La La Land / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

(La La Land directed by Damien Chazelle) (2016) (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg directed by Jacques Demy) (1964) We’ve not been to Los Angeles much in recent 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…

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The Dressmaker

(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 |

(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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Eating Raoul

August 6, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM |

Paul Bartel (born 6 August, 1938) was a classic example of an alternative film director (think Ed Wood), but in his case, with real talent.  His time to shine was in Eating Raoul (1982), which he also co-wrote and directed, as Paul Bland, who with wife Mary (Mary Woronov), happen upon a scheme to lure ‘swingers’ to their apartment and dispatch them with a trusty saucepan (not one they will use when they open the gourmet restaurant it is helping to finance – as Mary justly observes, “I’m a bit squeamish about cooking with the one we use to kill people.”)…

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Glenne Headly

June 10, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM |

Glenne Headley (March 13, 1955 – June 8, 2017) did not appear in many distinguished films – she had a small role in The Purple Rose of Cairo – but she was delightful as allegedly dopey American Soap Queen, Janet Colgate in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988). And she kept the money. Was that wrong?  Farewell, Glenne.

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