Month: June 2016

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

114 minutes, Action/Comedy, M

There may be an entire foot in height and over a hundred pounds that separate actors Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson in stature, but there is no shortage of chemistry in which they share. From the writers of TV Series “The Mindy Project” and the director of feature film comedies WE’RE THE MILLERS & DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY, comes CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, an action/comedy that pitches the friendly reunion of two high school friends via Facebook that quickly spirals out of control! But the disorder here is not due to an excessive consumption of alcohol and party drug taking. Rather, Calvin’s (Hart) world is introduced to weaponry and a lot of running when he discovers his newest acquaintance, Bob (Johnson) has a number of very serious, and some dangerous people after him.

Central Intelligence Poster


Every move made by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE rolls along pretty much as expected, in the first joint-venture since TWISTER (1996) for studios Warner Bros and Universal. Even though CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is as short as Kevin Hart on surprises, it’s as jumbo in size as Dwayne Johnson for entertainment. On very similar ground to the RIDE ALONG films, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is definitely easier to enjoy, mostly thanks to the charm of Johnson and the (almost) Schwarzenegger/DeVito-like pairing of Hart and Johnson. A good time is there for the taking as the high-pitched, fast-talking Calvin go from hopeless victim to helpless accomplice in CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE. Though it never really thrills its audience, nor is it ever hilarious, there is often enough being done –  complete with a couple of welcoming cameos and outtakes during the end credits – to satisfy the audience it appeals to.

2.5 out of 5

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE – Film Trailer

Viewer Discretion
M – violence, sexual references and coarse language.
The violence is fairly moderate and one scene may be graphic for younger viewers. The language is quite brief yet strong. The sexual references includes rear male nudity and crude & suggestive humour, all of which are acceptable by M rated movie standards.

Moviedoc wishes to thank Universal Pictures and Hoyts Melbourne Central for the invitation to the Preview Screening of CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE.

Review by Moviedoc
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EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!

117 minutes, Comedy, MA15+

Have you seen the 1993 comedy titled DAZED AND CONFUSED, also from director Richard Linklater? Well, EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! is considered a spiritual sequel! Furthermore, Linklater also claims this to be a continuation to his last movie – the triumphant and tremendous, BOYHOOD. It’s the 1980’s in EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! where Jake (Blake Jenner), a young baseball player, makes his way to a share house occupied by a group of fellow baseball players. With only a few days until college begins, this comedy chronicles the shenanigans and conversations that take place over the course of these three days.

Everybody Wants Some!! Poster
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! should have no troubles at all finding its niche audience. And that niche audience should have no troubles identifying EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! So long as this hand-in-hand arrangement takes place, then this realistically pitched comedy will summon all the nostalgia to be had and make for a wholly enjoyable cinematic experience. Past-glory days will be remembered with affection as an era is recreated with superb set & production design, accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack. For almost all others who attend a session of EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!, the endless scenes showcasing boys being boys and the incessantly chatty nature of the film is bound to struggle in striking up a genuine connection. While it has understandably received critical praise, partly for its characterisation, it in fact felt as though Linklater left the camera in the care of his ensemble cast during coffee breaks and licensed the filming of their improvisations. Without any real plot or direction, I was often bored and felt like the “outsider looking in” throughout EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! That being said, I must commend Richard Linklater for capturing all that he has in a most true to life way.

2.5 out of 5

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME – Film Trailer

Viewer Discretion
MA15+ – coarse language all throughout, sexual content, drug usage and some nudity.

Moviedoc wishes to thank Jesse from Roadshow Films, Roadshow Films and the Cinema NOVA for the invitation to the Media Screening of EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!

Review by Moviedoc
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MUSTANG

97 minutes, Turkish Drama with English Subtitles, M

A nominee at last year’s Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Picture is MUSTANG, a French, German & Turkish co-production that may have missed out on an Oscar, but has been a big winner across several worldwide film festivals. Set and filmed entirely in Turkey, and using a premise based on the director’s real-life experience, this drama centres on five orphaned, yet close-knit sisters living in a remote village. These young ladies are faced with several challenges growing up in very conservative surroundings, yet they always find ways to laugh and have fun. But their greatest challenge yet arrives when they are witnessed playing on the beach with a group of local young men.

Mustang Poster

After watching MUSTANG, it is easy to know why this excellent film is actor James Franco’s favourite of 2015 (released last year overseas). This organically produced motion picture is most profound exactly where it intends and needs to be – as it strikingly explores how adolescence and the freedom of learning and growing is stripped away in replacement of fast-tracking and inflicting premature adulthood. These old-fashioned ways, as seen through the eyes of the five sisters, is presented in contemporary fashion that is of utmost significance to now. There is a refreshing honesty to MUSTANG’S coming of age sub-plot and a seamless integration of heartfelt humour among the indignation that stand out as key highlights in Deniz Gamze Erguven’s directional debut. Steering a stirring performance out of her five female leads is another win MUSTANG achieves, especially when you consider that four of these young ladies have never previously acted! Highly recommended.

4 out of 5

MUSTANG – Film Trailer

Viewer Discretion 
Not one for the conservatives! 😉
My recommendation is from ages 13 plus, with parental guidance for 13-16 years of age. MUSTANG contains mature thematic elements, sexual content with no nudity, some language and a couple of incidents that aren’t graphically or explicitly shown, yet some may find disturbing, upsetting and/or confronting.

Moviedoc wishes to thank Madman Entertainment and the Cinema NOVA for the invitation to the Media Screening of MUSTANG.

Review by Moviedoc
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THE WAIT (L’ATTESA)

100 minutes, Italian & French Drama with English Subtitles, M

THE WAIT uses two works by the late Luigi Pirandello, tragedy “The Life I Gave You” (La Vita Che Ti Diedi) and short story “La camera in attesa”, to tie its story together, in Piero Messina’s directorial debut feature. Starring Juliette Binoche as Anna, a Sicilian Mother who is awaiting her son’s return home. Unexpectedly arriving from Paris is Jeanne (an impressive Lou De Laage), who is the French girlfriend of Anna’s son. With the two women having never previously met before, they engage in conversation getting to know one another. It is soon realised that someone is harbouring a damaging secret.

The Wait Poster

This absorbing film elects to encourage questions and provoke thought from its audience surrounding the actions & behaviours of its lead characters, rather than keep its secret privy from us, after being revealed very early into the piece. For most part, it holds up very solidly indeed, largely due to the captivating lead performances of Binoche and Laage. Where it does stumble is in its writing, about two thirds of the way through and as a result, the film does lose some of its momentum. Exactly what is being communicated on a thematic level isn’t always as clear as the writers would hope, but along with the strong acting performances is a rich atmospheric score throughout and a couple of subtle, yet distinctive and effective touches during the finale that make THE WAIT worth the wait.

3 out of 5

THE WAIT – Film Trailer

Footnote to Parents
Rated M – containing mature themes and brief nudity

Moviedoc wishes to thank Paige from Palace Films, Palace Films and The Backlot Studios for the invitation to the preview screening of THE WAIT.

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ME BEFORE YOU

110 minutes, Romance/Drama, PG

Has this year’s tear-jerker made its arrival to our big screens?

Based on the novel published in 2012 of the same name by Jojo Moyes (who also writes the film screenplay), it features some of TV’s hottest stars. Emilia Clarke (TV Series “Game of Thrones”) is Lou, a kind yet rather awkward young lady, desperately trying to find employment. When she accepts the role to be the carer for Will (Sam Claflin – Finnick from THE HUNGER GAMES films), who is paralysed as a result of a road accident, the two form a special bond.

Me Before You Poster

Ok, so we can’t hide the fact ME BEFORE YOU is chick-flick, through and through! Or that for half its length, Sam Claflin displays as much emotion as Jamie Dornan in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY! But if you think for one moment that’s enough to detract you away from ME BEFORE YOU, think again.

While this love story inevitably finds its way to your heart strings, it is in fact what this story is conveying thematically, and how it goes about it, that is ultimately its powerful instrument. Unlike so many others in its field, what works superbly for ME BEFORE YOU is the TLC it’s handled with. Adequate time is taken to convincingly establish and develop the bond that is formed between Lou & Will. While some might see this as a thankless time-waster, it results in ME BEFORE YOU never feeling contrived. What unfolds, does so by forces of nature, rather than force. I also valued its resistance in resorting to melodrama. After his wooden start and her slightly uncertain beginning, Claflin & Clarke clock-up a genuine and irresistibly intimate chemistry. Once the credits have passed, ME BEFORE YOU remains heartbreaking on a number of levels, yet it is the beautifully executed key themes of the film that rise above the hurt this gently-handled romantic drama ought to be remembered by.

So, has this year’s tear-jerker made its arrival to our big screens in the form of ME BEFORE YOU? You bet!

4 out of 5

ME BEFORE YOU – Film Trailer

Footnote to Parents 
PG for mild themes, sexual references and some coarse language

Moviedoc wishes to thank Village Roadshow and Village Cinemas Jam Factory for the invitation to the Media Screening of ME BEFORE YOU.

Review by Moviedoc 
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BACKTRACK

90 minutes, Mystery Drama/Horror, M

Granted a very limited one-week release in Australian cinemas is this Australian-made mystery drama that has a supernatural influence and stars Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody (THE PIANIST). He is Peter, a psychologist experiencing a few issues of his own. His clients seem to be displaying similar behaviours to one another. Behaviours that relate to his own past. As Peter begins to investigate the past, with the guidance of Duncan (Sam Neill), he uncovers a shocking secret that only he can put right.

 

Backtrack Poster


BACKTRACK has a genuinely intriguing premise, but completely misfires. Michael Petroni’s writing and direction (he made TILL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US with Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter back in 2002) stubbornly refuses to allude to, let alone reveal, any actual developments behind the truth being searched, until the final 10 minutes or so. The rest of the movie is cheaply filled with sound and visual effects, aimed to trigger regular jumps and generate some level of suspense, yet renders itself pointless. This over-reliance and the absence of writing something of substance throughout BACKTRACK gives the viewer an impenetrable and sluggish watching experience. Those final revelations certainly deserved better in what can only be described as an incomplete and distracted disappointment.

1.5 out of 5

BACKTRACK – Film Trailer

Footnote to Parents 
Classified M for violence, disturbing images including horror scenes and for coarse language.

Moviedoc wishes to thank Caitlin from Madman Films and Madman Films for the invitation to the Screening of BACKTRACK.

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WARCRAFT

123 minutes, Fantasy Action/Adventure, M

China is set to surpass North America as the world’s largest blockbuster movie market by the end of 2017. WARCRAFT, a live-action adaptation of the popular games and books, serves as an outstanding example of that, after grossing an estimated $156 million in just 5 days of release in China, including the largest weekday-midnight opening ever. By comparison, WARCRAFT: THE BEGINNING (as it’s known in the US, so yes there will be many more movies from this franchise to follow!), grossed $24.35 in its opening weekend in the US!

Draenor, the homeland belonging to the Orcs (Green-skinned muscular humanoids that look a bit like Shrek on ice, for those who don’t know!), is dying. As a result, the Orcs are forced to find a new place to call home. That place is the peaceful land of Azeroth, home to numerous other species. Faced with foreign invaders, those who call Azeroth home are plunged into war and a battle to protect their country, people and family ensues.

Warcraft Poster


What J. J. Abrams managed to achieve with his STAR TREK reboot from 2009, MOON and SOURCE CODE director Duncan Jones doesn’t quite accomplish with WARCRAFT. Proclaiming this world to be a “high-fantasy” one, his attempts to ground it in reality are present, yet WARCRAFT remains a fans-only and fantasy genre aficionado affair only. Having said that, WARCRAFT is much better than what it would have been without Jones as writer and director. This opening chapter to an upcoming franchise series was originally told from a singular perspective. After signing on, Jones made massive edits to the script and story, to tell it from the perspectives of the two factions. As a result, WARCRAFT is able to keep its plot a driving force for the many action sequences bound to entertain those eager to watch, and is fairly accessible too for an (almost) all-ages crowd. Heavy detail in the CGI area (123 days of filming, 20 months of post-production!) sends this blockbuster beast up to a pass mark to warrant a look-in on the big screen.

2.5 out of 5

WARCRAFT – Film Trailer

Footnote to Parents
M classification for extended sequences of intense fantasy violence

Moviedoc wishes to thank Universal Pictures, Blizzard Entertainment and IMAX Cinema, Melbourne Museum for the official 3D launch screening of WARCRAFT: THE BEGINNING.

Review by Moviedoc
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