July 20, 2016

Film Review - Love and Mercy By Director Bill Pohlad

Love and Mercy is set between the 1960's focusing on Brian Wilson, the leader of the Beach Boys. The movie looks at his younger years and in 1980 twenty years later. During that time he ends up being diagnosed with mental illness and is put under the constant watch of an unprofessional therapist.

The DVD shows his music genius as well as his struggle through psychotic episodes and his fight to maintain his independence in life. He finds love with a chance meeting that helps to give him hope in life again. The movie is quite an eye opening account of Brian's life, the good, bad and his amazing talent. Anne

July 18, 2016

Film Review - The Cobbler - By Tom McCarthy

Starring Adam Sandler, The Cobbler is a unique movie that centres around a bored cobbler who stumbles upon a magical family secret allowing him to literally walk in other peoples shoes and experience their lives.

Answers to his fathers mystery disappearance surface and he decides to please his mother with a special surprise. A very original movie with some great scenes. Anne

July 13, 2016

Film Review—Crimson Peak by Guillermo del Toro

Edith Cushing believes in ghosts. Her belief was made certain after her mother visited her after she passed, giving her the warning to “beware of Crimson Peak”. Years later, she has completed the manuscript to her first novel, a ghost story, seeing herself as something of a Mary Shelley, although a potential publisher would prefer works of a more romantic sort. Edith’s father, a successful industrialist, is visited by English baronet Sir Thomas Sharpe, who is visiting America with his sister Lucille, looking for investment in a device that will effectively mine the blood red clay upon which their ancestral home, Allerdale Hall, sits. Not taken with the prototype or the air of privilege that surrounds Sharpe, Cushing refuses to invest. However, Edith is slowly becoming enchanted by the baronet, and soon finds herself his bride and accompanying him to live in Allerdale Hall, which in the winter is known as Crimson Peak, were dark secrets are discovered and threaten the new bride.

The story is less a frightening tale than a homage to several horror traditions. It makes direct references to the likes of Mary Shelley and Arthur Conan Doyle, an author as adept at creating tales of suspense as he is at inventing a super sleuth.  But its strongest link is with the Gothic fiction tradition, particularly Edgar Allan Poe. Contrasting the decaying, inescapable past that is England with the hope for promise that is American, as well as featuring an old, ancestral house made up of as much history and sorrow as it is mortar and succumbing to the weight of its trouble (ala “The Fall of the House of Usher”), the film is clearly enamoured with this rich trove of literature, and knows how to use its tropes. But director Guillermo del Toro takes yet another horror tradition, from the very medium of Crimson Peak itself. With its rich colour palette (especially blood reds, emerald greens, and deep blues), as well as the dense melancholic haze of its atmosphere, and its melodramatic tone, it is as much a tribute to the 1950s and 1960s film adaptations of Poe’s work, as well as the Hammer Horror films. Yes, this does mean much of the film is overwrought, and the links with the aforementioned film traditions may possess some creaks of campiness, but it nonetheless delivers a rich, mesmerising development of those traditions.

While its frights may lack the chills one may expect, Crimson Peak’s rich tone, striking visuals, and astute use of its varied influences will leave many very pleased with its macabre tale.

July 11, 2016

Movie Club—Taxi Driver

This month the Movie Club will be screening Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, and Harvey Keitel.

Travis Bickle (De Niro), an honourably discharged Marine, suffers from chronic insomnia. To help alleviate this he becomes a taxi driver, working the night shift, 12 hours a night, 6 nights a week. This doesn't help his insomnia, and his loneliness and depression become ever stronger. Added to this is the insight into how corrupt, sleazy, and dysfunctional New York City really is. All this leads Travis to desire to do something, to clean up the streets, to give his life meaning, leading to ever more deranged and self-aggrandising thoughts and actions.

The film has courted controversy numerous times. It was immediately criticised for its violence (some going so far as to call it a "stupid orgy of violence", even though almost all the violence happens in a 10 minute sequence right at the end), and has even been linked with John Hinckley, Jr.'s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. However, with the films rich technique from one of the form's masters (Scorsese) and its intriguing thoughts of violence, heroism, loneliness, and desire, it is certainly more than a "stupid orgy".

The film will be screened on Wednesday 13 July 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 many intriguing insights the film explores.

July 06, 2016

Film Review - Rosewater By Jon Stewart

An Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari gets caught up in civil unrest in Iran. As a result he is imprisoned and accused of being a spy. He is incarcerated for 118 days and is brutally interrogated. He survives the ordeal by having visions of his late father which seems to give him the strength to keep going.

In Rosewater Bahari is mostly blindfolded while under interrogation, and his interrogator's distinguishing feature is that he smells of rosewater. Well shot and intense it makes you appreciate the freedom we have in Australia to speak our mind. Anne