Category: Comedy

A Month Of Sundays

Summary: Divorced real estate agent Frank Mollard’s (Anthony LaPaglia) is struggling to deal with divorce and his place in the world when he is suddenly surprised from a phone call by Sarah (Julia Blake) an elderly woman who reminds Frank of his own mother who is now deceased.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Matthew Saville

Screenwriter: Matthew Saville

Cast: Wayne Anthony (Noel Lang), Julia Blake (Sarah), John Clarke (Phillip Lang), Justine Clarke (Wendy), Terence Crawford (Staurt), Indiana Crowther (Frank Jnr.), Mikaela Davies (Olivia), Donal Forde (Damian), Patrick Graham (Ian Treggoning), Anthony LaPaglia (Frank Mollard)

Runtime: 110 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR A MONTH OF SUNDAYS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

A film is supposed to make you feel a range of different emotions when you watch it, but very often it’s how you feel as you leave the cinema that is the most important. Will you leave feeling entertained? Informed? The one thing you probably shouldn’t be feeling when you leave the cinema is empty… but sadly that is the way I found myself feeling as I left the cinema after a screening of A Month of Sundays… something that I should add that the friends with me were feeling as well.

To be honest that completely surprised me because in the past I have adored the films made by Australian director Matthew Saville. His debut feature Noise was a fresh alternative Police drama that had me really raving about the brilliance of the film, while his last film Felony again visited the boys in the blue and kept its audience guessing from start to finish.

That is the first thing that hits you about A Month Of Sundays it is very different to anything that Saville has done before. Instead of going down the crime path this film centres around Frank Mollard (Anthony LaPaglia – Without A Trace) a real estate agent who has found himself in a deep funk as he struggles to see any importance in his work and is also dealing with the fact that his now famous wife, Wendy (Justine Clarke – Look Both Ways), has left him and he has no idea how to connect with his son, Frank Jnr. (Indiana Crowther – newcomer).

Then along comes something that sparks a little bit of interest in Frank’s life. He receives an accidental phone call from Sarah (Julia Blake – Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark), a retired librarian who reminds him of his mother. While Frank’s uncaring boss, Phillip Lang (John Clarke – The Man Who Sued God) warns him against it Frank finds himself drawing closer to Sarah.

A quick read through of the summary of the film and you see that it could have been possible for A Month Of Sundays to have been a very thought provoking film. To its credit the film does explore topics such as how an older male deals with the break-up of a marriage, the loss of his mother and also trying to relate to his teenage son, but the film just does not go deep enough into any of those topics to make it worthy film. The film also doesn’t allow its audience to feel sorry for Frank enough, we simply see him as a morose (and kind of boring) individual and as a result you just never really develop a connection to him. Worse still is the fact that the filmmakers obviously think that the audience with side with Frank and not support Sarah’s son in his belief that Sarah and Frank’s friendship is a little strange. Truthfully it is easier to see the son’s point of view than it is to see Frank’s.

One of the biggest problems with the film though is that it just seems to cruise along at a steady pace with very little highs. The major high throughout the film is the comedic style of John Clarke, which most Australians would have come to know and love with his political satire on A Current Affair. Clarke’s style steals nearly every scene that he is in and it is often his one liners that are the stand out. He even manages to deliver some good emotional scenes as we see his character battle with dealing with the fact that his elderly father has lost his mind.

As usual Anthony LaPaglia is good but really doesn’t get a lot to work with. He breezes through his scenes while wearing the same emotion on his face in nearly every scene. He is well supported by Justine Clarke and newcomer, Indiana Crowther. The clear standout here though is Julia Blake who commands the screen in every scene she appears in and once again she has managed to deliver another great performance.

A Month Of Sundays is a little bit of a letdown for all the Matthew Saville fans out there. Slow and unremarkable this is a film that I doubt that I will revisit.

Stars(2.5)

 

 

Greg King:

A Month Of Sundays is the third film from writer/director Matt Saville (a veteran of television with credits ranging from the telemovie The King to sitcom Please Like Me), and is something of a change of pace for a filmmaker widely considered as one of our best. His first two films were the multi-award winning Noise and Felony, both character-driven police dramas that explored themes of guilt, responsibility, family and secrets. A Month Of Sundays is a more introspective drama about a man undergoing a midlife crisis who gets a new lease on life after he meets an elderly woman. It deals with universal themes of family, loss, grief, mortality, dysfunctional relationships, the dream of owning your own home, regeret and redemption, and a variety of complex mother/son relationships.

The central character here is Frank Mollard (played by Anthony LaPaglia, from tv series Without A Trace, the recent Holding The Man, and AFI award winning dramas Balibo, Lantana, etc), a real estate agent who has fallen into a pit of despair and is sleepwalking through his life at the moment. He is having trouble selling houses, even in the midst of a real estate boom. His mother has recently died, he is still dealing with the breakdown of his marriage to Wendy (Justine Clarke), who is finding fame as the star of a new television medical drama, and is having difficulty relating to his teenaged son (newcomer Indiana Crowther). His job is selling houses that belong to the soon to be deceased, which further adds to his emotional turmoil and sense of grief.

Then he receives phone call from the elderly Sarah (Julia Blake), who accidentally rang his number when trying to call her own son. Intrigued by their brief conversation and the sense of comfort it briefly provided, Frank arranges to meet Sarah and through her he explores his own grief and emotional confusion. His presence soon proves an irritant to her real son Damien (Donal Forde), who works as an IT expert. But eventually Sarah becomes something of a surrogate mother figure and her wisdom and life experiences eventually help snap Frank out of his ennui and he begins to reconect with the world around him.

But unfortunately this earnest and well meaning but contrived melodrama is the lesser of Saville’s three films. It is uneven in both tone and pacing. There are problems with the script and the characterisation as we don’t really identify with some of the characters here or even care that much about them.

Veteran cinematographer Mark Wareham (Felony, BoyTown, etc) makes good use of the leafy tree lined suburban streets of Adelaide and gives the film a strong sense of location and a strong visual surface.

LaPaglia is good at conveying the fragility and vulnerability of the male psyche and he does a good job here bringing some unexpected layers to his nuanced portrayal of Frank. A nice touch sees Frank describe every location he enters in terse real estate terms: “Meticulously renovated family home; untouched period charm; late Victorian style; scope to further improve…” Although 79, Blake is still a formidable screen presence and she brings gravitas to her role as Sarah. But the best moments of the film centre around Frank’s shifty boss Philip (a scene stealing performance by comic John Clarke), a shifty hustler with a heart of stone. Clarke brings his usual dry, deadpan wit to the role and I wanted more of his character and less of the melodramatic stuff about dysfunctional families and midlife crises that we have seen in numerous other similarly themed films.

But overall A Month Of Sundays is a rather trite and pedestrian affair that will struggle to resonate with a wider mainstream audience.

 

Stars(2)

 

 

John Noonan:

Anthony LaPaglia plays sour faced estate agent, Frank Mollard, who could be a human stand in for Droopy the Dog should he ever fail to turn up for work. Frank is still wrestling with unaired feelings about his mother’s death the previous year, his ex-wife is carving a successful career as an actress and his distant son appears to be following suit. He’s also become disenfranchised with his job; watching potential first time home owners lose out to middle-aged hipster property tycoons. When he receives a call from a sweet old lady called Sarah (Julia Blake) who has misdialled, Frank spies an opportunity to claw back some of the happiness he once had.

There’s something about A Month of Sundays, the latest film from director Matthew Saville, that doesn’t quite stick. For all intents and purposes the goods it puts on display are tempting; great cast, sunny locale and a touching underdog story that often resonates with Australian audiences. And yet it all feels a bit too light, particularly when stacked up against Saville’s previous work, such as Felony and Noise.

The trailer suggests that this will be a bittersweet drama about two people forming a cross-generational friendship in which they’ll laugh, cry, and possibly even learn something at the end of the day. However, Sarah, played wonderfully by Julia Blake, is merely one of several characters who walk in and out of scene to validate Frank’s demeanour. We learn an awful lot about the bitter agent, but very little about the dear OAP who likes to use the Dewey decimal system to keep her books in order at home. Affectations do not a personality make.

When a turning point in the film sees Sarah receive some tragic news, it makes the same misstep as Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, by denying her agency and instead focussing on how poor Frank will cope. LaPaliga is brilliant, but this film should really be more of a two-hander than it is. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as Jack Clarke steals a number of scenes as Frank’s boss Peter Langdon. Even then though his acidic one-liners are hampered by scenes involving his mentally ill father that feel like they were taken from another film.

As feel good movies go, this is pretty much by the numbers stuff and it’s such a shame that a talented person like Saville would make such a misstep. However, in the right mood, A Month of Sundays is perhaps a non-taxing classic Sunday arvo film waiting to happen.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: A Month of Sundays (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment A Month Of Sundays reviews: You can also listen to our full A Month Of Sunday review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #174.

Trailer:

Kung Fu Panda 3

Summary: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd March 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, China

Director: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Screenwriter: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger

Cast: Jack Black (Po (voice)), Jackie Chan (Monkey (voice)), Radzi Chinyanganya (Mi (voice)), Bryan Cranston (Li (voice)), David Cross (Crane (voice)), Barbara Dirickson (Grandma Panda (voice)), Steele Gagnon (Bao (voice)), Willie Geist (Dim (voice)), Dustin Hoffman (Shifu (voice)), April Hong (Mrs. Chow (voice)),  James Hong (Mr. Ping (voice)), Kate Hudson (Mei Mei (voice)), Angelina Jolie (Tigress (voice)), Knox Jolie-Pitt (Ku Ku (voice)), Pax Jolie-Pitt (Yoo (voice)), Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (Shuai Shuai (voice)), Zahara Jolie-Pitt (Meng Meng (voice)), Randall Duk Kim (Oogway (voice)), Liam Knight (Lei Lei (voice)), Wayne Knight (Big Fun/Hom-Lee (voice)), Lucy Liu (Viper (voice)), Seth Rogen (Mantis (voice)), Al Roker (Sum (voice)), Lindsey Russell (Peony (voice)), J.K. Simmons (Kai (voice)), Fred Tatasciore (Master Bear (voice)), Ming Tsai (Ming (voice)), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Mast Croc (voice))

Runtime: 95 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR KUNG FU PANDA 3 REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

John Noonan:

Five years since he last skiddooed onto the scene, Po the Panda is back and this time, for fear of sounding like a movie poster, he’s bringing the whole family. Yes, a chance encounter at his adoptive father’s restaurant leads  Po (Jack Black) to meeting up with his long lost Dad, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston). Meanwhile, the vengeful spirit of a great warrior known as Kai (JK Simmons) has returned to the mortal realm and is seeking to steal Po’s chi.

This is the second sequel to DreamWorks’s 2008 hit and it’s amazing to see the difference between this and their previous flagship series, Shrek. By the time Shrek coughed and spluttered into his third sequel, the franchise was nothing more than weak storylines on which to pin dated pop culture references and Eel songs.

Conversely, Kung Fu Panda 3 allows Po and his pals to grow organically. Despite being declared Dragon Warrior in the previous film, there’s still much for the young panda to learn. Including it seems, that of how to be a panda. With his newly found father, Po ventures to their secret village in the hills to understand panda nature (tips include that they don’t do stairs and they don’t get up before midday) and potentially learn something that can defeat Kai.

Yes, this ‘just be yourself’ through line is a tried and tested formula, but it’s yet to feel derivate in the Panda universe. Po, despite his prowess, is a still a student. He has questions about his place in the universe that he hopes to answer. Meanwhile, there is only so many ways to you teach an ogre that’s okay to be an ogre, as long as you change yourself a bit.

Kung Fu Panda 3, as has become expected, is beautiful with traditional animation – admittedly done by computers – used for line drawn flashbacks. It’s a simple trick, but one that is used to great and emotional effect. Elsewhere the vocal talent is uniformly brilliant, with JK Simmons sounding like he’s channelling the angriest of angry John Goodmans, whilst James Hong steals every scene as Po’s adoptive father, Mr Ping; who doesn’t take kindly to others cutting his grass.

Rumours are that DreamWorks’s have at least another three chapters in the story of Po, and whilst that is a tempting offer, should they never surface, rest assured Kung Fu Panda 3 is a wonderful and joyous ending to a truly enjoyable series of films.

Stars(4)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Kung Fu Panda 3 reviews: Nil

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:

Sucker

Summary:  A young teenager teams up with an aging scammer and his daughter after he fails a High School exam.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 15th January 2016

Country: Australia

Director: Ben Chessell

Screenwriter: Ben Chessell, Laurence Leung

Cast: Eddie Baroo (Stu), Chris Broadstock (Andy), Ferdinand Hoang (Leo), Jacek Koman (Riley), Lawrence Leung (himself), Yang Li (Uncle Sam), John Luc (Lawrence), Shaun Micallef (Harry), Sophie Ross (Joy), Linda Scharagger (Mai-Ling), Dalip Sondhi (Rashid), Timothy Spall (The Professor), Jacinta Stapleton (Alice), Kat Stewart (Emma), Lily Sullivan (Sarah)

Runtime: 90 mins

Classification: CTC

 

OUR SUCKER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Normally when you think of a heist film you think of big stakes and huge amounts of action. It’s how modern day cinema has programmed us with films like Oceans 11 and The Fast And The Furious pushing the boundaries of the genre with every entry into their franchise. But now comes a heist movie with a real difference. Low budget film Sucker takes a look at the smaller heist and scams that probably go on around the world every single day. Hell, you’ve probably been a victim of them and not even realised.

The man pulling the scams is the aging rip off merchant who names himself The Professor (Timothy Spall). He has been successfully (and sometimes not so successfully) scamming people right around Australia for most of his life. Sure it might just be $50 here or $100 there but it pays the bills and keeps him going, he is more than happy. For the last few years he has also had his beautiful and skilful daughter, Sarah (Lily Sullivan) by his side. While she makes the scams easier she also causes The Professor pain as it makes him remember when he was blindsided himself with his ex-wife.

Then along comes Lawrence (John Luc who many would know as Youtube sensation MyChonny) a naive young Asian teenager who has just failed his family by being caught on his end of year school exams. Eager to make a change in his life (and perhaps just to escape his family for a while) Lawrence becomes intrigued by the world that The Professor lives in and decides that he wants to be his protégé.

Anyone expecting Sucker to compete on the same par as the above mentioned franchises is in for a big shock. Rather than you dazzle you with a massive amount of special effects and huge named stars Sucker is much more a well told character tale. Aside from the whole narrative idea of going along with the idea that this is comedian Lawrence Leung’s life story (or is it?) most of Sucker actually works pretty well.

The screenplay which comes from the pens of Lawrence Leung and director Ben Chessell (who has made his mark with directing hit television shows like Rush and Offspring) actually ends up working on a number of levels. There are a number of moments of comedy which do actually make the audience laugh but the power in this script is the basic yet interesting scams they have managed to include throughout the film.

Yes you do start to care about what happens to Lawrence, especially when the young virgin starts to develop feelings for Sarah, but what really holds your interest is just how basic and simple these various scams are and just how well they work. From scamming chess clubs to finding ways to make money while visiting country pubs these scams are really basic but as an audience you can’t wait to see what the reveal is or whether or not the characters get away with it or not.

Like a lot of Australian films there are some cheesy moments in Sucker but largely the good outweighs the bad. As I mentioned the film does have an emotional level, it’s not just scam after scam or trick after trick. As an audience you do actually invest an interest in the romance between Lawrence and Sarah, especially when you realise what a convincing con artist she is and you can’t help but wonder whether her affection is real or all part of another big scam. You also find yourself concerned about The Professor. The back story of his broken heart adds another element to his character but once again you are never one hundred per cent sure whether you can trust him or not. It might be a subtle kind of suspense that the filmmakers have come up with, but it is certainly there throughout the film.

The legendary Timothy Spall laps up this script with clear actor’s delight. Many of The Professor’s scams involve him pretending to be intoxicated and Spall takes these scenes and runs with them over-acting to his heart’s content. As an actor though he is also smart enough to know when to rope this character again and also gives The Professor moments of deep emotion and also cruel anger. Spall is well backed up by young Lily Sullivan who backs up her sensational performance in Galore to show why she should be considered one of Australia’s most promising young talents… it really is only a matter of time before Hollywood notices her. Making up the team is John Luc who despite his inexperience as an actor never gets blown out of the water by his much more experience co-stars and he reveals himself to be a future comedic force in the Australian film industry.

Sucker is a low budget gem that will have you laughing one moment and then deeply concerned the next. The film is made even more special by the acting talents of Timothy Spall but is well conceived scams that the screenwriters have come up with that will keep you watching.

 

 

Stars(2.5)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Sucker (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Sucker reviews: You can listen to our full Daddy’s Home  review on a future episode of  The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show. You can also read our Sucker review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Sisters

Summary: Life hasn’t been fair to Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate Ellis (Tina Fey). When the sisters learn that their parents Bucky (James Brolin) and Deana (Dianne Wiest) are selling the home that they grew up in it makes them realise that life certainly hasn’t turned out the way it was supposed to for either of them.

Maura hasn’t been in a relationship in a long time and through reliving some of Kate’s memories of their teenage years has realised that she has never really lived at all. Meanwhile Kate who was once the party girl is constantly getting fired and is struggling in her relationship with her daughter. Frustrated with the way things are the two girls decide to live once more by throwing one last party in their family home.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th January 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jason Moore

Screenwriter: Paula Pell

Cast: Ike Barinholtz (James), Samantha Bee (Liz), James Brolin (Bucky Ellis), Dan Byrd (Patrick Campbell), Christina Beth Campbell (Young Maura Ellis Age 10), John Cena (Pazuzu), Mia Ciccarelle (Young Maura Ellis Age 6), Samantha Blaire Cutler (Young Kate Age 12), Madison Davenport (Haley), Rachel Dratch (Kelly), Scott Drummond (Officer Higgins), Tina Fey (Kate Ellis), Santino Fantana (Mr. Geernt), Sue Galloway (Jolene Barme), Jon Glaser (Dan), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Kim), Ann Harada (Jean), Brian D’Arcy James (Jerry), Greta Lee (Hae-Won), John Leguizamo (Dave), Britt Lower (Mrs. Geernt), John Lutz (Joel Barme), Adrian Martinez (Officer Harris), Heather Matarazzo (Denny), Kate McKinnon (Sam), Bobby Moynihan (Alex), Matt Oberg (Rob), Chris Parnell (Phil), Paula Pell (Dana), Amy Poehler (Maura Ellis), Maya Rudolph (Brinda), Emily Tarver (Brayla), Kristen Vincent (Young Kate Age 6), Colleen Werthmann (Cray), Dianne Wiest (Deana Ellis)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: CTC

 

OUR SISTERS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The female members of America’s comedy set have been on fire when it has come to films over the past few years. While the likes of Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell have delivered bomb after bomb the women have produced hit after hit. Films like Bridesmaids and Trainwreck have seen the likes of Kristen Wiig and Amy Schumer become household names right around the world. Now comes Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s (who bring Maya Rudolph along for the ride) new celluloid baby Sisters. The good news while it is doesn’t exactly reach the heights of some of the other films previously mentioned it certainly works and haves you laughing throughout.

What works about Sisters may completely surprise audiences out there. If you’re expecting a smart comedy like Bridesmaids then keep moving because Sisters is very much the female version of a film like American Pie. Directed by Jason Moore (who brought us Pitch Perfect) and written by long-time Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell Sisters is all about grown women acting badly and Poehler and Fey just seem to lap it up.

In this politically correct time it is surprising what Sisters gets away with. The jokes range from quips about both male and female genitalia right through to the right and wrong ways to announce Asian names. Of course most of the humour centres on the wild antics of the party guests at Maura and Kate’s party-to-end-all-parties but the film also takes some time to take a look at some more serious things such as the fractured relationship between a mother and a daughter through to people realising that their lives have gone completely off track.

The fact that the party provides most of the laughs is a stroke of comedic genius in itself. While there may be one of two too many sight gags the film keeps you laughing all the time. Thanks not only to the humour delivered by Poehler and Fey but also by Ike Barinholtz (who plays Poehler’s love interest), Bobby Moynihan who plays lovable-drug-fuelled-loser Alex and Maya Rudolph who seems to love playing rejected party guest Brinda. Along with other cameo roles, such as John Leguizamo and John Cena, these smaller characters in the film seem to come together and just deliver laugh and laugh and soon you find yourself barracking for more than just the lead characters. Moore and Pell’s decision to allow this to happen may have been a huge risk but it pays off for them time after time.

Of course the stars here though are Poehler and Fey and both just seem to feed off the comedic talent and energy that is around them. However that doesn’t mean that they allow themselves to res on their laurels. No these two work ultra hard as well and while they deliver the laughs that were scripted for them amazingly well you also get the feeling that a lot of this film has been ad-libbed by the pair and that works well as well. While the world may have been concentrating on the new breed of Amy Schumer and co over the past few years it is obvious that Fey and Poehler want to show the world that they are still in the peaks of their career as well.

So many of these party movies fail every year but here Sisters works brilliantly well. While I wouldn’t exactly describe it as a top comedy it does more than enough to keep the laughs coming throughout the film, okay you may even have a couple of laughter explosions during it, and that is more than you can say for a lot of the comedies that are around these days. Even better is the fact that this is some of Poehler and Fey’s finest work and is a must for those that love their brand of comedy.

 

Stars(3)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Sisters (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Sisters reviews: You can listen to our full Sisters  review on a future episode of  The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show. You can also read our Sisters review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

 

Daddy's Home

Summary: Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) has always wanted to be a Dad but an unfortunate accident in a dental chair has left that dream in tatters. However, now he is married to ready-made Mum, Sara (Linda Cardellini), but is finding winning over her children Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez) a lot harder than he thought it would be.

Hard work pays off though but just as the two kids are starting to warm to him Sara’s ex, the children’s father, the ever-ready, man-of-the-year-material Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) shows up and he has just one plan in mind – to make Brad look incompetent and to win back Sara and the kids.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Sean Anders

Screenwriter: Sean Anders, Brian Burns, John Morris

Cast: Alessandra Ambrosio (Karen), Joel K. Berger (Corey from Red Bull), Kobe Bryant (himself), Hannibal Buress (Griff), Bill Burr (Jerry), Bobby Cannavale (Dr. Francisco), Jeff Caperton (Tom), Linda Cardellini (Sara), John Cena (Real Dad), Thomas Haden Church (Leo Holt), Troy Compas (Jim),  (Jamie Denbo (Doris), Scarlett Estevez (Megan), Will Ferrell (Brad Whitaker), LaMonica Garrett (Marco), Sadarias Harrell (Silverberg), Chris Henchy (Panda DJ/Jason Sinclair), Matthew Paul Martinez (Pete), Hector Presedo (Pepe), Owen Vaccaro (Dylan), Mark Wahlberg (Dusty Mayron), Brady Yarborough (Marty)

Runtime: 96 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR DADDY’S HOME REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

This year hasn’t been a great year for comedy. A lot have been released and lot have sucked. Well now comes Daddy’s Home which decides to do something a little different, and that is sit right in the middle of the road.

Actually to be honest Daddy’s Home is a bit of a strange watch. It is one of those movies that is completely ruined by the trailer. As a result of seeing most of the gags in the trailer you can pretty much watch this film with just a chuckle here and there. A shame because at times such as Brad skateboarding off a half-pipe into a power-line I found myself thinking ‘I probably would been laughing right now if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve already seen in the trailer in cinemas ten times.’ The sad thing is that happens for most of the laughs throughout the film which must be pretty disappointing for screenwriter/director Sean Anders.

Like Anders’ career itself (this is the man that brought us highs like We’re The Millers but also films like Dumb And Dumber To) a lot of the laughs in Daddy’s Home are all over the place. Yes a lot of the slapstick is ruined by the trailer but then some of the other comedy throughout the film seems to come from a weird place. While the ‘stories’ from Brad’s boss Leo (Thomas Haden Church) are often the funniest part of the film, there are other times when Anders’ humor feels mistimed or misplaced. Two examples are when Leo has a deeply personal conversation with Brad and then the camera pans back to reveal it is in the middle of a meeting with other people (feels forced) or when Leo and Brad are trying to convince Griff (Hannibal Buress) to aid Brad in a clichéd movie run-down-the-hall… that scene just goes on for far too long.

The other abnormality with the humor of Daddy’s Home is that it feels like Mark Wahlberg is a lot funnier in the film that what Will Ferrell is. It is obvious that even Anders knew the role of Dusty provided much of the laughs because at one point Ferrell was supposed to be Dusty before obviously someone realised that there is no way in hell he could pull off being an aloof tough Special Ops member. It what would have been an even bigger disaster Vince Vaughn was also considered for the role so we should be thankful that Wahlberg ends up playing Dusty because he is the highlight of the film… often stealing the limelight from Ferrell mid-scene.

Being out-acted this time round seems to be part of the landscape for Ferrell. His character is ‘boring’ which in fairness may have been Anders’ intention, but the flare shown by Wahlberg makes Dusty a much more impressive character while Ferrell also has a lot of his thunder stolen by Thomas Haden Church whose comedic timing and droll delivery works an absolute treat and he provides many of the laughs throughout the film.

Sure Anders certainly didn’t deliver a comedic masterpiece with Daddy’s Home but any filmmaker deserves not to have their ‘surprises’ or ‘laughs’ intended to impress the audience ruined by the trailer that is supposed to promote the film. With that putting the film behind the eight ball already Daddy’s Home is an up-and-down the film. The film seems to work best when it forgets about trying to be funny and instead goes for more touching scenes, like a step-Dad trying his best with his kids, but also falls on its face when it tries to ‘show-up’ other films’ stupidity like with dance-offs etc.  Daddy’s Home is a middle of the road comedy that doesn’t provide anywhere near as many laughs as it should.

 

Stars(2.5)

 

Sam Gironda:

Daddy’s Home directed by Sean Anders sees the story of a Dad and a Step Dad dealing with the facts of having two Dads in the one household. Brad (Will Ferrell) is a man who has always wanted to be a Dad and his life as a Step Dad to two kids and husband to his wife Sarah (Linda Cardellini) is going well until his wife’s ex-husband shows up. Dusty (Mark Wahlberg is a man who is tough and competitive which certainly is shown throughout the film.

 

Throughout the film Dusty and Brad go head to head and compete to prove to the kids and Sarah, who can be the better parent. What I loved about the film was the constant humour. In most comedy movies sometimes the humour seems almost like it is forced on you and almost makes you feel like they are trying so hard to make you laugh with scenes and jokes that aren’t very funny at all. In Daddy’s Home the humour was great. It was humour that was very quick in some cases and that’s what I loved. It was humour that we would all experience and things that we would laugh at in everyday life.

 

The one thing I thought of during this movie is that Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell were great together on screen. To me they were a comedy duo that I never expected and it would be great to see them do more films together in the future. Even though the film is a comedy there was some drama and emotional events which really portrayed what it is like for families where there are more than two parents. Daddy’s Home, I think, is a great movie for the whole family and is definitely worth seeing if you have the option of going to the cinema.

It was funny, enjoyable, had a good story line, great cast and was just an all over good film to watch. Daddy’s Home staring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg is in cinemas now! Check it out!

 

Stars(3.5)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Daddy's Home (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Daddy’s Home reviews: You can listen to our full Daddy’s Home  review on a future episode of  The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show. You can also read our Daddy’s Home review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Alvin & The Chipmunks Road Chip

Summary: Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) return and this time they have a huge problem. Not only has their ‘father’ Dave (Jason Lee) put a stop to them performing live, so they can be normal kids for awhile, but his relationship with Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is going so well it looks like they are about to get engaged.

Now the Chipmunks are happy for Dave but are concerned that if he marries Samantha that wil mean that they that are now ‘brothers’ with a boy that seems to enjoy torturing them, Miles (Josh Green). When they learn that he isn’t too happy about being related to them either the four decide to embark on a road trip to Miami to prevent the engagement from happening.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Walt Becker

Screenwriter: Randi Mayem Singer, Adam Sztykiel, Janice Karman (characters), Ross Bagdasarian (characters)

Cast: Christina Applegate (Brittany (voice)), Jennifer Coolidge (Ms. Price), Kaley Cuoco (Elenaor (voice)), Anna Faris (Jeanette (voice)), Josh Green (Miles), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon (voice)), Tony Hale (Agent Suggs), Ellie Knaus (Anna), Jason Lee (Dave), Justin Long (Alvin (voice)), Jesse McCartney (Theodore (voice)), Maxie McClintock (Alice), Joshua Mikel (Wyatt the Pizza Guy), Red Foo (himself), Eddie Steeples (Barry), Bella Thorne (Ashley Grey), Kimberley Williams-Paisley (Samantha)

Runtime: 92 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS:ROAD CHIP REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Well I guess it had to happen to one film and for most territories around the world it was Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip that went up against the might of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When you actually think about it it’s not such a bad strategic move considering that most little kids who will want to see Alvin and co will have very little interest in going to see a film about intergalactic warfare. That leaves the big questions being… is this the kind of movie that will entertain or put my children to sleep?

Anyone who has sat through all four Alvin & The Chipmunks movies will tell you that this has been a franchise that has been all over the shop when it comes to quality. The first film surprisingly had meaning taking a huge swipe at the music industry and the way it treats young artists, but from then (like most of the franchises) these days it seems to have had more lows than highs. That is where you might be pleasantly surprised by Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip.

While the cast in front of the camera (and behind the microphone in some cases) haven’t changed this time around, the crew behind the scenes has. Known comedy director Walk Becker (who has previously brought us Van Wilder and Wild Hogs) steps up to the plate and is probably the reason behind a lot of the slapstick that surfaces this time around. Also new to the creative table are screenwriters who can boast films like Mrs Doubtfire and Due Date on their Resumes.

The new creative team behind the film takes this movie in a completely different direction to the last two films. Here the franchise once again finds its heart as the film explores the delicate subject of siblings being brought together as parents remarry etc. Surprisingly the film actually does that quite well, and while Miles is originally set-up as a brat you are supposed to hate the screenwriters do actually take his character on a journey that allows the audience to see how he ended up the way he did. It’s surprisingly moving.

Of course as you would expect from a movie aimed at the younger demographic there is also a lot of scenes that adults are going to find ‘silly.’ The battle scenes with Agent Suggs (Tony Hale) are over the top and too slapsticky for adults to really enjoy but you can guarantee younger kids will be in hysterics over them. Likewise the Red Foo scenes which are nauseating for anybody that has taste in music, but luckily the latter music scenes depicting the Chipmunks doing everything from playing in a redneck bar to rocking out with a brass band in New Orleans are a lot better.

As is normally the case with this franchise the actors are really overshadowed by the CGI chipmunks. Jason Lee seems to be cruise control, as is Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Tony Hale overacts constantly throughout the film, something that it is obvious he was asked to do by the creative team and for the most past it works. The biggest surprise though is the acting performance of Josh Green. The young inexperienced actor really shows that he may be an actor to watch in the future and he masterfully takes his character on a journey throughout this film. He manages to switch from comedy to moving emotionally scenes at a whim and he is one of the few actors who isn’t over-shadowed by his furry, cute co-stars.

Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip has enough crazy scenes and music sequences to keep younger kids happy while the older generations will warm to the more heartfelt moments throughout the film. Yes this film isn’t the car crash many expected it would be.
Stars(3)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip reviews: You can listen to our full Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip  on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158. You can also read our full Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Monster Fest 2015

 

Summary: The world is stunned when aliens attack Earth but only seem to focus on one country – Australia. One person isn’t surprised though and that is wannabe rock star Andi (Rita Artmann) who has been telling people for years that the aliens who gave her ‘powers’ years before would return one day for her.

Well now the attack has happened and Andi’s mother has been abducted. Soon Andi, her documentary film-making friend Cam (Tamara McLaughlin), her hypochondria brother Elliott (Doug Hatch) and her once-nearly-was-famous boxer cousin Keith (Lawrence Silver) find themselves trying to not only find her mother, but stay alive as it soon becomes apparent the aliens are willing to kill anyway that gets in their way.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Joe Bauer

Screenwriter: Rita Artmann (sotry), Joe Bauer

Cast: Paul Adams (Dennis), Rita Artmann (Andi), Joe Bauer (John), Natasha Baynham (Young Andi), Caroline Bell (Kylie), Cameron Caulfield (Young Elliot), Robert Griffiths (Roy), Doug Hatch (Elliot), Rob Jenkins (Crowe), Kyle McCallion (Stix), Tamara McLaughlin (Cam), Emma Randall (Alien Commander), Lawrence Silver (Keith), Gareth Ward (Young Keith), Tamika Wood (Naomi)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification: TBC

 

OUR AUSTRALIENS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

When a film lover hears the words cult film spoof they are right to be worried, very worried. Aside from the first two Scary Movie films and perhaps Shaun Of The Dead (if you really want to call it a spoof) movies that generally try to parody horror or sci-fi normally fail pretty badly. In fact they normally suck so badly they are a shoe-in to win a few Golden Razzies and make Worst Film Of The Year nominations right across the globe. That plus the fact that Australia rarely makes a good comedy is enough to have alarm bells ringing about new film Australiens. But everybody needs to just take a good deep breath, because this film turns out to be a little gem.

If anything Australiens really shows how creative ideas and talent will always outweigh money when it comes to movies. Director Joe Bauer really was pushing up-hill with this film but he never took a step backwards. Yes some of the special effects don’t look like a Spielberg production but there are plenty of times throughout the film where things look very good indeed. The actually aliens look pretty awesome while the alien robots actually do look like they were pulled straight out of a multi-million dollar production.

Special effects aside though what lifts Australiens up and makes it enjoyable watch is the humor. So often these spoof movies just aren’t funny, that certainly isn’t the case here. There are the odd groan-worthy joke that makes it way through to the final edit of the film but for the most part the comedy works. There are sizzling one liners that will have the audience laughing while the more elaborate jokes such as one of the group becoming obviously infected while nobody notices works efficiently for most of the film. Yes some of the storylines, especially around Andi’s Dad, are implausible but they certainly turn the comedy effect up to the extreme.

One of the other refreshing things about Australiens is the fact that this comes from a fresh cast. There are no seasoned Aussie actors or international blow-ins performing in this film. Instead it is a young cast that certainly has talent that delivers the goods. Led by Rita Artmann who really delivers some comedy gold she is well backed up by Doug Hatch who plays a great lovable loser but it is Joe Bauer who steals the limelight as the ‘infected’ John.

Refreshingly funny Australiens shows that it is possible to make a funny cult spoof film even on a low budget. This movie is enough to show that Joe Bauer and Rita Artmann are a creative team to watch in the future.
Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:
Australiens (2014) on IMDb

 

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

Trailer:

Oddball

Summary: Middle Island was once a flourishing penguin population but sadly over the years the numbers have dropped from a few thousand down to around ten due to the fact that foxes have worked out how to get to the Island. This has now caused problems for Emily Marsh (Sarah Snook), Jack Jones (Richard Davies) and Zoe (Tegan Higginbotham) who have been told they will lose their jobs if the Island is no longer considered a sanctuary.

As the nearby town of Warrnambool works hard at becoming a tourist destination by having the local council including Mayor Lake (Deborah Mailman) working with an advisor named Bradley Slater (Alan Tudyk) to come up with new tourism ideas. But when Bradley’s idea means the future of Middle Island is doomed a local chicken farmer named Swampy Marsh (Shane Jacobson) and his granddaughter, Olivia (Coco Jack Gillies) decides it is up to them and a mischievous dog called Oddball to come up with a way to fix everything.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 17th September 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Stuart McDonald

Screenwriter: Peter Ivan

Cast: Terry Camilleri (Judge Burns), Richard Davies (Jack Jones), Coco Jack Gillies (Olivia), Tegan Higginbotham (Zoe),  Shane Jacobson (Swampy), Dave Lawson (Sergeant Gosch), Deborah Mailman (Mayor Lake), Sarah Snook (Emily Marsh), Alan Tudyk (Bradley Slater), Frank Woodley (Dog Catcher)

Runtime: 95 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR ODDBALL REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

This has been the year when the Australian film industry has hit back with vengenance. Amongst the good drama films that have surfaced Aussie cult cinema has led the way around the world with films like Kill Me Three Times and Wrymwood making the charts in America while Mad Max: Fury Road seemed to thrill action film lovers as well. Of course one of the biggest Australian films over the past few years has been Red Dog – a family film that surprised everybody. Not surprisingly many Aussie filmmakers thought they had just discovered the best way to make people watch your film and that was to create a family friendly film about dog. Several projects fitting that description have fallen by the wayside but now Oddball manages to make its way to the big screen.

Yes I’ve made the clichéd comparison between Oddball and Red Dog so now let’s take a look at whether or not the film is actually any good. The answer to that question is a solid yes because director Stuart McDonald (who over recent years has worked on all of Chris Lilley’s projects) and screenwriter Peter Ivan have been brave enough to make Oddball a little bit different to the thousands of dog movies over the years. When the opening to Oddball boasts that this is a fairy tale they aren’t joking. Yes this is a true story that saw the people of Warrnambool embrace a Maremma dog but together these talented filmmakers have told the story in a fairy tale style which incorporates a smart script with a little bit of pantomime acting, especially from comedian Frank Woodley who plays the mean dog catcher. In the past this style of filmmaking has led to some pretty woeful Australian films, I’m looking at you Welcome To Woop Woop, but here it makes a refreshing difference and makes Oddball the kind of film that could be enjoyed by the whole family.

Ironically when watching Oddball the old fart joke and over the top dog chase does have a bit of a feel of a Paul Jennings story and sure enough a quick check of Peter Ivan’s bio shows that he was one of the writer’s on Two Twisted, a show based on Jenning’s work. Somehow this script manages to incorporate that kind of humor with a dramatic storyline revolving around how greed can impeach on nature and also explores the fractured relationship between father and daughter when it comes to things between Swampy and Emily. Yes Ivan and McDonald together have somehow created a film that will actually have you laughing one moment and tearing up the next.

The key to this film working as well as it does though is through it’s casting. Shane Jacobson does a great job in the lead role of Swampy. He made the character of Kenny famous all those years ago and while his comedic talent is held back a little here he now has also made Swampy a much loved Australian character. He is well supported by Alan Tudyk who plays the pushy American but the scenes here are stolen by Sarah Snook who once again shows why she is an Australian actress on the rise and young Coco Jack Gillies who here shows the world that she is a child actress with a huge future ahead of her.

Oddball is a genuine treat. It is a film that has a strong conservational message but doesn’t get bogged down in preaching to its audience. A great script that manages to mix humor and drama together well without becoming to adult for children is a rarity these days, but here it works well and allows it’s talented cast to really show there skills. Different but smart, cute but dramatic Oddball will surprise more than a few people who take the time to watch the film.

 

 

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Greg King:

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

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Oddball (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Oddball reviews:Oddball with be reviewed in an upcoming episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show.

Trailer:

Tangerine

Summary: When transgender prostitute Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is released from prison she leans straight away from her best friend and collegue Alexandra (Mya Taylor) that her boyfriend/pimp Chester (James Ransone) has been cheating on her… with a female.

This starts Sin-Dee on a mission across the grimy suburbs of Los Angeles as she tries to find Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan) and make her pay. Meanwhile, a taxi driver named Razmik (Karren Karagulien) is cruising the streets trying to find some transsexual fun while Alexandra is also trying to get all her friends together so they can come and watch her first performance as a singer.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10th September 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Sean Baker

Screenwriter: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch

Cast: Angelique Banks (Angel), Krishne Chelliah (Kay-Kay), Julie Cummings (Officer Jules), Ian Edwards (Nash), Ana Foxx (Selena), Genesis Green (Pinkberry), Arsen Grigoryan (Karo), Clu Gulager (Ther Cherokee), John Gulager (Shower Head), Karen Karagulian (Razmik), Katja Kassin (John Prostitute), Scott Krinsky (Parsimonious John), Richie Lillard (Miss Willy), Alfred Lopez (Squirtel), Chelcie Lynn (Madame Jillian), Graham Mackie (Food Line Bob), Luiza Nersisyan (Yeva), Shanyce Nivaye (Toni), Mickey O’Hagan (Dinah), James Ransone (Chester), Kitana Kiki Rodriguez (Sin-Dee), Andrew D. Scoggins (WhiteBoy), Rae L. Siskind (Officer Ray), David Z. Stamp (John John), Jason Stuart (Joe the Doorman), Josh Sussman (Retch Chunder), Mya Taylor (Alexandra), Shih-Ching Tsou (Mamasan), Alla Tumanian (Ashken), James Williams (PooBear)

Runtime: 88 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR TANGERINE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

There is no doubt that Tangerine has set the indie film world alight. The film was the buzz at Sundance this year and that has resulted in this becoming the must see indie film of 2015. Having said that though the film also has its doubters, those that wonder can a film that was entirely shot on iPhones be worth watching? Then there are even those who are suggesting that Tangerine is little more than an advertising scoop for Apple trying to push just how good the cameras are on an iPhone.

Well doubters it is time for a little hush. While the idea of Apple wanting to use a film to promote their product is probably one that they have thought about a few times, it is highly unlikely they would have done so using a film that looks like Larry Clark has been set loose amongst L.A.’s transgender population. No this film is very much the brainchild of an intelligent indie filmmaker, Sean Baker, and cudos needs to be sent his way for thinking of such an unique way to make the film that he has created. The film does have some weaknesses but certainly not enough to make this a film you don’t want to watch.

The big question most people will be asking is how does a film shot on iPhones actually look? Well to be honest it doesn’t look any different to any other film you would see filmed digitally these days. The picture is crisp and the iPhone actually has its advantage as it allows Baker to get right up close and personal with his characters even in tight spots such as a car going through a carwash. As a result the audience certainly feels like they are part of the drama throughout the film.

The biggest weakness for Tangerine is the Baker doesn’t seem to know how to pace his dramatic moments. Early on everything is rush, rush, rush with the Sin-Dee Rella storyline and we only get glimpses of the stories revolving around Razmik and Alexandra. Then when the Sin-Dee story starts to run out of gas and it feels like Baker is just filling in time showing shots of her at bus stops etc the Razmik storyline picks up dramatically and the audience feels like they want to stay with it but instead they are made watch the ‘filler’ shots. The most disappointing part of the film though is the fact that you don’t really feel like Alexandra’s story is ever looked at as deeply as it should have been.

Still Tangerine has a lot of plusses working for it as well. Baker and his cast have kept this film so natural it does feel like you are watching a docco at times. Plus the Larry Clark reference earlier on was not a mistake, Tangerine feels like the kind of film that Clark was making early on his career – films like Kids and Bully. Tangerine isn’t just gritty it shows what life is like for a transsexual prostitute from giving oral sex in cars to having urine thrown on them… the film certainly doesn’t glam up the lifestyle. Baker also allows the film to explore topics such as why Sin-Dee is hurt even more by the fact that Chester cheated with a female, while one of the most powerful scenes of the film is when Razmik picks up a female mistakenly thinking she is a transsexual. Scenes such as this, plus the scene where all the characters come together in one place are what Tangerine makes memorable and shows that the film is more than just a gimmick.

Tangerine is not a film that is going to be everybody’s cup-of-tea. Some of the topics explored in this film are things that some people don’t want to be exposed to… and that’s okay. But at the end of the day Tangerine deserves more credit than just ‘good for a film shot on a phone’ because this is a film that has some wonderful acting performances and some good directing that makes this seem like one of the most natural films you will see this year.

 

 

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Tangerine (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Girlhood reviews: You can listen to our Tangerine review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #145. You can also read our Tangerine review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt

Trailer: