Films released in Sydney this week ending Sunday 6 December.

phoenix

Well, the silly season is upon us and by silly I mean holiday blockbuster and awards seasons hitting us up for our valuable cinema dollars. I’m a little behind with the reviews this week, 99 Homes and By the Sea two films I wanted to chat about, along side an examination of whether Katniss is a true feminist icon or not. These flicks may have to wait now for a brief holiday break I’m getting around December, as the current releases are piling up and I want to give the thinking females perspective on the influx. So, with a deep breath, we dive into the current weeks releases and see what’s in store.

 

In the Heart of the Sea

Will try to Review.

I”m seeing this little flick tonight, Ron Howard’s first biggie since the car porn wank fest Rush which I hated. I’m not counting the anemic Made in America nor the produced projects since, particularly seeing as In The Heart of the Sea heralds a flurry of work for the director over the next couple for years.  What interested me in this film is the writing, with both Rock Jaffa and Peter Morgan credited, both great writers in their genres. It’s a total sausage fest of course, the only chick’s the boat, and I confess to never having read the Melville tome that gives the film its creditable weight. Lets see if I can turn that into an advantage shall we?

 

Krampus

Won’t be reviewing.

Scary Chrissy tales pop up every couple of years from the famous Gremlins, and A Nightmare before Christmas through to the not so well-known Santa’s Slay or less Christmassy American Psycho. They’re popular and form a middle class antidote to all the creamy kitsch of Christmas, so they’re a generally fun dip into the shadow side of Yuletide. Toni Collette has had an interesting 2015, though I haven’t seen Glassland yet, made up of contrary choices, so I’d be interested in taking a look at her year. But if that’s the case I’ll do off the back of Glasslands or Miss You Already rather than Krampus. Todd Casey isn’t a great writer and Michael Dougherty uneven at best, so I’m not hopeful about slam dunk one-liners for this one nor the deep philosophical implications that made Gremlins such an interesting film.

 

The End of the Tour

Will try to review

This is a bit of a nostalgia piece for me as I went through a big David Foster Wallace phase about a decade ago, and I have a bit to say about why James Ponsoldt who made the overrated The Spectacular Now was the wrong director for this tale which ended up being the fan boy bio pic Ponsoldt was always going to make – a film I’m pretty sure David Foster Wallace would have claimed he hated, secretly loved and hated himself for loving it. The film irritated me for its lack of substance, a common Ponsoldt problem which he thinks his sycophantic film making hides. At least, however the revolting Miles Teller isn’t in it, and that’s a huge plus. It’s very white middle class meets semi-angry young man, which is true to Wallace’s writing, but makes for a frail film. The question is did David Foster Wallace deserve better, and not 100% sure of the answer to that question.

 

The Night before

Won’t be reviewing.

Just no.

 

Truth

Will be reviewing

The prosaic title not withstanding, this film is capable of having its moments, plus the advantage of what looks like an interesting female lead. Director writer James Vanderbilt’s Zodiac was a brilliant film the strength of which he’s never been able to match subsequently. Truth has solid characterisation for him to tackle and a very contemporary subject, so I’m looking forward to seeing if he can bring something strong to the screen. Vanderbilt has a flare for screen character development and a great actress as his lead, so there is plenty to sink the teeth into. As far as I can tell primary criticisms thus far have centred around talkishness and why the subject matters (something I think is self-evident) so I’m optimistic.

 

Phoenix

Will be reviewing.

Christian Petzold is one of the best contemporary writer/directors around, culminating in his 2012 Barbara that show cased the extraordinary Nina Hoss as a breathy revelation, despite their successful pairings in the past. It looks like we’re in for more of the same here, with Petzold teaming up with Hoss again to provide us with a unique female character immersed in a complicated story. I couldn’t make the preview for this one, so I will have to grab it in the cinemas, but I’ll toddle along Thursday and rush home to write a review. This is likely to be one of the best films of 2015.

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