The Dressmaker–what in the world?

I have a suggestion for Peter Dutton, who is the Immigration and Border Protection Minster of Australia.  Whenever a boat carrying  “asylum seekers” is caught trying to reach our shores,  he should screen for them  “The Dressmaker”.

I guarantee that the boat people would beg the smugglers to turn the boat around and escape as far as possible from the image of Australia depicted in this film.

The setting for this Aussie production is the town of Dungatar which is made up of an extremely phony collection of sheds and outhouses.  Its inhabitants look like escapees from a Bruegel painting,  a bunch of weird caricatures.  There aren’t many of them in the town of Dungapoo but we have the village idiot, the cross-dressing policeman,  the demented mother of the dressmaker who is a hoarder,  the sex-starved fatty, the mean rich man who bosses everyone around,  all overacted by usually reputable Aussie actors.

Apparently,  the producers needed a celebrity for the title role of Tilly Dunnage who  has arrived to wreak havoc on the town that done her wrong by accusing her of murder.  So they chose Kate Winslet.  Alas, poor Kate. If only she had found a box of matches sooner and put us out of our misery long before the two hours of  “The Dressmaker.”

Francis Bacon said that  “revenge is a kind of wild justice” and boy does Tilly go wild. She outsews the opposition, cleans up her mother’s messy home,  cures her mother’s madness,  slims down The Biggest Loser by making her a new dress, finds out that the nasty man who drugs his wife and then has sex with her while she is knocked out, is actually Tilly’s father. Enough already.

In my defence, we were given these cinema tickets for free, but we overpaid!   We stayed until the apocalyptic end because I could not believe that this film which other people said I should go see was not going to improve.  Not even the town hunk who plays football can save this film.

Wouldn’t you think I would have learned my lesson by now?




Why I won’t be seeing the movie called “The Walk”

There are many reasons for not going to see  “The Walk”.  Quite frankly, one man’s ego-driven ambition to risk his life walking on a  tightrope between the Twin Towers of  the World Trade Center  does not impress me one bit. But hey, who cares if he falls?  So let him do it.

I’m very rarely moved by what I call the Richard Branson restlessness syndrome.  Life is dull so let’s makes it dangerous and exciting. You wanna bang your head against a wall to see how it feels,  be my guest.

The main reason, however,  which will prevent me from going to that particular film,  is that I become furious when I see a mock-up of the now destroyed Twin Towers in New York.

Ever since  September 2001, my hatred of the perpetrators of that horrific crime has made it impossible for me to trust and respect people like them.

I remember how the Palestinians rejoiced and whooped joyfully in the streets following the attack.  I remember how the rest of the Muslim world failed to condemn such bestiality.

And that left a scar in me.

Lesley Gore made me cry today

Lesley Gore died today. Her song “You don’t own me” (1963) meant a lot to me and to my generation. It was a cry for independence and in a way it was one of the earliest declarations of feminism. “I am woman”(1975) came a long time after Gore’s beautiful plea not to be treated as a silly little thing.

Who can forget Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn performing the song at the end of the film, “The First Wives Club”?

It was a tour de force!

RIP Leslie, you sang for us young women in the Sixties.

“Le Week-end” or perhaps “Le Weak-end”- movie review

We chose an early morning session on Saturday because we didn’t fancy battling the crowds who would want to see this latest film about empty nesters.

You see, Melbourne people do not rise early to greet the dawn. Anyway, when the two of us entered the theatre we doubled the audience. So that was a good decision on our part as I’m quite crowd averse.

Sadly, this was the best feature of our visit.

I had declared in previous film reviews that I don’t want to see any more films about aging, but here I was again, hoping that this time there would be some sort of optimistic outlook about this business of getting old.

“Le Week-end” is about a senior couple going to Paris for the weekend to recapture their joie de vivre. He, a professor(played by Jim Broadbent) is sick of work and she (Lindsay Duncan) is fed up with her life and bored with her husband.

The stage is set, as you can guess, for a miserable search for excitement. Is Paris how they remember it? What do you think?

Lousy accommodation, constant quiet bickering, complaints about their useless offspring who is sponging off them and wants to move back home.

Then they meet up with a bright and effusive character who knew the Prof in the old days at university. Other reviewers have admired Jeff Goldblum’s acting and I am usually a fan but this character is so manic that he’s frightening. I suppose he’s the foil for the perennial “misery guts” portrayed by Broadbent. But things are really not that great for Happy Jeff either.

The film plods along with mumbling from Broadbent and a bit of sadism from Duncan until it peters out at the end. It’s a weak ending. Nothing is resolved because it’s so true to life that everyone realises that nothing will change for this couple. It really can’t, can it?

After leaving the theatre and deciding to enjoy a gastronomic treat of chargrilled calamari WITH chips just to make up for the melancholy of “Le Week-end” I thought that it reminded me of “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf” with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Minus the passion.

And, in a way, that lack of passion was even more nihilistic.

August: Osage County movie makes you want to go visit Syria for a break

You have to wonder what got into the heads of a collection of excellent celebrity actors to accept a role in this woeful film. Fine acting is how one could describe it or perhaps an example of O.A.A (over acting anonymous).

A bunch of annoying characters get together in Osage County, Oklahoma to have it out following a family tragedy. Now that is an original premise, is it not?

Plenty of screaming, moaning, groaning, accusations. A collection of the usual redneck gripes…”He’s not your cousin, he’s your brother…damn. Shouldn’t make a difference, should it?” Not round here in these parts.

Nothing like the old musical “Oklahoma” you could say.

May I suggest that this film will do very little for the tourist trade in Osage County, Oklahoma. It will reinforce old prejudices about dysfunctional families and whose family isn’t, anyhow?

No wonder I’m sick and tired of the old themes. Marriage stinks, children abandon you and then you die, old and lonely. Very uplifting, indeed.

My one consolation is that this film did not receive any awards in today’s Golden Globes Awards.

Wow! “Still Mine” – Another depressing film about dementia!

I just heard a review of a film which is catering to the senior market. It’s called “Still Mine” and is, wait for it, another film about an old person with Alzheimer’s. Now that makes more than four films in the past year that have dealt specifically with one of the characters going bonkers and how everyone copes with it.

The reviewer said that this film is for the senior market because seniors don’t want action movies or silly teenage romances. He is correct there.

But do we really want to see yet another a film about dementia, euthanasia and other depressing subjects when we go out on the town?

I prefer “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” which did not deal with the so-called morbid side of life. It was fun, uplifting and a pleasure to see.

I’m not avoiding the serious issues but I would rather enjoy my outing to the theatre than be confronted by the spectre of death and misery. If I want to see that I only have to switch on the TV to a news channel and I can access all the hopeless reality of this world.

Enough is enough! Give us something positive, worth going out for and spending our money.

Quartet, the movie- a triumph for Dustin Hoffman

When it comes to films I’m not easy to please. Blockbusters make me yawn. Adventures put me to sleep. Fantasy films and space things make me despair at the childishness of it all. I could go on and have been known to, but I’ll keep it brief because I simply want to praise Dustin Hoffman for having produced and directed an excellent film.

His film, “Quartet”, is based on a play which has been adapted for the screen. It’s good, it’s funny, it’s sad and very entertaining.

If you enjoyed “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” then you will definitely appreciate “Quartet”.

Hoffman did a great job directing the many performers in the film. The four main actors, Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly form the quartet of the title.

I particularly liked Tom Courtenay’s and Pauline Collins’ excellent acting. They were superb. Maggie Smith was her usual grumpy old self and Billy Connolly was, well, Billy Connolly. I’m afraid he can’t escape his persona but he was well cast in the role.

Since the action takes place in a retirement home for aging musicians, there is some beautiful music in it and the setting is glamorous.

I don’t want to tell you any more about the film except to say that it will make you laugh, cry and reflect a little about life and how to live it.

What’s most telling is that I sat still while the credits were rolling and that’s always a sign that the film is good.

I wish there would be more films like this one instead of the rubbish that is being directed at the younger mob. I suspect that as the baby boomers keep aging more quality films will be made for that demographic and I’m looking forward to that time. Our time will come.

Don’t miss “Argo” the movie.

What can I say about “Argo”?

Amazing, exciting, brilliant story based on true events. The acting was superb, the editing, production etc were excellent. But most of all, it had me jumping out of my seat with the suspense.

Do yourself a favour and go see it. I predict that Alan Arkin will win an award for his performance.

It was gratifying to see how brave the Canadian ambassador was while the not so Great British Embassy was too cowardly to even give asylum to the endangered Americans who were trying to escape Iran. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

“And if We all Lived Together” –movie review

I rarely want to walk out of a film theatre. It’s the former film and TV critic in me that obliges me to stay until the very end so that I can give an honest review of a film.

“And if we all lived together” really tested my resolve. This supposed French? comedy?… whatever, is a miserable and uninspiring, unentertaining and definitely not amusing depiction of aging from the point of view of “Oh My God, if I ever get like that please shoot me.”

The screenplay is badly written. There is no resolution. There are silly cliche stupidities about Viagra. There is one guy who has Alzheimer’s, one who is always vacuuming and another who has had a heart attack and who asks a young man to buy Viagra for him. Oh yes, he also pulls his pants down and shows his bottom in front of a video recorder. In other words, a barrel of laughs.

I found it hard to believe that Jane Fonda would accept a role in such a silly movie about old people. You know the ad she made for L’Oreal cosmetics? In it she says “Because she’s worth it?” Well, she ain’t.

And I can’t imagine why a great comedy actor such as Pierre Richard of “Les Fugitifs” fame would accept a role in such a pile of trash.

When you think about it, for whom was it made? Young people couldn’t care less about such a theme and older people expect either substance or entertainment or both if the film is really good.

“And if we all lived together” offers neither.

By now my message should be clear. This is not worth seeing. Avoid it at all costs.

Le Chef- movie review

Funny thing about this film. I enjoyed it very much while I was watching it, but on thinking it over what struck me was how silly it all was.

So what did I enjoy? Well, 99% of the acting was excellent. Jean Reno is his usual consummate self as is the rest of the cast, apart from the villainous manager, Stanislaw, who is oh so evil!.

I particularly enjoyed the pomposity of chefs being satirised. It is only food, after all and chefs are not deities. Not really. So when the film makes fun of molecular cooking and those big white plates with microscopic portions on them, I feel validated for thinking that chefs have delusions of grandeur and that some cooks take themselves far too seriously.

The French are good at comedy, as are the Brits. They have finesse and they don’t go for stupid special effects etc, which bore me to tears.

So what I really enjoyed about Le Chef is that it made me laugh and nowadays I am desperate for a chuckle what with Greece and Syria and all that stuff.

On reflection, however, the film is very predictable. No surprises there and not much depth. I particularly winced at an embarrassing scene in a rival restaurant which would have been more appropriate for a Dumb and Dumber scenario.

So what? I ask myself. A bit of amusing froth is what I wanted and Le Chef is well worth it for that.