This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Maggie’s Plan,’ ‘Goldstone,’ ‘The Legend Of Tarzan,’ ‘Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates,’ and ‘Septembers Of Shiraz’. This episode also contains interviews with Ivan Sen, Aaron Pedersen, Maggie Robbie, Samuel L. Johnson, Alexander Skarsgard, Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick and Aaron Biebert (‘A Billion Lives’).
You can listen to The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show or download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.
Summary: When The Diary Of A Teenage Girl begins it opens with Minnie (Bel Powley) a 15 year old teenager who is very excited about the fact that she has found a guy who wanted to have sex with her. As the story pans out we soon learn that aspiring artist Minnie lives with her hippie-like mother, Charlotte (Kristen Wiig), and her slightly dorky younger sister, Gretel (Abby Wait), who likes to spy on what Minnie is doing.
So who is the guy that Minnie has lost her virginity to? Well that is soon revealed to be Charlotte’s thirty-five year old boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard), who convinces Minnie that he is in love with her and that it is okay for them to start a relationship. Once Minnie has her sexual awakening it then starts her and her best friend Kimmie (Madeleine Waters) on a destructive path of sex and drugs.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th September 2015
Cast: Miranda Bailey (Andrea), Davy Clements (Arnie), Domino The Cat (Willie), Douglas Gawoski (John), Margarita Levieva (Tabatha), Austin Lyon (Ricky Wasserman), Christopher Meloni (Pascal), Carson Moll (Michael Cocaine), Quinn Nagle (Chuck), John Parsons (Burt), Bel Powley (Minnie), Susannah Schulman (Aline Kominsky (voice)), Alexander Skarsgard (Monroe), Abby Wait (Gretel), Madeleine Waters (Kimmie), Kristen Wiig (Charlotte), Anthony Williams (Frankie)
Runtime: 102 mins
OUR THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Take note – The Diary Of A Teenage Girl is one of the most surprising films of 2015. A click glance of the cast and seeing Kristen Wiig mentioned would have you excused for thinking that this is the latest coming-of-age comedy about the young unattractive teenager trying to impress the boy she likes. Even the film’s poster backs this up and yes I found myself sitting down in the cinema expecting another film in the vein of The Way, Way Back. What I got instead was a really eye-opener of a film that dares to be gritty and different and propels itself into deserving the description – one of the films of the year.
Directed by first time director Marielle Heller and based on a novel by Phoebe Gloeckner The Diary Of A Teenage Girl is a brutally frank look at what happens to a young girl when she is molested by a person that she is supposed to trust. Heller makes a brave decision with this film, she could have made this a dark confronting film like a filmmaker such as Lars Von Trier or Larry Clarke would have, but instead Heller does something different. She instead tell the story of Monroe and Minnie’s relationship in the same way any romance film would. She shows the young girl besotted by her lover and follows their relationship so intently we even see some pretty graphic sex scenes, graphic in the sense of nudity not in the sense of violence. As Minnie tells the story of her first love it is up to the audience to pass the judgment of how wrong the relationship is because for the narrator (Minnie) this is the love affair of a life time. The fact that Heller takes this path makes the Diary Of A Teenage Girl a brilliant film that for once does something different without using that as a marketing ploy.
Heller also brings other things to the table that makes this film a gem. She capitalizes on the fact that Minnie is an aspiring artist and at times during the film brings the artwork to life in animation, a move that only enhances the fact that this sweet and innocent teenager is really creating some pretty confronting and sexual sketches. This style of filmmaking allows the audience to take an occasional break from the fact that a character they love is soon being reduced to low acts of $5 prostitution sex.
The brilliant script (which is also written by Heller) does a great job in giving the audience a view of the goings on straight from Minnie’s innocent point-of-view. We never really get to see Monroe as the stereotypical pedophilic monster that a lot of films would have used to portray him while we also get to see how he is able to get to Minnie as the fact that she sees herself as a fat and unattractive teen is subtly fed to the audience without the use of a sledgehammer. The story also provides moments of great drama. You are forever wondering what will happen when Charlotte learns about Minnie and Monroe, while some of the other characters introduced into Minnie’s life, like Tabatha (Margarita Levieva), also have you wondering exactly what they are planning on doing with Minnie.
When it comes to the cast The Diary Of A Teenage Girl also packs a lot of surprises. For a start there is no sense of comedy at all around Kristen Wiig as she portrays Charlotte, a mother who wants to experiment with drugs and live the hippy lifestyle while always on the lookout for a man who is going to take care of her. At times Wiig is virtually unrecognizable as the same actress who made us laugh so hard in Bridesmaids. Then there is Alexander Skarsgard who portrays Monroe as your typical everyday lovable loser, the kind of guy you know is never going to amount to anything but certainly wouldn’t suspect of sleeping with a 15 year old girl. Skarsgard turns creepy without turning up the creepiness factor if that makes sense?
Then there is the acting performance of young Bel Powley who deals with a lot in this film. From scenes consisting of her standing naked for a few minutes at a time to the constant barrage of put downs about her appearance this is one role that Powley needs to be rewarded for. A relative unknown until she played Princess Margaret in A Royal Night Out earlier this year Powley’s strong dramatic and daring performance here not only deserves to win her awards but should also be a breakout performance for her in the same way Juno was for Ellen Page. Powley announces herself as an actress to watch in with one hell of a performance.
The Diary Of A Teenage Girl is a must for anyone that likes alternative cinema and doesn’t mind making some brave descisions. The film will be hard to watch for some but is also a fim that will completely stun its audience. Thought provoking and confronting The Diary Of A Teenage Girl not only reveals Bel Powley as an actress to watch but also announces Marielle Heller as a filmmaker to watch.
The Giver always seemed to be facing an uphill battle to try and impress film fans. I realised that from the moment I was sitting in a cinema and saw the trailer for the film and found myself thinking ‘wow the trailer for Divergent 2 is out already… but hang on where is Shailene Woodley?’ How can any film hope to make an audience for itself when it seems to be telling the same story as the film that had already received criticism for being close to The Hunger Games. The similarities between the films got even closer when I sat down to watch The Giver and realised that even the opening prologue seemed to be describing Divergent as it rambled on about a dystopian society led by elders and kids graduating their studies and then being selected to do various careers based on their personalities etc.
Based on a novel by Lois Lowry The Giver sees three young friends, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), Fiona (Odeya Rush) and Asher (Cameron Monaghan) graduate from their studies in a futuristic colony run by a Chief Elder (Meryl Streep). On the eve of their graduation the three friends decide on a pact that will see them become lifelong friends and then the next day Asher finds himself becoming a pod pilot and Fiona a nurturer –a role that sees her looking after small babies.
But the future is less clear for young Jonas who finds himself being named as the next Receiver, a task he knows very little about. Soon he finds himself under the guidance of The Giver (Jeff Bridges), a man who holds onto all the memories from before The Fall, no matter how painful they are.
As The Giver begins to educate Jonas on the ways of the world before The Fall Jonas begins to realise that there is a better way to live his life and decides to rebel against the regime something that worries his Father (Alexander Skarsgard) and Mother (Katie Holmes) as they seen previously what can happen when a Receiver goes rogue.
You would think that despite its similarities to other films The Giver would be in pretty good hands with director Philip Noyce at the helm, after all this is the man that has been responsible for films such as Salt, Rabbit Proof Fence and Patriot Games in the past. But here even Noyce struggles with a film that seems to want to tap into the Harry Potter style of filmmaking, with character set-up and a storyline building up to a dramatic action packed third act. It’s not Noyce’s fault though it is clearly the material that he has been given to work with.
What will annoy you most about The Giver is the fact that the film’s story makes no sense at all. If The Elder is so determined to keep the people from knowing about the past then why give the memories to someone new at all, wouldn’t it just be best for the memories to die with The Giver? Then there is also the fact that the screenplay provides very little suspense at all. The ‘memory wiped’ characters been making the characters likable to the audience extremely hard indeed while the dramatic chase at the end never ever becomes anywhere dramatic or suspenseful at all. When it comes to that territory both Divergent and The Hunger Games has The Giver well and truly covered. You would think that the man responsible for Salt should have been able to inject a little more action into the film… but alas no.
The poor script also doesn’t allow for anybody to put in any brilliant acting performances. Jeff Bridges is passable for the frustrated Giver while Brenton Thwaites seems to just breeze through his roles. The one-dimensional characters that litter the film though mean though that the acting talents of the likes of Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes are completely wasted though, a shame when you consider the talent at hand there.
Thankfully The Giver was nowhere near as bad as The Host – it’s watchable, but only just. It is the kind of film though that will be ripped to shreds by any young budding screenwriter out there as it’s implausible plot just makes less and less sense as the film plods along. It is little wonder that some countries hid the film away from a majority of reviewers because it is a film that does very little for its audience or cast and is likely to be a film that you forget the instant the credits have rolled.
Summary: ‘The East’ finds a corporate spy (Marling) attempting to infiltrate a group run by a charismatic eco-terrorist (Alexander Skarsgård). Former FBI agent Sarah, whose job with an elite private intelligence firm sees her going deep undercover with the titular eco-anarchist collective, finds herself torn between two worlds when confronted by the reality that The East are the lesser of two evils when compared to her clients.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th September, 2013
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: USA, UK
Director: Zal Batmanglij
Screenwriter: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling
Cast: Hillary Baack (Eve), Lani Bemak (Lani), Bill Boslego (Barry Redman), Patricia Clarkson (Sharon), Shiloh Fernandez (Luca), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Robert McCabe), Anthony Michael Frederick (Randy), David Goff (Skipper), Ryan Grego (Johnny Perkins), Aldis Hodge (Thumbs), Toby Kebbell (Doc), Danielle Macdonald (Tess), Billy Magnussen (Porty McCabe), Brit Marling (Sarah), John Neisler (Rory Huston), Michael Nouryeh (Jim (voice)), Julia Ormond (Paige Williams), Ellen Page (Izzy), Jason Ritter (Tim), Angharad Robinson (Angie), Pamela Roylance (Diane Wisecraver), Jamey Sheridan (Richard Cannon), Alexander Skarsgard (Benji), Billy Slaughter (Trevor ‘The Fed’), John James Tourville (John James)
Summary: Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård and Steve Coogan star in a darkly comic but emotionally authentic film about a six-year-old living through a bitter divorce between her rock-icon mother and distracted father. As Maisie is shuttled back and forth, she relies more and more on her parents’ new partners, who are themselves falling in love.
Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End, Suture) draw powerful performances from a stellar cast, with a knockout turn by young Onata Aprile. Told from Maisie’s perspective, the film delicately portrays a girl who is eager for love and must claim it where she can. Without demonising any of the characters, What Maisie Knew is an insightful look at the impact of divorce, finding tenderness and joy as well as sadness..
Australian Cinema Release Date: 22nd August, 2013
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Screenwriter: Nancy Doyne, Carroll Cartwright, Henry James (novel)
Cast: Onata Aprile (Maisie), Amelia Campbell (Ms. Baine), James Colby (Byron), Steve Coogan (Beale), Maddie Corman (Ms. Fairchild-Tettenbaum), Paddy Croft (Mrs. Wix), Diana Garcia (Cecelia), Joel Garland (Emmett), Emma Holzer (Holly), Henry Kelemen (Tyler), Julianne Moore (Susanna), Sadie Rae (Zoe), Alexander Skarsgard (Lincoln), Jesse Stone Spadaccini (Martin), Joanna Vanderham (Margo)