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!

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“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.

The Dictator- a movie for the politically savvy

I was bowled over by the movie, “The Dictator”. Sacha Baron Cohen’s ventures in the past were quite amusing but I did squirm occasionally at the crassness of his humour. In his latest production, however, Baron Cohen is very impressive. His script is tighter and the acting is much better, but, for me, the most impressive trait of “The Dictator” is its acerbic satire.

This film is strictly political and if you want to enjoy it to its full potential then you have to be au fait with current affairs. It is not a children’s movie, nor is it for teenagers who are more familiar with Justin Bieber, say.

The satire revolves around the latest Arab Spring’s toying with democracy and the downfall of a few regimes. Cohen is quite ruthless about dictatorship in general and Arab and Muslim dictatorships in particular. He attacks racial prejudice and stereotyping and even the U.S cops a bit of a beating.

The main target of his satire, however, is a dictator who reminds us just a tiny bit of the former and currently defunct Libyan ruler. Baron Cohen plays the part of the dictator as if he were born for this role.

He is refreshingly politically incorrect and I have to admit that I roared with laughter many, many times and even clapped out loud. Cohen says it like it is. No spin, no BS, just the truth as many of us see it.

It felt good to have one’s feelings validated. For those of you who like a bit of romance, well, there’s even a dose of that in “The Dictator” and it’s handled in the Frank Capra style of romantic comedies.

I would honestly describe “The Dictator” as sophisticated satire. If you like politics and you like biting satire with brains, then you should not miss this film.

“Late Bloomers”-don’t waste your time and money on this film.

How can anybody in this day and age release such a stupid and embarrassing film as “Late Bloomers”? What was the writer and director Julie Gavras thinking when she made up a ridiculous story about a couple of senior citizens who are having marital differences over the theme of aging?

Think of the possibilities of such a theme. Think of its potential for humour, pathos, wisdom, inevitability of the passage of time. And you will be disappointed. The film sets your teeth on edge with its puerile references to getting older.

Can you imagine how it would feel if your partner suddenly started to rave on about old age because she was approaching 60? She begins to install disability aids in the bedroom and bathroom so that she can convince her husband that they are both aging and should prepare themselves.

For what?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Isabella Rossellini character, but she’s decided that her momentary memory lapse is due to senility. The MRI she demands shows that she’s okay. Pity there isn’t an MRI to test how annoying she is.

Anyway, the plot (I’m using the term loosely in this case) consists of her attempts to renew herself following the breakup of her marriage to a mumbling William Hurt. She has a haircut and tries to do aqua aerobics.

Her husband is still trying to be the world’s best architect and he is sick of his wife’s stupid antics. Aren’t we all! So he takes up some secret scheme to design a museum instead of designing a retirement home.

Get the message? I mean it’s really, really deep here. He don’t wanna get old!

They are surrounded by several older people such as the feisty mother played by Doreen Mantle (Mrs Warboys in “One foot in the Grave”) and even good old Leslie Phillips. Even Joanna Lumley has a role. She does the usual Joanna Lumley spiel and I’m always fond of her.

But nothing can save this idiotic set-up. William Hurt is totally miscast and must have been in need of the money when he accepted the role. Isabella is no Ingrid Bergman. She lacks her mother’s talent.

And as for Julie Gavras, writer, director and daughter of the famous film director, Costa-Gavras, I can only shake my head in dismay.

So why did I go to see it, you ask? Well, it was 38 degrees in Melbourne yesterday. Boiling hot here and we had had our long walk in the morning at Chadstone Shopping Valhalla (air conditioned, undercover) so we thought that a movie without violence or spies or coming to terms with your sexuality would be pleasant entertainment on such a scorching day.

It wasn’t.

Film Critics should study the History of Cinema

It amazes me how film and TV critics reveal their lack of knowledge of the medium. They come out in praise of ancient filming techniques as if these were innovations.

Take “The Social Network” as an example of this.

I had to laugh when a film critic by the name of Adam Kamien actually described the use of actor, Armie Hammer, in a dual role of identical twins, the Winklevoss brothers, as “a stroke of genius.” This is hardly new nor is it a stroke of genius. Does anyone remember “The Patty Duke Show” (1963-1966)? It’s a very old and common device in movie production.

Personally, I picked that it was a dual role as soon as I saw the Winklevosses on the screen and no, I had not looked up the cast before going to the movie theatre.