Movies – 290

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week

That title is a mouthful, but it tells us exactly what we’re getting. Hundreds of films could (and have) been made about the Fab Four, but Ron Howard wisely narrows his focus to the few short years between 1962 and August 1966, the date of the last live Beatles performance.

And what fantastic performances! Even those well familiar with the era and all those near perfect pop songs will discover masses of insider footage and material they’ve never seen or heard before.

It has the blessing of Apple Corps and the survivors  – so don’t expect any dark revelations about why the band stopped touring and eventually fell apart – save the confession that they were all stoned when filming Help! (who knew!) Mostly they come across as happy, fun-loving mates, who both liked and helped each other during an amazing, totally out of control, and at times gruelling experience.

“By the end, it became quite complicated…” rues Paul McCartney. Yeah… after 815 gigs in 15 countries and all that hysteria –that’s quite an understatement.

M from Sept 16.

Thanks to StudioCanal we have five double in-season passes to give away.
See our Giveaways page for details.


movies-queen-of-irelanQueen of Ireland

With our own progress towards marriage equality now fast receding, what better time to review how it happened in a country way more conservative than out own? Though becoming a hugely transformative and influential activist in Ireland was far from Rory O’Neill’s mind the first time he tried on a tutu at about eight years old. Later he became Panti Bliss, a “giant cartoon woman” (his words, he’s damn tall and looks deliberately absurd in a frock) – successful drag queen, plucky HIV survivor and then, by fluke accident, rousingly successful campaigner for LGBTI rights.

Conor Horgan’s big, warm approving hug of a doco got a rapturous reception at the Sydney Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why. It’s not just the deft editing and humour that makes it so appealing, but the way it ends. Which isn’t as expected – those joyously buoyant celebrations after the referendum passed – but something way more personal and touching. Maybe you’ll even cry.

PG from Sept 8.

Thanks to Transmission Films we have five double in-season passes to giveaway.
See our Giveaways page for details.


movies-captain-fantasticCaptain Fantastic

Ben (Viggo Mortensen) is a hairy dropout raising a family of feral hippies way off the grid in the Pacific Northwest in Matt Ross’ perceptive and entertaining custody drama. The kids are all home-schooled, tousle-haired charmers who can kill wild game with their bare hands, quote Marx and Dostoevsky and strum protest anthems round the campfire. Paradise! Right?

Down the track we learn there’s family money backing their parent’s high-minded rejection of life as corporate drones and zombified consumers – a telling point. Trouble erupts when the mother dies, and the family is forced out of the forest and into the real world, one they’re hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with – especially after mum’s wealthy father (Frank Langella) makes legal moves against his “mad” son-in-law.

There’s some challenging points made about parenting, social conditioning and contemporary life, though some scenes are there just for cheap laughs. One is just about the most gratuitous uses of full-frontal nudity I’ve ever seen on screen. Whatever its point, it does reveal Ben is very well equipped to father six kids.

M from Sept 8.

movies-dont-breatheDon’t Breathe

I was warned I was “brave” by coming to the preview alone. Yeah… I’m ashamed to admit that I think I left a small puddle on my seat at the end of this terrifying master class in suspense.

Fede Alvarez directs the grimly minimalist chiller, which is about a group of foolish young house burglars (Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette) who pick an easy mark (they think) to rob. If anyone offers you a spoiler by revealing its fiendishly clever twists and climax, just lock then in a boarded-up house in a derelict Detroit street with a ferocious pooch and an angry blind white man trained in Gulf war special ops.

And when you go along yourself (yes you should), bring a sponge.

MA15+ on now.


Reviews – Russell Edwards