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Tag: movies

Ridley Scott blames oblong obsession for The Last Duel’s poor showing

It seems Ridley Scott’s latest feature The Last Duel isn’t doing too well at the box-office, and the celebrated director is pointing the finger of blame at smartphones, and millennials apparent obsession with them:

“I think what it boils down to – what we’ve got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these fucking cell phones,” Scott said. “The millennian, [who] do not ever want to be taught anything unless you told it on the cell phone… This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. This is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think.”

By that rationale though wouldn’t most movies, not just historical dramas, be doing poorly at the box-office?

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Robert Pattinson steps up as The Batman

Ok so I’ve been a little sceptical about the upcoming (rebooted?) Batman film, The Batman (trailer), directed by Matt Reeves, and starring Robert Pattinson, as the dark knight. Must there be another Batman film? Isn’t there another story about someone else to tell? But from the teaser snippets I’ve seen so far, Pattinson seems to make for a fine brooding superhero. Zoë Kravitz stars as Catwoman, and Paul Dano as the Riddler. The Batman premieres on 4 March, 2022.

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Trailer for Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World”

The Worst Person in the World (trailer), the latest work by Norwegian film director Joachim Trier, stars Renate Reinsve as a young woman named Julie who has trouble finding a balance between her love life and professional life. Peter Bradshaw, film writer for The Guardian described Trier’s feature as an instant classic. The Worst Person in the World screens three times as part of the Sydney Film Festival in early November.

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The Power of the Dog, by Jane Campion

The Power of the Dog, the latest film by Sydney based New Zealand director Jane Campion stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank, a rancher living in the American state of Montana in the nineteen-twenties.

When his brother George (Jesse Plemons) marries the widowed Rose (Kirsten Dunst), a furious Phil takes to tormenting Rose, and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Quite abruptly though, he seems to soften his stance, and begins warming to Peter. But is Phil’s change of heart sincere, or does he have an ulterior motive? The Power of the Dog screens at this year’s Sydney Film Festival on Friday, 5 November.

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The French Dispatch, by Wes Anderson

The French Dispatch is the twentieth (or so) film by prolific American filmmaker Wes Anderson, and will be the closing feature of this year’s Sydney Film Festival. Set in the offices of a fictional American magazine, in a fictional French town named Ennui-sur-Blasé, the story follows the ins and outs of the paper’s journalistic staff.

Long time Anderson collaborators Owen Wilson and Bill Murray are among the star studded cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Anjelica Huston, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Liev Schreiber, Saoirse Ronan, Jeffrey Wright, and Léa Seydoux. Count me in then for the closing night of the Sydney Film Festival.

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Petite Maman, the new feature by Céline Sciamma

The Sydney Film Festival opens on 3 November 2021, and hopefully heralds a hopefully welcome return to seeing movies at the cinema, after months of COVID enforced lockdowns. To mark this momentous occasion over the next few days, I’ll be posting trailers for some of the films screening at the festival this year.

Petite Maman is the latest feature by French filmmaker Céline Sciamma, director of the exquisitely heartrending Portrait of a Lady on Fire. At first glance Petite Maman appears to be a story about two young girls who become friends, but as we learn one of the girls is the mother of the other, who through some quirk of space-time has moved through time as a child to meet her daughter.

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Here Out West, the Sydney Film Festival opening feature

Here Out West, which screens on the opening night of the Sydney Film Festival, on 3 November 2021, is an anthology film, combining eight stories which merge into one feature. Set over the course of a day, in Blacktown, a suburb in the west of Sydney, the story follows events precipitated by a woman who kidnaps her grandchild from a hospital, and goes on the run. Five directors, Leah Purcell, Fadia Abboud, Lucy Gaffy, Julie Kalceff, and Ana Kokkinos collaborated in the production of this feature.

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Is home streaming films the new normal cinema experience?

Life in this part of Australia, New South Wales, begins to return to some semblance of normal today. After months of lockdowns many residents will no longer be subjected to the restrictions they’ve become accustomed to recently. Cafes, bars, and cinemas are among a slew of businesses re-opening, which will be welcome news to many people.

While getting out to a cafe, and maybe a bar, is something I’ve been looking forward to, I’m not so sure about going back to the movies. And it’s not because of the possible risks of being seated in a confined space with several hundred people for two to three hours. If the past eighteen months has shown me anything, it is how convenient streaming films online is.

Home streaming films may not offer the big screen experience of a cinema, or the enjoyment of being out with other people, but it’s still going to be hard to walk away from. For one thing, you’re not bound to a schedule. If say you’re streaming the latest James Bond movie, the show starts exactly when it suits you, not someone else.

There’s also advantages I’d never thought of until we started streaming regularly. Unlimited pauses are one. Anything goes; there’s time to grab a snack, take a phone call, text someone, google a point of interest in the film that’s on, or tap in a few notes for the article I need to write for work tomorrow. And then there’s the in your own home comfort of the whole thing.

Imagine no inconsiderate fellow patrons, talking loudly, texting incessantly, scrolling their socials (with the screen set to maximum brightness of course), or making or taking phone calls mid-session without leaving the auditorium (I’ve seen it happen). And let’s not get started on noisy food wrappings, or people who don’t understand allocated seating.

Of course the comforts of our would-be home cinema causes me to feel some guilt. Staying home could have an impact on a cinema’s viability. Staff may have to be let go. Their bottom-line is still being affected even though I may be paying to watch films from said cinema’s stream service, but they’re missing out on my vital for them coffee and pop-corn purchases.

But who knows what might happen? In six months we may have traded the simple joys of watching movies at home for the big-screen, cinema auditorium extravaganza. Regardless, I think the post pandemic lockdown period will be pivotal for the cinema industry. And if the worst comes to the worst, it could be the home cinema will become a permanent feature after all.

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Barbara, by Mathieu Amalric… will the real Barbara stand up?

How best to describe French actor and filmmaker Mathieu Amalric’s 2017 feature Barbara? A movie within a movie? So frequently do the lines between the real and the portrayed blur, it’s not always easy to tell.

Amalric, who also stars as a director making a bio-pic about a cabaret singer named Barbara, becomes enamoured with Brigitte, the actor portraying Barbara. But is it really Brigitte (Jeanne Balibar) he’s obsessed with, or her representation of Barbara? But he’s not the only person on set who’s confused. Brigitte, in learning what she can about Barbara, almost comes to believe she is the late cabaret singer.

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Nitram, the new feature from Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel

Nitram, is acclaimed Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel’s (Snowtown, Macbeth, True History of the Kelly Gang) controversial portrayal of events leading up to the Port Arthur massacre in the Australian state of Tasmania in 1996.

With a cast that includes Caleb Landry Jones, Essie Davis, Judy Davis, and Anthony LaPaglia, Nitram tells the story of an isolated, troubled young man (Caleb Landry Jones). When an unlikely friendship with Helen (Essie Davis), a reclusive heiress, comes to a tragic end, his anger and frustration spirals out of control.

Nitram opened in selected cinemas across Australia yesterday, in areas not subject to COVID lockdown restrictions.

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Titane by Julia Ducournau, buckle in for a wild ride

Titane, the latest feature from French filmmaker Julia Ducournau, has been described by the BBC as the most shocking film of 2021. Yes, that make me look too.

As a child, Alexia is badly injured in a car accident, and needs a titanium plate fitted in her head. On her release from hospital she snubs her parents and instead hugs their car. From there Alexia develops what could only be called an obsession with cars, one eventually resulting in her becoming pregnant to… a car.

It’s a violent, gory, blood-soaked, utterly implausible ride, but that didn’t stop Titane from taking out the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

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Nightmare Alley trailer

I hope the film is as good as the trailer. Nightmare Alley, by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water), arrives in cinemas in December. Australians Cate Blanchett and Toni Collette lead the talented cast that also includes Rooney Mara, Bradley Cooper, and Willem Dafoe. del Toro says this is not a remake of the 1947 movie of the same name, but instead his adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s novel. Roll on December.

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The Voyeurs trailer

The Voyeurs, the new film by American filmmaker Michael Mohan, drew me in with its Rear Window feel. Sydney Sweeney and Justice Smith star as a young couple who have moved into an apartment in Montreal, and become obsessed with the antics of their neighbours who live across the road.

Who doesn’t love picture windows, and people who never close the blinds? Charles Bramesco, writing for The Guardian, describes The Voyeurs as a sorely needed throwback to the heyday of skin and secrecy:

Wielding a nasty cunning and just the right amount of irony, he sets up a playful take on Rear Window for the age of nude leaks that lays bare the roiling carnal subtext of Hitchcock’s masterpiece.

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Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart

I’m loving Kristen Stewart’s work post The Twilight Saga. Clouds of Sils Maria, and Personal Shopper, are two stand-outs for me, but if the trailer/teaser for Spencer is any indication, it looks like she well and truly out does herself.

Set over three days at Sandringham, the Norfolk estate of the British royal family in 1991, Princess Diana makes the decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles, as she spends Christmas with her in-laws.

But Xan Brooks, writing for The Guardian, suggests Spencer may not be a film for monarchists:

No doubt it took an outsider to make a film that’s as un-reverential as Spencer, which dares to examine the royals as if they were specimens under glass. At heart, of course, Larraín and Knight’s tale is utterly preposterous. It’s a tragedy about a spoiled princess who lashes out at the servants; a thriller about a woman who has only 10 minutes to get into her dress before Christmas dinner is served. But how else do you play it? The monarchy itself is preposterous.

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Macadam Stories

Macadam Stories, a 2015 film by French filmmaker Samuel Benchetrit, tells the story of four people living in a dilapidated apartment block on the verge on an industrial wasteland, each of whom are seeking connection, whether they know it or not.

Sternkowitz (Gustave Kervern) finds himself confined to a wheelchair after some exercise misadventure. He strikes up a friendship with a nurse (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) who works nights at the local hospital, after he goes in search of food late one evening.

Charly (Jules Benchetrit), a lonely teenager, befriends Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), a despairing actor, living across the hall, who’s struggling to find a new role.

Madame Hamida (Tassadit Mandi), meanwhile finds herself hosting John McKenzie (Michael Pitt), an American astronaut who’s capsule inadvertently landed on the roof of the apartment block.

While viruses, lockdowns, and self-isolation, are not a part of this story, all the characters here are cut-off in some way from the outside world. Macadam Stories is a hopeful, warming, film for our times.

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