Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Great Beauty

Summary: The Great Beauty plunges into the world of the charismatic 65-year-old Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a famous journalist and single man-about-town. Jep is content enough with his life, made up of wild Euro-trash parties, fancy soirées and encounters with the amusing and often absurd characters that inhabit his largely after-dark existence. Jep finds meaning in every part of his beloved city. When the husband of Jep’s first lover reveals that his recently deceased wife was in fact always truly in love with Jep, a revitalised outlook on life and the city he loves is awakened.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd January, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Italy, France

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Screenwriter: Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello

Cast: Francesca Amodio (Carmelina), Fanny Ardant (herself), Cristina Aubry (Dadina (voice)), Carlo Buccirosso (Lello Cava), Ludovico Caldarera (Padre Basilicata), Annaluisa Capasa (Elisa De Santis), Severino Cesari (Subastiano Paf), Massimo De Francovich (Egidio), Vernon Dobtcheff (Arturo), Sabrina Ferilli (Romana), Isabellar Ferrari (Orietta), Iaia Forte (Trumeau), Ivan Franek (Ron Sweet), Sonia Gessner (Contessa Colonna), Serena Grandi (Lorena), Franco Graziosi (Conte Colonna), Roberto Herlitzka (Cardinal Bellucci), Luca Marinelli (Andrea), Silvia Munguia (Ahe), Giorgio Pasotti (Stefano), Pasquale Petrolo (Lillo De Gregorio), Massimo Popolizio (Alfio Bracco), Galatea Ranzi (Stefania), Maria Laura Rondanini (Madre Basilicata), Toni Servillo (Jep Gambardello), Antonello Venditti (himself), Carlo Verdone (Romano), Pamela Villoresi (Viola), Luciano Virgilio (Alredo)

Runtime: 142 mins

Classification:MA15+

OUR THE GREAT BEAUTY REVIEWS & RATINGS

Greg King: Stars(1.5)

Please check Greg’s review of ‘The Great Beauty’ that is available on http://www.filmreviews.net.au/

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(1.5)

IMDB Rating:  The Great Beauty (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Great Beauty′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #65 for our full The Great Beauty review.

Trailer:

Frank

One of the hits at this year’s Sundance Festival has been Leonard Abrahamson’s outrageous comedy “Frank.” The film stars Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal and will be released in the U.K. on the 2nd May, 2014. You can check out the Frank clip below.

 

Public Service Broadcasting

Year: 2013

Label: Test Card Recordings

Track Listing:

  1. Inform Educate Entertain
  2. Spitfire
  3. Theme From PSB
  4. Signal 30
  5. Night Mail
  6. Qomolangma
  7. Roygbiv
  8. The Now Generation
  9. Lit Up
  10. Everest
  11. Late Night Final

Subculture Media ‘Inform Educate Entertain’ – Public Service Broadcasting Review:

There are some music lovers out there that would be quick to dismiss English act Public Service Broadcasting’s latest album “Inform Educate Entertain” as a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. But the people that would say that are the same kind of people that like to enter into the art vs art installation argument. Art is art and music is music and if you dig a little deeper the concept behind “Inform Educate Entertain” is a gutsy one with merit.

Public Service Broadcasting is made up J. Willgoose Esq. (who pretty much plays every instrument under the sun on the album) and Wrigglesworth who brings the drums and some haunting saxophone playing to the table. Also playing a key role in the sound of this album are the voices of various public service films (read into that propaganda films) that have been made over the years.

The idea behind “Inform Educate Entertain” is to point out that often videos disguised as public announcements or safety messages are in fact a way to try and control the public. Whether or not Public Service Broadcasting get that message across to their listeners is debatable but this is still an album that can be enjoyed by those who enjoy a good electronic or experimental album.

The only main weakness of this album is that some tracks just seem to glide by and become background noise but they are largely outnumbered by the amount of tracks that actually stand out. Late Night Final is smooth jazz at its best while for the most part tracks like Inform Educate Entertain, Everest, The Now Generation and Spitfire show that Public Service Broadcasting are one of the best groups going around at capturing that mix of electronic and rock.

Other tracks that certainly make a splash are the 80s pop sounding Theme From PSB (that also uses banjos to good effect), the rockier Signal 30 which incorporates some voiceover from road safety videos remarkably well and the smooth Lit Up which constantly reminds the listener that this is in fact ‘all just fairyland.’

The naysayers are pointing out that Public Service Broadcasting might find it hard to have a future after this but stay in the now people, what they have delivered here is a great sounding electronic album that has a memorable concept. I also hear that they do a pretty awesome live show so check them out if you can.

 

Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

Her

Summary: Set in a stylish Los Angeles of the slight future, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a complex, soulful man left heartbroken after the end of a long relationship. Downloading a new, advanced computer operating system which is individual to each user, he is delighted to meet “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), a voice who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her interests and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens in unexpected ways.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th January, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Spike Jonze

Screenwriter: Spike Jonze

Cast: Amy Adams (Amy), Robert Benard (Michael Wadsworth), Laura Kai Chen (Tatiana), Brian Cox (Alan Watts (voice)), Bill Hader (Chat Room Friend #2), Sam Jaeger (Dr. Johnson), Scarlett Johansson (Samantha (voice)), Luka Jones (Lewman), Spike Jonze (Alien Child (voice)), Jen Kuhn (Kathy C.), Patrick Lander (Alan Watts), Matt Letscher (Charles), Rooney Mara (Catherine), Carol McFadden (Matilda), Rachel Ann Mullins (Giselle), Joaquin Phoenix (Theodore Twombly), Chris Pratt (Paul), Gracie Prewitt (Jocelyn), Soko (Isabella (voice)), Kristen Wiig (Sexy Kitten (voice)), Olivia Wilde (Blind Date)

Runtime: 126 mins

Classification:MA15+

OUR HER REVIEWS & RATINGS

Adam Ross: Stars(4)

Please check Adam’s Her review that is available on The Crat

Greg King: Stars(3)

Please check Greg’s Her review of that is available on www.filmreviews.net.au

David Griffiths:

You really do have to wonder just how damaged Michelle Williams and Sofia Coppola have left director (and sometimes actor) Spike Jonze after their relationships with him. Jonze doesn’t put pen to paper very often, but he has with Her, a film that is in one way one of the most romantic love stories you are ever likely to witness, but on the other hand is also one of the most cynical films about love you are ever likely to see. The plus side is that Her is also one of the most beautiful films that you will see this year.

Set in the future Her follows Theodore Twombly, a man who has been severly damaged by his divorce with his ex-wife, Catherine (Rooney Mara) and now simply seems to exist to do his daily job of writing personal letters for other people. Outside of that he seems to only want to indulge in the various technologies located around his home. Even talking with his best friend Amy (Amy Adams) seems to be a chore that is too painful to bear.

Things however change for Theodore when he is offered a new computer program that will make his life a lot easier, what he doesn’t count on though is falling in love with the system’s operator, Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), although this soon becomes reality for him.

Spike Jonze really does take his audience on a journey with Her. Strange when you consider the film really only centres around Theodore, Joaquin Phoenix is in every scene, and he rarely ever leaves the one city. The fact is though Her takes its audience on an emotional journey. It’s impossible not to like Theodore, the fact that we have all been heartbroken at sometime draws us to him and you want him to succeed. On top of that Jonze has made him an incredibly nice and down-to-earth guy.

And that is how Jonze takes you (the audience) on the journey. As Theodore falls in love with Samantha you can literally feel the same emotions in your heart. Jonze’s script tugs at the heartstrings and you don’t even realise until later on that Theodore has really fallen in love with his computer. The brilliance of the script and the beautiful voice acting of Scarlett Johansson really make the character of Samantha feel very real indeed.

Her also really announces that Spike Jonze deserves to be part of that higher echelon of modern day directors. He’s done some interesting films in the past, but even films like Where The Wild Things Are have shown that Jonze is an exceptionally visual director. Once again here with Her he captures that and at times make the film look like an artist’s canvas.

Also making Her such a fine film are the acting performances of its leads. Amy Adams has been de-beautified for this film and puts in a naturalistic performance while Scarlett Johansson seems to steal the show although she is only a voice actor. Playing Samantha says the gifted actress put in one of the finest voice acting performances of all time as she brings real emotion to every line she says. Then of course there is Joaquin Phoenix who carries this film just like Sam Rockwell in Moon. Just like his director does with this film Phoenix once again reminds audiences why he is one of the most gifted people going around in Hollywood at the moment.

Her is the kind of film that can make anybody cry. Jonze captures the highs and lows of relationships remarkably well in a film that deserves to be listed as a classic.

Stars(5)

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

IMDB Rating:  Her (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Her′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #65 for our full Her review.

Trailer:

47 Ronin

Summary: An 18th century set story centered on a band of samurai who set out to avenge the death of their master.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th January, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Carl Rinsch

Screenwriter: Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini, Walter Hamada

Cast: Jin Akanishi (Chikara), Tadanobu Asano (Lord Kira), Daniel Barber (Teen Kai), Ron Bottitta (Narrator), Masayuki Deai (Isogai), Masayyoshi Haneda (Yasuno), Rinko Kikuchi (Witch), Natsuki Kunimoto (Riku), Aria Maekawa (Teen Mika), Yuriri Naka (Iku), Shu Nakakima (Horibe), Keanu Reeves (Kai), Hiroyuki Sanada (Oishi), Manato Sekiguchi (Young Oishi), Ko Shibasaki (Mika), Hiroshi Sogabe (Hazama), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Shogun Tsunayoshi), Min Tanaka (Lord Asano), Hiroshi Yamada (Hara), Takato Yonemoto (Basho)

Runtime: 119 mins

Classification:M

OUR 47 RONIN REVIEWS & RATINGS

David Griffiths:

Sometimes when you read other people’s reviews you wonder if they have seen the same film as you. There have been some reviewers that have savaged director Carl Rinsch’s debut feature film “47 Ronin.” These savage reviews have sunk the film and to date it has only made back $36 million of the $175 million it cost to make.

After viewing the film it’s hard to work out why the critic’s claws were out so hastily. Sure this film isn’t a masterpiece but it’s certainly not the dog you would expect from reading some of the early reviews. In fact if you have a bit of a love for Asian cinema you would certainly describe this film as passable.

Based loosely (and I should say very loosely) on a Japanese legend “47 Ronin” centres around Kai (Keanue Reeves) a half breed demon cross human who serves his Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) with as much bravery and honor as the other samurais but is never accepted by them. In fact many, including the leader Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanad), despise and do not trust him. The only person who shows any kindness towards Kai is the beautiful princess Mika (Ko Shibasak) who has romantic feelings for him.

The whole land whoever finds itself in upheaval after the evil Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) and his concubine witch act out a plot that sees Lord Asano put to death by a Shogun who has been blinded by the treachery. Soon, despite warnings not to, Oishi decides to avenge the death of his Lord in order to free the people and rescue Mika. But the only way to do that is to put his feelings aside and work with Kai.

As far as story and action goes the film works. A lot of the violence that you would normally expect in a samurai film has been toned down to give the film a lower classification but there is never a point during the film when you feel yourself getting bored or getting angry. In fact the story does draw you in, you like Kai (despite the fact that he never manages to crack a smile during the film) and as a result you want to see him achieve his goals. In a lot of ways “47 Ronin” is your traditional guy-needs-to-kill-the-evil-to-get-the-girl story, and that is a form of storytelling that has served writers well for thousands of years now.

Despite its entertainment value though there is one glaring thing that holds back “47 Ronin” completely – and that is the fact that it has been so Americanised. It seems strange when you think that this story is a Japanese legend that a white American actor has the lead, so when you dig a little deeper into the legend you find out that the character of Kai was not the lead in the original legend, that role actually went to Oishi. It does seem a little disrespectful to change a culturial story just so an American actor can be cast in the film. Some reviewers may have thought that the fantasy element of the film dragged it down, that’s not the fact though, the only thing that does that is the lame attempt to Americanise the film.

Speaking of that American lead Keanu Reeves doesn’t do a lot wrong. Sure he’s no Tom Cruise in “The Last Samurai” but he has his pouts and angry looks down to a tee, while his dishevelled look makes him look a lot like former Australian tennis player Pat Rafter. While Reeves was good he is out heroed by Hiroyuki Sanada who backs up his recent great performance in “The Railway Man” with a good action hero performance. He is certainly a lot better than some of the Asian actors who struggle to match the skills of their leads.

“47 Ronin” may have its odd clichéd moments and of course doesn’t look as good as a Peter Jackson epic but this is still a decent action film that certainly won’t disappoint those that like a good samurai film.

Stars(2.5)

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

IMDB Rating:  47 Ronin (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘47 Ronin′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #65 for our full 47 Ronin review.

Trailer:

Inside Llewyn Davis

Summary: Shambolic and and self-absorbed, Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) is a penniless musician trying to make it as a solo artist. Roughing it on the couches of barely sympathetic friends, he scores the occasional gig at a bar in Greenwich Village but struggles to break through despite earlier success with his former musical partner Mike. Things go from hapless to hopeless when Llewyn discovers that his fling with married songstress Jean (Carey Mulligan) has resulted in a very unwanted pregnancy..

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th January, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, France

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Screenwriter: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Cast: Robin Bartlett (Lillian Gorfein), Max Casella (Pappi Corsicato), Richard Cordero (Nunzio), Adam Driver (Al Cody), John Goodman (Roland Turner), Jerry Grayson (Mel Novikoff), Garrett Hedlund (Johnny Five), Helen Hong (Janet Fung), Oscar Isaac (Llewyn Davis), Ian Jarvis (Cromartie), Alex Karpovsky (Marty Green), Sylvia Kauders (Ginny), Bradley Mott (Joe Flom), Carey Mulligan (Jean), Ethan Phillips (Mitch Gorfein), Bonnie Rose (Dodi Gamble), Michael Rosner (Arlen Gamble), Stark Sands (Troy Nelson), Jeanine Serralles (Joy), Justin Timberlake (Jim)

Runtime: 103 mins

Classification:M

OUR INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS REVIEWS & RATINGS

Greg King: Stars(3.5)

Please check Greg’s review of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ that is available on http://www.filmreviews.net.au/

David Griffiths:

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is a strange film. Not strange in the Terrence Malick-you’ll-never-understand-this-in-a-million-years way but strange in the sense that the Coen Brothers seem to want to break so many film making laws with the film that is should be universally despised. Instead it turns out to be a warm film that slowly grows on its audience.

The film follows Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) a down on his luck musician who dreams of one day making it big, despite the fact that everything he touches turns to crap. He has no home and instead just drifts from couch-to-couch, whether it be the rich couch of Mitch Gorfein (Ethan Phillips), that leads to an adventure with their cat, or the couch of his musician buddy, Jim (Justin Timberlake).

Just when it seems that is life couldn’t go lower Llewyn discovers that he has now got Jim’s partner Jean (Carey Mulligan) pregnant and his new album is making no money at all. Faced with the fact that he needs to make money fast for Jean’s abortion he tries one last desperate bid to get his career on track.

The Coen’s have bad “Inside Llewyn Davis” a slow film but they also seem to do the impossible and make a film likable where all the characters are unlikable. Llewyn is far from likable, yet for some reason you find yourself barracking for him to get somewhere in life. Then there is a Jean a bad tempered character whose easy stance on abortion will sit uneasily with some audience members. Yet there is something in the power of the Coen’s writing that makes you want to like this film. Characters such as the heroin addicted, foul-mouthed jazz musician Roland Turner (John Goodman) may be unlikable but they sure are memorable.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is also one of those films that strangely makes you realise (after the credits have rolled) that not much actually happened throughout the film, yet for some reason it never, ever gets to the point where it is boring. The story meanders its way through a short period of Llewyn’s life and the journey is made sweeter by the fact that it contains a dreamy folk music soundtrack that is enhanced by the great vocal stylings of Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver. If you don’t like folk music however then you don’t stand a chance of being drawn into this film.

As is the case with most Coen brothers films the film is brilliant cast. Isaac excels in a challenging role that sees him having to not only act but sing songs in their entirely, yes in a way this film is a musical. Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake are serviceable yet underused in their roles while just like so many of his recent films John Goodman steals the show playing an over-the-top character that just sadly seems to peters out as the film goes on.

This is very much a film that will divide audiences and critics alike. Some will like it’s alternative style of story-telling while others will feel that the fact it goes around in one big circle and doesn’t really go anywhere makes it very, very annoying. “Inside Llewyn Davis” is an acquired taste but it is one that I quickly warmed to.

Stars(4)

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

IMDB Rating:  Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #65 for our full 47 Ronin review.

Trailer: