LOVE THE COOPERS

Love The Coopers is a warm and funny Christmas movie with a great ensemble cast, including Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei, Olivia Wilde and the voice of Steve Martin. It's light and fluffy, very American and very enjoyable.

LOVE THE COOPERS

LOVE THE COOPERS

The Cooper family come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration. With her marriage on the rocks, Charlotte Cooper (Diane Keaton) has just one wish – to bring the whole family together for one last perfect Christmas, but Charlotte’s husband Sam (John Goodman) wants to use the opportunity to rekindle the spark in their relationship. There is romance between their daughter Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) and a soldier (Jake Lacy) she meets at the airport. Charlotte’s sister Emma (Marisa Tomei) has a run-in with the law and her son Hank (Ed Helms) struggles with unemployment, while his 16 year-old son awkwardly navigates his way through his first crush.

Jake Lacy and Olivia Wilde in love the coopers

Jake Lacy and Olivia Wilde in love the coopers

Director Jessie Nelson says “The Coopers want to get through the night without anybody in the family knowing what’s really going on in their individual lives, and hopefully buying the idealised version of themselves that they are all presenting. What they do get is much better – truth, real connection and intimacy.”

Nelson continues: “It’s all those ghosts of Christmases past that visit us through memory. We bring so many memories to the holidays. We’re either worrying about the past or projecting our fears of the future. We’re often not in the moment. I think everyone will see the insanity of their own family in this film!”

Rating: PG     107 minutes    Out Now

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY Part 2

Rating: M      Running Time: 136 minutes
Hunger Games Mockingjay pt 2

Yes, finally it's here and it's not a disappointment.

The gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence, as Katniss Everdeen, gives an emotional performance and rightfully steals the show.

Not many action films have the deep character development and strong story that these four films have. Very often these big franchise films are packaged, with movie stars, known directors and huge marketing events, so crowds will come and they do come for all those reason, but so very often I plus many others leave the cinema disappointed at having to watch endless car chases and boring fight scenes and not caring about any of the characters.

But this series of films have great characters and artful scripts that tell a powerful, riveting story with heart and action. The Hunger Games franchise has taken audiences by storm around the world, grossing more than $2.2 billion at the global box office.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 brings this movie phenomenon to its thrilling and emotionally powerful last chapter as the stakes for Katniss Everdeen escalate from surviving the most deadly games ever devised to setting the course of the future.

THE HUNGER GAMES MOCKINGJAY PART 2

THE HUNGER GAMES MOCKINGJAY PART 2

SYNOPSIS

With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss confronts President Snow [Donald Sutherland] in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends – including Gale [Liam Hemsworth], Finnick [Sam Claflin] and Peeta [Josh Hutcherson] – Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games.

With a stellar cast of Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland.

Especially bittersweet for the filmmakers was the chance to incorporate Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final performance as Plutarch Heavensbee – the Head Gamemaker who appears to be a power player in the Capitol until he proves to be a mastermind behind the rebellion. Says Francis Lawrence: “Collaborating with Phil on the Hunger Games movies was a fantastic experience for all of us – just to have the chance to watch him work and to learn from him – and his portrait of Plutarch is very moving.”

LIAM HEMSWORTH in THE HUNGER GAMES MOCKINGJAY PART 2

LIAM HEMSWORTH in THE HUNGER GAMES MOCKINGJAY PART 2

Liam Hemsworth, finds it difficult to believe the story is coming to a close and even more unsettling that he won’t be returning to work with Jennifer Lawrence in the indelible role of Katniss. “Working with Jennifer on this is something wonderful I’ll always carry,” he says. “She’s an incredible actress, but also so much fun. I’ll miss her and all the cast and crew.”

I love the way Katniss remains true to herself throughout the films, she is still just a girl who's struggling to be better than she imagines she can and as many people are killed around her, she doesn't just pep up as though everything is great.

Jennifer Lawrence has tremendous gratitude for being granted the chance to embody Katniss. “I have loved being a part of a film that sparks some really cool conversations,” she syas. “It’s been an incredible chapter in my life, and the way the films have resonated with people has been amazing.”
For director Francis Lawrence, part of the beauty of Katniss is that no matter how much her world – and her responsibilities – have changed, her fundamental values have never budged. “At her core, a part of Katniss has remained the same,” he observes. “Each of the movies has presented a complex character journey, with very different complications, but she is that same very real girl who still just wants to protect her loved ones.”

If you haven't seen the first three films I suggest you watch them first:

THE HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE, MOCKINGJAY PART 1

A cool Xmas gift would be the box set of the HUNGER GAMES BOOKS

SPEED THE PLOW

SpeedThePlow

I enjoyed David Mamet’s play SPEED THE PLOW at The Playhouse Theatre in London starring Richard Schiff (well known for his role as Toby Ziegler in the West Wing) Nigel Lindsay and Lindsay Lohan in her West End stage debut.

For me, Richard Schiff held the play together and was fascinating to see perform live and Lindsay Lohan was fascinating.

I enjoyed the night but felt like it wasn't enough, I would have liked to see another two acts. On the way out I was lucky to get a photo with Richard Schiff, an exciting moment before light rain lead me down the lane to a gourmet pizza.

THE ROVER

A fascinating film, tonally like THE ROAD

Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in THE ROVER

Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in THE ROVER

After the success of his first feature, ANIMAL KINGDOM, talented new director, David Michod, had a range of scripts to choose from, but he chose one of his own, "THE ROVER." He put together a stellar cast fronted by Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce and once again he was Produced by Liz Watts of Porchlight Films.

The Rover is set in the near future, in the stark Australian outback. Pearce plays a hardened drifter who chases a gang, after they steal his car, and Pattinson plays the younger brother of a gang member who's been left behind.

It's a beautifully shot film with outstanding performances by Pearce and Pattinson, both magnetic on screen while playing completely different characters. It was a joy to watch the characters get to know each other, grow and change along the journey. I enjoyed the film but the holes in the script bugged me, I thought the story could have been so much more intriguing and challenging. Saying that I did enjoy it more than Animal Kingdom. Some people might find it a bit slow, but I think it's worth watching even if it's just for the performances.

Robert Pattinson & Guy Pearce walk the red carpet

A SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL highlight, to catch Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce on the red carpet before the screening of their latest film, THE ROVER.

Robert Pattinson was just as I imaged, he had a warm handshake and lots of bashful smiles and he didn't stop moving. Guy Pearce had a strong handshake and stood straight, calm and confident. Both were very friendly and accommodating to fans and press. I will post a film review for THE ROVER soon. At the moment I'm cramming in as many films as I can.

Tracks

Tracks is captivating, subtle and tense, I felt I was right there with Robyn Davidson travelling those spectacular Australian landscapes with her gorgeous dog and the grand, snooty looking camels who seem to be grinning ...Naomi

Tracks is an inspiring and gently paced film, telling the true story of a 25-year woman, Robyn Davidson, who feels disconnected from the world. Seeking solitude decides to test her limits on a solo trek from Australia's Alice Springs to Uluru and on to the Indian Ocean, travelling 2700km of spectacular yet unforgiving Australian desert.

First, Robyn spends two years in the harsh climate of Alice Springs learning how to train and handle wild camels and then in 1977, aided by her loyal dog Diggity, four unpredictable camels and at intervals, New York photographer Rick Smolan, who chronicled her epic adventure. Although wanting to be alone, she is given much needed help by many generous people during the 9 month journey, including Afghani camel farmer, Sallay Mahomet, and respected Aboriginal Elder, Mr Eddy. Robyn slowly faces the pain of her past and when tragedy strikes has to decide whether to give up or continue.

Robyn struggles to avoid media scrutiny but fortunately for us she doesn’t manage to avoid photographer Rick Smolan, who becomes a friend while documenting her journey and finally encourages her to complete her challenge. What a spectacular photo shoot that would have been. The film is set in the mid seventies, but imagine doing this today with internet media.

I was deeply affected by the films outcome and left wondering, was it worth it? Why did she need to push herself so far? Was it because of her mother? Her father? There were eery moments when she would look around the vast landscape as though she is wondering if someone is watching her and see nothing. She was brave, confident, brash and really, really lucky to survive. I left the cinema wondering where she went after and what is she doing now?

Mia Wasikowska and Camels in Tracks. Is this Camel smiling? I think so.

Robyn's way of handling camels was very different to the norm at the time, says Emile Sherman: 'A lot of the men working with camels at that time saw camels as these beasts of burden - they were just there to carry gear or do whatever for them. Robyn developed absolutely personal relationships with these camels and fed them food by hand and loved them individually."

Andrew Harper from the Outback Camel Company, says 'One of the things that Mia had to learn with the camels was the commands for making them, or asking them, to do what she wanted. We use words that stem back from the days when camels were first introduced to Australia back in 1860. And most of the words come from the subcontinent. The words we use most are 'udu' which means 'stop', 'ibna', which means 'stand' or 'go', and 'hoosh', which means 'sit'. We use 'steady' as well, and 'back up' to go backwards. And the camels know what all those commands are, just like the camels know their names.'

Robyn Davidson was born on a cattle property in Queensland, Australia. She attended boarding school at Saint Margaret's Girl's School in Brisbane, gaining 2 scholarships in 1966, one to the Brisbane Conservatorium of Music. She turned down those scholarships and between 1967 and 1972, took odd jobs while studying part-time at various institutions – a year of zoology and philosophy at Queensland University, a year of piano studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and two years of Japanese language at Queensland University.

After writing her novel Tracks, Robyn has traveled a great deal and written travel stories, essays, novels and screenplays.

Photography: Adobe Photoshop

Photography & Photoshop by Naomi Rossdeutscher

Image manipulation can change a photo to look like a drawing, painting or etching with Adobe Photoshop and a little imagination. With so many photos saturating the market, changing from photo realism to an art affected finish can create a more compelling image... and it's fun.

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