Hector and The Search For Happiness
It’s been a while since anyone thought that travel to far-away places allowed you to “find yourself.” Yet that’s just what bored London shrink Hector (Simon Pegg) sets out to do after one session too many listening to his tedious patients whine.
He has a brain snap, just packs and heads off – much to the annoyance of his lovely (and seemingly perfect) finance (Rosamund Pike) – who rightly twigs that the wonder-lust has something to do with his first-love (Toni Collette). Who now lives in LA, but first to China, Tibet and Africa, where the relentlessly chirpy Hector blunders from mishap to catastrophe, all in the quest of that elusive mystery: How can we be happy? Pegg’s “idiot Brit abroad” appeal allows for some pretty dodgy national stereotypes to sneak by, mostly unnoticed on account of the film’s genuine warmth.
And there is some emotional honesty in Peter Chelsom‘s eccentric charmer – along with some good laughs.
M from Oct 23 at Hoyts Broadway.
Thanks to Becker Films we have we have 10 double in-season passes to give away.
Son of a Gun
Julius Avery’s exciting heist thriller should draw in the crowds, but as it’s an Aussie flick, probably won’t. It stars two of our hot-young-things – BrentonThwaites and Alicia Vikander – he’s a young crim who is way smarter than he looks. In the nick he falls in with hard-case Brendan (Ewan McGregor), who he later joins for a big hit on the WA mining industry.
It’s very slick with quite a few surprises, but why a Scot in the pivotal role of outlaw schemer? Heck, we’re a proud convict nation with more than enough of our own crooked swine!
MA15+ from Oct 16.
The Broken Circle Breakdown
Felix van Groeningen’s raw Belgian melodrama mightily impressed many of us who caught during its run earlier this year and at 2013’s Sydney Film Festival. We first meet 7-year-old Maybelle (Nell Cattrysse) in a cancer ward – her hair melting away.
She’s the daughter of Elise (Veerle Baetens) and Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) and no spoilers here, we’re told early on what happens, but the chronology is all jumbled up. We flit all over the place as wild-haired bluegrass musician Didier and free-spirited tattoo artist Elsie meet, fall in love, break-up, and face Maybelle’s illness, every episode in their tangled emotional lives signalled with a rapturous or sad song from Didier’s troop of foot-stomping hipster hillbillies and Elsie’s stunning, hauntingly beautiful vocals. Sometimes the tragedy overwhelms the joy, but only sometimes.
And you’ve got some tissues, right? It’s an amazing, powerful film which really earns those tears.
MA15+ on DVD and Digital HDfrom Oct 9.
Thanks to EntertainmentOne Australia we have five DVDs to give away. Details below.
DVD Action Pack
Pulp crime and high-octane action fans usually find no shortage of new releases, but they’re often hard to judge from just reading the lurid and sometimes deceptive covers. Fortunately, we can help – after a tough week in front of the box, here are two standouts from this month’s homework:
Luc Bresson (Lucy) is credited as producer on this puply action/crime thriller, which could almost be called “noir” if wasn’t set in the blazing hot sun of the Saharan dessert. American honeymooners Scott (Frank Grillo) and Taylor (Jamie Alexander) are already bickering in their wedding bed (this can’t end well!) and wait – did she just duck out for a smoke, or a quick leg-over with the mysterious Travis (Charlie Bewley) to plot her new husband’s murder? Next day these three cross paths again after a wild 4WD chase in the sand dunes and explosive collision with some other travellers on a lonely road. Which brings several more violent and thoroughly disreputable characters together, all stranded, all scheming, all with something to hide… Some of the twist and turns that follow are hard to keep up with and don’t always make sense but fortunately writer/director David Marconi is a dab hand at suspense and viscerally exciting action. There’s even a scene involving a lady in a burqa and a gun that will satisfy our own banning-brigade’s wildest fears about those swarthy foreigners!
On DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from Oct 15.
The Terror, Live:
Kim Byung Woo’s second feature, which premiered at Sydney’s recent Korean Film Festival, marks quite a change of style for this oddball indie director. Ha Jung Woo plays a jaded radio talk show host and sacked former TV news anchor, who one morning takes a call from a man threatening to blow up one of Seoul’s major bridges right outside the studio window. He calls the man a crank and flippantly tells him to go ahead, only to witnesses a horrifying explosion… Which gives him an idea – a chance to make career-making comeback. He gets the man back on the line and tells him he’ll broadcast his story live, but then the terrorist reveals another agenda, and a terrifying trap for the newsman. Running in real time, The Terror, Live is a claustrophobic and very tense thriller, which smartly taps into the cynicism many South Koreans feel about their manipulative media, highly regimented workplaces and authoritarian social structure.
On DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from Oct 15.
Thanks to Icon Home Entertainment we have 5 DVD “Action Packs” (both titles) to give away.
There are enough subplots in David Dobkin’s showey and too-long family drama for about five movies, but the one at its heart, the eternal father and son battle, is strong enough to resonant deeply. For which one of us (men, I mean) didn’t have a dad whose approval we sought, but never got?
For hot-shot criminal lawyer Hank (Robert Downey Jr), a burning resentment against his father (Robert Duval), a pig-headed small town judge has fuelled his own spectacular law career. But it’s also turned him into a glib smart-arse.
Returning home for his mum’s funeral, various ancient family tensions are quickly laid bare, and they are raw and bitter – involving his older brother (Vincent D’Onofrio) and obviously still unresolved. But then Hank soon finds himself defending his own dad (known to all only as “The Judge”), who on the night of the funeral, is involved in a suspicious hit-and-run accident with an old foe, and is charged with murder.
That’s the unusual set-up, now for the long haul towards the inevitable… which is clearly enough signalled with a fair bit of obviousness. But that can be overlooked, for these two skilled veteran actors are just sensational together – both absolutely at the top of their game.
Downey may not get the Oscar he obviously wants out of this, but he does deserves something. More than a pat on the head from dad.
M from Oct 9.
Reviews – Russell Edwards