Sin City: A Dame To Kill
For sure, Robert Rodriguez’s latest project with graphic novelist Frank Miller is style over substance. But… oh what style! Every single frame looks sensational in jaw-droppingly awesome 3D and beautifully rendered black and white, backlit for added depth and clarity. With just an occasional splash of colour for lipstick, hair, blood… plenty of blood.
As in the 2005 original, the plot involves several storylines, all drowning in corruption and evil. Some of the same tough-guys (Micky Rourke, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Leavit) and dangerous babes (Jessica Alba, Eva Green) reappear to be deceived, exploited and beaten to a pulp. Life in Sin City ain’t easy, and no one has learnt a thing since their last schlocky neo-noir outing – except that power corrupts, sex sells, and brute force always wins. No surprise it is rated MA15+ for (amongst other things) “graphic nudity”.
Indeed, as the girl in the title says, “You can’t make a sale without showing the goods.” And… oh what goods!
From Sept 18.
★ Thanks to Icon Films we have we have 10 double in-season passes to give away. See our Giveaways page for how to enter.
The Infinite Man
Tech nerd Dean (Josh McConville) just wants to re-live a perfect weekend away with the love of his life, Lana (Hannah Marshall), but arriving at the resort they visited a year ago, all they find is an abandoned motel.
No worries, Dean has a plan, and a time machine, that will not only recreate their happy past – but make a new future – one that (Dean hopes) doesn’t involve Lana running off with her ex, a hunky Olympian javelin thrower (Alex Dimitriades).
Dean’s invention does look a bit basic – like an old stereo, the sort we used to listen to Pink Floyd on in the ’70s. Maybe the substances that took us to the dark side of the moon then could help with the knotty time travel issues raised here?
For Dean and Lana soon find themselves trapped in an infinite time loop, forever going over different versions of the present, depending on what’s just changed before. It’s very funny, and tricky too… But thanks Hugh Sullivan, for doing our heads in!
MA15+ from Sept 18.
★ Thanks to Infinite Releasing we have 10 double in-season passes to give away. See our Giveaways page for how to enter.
DVD Romance Pack
What better way to spend the still chilly spring evenings than cuddled up under the doona, (hopefully) with someone else, and a romantic DVD?
Our friends at Icon have come up with the goods this month, two of their spring releases are great historical love stories, one the most famous of them all. We have 5 “Romance Packs” to give away containing DVDs of both these gorgeous movies.
Romeo & Juliet
Downton Abby’s Julian Fellowes’ take on Romeo & Juliet feels surprisingly fresh and zesty – it’s young stars breathing new life into Shakespeare’s classic text. Despite taking quite a few liberties, he’s made a faithful version that should attract both loyalists and a new and younger audience to this greatest of all love stories.
It’s gorgeously filmed in the real Verona and other Italian old cities, majestically scored (if a little incessantly) by Abel Korzeniowski, and impeccably acted by Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Douglas Booth. Paul Giamatti pops up as the friar, whose meddling should attract the attention of Verona’s coroner. As does Damian Lewis (Homeland) as Juliet’s dad – who really should be charged with child abuse. But just a word of warning: It does contains sex (heaving bosoms), drug use (poison), violence (with swords) and suicidal themes – so yes, it’s rated M.
Available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital from Sept 10.
Belle is based on the true 18th century story of “Dido” Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of a British sea captain and his African slave mistress. At a very young age, she is sent to live with her uncle, the Earl of Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) in Hampstead. There she grows up to become a beautiful young woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and enjoys all the wealth and privilege the Empire provided its ruling class. Trouble is, she’s black and the prosperity of that society was based largely on black slavery. Worse, the man she falls in love with, a radical and swooningly handsome Vicar’s son (Sam Reid), is campaigning to end all that.
Amma Asante fleshes out the details of Dido’s extraordinary life as she faces hypocrisies and obstacles with great finesse. It’s almost like a Jane Austen story, only with something real actually at stake. And a beautiful and lavish spectacle too, one with drama and heart, and no shortage of grand ideas on gender, race and class.
It’s rated PG and available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital from Sept 10.
★ Thanks to Icon Home Entertainment we have 5 DVD “Romance Packs” (both titles) to give away. See our Giveaways page for how to enter.
Save the planet? Ok, but what if that means real action – outside the law?
Jessie Eisenberg doesn’t just yap his head off for once, and he’s fantastic here as the eco-activist who has moved on from buying at Wholefoods.
A naïve student (Dakota Fanning) who joins his plot to blow up a hydroelectric dam becomes one of the victims of this muddled idealism, and there’s a real sting in the tail in Kelly Reichardt’s very smart and tense thriller: It’s meant for us – all of us who parrot empty green slogans, while at the same time demanding endless power to forever charge our iPhones.
M on now.
We Are The Best!
By 1982, the furious rock punk rebellion of the 70s had run its course, co-opted by the corporate forces it despised. Except (apparently) in Sweden.
But forget about punk having something to do with the safety-pinned shock troops of Thatcher’s Britain or the syringe-littered streetscapes of Lower East Side NY, in Lukas Moodysson’s warm and nostalgic coming-of-age drama, it’s all about a couple affluent and very privileged 13-year-olds suburban Scandinavians feeling… a bit, well, mildly depressed.
There’s no reason to be mean-spirited about this, the movie is a real charmer, but not a lot more. It follows Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), two permanently angry teens with absolutely no musical ability who form a punk band. But even with lyrics like “the world is a morgue / but you’re watching Bjorn Borg” they fail dismally to piss-off their generous and supportive parents and teachers, at least until they enlist Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a religious goody-two-shoes who actually has some talent.
Then with the driving anthem, “Hate the sport / Hate the sport / Hate the hate the hate the sport,” they do succeed. At least in getting out of doing gym.
MA15+ from Sept 18.
A Guardian writer recently got stuck into the YA dystopian fiction currently enjoying great popularity. Intentionally or not, he argued, works like The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Giver attack “the projects and aims of the left: big government, the welfare state, progress, social planning and equality.” The bad guys, he wrote, “are not the corporations but the state and those well-meaning liberal leftists who want to make the world a better place”.
He’s right – but just whose fault is that? Just check the bicycles in The Giver! No one is allowed to get around on anything but in this eco-fascist future. The climate is controlled, all needs are taken care of by benevolent elders and everyone is equal – yep, that sounds suspiciously like the left’s agenda… No need for a press regulator to admonish non-PC opinion – even parents sharply slap down their children for “discretion of language!” And the “communities” are so devoid of conflict and contrast that its denizens can no longer even see in colour.
Meryl Streep plays their creepy leader, Jeff Bridges the elder who strays… But Phillip Noyce’s version of Lois Lowry‘s novel, actually one of the more intelligent of this genre, is way too thoughtful to compete with the less cerebral and more charismatic Katniss Inc. Sadly too, the film wilts towards the end – even with rising Aussie heart-throb Brenton Thwaites in the saddle as the young rebel who wants to switch the world back to technicolour. A noble failure though – a bit like that well-meaning world.
M on now