Everybody Wants Some!!

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Director/Writer: Richard LinklaterEverybody Wants Some!!

Starring: Blake Jenner, Juston Street, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell, Temple Baker, J. Quinton Johnson, Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Austin Amelio, Tanner Kalina, Forrest Vickery.

As suggested by the title (a classic by Van Halen), Everybody Wants Some!! is a tribute to the ‘80s era (and yes, they all really do want some).

Ah, the ‘80s – how far we’ve come from: pooh brown pants with tight shirts tucked in, the mighty mustache – the mighty mosh out in all its glory; tape decks and punk rock, smoking where-ever, pin ball machines and table tennis.

The film had a lot of fun with the college setting in the 1980s. But Everybody Wants Some!! was also about freshmen settling into college life with all the girls and parties and lessons to be learned.

Set at the start of term, freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at a house where the ceiling is about to collapse because the guys are filling up a water bed for better bedroom experience with the ladies – the frat house for the college baseball team.

Following Jake and the other freshmen settling in over the 3 day lead-up to the beginning of classes, it’s party time, where the focus is finding a girl while sizing up the rest of the guys in the baseball team.

The guys are happily physical with each other; a natural competitiveness comes to light with each personality rising to the surface as the days and parties continue.

And the film evolves into an interesting story of guys facing the challenge of growing into themselves, and how friendships develop through the ability to appreciate difference; to be able to fight, get over it and grow.

There were some fascinating perspectives discussed while taking hits from a bong.

And I enjoyed the baseball!

I’m really not a sports fan, so I was surprised how much I liked seeing the characters play.

The baseball wasn’t a feature until later in the film and this was clever as it showed a more serious side to the characters: this wasn’t about sizing each other up and challenging, this was about working together as a team.  Bullshit just doesn’t cut it because this is about their future.  Something to be taken seriously.

So yes, there was loads of testosterone and girls in skimpy outfits.  But there was also an honesty and sincerity here.

Richard Linklater also wrote the 1993 film Dazed and Confused (the predecessor to this one).  I was far younger when I watched Dazed and Confused, and I loved the cheekiness of it, the fun.

Everybody Wants Some!! although still relational, had a greater intellectual aspect.  This is a step up from High School.  This is College.

These aren’t just idiot jocks out for a root (well, not all the time), there’s also a seeking, a challenge in these characters.  And it was good to see guys just being guys.

At the start of the film, I would have to say the humour was aimed at a younger audience, as was the message: more your teen to 20s, perhaps.  But I enjoyed the film more as it progressed.

An entertaining winter warmer loaded with testosterone developing into a film with a surprising amount of depth.

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Director/Writer/Music: Ivan SenGoldstone

Starring: Aaron Pedersen, Alex Russell, David Gulpilil, Jacki Weaver; David Wenham.

Sequel to Mystery Road (2013).

A crime drama set on the backdrop of the desert mining town of Goldstone.

Goldstone gets you thinking about the value of life out in isolation where the threat is from the people who run the town and earn the mighty mining dollar.

Out there in the desert, the desolate packed earth runs through the veins up to the soul of those unable to quench it.

This is a film driven by the strong performances of Aaron Pedersen as Jay Swan, the grieving drunken cop sent to the country of his mob to find a Chinese girl gone missing.  And Jacki Weaver as the Mayor: a cold character, with the ice in her stare showing the predator beneath her floral apron.

David Wenham as Johnny, the head of the mining company, was also a stand-out performance: an iconic Aussie character with his stubby shorts, long socks pulled up to the knees and glasses from the ’70s.

And the Indigenous people also play a part in this film, with old man Jimmy’s (David Gulpilil) voice echoing off the red rock reflected on the water of secret rivers.

It’s unique, the setting of this film.

Director Ivan Sen makes the most of the endless land and rosy sunsets by taking shots from high above to show the utter isolation of the place.  He uses the quiet threat of the land where wild half-breed dingoes and flies will eat you if you happen to get lost.  The lone cop, Josh (Alex Russell) telling the detective, the outsider, ‘Be careful where you step, there’s plenty of snakes around’.

And I found the quiet of the film interesting, with a soundtrack made up mostly of the desert wind and bird call of the outback.

This isn’t a film that entertains but takes you on a journey of crime in a place so isolated, the one cop in town is seemingly unable to fight it.

It’s a different set of rules in Goldstone, amongst the hawks and red dirt.  And this film highlights the difference between the organic, the value of fish in the river compared to the fake power of money.

Goldstone is glittering glass often mistaken for natural material.  And like the title of this film, money is just paper.  Human trafficking is not of the earth.  It’s a human trait, like fake gold.

So yes, this is a quality film that gets you thinking, but it’s such a quiet slow burner you need to concentrate with this one.

Me Before You

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Directed by: Thea SharrockMe Before You

Writer: Jojo Moyes – Screenplay and Novel

Starring: Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke, Vanessa Kirby, Eileen Dunwoodie, Pablo Raybould, Gabrielle Downey, Steve Peacocke and Henri Charles.

When Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke) loses her job as a waitress at a café, she takes a position as a carer for the cantankerous quadriplegic, Will Traynor (Sam Claflin).

Born the eternal optimist, Lou works at winning a smile from a man who is literally on suicide watch.

Me Before You follows the relationship between Lou and Will, taking the audience through the highs and lows of a once adrenaline junky who had life in the palm of his hand to a man completely reliant on others to function in life or to even get out of bed.

So, between the super cheesy soundtrack, the Mary Poppins reincarnation exhibiting the most expressive eyebrows I’ve ever seen on film and a storyline made to squeeze tears, you can guess I’m not a fan of these drama/romance/tear jerkers!

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can also say that Me Before You was a heartfelt story with lovely moments and well-paced drama.

I couldn’t help but love Lou (even with those eyebrows), with her quirky outfits and genuine love of life and people: I’ve never hated anyone,’ she says.  And yes, she’s believable if not ditzy.

Will Traynor was suitably irritable, with the two characters set up in a narrative formula of cranky meets sweet.

Aussie actor Steve Peacocke as Nathan was a pleasant surprise: a no nonsense nurse who takes on the heavy lifting – a practical character who added a realistic view of Sam’s injury.

But the cheese of the soundtrack!

Look, I felt this movie, I really did.  There were tears and not a dry eye in the cinema.  And it wasn’t because it was all sad and disability, there was mostly a lightness, carried by the optimistic Lou. But, it’s a story made to pull the heart strings – romance crossed with the tragedy of debilitating injury leading to the controversial contemplation of euthanasia.  Not a storyline I’d usually go for, but a film well-paced with thought put into the characters and effort put into the build of the relationship between Sam and Lou.

If this is your sort of movie, yeah, it’s great.  But you need to be in the mood for this one.  Make sure to bring the tissues.

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Director: Deniz Gamze ErguvenMustang

Screenplay: Deniz Gamze Erguven and Alice Winocour

Starring: Gunes Sensoy, Dogba Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Hayda Akdogan and Erol Afsin.

Originally screened in the Directors Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

Set in Inebolu, a Black Sea village 600 kilometres from Istanbul, Mustang is about the freedom of five young sisters with wild hair trailing down their backs, with a glance and an innocent smile that can lead to so much trouble.

Brought up by their grandmother after the death of their parents at an early age, the sisters are suddenly, overnight, declared whores who need to be married off before they lose their virginity.

The girls are banned from going to school and bars are installed in the windows of the house: a prison built with good intentions.

The girls remind one of these wild horses, the Mustang, so free and shameless; so comfortable in their own skin facing towards the sun, socks stuffed down bright pink lacy bras and imagined sea shells found under a sea of blankets.

I can relate, growing up as the youngest of three girls on a farm in the middle of no-where.

Running through paddocks, playing chasie on hay bales; skinny dipping in the pool.  Idyllic days.  But society catches up.

Mustang depicts the fight between the new world and the tradition of the old and how the expectations of society can do so much damage to the individual.

Trapped and forced into marriage – what a nightmare.

What l enjoyed most about the film was the lack of vanity in the characters or the style of film.  It didn’t feel like I was watching a movie but was given a hidden window into the secret world of the young sisters.

Mustang doesn’t romanticize the characters, the behaviour felt authentic: these are wild young girls, not angels.

I loved how there was no pretention in showing how girls actually behave and the pressures that have to be tolerated to a point of change or destruction.

The beautiful sisters are so free and shameless because there’s nothing to be ashamed about being young and beautiful.  And the film captured this beauty so well, the girls unaware of people seeing their wild spirit, deciding they need to be broken.

I was captivated by these young sisters, from start to finish.

As her first feature film, Deniz Gamze Erguven has given us a story that feels like it should already have been told, and I congratulate this fresh view of life that is usually hidden behind closed doors.

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The Conjuring 2

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Directed by: James WanThe Conjuring 2

Writers of Screenplay: Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan and David Leslie Johnson

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Francis O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney and Franka Potente.

Similar to the original (The Conjuring (2013)), Paranormal Investigators, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren reflect on a past case (those of you familiar with The Amityville Horror (2005) will understand the need to reflect) and worry about their future in a world that’s quite literally hell on earth.

With a call from the Catholic Church to investigate a haunting of the Hodgson Family in Enfield England, Lorrain’s premonition of Ed’s death could put her fear of the future firmly in the present reality.

Director James Wan (also director of the original ‘Conjuring’ and a favourite of mine, Insidious (2010)) uses a vision filled with archetypes to bring demons to life.  Bringing old fears into a new world by combining a great narrative with a perfectly matched soundtrack (Joseph Bishara) to keep the audience on the edge of their seat; keeping the story and characters held in suspense and letting beings not of this world to enter.

There’s a flavour to the Wan films – a true talent who creates horror without gore.

The story taps into a deep-seated fear of archaic evil our grandparents were scarred of and their grandparents before them.  This is biblical.  To the extent that 20% of the audience left a quarter of the way through the movie because they were too scared (I’m not kidding!).  So be warned, this is a pretty scary movie – but seriously people, if you’re scared you always have to watch to the end, otherwise you’re just left hanging…  Anyway…

Joseph Bishara was also the composer of the film Insidious, the success of both The Conjuring 2 and Insidious lying largely with the suspense created by the creepy soundtrack.

Wan is genius in his use of not only the soundtrack, but also the trickery of shadows, slips in time, old toys; a focus on the eyes or a terrifying portrait brought to life.  Seemingly simple devises, but used so well.

And the two characters that make the couple, The Warrens, are likeable.  The audience is with them, all the way, all through the terrors.

There’s a journey here.  An invitation to take hold of a hand  – a, Gotcha, then I’ll let you go a bit… then, I gotcha againThis time, I gotcha good.

James Wan is creating his own brand of horror thriller, and I’m very much enjoying the show.

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople

GoMovieReviews Rating:

PGHunt For The Wilderpeople

Director: Taika Waititi

Based on the book: ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’, written by Barry Crump

Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Troy Kingi, Cohen Holloway, Stan Walker, Mike Minogue, Hamish Parkinson, Lloyd Scott.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is tongue-in-cheek and heartfelt where the characters are able to take a laugh at themselves ‘cause it’s all heart bro.

There are some familiar faces here – a solid performance from Sam Neill (Jurassic Park (1993, 2001), Peaky Blinders (since 2013), The Piano (1993)) as the reluctant crusty ‘uncle’, Hec Faulkner; Rachel House (Whale Rider (2002); Boy (2010)) as Paula, the overzealous welfare worker and Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009); What We Do in the Shadows (2014)) as the ‘bushman’, Psycho Sam.

But the standout for me was Julian Dennison (Paper Plans (2014)) all of 13 years old, as Ricky Baker.  This kid has talent, so-much-so, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the wanna-be-gangsta, Ricky.

I love hot water bottles (particularly now it’s getting to winter here), I love dogs, love the bush and aunties with cats on their jumpers.  And I love how this movie was about a foster kid trying to find his way and how an old crusty character can warm to a kid who’s his own person just like him.

There’s a poetry in the camera work (cinematographer, Lachlan Milne) – this is beautiful scenery of green bushland taken from up high, then down to running waterfalls, lakes mirroring an orange sky to the mud and rain of the bush; locations including Piha, Karekare, Bethells Beach, Horopito and the Kaimanawa Plains.

A lot of thought was put into the scenes, the director Taika Waititi (Boy, Eagle vs Shark, What We Do in the Shadows) waving his magic touch with the shadows of leaves on the car windscreen; the silhouette of fence posts in the dusk, balanced with the authentic flavour of performance, without too much polish and keeping a tight rein on the editing (Luke Haigh).

A film where the characters felt real, if not caricature in nature: you’re bound to meet one in the bush or down the street in New Zealand.  And that’s the point of difference with this film: a New Zealander flavour of the bush with cold and beauty combined with character.

Look, some of the humour was a bit cheap, more for the kids or young at heart.  But this was just a few jokes – mostly I was smiling with a sometimes tear in the eye.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople makes you want to love people for who they are, not who they’re supposed to be.

Sometimes a stray gets found and given a home.  Sometimes the ones who are lost and unloved can be found, only to run away in the bush and get lost and then become a gangsta running from the cops, yo.

What can I say, one of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs (The Partisan) was part of the soundtrack, so yes I admit this film got under the skin.

One of those funny ones that make you cry a bit because it’s also sweet.