Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flickrit: Get Low

Director Aaron Schneider is on the mark with Get Low. Its mixture of dark humour with darker drama creates a mood reminiscent of the early Cohen Brothers films.

The story is based on a real character from the 1930s who planned to be a live guest at his own funeral. In this fictionalised version Felix wants to have his life recounted and thereby hangs the tale.

It is a classy cast who give very professional performances. The three generations of men deserve a a joint Oscar. Robert Duvall shines as the feared hermit of forty years Felix Bush. Bill Murray as unconventional undertaker Frank Quinn does what he's best at - the likeable rogue.

Lucas Black as his idealistic assistant Buddy enjoys the company of these screen greats. Sissy Spacek as Mattie Darrow and Bill Cobbs as the Reverend Charlie Jackson do what's required and more.

If you don't enjoy this one then stop trying.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mad Bastards: Raw and Real

Writer/director Brendan Fletcher's film Mad Bastards is a rough and ready depiction of aboriginal life in the remore Kimberley region of Western Australia. No punches are pulled. Poverty, unemployment, violence, alcohol abuse, domestic violence are all there in large doses. But so are the personal struggles to overcome these legacies, and the enduring strength of the people.

The cast are mostly amateurs and this shows throughout the movie. However, there is a heightened honesty and intensity, as many play roles that reflect their own life experiences.

The following is taken from the Press Kit:
TJ is a mad bastard, and his estranged 13‐year‐old son Bullet is on the fast track to
becoming one, too. After being turned away from his mother’s house, TJ sets off across the country to the Kimberly region of northwestern Australia to make things right with his son.

Grandpa Tex has lived a tough life, and now, as a local cop in the outback town of Five Rivers, he wants to change things for the men in his community. Cutting between three generations, Mad Bastards is a raw look at the journey to becoming a man and the personal transformation one must make.

Developed with local Aboriginal communities and fueled by a local cast, Mad Bastards
draws from the rich tradition of storytelling inherent in Indigenous life. Using music from legendary Broome musicians the Pigram Brothers, writer/director Brendan Fletcher poetically fuses the harsh realities of violence, healing, and family.
Dean Daly-Jones as TJ, Lucas Yeeda as his 13 year-old son Bullet, Ngaire Pigram as the mother and Greg Tait as grandpa policeman Tex all give professional performances, though Ngaire is the only experienced actor. Tait is a fair dinkum copper from the area.

If you're not yet a fan of Ngaire's fellow family members the Pigram Brothers, there is plenty of opporunity to meet some of them and their music, plus musician Alex Lloyd.

Mad Bastards is a raw but very real film that is both confronting and touching.

Friday, May 20, 2011


French Canadian writer/director Denis Villeneuve brings Wajdi Mouawad’s dark play Incendies to the screen with the intensity the story deserves. Mouawad is Lebanese but this fable is set in a fictional Middle Eastern country with the intention of divorcing it from a specific political conflict or participants.

The message is about ending anger thorough personal rather than the public reconciliation such as that seen in South Africa. The scale of the violent horrors is immense: rape and torture, cold-blooded execution of ‘innocents’, adult and children.

The cast is first class. Lubna Azabal gives a haunting portrayal as Nawal Marwan, a Christian whose youthful romance sparks this dark mystery.

Her children Jeanne and Simon Marwan (Mélissa Désormeaux Poulin, Maxim Gaudette) are sent on a quest to discover their father and brother with the assistance of notary Lebel (Rémy Girard). The journey to discover their brother Nihad (Abdelghafour Elaaziz) is interspersed with flashbacks to Nawal’s youth.

The surprises and twists in the plot are a little too predictable at times and sometimes beyond belief as well. We have to take it as allegory if the ‘message’ is not to be lost.

A powerful, disturbing film that ends on a note of hope. Not for the faint hearted.