Category: Biography

Florence Foster Jenkins

 

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.

Year: 2016

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

Classification: PG

 

OUR FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

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.

Stars(3)

 

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg King’s full Florence Foster Jenkins review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #175.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating:  Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Florence Foster Jenkins reviews: You can also listen to our full Florence Foster Jenkins review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #175.

Trailer:

Pride

Summary: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.

Year: 2014

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

Classification: M

 

OUR PRIDE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Harley Woods:

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.

Stars(4.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Pride (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Pride′: For our full Pride review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #103.

Trailer:

The Finest Hours

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.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd March 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

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

Classification: PG

 

OUR THE FINEST HOURS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

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.

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: The Finest Hours (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Finest Hours reviews: You can listen to our full The Finest Hours  review on a The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #168.

Trailer:

The Big Short

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.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th January 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

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

Classification: M

 

OUR THE BIG SHORT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

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.

 

Stars(5)

 

Adam Ross:

You can listen to Adam’s The Big Short review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #161

 

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4.5)

 

IMDB Rating: The Big Short (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Big Short reviews: You can listen to our full Big Short Review  review on a The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #161. You can also read our The Big Short review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Peggy Guggenheim Art Addict

Summary: A portrait of a patron of the arts extraordinaire who transformed a modest fortune and impeccable taste into one of the premiere collections of twentieth century art.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, Italy, UK

Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Screenwriter: Bernadine Colish, Lisa Immordina Vreeland

Cast: Marina Abramovic (herself), Peggy Guggenheim (herself)

Runtime: 96 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158

 

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating:  Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict reviews: You can listen to our full Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict  review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158.

Trailer:

Women He's Undressed

Summary: Orry-Kelly was Golden Age Hollywood’s most celebrated costume designer. Winner of three Academy Awards and responsible for the costumes of films as iconic as Some Like It Hot, Casablanca, An American in Paris, and Auntie Mame, Orry-Kelly was head of Warner Brothers costume department during the richest period of American film history.

And he was born in Kiama, New South Wales.

Acclaimed filmmaker Gillian Armstrong brings to life the tale of one of Australia’s undeservedly forgotten sons in her new documentary WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED. The story of Orry-Kelly becomes one of discovery and intrigue, as Armstrong charts the trajectory of this most unusual and talented man. He was outrageous, witty, outspoken, a drinker, and uncompromising of his sexuality at a time when Hollywood was deeply conservative. From costuming Hollywood’s most glamourous actresses, to a scandalous secret affair with one of film’s most famous and iconic actors, WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED uncovers a rollercoaster of a life sure to fascinate, shock and illuminate.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th July 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Gillian Armstrong

Screenwriter: Katherine Thomson

Cast: Louis Alexander (Young Orry), Tyler Coppin (Walter Plunkett/Jimmy Fidler/Sergeant), Lara Cox (Ginger Rogers), Jeanette Cronin (Bette Davis), Darren Gilshenan (Orry-Kelly), Sandy Gore (Hedda Hopper/Louella Parsons), Deborah Kennedy (Florence Kelly), Ted Maynard (Jack Warner), Nathaniel Middleton (The Lover), Paige Walker (Kay Francis), David E. Woodley (William Kelly)

Runtime: 99 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Women He’s Undressed review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Women He’s Undressed review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #138

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Women He's Undressed (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Women He’s Undressed reviews: You can listen to our Women He’s Undressed review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #138.

Trailer:

Amy

Summary: A look inside the personal life of star Amy Winehouse. The film follows her from being discovered through to the dizzying heights of winning a Grammy Award to her tragic demise.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 2nd July 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Asif Kapadia

Screenwriter: N/A

Cast: Juliette Ashby (herself), Darcus Beese (himself), Tony Bennett (himself), Sam Beste (himself), Yasiin Bey (himself), Russell Brand (himself), Raye Cosbert (himself), Dale Davis (himself), Shomari Dilon (himself), Pete Doherty (himself), Blake Fielder-Civil (himself), Nick Gatfield (himself), Lauren Gilbert (herself), Lucian Grainge (himself), Dave Grohl (himself), Tyler James (himself), Jay Leno (himself), David Letterman (himself), Monte Lipman (himself), Phil Meynell (himself), Guy Moot (himself), Andrew Morris (himself), Salaam Remi (himself), Cristina Romete (herself), Mark Ronson (himself), Nick Shymansky (himself), Chip Somers (himself), Amy Winehouse (herself), Janis Winehouse (herself), Mitch Winehouse (himself), Blake Wood (himself)

Runtime: 128 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR AMY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Not being a fan of Amy Winehouse’s I wasn’t sure what to expect from the documentary Amy. The film had received rave reviews from right around but aside from knowing one of two of her big hits (namely Rehab) I actually didn’t know that much about her. Therefore the fact that this docco actually had me feeling somewhat emotional times really just goes to show how inside the life of his tragic star that director Asif Kapadia really goes… he doesn’t leave one single stone unturned.

Kapadia announced himself as a seriously gifted documentary maker when he released Senna in 2010. The docco went so far into Senna’s life that even those film critics and fans who despised and knew nothing about Formula One racing were listing the film as a film that you had to see. Kapadia does the same here with Winehouse. He doesn’t sugar coat anything and instead shows the tragic life of a girl who was given an amazing vocal talent but probably would have much better off and happier if she reached the level of stardom that she did.

One of the best things about Amy is just how watchable Kapadia has made the film. Yes it runs for 128 minutes (some would argue overly long for a documentary) but so gripping is the story being told that you never once start to feel bored and start to think what coffee you might order after the credits roll. Kapadia allows Amy to start off like any music documentary chronicling a young star’s life would. There are the customary shots of her mucking around with her friends, singing at clubs in front of small crowds, but Kapadia also allows the audience to see more than that as he clearly shows that even at the age of nine Winehouse was already deeply troubled and the rollercoaster was just starting to take off.

Like he did with Senna Kapadia breaks with normal traditional documentary filmmaking. There are virtually no talking head interviews here, instead the audience are treated to a lot of private home movies of Winehouse, her family and her friends that tell more about the star and her lifestyle than what any interview could ever do. Also making this a gripping watch is the fact that Kapadia doesn’t hold back when he is trying to tell his story. He doesn’t allow everybody in Amy Winehouse’s life come out of this smelling like roses. The audience watches as Winehouse’s life of destruction comes a lot worse with the arrival of her boyfriend (and then later husband) Blake Fielder-Civil on the scene – the film then basically points the finger as an expert eerily reveals that it was in Fielder-Civil’s best interest for his gravy train not to get sober again. Likewise Kapadia has the bravery to lump blame on Winehouse’s own father and he first reveals that Amy’s bulimia etc started when her father left the family home when she was just a child, how he was the main reason that she didn’t go into rehab when her managerial team was begging her to and how he brought film crews around and planned tours when all she wanted to do was rest and get herself well. It is a very brave documentary maker who is willing to tell a story with such brutal honesty.

Kapadia’s alternative style of filmmaking also allows for him to let the documentary move along as he showcases the events in Amy’s life that was making her write the music she was writing. As handwritten lyrics appear across the screen the audience watches the life events unfold that sparked her to write the usually dark lyrics in the first place. Just as that similar kind of thing made Teen Spirit a must read if you are a fan of Kurt Cobain, this style here makes Amy a must see for Winehouse fans. I know having seen the film set out in this way I will never listen to the track Rehab in the same way again.

There are times when you are watching Amy and it feels like you are watching car crash in slow motion. Instead of becoming a character study of one of the most successful young musicians of our generation the docco almost becomes a cautionary tale of what drugs, bulimia and super stardom can do to an ordinary person’s life. Kapadia’s brilliant style of story-making makes this the can kind of film that not only educates but washes over you with every emotion imaginable. One of the best music documentaries you will ever see.
Stars(4.5)

 

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Amy review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Amy (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Amy reviews: You can listen to our Amy review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #167. You can also read our Amy review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Testament Of Youth

Summary: Based on the popular novel of the same name Testament Of Youth is a coming of age story that follows Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), a young girl growing up as England heads into World War I. Before the War Vera’s biggest problem is trying to get into university to study literature during a period when a woman’s studies were considered a waste of time.

Upon getting into University though Vera learns that the war is beginning to spread across Europe. Soon she finds herself right in the middle of it as her brother, Edward (Taron Egerton), her fiancé Roland Leighton (Kit Harington) and best friends Geoffrey Thurlow (Jonathan Bailey) and Victor Richardson (Colin Morgan) are all sent off to Europe to serve. As the stories coming from the frontline get worse and worse Vera decides to put her studies on hold and instead become a volunteer nurse.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd April, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom

Director: James Kent

Screenwriter: Juliette Towhidi, Vera Brittain (autobiography)

Cast: Hayley Atwell (Hope), Jonathan Bailey (Geoffrey Thurlow), Anna Chancellor (Mrs. Leighton), Taron Egerton (Edward Brittain), Laura Elsworthy (Nurse Scott), Henry Garrett (George Catlin), Kit Harington (Roland Leighton), Alison Harris (Vad), Charlotte Hope (Betty), Colin Morgan (Victor Richardson), Jenn Murray (Dorothy), Miranda Richardson (Miss Lorimer), Alexandra Roach (Winifred Holtby), Joanna Scanlon (Aunt Belle), Branwen Summers (Vad), Julie Vollono (Mrs. Ellinger), Daisy Waterstone (Clare Leighton), Emily Watson (Mrs. Brittain), Dominic West (Mr. Brittain), Barney White (Billy), Alicia Vikander (Vera Brittian)

Runtime: 129 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TESTAMENT OF YOUTH REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Every now and then a film comes along that leaves you thinking ‘wow… just wow.’ In the time of special effects and CGI it’s normally been something epic happening on the screen that causes that response. Sadly, it is rarely a film that totally engrosses you in both its visual beauty and immersing storyline. But that is where Testament Of Youth comes to its fore… this is a film that will stick with its audience for a long, long time to come.

While many films often lack the ‘feel’ of the novel they are based here screenwriter Juliette Towhidi (who recently also showed her skills on Love, Rosie) manages to capture all of the teenage angst and anger that the real Vera Brittain wrote in her autobiography. For once a screenwriter read the novel they were adapting and understood exactly what the writer was trying to get across to their audience. Testament Of Youth is anti-war but it is a film that is supposed to show how important it was that men did die during the conflict and also graphically depicts why war is such a nasty affair for the people left behind.

What stands Testmant Of Youth apart from the many other films that have tried to show the horrors of war is the creative styling of director James Kent and veteran television director who is at the helm of his feature film. Kent brings a real beauty with this film working with his cinematographer in such a way that at times the images on the screen feel like you are looking at paintings. Even the most hardened emotionally draining scene seems to have an air of beauty around it with Kent in the director’s chair. Perhaps what shows his skills the most though is the fact that this is a film that is able to depict the horrors of war without ever actually showing a battle. The scenes of soldiers with limbs blown off or suffering from battle shock grouped together by something as simple as a father scouring the list of war dead in the newspaper does more than enough to show the audience how evil war can be without an overly graphic battle sequence.

Having heaped praise on the film though it is only fair to warn cinema goers that Testament Of Youth is not a film that is going to be enjoyed by all. The film is slow in pace and if films like Atonement have had you snoring then it is likely you won’t be a fan of this film either. Still the positives of this film largely outweigh the negatives and the fact that this film delivers such a powerful message about subjects as deep as feminism and the horrors of war without ever feeling that it has become bogged down just shows how talented the team of filmmakers behind it really are.

Also making Testament Of Youth a must see are the performances of its cast. Taron Egerton (who most would remember from Kingsmen: The Secret Service) and Kit Harington (yes Jon Snow from Game Of Thrones) put in such great performances that they are both virtually unrecognizable in their roles. Both show that they have the acting ability to go far beyond the roles that made them household names. But the strongest performance here comes from Alicia Vikander, an actress who has been on nearly everybody’s ‘star on the rise’ list since her performance in Anna Karenina. Her Vikander out performs her age and shows that she deserves to mentioned as one of the best young actresses in the industry at the moment. With Testament Of Youth she easily overcomes everything thrown at her and delivers a emotionally powerful performance that helps make this one of the films of the year.

Next time somebody says that there are no great films made any more point them in the direction of Testament Of Youth. This powerful film delivers a strong message about war while also making the audience wish that James Kent had turned his hand to directing features a lot earlier in his career. The beauty of this film is hard to describe in words but it is enough to show that Kent is one director that has been underestimated over the years. Aided by some amazing cinematography and an outstanding acting performance by Alicia Vikander Kent has helped create a film that is worthy of five stars.

 

Stars(5)

 

 

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg’s full Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Testament of Youth (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Testament Of Youth reviews: You will also be able to hear our Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126. You can also read our Testament Of Youth review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Wild

Summary: Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) is a woman in crisis. Her personal life has taken a battering to the point that she never no longer knows what is going on and where she is headed. Her marriage to her husband Paul (Thomas Sadoski) is in tatters after she repeatedly cheated on him, she has been battling against a heroin addiction and the loss of her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern) has seen her reach rock bottom.

Cheryl knows that she needs to make changes in her life but nobody expects to make the choice that she does. They are very shocked when she announces that she is going to go on a one thousand mile hike across the Pacific Crest Trail in a bid to find herself. Many expect that she will fail on her journey but Cheryl decides that this is one thing that she is not going to mess up or give up on.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Screenwriter: Nick Hornby, Cheryl Strayed

Cast: Lorraine Bahr (Lou), Charles Baker (T.J.), W. Earl Brown (Frank), Ray Buckley (Joe), Anne Gee Byrd (Vera), Jerry Carlton (Dave), Will Cuddy (Josh), Cathryn de Prume (Stacey), Cliff De Young (Ed), Laura Dern (Bobbi), J.D. Evermore (Clint), Nick Eversman (Richie), Jan Hoag (Annette), Gaby Hoffman (Aimee), Michiel Huisman (Jonathan), Bobby Strayed Lindstrom (Cheryl (6 Years Old)), Keene McCrae (Leif), Mo McCrae (Jimmy Carter), Kevin Michael Moore (Spider), William Nelson (Leif (3 Years Old)), Evan O’Toole (Kyle), Leigh Parker (Rick), Matt Pascua (Wayne), Kevin Rankin (Greg), Thomas Sadoski (Paul), Brian Van Holt (Ranger), Reese Witherspoon (Cheryl)

Runtime: 115 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR WILD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Travelogue films have been sneaking into the cinemas at a pretty rapid rate over the last few years. Some, like the very good Secret Life Of Walter Mitty work, but a large number end up like Tracks, a dull affair that saw a woman walk across a desert with a camel for a majority of the film, or completely laughable and self-indulgent like the ridiculous male torture device known as Eat, Pray, Love. Therefore it is an absolute relief that Wild turns out to be an amazing film that is likely to take a few people by surprise with its alternative edge.

Really as a film going audience we shouldn’t have expected anything less. Director, Jean-Marc Vallee announced himself as an edgy director who can find box office suspense with the award-winning Dallas Buyers Club, but with Wild he takes that one step further and in doing so makes this a film that really will inspire those who are finding themselves on the darker side of life.

What better way to show human desperation than to take one of Hollywood’s most beautiful actresses and brutally show her as somebody who is really suffering. Witherspoon knows how to play rough, she did that recently in Mud, but here Vallee takes Witherspoon down even further, delivering scenes of real nastiness with scenes of injecting heroin and promiscuous sex that will be a shock to the system for anybody expecting this to be some Julia Roberts fluff.

Likewise Vallee doesn’t glam up Cheryl’s journey across the trail either. Sure he doesn’t mind showing the odd piece of beautiful scenery but it’s intercut with Cheryl having to make unglamorous toilet spots, watching her eat cold foot, pulling off toenails as her feet suffer with every step and of course the suspense of not knowing when one of the male hikers or hunters is going to see her a single female alone on the trail as a piece of bait that they just can’t pass by. Aided by a beautifully written screenplay by Nick Hornby Vallee has ended up producing a surprisingly good alternative masterpiece.

With screenwriter and director working well in tandem the last piece of the puzzle was the lead actress and Reese Witherspoon certainly doesn’t let the team down. Gone are the days when Witherspoon was known for her ‘soft’ roles in films like Cruel Intentions or Legally Blonde, now Witherspoon seems to excel when she is given the rougher roles and she backs up her recent great performances in Devil’s Knot and Mud with a stunningly good performance here. Witherspoon cops whatever Vallee throws at her and while many actresses may not have wanted to film some of the nudity that Witherspoon is called to deliver, she seems to have little or no problem with it at all. Her well-rounded performance certainly deserves the Oscar nomination that she has received and she actually does have a pretty decent chance to add to the one that she picked up for Walk The Line. While Witherspoon does steal the show she is also joined by Laura Dern for some amazingly touching and sometimes harrowing scenes together as well.

Wild is perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the year. A travelogue with the grittiness of a film like Trainspotting or 21 Grams is pretty much unheard of. With one of the best scripts to have surfaced in a long time, a performance by a lead actress that is full of grit and a director at the helm that isn’t afraid to make a ‘dirty’ blockbuster there is little wonder why Wild has turned out to be one of the best films you will see in 2015. Aside from running a little long it does absolutely nothing wrong.

Stars(5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(5)

 

IMDB Rating: Wild (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Wild reviews: You can also read our Wild review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Imitation Game

Summary: A mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, helps crack the Enigma code during World War II.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 1st January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, UK

Director: Morten Tyldum

Screenwriter: Graham Moore, Andrew Hodges (book)

Cast: Jack Bannon (Christopher Morcom), Matthew Beard (Peter Hilton), Miranda Bell (Margaret), Winston Churchill (himself), Benedict Cumberbatch (Alan Turing), Charles Dance (Commander Denniston), Matthew Goode (Hugh Alexander), Ilan Goodman (Keith Furman), Tom Goodman-Hill (Sergeant Staehl), Adolf Hitler (himself), Rory Kinnear (Detective Robert Nock), Keira Knightley (Joan Clarke), Alex Lawther (Young Alan Turing), Allen Leach (John Cairncross), Tuppence Middleton (Helen), James Northcote (Jack Good), Scott Stevenson (Bletchley), Mark Strong (Stewart Menzies), Jack Tarlton (Charles Richards), Steven Waddington (Superintendent Smith)

Runtime: 114 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR THE IMITATION GAME REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam RossYou can check out Adam’s The Imitation Game review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111

Stars(4)

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s The Imitation Game review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: The Imitation Game (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Imitation Game reviews: For our full The Imitation Game review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111.

Trailer: