The Full Monty‘s producer Uberto Pasolini makes a welcome return to our screens with this drama about a quiet and selfless man. John May (Eddie Marsan) has a depressing job, organising burials and finding next of kin for those who have died alone.
By nature he’s solitary and melancholic himself and his mood is hardly improved when he’s abruptly made redundant by the London Council he works for. Yet on his last job, a search for the relatives of an elderly drunk, John uncovers a colourful and full life of mischief, misadventure, love and regret, most of all for an abandoned daughter, Kelly (Joanne Froggatt). They’re attracted to each other, and as their friendship blooms, John finds connections everywhere.
Beautifully observed, impeccably paced and profoundly moving, Still Life celebrates kindness, dignity, community values – and all that it means to be human.
M from July 24.
• Thanks to Palace Films we have 10 double preview passes to give away – valid for the weekends Fri July 11 – Sun July 13 and Fri July 18 – Sun July 20. Please see our Giveaways page for details on how to enter.
Lunchtime, and Mumbai’s famous dabbawallas deliver millions of meals to city workers, never making a mistake. Yet a rare mishap does form the basis for Ritesh Batra’s debut feature.
Unhappy housewife Ila’s (Nimrat Kaur) lovingly prepared pots of tiffin don’t go to her neglectful husband but to Mr Fernandes (Irrfan Khan), a lonely widower. Instead of fixing the mistake, the pair start writing notes, and so begins a relationship which quickly escalates to the sharing of confidences.
The set-up is similar to You’ve Got Mail, but there’s nothing Hollywood rom-com about this lovely unorthodox film, certainly none of that debased genre’s clichés. Instead we get a bittersweet tale of honest yearnings, real love and disappointment with a generous dose of sly Indian humour. And the ending is pure delight, just as tasty as one Ila’s fantastic meals.
PG from July 10.
• Thanks to Madman Entertainment we have 5 double in-season passes to give away. Please see our Giveaways page for details on how to enter.
All This Mayhem
Often the story of our sporting heroes is pretty ordinary: We cheer them as icons, later wonder what happened, then catch up on ABC’s Australian Story when they’re working for a bank flogging financial products. But nothing like that happened to skateboarding champions Tas and Ben Pappas.
They grew up on the wrong side of the Melbourne tracks, brothers doing “normal stuff.” You know, breaking the windows of abandoned cars and setting fire to them…They were also incredibly talented skaters, and Tas went to the US to take the World Championship off Tony Hawk. Big money and fame followed but both remained outcasts in the increasingly corporatised sport, sharing an enthusiasm for hard drugs and bad behaviour.
It helps not to know what happened and Eddie Martin’s adrenalin-charged doco, which captures the excitement and rhythms of the sport brilliantly, dishes out a slow, teasing reveal. It is a shocking story and painfully moving. Tas is mellower now, but one thing’s for sure – he will never be selling you a retirement plan.
CTC from July 10 at Dendy Newtown.
• Thanks to eOne Films Australia we have 25 “Two-For-One” tickets to give away. Please see our Giveaways page for details on how to enter.
Scandinavian Film Festival
The Killing, The Bridge, Borgen, Nordic noir movies and books – and that extravagant paternity leave! Surely you’ve noticed all things Scandinavian are super cool right now. So Palace’s launch of their newest film festival really is astute timing, especially as the line-up is so tantalising.
It opens at Palace Norton Street on July 9 with selection of the best drama, crime and comedy from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.
We’ll have more next issue, meanwhile head to www.scandinavianfilmfestival.com
• Thanks to Palace Cinemas we have we have 5 double passes to festival films. Please see our Giveaways page for details on how to enter.
We’ve here before with Rolf De Heer (Ten Canoes) but that was a long time ago, before the Intervention. Charlie (David Gulpilil, and this story is loosely based on his own experience) is now living in a remote NT community, unhappily under the watch of white-fella guardians. No matter how much the system is wrapped in the velvet gloves of welfare, it’s still an oppressive occupying force.
That’s lightly sketched in the first half, which is pretty funny, and moves with the slow repetitive pace of the townsfolk – many of whom have little to do between pension days except smoke gunga and maybe go buffalo hunting. But Charlie gets fed up, and sets out to live “the old way.” Ending up in a Darwin hospital, he discharges himself, but spirals downwards.
There’s a parable here, of course, and the political message is very well done. It’s way more effective than Pilger-style preaching, but still doesn’t take us anywhere. A white cop and a black man, screaming in incomprehension, “F—- you! No, F— YOU!” seems as much as we’ve ever been able to achieve in this country.
CTC from July 17.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction
Crikey’s movie critic posted a lengthy review of this, the 4th instalment of Michael Bay’s bizarrely impenetrable fantasy without having seen it. He boasted right at the end that he didn’t need to – that he already knew what to say.
Well some media organisations do employ reviewers who take their jobs seriously enough to sit through 160 minutes of eyeball-popping explosions, brain-damaging violence and very bad dialogue (“Calling all Autobots!”) and happily, Ciao is one of them. And I can report that Crikey’s shirker missed at least one viscerally exciting stunt (Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz crawling along ropes to the top of a Chicago skyscraper) and a top class in-joke – the old school cinema owner who quipped that sequels had “destroyed the movies.”
Maybe that’s not enough for near-on 3 hours of running time, but later when the action moves to China, even Crikey snobs may at least briefly cheer that smoggy Beijing will be destroyed (that’ll teach them for burning coal!). Instead we head south to Hong Kong for the inevitable extravagant digital demolition of the entire city.
Maybe next time (and there will be a next time) we’ll find out what this series is all about.
M on now.
Reviews – Russell Edwards