Universal Pictures have this morning released the trailer for THE WHITE CROW. Directed by Ralph Fiennes, the film tells the incredible true story of legendary Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and his defection to the West in 1961.
A young man of just 22, dressed in a black beret and a dark narrow suit, is on an aeroplane flying from St Petersburg to Paris. It is 1961 and Rudolf Nureyev, not yet the imperious figure of legend, is a member of the world-renowned Kirov Ballet Company, travelling for the first time outside the Soviet Union.
Parisian life delights Nureyev and the young dancer is eager to consume all the culture, art and music the dazzling city has to offer. But the KGB officers who watch his every move become increasingly suspicious of his behaviour and his friendship with the young Parisienne Clara Saint. When they finally confront Nureyev with a shocking demand, he is forced to make a heart-breaking decision, one that may change the course of his life forever and put his family and friends in terrible danger.
From Nureyev’s poverty-stricken childhood in the Soviet city of Ufa, to his blossoming as a student dancer in Leningrad, to his arrival at the epicentre of western culture in Paris in the early 1960s and a nail-biting stand-off at the Le Bourget airport, “THE WHITE CROW” is the true story of an incredible journey by a unique artist who transformed the world of ballet forever.
Transmission Films has released a new trailer for RIDE LIKE A GIRL, the feature film about Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. It is the directorial debut from renowned actor Rachel Griffiths and stars Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton, Magda Szubanski and introduces Stevie Payne. RIDE LIKE A GIRL will be released in cinemas on 26th September 2019 and the film will captivate and inspire families across Australia.
As a little girl, Michelle Payne dreams of the impossible: winning the Melbourne Cup — horse-racing’s toughest two-mile race. The youngest of 10 children, Michelle is raised by single father Paddy. She leaves school at 15 to become a jockey and after early failures she finds her feet, but a family tragedy, followed by her own near fatal horse fall all but ends the dream. But with the love of her dad and her brother Stevie, Michelle will not give up. Against all the medical advice, and the protests of her siblings, she rides on, and meets Prince of Penzance. Together they overcome impossible odds for a shot at the dream: a ride in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, at odds of 100 to 1. The rest is history.
Universal Pictures are this morning pleased to release the trailer for Blinded By The Light, a joyous, coming-of-age story about a teenager who learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the words and music of Bruce Springsteen.
Set in 1987, during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is a joyous, coming-of-age story about a teenager who learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the words and music of Bruce Springsteen.
Forget Game Of Thrones and forget The Walking Dead brand new film Mary Queen Of Scots is going to show that the battle for supremacy in our own real world history is more intriguing than anything that Hollywood could ever dream up.
The film chronicles the struggles that both Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) and Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) had against the threat to each and also the threats and obstacles that presented themselves amongst their own Kingdoms. Both are strong women from our past and both are brought to life brilliantly well by the talented Roan and Robbie.
For Robbie this was a chance to do something a little different seeing she will be playing in Harley Quinn in three new DC films slated for the next few years and she says that the idea of playing Queen Elizabeth captivated her from the start.
“The script was amazing,” she says. “As soon as I read it I knew that it was going to be something special. The idea of Saoirse playing Mary and Josie directing there was definitely a sense of girl-power around this project and there were already so many other women on board that I admired. It was not a character that I immediately gravitated towards, Elizabeth herself, the movie and the idea was very enticing and I really wanted to work with Saoirse. I had met her personally and loved her the moment that I had met her and I have been watching her work for years and I think she is incredible and then the moment you talk to Josie you see that she is so smart, she had such a relatable perspective on this story and I wanted to be part of it. I guess the short answer is I just didn’t feel worthy of being Elizabeth and that is why I originally passed on the movie. I said this is going to be an incredible movie but I am not the right actress, you should get somebody else to play Queen Elizabeth… somebody else will be a way better. But Josie was relentless and she said ‘I want it to be you’ and I said ‘why? Why me? I can think of ten other actresses who could play this a lot better than me.’ That was when she said “I don’t want you to play a Queen I want you to play a woman.” And I was like “Yeah I can do that, I can definitely do that.”
Going away and doing some research also changed Robbie’s perspective on Elizabeth as a character. “Then I felt empathy for her,” she explains. “I really felt for her, to me she had a really tragic life, before that my image of her had been grand halls and servants, I guess I assumed that Elizabeth had had a really easy life, a very cushioned and luxurious life when in reality it was anything but.”
She says that history has also changed how people viewed the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. “I think history has painted them as two rivals, one big cat-fight,” she says carefully. “But I think they both yearned, certainly I believe Elizabeth yearned, for that shared experience, that bond – that relationship and there was just constantly men in the way conspiring to keep them apart and pt them against each other. Their relationship was extremely complicated because on what hand that yearned to find that bond and almost feel comforted by the fact that somebody understands the position you are in, that had a very special sisterhood and there are many letters that showed how intimate they really were, but at the same time the mere existence of one threatened the existence of the other so there was constantly male advisors in their ears, conspiring against them and warning them. I enjoyed finding that inner conflict inside Elizabeth that really wanted Mary to succeed, because that would show that you really could rule with your heart and it would work.”
Mary Queen Of Scots opens in Australia on the 17th January.
A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th October 2018
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Damien Chazelle
Screenwriter: Josh Singer, James R. Hansen (based on the book by)
Cast: Christopher Abbott (Dave Scott), Mark Armstrong (Paul Haney), Chandler Barron (Scott Carpenter), Skyler Bible (Richard Gordon), Connor Colton Blodgett (Mark Armstrong), Leon Bridges (Gil Scott-Heron), Callie Brown (Young Bonnie White), Kyle Chandler (Deke Slayton), Jason Clarke (Ed White), Steve Coulter (Guenter Wendt), Ethan Embry (Pete Conrad), J.D. Evermore (Chris Kraft), Ryan Clay Forbes (Bill Anders), Claire Foy (Janet Armstrong), Patrick Fugit (Eliott See), Matthew Glave (Chuck Yaeger), Ryan Gosling (Neil Armstong), Edmund Grant (Older Ed White Jnr.), Choppy Guillotte (John Young), Lukas Haas (Mike Collins), Oliver Hamilton (Pat White), James R. Hansen (Dr. Kurt Debus), Robert Hatch (Joe Schmitt), Braydyn Nash Helms (Young Eddie White Jnr.), Ciaran Hinds (Bob Gilruth), Helen S. Jackson (Louise Sheron), Brian d’Arcy James (Joe Walker), Shaun Eric Jones (Wally Schirra), Jonathon Kankolenski (Young Edward Higgins II), John F. Kennedy (himself – archive), Michael Lee Kimel (Bill Moon), William Gregory Lee (Gordon Cooper), Dutin Lewis (Ralph Morse), George Linkenback (Col. Frank Borman), Ben Owen (John Hodge), Greg Puckett (Charles Berry), Willie Repoley (Jim Fucci), Kermit Rolison (George Mueller), Pablo Schreiber (Jim Lovell), Margo Schroeder (June Hoffman Armstrong), Brady Smith (Butch Butchart), Claire Smith (Older Bonnie White), Corey Michael Smith (Roger Chaffee), Lucy Brooke Stafford (Karen Armstrong), Andrew Stahl (Ken Mattingly), Jim Stearns (David Hammock), Corey Stoll (Buzz Aldrin), Kris Swanberg (Marilyn See), William G. Tomek (Donald Babbitt), Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (himself – archive), Kent Wagner (Fred Haise), Gavin Warren (Young Rick Armstrong), John David Whalen (John Glenn), Shea Whigham (Gus Grissom), Luke Winters (Older Rick Armstrong), Perry Zulu Jnr. (Robert Lawrence)
Runtime: 141 mins
OUR FIRST MAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths Review:
When you think of space exploration we now days think of the romanticised Hollywood version of space travel. Unless you can think back to realistic movies like Apollo 13 it is easy to forget that it only takes a second for space exploration to become a nightmare for all involved. Sure we have sci-fi movies like Aliens that enhance the extra-terrestrial horror that many believe might be out there, somewhere, but very few films capture the horrors of the unknown and the impact it had on its first explorers like First Man does.
Director Damian Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) doesn’t have to develop scary looking aliens in order to create horror for intrepid test pilot and engineer Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling – Drive, Blue Valentine) and his wife Janet (Claire Foy – Season Of The Witch, Vampire Academy). Like he did with Whiplash Chazelle just shows human life in its purest form… which for this family provided more horror than most couples could withstand. From the loss of their daughter which led to Armstrong joining the NASA Space Program in the first place, dangerous test missions that place Neil’s life in danger nearly every day through to the anguish that Janet endures on the days she knows that her husband is doing such tests. Chazelle just stirs the pot and lets the human emotions in the film bubble and boil until they explode.
Neil and Janet’s solace come from their best friends Ed White (Jason Clarke – Zero Dark Thirty, Terminator Genisys), his wife Pat (Olivia Hamilton – Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot, The Last Tycoon) and Neil’s immediate boss the caring yet determined Deke Slayton (Kyle Chandler – Friday Night Lights, Argo). Even so Pat and Janet’s ‘talking’ is normally disguised as children’s play dates, Neil seems happy to talk to Ed about the mission but pushes him away when the talk turns personal and while Deke does what he can to help his test pilots at the same time he is the man who has to make tough calls like switching off intercoms so wives can’t hear their husbands in peril and writing death announcements for missions he has to appear to be ‘confident’ for.
First Man could have easily suffered from Titanic-syndrome, a film where the audience knows the ultimate outcome and therefore just sits on the edge of their seat waiting for the expected finale but here Chazelle, who is aided brilliantly by his screenwriter Josh Singer (The West Wing, The Post), takes the audience on a different kind of journey. He captures moments they never told us about during our High School science classes. The raw, claustrophobic feel a test pilot feels as he hurled into orbit in what seems like a sardine can that they aren’t even sure will make the journey, the moments that wives find out that their husbands haven’t returned from a flight and the protests that occurred in America when the loss of life made people realise that these test pilots were really guinea pigs in what seemed like a cruel experiment. Then of course there is the tension an astronaut’s job puts on his family life and here we see painful moments such as the one where Janet has to plead with Neil to tell his children that he may not come back from his moon mission.
Just like he did with Whiplash Chazelle also brings out the best in his cast and helps them bring their character’s pain and anguish to the fore. Claire Foy delivers her best role to date and if she doesn’t at least receive an Oscar nomination for this performance then something is seriously wrong. As an actress she delivers on every level as Janet is put through an emotional ringer and these are the kinds of performances that the Academy should be applauding – ones that test an actress and her acting abilities. Equally good is Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong. When cast as an All-American hero, a real life Captain America if you will, you wouldn’t expect an actor to have to become emotional dark and foreboding, but that is exactly what is expected of Gosling here. Forget his pretty boy looks because here Gosling calls on the acting skills that saw him create memorable characters in films like Drive or The Place Beyond The Pines… he is absolutely brilliant.
First Man is the first film of 2018 that I have seen where my thought throughout was ‘this needs to be an Oscar film.’ From start to finish it felt like the film was taking me on a claustrophobic ride with its characters. The sequences in which the pilots are conducting test flights are moments of sheer cinematic masterpiece, where visuals and sound effects come together in a way that creates a horror that you never expected. This combined by outstanding dramatic acting performances from its leads and again I find myself putting the five stars down on a Damian Chazelle film. First Man is sheer brilliance, a lesson in dramatic filmmaking.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment First Man Reviews: N/A
Summary: As the worst opera singer in the world, Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) prepares to take her career to dizzying new heights a young pianist, Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg) finds himself swept up into the world of lies that Florence’s hsuband , St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), has set up in order to protect her feelings.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th May 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United Kingdom, France
Director: Stephen Frears
Screenwriter: Nicholas Martin
Cast: Nina Arianda (Agnes Stark), Mark Arnold (Cole Porter), Richard Bevan (Stubbs), Dar Dash (Antonio), Carl Davis (Orlando Adams), Paola Dionisotti (Baroness Le Feyre), Rebecca Ferguson (Kathleen), Aida Garifullina (Lily Pons), Hugh Grant (St Clair Bayfield), David Haig (Carlo Edwards), Simon Helberg (Cosme McMoon), Tony Honickberg (Mr. Levi), John Kavanagh (Arturo Toscanini), James Sobol Kelly (Edgar), Elliot Levey (Edgar Booth Cunningham Jr.), Greg Lockett (Chuck), Nat Luurtsema (Tallulah Bankhead), Danny Mahoney (Clifford B Thornton III), Simon Markson (Charlie), Christian McKay (Earl Wilson), David Menkin (Carlton Smith), David Mills (Augustus Corbin), Georgina Morton (Pearl), Josh O’Connor (Donaghy), Sid Phoenix (Corporal Jones), Jonathan Plowright (Ernest Ziegler), Phillp Rosch (Archie), Liza Ross (Mrs. EE Paterson), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins),
Runtime: 110 mins
OUR FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The world of cinema can be a strange, strange place. Whenever a film comes out I hear people talking about what demographic the film will appeal to, whether it will appeal to men or women etc. I’ve never really taken much notice of it because when it comes to films my tastes are pretty varied. While I love my horror and science-fiction I can also settle down and watch a movie meant for kids, like Monster’s Inc. and enjoy it as well. The same with movies meant for older people, take 45 Years for an example, while some said it was for older people I enjoyed it to the point where it has been one of my favourite films of this year.
But now comes a film that is making me re-think whether some films are meant for different ages, and that film is Florence Foster Jenkins. Now I’m not going to sit here and say I hated the film because I didn’t. For me it was just a mediocre film, it didn’t bore me but it didn’t exactly have me labelling it a classic either. What did surprise me was the comedy aspect of the film. Sure the first couple of times Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) warbled horribly as Florence Foster Jenkins I chuckled, but there were some older members of the audience I was in who laughed themselves stupid every time Florence attempted to sing. Yes it really did have that kind of effect on the older audience.
So why was Streep singing so badly off key? Because in this film she plays Florence Foster Jenkins, a real life character who during the 1940s made a name for herself for literally being a bad singer. And while anyone that every heard her would know she was a dreadful singer she was spared those details by the fact that her husband, St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant – Notting Hill) did everything in his power to make sure she never found out the truth. That included paying music critics and making sure anyone who ever laughed during her performances was quickly turfed out of the venue.
During the film we see Florence start off at a small level of singing for small groups of people but as she plans to take her career even further, to the point of recording a single and performing on bigger stages, she decides to team up with a young piano player named Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg – The Big Bang Theory) who quickly finds himself having to get used to St Clair and Florence’s web of lies.
As far as the film goes despite being very light hearted in style in does get to you emotionally. Such is the power of director Stephen Frears (The Queen) and screenwriter Nicholas Martin’s (Midsomer Murders) style of filmmaking that many of the scenes of the ailing Florence really do start to get you, so much so that you do want her to be happy. That style of filmmaking also raises suspense at times when you wonder how some people will be react to Florence’s singing and how their reaction will affect her.
It is those kinds of scenes that make this film well worth watching but there are also some downsides to Florence Foster Jenkins as well, and those largely centre around a huge issue in the casting. As you would expect from a film like this Meryl Streep puts in a brilliant emotionally driven performance and while Hugh Grant does match her remarkable well for me it felt like he was miscast in the role of Florence’s husband. While the wardrobe department have done all they can to ‘age’ Grant for the role it does come across as very creepy matching at times during the film… yes almost as creepy as the pairing of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery in Entrapment. Having said that though Grant does put in a good and charming performance, he’s just in a role that he should never have been cast in.
The other actor who really impresses in this film is Simon Helberg who most people will know as Howard Wolowitz on the successful comedy series The Big Bang Theory. Herlberg has shown throughout his television career that he has impeccable comedic timing and he certainly brings that to his character here – the socially awkward and very innocent McMoon. To his credit Helberg not only matches Streep and Grant’s performances but sometimes even manages to steal the limelight with his creative facial expressions.
Maybe I didn’t find Florence Foster Jenkins as funny as some of the other people screening that I was in but I still found it a heartfelt film that grows on you the longer it goes on.
Summary: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th October, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: 4th March, 2015
Country: UK, France
Director: Matthew Warchus
Screenwriter: Stephen Beresford
Cast: Jack Baggs (Gary), Derek Barr (Brian), Jessie Cave (Zoe), Paddy Considine (Dai), Monica Dolan (Marion), Dyfan Dwyfor (Lee), Mary-Anne Dymond (Rowena), Sophie Evans (Debbie), Karina Fernandez (Stella), Matthew Flynn (Tony), Freddie Fox (Jeff), Johnny Gibbon (Johnny), Joseph Gilgun (Mike), Jessica Gunning (Sian), Nia Gwynne (Gail), Joshua Hill (Ray), Jan Leeming (herself), George MacKay (Joe), Faye Marsay (Steph), Laura Matthews (Tina), Rhodri Meilir (Martin), Jordan Metcalfe (Charlie), Bill Nighy (Cliff), Chris Overton (Reggie), Lisa Palfrey (Maureen), Bryan Parry (Kevin), Feargal Quinn (Jimmy Sommerville), Kyle Rees (Carl), Ben Schnetzer (Mark), Andrew Scott (Gethin), Lee Shepherd (Rhodri), Imelda Staunton (Hefina), Margaret Thatcher (herself), Russell Tovey (Tim), Menna Trussler (Gwen), Dominic West (Jonathan), Liz White (Margaret), Richard Whiteley (himself), Joseph Wilkins (Jason)
Runtime: 120 mins
OUR PRIDE REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Pride is a film based in semi-recent history. The screenplay was written by Stephen Beresford and the film directed by Matthew Warchus.
The story revolves around the miners’ strike in Britain in 1984 and the persecution the mineworkers suffered at the hands of the Thatcher government and the police. Contrasting this is the gay rights movement in London and one gay activist group’s plan to take action and help out another disaffected group of people by raising funds for the mineworkers and their families.
The picture and the place-and-time are set instantly to recreate the Eighties and archive news footage shows us the situations going on with each of the main groups. To take us into this world we meet Joe (George MacKay), affectionately nicknamed “Bromley” after his hometown, on his twentieth birthday – which just happens to be gay pride day. Suddenly inspired to march he joins in with the gay pride activists, hoping to ‘blend in’. Instead, he gets thrust into the limelight, holding a sign for attention. He soon joins in gathering funds for the miners as established activist, Mark (Ben Schnetzer), takes up the cause. From there the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) movement is born and we are thrust into the main story.
On his journey, as is paralleled by the main plot, Joe finds his identity, new friendships, belonging and a cause. His awkwardness echoes the awkwardness between the two antithetical communities as they band together.
Differing opinions within each group show the difficulty of the merger and of dealing with people’s uneducated phobias, but clever humour is used to lighten the tension and resolve issues in an entertaining fashion. A witty play on the stereotypes and expected ‘ignorance’ is used to effect to make things entertaining and take things out of predictable realms.
The personal stories of some of our characters show us the effects that the mineworkers’ situation and the fight for gay rights have on those affected. These human insights give us an emotional connection and draw us further into the plot. We see the fight for survival, the AIDS epidemic – the character of Jonathan Blake was the second-diagnosed person with HIV in London, but is still living strong to this day – self-identity, coming-out and acceptance by your family and those you love.
Gethin, our gay Welsh character, bridges the gap between the two worlds and adds a human expression with his feelings of being unable to return home after being rejected by his mother. As the two camps come together he is finally moved to take-part in the union and humour is used to make light of his awkwardness; breaking in a scene that shows how they are all growing comfortable with each other.
The human element is at the core of the story. We follow this in Joe’s first-gay-steps, his first kiss, his outing to his family… Conversely, we see Maureen’s (Lisa Palfrey) bigotry and how this affects her actions to further her own agenda and to shield her sons from something she has misunderstood. We see the desperation of the mining families in a scene where two of the characters butter bread for sandwiches that have no other fillings. The clever humour is used to show a serious situation in a very accessible way.
Detail has gone into design, set-dressing and wardrobe to set the period perfectly. The colour of the Eighties shapes the London scenes and the grey of the Welsh mining town of Onllwyn. The crazy colour of the period is nicely toned and selected in deliberate pallets in all aspects to keep the visuals pleasant. The grading of the colours are muted more at the start of the film and become bright and bold at the end, subliminally showing a ‘brighter future.’
The story shows the characters at their best and worst and what they take from it all, making for a very engaging and powerful story. We see how the story gets turned around at the end and how far the two communities have come to support each other. We see the power that comes from people coming together; even if not all major battles are won, the amazing feats of people uniting under a common cause has the power to change things, even in small ways and this has a compounding effect. We even get to glimpse the ‘changed hearts’ of Maureen’s sons are they are there to support the gay community at the end, having overcome their own misinformed cynicisms.
Exceptional performances from the whole cast brought the characters to life. Of note was Jessica Gunning as Sian who really ‘comes-out’ in her own right; taking what she has learnt to further herself and eventually became a member of parliament.
Summary: It should be one of the happiest days of Bernie Webber’s (Chris Pine) life. Becoming engaged to his girlfriend, the beautiful Miriam (Holliday Grainger), Bernie’s aim is to go to work at the Coast Guard station where he is stationed and go through the ritual of asking his boss, Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana), if he can get married.
As fate would have it though one of the worst storms to ever hit the United States strikes on that very day. Offshore two oil tankers split in half and while the Coast Guard rushes to save the crew of one they have no idea that another is in difficultly until the alarm is raised much later. As Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) battles to keep his crew alive Bernie finds himself being sent on a mission to rescue them, with a crew of his own –a crew that doesn’t trust him as his last rescue ended in the loss of life.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd March 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Craig Gillespie
Screenwriter: Eric Johnson, Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Casey Sherman (book), Michael J. Tougias (book)
Cast: Casey Affleck (Ray Sybert), Savannah Rae Allen (Eliza), Eric Bana (Daniel Cluff),Abraham Benrubi (George ‘Tiny’ Myers), Rachel Brosnahan (Bea Hansen), Danny Connelly (Dave Ryder), Alexander Cook (John Stello), Ben Foster (Richard Livesey), Jesse Gabbard (Domingo Garcia), Kyle Gallner (Andy Fitzgerald), Holliday Grainger (Miriam Webber), Beau Knapp (Mel Gouthro), Benjamin Koldyke (Donald Bangs), Keiynan Lonsdale (Eldon Hanan), John Magaro (Ervin Maske), Matthew Maher (Carl Nickerson), Graham McTavish (Frank Fauteux), John Ortiz (Wallace Quiery), Chris Pine (Bernie Webber), Michael Raymond-James (D.A. Brown), Angela Hope Smith (Catherine Paine), Josh Stewart (Tchuda Southerland)
Runtime: 117 mins
OUR THE FINEST HOURS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Sometimes when a film is released you just have to shake your head at what the distributors think they are doing with the film. Disney’s choice to release The Finest Hours in Australia with no media screenings and only in limited cinemas is a baffling one. Traditionally, disaster films always do well in Australia and not only that The Finest Hours is certainly not the kind of film that should be kept away from the film loving public as it is a film that has a lot going for it.
So often when a director and screenwriter team together to make a disaster film they fall into a familiar trap of trying to make the audience like the characters so much they pile a heap of back story into the film and the result is the disaster itself starting way too late into the film. That certainly isn’t a trap that Craig Gillespie and his team of screenwriters fall in to. Gillespie as a director is someone that certainly can’t be peg holed into a style of filmmaking. From the thought provoking Lars & The Real Girl through to the horror frights of Fright Night Gillespie seems to just make whatever film he damn well feels like and here with The Finest Hours he shows why he is a director that should be added to your list of ‘exciting directors in modern day filmmaking.’ He doesn’t muck around with tons of back story with The Finest Hours, instead the storm itself hits within the first half hour of the film, which means that Affleck and co and in peril before the ice in your Coke has even started to melt.
Surprisingly The Finest Hours also manages to raise the stakes on a number of levels. Not only are the crew of the oil tanker in great peril but Gillespie also makes in known in no uncertain terms that Bernie is being sent on a mission that he has badly unprepared for with a boss that has no clue what he is doing… he is being sent to certain death. Just to raise the stakes even more Gillespie then has the events happen not only through the eyes of Bernie and Ray but also from the perspective of Miriam, an innocent bystander who is forced to watch as the man she loves is being sent on an impossible mission.
It’s for that reason that The Finest Hours is a must see for those people that love good cinema. The suspense never lets up and Gillsepie masterfully directs intense scenes which sees Bernie’s small Coast Guard boat become a submarine as it plunges through the waves in front of it and the even more suspenseful scene during which Ray’s crew have to face the hard decision of whether or not to jump into the wild sea that has just claimed their tanker.
The team of screenwriters also have done enough with the screenplay to make the key characters here likable. You instantly care what happens to the likes of Bernie and Ray, while they even steer well clear of making Mirian a whiny character, something that you feel a lesser team may have accidentally found themselves doing. The screenplay and Gillespie’s directional style also allows the cast to have a little bit of free reign as well. A look between Chris Pine and Ben Foster as their characters race towards the wild sea says more than one ten pages of script ever could. Likewise watching Casey Affleck sit in the corner and calmly think while the rest of his ‘crew’ panic says more about his character than any back story ever could. While both of done some great work in films over the years The Finest Hour is the one film that really shows that Affleck and Pine are so much more than what we have seen from them in the past.
Through no fault of its own The Finest Hours is one of those films that is going to be overlooked by a lot of film goers simply because of the fact that it hasn’t been promoted properly. That’s sad when you realise that in a lot of ways this is a far superior film to something like The Perfect Storm… yes Craig Gillespie has somehow managed to create a classy disaster flick that demands a viewing by serious film lovers.
Summary: When America’s banks collapsed a few years ago the world was told a lie. The world was told that nobody, not even the top financial experts, saw it coming. That was only partially true, yes the top financial experts didn’t see it coming, but some men did.
The Big Short tells the story of those men, men the world didn’t listen to. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) ran a small, but successful, financial firm and he saw the crash happening but due to the fact that he didn’t dress the way they did and liked to drum to Metallica in his office nobody really listened. The one person who did listen was Wall Street trader Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) who then went against the bank who he worked for and decided that this was a way to make money… betting against the bank. A misplaced phone call by him then tipped off Hedge Fund Manager Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) who then convinced Vennett to join him on his crusade against Wall Street.
The chain then kept going as eager young investors Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) found a copy of Baum’s flyer and also decide that can make money off what is happening. Not experienced in making the trades they need to do to do so they rope in retired banker Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to help them out.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th January 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Adam McKay
Screenwriter: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, Michael Lewis (book)
Cast: Christian Bale (Michael Burry), Tony Bentley (Bruce Miller), Anthony Bourdain (himself), Lyle Brocato (Casey), Steve Carrell (Mark Baum), Vanessa Cloke (Lucy), Rudy Eisenzopf (Lewis Ranieri), Peter Epstein (Paul Baum), Aidan Flowers (Young Michael Burry), Karen Gillan (Evie), Selena Gomez (herself), Ryan Gosling (Jared Vennett), Jeffry Griffin (Chris), Nick Hwang (Josh Medak), Jay Jablonski (Matt), Rajeev Jacob (Deeb), Tyler Kunkle (Doug), Colin Lawless (Nicolas Burry), Melissa Leo (Georgia Hale), Tracy Letts (Lawrence Fields), Hamish Linklater (Porter Collins), John Magaro (Charlie Geller), Byron Mann (Mr. Chau), Adepero Oduye (Kathy Tao), Wayne Pere (Martin Blaine), Brad Pitt (Ben Rickert), Margot Robbie (herself), Rafe Spall (Danny Moses), Ilan Srulovicz (Noah), Jeremy Strong (Vinnie Diesel), Richard Thaler (himself), Marisa Tomei (Cynthia Baum), Finn Wittrock (Jamie Shipley), Stanley Wong (Ted Jiang)
Runtime: 130 mins
OUR THE BIG SHORT REVIEWS & RATINGS:
When director Adam McKay set about making The Big Short he must have wondered whether or not he could pull off this project. McKay had established himself as a comedy director, a great comedy director to be precise… the man who brought us movies such as Anchorman and Step Brothers etc, but still it was ambitious to decide to make a comedy-drama about the collapse of America’s biggest banks. After all the minuet details of how and why the banks collapsed is so technical and boring it would not only go right over the head of the average cinema goer, but also have a strong chance of making them lapse into some kind of a coma if you bothered to explain it properly. Yes The Big Short was an uphill battle all the way but somehow McKay has made this into one of the films of the year.
So how does McKay make this film work so well? The answer is simple. He does what so many filmmakers are scared of doing these days… and that is be creative. To put it into ‘banker speak’ he thought outside the box. Instead of having a series of long explanations of what exactly is happening with all the financial stuff McKay will allow the film’s story to pause for a moment while Margot Robbie (sitting in a bubble bath as herself) explains what is happening or he will cross to a celebrity chef comparing the market to bad fish. It sounds as strange as all hell… but it works and gets the point across in a way that the audience can understand without putting them asleep.
That being said it isn’t creative ‘gimmicks’ like that which make The Big Short work so well. No McKay is aided by a screenplay that is simply one of the best screenplays to surface out of Hollywood for a long, long time. While it expertly reveals a lot of the greed and shame of Wall Street it is also about strong characters and consists of some of the wittiest one-liners you are ever likely to hear. To the credit of the screenplay you actually come to know and love these characters. You feel sorry for Mark Baum and the personal tragedy that he has suffered in his life while you find yourself barracking for the likes of Michael Burry who are putting everything on the line and copping abuse for doing so. Even though so of the characters are quite unlikable, such as Jared Vennett, the screenwriters have been smart enough to get them to deliver the quips that make people laugh in a bid to make them at least a little likable. Yes the unthinkable happens in this film, you actually like bankers.
Of course that brilliant script also allows the actors involved to deliver some of the finest acting performances of the year. Steve Carrell showed us his serious side in Foxcatcher and here he once again revels in what is a demanding but emotional performance. If he takes an Oscar home for this performance he truly deserves it. Likewise Christian Bale who loses all of his Bruce Wayne good looks as he morphs into the hard rocking recluse Michael Burry so well that you forget who you are watching. The other true chameleon here is Brad Pitt who is completely unrecognisable as the bearded off-the-grid former banker Ben Rickert. These three lead an ensemble that makes this film truly memorable.
Sure a film about the banking world might not exactly make you feel like you want to rush out and purchase tickets at the box office, but like Wall Street and The Wolf Of Wall Street before it The Big Short is a ground-breaking film that shows a completely different side to the filmmaking skills of Adam McKay. Creative, original and hard-hitting The Big Short is a film that I’m sure I’ll be revisiting when I put together my Top 10 Movies of 2016 list.