Monday, 17 April 2017

Bad Girl

By Angie Raphael

3.5 stars

Part family drama and part psychological thriller, Bad Girl, which was shot in the Swan Valley, Kalamunda and Serpentine areas of Western Australia, is the debut feature film from director/writer Fin Edquist. It tells the story of troubled teenager Amy Anderson (Sara West), who was abandoned at birth before finally being adopted by Michelle (Felicity Price) and Peter (Ben Winspear), but their relationship is fractious. Amy plans to run away, but when her friends fail to show up, she tries to kill herself and is saved by Chloe (Samara Weaving). The pair then form an intense and complicated relationship. I cannot say more without spoiling the plot, suffice to say there are a few twists and some suspenseful moments. West and Weaving are both good, although there is a little bit of over-acting in some scenes. Edquist keeps the pace steady and has captured the isolated landscape of some areas in Perth's fringes quite well. Bad Girl is gripping and explores some interesting themes about family.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Fury of a Patient Man

By Angie Raphael

3.5 stars

Director/co-writer Raúl Arévalo makes his debut in this award-winning Spanish film that is dark, gritty and layered with emotion. It is about Curro (Luis Callejo) who has finally been released from prison for robbing a jewellery store eight years earlier and is hoping to restart his life with girlfriend Ana (Ruth Diaz) and their son. But everything has changed since his imprisonment and he soon begins spending time with the very quiet Jose (Antonio de la Torre), who is determined to get vengeance for what happened in the past. The performances are excellent, especially in the second half of the film during an odd road trip involving the leading men. Fury of a Patient Man is a compelling revenge thriller and never feels predictable.

* Fury of a Patient Man is part of the Spanish Film Festival.

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Tip of the Iceberg

By Angie Raphael

3 stars

Eerily relevant to today's fast-paced world, this Spanish film explores workplace culture and the toll taken on people when they are forced to perform under tough conditions. The story begins with three employees at a multinational company committing suicide. Executive Sofia Cuevas (Maribel Verdú) is sent to investigate what happened and prepare a report to assist her superiors in dealing with the negative publicity, but soon learns her loyalty may be in the wrong place. Verdú carries the film well as the impassioned investigator and director David Canvas keeps the revelations coming as Sofia uncovers more about the mysterious iceberg project the dead employees were working on. The Tip of the Iceberg is a thriller but also sends a message to the corporate world.

* The Tip of the Iceberg is part of the Spanish Film Festival.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Best Easter Films

By Angie and Jackie Raphael

Why are there so many Christmas films but not many with an Easter theme? In our family, we have an annual tradition of watching Rebel Without a Cause on Good Friday. We have been doing this for almost 15 years, and while we have been mocked by some friends, other people online have also listed it as an Easter film. James Dean himself says “Happy Easter” in the movie. It is a brilliant film that should be watched any time, so why not make it an Easter event?

To help you celebrate Easter this year, here is our list of the five best Easter films:

1) Rebel Without a Cause
The film that cemented James Dean's iconic image as a rebel and showcased his unparalleled acting ability, this film tells the story of a troubled teenager trying to fit in at a new school, which is made all the more difficult after a tragedy. Some wonderful cinematography and directing by Nicholas Ray.

2) Easter Parade
A nightclub performer hires a chorus girl to make his former dance partner jealous. Judy Garland and Fred Astaire are a joy to watch together in this fun, romantic musical.

3) Hop
Voiced by Russell Brand, E. B. dreams of becoming a drummer instead of being the next Easter Bunny, so he goes to Hollywood in pursuit of his goal. But when Fred, played by James Marsden, accidentally hits the bunny with his car, they form an unlikely friendship. It is a sweet family film and has some good laughs. The cast also includes Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, David Hasselhoff and Hugh Laurie.

4) The Passion of the Christ
Directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel, this film chronicles the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus before he was crucified. This is not just a film for religious people.

5) Rise of the Guardians
When an evil spirit attacks, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children. The film stars Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Alec Baldwin and Jude Law. Not a big box office hit, but a good family film.

What is your favourite Easter film?

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Fate of the Furious

By Jackie Raphael

3.5 stars 

If you are a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, you will probably enjoy the latest instalment, The Fate of the Furious. While Paul Walker is certainly missed, there are several small tributes throughout the film and some welcome new additions to the line up. Charlize Theron joins the cast as the new villain (Cipher), and Scott Eastwood and Kurt Russell play the new agents named Little Nobody and Mr Nobody respectively. There are also a couple of special appearances, which I do not want to spoil, but they certainly add to the excitement of the film. 

The usual crew are back with Michelle Rodriguez (Letty), Tyrese Gibson (Roman), Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (Tej Parker), Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey), Dwayne Johnson (Hobbs) and of course Vin Diesel (Dom). As with the previous films, this instalment has a lot of fast cars, undercover work and further explores the importance of family. The plot centres around Dom, who is blackmailed by Cipher to work for her, but he does not tell his team, so they are left feeling betrayed and confused. Along with Deckard (Jason Statham), the team is recruited by Mr Nobody to stop Dom and Cipher. 

Theron often over-acts when she plays a villain and unfortunately this is no exception. Statham was the stand-out performer with a hilarious fight sequence and his usual loveable charm. Johnson, Gibson and Eastwood also provided a lot of laughs. Director F. Gary Gray created some great action scenes, however he could have shortened the film a bit, as it begins to drag on.

As usual, there were some ridiculous moments, in particular a scene where the team drive their cars to surround someone to protect them from a massive blast. However, it is something we have come to accept and kind of love about these films. I am still surprised at how successful this franchise has been since the original was basically a rip-off of the brilliant film Point Break. I was also amazed that they managed to keep it going without Walker. I would say this eighth film probably sits in the top four in the series, so if you are a fan it is worth seeing. 

Here are some photos from the film premier in Perth, Event Cinemas, Innaloo. Gorgeous car collection! 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Get Out

By Jackie Raphael

4 stars 

I felt uneasy throughout this entire film, but in a good way. You know from the beginning what you are getting yourself into when you hear Get Out is produced by the same people who brought us The Visit and The Gift. While it is not as strong as those, director and writer Jordan Peele has still created a unique, gripping and surprisingly funny film. The story is about Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), who is introducing her African American boyfriend Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) to her Caucasian family, including her father Dean (Bradley Whitford) and mother Missy (Catherine Keener). While things begin relatively normal, it soon takes a very strange twist. The plot obviously explores racial issues but in an unexpected and interesting way. All the actors do a wonderful job of portraying their peculiar characters. The setting is beautiful too and really adds to the tone of the film. There is also a great juxtaposition of happy music with disturbing scenes in a couple of pivotal moments. While the ending could have been stronger, Get Out is definitely memorable. Be prepared to jump in your seats. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


By Angie Raphael

3.5 stars

Based on the 1970s television series, Chips is a surprisingly funny buddy film, although it is the silly and lewd kind of humour. Rookie policeman Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) is teamed with senior California Highway Patrol officer Frank Poncherello (Michael Pena), but soon learns his partner is actually an undercover FBI agent investigating a heist involving crooked cops. Shepard is also the writer and director of this comedy, and has assembled a capable cast, including his wife Kristen Bell, Vincent D'Onofrio and Adam Brody. Chips is 100 minutes of ridiculous moments, car chases, explosions and dirty jokes. It certainly has a specific audience, but if you like the genre, you will surely laugh out loud a lot.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Save the Drive-in Cinemas!

By Jackie Raphael

I went to a drive-in cinema for the first time in my life and it was one of the best cinematic experiences I have ever had. The old-school nostalgia reminiscent of Grease, the stars in the sky and the fresh air create the perfect setting to view a film.

Unlike regular outdoor cinemas you do not have to be bothered by mosquitos, flies and cold winds, and unlike indoor cinemas you are not annoyed by people chatting, loud crunching or dirty cup holders. Drive-ins give you personal space, extra leg-room, you can bring as much food as you like (and you do not have to carry it anywhere), and it is a lot cheaper.

At Perth's Galaxy Drive-in it costs only $10 per person to view two films. That is approximately a quarter of the price of normal tickets. The design of the space was also clever with humps in the concrete, which allow you to angle your car so that it is tilted upwards towards the extra large screen. Many people who came in large groups brought tables and extra chairs to sit outside their car, but my friend and I enjoyed the comforts of my Beetle. 

If you are the sort of person who likes to make small remarks during the film you can do that without being judged by others, unless of course the company in your car does not like it. The sound is also great and you have total volume control like you do at home. If you are concerned about your car battery, which is generally fine, you can always get a portable radio to tune in. 

My only advice is to get there early for a central spot and make sure you clean your windscreen beforehand. I highly recommend you give it a go if your city has one and help keep them around. For those living in Perth, I recommend going to see Beauty and the Beast and Moana while they are still screening, otherwise Split will be coming soon, which is an amazing film.