Month: December 2016

2016 – The Best Films, The Worst and More ! !

 Hello everyone

Firstly, a huge thank you for every review you have read, liked, shared, commented on and even chatted to me about in person. Thanks to you and your incredible support, I had the most productive and enjoyable year of film watching and reviewing yet! 

In total, I got to see & review 126 films released in 2016 alone! Of these, more than 30 received a 4 out of 5 rating from me, the most in any year since I first started reviewing! As such, I have compiled a ‘Top 30’ list this year and ‘Bottom 5’ only.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading my thoughts and verdict below. I also hope you take away a handful of films to see that you’ve never previously heard of or watched!
As always, please get in touch to share your views and best & worst movies. I look forward to your continued support and interaction in what will be an even bigger and busier year of film watching & reviewing in 2017!

Moviedoc ūüôā

Moviedoc’s Top 30 Movies of 2016

30

VICTORIA
(4 out of 5)

The star attraction of this German suspense/drama is its cinematography – VICTORIA is shot¬†as one single continuous take. It’s a stunning feature of this arthouse film that continually impresses, especially when you consider the key events executed throughout. The titular character, a young Spanish woman in Berlin, meets a German man and his friends at a club. As the night out progresses and Victoria leaves the club with the men, she learns of some dangerous secrets. Watch VICTORIA and experience real-time suspense unlike any others. Unpredictable and hugely tense!

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film ūüė¶

29

ME BEFORE YOU 
(4 out of 5)

It may not be Moviedoc’s number one romantic drama of the year, but ME BEFORE YOU is easily the best “crying movie” of 2016. Some of its themes caused an unnecessary revolt during its cinematic run here in Melbourne. But this surprisingly quality romantic drama will¬†be remembered for being heartbreaking on so many levels. Stars GOT’s Emilia Clarke too guys, just sayin’ ūüėČ

Full Review – ME BEFORE YOU

28

HELL OR HIGH WATER
(4 out of 5)

In many film critics top 5, HELL OR HIGH WATER is a gritty and absorbing crime drama about two brothers who turn to crime in order to pay off a debt and the Texas ranger hunting them down, who is due for his retirement. Has depth, genuine tension and the best performance we’ve seen from Jeff Bridges since 2010’s TRUE GRIT.¬†

Full Review – HELL OR HIGH WATER


27

JULIETA 
(4 out of 5)

As mainstream as a Pedro Alm√≥dovar film gets. This Spanish drama, like any Alm√≥dovar film, features a layered story with full-bodied, richly-drawn characters. It is about how a chance encounter triggers a broken-hearted woman’s search for answers. An important lesson is unearthed¬†during its excellent finale.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film ūüė¶

26

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
(4 out of 5)

You wouldn’t pick it by the poster, but KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is an American production. The best animated film of 2016 has a very accessible plot for kids – a young boy named Kubo who must find a magical suit of armour to fight an evil spirit from the past – and exceptionally creative, dazzling animation that is guaranteed to immerse adults into the story.¬†

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film ūüė¶

25

THE REVENANT
(4 out of 5)

A forgotten film of 2016, it seems. But how could anyone forget the movie that finally saw gold statuette in hand of Leonardo DiCaprio? What the poor guy has to go through in order to win his first Oscar brings out the most uncompromisingly tough performance we’ve seen from the star. The film is pretty darn good too! Brutal and slow-moving, yet an utterly engrossing and remarkable story of vengeance. The Academy Award winning cinematography is outstanding too.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film ūüė¶


24

HAIL, CAESAR! 
(4 out of 5)

This Coen-brothers film¬†is an intelligent and original comedy that will especially appeal to fans of Wes Anderson. Set during the 1950’s at a Hollywood film production, a “fixer” addresses several complications and conundrums both on-set and in his personal life. Great cast and great fun!¬†

Full Review – HAIL, CAESAR


23

Microbe & Gasoline 
(4 out of 5)

One of the rare gems of 2016, and I bet you’ve never heard of it! This French feel-good comedy has an irresistible sense of adventure and is about two teenage guys who build a makeshift motorhome and take-off, fleeing their mundane and depressing suburban lives. An affectionate, heart-warming and crowd-pleasing journey not to be missed!¬†

Film Review – MICROBE & GASOLINE

22

ZERO DAYS 
(4 out of 5)

This documentary will easily be the most misjudged film of the year. What ostensibly begins as a film merely documenting a malicious computer superbug emphatically ends as one powerful cautionary tale. A film you would think has nothing to do with you, then by the end, has everything to do with you. ZERO DAYS is an awakening from master director Alex Gibney (GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF). 

Full Review – ZERO DAYS

21

BROOKLYN 
(4 out of 5)

This is an Oscar-nominated tale about an Irish immigrant that finds love in New York, then is left with a tough decision to make when her past catches up with her. A romantic drama told with real warmth and beauty led by a confident performance from its A-grade star, Saoirse Ronan. 

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film ūüė¶

20

LA LA LAND
(4 out of 5)

Unlike so many others, LA LA LAND is not my best film of 2016. That does not mean it is a let down by any means either. This music-driven film released on Boxing Day throughout Australia is packed full of effortless and endless creativity & striking originality that is utterly delightful to be in the presence of. Go and enjoy Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling play lovers for a third time in a feature film! (Hook up in real-life already!)

Full Review – LA LA LAND

19

ELLE
(4 out of 5)


My personal¬†runner-up for best foreign language film of 2016 is an utterly engrossing film consisting of¬†several separate sub-plots, all of which are connected to the¬†lead character of ELLE, Mich√®le (a brave performance in a demanding role from Isabelle Huppert)¬†who hunts for a¬†man who has¬†physically assaulted her. Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s French language erotic drama/thriller¬†is an unmissable film¬†for viewers who appreciate a¬†psychologically complex work of profound characterisation and layered storytelling.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film ūüė¶

18

THE HATEFUL EIGHT 
(4 out of 5)

Like THE REVENANT, THE HATEFUL EIGHT feels forgotten about. Bound to test the patience of even the most ardent Tarantino fans, this ultra-violent Western flick earns its place well inside my Top 30, courtesy of a near-faultless screenplay as we experience the masterful work of our famed director unwrapping the layers of tension and mystery, one layer at a time, in a magnificently methodical and meticulous manner.

Full Review – THE HATEFUL EIGHT

17

I, DANIEL BLAKE
(4 out of 5)

The famous proverb ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes‚ÄĚ is honestly and realistically exemplified in a film about a 59 year-old carpenter¬†who is forced to turn to welfare support, as a result of a workplace incident. This is one of those films that is so true to life, it’s as close to watching a documentary a feature film can get. A truly involving and utterly valuable Irish drama.

Full Review – I, DANIEL BLAKE

16

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
(4 out of 5)

Ricky Baker is a name you won’t be forgetting any time soon. Nor is Julian Dennison, the young actor playing Ricky, in a breakthrough performance. This clever and triumphant smash-hit Kiwi comedy proved a winner with critics and audiences alike earlier in the year. If you somehow missed it, get onto this “majestical” film¬†pronto, bro.¬†

Full Review – HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

15

ARRIVAL 
(4 out of 5)

The mostly tired and often repetitive alien-invasion genre experiences an invasion of originality and innovation in ARRIVAL. This suspenseful drama is about an expert linguist who attempts to communicate with extra-terrestrial forces that have landed several spacecraft throughout the world. Watch this superior film over the upcoming PASSENGERS and ten times before you attempt INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. 

Full Review – ARRIVAL

14

EYE IN THE SKY 
(4 out of 5)

The opposite of escapism. That is what EYE IN THE SKY is, a gripping and strongly immersive motion picture about an operation to catch a group of terrorists in Kenya, before their next attack. But the team are about to be thrown their toughest conundrum yet when an unforeseen move takes place. EYE IN THE SKY gives the viewer a two-sided story that forces you to question what you would do in this scenario. A seriously compelling and thought-provoking dramatic thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Full Review – EYE IN THE SKY

13

SPOTLIGHT 
(4 out of 5)

This year’s Best Picture Oscar winner handles its controversial and sensitive subject matter (child molestation within the Catholic Church) with¬†utmost professionalism and sincerity. As a production, SPOTLIGHT is unshowy, honest and never sensationalised. A very deserving winner at the 2016 Academy Awards.

Full review – SPOTLIGHT

12

TRUMBO 
(4 out of 5)

Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo, a Hollywood screenplay writer during the 1940‚Äôs who is believed to be a communist by a US agency. Based on a true story, this highly engaging and exceedingly informative film is bolstered by its surprising humour and Cranston’s astonishing work in the lead role.¬†

Full Review – TRUMBO

11

MUSTANG
(4 out of 5)

A French, German & Turkish co-production which was nominated for best foreign language film at 2016’s Oscars is a most profound experience chronicling the lives of 5 orphaned, close-knit sisters. Growing up in ultra-conservative surroundings, their lives are changed forever after an innocent encounter. Based on the director’s real-life experiences, this foreign tale contains a message of utmost significance to anywhere in the world. This is the best foreign film of 2016.

Full review – MUSTANG


10

SING STREET
(4 out of 5)

Another rare gem of 2016. This small Irish comedy/drama with a big heart¬†is viewed from the eyes of a teenage male who doesn’t know how to impress the girl he wants, so he starts his own rock band! Aside from its wonderfully endearing nature, this terrific movie features a stunning soundtrack as well as original music written and performed for the film. I guarantee you’ll have a great time watching SING STREET.

Full review – SING STREET

9

CHASING ASYLUM
(4.5 out of 5)

It is difficult to think of a more pertinent film to see right now than this. CHASING ASYLUM is a documentary that uses real footage secretly filmed to expose the conditions and treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. A film which acknowledges that the Australian Government has succeeded in stopping the boats and claiming lives have been saved by doing so, but at what cost? A must watch, especially for people who value truth and humanity.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not review this film ;(

8

THE NEON DEMON 
(4.5 out of 5)

When I first watched THE NEON DEMON, I absolutely loved the first two-thirds, then hated the last third. Since then, this¬†sick, twisted and absolutely brilliant film has grown and grown on me. So much so, it is the number one film of 2016 that I cannot stop thinking or talking about.¬†This is Nicolas Winding Refn’s (DRIVE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES) deliciously exaggerated and darkly comical take on¬†a group of supermodels who will stop at nothing to achieve their dreams.¬†You will either love or loathe what is the strangest film of 2016. But do be warned – Beauty doesn’t get uglier than this! Unforgettable and Unmissable for horror and arthouse cinema fans.

Full review – THE NEON DEMON

7

THE DANISH GIRL 
(4.5 out of 5)

THE DANISH GIRL is a deeply empathetic and stunningly rendered production about an¬†artist couple living in 1920‚Äôs Copenhagen whose relationship together begins to evolve and be challenged when Einar (played beautifully by Eddie Redmayne) decides to¬†become a woman.¬†An open-minded audience will be rewarded with breathtaking acting, studious direction from Tom Hooper (THE KINGS SPEECH) and a beautifully told story of love, sexual identity and self-discovery. Has been one of this year’s best films all year.¬†

Full review – THE DANISH GIRL

6

EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT 
(4.5 out of 5)

The most authentic movie of the year is also the first film in over 30 years to be filmed on location in the Amazonian jungle and Amazon River. Filmed in beautiful black and white, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT is the story of two Scientists searching for a rare flower known for its healing powers. For those of you who value a complete immersion into a foreign world, way of life and have a genuine appreciation towards culture in all its forms, one of the most memorable and grandest films of the year awaits.

Full review – EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT

5

ROOM 
(4.5 out of 5)

Based on the popular novel of the same name, this deceptively layered, subtly powerful and poignant drama is about a Mother (Oscar winner Brie Larson) and her young son (an astonishing Jacob Tremblay) who¬†survive inside the tiny confines of what they refer to as ‚ÄúROOM‚ÄĚ.¬†With their only visible access to the outside world coming via¬†a skylight, curiosity and determination sees them hatch a dangerous plan to escape. The end result is a¬†brilliantly bold, psychologically complex and a deeply rational film.¬†

Full review – ROOM

4

CAROL 
(4.5 out of 5)

CAROL,¬†a wholly absorbing and completely transfixing film set in the 1950’s¬†which focuses on an intimate relationship being formed between the titular character and a young aspiring photographer. The greatest romantic drama of 2016 is an outstanding production in every aspect (costume, set design, you name it) and is¬†led by two truly¬†immaculate acting performances from Cate¬†Blanchett and Rooney Mara.¬†

Full review – CAROL

3

HACKSAW RIDGE
(4.5 out of 5)

There haven’t been many Australian-made films this year that have pushed a three-star rating, sadly. Well then, aren’t we lucky that good old trusty Mel Gibson brought this American story to our shores for production! Desmond T. Doss, a medic who served in the Battle of Okinawa¬†during World War II, never used a weapon while on the front lines, saving many lives in the process.¬†Quite simply, this is one of the greatest (anti) war films of the 21st Century. While you experience some of the most impacting scenes ever filmed on the battle¬†grounds, Gibson’s superior handling of HACKSAW RIDGE and Andrew Garfield’s career-best performance ensure sight is never lost of why we’re even here. A stunning film.

Full review – HACKSAW RIDGE

2 

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC
(4.5 out of 5)

Not a superhero film, but it is a super film. Taken from the personal experiences of writer/director Matt Ross, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is about a Father who is raising his six children in the forest of the Pacific Northwest. This family live a very unorthodox and secluded life, so when the need to travel beyond arises, will they be ready for the confronting journey that lies ahead? Best described as an amalgamation of ROOM and the 2006 road movie LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, yet very much its own film. What truly stands-out about this comedy/drama¬†is the humour which is extracted from the most unconventional of places and an extremely thought-provoking screenplay. A true highlight of 2016, don’t underestimate just how brilliant this movie is. It made second place for good reason ūüėČ

Full review – CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

1

45 YEARS 
(4.5 out of 5)

Even I am surprised by my choice of number one ranking this year! Truth be told, no film came closer to receiving the perfect score in 2016 from me. And no film, as a whole, hit me harder than the story of an elderly couple, almost 45 years married to one another, who receive shattering news that threatens to change the rest of their lives. And maybe even everything before this day. There is a valuable life lesson to be learned for ears willing to listen. A subtle, yet powerful message from the older to the younger. The carefully considered writing, sophisticated handling of all proceedings and impeccable acting work from leads Charlotte Rampling (who was Oscar nominated earlier in the year) and Tom Courtenay catapult this extraordinary film to the top of my list

Full review – 45 YEARS

That was quite a read! Now, something short and sweet. Here are the worst movies of 2016!

Moviedoc’s Bottom¬†5 Movies of 2016

5

HIGH-RISE
(1.5 out of 5)

Life for residents in a tower block begins to run out of control. This dystopian dark comedy starring Tom Hiddleston certainly has¬†appealing elements. But this highly obscure film remains a mystery to me above all else. It becomes too irritating and off-putting to continue caring about. See, I don’t like all weird movies!

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film ūüė¶

4

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 
(1.5 out of 5)

A magic film, without any magic. This sequel is a careless whisper of the intrigue and alluring mystery summoned from the previous outing. Do not bother.

Full review – NOW YOU SEE ME 2

3

BACKTRACK
(1.5 out of 5)

You have probably¬†never heard of this misfiring Australian mystery drama/horror starring Sam Neill and Oscar-winner Adrian Brody, who plays a psychologist¬†experiencing a few issues of his own. Good, let’s backtrack then and keep it that way!

Full review – BACKTRACK

2

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
(1 out of 5)

20 years. That is how long it has been since the original INDEPENDENCE DAY premiered on our big screens. 20 years on, and this sequel doesn’t just fail¬†to bring something new to the alien invasion genre, it just fails. Miserably. It only has the film below to thank for not being named the worst movie of 2016.

Full Review – INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

1

BLAIR WITCH
(0.5 out of 5)

The most frightening aspect of BLAIR WITCH, is just how bad it actually is!¬†Should only be shown to severely misbehaving children for disciplinary reasons by responsible adults. If you get through this once, as I somehow did, you’ll never want to see another minute of it again.¬†

Full review – BLAIR WITCH

While there have been countless acting performances of the highest quality, here are my top female and male performers of 2016

Actress of the Year
Alicia Vikander
(THE DANISH GIRL & THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS)

Actor of the Year
Bryan Cranston
(TRUMBO & THE INFILTRATOR)

And finally, to some additional bits and pieces. These films did not make my Top 30 or Bottom 5. 

Top 5 Most Underrated and/or Under the Radar Films

AMERICAN HONEY (4 out of 5)
ROSALIE BLUM (3.5 out of 5)
ANOMALISA (3.5 out of 5)
BRIDGET JONES’S BABY¬†(3.5 out of 5)
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (3.5 out of 5)

Top 5 Most Overrated and/or Overly Hyped Films

SULLY (2.5 out of 5)
RED DOG: TRUE BLUE (2 out of 5)
THE LADY IN THE VAN (2 out of 5)
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 (2 out of 5)
THE BIG SHORT (2 out of 5)


Add These 5 Films To Your Watch List

A UNITED KINGDOM (3.5 out of 5)
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT 
(3.5 out of 5)
SWISS ARMY MAN 
(3.5 out of 5)
THE FENCER 
(3 out of 5)
NERVE 
(3 out of 5)

These are some films that deserve a mention and ought to be watched, depending on your taste

ALLIED (3.5 out of 5)
DEADPOOL (3.5 out of 5)
DOCTOR STRANGE (3.5 out of 5)
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (3.5 out of 5)
WAR DOGS (3.5 out of 5)
SON OF SAUL  (3.5 out of 5)
THE SHALLOWS (3 out of 5)
THE FOUNDER (3 out of 5)

Best Horror Film 
DON’T BREATHE¬†
(3.5 out of 5)

Best Prequel/Sequel
THE CONJURING 2 (3.5 out of 5)

Best Remake
THE JUNGLE BOOK (3.5 out of 5)

Highest Grossing Film – Worldwide
FINDING DORY ($1.027 Billion)

Highest Grossing Film – In Australia
FINDING DORY ($36.1 Million)

Compiled by Moviedoc
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LA LA LAND

128 minutes, Romantic Comedy/Drama

Behind¬†the curtains and beyond centre stage of the winsome and whimsical LA LA LAND, awaits¬†so much more than the romantic musical you’re seated for.

Generating plenty of Oscar buzz and recent recipient of 7 Golden Globe nominations, including best motion picture (musical or comedy), LA LA LAND is Damien Chazelle’s third feature film after last year’s gripping Academy Award¬†winning music-driven movie, WHIPLASH.

Starring Emma Stone as Mia, an aspiring actress, and Ryan Gosling as Sebastian, a struggling jazz pianist, who have both travelled to Los Angeles in pursuit of their dream careers. Their individual paths to success however will change when they eventually meet and fall in love.

 

 

Talent isn’t hard to come by in LA LA LAND, a music-driven film more so¬†than an actual musical. No matter where you look and what you hear, talent is constantly on display and evident in all aspects of one of the most artistically complete productions you’ll see in a long time. And I am not referring to the singing and dancing sequences alone either.

The conception, writing and execution of LA LA LAND is packed full of effortless and endless creativity and striking originality that is utterly delightful to be in the presence of. Of particular note, is the timelessness of the film and its glorious retro design, with only subtle and occasional reminders you are watching a contemporary picture.

The film’s simple premise¬†accumulates so much depth and meaning, inviting deep analysis and provoking plenty of thought from viewers. The screenplay is indeed rich. Impressively, even LA LA LAND’s weightier notes barely interfere with the lightness of touch¬†consistently performing¬†throughout much of its duration.

So then how, you may ask, does¬†LA LA LAND fall short of the perfect score so many are labelling it with?¬†Ultimately, my appreciation levels for LA LA LAND as a production sit higher than my true affection for its lead characters’ affections.¬†As mentioned, it is written with more creativity than almost any other movie you’ll see in 2016, yet some of its more specific character and thematic writing¬†isn’t as precisely recognised as its outstanding¬†production values.

4 out of 5 

Trailer 
LA LA LAND

Viewer Discretion 
M – Coarse Language

Moviedoc wishes to thank Claire from Entertainment One, Entertainment One and Hoyts Melbourne Central for the invitation to the Media Screening of LA LA LAND.

Review by Moviedoc 
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RED DOG: TRUE BLUE

88 minutes, Family Comedy/Drama

In 2011, Australian cinema patrons¬†generously opened their wallets to a homegrown breed of cinema that wasn’t perfect, but cast an irresistible charm over audiences courtesy of its many quirky characters, broad range of¬†humour and a story that truly touches the soul.¬†RED DOG, a wonderfully entertaining film for the entire family, unexpectedly became one of the greatest box office and subsequent DVD sales successes ever in¬†Australia.¬†It amassed a healthy $21 Million during its cinema run and to this day, is ranked the¬†#3 highest-selling DVD of all time, behind AVATAR and FINDING NEMO!

RED DOG: TRUE BLUE is a completely fictionalised¬†prequel that has largely been produced in hopes of replicating the original film’s popularity.¬†A young boy, Mick (Levi Miller, who you may know as Peter from the film PAN) is forced to live with his Grandfather (played by Bryan Brown) in remote Western Australia and struggles to adapt to his new surroundings. During one adventurous day out, he meets and befriends a puppy. A puppy that would one day be remembered as the legend of the Pilbara.

 


I’m sorry RED DOG lovers, but I don’t have good news. RED DOG: TRUE BLUE truly barks up the wrong tree, after a really promising beginning. During its early stages – set in present day Perth, WA and then as Mick¬†is displaced and settles into the outback – many of those fine qualities you cherished in RED DOG are pleasantly on display again here. Until it finally becomes clear that Red’s story has wandered off the screen in this prequel just as far as its real-life subject did in the original film.

Try as he might, RED DOG director Kriv Stenders taps into every trick he can to distract audiences from the sheer emptiness of the screenplay. Unfortunately, all the lavish cinematography, stunning landscape & colours¬†and a melodic music score are not this prequel’s salvation. Things begin to go wrong for RED DOG: TRUE BLUE when it suddenly dawns upon you that a series of amusing and cute scenarios have now¬†become your primary source of entertainment. Quite quickly, these are rendered repetitive and become boring. Then, its two main plot substitutes – one a preposterous attempt at inclusion of the indigenous¬†via some surely fabricated folklore and the other a trite teenage infatuation – send¬†RED DOG: TRUE BLUE straight to the kennel. Worse yet,¬†the conclusion of this picture¬†inadvertently devalues its subject and his journey as shown in the first film.

2 out of 5

Trailer 
RED DOG: TRUE BLUE

Viewer Discretion
PG – Mild Themes and Coarse Language

Moviedoc wishes to thank Village Roadshow and Village Cinemas, Jam Factory for the invitation to the Melbourne Premier of RED DOG: TRUE BLUE.

Review by Moviedoc
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A UNITED KINGDOM

 111 minutes, Biography Drama/Romance

Although the true events in this film occurred¬†over 60 years ago, we sadly do not need to look very far to this very day, to identify similar examples of public political views and dictation superseding a person’s private rights and relationships. One of the most internationally known cases of this to have ever occurred¬†is honestly rendered in BELLE director Amma Asante’s new film, A UNITED KINGDOM.

During the late 1940’s,¬†Prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo, from SELMA) of Botswana (known then as the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland) meets and falls in love with an English Clerk,¬†Ruth Williams (GONE GIRL’s Rosamund Pike) while living in London for educational purposes.¬†When he announces their intentions to marry, the interracial couple are¬†met with instant disapproval by the¬†government of both countries and their own families.

 

Key art for A United Kingdom


A UNITED KINGDOM has been told using a formulaic structure, which may be part of the reason why the storytelling is sometimes stilted and lacking in cohesion between scenes. Nevertheless, these minor and less polished aspects rarely interfere with the deeply engaging plight of its lead character.

Filmed in Botswana and the UK and written by Guy Hibbert (who wrote one of this year’s best films, EYE IN THE SKY),¬†the very earnest nature of the storytelling warrants¬†all of the deserved respect coming the way of¬†its lead character, just as it should and is continually elevated by his rousing story. For those of you reading that¬†don’t already know, I shall not¬†divulge further into what those real-life pursuits, hurdles and accomplishments¬†of Prince Seretse Khama are. However, I will say that A UNITED KINGDOM¬†is capturing so much more than the story of forbidden love it is making apparent.

This clean and unshowy production is further rewarded by the gripping performance given by David Oyelowo. Recommended viewing.

3.5 out of 5 

Trailer 
A UNITED KINGDOM

Viewer Discretion 
PG РMild themes, violence and coarse language 
The coarse language includes racial epithets and there is also a scene of sensuality

Moviedoc wishes to thank Alicia, Transmission Films and The Backlot Studios for the invitation to the preview screening of A UNITED KINGDOM. 

Review by Moviedoc 
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ROSALIE BLUM

95 minutes, French Comedy/Drama with English Subtitles 

Audience members who purchase a ticket to the Australian Boxing Day release of ROSALIE BLUM are going to be getting more than what they’ve bargained for. Set and shot in central¬†France during the festive season, this comedy/drama takes us inside the home of a lonely man who is living a rather mundane existence. Running his hairdressing salon, spending time with his cat, a womanising cousin and taking care of his manipulative Mother, who lives in the apartment above his own, is what occupies all of Vincent’s (Kyan Khojandi) time. However, Vincent’s life as he knows it is about to change forever when he crosses paths with the equally lonely and mysterious¬†Rosalie Blum (No√®mie Lvovsky, writer, director and star of 2012’s CAMILLE REWINDS).

Based on the graphic novels by Camille Jourdy and written & directed by first-time director Julien Rappeneau (writer of PARIS 36), this meticulously scripted and cleverly crafted film is an admirable and pleasing one to experience.

Broken down into three chapters, with each chapter representing the version of a core character (the other unmentioned character so far is Aude, played by Alice Isaaz from ELLE), viewers are constantly learning something new and often surprising about these very likeable people, especially from the middle chapter onward. The only common and obvious connection between these characters is their loneliness and curiosity.

This delightful comedy is truly rewarding to watch as you witness every telescopic piece of detail be put together. ROSALIE BLUM doesn’t just answer every question, it somehow knows and addresses your every thought too! A heartwarming movie to watch. Recommended!

3.5 out of 5 

Trailer 
ROSALIE BLUM

Viewer Discretion 
M – Coarse Language

Moviedoc wishes to thank Paige from Palace Films, Palace Films and The Backlot Studios for the invitation to the Preview Screening of ROSALIE BLUM. 

Review by Moviedoc 
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ALLIED

124 minutes, Romantic Drama/Thriller 

Coming off the back of a decent, yet disappointing run at the U.S. Box Office is Robert Zemeckis’s (FORREST GUMP, FLIGHT) ALLIED, which headlines Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in the lead roles. The story, which is set in Casablanca in French Morocco, takes place during the¬†Second World War. Max Vatan (Pitt), a Canadian intelligence officer¬†is about to meet French Resistance fighter Marianne¬†Beaus√©jour (Cotillard). The meeting is not by chance either, with the pair¬†assigned to a¬†joint mission of posing as a married couple within enemy territory. Already a dangerous mission that doesn’t carry a comforting rate of survival, Max & Marianne are further endangered when they begin to fall in love.



This well-structured and¬†handsomely produced film is¬†captivating all throughout, though an inconsistency or two does hinder it from reaching excellence. Involving the senses more so than the emotions, the opening section of ALLIED may take some time for the real operation being masqueraded by the arranged marriage to be fully grasped. Fulfilling the parts that chronicle a¬†faux relationship that is inevitably developing into a genuine one, Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard do convince and share undeniable¬†chemistry. I will not divulge further into where the story travels to from here as Max & Marianne’s mission nears its end (you can rely on the overly-revealing trailer for that, if you so wish). What I will say though is that each key development in¬†Steven Knight’s (writer of EASTERN PROMISES and BURNT) screenplay does occur at all¬†the¬†right times. The pacing of this romantic drama is very consistent and effectively¬†works its way¬†towards a compelling and intriguing final act.

3.5 out of 5

Trailer
ALLIED

Viewer Discretion
M – Mature themes, violence, sex, coarse language, nudity and drug use.

Moviedoc wishes to thank Paramount Pictures and Village Cinemas Crown for the invitation to the Melbourne Preview Screening of ALLIED.

Review by Moviedoc
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OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

105 minutes, Comedy

I am not old, nor am I a grumpy person. Yet, as the end credits to this overcooked Christmas turkey rolled on by, I felt both of these things.

The set-up, which starts better than expected to make the titular OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY happen, is led by Clay (T.J. Miller), a Chicago branch Manager who learns that the company CEO (played by¬†Jennifer Aniston) is planning to shut down his branch and axe all of its employees. Oh, and that CEO, Carol just happens to be Clay’s sister too! So just how will Clay save the day? Well, that’s where this comedy becomes every bit as average as¬†expected.

Clay, along with his staff led by Chief Technical Officer Josh (Jason Bateman) and Engineer Tracey (Olivia Munn) conspire an epic Christmas party that quickly spirals out of control in order to acquire the signature of a prospective and significant new client (played by Courtney B. Vance).

After a brief office orientation that actually generates some laughter courtesy of its dialogue and by allowing each actor to showcase their individual comic style,¬†OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY soon begins to drink itself into all the grossly exaggerated, mindless and annoyingly¬†repetitive sorrows we’ve seen too many times from this genre¬†of movie.

From the time the party is started, this mostly laugh-free comedy’s script is laced with a number of predictably set-up and outrageous scenarios depicting adults behaving badly in various ways, which are less than creatively conceived and executed.¬†The variety of which you’ve seen recently, but only better from cousin comedy SISTERS.

Hard to fathom that an avenue to silly yet funny entertainment was quickly made redundant¬†when you consider that the same writers who worked on the screenplay and the story behind BRIDGET JONES’S BABY, BORAT and THE HANGOVER trilogy worked on¬†OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY.

2 out of 5 

Trailer 
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

Viewer Discretion
MA15+ – Strong crude sexual humour, drug use and nudity.
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY also contains coarse language throughout and the nudity is graphic. 

Moviedoc wishes to thank Claire from Entertainment One, Entertainment One and The Backlot Studios for the invitation to the media screening of OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY.

Review by Moviedoc 
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