Saw amazing film at Sydney Film Festival last might called "Mood Indigo" by Michel Gondry. So clever, engaging, funny, sad & mind bending. A must see film. It's showing gain this Saturday at Cremorne Orpheum at 1.45pm
I want to see it again... Naomi
Better get your tickets before they sell out. Although saying that I picked up some last-minuters last year that were great films. I will never forget "The Beasts of The Southern Wild" glorious film, out on video now, might watch it again.
I'm going to indulge in the entire Sydney Film Festival experience, I love it, more films please..
Visually sumptuous with fabulous music and gorgeous movie stars telling a tale of love, jealousy, materialism and self creation. Baz Lurhmanns "The Great Gatsby" is a real crowd pleaser... Naomi Rossdeutscher
I have watched Robert Redford and Mia Farrow in the 1974 version of "The Great Gatsby" many, many times over the years and I don't care what people say, I love it.
I tried to see Baz Lurhmanns version with an open mind, without comparing, but that turned out to be impossible with such strong memories of Redfords subtly, his lines, expressions, outfits, strangely his bathing suit and the house. I remember the frustrating tragic turns in the story and Mia Farrows 'Daisy' as a perfectly vacuous, uncaring dope.
In that earlier film, Gatsby seemed more mysterious and coolly refined, and the parties felt more real. But that's okay... I love that film and now here's a new one to love, packaged up nicely in modern technology.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
"The Great Gatsby" follows would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg kings, and sky-rocketing stocks. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without of the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
Baz Lurhmanns "Romeo and Juliet" is one of my 'all time' favourite films, everything about it was fabulous in my mind, but I never fully appreciated his other films until I watched them a couple of times, and then they got better and better. I like the way he stages scenes, the theatricality, the music and costumes. Baz and CM create spectacular cinematic experiences, so when I heard they were making this film I just smiled and thought, "Of course. That's got to be great"
And the Lurhmann's have delivered just as expected. The set design and costumes are elaborate, detailed and glorious, the parties - full of fake, pretentious and mostly uninvited people, are such amazing fun that IF they could be found, we'd all be there.
The always compelling Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby with such vulnerability and passion you have to love him.
My next favourite was Toby Maguire. And I bet everyone is talking about Elizabeth Debicki, the 22 year old who studied acting in Victoria, Australia, she lights up the screen with her angular photogenic face and modelesque figure and what a coo for her to act along seasoned players after having only a bit part in one other film before.
Toby Maguire plays Nick Carraway, the story teller, who arrives in the American East from out West wanting to learn about bonds and make some easy money. He gets lured to the lavish summer parties and is moved by Jay Gatsby's longing for his one true love, but in the end Carraway is so affected by tragedy and disgusted by shallow people, lies and the moral decay, that he returns home to the Midwest feeling like a wreck and wanting something real.
Carey Mulligan plays airy, flirtatious, spoilt Daisy, the woman Gatsby has never forgotten. I imagine any woman today would choose the handsome, ambitious Gatsby over Daisy's dud of a husband, who's a cheater and a racist, but Daisy turns out to be a careless coward.
Isla Fisher and Joel Edgerton fit the bill and deliver the goods, but it's Leo, the music and the visual style that shines most for me. I only wish there wasn't so much voice over and explanation about Gatsby's past.
"Gatsby? What Gatsby?" Daisy's line from the trailer keeps running through my brain. In the book Gatsby says, "Her voice is full of money." I say, "This film is full of money... and making a bit of dough too"
A haunting story with passionate performances and real characters that have stayed with me... Naomi Rossdeutscher
After watching Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance promote 'Blue Valentine' at Cannes a few years back, I was intrigued to see they were doing another film together and really looking forward to experiencing it. The casting of Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne and Ray Liotta was also a huge attraction.
...And I wasn't disappointed. I love the independent look and feel of the film, the telling of one story and then moving onto another and finally marrying them together, unveiling the consequences. But it's the passionate performances and real characters that have stayed with me. I particularly enjoyed Ben Mendelsohn, who was exceptional playing a car mechanic, and Ryan Goslings' character left me feeling a haunting loss.
Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen, who played the sons, also gave compelling performances and kept the tension going through to the end.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Ryan Gosling plays a troubled motor-bike stunt performer who turns to robbing banks to support his son. Bradley Cooper plays an ambitious rookie cop struggling to find his way in a corrupt police department and the film is tied up with two troubled teenage boys confronting the mysteries of their past by battling each other.
FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR DEREK CIANFRANCE
Cianfrance: "I have always loved Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, and how the movie managed that amazing hand-off from Janet Leigh to Tony Perkins as the protagonist. I wanted to do something similar. I also wanted to show real consequences to the characters’ actions, especially once guns come into the story. There is a glorified gun culture in movies and in this country; I wanted to explore the effect, the aftermath."
About the shoot
Cianfrance: "We shot the film in Schenectady for 47 days, which was a long time given our budget. Because of my training in documentary film, it was important to me to shoot in real places – I felt strongly that it could only be made in Schenectady – and to surround the actors with real people as much as possible to give the film that sense of place and truth. So we shot in live locations: a functioning police station with Schenectady police officers, a working hospital with nurses and patients in the next room, an active fair with 500 people who we were counting on not to look into the camera lens, real banks with real bank tellers and bank managers who had been robbed before, and a high school with actual students. This was all to lend authenticity to the moments we were capturing. I asked everyone everywhere – cops, bank tellers, doctors, judges – to make sure that the scenes we were doing were true. And if I was told that they weren't, then I would rewrite scenes on the spot until we were being honest.
Research for the film
Cianfrance: "Ben Mendelsohn (who plays Luke's friend Robin) and I met with this guy who had robbed a half-dozen banks in Schenectady. Ben and I wanted to get an accurate perspective. So we asked the police in Schenectady if they could make an introduction. All of a sudden, they showed up at my office with a guy who was fresh out of prison and open with us about everything. I remember him saying, "The one thing movies get wrong is, bank robberies are messy in real life but in movies they are always perfect." So we also went to local banks and talked with people there, some of whom had been through robberies. I'd ask, "Tell me how it happened with you." Our guy from prison had done these robberies but...well, the word the people used was "nicely," so he'd served less time."
Cianfrance: "Hurricane Irene struck and Schenectady had its biggest floods in 500 years. The night before she hit, I moved my family out of the house where we were staying. The next morning the house was under 15 feet of water. We had to cancel production because our equipment trucks were submerged. When I found out that we had two days' worth of filmed footage on one of the trucks, I was beside myself – I've had film negative lost before. The camera department, led by first AC Ludovic Littee, took a canoe out to the truck and rescued our footage. We were back filming the next day."
Screenplay by Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder
Running time: 140 minutes
MIND BENDING TIME TRAVEL & COOL PROSTHETICS
A thought-provoking film where lust for survival takes the characters to disturbing places, but compassion and change from within leads them to hope... Naomi Rossdeutscher
LOOPER is a smart sci-fi thriller, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, who play the same man but one lives in 2044 and one exists 30 years later.
Writer/director Rian Johnson's concept is clever and the film delivers well on that concept. The structure is complex, but skilful script writing and editing makes grasping the story easy, even with the implications of time travel. The unpredictable script doesn't pull any punches and the film's execution is stylish.
LOOPER is set in the not too distant future where not much has changed, except for the occasional flying motor-bike and talent of telekinesis. A voice-over tells us time travel has been invented 30 years in the future and although it was immediately outlawed, the criminal underworld are using it to get rid of their rivals.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, Joe, is a Looper and his job entails assassinating targets zapped back from 30 years in the future. Even though a hood covers the face of his victims and the job is financially rewarding, the toll weighs heavily on Joe. Plus, at the end of their contract the Looper has to 'close their Loop' by assassinating their older version. They are handsomely compensated with gold bullion, but it shortens their lives by 30 years.
Everything changes for Joe when his next victim arrives without a hood and he recognises his older self, played by Bruce Willis. Momentarily thrown, he allows his older self to escape.
The action kicks up a notch as old Joe embarks on a desperate mission to save his future and the gangsters come after him with full force. Old Joe has lived a savage life and walks an unwavering path with no mercy, but young Joe is still open to possibilities, which puts them in conflict with each other.
LOOPER is as much about abandoned children as it is about time travel and proposes that people become what their circumstances make them. The melancholy tone, ideas of children being the source of change and the use of time travel to manipulate the future is reminiscent of the first Terminator. The target audience is the young adult male, but with this smart story and an unsentimental romance the movie should also please a wider audience.
The casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, two highly captivating actors, enhanced the joy of the ride. Gordon-Levitt changed his face with a prosthetic nose, lips and make up and added quirky Willis mannerisms to his performance to sell us on the idea that they were the same guy and it's fascinating to watch. I prefer Emily Blunt playing this kind of strong, decisive character and Pierce Gagnon, who played her son, delivered one of the most gripping and somewhat incredible performances, especially for a child.
I found LOOPER to be a thought-provoking film where lust for survival takes the characters to disturbing places, but compassion and change from within leads them to hope.
Out now on DVD.
AND THE RED CARPET WINNER IS?
Beautiful clothes on beautiful people. The 2013 AACTA Awards was a bit of fun I thought I was going to miss, with all the flooding a few days before.
I had serious garment envy, but where would I don such dresses? Maybe I should fan around my computer in an Armani Privi and vintage jewellery while I'm script writing, it could be a real factor in breaking the rusty padlocks from the dank cells hidden in my writers imagination. I'm liking that idea and how glamorous I would feel, just as long as my cats and the dog I'm baby sitting don't require me to chase them around the garden, rub their furry cheeks and pick up poop while I'm brainstorming in my Givenchy stilettos.
Russell Crowe told his story from years gone by, about being in a cosy position with former Darlinghurst party girl Nicole Kidman, back to back at a crowded party... she turned and suggested they have a chat. Nicole recalls Russell ended the night sipping Champagne from her shoe. Although in Australia, could it have been sipping Sparkling Wine from her thong?
Russell Crowe gave us a laugh and it's always a pleasure listening to his resonating voice, I'd like to see him play a crooner in his next film - but who?
The creative and funny Richard Roxburgh took home the award for Best Lead Actor in a TV Drama for his performance in RAKE and Chris O'Dowd for Best Lead Actor in The Sapphires - I love that guy, it's a shame he wasn't there.
The US stars, Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner, were gracious on the red carpet, in town to promote Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and also presented an award. Jeremy said "You can't throw a bottle out the window in Hollywood without hitting an Australian." It's a fabulous place for film makers and actors to find work and the climate is pretty damn good too. I had the best time in LA last year, I'm so glad I wasn't hit with a bottle.
The always adorable singer, Jessica Mauboy, stole the show and our hearts and then received the Best Supporting Actress Award from Nicole Kidman, saying "I feel I really don't deserve this, I mean it. Thank you so much Deb, for being my sidekick and Wayne for kicking my butt and making me cry on set. Thank you so much."
Adding to the red carpet star power were Cate Blanchet, Hugo Weaving, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Thompson and Megan Gale - who we'll see in the next Mad Max.
by Naomi Rossdeutscher