Category: Romance

Sunday

Summary: Set in Christchurch twelve months after the devastating earthquake that flattened a lot of the city, Sunday sees the very Aussie Charlie (Dustin Clare) arriving to visit his ex-girlfriend Eve (Camille Keenan). The catch here is that their once flourishing relationship is now in tatters but Eve is pregnant with Charlie’s baby.

As Charlie awkwardly tries to be there for Eve he is soon shocked to learn that she has moved on with Stephan (Jacob Tomuri). Soon he is left wondering whether he can simply just be friends with Eve and just be a Dad to her child or whether like the city around them this is something that can be re-built.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 2nd May, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: New Zealand/Australia

Director: Michelle Joy Lloyd

Screenwriter: Dustin Clare, Camille Keenan, Michelle Joy Lloyd

Cast: Dustin Clare (Charlie), Camille Keenan (Eve), Jacob Tomuri (Stephan), Steve Wrigley (The Entertainer)

Runtime: 71 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR SUNDAY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The danger with doing a largely dialogue driven film is that in the hands of the wrong filmmaker they can become a dangerously slow affair that could potentially put an audience into a deep coma. Luckily for all involved with Sunday the small team behind this independently produced New Zealand film is that they were right on the money and have created a wonderfully written relationship drama that should be the envy of any Hollywood screenwriter.

Director Michelle Joy Lloyd announces herself as one of Australia’s brightest young directional talents as she takes the script written by herself and real life and on-screen couple Camille Keenan and Dustin Clare and turns it into a thought provoking relationship drama that well and truly draws its audience in. Delivering all the angst and strong writing of an episode of The Secret Life Of Us Sunday allows it’s audience to sit back and be taken on an emotional journey that is aided by the fact that both Charlie and Eve likable characters. It is easy to see that this is the kind of film where a male audience will be able to easy identify with Charlie and a female audience put themselves in the shoes of Eve.

At times Sunday does become very dialogue driven but luckily the screenplay is so well written that the film never feels like it is being bogged down by being too wordy. And somehow the film manages to conjure about great suspense and tension through strong scenes between Charlie and Eve that any couple can relate to. Somehow the screenplay also manages to remain realistic throughout and thankfully never becomes some flowery romance that makes you want to gag. The script’s ability to tie in the story of a relationship rebuild with how Christchurch is rebuilding and not giving up around them is also a stroke of screenplay mastery.

Making Sunday even stronger are the genuine performances from both Dustin Clare and Camille Keenan. The real life couple bring a strong chemistry to their performances and credit must be paid to Keenan who actually filmed this one pregnant. The limited time period that they had to shoot the film does not show in their performances and instead we get two good performances that show that both these actors deserve much meatier roles in the future. Hopefully Sunday will be enough to elevate them off the small screen and onto the big screen.

Sunday is the kind of film that is best enjoyed by somebody that likes intelligent cinema and doesn’t need a load of explosions or CGI to keep them happy in the cinema. It is well thought out, well acted and a film that deserves to go a long, long way.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Greg King:

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

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Sunday (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Sunday reviews: You can also find our Sunday review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt. You will also be able to hear our Sunday review on an upcoming episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show.

Trailer:

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Summary:  Based on the popular series of novels by E.L. James Fifty Shades Of Grey is told by the perspective of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) a young college student whose life is changed forever when her housemate, Kate (Eloise Mumford) asks her to fill in for her and do an interview with the mysterious Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).

To her surprise the virginal Anastasia feels a connection with Christian and while at first it seems they are about to enter a seemingly normal relationship things seem to be held by Christian refusing to give in to his feelings. Soon Anastasia discovers that Christian has a hidden side of his life, a side that excites her but a side that isn’t sure whether she wants to be part of or not.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 12th February, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Screenwriter: Kelly Marcel, E.L. James (novel)

Cast: Andrew Airlie (Mr. Grey), Elliat Albrecht (Olivia), Bruce Dawson (Mr. Clayton), Anne Marie DeLuise (Dr. Greene), Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey), Jennifer Ehle (Carla), Emily Fonda (Martina), Luke Grimes (Elliott Grey), Marcia Gay Harden (Mrs. Grey), Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele), Anthony Konechny (Paul Clayton), Max Martini (Taylor), Eloise Mumford (Kate), Dylan Neal (Bob), Rita Ora (Mia Grey), Victor Rasuk (Jose), Callum Keith Rennie (Ray), Rachel Skarsten (Andrea)

Runtime: 125 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR FIFTY SHADES OF GREY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Worst nightmare or most eagerly anticipated film of the year? There seems to be no middle ground with Fifty Shades Of Grey and that in turn has become a dangerous thing. Some movie markets around the world decided that this movie was so critic proof that they wouldn’t even run any Media Screenings of the film something that you can only wonder has led to some critics scratching their claws and belting this film into submission as only Christian Grey could. But this is a film that also raises another pretty serious question as well. Did critics go into the film wanting to bash it, because there is no way that this film has deserved the one and half star reviews that it has been picking up.

Let’s be honest Fifty Shades Of Grey is not a brilliant film, but it is an interesting film and director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel (who also wrote the brilliant Saving Mr. Banks) have done all they can to turn what is pretty much a trashy novel into something worthy of watching on the big screen.

Credit does need to be paid to Taylor-Johnson and Marcel as this could have very easily turned into the kind of film that would be frequented by men wearing rain-coats instead of becoming what it has – an intriguing film that although billed to be a sex romp has enough storyline with it to become a Notebook-esque film with whips and chains. The fact is though that Marcel realises early on that this film wouldn’t work if it were simply just bondage sex scene after bondage sex scene so she does something you feel that many screenwriters wouldn’t and brings a great deal of characterization into the film. In turn the audience find themselves embedded in this strange relationship and certainly wants to know what is going to happen next.

Marcel’s screenplay also takes this film into some dark areas, but not the ones that many have decided to throw at this film before they haven’t seen it. Fifty Shades Of Grey is never a film that glorifies rape, sexual abuse or domestic violence, instead it becomes the character study of a man damaged by sexual abuse himself and the impact that it has on his adult relationships. It also becomes a film that explores the sexual awakening of a young woman in a way that has been previously glimpsed at in films such as The Story Of O and Secretary. This character driven storyline and the strong almost suspense feeling generated by the ‘will they, won’t they’ aspect of the film certainly lifts the film above what many thought it would turn out to be.

The knives have also been out for Jamie Dornan whom many believe doesn’t really fit the role of Christian Grey. But really he isn’t as bad as many has said he has been. Sure he may not have the charisma of someone like a Ryan Gosling but watching this film soon makes you realise that neither does Grey. Grey isn’t a flamboyant Bruce Wayne like millionaire he’s more your brooding David Boreanaz style wealth monger and Dornan pulls that off fairly well.

The star here though is Dakota Johnson. The star on the rise who has previously had smaller roles in films like Need For Speed, The Social Network and 21 Jump Street really announces herself in a role that does actually test her as an actress. Johnson is called upon to deliver most of the nudity and she doesn’t flinch once while also delivering a performance that most young actresses in a romantic role would be more than happy with.

Strangely while Fifty Shades Of Grey has been savaged you get an eerie feeling after watching it that had this been a French film with subtitles and not based on books that have been labeled ‘Mummy porn’ than this would have been a film that many critics may have warned to for it’s risqué content. As a film though Fifty Shades Of Grey is serviceable, the characters are likable and the storyline intriguing. Plus the best way to show how is does work is that if you stick to the end there is a good chance you’ll want to know where the story ends up… so hopefully that make a sequel and don’t leave us dangling… from Grey’s roof.

Stars(3)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Fifty Shades Of Grey reviews: You can also read our Fifty Shades of Grey review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Wedding Ringer

Summary: Doug Harris (Josh Gad) thinks he has scooped the lottery. After years and years of being considered as a loser to all those around him he has now shown everybody by not only making it in the finance world but somehow managing to not only get the very good looking Gretchen Palmer (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) to date him but now she has said yes to his wedding proposal. Yes, everything is looking up for Doug, except he goes and causes a massive amount of stress by lying about how many friends he has, when secretly he has none at all.

Now Doug’s lie is haunting him because Gretchen and her over-zealous gay wedding planner Edmundo (Ignacio Serricchio) are eagerly wanting to meet all his friends so they can be prepared to become groomsmen. As he panics to what will happen if Gretchen discovers they don’t exist Doug is forced to hire Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), the wedding ringer extraordinaire who for the right amount of money can be your best man and provide you with the wedding you need to keep your loved one happy.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jeremy Garelick

Screenwriter: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender

Cast: Karen Jin Beck (DJ Shy), Trevor Brunsink (Trevor), Patrick Carlyle (Andrew), Affion Crockett (Reggie/Drysdale), Whitney Cummings (Holly Munk), Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (Gretchen Palmer), Anthony L. Fernandez (Angel), Josh Gad (Doug Harris), Jorge Garcia (Lurch/Garvey), Mimi Gianopulos (Mimi), Dan Gill (Bronstein/Dickerson), Peter Gilroy (P.J. The Waiter), Steve Greene (Chris), Kevin Hart (Jimmy Callahan/Bic), Corey Holcomb (Otis/Alzado), Ken Howard (Ed Palmer), Tray Ireland (Ray), Neal Israel (Rabbi Steinsaltz), Ashley Jones (Babs Fremont), Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones (himself), Colin Kane (Fitzgibbons/Plunkett), Cloris Leachman (Grandma Palmer), Jenifer Lewis (Doris Jenkins), Joe Namath (himself), Amy Okuda (Marci), Lindsay Pearce (Alexandra Plylow), John Riggins (himself), Alan Ritchson (Kip/Carew), Mimi Rogers (Lois Palmer), Jeffrey Ross (Hal Lane), Ignacio Serricchio (Edmundo/Dirty Eddie Sanchez),  Aaron Takahashi (Endo/Rambis), Olivia Thirlby (Alison Palmer), Robert Towers (Lou), Nicky Whelan (Nadia)

Runtime: 101 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR THE WEDDING RINGER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Kevin Hart! The name can spring fear into fans of good comedy. After all this is a man over the years who has turned out some pretty questionable film roles… yes to be honest he deserves to be included in the same sentence as Adam Sandler or Chris Rock. For that reason there is always a little bit of trepidation when you are heading into a Kevin Hart, chances are it’s going to be ordinary, but then occasionally along comes a surprise like The Wedding Ringer which actually turns out to be a pretty decent comedy… as long as you like your comedy a little out there like with films like Horrible Bosses or The Hangover franchise.

Yes there are times you are going to feel guilty laughing at The Wedding Ringer, a small part of your brain will tell you that you shouldn’t be laughing at something as juvenile as a dog becoming attached to somebody’s genitals in a Bucks’ Night prank gone wrong or that you shouldn’t be chuckling at a poor unfortunate person with a speech impediment, but the larger part of your brain will overcome that little voice and whether you want or not you are going to find yourself laughing out loud to this film… largely because the screenwriters get a lot of things right.

One of the biggest problems with comedies over the past few years has been that the main characters haven’t been likable. That certainly isn’t the case here. Doug maybe a loser, but he’s still a nice guy and he’s the kind of guy that you want to see succeed so instantly you start rooting for him, the screenplay (which was put together by director Jeremy Garelik and Jay Lavender) also sees the character of Jimmy be presented in a likable light as well. A lot of films would have had him labeled as a shyster but here he seems to embrace the job as a wedding ringer because he is making people happy. He’s funny, caring and as we see later on has a softer side so what isn’t there to like.

Sure there are some parts of this film that are extremely predictable, I mean anyone who has watched a comedy over the last decade will work out where the Gretchen’s feeling for Doug storyline is heading before the film ever gets there, but Garelick (who is a debut feature director) also manages to throw in enough side-stories and surprises to keep his audience on their toes. Having said that though, some sequences such as the football game are over long. The biggest problem for this film should have been convincing the audience that someone that looks like Gretchen would ever date a loser like Doug and even that is well and truly explained for the naysayers.

Now let’s get down to the jury decision on Mr. Hart himself. Hart is actually okay in the role of Jimmy/Bic but to be honest his delivery still needs a lot of work. At times he mumbles or speaks so fast that the audience is left scratching their heads and wondering ‘what the hell did he just say?’ Luckily Josh Gad steps up to the plate and is actually manages to take a lot of the laughs away from Hart, whether it be through an old style slapstick laugh or a well delivered line. Gad like Hart hasn’t always delivered comedy gold but here he is more than serviceable. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting doesn’t do too much away from her Big Bang Theory persona, but another television ring-in, Jorge Garcia (known to many as Hurley from Lost) steals the show with one of the funniest lines in the film (the last final line before the credits), while Ken Howard also manages to steal a laugh or two as he plays the very politically incorrect Ed.

The Wedding Ringer is very much a guilty pleasure. It is the kind of film that serious film buffs will never admit they had a chuckle to because it is expected they wouldn’t like it, when really they were laughing out loud just like the rest of the audience around them. The Wedding Ringer is outrageous but does have a touching side as well and it does more than enough to be labeled a passable comedy.

Stars(3)

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s The Wedding Ringer review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(1)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: The Wedding Ringer (2015) on IMDb

 

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

Trailer:

Step Up All In

Summary: All-stars from the previous Step Up installments come together in glittering Las Vegas, battling for a victory that could define their dreams and their careers.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th September, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Trish Sie

Screenwriter: John Swetnam, Duane Adler (characters)

Cast: Chaton Anderson (Sophie), Leslie Arcos (Santana Gomez), Stephen Boss (Jason), Jay Brazeau (Mr. McGowan), Celestina (herself), Frank Crudele (Boris), Briana Evigan (Andie), Parris Goebel (Violet), Ryan Guzman (Sean), Misha Gabriel Hamilton (Eddy), Stephen Stevo Jones (Jasper), Mari Koda (Jenny Kido), Karin Konoval (Ana), Facundo Lombard (Marcos Santiago), Martin Lombard (Martin Santiago), Izabella Miko (Alexxa Brava), Luis Rosado (Monster), Christopher Scott (Hair), Adam Sevani (Moose), David Shreibman (Chad), Chadd Smith (Vladd), Cyrus Spencer (Gauge), Alyson Stoner (Camille), Dzajna ‘Jaja’ Vankova (Robot Girl)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR STEP UP ALL IN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Step Up All In review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(2.5)

 

David Griffiths:

Yes it is the franchise that just won’t die, no matter how much film lovers rant and rave over it or wish for its demise. But seriously who can blame the executive producers for keeping it going now that they have discovered that these dance films cost very little to make and thanks to teenage girls right around the world end up making hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.

Step Up All In is supposed to be the All-Star Game of this franchise as the best characters/dancers from the previous films line up under the guidance of Sean (Ryan Guzman), Andie (Briana Evigan) and of course the lovable Moose (Adam Sevani) as they try to not only take out the prize offered by a reality show called The Vortex, but prove that dancing can be a fulltime job.

Now I’m actually going to go in and bat for this film a little because despite some of this franchise’s clichéd, recycled storylines and one-dimensional characters creeping in the film does more than enough to please its demographic. The film’s dance sequences are spectacular (despite the fact we are led to believe the characters came up with the finale in just a few hours), and there is more than enough Guzman flesh to keep the teeny boppers happy.

Step Up All In also take a fair swipe at reality television labelling it scripted and corrupt… so it needs to be congratulated for passing that message across to its’ audience. While the storyline revolving around television host Alexxa Brava was let down by Izabella Miko’s acting (was she trying to channel Lady Gaga and the crazy host from The Hunger Games?) at least it tried to make a good point, something that has been rare in Step Up films of the past.

Of course I could also write an entire essay on the weakness of the cast’s acting abilities (is that Asian actress one of the worst actresses to ever hit the big screen???) but of course people don’t go see a Step Up movie to see a Shakespearian performance do they? They’re here for the dancing and that’s about it. Oh, and talking about the Step Up cast, if you’re wondering whether Channing Tatum decides to return to the franchise that made him a name, no he doesn’t, he obviously thinks he is above all this now.

Step Up All In isn’t going to win any awards, but to its credit it also won’t bore its audience to death like some other dance movies have in the past. Now we just have to all sit back and watch as the producers once again count all the cash that comes in.

Stars(2.5)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Step Up All In (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Step Up All In′: For our full Step Up All In review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96 . You can also read Dave’s Step Up All In review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Tarzan

Summary: Tarzan and Jane Porter face a mercenary army dispatched by the evil CEO of Greystoke Energies, a man who took over the company from Tarzan’s parents, after they died in a plane crash.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th September, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Germany

Director: Reinhard Klooss

Screenwriter: Reinhard Klooss, Jessica Postigo, Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cast: Brian Bloom (Miller (voice)), Lynn Robertson Bruce (Karla (voice)), Les Bubb (Jim Porter (voice)), Jeff Burrell (Derek’s Father (voice)), Robert Capron (Derek (voice)), Mark Deklin (John Greystroke (voice)), Cecily Fay (Teeka (voice)), Chris Fries (Chris (voice)), Craig Garner (Tarzan Aged 4 (voice)), Brian Huskey (Smith (voice)), Spencer Locke (Jane Porter (voice)), Paul Lowe (Young Terkoz (voice)), Kellan Lutz (Tarzan (voice)), Jamie Ray Newman (Alice (voice)), Edd Osmond (Young Taug (voice)), Jo Osmond (Young Teeka (voice)), Rebecca Reaney (Jane (voice)), Christian Serritello (Chris (voice)), Trevor St. John (William Clayton (voice)), Andy Wareham (Tublat (voice)), Anton Zeetterholm (Teenage Tarzan (voice))

Runtime: 94 mins

Classification: CTC

 

OUR TARZAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Tarzan review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96

Stars(2)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Tarzan (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Tarzan′: For our full Tarzan review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96 .

Trailer:

Magic In The Moonlight

Summary: An uptight English magician (Firth), who prides himself on knowing the detail behind every popular illusion, reconnects with an old colleague while on tour in Europe. Intrigued by the story of a young spirit medium (Stone) who claims to be able to speak with the dead husband of a wealthy widow (Weaver), the pair travel to the sun-dappled coastal villa of the family to assist in unmasking this possible swindle. Set during the 1920s against a backdrop of the Côte d’Azur, glorious provincial mansions, garden parties and fashionable jazz joints,

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th August, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Woody Allen

Screenwriter: Woody Allen

Cast: Eileen Atkins (Aunt Vanessa), Colin Firth (Stanley), Marcia Gay Harden (Mrs. Baker), Erica Leerhsen (Caroline), Hamish Linklater (Brice), Simon McBurney (Howard Burkan), Catherine McCormack (Olivia), Jeremy Shamos (George), Emma Stone (Sophie), Jacki Weaver (Grace)

Runtime: 97 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Magic In The Moonlight review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #94

Stars(3.5)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Magic In The Moonlight review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #94

Stars(3.5)

 

David Griffiths:

It seems like talented actor/director Woody Allen really is Mr. Teflon. The scandals that have plagued his personal life over the years would have been enough to bring other filmmaker’s careers crashing down around them. They would have become box office poison and eventually been shunned by film studios right around the world.

That certainly hasn’t happened with Allen though who has instead just merrily gone about his business churning out at least one film a year for as long as I can remember. The good thing about that though is that even with age the level of greatness he has managed to bring to each of his films has never dropped. Over recent years he has proved that with films such as To Rome With Love, Midnight In Paris and Vicky Cristina Barcelona which have all been absolute gems.

Now comes Magic In The Moonlight a film that sees Allen drag his audience make into the roaring 1920s as he tells the story of the talented yet seemingly perennially grumpy Stanley (Colin Firth) who is brought in to investigate the claims by a young girl named Sophie (Emma Stone) who says that she is able to predict people’s futures with her connection to the ‘universe.’

With a rich family, including young Brice (Hamish Linklater), believing every word that Sophie says and now giving her money for her services Stanley’s good friend Howard (Simon McBurney) demands that he investigates her.

Not only does Allen make sure the set design for this period is absolutely spot on but he has also delivered a film that almost feels like it was made back in these times as well. A time when filmmakers knew that a good script and some great acting were far more important to the audience then special effects or the like. In fact if Allen had filmed Magic In The Moonlight in the black-and-white you could have been excused for thinking the film was a re-born classic. Yes, this isn’t the kind of film that you want to watch in the latest multiplex cinema, to get the true beauty of this film you really need to hunt down the oldest theatre in your city and go watch it there.

Having praised Mr. Allen to high heaven though it is worth pointing out that Magic In The Moonlight is not one of his finest films, but then even an ordinary Woody Allen film is usually better than most films out at the time. Still Magic In The Moonlight does have all the things that a true Allen fan looks for his films – the witty dialogue, the big twist and an air of mystery that only the masters of old can manage to create.

But there is one big weakness with Magic In The Moonlight, and that is the romance element. It does work and despite some fears that whole idea of Colin Firth and Emma Stone coming together isn’t as gag worthy as what we had to sit through with Zeta-Jones and Connery in Entrapment, but the romantic element of the film seems to be the only reason that the last quarter of the film has been tacked on. Once the big reveal happens the romance seems unnecessary and as a result the ending of the film drags a little as all the suspense has already dissipated.

Just like all of Allen’s films though, he gets the best out of his cast. As usual Colin Firth is smooth and seems to enjoy the opportunity of delivering some of the catty lines that Allen’s script contains. At times it does feel like the screenplay has called upon Firth to almost parody the a 1920s gentlemen and he seems to do that well. He is also well supported by Emma Stone who seems to keep being able to silence her critics who cruelly suggest that she has better looks than talent. While she doesn’t exactly steal the show like she did in Easy A she again shows that she can move between comedy and drama in a heartbeat with ease.

Magic In The Moonlight is far from one of Woody Allen’s best films. The romance coming to the fore towards the end does let it down a little, but for the most part it does work. Just be warned that the film is aimed for an older demographic so if you are a little on the younger side this may not be the film for you.

Stars(3)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Magic in the Moonlight (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Magic In The Moonlight′: For our full Magic In The Moonlight review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #94. You can also read Dave’s Magic In The Moonlight review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

And So It Goes

Summary: Self-obsessed real estate agent Oren (Michael Douglas) life is turned upside down after his estranged son leaves a grand-daughter he didn’t know about in his care. Struggling with his newfound role of guardian, Oren turns to his lovable and determined neighbour Lean (Diane Keating) for guidance, and ultimately learns how to love again.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th August, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Rob Reiner

Screenwriter: Mark Andrus

Cast: David Aaron Baker (David Shaw), Yaya DaCosta (Kennedy), Michael Douglas (Oren Little), Luis Augusto Figueroa (Mario), Paloma Guzman (Selena), Sterling Jenins (Sarah), Albert Jones (Reggie), Maurice Jones (Ray), Andy Karl (Ted), Diane Keaton (Leah), Austin Lysy (Kyle), Annie Parisse (Kate), Rob Reiner (Artie), Markley Rizzi (Sarabeth Little), Luke Robertson (Jason), Scott Shepherd (Luke), Maxwell Simkins (Caleb), Sawyer Tanner Simpkins (Dylan), Frances Sternhagen (Claire), Michael Terra (Peter), Johnny Tran (Le Duc), Frankie Valli (Club Owner), Amirah Vann (Rashida), Meryl Williams (Rita)

Runtime: 94 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR AND SO IT GOES REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s And So It Goes review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(2.5)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s And So It Goes review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #91

 

Stars(2)

 

David Griffiths:

What you get out of And So It Goes largely depends on what you go into the film expecting it to be. If you are expecting the latest As Good As It Gets (or insert the name of any Jack Nicholson comedy from the past couple of decades here) then you are going to be in for a surprise. Because while And So It Goes teams up screenwriter Mark Andrus (the man who penned the aforementioned As Good As It Gets) and director Rob Reiner (known for classics like Spinal Tap and The Bucket List) this isn’t a film that just goes for over-the-top-comedy. This is a film that decides it can mix and match the genres and have some comedy amongst heartfelt scenes that tug on the heartstrings, much in the same way Andrus’ Life As A House Does.

As a film And So It Goes centres around Oren Little (Michael Douglas). The two years since his wife died has seen successful real estate agent because one of the grumpiest men alive in the small American town he calls home. From trying to sell over-priced homes to racially vilifying his potential clients and making life one big sad mess for his neighbours it’s all in a day’s work for him.

Then suddenly his life is turned upside down when his son that he has written off years before shows up on his door begging him to look after his granddaughter Sarah (Sterling Jerins) while he is in prison. Oren reluctantly agrees and decides that while he is working he can easily just dump the girl on his long-suffering neighbour Leah (Diane Keaton) who is another one of Oren’s victims.

The fact that And So It Goes does drift between genres is possibly both its biggest positive and greatest negative all rolled into one. While some audience members may like the fact that the film can one moment show a heart gripping scene of a family ripped apart by drug addiction and then the next moment go for comedy relief with a dog humping a teddy bear others will find this to be a film that loses direction and ends up becoming a chore to watch.

Really though And So It Goes does deserve some cinematic credit. While any schmuck that has only watched a few films in their lifetime will easily work out where the Oren and Leah storyline is heading it is harder to determine where the plots revolving around young Sarah and her father Kyle (Austin Lysy) are going to end up. Sure there are some pretty clumsy attempts of humor throughout the film and some of the smaller roles (including one surprisingly played by Frankie Valli) are wasted, but there are more than enough witty one liners and story turns to keep most audiences members interested.

Most of the time Michael Douglas just seems to be in cruise control as he plays a role that was seemingly written for Jack Nicholson but he does transition well from being a grumpy old curmudgeon to a much brighter human being rather well, while once again reminding audiences that he is more capable of handling comedy when he needs to as well. The real star here though is Diane Keaton who also seems to just breeze through her role most of the time but then hits some great peaks when she reveals a rather nice jazz voice when the script calls her to perform in front of a microphone.

And So It Goes ends up just being a film that certainly can’t be called an awful film but also can’t be described as a memorable film either. It parts its comedy does work, while at other times the film’s journey into family problems also shows that the script wasn’t a complete write-off.

One thing is for sure though this is a film that is going to be enjoyed more by older audience members than the younger ones.

Stars(2.5)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  And So It Goes (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘And So It Goes′: For our full And So It Goes review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #91. You can also check out 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.

Trailer:

The Lunchbox

Summary: Set in modern day Mumbai amongst the city’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system, Saajan (Khan) accidentally receives a meal intended for the husband of the unhappily married Ila (Nimrat Kaur). Eventually discovering the delivery man’s accident, Saajan and Ila start to secretly correspond, noting observations of the busy world around them before their letters become more personal.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10rd July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: India, France, Germany, USA

Director: Ritesh Batra

Screenwriter: Ritesh Batra

Cast: Bharati Achrekar (Auntie), Shruti Bapna (Mehrunnisa), Irrfan Khan (Saajan Fernandes), Nimrat Kaur (Ila), Yashvi Puneet Nagar (Yashvi), Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Shaikh), Akash Sinha (himself), Denzil Smith (Mr. Shroff), Nakul Vaid (Rajeev)

Runtime: 101 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR THE LUNCHBOX REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s The Lunchbox review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #87

Stars(3.5)

 

David Griffiths:

A quick thought of Indian cinema often conjures up blatant rip offs of Hollywood blockbuster and of course the all-singing and all-dancing dazzle of Bollywood. For some reason the more serious kinds of cinema, which surprisingly is a category that The Lunchbox fits into, seem to go missing and never find their ways into cinemas around the world. Luckily though someone has seen fit to give The Lunchbox a go at box office success outside of its native India.

This succulent film tells tThe tale of two very different people who live two very different lives in modern Mumbai. Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is an unhappy housewife whose main job each day is to prepare her husband’s lunch and make sure it is given to the local dabbawallah to deliver to his work.

Meanwhile widower Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) is seeing out his days at a mundane office job while those around him are preparing for his impending retirement. The fact that he suddenly accidentally starts receiving Ila’s food sparks a new romance for him, while training his replacement Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) gives him new life in the office.

Surprisingly this is director/screenwriter Ritesh Batra’s first feature film. Unlike so many first time directors he doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to recreate the styles or storylines that have made films popular in the past. Batra really brings his own style to The Lunchbox. He doesn’t make the mistake of deciding that this should be a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy like most Hollywood directors would have made this film.

It is however that style of filmmaking that will either make audience members love this film or loathe it. Some will see The Lunchbox as a good move away from the Hollywood style of romance. Batra concentrates on this being a slow moving character piece. He doesn’t need to show a confronting scene to show that Ila is an emotionally abusive relationship, it’s a slow burn trip through a number of days in a row to show just how dull her life is. Likewise Batra doesn’t need to inject outrageous Adam Sandler like comedy into the film to get a laugh; no he can just allow some natural laughs to come from the seemingly odd-couple friendship that develops between Saajan and Shaikh. And just to throw absolute caution into the wind Batra even steers away from the conventional romantic ending that the romance genre has led its audience to expect, no here the audience will have to do some thinking of their own to work out what exactly happened.

Of course having said that though there is a flipside to that coin. At times The Lunchbox is a little sickly sweet and a little too slow moving. This is not the kind of film that your regular popcorn cinema set audience member is quickly going to warm to. Not all film fans will enjoy the slow journey that Batra takes them on while others will savour the fact that Barta captures the essence of living in modern Mumbai, and its tasty cuisine, and puts it up on the big screen for all to see.

The Lunchbox is made even better by the brilliant acting performance of Irrfan Khan. Khan’s acting career has had a real resurgence over the past few years. From becoming the first Indian actor to star in two Oscar winning films – with Slumdog Millionaire and Life Of Pi – to appearing in big Hollywood blockbusters like The Amazing Spider-Man and the forthcoming Jurassic World Khan has shown that he is an actor of substance who can cope with any role thrown at him. Here Khan hammers that point home with a dramatic yet quite performance that has the audience completely falling in love with character and hoping that he can again find romance in his life.

Khan is well supported by Nawazuddin Siddiqui who manages to mix comedic timing with some serious acting as he plays the slightly odd Shaikh while Nimrat Kaur simply breezes through her role as she plays the likable Ila.

The Lunchbox certainly is a slow burn but it is well worth the effort to sit through it. Technically it is a much better romance to a film like The Notebook. Yes the fact it is from the sub-continent will worry some cinema goers away from the film but if you loved films like The Exotic Marigold Hotel then this is one film that you will savor. Certainly this is one film that does manage to bring a country’s cuisine to the screen and that is something that the French film industry is going to loathe The Lunchbox for.

Stars(3.5)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  The Lunchbox (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘The Lunchbox′: For our full The Lunchbox review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #87 (which will be online this week). Dave Griffiths also has a The Lunchbox review available on The Book The Film The T-Shirt

Trailer:

The Fault In Our Stars

Summary: Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who met and fell in love at a cancer support group. They share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th June, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Josh Boone

Screenwriter: Michael H. Weber, Scott Neustadter, John Green (book)

Cast: Mike Birbiglia (Patrick), Ana Dela Cruz (Dr. Maria), Willem Dafoe (Van Houten), Laura Dern (Frannie), Ansel Elgort (Gus), Milica Govich (Gus’ Mom), Sophie Guest (Jackie), Lily Kenna (Young Hazel), Randy Kovitz (Dr. Simmons), Johanna McGinley (Eva), Carly Otte (Alisha), Emily Peachey (Monica), Sam Trammell (Michael), Lotte Verbeek (Lidewij), Carol Weyers (Anne Frank (voice)), David Whalen (Gus’ Dad), Nat Wolff (Isaac), Shailene Woodley (Hazel)

Runtime: 126 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR THE FAULT OF OUR STARS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s The Fault In Our Stars review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #82

Stars(3)

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s The Fault In Our Stars review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #82

Stars(3)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s The Fault In Our Stars review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #82

Stars(3)

 

David Griffiths:

As a thirties something male I probably am not the target audience for The Fault Of Our Stars. I can let me re-phrase that I AM CERTAINLY NOT THE TARGET AUDIENCE for this film. But some credit has to be paid to director Josh Boone (Stuck In Love) because despite the fact The Fault Of Our Stars is actually aimed for the female of the species it seems like Boone has realised that more than a few males will be dragged along to see the film so he has also set about trying to make the film accessible and enjoyable for them as well.

Based on the popular novel by John Green The Fault Of Our Stars centers around a young cancer patient by the name of Hazel (Shailene Woodley – Divergent, White Bird In A Blizzard) whose battle with cancer has left her with severe breathing difficulties.

Still she tries not to let life bring her down too much. She finds solace in her favourite novel which also tells the story of a cancer patient but also finds life is a bit of an up-hill battle due to the fact that her parents, Frannie (Laura Dern – The Master, Little Fockers) and Michael (Sam Trammell – Me, Things People Do) seem more determined to make her attend therapy groups rather than life her live like a real teenager.

But it ends up being one of these groups that changes Hazel’s life forever. While attending one she meets Gus (Ansel Elgort – Divergent, Carrie) and his best friend Isaac (Nat Wolff – Behaving Badly, Palo Alto), both of which are cancer sufferers themselves. Gus instantly has a romantic interest in Hazel and also helps her to try and take chances with her life, including travelling to Europe to meet Van Houten (Willem Dafoe – Bad Country, The Grand Budapest Hotel) to ask him about what she feels is missing from his novel.

As a film The Fault In Our Stars certainly has a lot of plusses. Given the subject matter at hand there was a real danger that in the wrong hands this could have become a ‘lunchtime television weepy’ but Josh Boone certainly tries to make the film a lot better than that. He tries to tap into that similar style and language that worked so well in Juno and while it works throughout the film there are at times when the audience feels like they are severely manipulated into being made cry.

For some reason though this is a film that keeps working despite its few flaws. The characters are so damn likable that you can’t help but care what happens to them. Then there is the fact that there are some characters that go so far beyond what you would expect from a Hollywood film that it almost takes this film into a whole different realm. Take the character of Van Houten for example. Normally when teenage characters meet their hero in a film it’s enriching experience with the hero normally spouting wisdom. But here Van Houten is almost the anti-hero, here he is as far removed as Yoda as possible with his alcoholic ways, abusive persona and the fact that he can randomly swing into a rendition of Swedish hip-hop. It’s these ‘not-sure-what-to-expect’ moments that will keep the audience tuned into The Fault In Our Stars.

The film also reiterates that Shailene Woodley is Hollywood’s ‘it’ girl at the moment. It is seriously coming down to the question of is there anything that girl can’t do? From action heroine in Divergent to a witty cancer patient in The Fault In Our Stars the roles couldn’t be more different, yet somehow this talented young actress manages to pull off these roles with ease. Then there is Ansel Elgort, a virtual unknown who is mainly known for playing Woodley’s brother in Divergent, a small part to say the least. But here he is a real standout, revealing himself as a witty talented actor who could be now rivalling Miles Teller for acting roles. When it comes to the older members of the cast Willem Dafoe is his usual brilliant best, however Laura Dern seems to struggle a little in an over-written part.

While some movie goers may be scared off by The Fault In Our Stars it is a film that is well worth a look. Just be prepared to bring the tissues out.

Stars(3)

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

 

IMDB Rating:  The Fault in Our Stars (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Fault In Our Stars′: For our full The Fault In Our Stars review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #82

Trailer: