Category Archives: Movies 2017

Movie: My Cousin Rachel

A pigeon-pair for Daphne du Maurier’s other well-known book/movie Rebecca, here we have a young man who is unsure whether his uncle’s wife is a tragic widow or an arch manipulator.  Rachel Weisz is suitably enigmatic and your sympathies for her shift as quickly as her facial expressions do. It’s like watching a slow-motion train wreck.

My rating:  3.5

Movie: The Hounds of Love

Ugh. What possessed me to go and see this? I hate violent movies.

Actually, I know why I did see it. Because it’s Australian (and I like to support local movies) and I heard that it garnered good reviews.  It IS good and highly authentic in its depiction of controlling, violent relationships. But you’ll never think ‘That nice Stephen Curry’ again, no matter what character he plays.  It’s not unlike Animal Kingdom, especially in its use of music. But I spent a lot of time looking down, especially as the victim looked so much like my stepdaughter. It has really unsettled me.

Movie: Twentieth Century Women

 

Set in Santa Barbara in 1979 this is a coming of age story told from the perspective of fifteen year old Jamie, whose single-mother Dorothea draws on the ‘village to raise a child’ metaphor when she feels at a loss to help her son become a ‘good man’. She turns to her 24 year old boarder Abbie, and Jamie’s best friend Julie with whom he is secretly infatuated. Sheesh woman!- give the kid some SPACE. Let him find his own way- you know he’s a good kid- just trust him.  The little historical-nerd in me enjoyed the interspersed archival film footage, but it was all a little too washed in nostalgia and saccharine for me.

My rating: 3 stars.

Movie: Viceroy’s House

Some may find it hard to believe, but I’ve never watched Downton Abbey, and so my credulity was not stretched in seeing Hugh Bonneville play Lord Mountbatten in this film. I would have scoffed at Gillian Anderson’s cut-glass accent too, until I remembered the sound of Queen Elizabeth’s piping and flutey voice when she first took the throne.

This is a very pro-Mountbatten film, which portrays him as the unwilling pawn of dastardly Colonial Office operators. The story of the partition of India is big enough in itself that it didn’t need the Romeo-and-Juliet story amongst the two younger characters superimposed onto it.  Still, if you stick around for the credits at the end of the film, it’s perhaps not as far-fetched as I thought.

Good, but the book Midnight’s Children was better!

My rating: 3.5 stars

Movie: ‘Their Finest’

I really enjoyed this brilliantly cast movie. I’m always attracted to films set in the Blitz, and this had it all- laughter, a little tear, some feminist bolshyness and a good sense of fun about propaganda, images and the meaning of life.  Not deep and meaningful, but good fun

My rating: – hang it all! 4.5 stars

Movie: ‘Whiteley’

A friend recommended this, and I was wondering how I’d like it as she is very art-minded and I’m not.  The late Brett Whiteley has been in the news recently because of a courtcase which rested on whether some paintings of his were fakes or not. I hadn’t realized what a prolific and edgy artist he was, and how famous he was right throughout his life, right from when he won a prize to go to Paris on an art fellowship as a 21 year old.  Of course, there’s far more video footage of him later in his life, and so it’s been supplemented with re-creations and voiceovers, and Monty Pythonesque treatment of early images. I hadn’t realized, either, how beautiful Wendy Whiteley was as a young woman and how articulate she is now, too. It’s an interesting exploration of her role as muse too.  It captures well the insularity of Australian culture in the early 1960s and of course, Robert Hughes gets a look in. Well worth seeing, even if you’re not art-minded either!

My rating: 4 stars.

Movie: Moonlight

Well, I know that I always leave it late to catch movies but I excelled this time, with catching the very last showing on the very last day at Cinema Nova.  I knew that this won an Academy Award for Best Picture, but the trailer left me cold. Frankly, I knew very little about the film before seeing it.

I didn’t realize that it was a coming of age story, set in Miami but not Miami as I think of it. There’s not a white person to be seen in this Miami, a place of poverty and drug addiction. I didn’t realize that it involved a gay main character, who even before he knew what the term meant, asked ‘Am I a faggot?’. The movie is told in three parts, as Chiron grows up from a neglected, bullied child to a hesitant, searching teenager, and then a muscle-bound, intimidating ex-prisoner drug dealer.

I didn’t find it particularly easy to watch with jerky, handheld camera shots, and very-difficult-to-understand dialogue. But it was beautifully filmed, and it told a story that stays with you.

But if it’s no longer showing at the Nova, you know it’s really over and time to look for the DVD.

My rating: 4.5