A far, far quieter month compared to July. MIFF took up a fair bit of my film devoted time and there were no 24 hour long plane trips to boost the numbers either. Madly finishing up one day job and starting off another was a massive (lame) stress contribution as well. There is some good stuff this month though amongst what I did manage to see. Be sure to share your comments on these below.
- Charlie’s Country (2013), Rolf De Heer – De Heer and star David Gulpilil are one of the most important creative teams in Aussie film history. Gulpilil won best actor at Cannes for this and he definitely deserved it. The film, much of it based on the actor’s real life struggles, says some really important things that are often only communicated in non-fiction works. The impossibility of Indigenous culture being maintain, the daily ignominy of someone being on your land, telling you what to do, how to live and even how you can spend your money. I would encourage anyone with a passing interest in the contemporary Australian Indigenous experience to seek this one out.
- Parks and Recreation Season 5 (2012), Greg Daniels & Michael Schur – Season starts a little disjointed due to characters being in separate cities. But it settles back into being the funniest show on TV. Some hilarious political cameos by the likes of John McCain and an incredible one from Joe Biden. Aubrey Plaza really stars as April this season. She has crafted such a witty and cutting character. But so many of them – Leslie, Andy, Ron, Donna, Gerry – are iconic. The show, especially in this season’s wedding episode, is really good at combining the heartfelt and the hilarious.
- Muscle Shoals (2013), Greg Camalier – One of the first films I ever programmed at a film festival, so it holds a special place in my heart. Incredible imagery of the area around the Tennessee River where some of the greatest music ever recorded was made. Massive name talking heads such as Bono and Keith Richards are shining a light on pretty obscure music history. Much more than just a music doco though, tis broad ranging and as much the incredible life story of producer Rick Hall as anything else.
Not Worth Watching:
- Lucy (2014), Luc Besson – First off, it is great to see a female focused film both kicking ass at the box office and also showcasing this kind of character. The results in this utterly nonsensical, though at times very fun film, are quite mixed. Much of it highlights the issue of god-like characters – tis very hard to maintain a sense of stakes when one character is all powerful and it is difficult for human intelligence to write super-human intelligence. Some wonderful boldness on the visual side of things and Johansson kicking arse are the chief joys, which help counterbalance a pretty poor script.
- Hercules (2014), Brett Ratner – Probably the worst film I have seen this year. Sexism and horrid CGI show up in the first two minutes and it doesn’t improve at all really. I cannot imagine a more cliché and predictable experience being possible. The tone is all over the shop. I suspect they were going for slightly comedic. Training montages are interminable whilst the battles which go on forever are if anything less engaging.
If you only have time to watch one Muscle Shoals
Avoid at all costs Hercules