Monthly Archives October 2016

Una

Director: Benedict Andrews

Writer: David Harrower (also play, Blackbird)

Cast: Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, Ruby Stokes, Tara Fitzgerald, Natasha Little

Cert: 15

Running time: 94mins

Year: 2016 



What’s the story: Haunted-eyed 28-year-old woman Una (Mara) appears at the work place of old acquaintance Ray (Mendelsohn) to confront him about a shocking past event.

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What’s the verdict: Adapted by David Harrower from his Tony award winning play Blackbird and helmed by Australian theatre director Benedict Peters, Una recalls the confrontational work of Alan Clarke.

In middle England, 15 years before Una re-appears in the life of Australian ex-pat Ray, the two of them had a sexual relationship that saw Ray imprisoned and Una traumatised...

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Elle

elle-posterDirector: Paul Verhoeven

Writer: David Birke (screenplay), Philippe Dijan (novel)

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling, Judith Magre, Jonas Bloquet, Alice Isaaz, Christian Berkel, Laurent Lafitte, Lucas Prisor, Raphaël Lenglet

Cert: 18

Running time: 130mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: After being raped in her home, businesswoman Michele seemingly puts the incident aside to calmly continue with her busy life. When her attacker contacts her again, a power play ensues.

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What’s the verdict: Well ensconced in his 70s, Paul Verhoeven has lost none of the provocative audience baiting that has seen him produce great movies (Black Book, RoboCop, Starship Troopers, Katie Tippel, The 4th Man) and dreadful ones (Basic Instinct, Showgirls).

Elle is a great movie...

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A Monster Calls

a-monster-calls-posterDirector: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Patrick Ness (and novel)

Cast: Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson

Cert: 12A

Running time: 108mins

Year: 2016

 


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What’s the story: Conor, a young boy whose mother is seriously ill with cancer, is visited by a giant tree monster who he thinks can help him.

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What’s the verdict: J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls immediately joins The Spirit of the Beehive, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the too-little remembered Paperhouse as a first class film about the power of art and imagination to battle the difficulties of real life.

Or to put it another way, it’s Billy Elliott with a big monster instead of ballet.

It is also one the most effective tearjerkers of recent times, so take a big box of tissues (blokes, that goes for you ...

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La La Land

la-la-land-posterDirector: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

Cert: 12

Running time: 130mins

Year: 2016




What’s the story: In a wonderland Los Angeles, aspiring actress Mia (Stone) and struggling jazz musician Sebastian (Gosling) experience the dizzying rollercoaster of love.

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What’s the verdict: Early signs were worrying. Lead actor Miles Teller was to be replaced. Lead actress Emma Watson had left to pursue other projects (Beauty and the Beast). The film was going to be a big, sprawling musical.

Could Damien Chazelle be in danger of going the way of Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly? Following a knockout breakthrough movie (Whiplash) with an indulgent dud? Could La La Land be Southland Tales?

The answer to that question is, trust Damien Chazelle...

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The Handmaiden

the-handmaiden-posterDirector: Park Chan-wook

Writers: Park Chan-wook, Chung Seo kyung, Sarah Waters (novel)

Cast: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Jo Jin-woong

Cert: 18

Running time: 144mins

Year: 2016


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What’s the story: In 1930s Korea, when the country was under Japanese rule, a pickpocket posing as a handmaiden schemes with a local conman to rob a Japanese noblewoman of her fortune.

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What’s the verdict: Since making an impression on the global stage with the military thriller JSA back in 2000, South Korean director Park Chan-wook has become one of the most audacious and exciting directors on the scene.

A Park Chan-wook movie is not watched, but experienced. The films are playful, dark, violent, shocking...

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A United Kingdom

a-united-kingdom-posterDirector: Amma Asante

Writer: Guy Hibbert

Cast: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Terry Pheto, Tom Felton, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Vusi Kunene

Cert: 12A

Running time: 105mins

Year: 2016

 


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What’s the story: While studying in London in 1948, Seretse Khama (Oyelowo), King of Bechuanaland (modern day Botswana), falls in love with local office worker Ruth Williams (Pike). But, their relationship is opposed by her family, the people of Bechuanaland, and an imperialistic British government.

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What’s the verdict: If star ratings could be awarded for good intentions, then A United Kingdom would be a five star movie...

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