Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

January 6, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
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(Dir. Martin McDonagh) (2017) This hefty slice of southern-fried Grand-Guignol, redolent of Flann O’Connor, one of whose novels a character is seen clutching early on, resolves into a mature, thoughtful, at times shocking and occasionally hilarious exposition upon man’s desire for avengement and intense disregard for due process. Mildred (Frances McDormand) has lost her daughter, who was, we hear more than once, not raped and killed, but raped while being killed.  It’s been seven months with no leads in the case, for which Mildred holds Sheriff Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) fully accountable.  In order to stir the Ebbing police to greater efforts (whether consistent…

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The Disaster Artist

December 14, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
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(Directed by James Franco) (2017) The story is well known now.  In 2003 a terrible, terrible movie called The Room was released.  Tommy Wiseau, the film’s financier, producer, director, writer and star, asserted that it had cost him $US6 million. In its two week run the drama took less than $US2,000. After publication of the book The Disaster Artist, about the making of The Room, the film was re-released under the banner, ‘The Citizen Kane of bad movies’ and became a cult hit. Tommy Wiseau is played by James Franco – and although Franco is much larger, younger and more attractive than his character, he does a good line in what seems to…

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La La Land / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

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(La La Land directed by Damien Chazelle) (2016) (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg directed by Jacques Demy) (1964) I’ve not been to Los Angeles for years but the town stays in the memory. It’s full of brand identification – Sunset Blvd., the Chinese Theatre, the film studios, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Beverly Wiltshire, The Viper Room…the beaches! The hills! The outlets! The orange smog! Emma Stone (the fresh-faced, bug-eyed lass from Birdman) is Mia, a waitress with dreams of stardom. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz bore par excellence, struggling away in obscurity. She has dud auditions; he has to play 80s horror-tunes at parties. Girl…

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The Dressmaker

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(Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse) (2015) What Australian film with an eccentric and not entirely lovable female lead goes from grim merriment undercut by angst, to misery heightened by ruthless self-regard and then back again?  If you said Muriel’s Wedding, you’d be right. If you said The Dressmaker you’d also be right. The Dressmaker takes us from a jolly football game and a dance, to adultery, tendon-cutting, drowning, stroke and arson. It begins with Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage (Kate Winslet) returning to the town from which she was ostracised, 25 years before, having been suspected of murdering a school-mate. This being a Australian…

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Wiener Dog

September 18, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
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(Directed by Todd Solondz) (2015) A film of many dog day afternoons, with a docile, uncomplaining dachshund the trope for hope and the lifting of spirits, this beautifully shot but slurpily-cadenced film is a poignant dance through a series of sad-funny lives and circumstances. From his first rejection (taken in the back of a ute from a farm to the shopping mart featuring a Chuck E Cheese, a 99c Store, an Armed Forces Career Center, ‘My Urgent Care Walk-in Medical’, ‘Vitamin World’, ‘Shoes etc’, AT&T, Liquor and, relevantly, a “Shake A Paw”), wiener dog is shuttled around. First there is a messy, disastrous stay…

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