, darkly black and emotive character drama, focusing on the inner workings of a small town Irish community. (more…)

Gone Girl – 2nd Trailer

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David Fincher has always been one of favourite directors.  His filmography is littered with classics such as Fight Club, Se7en and The Social Network to name but three.  He has a gritty visual style and an ability to suck the viewer into the heart of the narrative which makes each of his films a truly immersive experience. Therefore I have followed the development of his latest project, Gone Girl, closely. The story, adapted by Gillian Flynn from her own best-selling novel, about a missing wife who leaves behind a flawed husband who seems to attract suspicion, appears to be slap bang in the middle of Fincher’s wheelhouse.

As soon as I heard Fincher was attached to the project I was keen to track the book down and read what was coming.  The book was hugely satisfying and intensified my anticipation of the film.  I was particularly taken by the lead character of Nick Dunne, who was an everyman, an average Joe who made mistakes and had flaws which were worryingly easy to identify with.  I have slight reservations that Ben Affleck may be potentially too ‘big’ for the role and that the relatable, everyman, aspect of Nick may be lost in Affleck’s persona, but it is way too early pass any judgement on this.

My main thought as I finished the book was a nagging doubt about how the more inward looking third act might transfer to the screen.  However, I have been encouraged and really quite intrigued to read that Flynn has completely rewritten the third act for the screenplay.  This is fascinating and I can’t wait to see what direction she has gone.

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of highlighting that the second trailer for Gone Girl has dropped this week, check it out below.  Gone Girl itself arrives on a screen near you in early October 2014.

Inaugural Scandinavian Film Festival 2014

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The inaugural Scandinavian Film Festival opens at exclusively Palace Electric tomorrow night (8 July) and runs through to Sunday 20 July. Over the course of 13 days, Palace Electric will play host to some of the finest Scandinavian drama, crime and comedy, courtesy of films from Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and Norway.

The festival kicks off with the Australian premiere of ‘The 100-Year- Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared’, an unexpected and extraordinary comedy based on a best-selling novel by Jonas-Jonasson which has been published in more than 35 countries. Finnish actress Laura Binn, the festival’s Ambassador and star of two festival films (Heart of a Lion and August Fools), will also be in attendance. Check out the trailer below:

The Programme

Other Swedish delights include ‘Waltz for Monica’, a glossy and classy biopic based on the life of popular Swedish jazz-singer Monica Zetturland and Swedish crime fans should find solace in the ‘Easy Money’ trilogy. Other offerings include ‘Ego’, a rom-com sure to delight with an irresistible cast and style to boot; ‘Home’, billed as an off-beat, tender and humorous perspective of those on social fringes; and ‘Hotell’, a cathartic oddball drama about an unconventional therapy group. ‘Remake’, an intimate and honest relationship drama exploring contemporary attitudes and approaches towards love, with an unexpected twist, is the final film in the programme.

Denmark offers four films: ‘Flow’ described as Nordic 8-Mile with a fresh sensibility, is an authentic rags-to-riches tale, accompanied with slick visuals and a distinct Danish beat; ‘Soap’ a soulful family drama, overflowing with expressive rock ’n’ roll reminiscent of the 60s; ‘The Hour of the Lynx’, a profound exploration of the fragility of faith and the redeeming power of love; and ‘The Keeper of Lost Causes’ a suspenseful crime thriller based on the international bestselling novel of the same name.

Three films from Norway include: ‘Ballet Boys’ a story of adolescence, new challenges, ambition and identity; ‘I Am Yours’ Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones) stars in this taut, intelligent relationship drama that skilfully depicts a complicated tangle of race, love and family; and ‘Pioneer’ a twisting tale of life, death and conspiracy in the aftermath of the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1980s, which is based on true events.

Iceland is represented by two films: ‘Metalhead’ a powerful family drama of loss and grief that respects the sounds of heavy metal without turning up the volume; and ‘Spooks and Spirits’ a ghoulish comedy of manners, misunderstandings and a haunting or two.

And finally to Finland with a triple bill of: ’21 ways to Ruin a Marriage’, this fast riotous comedy about love and marriage is one of Finland’s most successful films of all time; ‘August Fools’, a smart, uplifting comedy set in the dark context of the Cold War; and ‘Heart of a Lion’, a stirring but surprisingly funny portrait of the changing hearts and minds of a former leader of a white supremacist Neo-Nazi group freshly released from gaol.

All the above descriptions have been taken from the official programme.

So there we have it, a packed programme that can be fully downloaded here.

Screen Time: June 2014

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I used to post a weekly update on my viewing habits, which I called ‘The Week That Was’. However, as a busy father to two young children this weekly tempo was proving a little too ambitious, therefore I have taken the lead from some other fellow bloggers and reverted to a monthly schedule instead.

I have decided to call this section ‘Screen Time’ and it will follow the same basic structure as the previous weekly edition, covering my viewing habits for the preceding month split down into the following areas:

Highlights:                            What has stood out for me this month.

Cinema Screenings:            First time watches I have seen in the cinema.

Couch Screenings:                First time watches at home.

Rewatches:                            Any rewatches, either in the cinema, at home or on the move.

TV Shows:                              Any TV Shows I am currently deep into.

Score Sheet:                          The tallies for the year, so far.

So without further ado, here is how June shook down. (more…)

The Rover (2014)

  • Director – David Michod
  • Starring – Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy
  • Writer – David Michod (Story, Screenplay), Joel Edgerton (Story)
  • Year – 2014
  • Running Time – 102 minutes

 

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How far would you go and for what?

Have you ever woken up at night, not quite sure where you are or how you got there?  Well, this is a very similar feeling to the opening of The Rover, when director David Michod who previously brought us the Australian powerhouse Animal Kingdom, throws us straight into the middle of the unforgiving Australian outback and straight into the repercussions of a robbery gone wrong.

Set ’10 years after the collapse’ The Rover paints a picture of an unsettling, dangerous and diverse future, where survival depends on uneasy and temporary alliances.  Material positions are limited, hard to come by and what you have, you guard and defend with your life.  Visual clues litter the landscape, which hint at what may have led to ‘the collapse’ but the true nature is never explained, nor is it needed.  What is important is the present; the past does not matter and the future uncertain. (more…)