Monday, 4 January 2016

IN BRIEF: JOY, THE REVENANT & SISTERS



JOY (20th Century Fox)

The third collaboration between David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence once again gifts the actress a great role, and as previously (in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) she runs with it even if the film itself doesn't always keep up. Based on the life of Miracle Mop creator, Joy Mangano, Russell's comic-drama follows its heroine as she overcomes obstacles (mostly her obnoxiously suffocating family, including Robert De Niro, Virginia Madsen and Edgar Ramirez) in the invention of her mop and then the creation, loss and restoration of her shopping network-funded wealth. Joy is a salute to both the feminist spirit and the capitalist pursuit; a rags-to-riches tale and a shaggy dog of a film. Now Showing.



THE REVENANT (20th Century Fox)

The ugliness of man set against the beauty and grandeur of nature, Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography is the real star of Alejandro G. Inarritu's The Revenant, even as Leonardo DiCaprio suffers admirably in this frontier-set survival tale. Following a bear attack (an awesome scene), Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is left for dead by his trapping party, only to claw his way out of the grave and make his way through the frozen wilderness to avenge the murder of his son at the hands of John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Too long at 2.5 hours, the faux-profundity of Inarritu's film may become tedious but the scenery never does. And DiCaprio may finally win an Oscar, even if not for his best performance. Opens January 7.



SISTERS (Universal Pictures)

. . . Are doin' it for themselves! 2015 seemed to be the year of females in comedy, and after the big laughs provided by Melissa McCarthy in Spy and Amy Schumer in Trainwreck, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler round out the year (or kick it off, depending on your time zone), with this side-splitter. Kidult sisters Kate (Fey) and Maura (Poehler) return to their family home to throw a high school-style house party, recreating -- or in the case of the anal retentive Maura, simply creating -- the glory days. While not trying to out gross the boys, Fey and Poehler still go where male comics fear to tread and as a result, the laughs are plentiful. Opens January 7.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

FILM REVIEW: SUFFRAGETTE



Transmission Films

To bastardise the late, great film critic, Roger Ebert, it is not what a film is about but how it is about it. The inverse of that philosophy could be applied to Suffragette, a film that for all its importance and ambition is commendable more for its intent than its execution.

For although well-intentioned, Suffragette lacks the fire in the belly which drove its protagonists to break the law and fight the power. Hand-held cinematography is about as radical as Sarah Gavron's period drama-history lesson -- about the British suffragette movement's fight for women's voting rights -- gets, though it is well served by Carey Mulligan's central performance.

She plays Maud, a 24-year-old wife and mother who has spent her entire life in the laundry where she works; it's where her mother worked before her, and where, from the age of 7, she's had to wash and iron, day-in and day-out, as well as endure the sexual advances of her employer.

But with the arrival of Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff) comes a new friend and a glimpse of something more. It's 1912, and the suffragette movement is becoming increasingly more active -- with the encouragement of Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep in a brief cameo) -- in its push for women's voting rights. Violet is a suffragette and quietly encourages Maud to become involved.

Meetings lead to protests which leads to arrest, and although her husband (Ben Whishaw) insists she be done with this nonsense, a fire has been lit in Maud; slowly fanned by her new found sisters and their push for equality. That flame isn't just fueled by anger but by hope. But hoping and wishing doesn't win battles, and Maud soon learns that the fight has to be taken to the establishment with no time for niceties.

Some viewers, particularly those born in a post-feminist world, may be shocked by the level of entrenched sexism, and the violence -- meted out by both sides -- committed to maintain or destroy the status quo. It's when the film, and Maud, fires up that we catch glimpses of what Suffragette could have been.

But no matter how committed Maud, or Mulligan, is, Suffragette never rises above solid film making. It's far too polite when, like its heroines, it should be kicking and screaming.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

MOVIE TIX GIVEAWAY: 99 HOMES

99 HOMES

Starring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern

In this timely thriller, hard-working single father Dennis (Andrew Garfield) and his mother (Laura Dern) are cruelly evicted from their home. Desperate to get his house back, Nash goes to work for the wealthy and ruthless businessman Rick (Michael Shannon) – the very man who repossessed Nash’s home. It is a deal-with-the-devil that comes with an increasingly high cost – on Carver’s orders, Nash must evict families from their homes; in return, Nash is promised a lifestyle of wealth and glamour. As Nash falls deeper into Carver’s web, he finds his situation grows more brutal and dangerous than he ever imagined.

Thanks to Madman Films we have double passes to 99 HOMES to give away. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed (@TheLennoXFiles) for your chance to win.

In Cinemas Nationally November 19.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

DVD GIVEAWAY: AMY



From the team behind acclaimed documentary Senna, comes this insightful and moving portrait of iconic singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse. A pop star with soul; Amy’s rare musical ability made her a star, while her chaotic personal life stole headlines. With rare interviews and never-before-seen archival footage, Amy takes us behind the headlines to reveal a prodigiously talented young woman whose life ended far too soon. With this film, the world will fall in love with the real Amy Winehouse and her music all over again.

Thanks to eOne Home Entertainment, we have three DVD copies of AMY to be won. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed (@TheLennoXFiles) for you chance to go in the draw. Note: Competition open to Australian residents only.

AMY IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY, DVD & DIGITAL OCTOBER 28.