Category: Biography

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:

Advanced Style

Summary: A documentary showcasing the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose style and spirit define them. Based on the popular blog of the same name by New York photographer Ari Seth Cohen, the film presents us with moving portraits of these vibrant women- aged from 62 to 95, who are challenging conventional ideas of beauty and aging while navigating their newfound fame.

Thrust from the streets of New York to the big screen, the film follows seven women and their stories of style. From store owners to Apollo Theatre dancers, these women won’t go quietly.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Lina Piloplyte

Screenwriter: Ari Cohen, Lina Piloplyte

Cast: Nil

Runtime: 72 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ADVANCED STYLE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Advanced Style review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(2)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating: Advanced Style (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Advanced Style′: For our full Advanced Style review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99 .

Trailer:

MIFF 2014

Supermensch

Summary: 

Shep Gordon was a casual drug dealer whose job caused him to collide with the music world in strange ways: he became the legendary manager of Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd and Blondie, and masterminded some of the music world’s most notorious stage antics. He lived the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll life to the extreme (while also being a close friend of the Dalai Lama and inventing the ‘celebrity chef’ concept!), earning a reputation as a hedonist who could be sweet and generous beyond compare.

Featuring contributions from Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Willie Nelson and more, this is the directorial debut of comedian Mike Myers, who spent 20 years trying to get Gordon’s blessing to make a documentary about him

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Beth Aala, Mike Myers

Screenwriter: Nil

Cast: Tom Arnold (himself), Alice Cooper (himself), Michael Douglas (himself), Shep Gordon (himself), Emeril Lagasse (himself), Anne Murray (herself), Willie Nelson (himself), Derek Shoof (himself), Sylvester Stallone (himself)

Runtime: 85 mins

Classification: CTC

 

SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SETH GORDON REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Supermensch: The Legend Of Seth Gordon review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #91

 

 

IMDB Rating:  Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Supermensch: The Legend Of Seth Gordon′: Nil.

Trailer:

Devil's Knot

Summary: Based on the true crime and novel by Mara Leveritt, Devil’s Knot explores the murder and trial of three boys that went missing in Memphis in 1993. The crime brings three teenagers to trial and despite pleading innocent and the mounting forensic evidence to support their innocence, the teenagers are persecuted without question and left at the mercy of lawyer Ron Lax who continues to probe deeper into the case and the prejudices that exist within the court of law. The film explores the lives of deeply misunderstood outsiders, their families and communities, and their darkest fantasies. The conviction of the West Memphis Three – Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin – riled the American justice system, shocked a tightly knit religious town and outraged the nation.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Atom Egoyan

Screenwriter: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson, Mara Leveritt (novel)

Cast: Robert Baker (Detective Bryn Ridge), Paul Boardman Jnr. (Michael Moore), Kerry Cahill (Jo Lynn), Brandon Carroll (Bobby DeAngelo), Jack Coghlan (Aaron Hutcherson), Dane DeHaan (Chris Morgan), Kevin Durand (John Mark Byers), Mireille Enos (Vicki Hutcheson), Colin Firth (Ron Lax), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Tom), Michael Gladis (Dan Stidham), Bruce Greenwood (Judge Burnett), Gary Grubbs (Dale Griffis), James Hamrick (Damien Echols), Martin Henderson (Brent Davis), Kristopher Higgins (Jessie Miskelley), Stan Houston (Detective Donald Bray), Brian Howe (Detective McDonough), Ted Huckabee (Steve Jones), Julie Ivey (Melissa Byers), Jet Jurgensmeyer (Stevie Branch), Elias Koteas (Jerry Driver), Matt Letscher (Paul Ford), Rex Linn (Chief Inspector Gitchell), Seth Meriwether (Jason Baldwin), Stephen Moyer (John Fogelman), Bill Murphey (Marty King), Alessandro Nivola (Terry Hobbs), Kristoffer Polaha (Val Price), Anessa Ramsey (Rosie), Amy Ryan (Margaret Lax), Lori Beth Sikes (Annie), Brad D. Smith (Todd Moore), Brandon Spink (Christopher Byers), Matthew Stanton (Detective Durham), Clay Stapleford (Detective Mike Allen), Stephanie Stewart (Domini Teer), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Officer Regina Meeks), Reese Witherspoon (Pam Hobbs), Collette Wolfe (Glori Shettles), Isabella Zentkovich (Amanda Hobbs)

Runtime: 114 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR DEVIL’S KNOT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The story of The West Memphis Three has been itching to be turned into a feature film for a great deal many years now. Countless documentaries have been made around the case over the years, and so powerful is the story of injustice that it has been impossible for anyone to sit through them without some kind of anger building up inside them. To be brutally honest the whole story (or should that be saga) is really a screenwriter and director’s dream.

Devil’s Knot looks at the case of The West Memphis Three told through the eyes of a private investigator, Ron Lax (Colin Firth) and one of the grieving mothers, Pam Hobbs (Reese Witherspoon). As Hobbs desperately tries to work out what happened in her son’s murder Lax concentrates on the theory that the three accused, Damien Echols (James Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Seth Meriwether) and Jessie Misskelley (Kristopher Higgins) are innocent.

Oscar nominated director Atom Egoyan decides to tackle the case head-on in his latest film Devil’s Knot. Now a rookie filmmaker may have simply decided that this film should be told through the eyes of one of the accused but Egoyan is smarter than that and instead digs up the story of one of the case’s lesser known players, the private investigator hired by the three accused’s legal team to try and clear their clients name. So not to make the film too one sided Egoyan also tells part of the story through the eyes of Pam Hobbs, a grieving mother who seems more open to the fact that injustice is being done than anyone else involved in the case.

Early on Devil’s Knot is a promising film. It digs up certain parts of the case that are naturally overlooked in most explorations into the case including the mysterious ‘muddied and bloodied black man’ who was spotted in a fast food diner on the night of the murders. But it’s not long after that revolution that Egoyan seems to let Devil’s Knot dangerously let itself down. Just as Lax beguns to uncover series leads that suggest a Police cover-up and Police corruption the film pulls back from how hard-hitting it should have been and instead becomes a court room drama in the vein of a television show like Law & Order.

The second half of Devil’s Knot shows why a director of the class of David Fincher needs to get hold of this story and do something with it. The links of the boys to the occult and Satanic rituals could have taken the film into some dark places while the whole Police corruption element and them deciding to investigate Ron Lax needed to have a lot more suspense put into it then what it shown here. For Devil’s Knot to work there needed to be less of Lax sitting around in an office and talking to the lawyers and more of him actually out on the street doing the leg work – after all he had to be getting these leads from somewhere, right? Perhaps the most ironic thing about how much the screenplay lets down the film is that it comes from the same pen as Deliver Us From Evil, Scott Derrickson.

As a result Egoyan really under uses his two leads. Colin Firth seems like an actor champing at the bit for a dramatic scene right throughout Devil’s Knot while Reese Witherspoon plumps up and heads into the similar character territory she explored in Mud but again she is let down. Instead of allowing her character to deliver some powerful scenes when she starts suspecting her own husband, Terry Hobbs (Alessandro Nivola), as being involved in their son’s murder. It’s a sad point to make but the screenplay here really does let down both Firth and Witherspoon.

Devil’s Knot could easily have been one of the best films of the year, but sadly it is let down by a director and screenwriter who seem reluctant to tap into the suspense that is handed to them on a plate. Instead the second half of the film becomes a slow court room drama that never really lives up to its potential. Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon try in vain to deliver something but even they are let down dangerously by a script that needed to be much better.

Stars(2.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Devil's Knot (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Devi’s Knot′: For our full Devil’s Knot review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #89. You can also read Dave’s review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Reaching For The Moon

Summary: Grappling with writer’s block, legendary American poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) travels from New York City to Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s to visit her college friend, Mary (Tracy Middendorf). Hoping to find inspiration on Mary’s sprawling estate, Elizabeth winds up with much more – a tempestuous relationship with Mary’s bohemian partner, architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Glória Pires), that rocks the staid writer to her foundation. Alcoholism, geographical distance and a military coup come between the lovers, but their intimate connection spans decades and forever impacts the life and work of these two extraordinary artists.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 17th July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Brazil

Director: Bruno Barreto

Screenwriter: Matthew Chapman, Julie Sayres, Carolina Kotscho (original screenplay), Carmen L. Oliveira (novel)

Cast: Marcello Airoldi (Carlos Lacerda), Anna Bella (Kathleen), Tania Costa (Dindinha), Marcio Ehrlich (Jose Eduardo Macedo Soares), Lola Kirke (Margaret Bennett), Tracy Middendorf (Mary), Marianna Mac Niven (Malu), Miranda Otto (Elizabeth Bishop), Sophia Pavonetti (Young Elizabeth Bishop), Gloria Pires (Lota de Macedo Soares), Treat Williams (Robert Lowell)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR REACHING FOR THE MOON REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Reaching For The Moon review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(2)

 

David Griffiths:

When a film begins to tell its audience that the film is about one of the most famous poets of all time but they aren’t a poet that you have ever heard of then you realise that there is something strange going on. Unfortunately for new film Reaching For The Moon that is just the start of this film going completely off the rails because this journey is going to be one that confuses both film and literature buffs alike.

The film looks at poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) who decides to head away from New York for a bit during the 1950s and head to Brazil to visit her friend, Mary (Tracy Middendorf). What she certainly didn’t expect to find was that Mary would be dating a woman, Lota de Macedo Soares (Gloria Pires), and that soon she would be finding herself falling for that very woman.

Reaching For The Moon is very quick to point out that Elizabeth Bishop is one of the most important poets to have ever graced this planet. That point is hammered into the audience a lot throughout the film and it’s obviously something that director Bruno Barreto felt that the modern day audience not only needed to know but certainly needed to remember. With that in mind it’s hard to then work out why Barreto has done such a bad job bringing just an important person in world history’s story to the big screen.

Technically though it’s not Barreto’s work that lets down Reaching For The Moon, no all the problems associated with this film come directly from the pens of the team of screenwriters that put this film together… and perhaps a fair bit from the editors. Ironically this is a film about one of the greatest writers of all time but it has one of the poorest screenplays you are ever likely to see this year.

Actually it is probably the work of Barreto and his cinematographer that go some of the way to saving this film and at least making it watchable. When they haven’t gone about the lazy decision of using some fake scenery or a green screen there are some actually pretty attractive shot selections throughout this film, and often due to the poor script the audience is left feeling that it is only the visuals that are moving this story along.

It is sad to see this tale of two strong women flounder so badly but really someone somewhere needed to alert the filmmakers to the fact that there really needed to be a script rewrite done somewhere along the lines. Here the script is bland and make the film end up becoming a real daytime movie style of film rather than the hard hitting character drama that this needed to be. Huge parts of Lota and Elizabeth’s lives seem to be just skimmed over. Moments of jealousy from Mary that should have been at the forefront of this film are treated like small events while the raging political environment around the pair in Brazil is written in such a way that it feels like it was written for fans of Days Of Our Lives. Sadly which some poor form from the screenplay by the time the film reaches the point where some of the characters lives are in the danger the film has petered out so badly that most audience members will have already lost interest in what should have been a gripping film.

Sadly the script also holds back the performances of the cast as well. While Miranda Otto does get a chance to remind us that she can be a great actress and shouldn’t just be remembered for Lord Of The Rings her cast mates really do suffer. Gloria Pires and Tracy Middendorf are never given the grit in their roles that they deserved and as a result their performances barely raise a blip on the screen.

Reaching For The Moon is a valuable reminder of just how about a script still is to a film. With the right screenwriters at the helm Reaching For The Moon could have been a powerful biopic so hard hitting that it warranted Oscar buzz, instead we are left with a film about two powerful women that really doesn’t do credit to their memory. Reaching For The Moon plods along like a television movie rather then ever reaching the heights it should.

Stars(1.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating:  Reaching for the Moon (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Reaching For The Moon′: For our full Reaching For The Moon review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #88. You can also read Dave Griffiths’ Reaching For The Moon review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

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