A Place For Me
In a beachside pad one Thanksgiving, Josh Boone introduces us to The Borgens, an affluent but troubled family. Bill (Greg Kinnear) was once a successful writer, but his star is fading – he hasn’t written a word since his messy divorce to Erica (Jennifer Connolly) – who he still loves. His precocious daughter Sam (Lily Collins) has just had her first novel accepted, but (oh no!) it wasn’t the one he had helped her with. Meanwhile younger son and Stephen King fan-boy (Nat Wolff) is moping about smoking too much pot and writing bad poems to his pretty classmates. Bill seems more and more “stuck in love” (the movie’s US title) but fortunately an attractive neighbour keeps stopping by from her morning jog for a quickie – and to offer advice. Which is basically, get a grip, dude! And that’s about all this amiable movie is saying. All the actors are well-cast and put in stellar performances, though we may wish the bone they had to chew on had just a bit more meat. A Place For Me is definitely a cut above most family melodramas, and by the time the second Thanksgiving meal comes around, we are well and truely nourished. MA15+ from May 16.
* Thanks to Becker Films we have 10 double in-season passes to give away. See giveaways page for details.
Film lovers are already getting ready to spend their annual holidays in the dark at next month’s Sydney Film Festival. Meanwhile, distributors are still rolling out the crowd pleasers from last year (Tabu right). One of the best in the “Special Presentations” category at the State last time missed a theatrical release, but luckily I, Anna is out this month as a DVD, neatly in sync with the British Noir retrospective this year.
Charlotte Rampling is the star of this atmospheric and very classy noirish crime thriller, which also is directed by her own son Barnaby Southcombe. Jaded London detective Bernie Reid (a rumbled Gabriel Byrne) throws out the cop shop rule book by dating Anna, a “person of interest” (Rambling). She’s a lonely divorcee, and seems respectable enough, but could this mysterious woman actually have been involved in the brutal sex slaying Bernie is investigating?
Part romance, part psychological thriller, we’re kept guessing right to the final scene, while the melancholic score and moody set-up shows us a slice of contemporary London rarely seen on film. MA15+ available now
* Thanks to Transmission Home Entertainment we have 5 DVDs to give away. See giveaways page for details.
Fans of The Wire (and very odd facial hair) will find much to enjoy in Ric Roman Waugh’s take on America’s failed “war on drugs”. One of its more insane manifestations is mandatory sentencing, in which drug felons can only reduce their long stints in the slammer by “snitching” or setting someone else up. Trucking magnate John Matthews’ naïve son is caught up in just such a mess so Dad (Dwayne Johnson) steps in. He becomes a dealer himself in order to give an ambitious and unscrupulous DA (Susan Sarandon, forgoing her more usual do-gooder role) a chance to nab a Mr Big. With only 112 minutes (rather than The Wire’s five seasons) the plot by necessity thunders along at quite a clip and ends too neatly with some predictable (though enjoyable) mayhem. But still – an intelligent and well-meaning thriller. M15+ from May 16.
Who was it that called this 2012 Sydney Film Festival hit “too arty for its own good”? Not this reviewer, who can never get enough “arty” nudity – especially when filmed in gratuitous black and white. Add to that illicit passion, big game hunting, a 60s soundtrack (The Supremes sung in Portuguese) and a tragic ending.
Miguel Gomes has framed his long dreamy memoir (the central segment contains no dialogue) about colonial life in Africa as a story within a story. It’s beguilingly mischievous and seductive, a real “arty” treat. But what is it about that crocodile? MA15+ at Dendy Newtown from May 16.
Reviews by Russell Edwards