Tagged: 2015

99 Homes – review #sydfilmfest

Wow. Billed as an intelligent thriller, 99 Homes is more of a true-to-life horror story. It focuses on the home property foreclosures by banks in the US in 2008 during the GFC. It is powerfully disturbing for its duration. I think I just sat there with my mouth open in disbelief, whilst knowing that all this actually happened. As far as I’m concerned director Ramin Bahrani deserves all the plaudits being showered upon him. The writing is just so brilliant and Ramin worked with Amir Naderi and Bahareh Azimi on this as well.

The film’s hero Dennis Nash is very well played by Andrew Garfield (who I noticed is also an executive producer for the film) and he is left with the dilemma of either looking after his family or doing what might be morally more correct. We learn, however, that this may not simply be a clear decision between the good side and the dark side. The dark side is represented by Michael Shannon’s brilliant portrayal of real estate agent Rick Nash. We are set up from the start to hate him, but this situation is soon complicated because he seems to be doing the right thing by Nash. And he delivers a couple of brilliant monologues that convincingly explain his motivation and his actions.

Ramin was present at this screening and mentioned the score that was composed by Antony Partos and Matteo Zingales. That too is great and helps set up some chilling moments of the film.

Go and see it! 4/5

Vincent – review #sydfilmfest

This film from France moves along at a gentle pace and effectively holds a fair bit back. There is very little dialogue, and the director, screen writer and lead actor Thomas Salvador pulls this off really well. Set in the French country side, some of the visuals are stunning. Our hero Vincent is blessed with super powers when he is wet, so there are several scenes of him doing amazing things in lakes. I have no idea how they pulled off the special effects. Maybe Thomas Salvador actually has super powers?

Vincent meets and falls in love with a local girl Lucie who has a big personality, and she played very well by Vimala Pons. Vincent and Lucie share some really beautiful scenes. The film also has an excellent and very imaginative chase scene, but I cannot give it away by saying more. If there is a fault, I think the ending is a little weak but perhaps the director is leaving something to our imagination. I enjoyed it. 3.5/5

Mr. Holmes – review #sydfilmfest

Mr. Holmes doesn’t disappoint. The pace isn’t fast, but the story telling is both elegant and interesting. An ancient Sherlock is well played by Ian McKellen, but I think the limelight is stolen by the child actor Milo Parker, who plays Sherlock’s house-keeper’s son. He is fantastic well beyond his years. Laura Linney plays the house keeper.

This is an entertaining film and it shows many others just what is possible with cinema and a team of film makers who are obviously good at all of it. This film transports you to its time, shortly after the Second World War and it is beautifully shot, mostly I think on the South East cost of England.

Really enjoyable. 4/5

Results – review #sydfilmfest

Results is a dud film. I wanted to see it. It seemed to have good reviews, but it is a shocker. Even actors with records like Guy Pearce and Giovanni Ribisi could not save it. I cannot think why they would have done this film, other than for the money. I think it attempts to be clever about personal trainers, gym culture and people in modern society, but it fails on all accounts. The screen play is both awkward and clumsy and the film contains too many pregnant moments that lead to nothing. It isn’t at all entertaining and the dialogue is terrible. It just fails at story telling. No. 1/5

My picks (I guess) for Sydney Film Festival 2015


Yes, it is that time of year again. As Jack Thomson nearly said last year: “In the dark, we share our germs.”

Well, these are the films I’ve bought tickets for anyway. There were a couple that I’d like to see but couldn’t because they sold out or clashed with something else I had on. I did want to see Holding The Man, but I figure it’ll get a general release soon. It sold out as I was making our bookings. As my program was pretty long I decided not to try to see The Secret River as we will get to see it soon on TV.

I try to organise a big group of people and we bulk purchase tickets to get a good price. It is a bit like herding cats, but worth it in the end. Sometimes I am going with friends, sometimes alone. I generally take a few days off to enjoy the festival too, so whilst it looks a little ambitious, I’ll be on leave for much of it. So here we go with this year’s schedule:

We Are Still Here. Who doesn’t like a decent chiller? And this session is conveniently in Newtown.

Slow West. A western. With Michael Fassbender and Ben Mendelsohn. It won an award at Sundance. And Kodi Smit-McPhee is supposed to be the next big thing.

Results. Because Guy Pearce.

Mr. Holmes. I love Sherlock and a good mystery. Also, Ian McKellen is coming along nicely as an actor.

Vincent. I love many French films and I’m also a fan of the supernatural in film. So mixing the two could be magic. Or it might be a disaster.

99 Homes. A thriller. Even if it is no good, we still get to look at Andrew Garfield for 112 minutes. Although, he does seem to be sporting a silly beard …

600 Miles. Another thriller. I think Tim Roth is always good and a little under-rated as an actor. My kind of story, so it should be enjoyable.

The Tribe. Sex scenes! And violence. No, really I buy it for the articles. Well it has won heaps of awards and there is no dialogue.

Spring. A romantic drama with some mayhem. Who could resist that? Also, it is being screened in Newtown.

Victoria. A thriller set in Berlin. We have one spare ticket and I love Berlin, so I may go to this.

Phoenix. A post-WW2 mystery: another genre that I love.

54 (Director’s Cut). The unsanitised homoerotic version. It is being shown in Newtown.

The Invitation. Because Horror. And its being shown in Newtown.

A Second Chance. Yet another thriller, from Denmark. Stars the Kingslayer (aka Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

German Angst” (a trio of films: Final Girl, Make a Wish & Alraune). Because sex, death & supernatural forces.

I usually try to write up short reviews, especially if I think the film was worth seeing (or not).