Month: August 2016

FREE STATE OF JONES

139 minutes, Biography Drama

It feels a long time ago since we last saw Matthew McConaughey star in a lead role. And it takes very little time to remember why we’ve missed the A-grade actor on the big screen. McConaughey simply anchors FREE STATE OF JONES, giving a finely attuned performance portraying real-life figure Newton Knight, whom this film is inspired by. During the American Civil War in Jones County of Mississippi in the year 1862, Newton – known as a deserter (military terminology for someone abandoning post without authority) – forms an armed rebellion of slaves that have escaped captivity along with other fellow deserters, whose cause together is to fight the Confederacy.

 

 

FREE STATE OF JONES is worth a watch, purely due to the work of McConaughey and the unyielding goodwill & bravery constantly at the fore from his titular character. These strongest aspects of this war drama earn it the care that Knight’s tale deserves, even though a laborious and sometimes difficult to distinguish narrative mount a challenge to ones concentration and commitment throughout an overly generous running time. Seemingly placed here as an attempt to modernise this project, a relevant and also true sub-plot (taking place more than 80 years into the future!) is abruptly interjected into the film screenplay that never quite manages to successfully integrate itself with the rest of FREE STATE OF JONES. And to be fairly honest, this sub-plot actually deserves much more than that. Hopefully it gets the green light for a feature film of its own someday. Nevertheless, the aforementioned goods, the true events depicted and the thematic ground being covered are likely to moderately engage audiences. Especially those who like a solid biographical film.

 

3 out of 5


Viewer Discretion 

MA15+ – Strong themes and violence


Moviedoc wishes to thank StudioCanal and Village Cinemas Crown for the invite to the Media Screening of FREE STATE OF JONES.

Review by Moviedoc

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TRUMAN

108 minutes, Spanish Comedy/Drama

A big winner at several annual film awards in its home country, TRUMAN is a lovely and heartfelt film that “keeps it real” by admirably avoiding clichés and by not turning to melodrama. The heart and soul of this Spanish film belongs to the two lead characters played by its two stars – Ricardo Darin and Javier Camara who are lifelong friends Julian and Tomas. Once living together, Tomas now resides in Canada while Julian remains in Spain with his treasured Canine pal, Truman. When Tomas surprises Julian by visiting unannounced, the two share plenty of memories, laughter and tears as Tomas learns of many upcoming changes in Julian’s life.

 

Truman Poster

Cesc Gay, writer and director of 2012’s A GUN IN EACH HAND, has wisely opted for a   considered, down to earth and more realistic approach to TRUMAN’s themes. Mature, and ripe with emotion, this screenplay is perfectly understood by Darin and Camara who truly embrace their characters and form a more than convincing and very beautiful friendship. Audiences that appreciate refined foreign cinema will have no trouble at all establishing a connection with the two men that is never broken. Julian’s attachment to Truman also deserves a mention and is another engaging bond formed in this respectable film with wonderful performances.

 

3.5 out of 5

 

Trailer 
TRUMAN

Viewer Discretion
MA15+ – Strong sex scene

Moviedoc wishes to thank Palace Films for sending the in-season pass to view & review TRUMAN during its release. 

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TICKLED

92 minutes, Documentary

No other film released this year will summon the same undeniably irresistible curiosity this new feature-length documentary undoubtedly does.
To begin, it is truly fascinating. By the end, it is truly frightening.
When particular subjects of a documentary do all they can – hurl abuse, make threats, take legal action – to prevent the footage captured from ever being publicly released, you know that whatever it is worth hiding so bad, must indeed be quite damning!
This is TICKLED, where David Farrier, a journalist based in New Zealand, typically spends his days searching for light-hearted stories to publish. Naturally, when he comes across an online group that are hosting “Competitive Endurance Tickling”, he wants to find out more about this rather odd arrangement! But David quickly discovers that this mysterious group are anything but light-hearted.

Tickled Poster

In 2010, a similar breed of documentary was released called CATFISH. As experienced in CATFISH, the documentary lead (Nev Schulman) invited audiences to experience, as though they were right there with him, quite uncomfortable truths being uncovered in real-time. Playing out in the same style, what Farrier uncovers in TICKLED simply requires seeing to believe. Many questions are provoked, most by David Farrier himself and also some bound to come to your mind. The disturbing answers that await in this utterly intriguing and engrossing documentary are guaranteed stir many reactions, ranging from ridiculous laughter to intense indignation, and everything in between. 
That ought to tickle your fancy!
Highly recommended!

4 out of 5

Film Trailer
Viewer Discretion 
MA15+ – Strong Coarse Language 
Review by Moviedoc 
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INDIGNATION

110 minutes, Drama

INDIGNATION is the directional debut of James Schamus, best known for his collaboration with Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee. Schamus wrote the screenplays for several Lee films including CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (for which he was Oscar-nominated), LUST,CAUTION and THE ICE STORM. Based on the 2008 Philip Roth novel and written for the screen by Schamus, INDIGNATION centres on a young Jewish student named Marcus, (Logan Lerman, also working here as executive producer) who moves to Ohio for college in 1951. An only child, Marcus struggles with the standardised principles of his college, whilst also coming of age when he meets the beautiful Olivia (Sarah Gadon).

Indignation Poster


A small handful of pivotal scenes throughout INDIGNATION and anchoring performances from Lerman and Gadon truly define this film. Until that first pivotal scene arrives (somewhat close to the half way mark), it can be difficult to decipher INDIGNATION. Those performances and absorbing characterisation is absolutely key to keeping an audience invested throughout a sometimes incoherent, rather odd and slightly over-extended opening chapter. But it’s definitely worth the wait, for once the INDIGNATION screenplay opens up on a thematic level, plenty of intelligent and highly articulate writing is unveiled, and it’s quite riveting. Other acting performances that deserve a mention go to Tracey Letts as Dean Caudwell, the college dean and Linda Emond as Marcus’s mother, who both absolutely nail their crucial scenes. Execution may not always be the strong suit of INDIGNATION, yet there is plenty of sociological and psychological material to ponder here that isn’t presented in black and white fashion.

 

3.5 out of 5

Viewer Discretion 
M – Mature themes, violence, sex and coarse language
Moviedoc wishes to thank Jesse from Village Roadshow and Village Roadshow for the ticket to view INDIGNATION at a preview screening.
Review by Moviedoc
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WAR DOGS

114 minutes, Crime Action/Thriller

Definition of a war dog: Someone who encourages a group of people or a nation to go to war. However, for this movie specifically, a war dog is someone who makes money from war, without ever physically entering the war zone. That someone is Efraim (Jonah Hill), who hires former high school pal, David (Miles Teller). Together, they gradually build their way up into the world of international arms dealing, eventually leading them to the opportunity of securing a government contract which would see them supply weaponry to U.S soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

War Dogs Poster

Although WAR DOGS is heavily fictionalised and dramatised, this new movie directed by Todd Phillips (THE HANGOVER SERIES) is astonishingly based on fact. Taken from an article published in the Rolling Stone magazine titled “Arms and the Dudes” (the original working title of this feature), it shares a number of similarities to 2013’s THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Other than very amusingly chronicling the rise of its two lead characters, WAR DOGS benefits greatly from a well-written script featuring plenty of daring humour, steady pacing and pinpoint & precise characterisation. Certainly much to my surprise, WAR DOGS is a thoroughly entertaining movie that never loses sight of its purpose. Furthermore, the camaraderie the two lead actors share along with their terrific performances (special nod to a cracking display of acting from Jonah Hill especially) make their rather reckless adventure all the more easy to like.

3.5 out of 5

WAR DOGS – Film Trailer

Viewer Discretion
M – Mature Themes, Violence, Sexual References, Coarse Language and Drug Use
As this is a film anyone can attend, courtesy of the M rating (R in the United States), parents should know that the swearing in WAR DOGS is frequent and so too are the sexual references which includes partial nudity. 

Moviedoc wishes to thank Roadshow Films and Village Cinema Jam Factory for the invitation to the preview screening of WAR DOGS

Review by Moviedoc

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BAD MOMS

100 minutes, Comedy

BAD MOMS was originally set to be produced by Judd Apatow (TRAINWRECK and KNOCKED UP director) and star his real-life wife, Leslie Mann. Due to scheduling conflicts, this new chick-flick has instead been written and directed by John Lucas and Scott Moore (who both previously directed party comedy 21 AND OVER) and stars Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell. These three women and mothers, in desperate need of a break away from their busy and demanding lives, go to desperate measures when taking some time out from their conventional lifestyles in seeking some fun without the responsibilities and boundaries they conform to daily.

Bad Moms Poster


The best moments are saved for the final minutes in BAD MOMS, a comedy that gives its target audience the right doses of just what they’re after – generous servings of crude humour and an overarching theme that they will connect with. Though much of what goes by in BAD MOMS is typically unsubtle and outrageous humour, guaranteed in most American comedies of this ilk, there are a few sharper performances that give the mediocre proceedings something of a facelift. Oona Laurence, who impressed in SOUTHPAW, achieves something beyond expectation as Amy’s (Kunis) daughter. Christina Applegate as the bitchy adversary-type pitches her performance perfectly. And Kathryn Hahn (starring in the upcoming release CAPTAIN FANTASTIC) adds much-needed zing to the film as Carla, who is given the most risqué dialogue and delivers them without any hesitation or shame, just as required.

2.5 out of 5


Viewer Discretion 
MA15+ – Strong sexual references, nudity and coarse language 

There is often very strong, crude dialogue and the nudity is full frontal.

Moviedoc wishes to thank Jesse from Roadshow Films and Village Roadshow for the complimentary pass to watch BAD MOMS.

Review by Moviedoc
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