March 28, 2016

Film Review - The Bourne Legacy By Director Tony Gilroy

The thrills and action in this movie centre around the events in the Bourne Ultimatum.
 A reporter writes a story to expose the Black Ops Treadstone and Black Briar and the ones responsible are concerned.

In The Bourne Legacy they decide to shut down the program with deadly consequences to those in the field. They fail to take out Aaron Cross, he survives against the odds. He seeks out Dr Marta Shearing and they team up to survive. All the program subjects take medications but he has run out and they embark on a death defying journey to get his meds, preserve their lives and outsmart their persecutors. This movie is action packed with a great motorcycle chase and shoot out scenes. A very enjoyable action packed movie. Anne

March 18, 2016

Book Review—A Very Normal Man by Vincenzo Cerami

Giovanni Vivaldi is a very normal man. After leaving his parent's destitute farm and doing his military service he started working at The Ministry in Rome, where he has worked for thirty years and has become a mid-level bureaucrat. His plan is to soon retire and fix up a dilapidated shack in the countryside with his snarky wife, Amalia. But before that can be done he must complete his life’s achievement: helping his son Mario, a newly qualified accountant, to get a job at The Ministry, so that he along with his generation can lead to better things. But this is no simple matter. With 12,000 candidates applying for 2,000 positions and an oral and written exam to face, Giovanni must perform strange rites to secure his son’s future. But all his efforts prove pointless due to one man, and Giovanni dedicates his efforts to revenge.

Giovanni is an odd character. He is the victim of circumstance but is more than willing to exploit this same master for his own ends when it suits him. This is aided by a society that mixes the detachment of bureaucracy with the ritual of faith and superstition: the files Giovanni must formulate day in and day out, to the church around the corner where Amalia replenishes her supply of holy water, to the extravagantly calculated yet mundanely received Freemasonry ceremony are all par for the course. The normality lies not with the man, but with his responses. Nothing is too bizarre, no act too incomprehensible, no loss too irreconcilable. All are simply the acts one must perform in life, and this is simply normal for a man.

As darkly hilarious as its conclusion is troubling, A Very Normal Man shows the peculiarities that disrupt the notion of a normal life.

March 14, 2016

Film Review - Transformers- Age of Extinction By Director Michael Bay

Five years after the Deception invasion of Chicago, the Autobot's have gone into hiding after the government deemed all Transformers to be threats.

 In Transformers- Age of Extinction the government is aided by another transformer who is searching for Optimus Prime. Cade Yeager is a truck mechanic and robotics expert who buys an old truck thinking it maybe a transformer. On closer inspection it is Optimus Prime who turns to Cade and his family for help with the remaining Autobots. This action packed sci-fi adventure has great special effects and is a great escape movie to watch. Anne

March 11, 2016

Book Review—Room by Emma Donoghue

All his life Jack has lived in Room. He lives with Ma, along with Bathtub, Wardrobe, Bed, and Egg Snake. Jack has no conception of an outside world, with the only links being TV, which he believes is all made up, and Old Nick, the man who kidnapped Ma and has been keeping the two of them. Old Nick comes into Room most nights while Jack sleeps hidden in Wardrobe and rapes Ma as he has for the last seven years. Ma learns that Old Nick has been unemployed for several months and fears that if he loses the house he will kill her and Jack. She makes plans to escape, but getting Jack and herself out is only the beginning of the challenge, as she learns to live again and Jack must completely redefine his sense of reality.

Told entirely from Jack's perspective the voice sets the novel as a work of exploration and discovery rather than a dark study. Although dealing with difficult subjects it uses these as catalysts for celebration, a celebration of life and the world despite the dark elements that often take hold and don't let go. We are transfixed by Jack's wonderment of life even while still in Room, and like Sofie Laguna's The Eye of The Sheep, which also gave a child's fantastical expression to troubling situations, Room utilizes this child's fascination to give these scenarios a rich, human quality that makes the difficulties more poignant without diminishing their impact or slipping into sentimentality.

Despite its dark origins Room is a surprisingly uplifting story of a life most unique and touching.

March 04, 2016

Movie Club—The Shawshank Redemption

In March the Movie Club will be screening the much celebrated The Shawshank Redemption. Based on a Stephen King novella (in fact, King lists it as one of his favourite adaptations of his work) and was directed by Frank Darabont (who also directed The Green Mile and The Mist, two other adaptions that King lists among his favourites). It star Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Wrongfully convicted banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary to serve two life sentences for the murder of his wife and her lover. Despite the injustice of the situation, Andy realises the futility of pleading his case once within the walls, and attempts to make the most of this unavoidable situation. While in prison he meets Red (Morgan Freeman), one of the prison's contraband smugglers, who ponders Dufresne's unusual personality. Dufresne puts his talents as a banker to good use, and becomes Warden Norton's (Bob Gunton) money launderer. This has many benefits for the prison community, as Dufresne's favour with the warden and the guards allows him to rebuild the prison library. Little know to all, although stoically accepting his changing life in the prison, Andy harbours an unquenchable hope for his freedom, and makes efforts to see himself living a new, tranquil life beyond the prison walls.

The film did not perform well at the box office, but has subsequently become highly regarded. It currently holds a 91% "Fresh" Rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and in 2015 the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". But the film has also become extremely popular with audiences who connect with its main characters and the triumph of hope and freedom over a crippling and unjust position.

The film will be screened on Wednesday 9 March at 6pm at Narellan Library, Corner of Queen and Elyard Street, Narellan. Tea, coffee, and biscuits provided, but BYO snacks are more than welcome. Stay after the screening to share your thoughts about the film and join in a discussion about the films many powerful moments.

Film Review—Slow West

Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a young Scottish man, has come to the American West to search for his love Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius). Along the way he meets bounty hunter Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender) who agrees to accompany him along the way to Rose in exchange for a nominal fee. What Jay doesn’t know is that Silas is also looking for Rose, hoping to collect the $2,000 bounty on her and her father’s heads.

The genre of the Western gives the film a set of conventions to play with, both to utilize and subvert. This is done mainly with its setting in Colorado although being filmed in New Zealand. This gives it some hallmarks that resemble the cinematic iconography of the western genre but gives it a distinct flavour that clearly demarcates it.  It lacks the extreme harshness expected of the setting, but is by no means less striking. It allows for rapid shifts in the environment, both by changes in landscape itself but also by cinematic shifts in lighting, that directly affects the story. The west is not a bland setting, but can be both a place of violence and suffering or of dreams and toil. “Love is universal, like death”, young Jay is told, and these two extremes, perfectly twined in the western setting, are in full force in Slow West.

A land of beauty and bleakness, Slow West treks this manifold landscape with masterful skill.