Maps To The Stars
David Cronenberg’s dark Hollywood satire is getting its DVD release here around the same time as its US cinema run. Maybe no one wanted to scare Academy voters from giving Julianne Moore her Oscar? As Hannah in this, she really is scary – a fading star drowning in self-pity and enough neurosis to fill several textbooks. She is being treated of course by copious self-medication and soothing naked massages from a celebrity shrink, (John Cusack), himself the father of a brattish child star and certified monster. To help around the mansion, Hannah hires a “chore whore”, the enigmatic Agatha (Mia Waiskowska), who wears long gloves to hide the damage from a fire she deliberately lit to burn her family house down. But who is Agatha? That’s revealed, tantalisingly, but not before one hilarious scene where Hannah, on the toilet noisily dealing with the constipation caused by her drug use, lectures Agatha on her sex-life. Someone give that lady an Oscar! MA15+ available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital March 25.
* Thanks to Entertainment One Australia we have 5 DVDs to give away. To go into the running see our Giveaways page.
Tough thrillers don’t come much grittier than this one – Tully (Joe Anderson) is a lowlife ex-con and white supremacist, who with his appalling girl friend Doreen (lovely lady, for an ice-whore) kills a cop only hours after being released. They then take refuge in the only black household in the neighbourhood, but the father (Danny Glover) is no fan of the law himself. Much more than just a hostage drama, director Deon Taylor then ratchets up the tension deftly as the situation’s incendiary, racially charged subtext is played out. MA15+ Available to rent or buy on Blu-Ray 3D, Blu Ray, DVD and digital now.
* Thanks to Icon Home Entertainment we have 5 DVDs to give away. Details below. To go into the running see our Giveaways page.
The credits of Andrey Zvyagintsev’s lacerating masterpiece announce that it was supported by “The Russian Ministry of Culture.” Wow, that’s like the Broken Hill Tourist Authority sponsoring Wake In Fright. If the film’s aim is Putin’s Russia (and there’s much more going on), then its verdict is brutal: Life is cruel. There is no justice or faith, just cynicism and moral corruption – and this we slowly learn as we follow Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov), his sullen teenage son and beautiful sad-eyed wife (Elena Lyadova) as they battle to keep their ramshackle home out of the development clutches of a (scary!) local mayor. It’s set in the remote and stunningly beautiful north west coast region of Kola, and great quantities of vodka are scoffed. Not to keep warm, just (apparently) to mark any occasion. “Are you O.K. to drive?” a woman asks her husband at the end of a picnic. Huh? “I’m a traffic cop, aren’t I?” he snorts. Superb, but very dark. M from March 26.
White girl (the always strange Charlotte Gainsbourg), black man, (the immensely appealing Omar Sly) – the usual romance? Wrong, this is so refreshingly different, most of all because of its back story, the difficult lives of France’s army of illegal immigrants. Sly (The Intouchables) plays Samba, originally from Senegal, but having washed dishes for a decade, figures he has a chance of becoming legal. Which brings him together with Alice (Grainsbourgh), a shy novice immigration case-worker. She’s been warned not to give her phone number to clients, but can’t resist his affable smile (and other attributes). And so, as they strike up a relationship, but is he scamming her? In France and much of Europe and the US, low paid and undesirable jobs are all filled by immigrants like Samba, in fact, many capitalist economies now dishonestly rely on this illegal trade. Here they are “asylum seekers” but Australia could not make such an honest, strange, appealing (and romantic) movie as this. Locked into our toxic and disingenuous politics, we prefer to just chant slogans. M from April 2.
Shaun The Sheep Movie
With Bitzer (a rather stupid sheepdog), Shaun and his flock have to go to the Big City to find their amnesia suffering farmer – who, because he was once an ace shearer, has become a celebrity hairdresser to the stars. All the Aardman Studio’s trademark sly humour and rip-roaring slapstick is here, brilliantly combined with manure jokes, adult satire and rollicking kid-friendly action. There’s even a nod to Orwell. With the farmer gone – the pigs take over! That earns it a rating warning: “Some scary scenes.” Otherwise G of course and fantastic fun! From Mar 26.
The second instalment of The Divergent franchise wastes no time in explaining the back-story of this particular post-apocalypse dystopian future and its factions (roughly equivalent to high school clans). We know all that, right? So it’s straight into the running and the gunning, and this time Tris (Shailene Woodley) seems to have settled into her role as teenage Joan of Arc. It’s reassuring that although civilisation has collapsed leaving Chicago a chic, post-industrial ruin, we can still get our clothing from Industrie (©David Jones), there are plenty of tattoo shops (©Urban Ink) and everyone still has incredible iPads (©Apple). Sadly though all that high tech is used to keep us oppressed and subservient to an evil ruling faction leader (Kate Winslet). So THAT’S what Apple has in mind?! Early on while hiding out with the nature-loving hippie faction, Tris hacks off her flowing locks with a blunt knife. Next scene she has an ultra-cool layered short bob (©Toni&Guy). The world may indeed have ended, but you still need to look good. M on now.
* Reviews – Russell Edwards