Category: Biography

 

Summary: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th May 2019

Thailand Cinema Release Date: 20th June 2019

Australian DVD Release Date: 28th August 2019

Country: UK, USA, Canada

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Screenwriter: Lee Hall

Cast: Charles Armstrong (Mr. Anderson), Guillermo Bedward (Geoff), Jamie Bell (Bernie Taupin), Tom Bennett (Fred), Lee Bridgman (Steve), Rob Callender (Rory), Kit Connor (Older Reggie), Leon Cooke (Hugh/Dancer), Tate Donovan (Doug Weston), Barbara Drennan (Mrs. Anderson), Taron Egerton (Elton John), Ross Farrelly (Cyril), Leigh Francis (Pete), Demetri Goritsas (Carter), Stephen Graham (Dick James), Sharmina Harrower (Heather), Bryce Dallas Howard (Sheila), Matthew Illesley (Young Reggie), Gemma Jones (Ivy), Alexia Khadime (Diana), Kamil Lemieszewski (Dr. Maverick/Paramedic), Marek Lichtenberg (Mike Potts), Ophelia Lovibond (Arabella), Max Mackintosh (Stephen), Steven Mackintosh (Stanley), Richard Madden (John Reid), Will Masheter (Teddy Boy), Benjamin Mason (Bryan), Aston McAuley (Dave Godin), Solomon Mousley (Sonny), Rachel Muldoon (Kiki Dee), Peter O’Hanlon (Bobby), Tom Ogg (George), Jason Pennycooke (Wilson), Diana Alexandra Pocol (Mary the Receptionist), Charlie Rowe (Ray Williams), Celinde Schoenmaker (Renate), Carl Spencer (Ricahrd), Tanisha Spring (Sylvi), Jimmy Vee (Arthur), Evan Walsh (Elton Dean), Harriet Walter (Helen Piena), Leon Delroy Williams (Clint)

Runtime: 121 mins

Classification: M (Australia) 18 (Thailand)

 

 

OUR ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths Review:

Most music fans do not need an introduction to Elton John. He is the man responsible for some of the most iconic songs in rock history. From the catchy Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, the heart-wrenching Candle In The Wind through to the cinematic masterpiece Can You Feel The Love Tonight Elton John has wowed music lovers with hit after hit since he first album was released to the public back in 1969.

Despite his popularity it is very rare though that many people could tell you much about the life of Reginald Kenneth Dwight – the man behind the Elton John persona. Sure there have been the news headlines, the lavish lifestyle and his very public relationship with his husband David Furnish. What the tabloids and John’s fans haven’t always been aware of though is the pain felt by the man who always seemed to smile when on stage. The drug abuse and the fractured relationships were kept behind closed doors. It is for that reason that new film Rocketman becomes one of the most important films released this year.

From the creative mind of director Dexter Fletcher, who also recently directed a large chunk of the away winning Bohemian Rhapsody, comes a warts and all look at John. Nothing is hidden here at all. Screenwriter Lee Hall (who also wrote films such as Billy Elliott and War Horse) takes the audience on a journey through John’s life, showing them the almost non-existent and sometimes cruel relationship he had with his father (played here by Steven Mackintosh), the moment his life changed forever when he met his lifelong song-writing partner Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) through to the excessive lifestyle and drug abuse that almost ended with John dying in a swimming pool in front of his family and friends.

To Fletcher’s credit Rocketman does all of this with a very unique twist. While the biggest weakness of Bohemian Rhapsody was the fact that the film seemed to just skirt over some of the issues in the life of the late, great Freddie Mercury here Fletcher manages to delve deep into the emotional side of John’s life while managing to keep the film as flamboyant and loud as the man himself. If you are expecting a dour drama as the more painful elements of John’s life are exposed for the audience to see – forget it! Instead Fletcher uses a little bit of creativity and has John pour out his life to a group of people in rehab while moments of true drama and emotion are intercut with loud, colourful dreamscapes as the singer’s biggest hits are performed with very theatrical sequences that wouldn’t be out of place during a big Broadway production. In many ways it is a stroke of genius from Fletcher, yes some people may criticise the film for taking on so many elements of a stage production but given how entertaining and creative Fletcher is with the style aspect of the film it ends up working remarkably well and mirrors the flamboyant actions of the man at the centre of the film.

What else makes Rocketman work so perfectly is no doubt the casting. While some have been sceptical, before they have seen the film, of the choice of young actor Taron Egerton to play the role of Elton John his performance should easily silence those critics and shows Hollywood that Egerton is certainly a star on the rise. While mainly known for his action performances in films like Robin Hood and of course the Kingsman franchise, here Egerton is asked to go out of his comfort zone and instead dance and sing at times while also delivering truly deep, emotional moments of intense acting when it is called for him to do so.

Egerton is also well supported with some stellar performances from his co-stars. Bryce Dallas Howard is almost unrecognisable as John’s mother while Jamie Bell also delivers some moments of true dramatic tension in his role of Bernie Taupin. Game Of Thrones fans will also not be disappointed by the work of Richard Madden who here plays the unlikable John Reid who was once John’s romantic partner. While watching Madden here it becomes very obvious that just like Egerton he is on the verge of becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Rocketman is a truly sensational film. The mere fact that the film can tell the story of an at times tortured artist like Elton John while still managing to have its audience tap their feet and sing-a-long to some of his most recognisable tunes is a feat upon itself. The film showcases why Dexter Fletcher needs to be considered one of the most interesting directors going around at the moment while paying a true tribute to a man whose life for the most part has had its sadder moments kept well and truly in the shadows. Creative in the way it is presented on the big screen and with an amazing portrayal of Elton John by an actor that is likely to earn an Oscar nomination Rocketman is the type of film you just sit back and savour.

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating

 

 

 

IMDB Rating  Rocketman (2019) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Rocketman Reviews: N/A

Trailer

 

 

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.

 

Summary:

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.

Year: 2018

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

Classification: M

 

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): 

 

 

IMDB Rating: First Man (2018) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment First Man Reviews: N/A

Trailer:

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: