Archive for the 'Film' Category

05
Feb
19

The Sisters Brothers (Les Freres Sisters)

 

The 30th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival

The Sisters Brothers (Les Freres Sisters)

Media Launch

Palace Cinemas, James Street

January Tuesday 29 

 

Reviewed by Shannon John Miller

 

 

This year’s 30th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival returns to Palace Cinemas in Brisbane from 14 March and is set to spoil cinephiles with a cultural foie gras of film. From the opening night with Audrey Tautou in The Trouble With You, to a special Australian premiere of the fully restored 1963, Last Year at Marienbad, the festival also offers Cannes’, Sink or Swim.

 

One particular plat principal on offer is French filmmaker, Jacques Audiard’s first English-language film, The Sisters Brothers. Lauded as the Australian festival-only premier, this film based on the award-winning novel, is set in the 1850s Californian Gold Rush. Eli and Charlie Sisters, (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix) are cold-blooded hitmen brothers in the employ of a wealthy baron known only as the Commodore who tasks them with the job of hunting down a man called Hermann Warm (Riz Ahmed), a chemist who’s allegedly perfected a formula, which causes gold-bearing rock to illuminate in water.

 

Meanwhile Warm is also being tracked by John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) a henchman also in the pay of the Commodore, however the two men strike up an unexpected alliance and Morris defects with Warm to build a utopian society in Texas. The film is premised on this game of cat and mouse, however the plot takes an unprecedented twist remarkable of western film genre.

 

 

John C. Reilly is well cast as the brother eager to retire from their line of work, and he’s up against Phoenix, commanding and severe, who’s keenly settled on pursuing his career criminal aspirations. As hardened outlaws typical of the dry, uninhabitable terrain of the much-trod western, their masculinities are starkly juxtaposed against the gentle, emotionally intelligent, intelligentsia of Gyllenhaal and Ahmed. Although Gyllenhaal is miscast, both men provide a fresh reprieve from the harsh cruelty of the world this film is at pains to create and discern itself from.

 

Production design and costuming handsomely portray this period piece, especially the rendering of 1851 San Francisco, and while cinematography is at times too dark and moody, this adds to the film’s off-beat nuance. Oscar-winning composer, Alexandre Desplat provides a peculiar score to the film, which doesn’t exactly land, but reconceptualises the western genre music score so entrenched by Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly score.

 

While there’s some dark humour in the idiosyncrasies, this is all ultimately weighed down by the mean-spirited misery the characters must endure, and what is left is a sombre and unpleasant film filled with dying horses, spider bites, limb amputations and all the horrors of the west. With themes including American progress, camaraderie and the promise of Utopia, Director Audiard imbues this outwardly American tale with his contemporary European film making sensibilities, and while still painting with a Hollywood palette of red, white and blue, he has created something new and exciting, which isn’t completely lost in the doldrums.

 

The 30th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival runs March 14 – April 14

 

See here for Brisbane details

 

02
Apr
17

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone In Concert

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone In Concert

J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World & CineConcerts

Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

Saturday April 1 2017

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

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We’re at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre with a crowd that is not your ordinary theatre crowd, although perhaps it’s a new theatre-ish crowd, and we get some interesting looks ourselves, as if we’re the odd ones out. We’ve swept into the venue at the last second, having parked at QPAC because we always park at QPAC (it’s automatic now; the car can magically get itself there), which means that when the show is not there, a graceful-as-a-giraffe little run down Grey Street and across the road is required to get to the right box office. This mixed crowd, in the Convention Centre foyer, is not expecting an evening of live theatre.

They’re here for a movie concert, the first of a new genius series from CineConcerts, featuring your local symphony orchestra playing every note of a Harry Potter film shown on a 40-foot screen.

It may be a movie night but it’s an entirely theatrical event! The vibe is electric and a great number of hard-core fans are proudly wearing Gryffindor shirts, and ties and sweaters and robes. Everybody is so excited to be here.

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We take our seats moments before the house lights go down and when Conductor, QSO’s Sarah Hicks, appears, she is welcomed by appreciative applause. She smiles and asks if there’s anyone who’s never been to a live orchestral performance. Many hands go up, and she smiles encouragingly, inviting everyone to get involved. In true pantomime fashion, we should feel free to cheer for our hero and boo the villains. There’s no question about whether or not we’ve seen the film or read the book… No matter what our individual stories are, we’re in for a treat!

I wonder how the orchestra will precisely match the action, but only for half a second before Hicks raises her baton and the Warner Bros logo appears on screen as we hear the first sounds from the string section. A collective shiver runs through the Great Hall. It’s perfect. It’s actually intense. Every moment of the movie becomes sharper and more vital. The entire underscore, which we might forget is there sometimes, when we see the film at home or originally, in the surround sound cinema, comes alive. Every moment of discovery, joy, anticipation, trepidation, celebration and dread is able to be fully experienced, savoured.

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And unless we glance at the musicians on stage from time to time, or become mesmerised watching them at their craft, as I do while the harp plays to keep three-headed Fluffy asleep (it’s so beautiful, the sound of faerie slumber), or while the percussionists keep up with thousands of magical additions, intellectually, we almost take for granted that the music is live. But at the same time, soulfully, we’re experiencing something very special. Like a festival event, there’s a true communal feeling, a momentary connection with people we’ve never met, because we all just want Harry to defeat Voldemort! We know this is only the very beginning of an epic battle, which represents something for everyone. And it’s delightful to see this film again, so beautifully realised, and it’s so funny, I’d forgotten.

Poppy has been terrified for years by the more frightening moments in the film, and has never actually watched in its entirety, The Philosopher’s Stone or any of the subsequent films. I’d made this event a surprise so she couldn’t back out and offer her seat to someone else, and she was hesitant about it, telling me she might need to hide under my wrap when we know Voldemort is about to appear. Well, she did hide towards the end, but after settling into the first few magical bars of the music I saw a grin spread from ear to ear as Harry celebrated his 11th birthday and took off to Hogwarts with Hagrid. Guess what’s on in the background as I write this? Poppy has taken out the DVD box collection and put on The Philosopher’s Stone, and as we hear the familiar strains of John Williams’ evocative opening bars, she laments, “The music’s not as good!”

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Our Queensland Symphony Orchestra gives The Philosopher’s Stone a new, unique, incredibly magical quality, the full, rich sounds of the live music letting us dive in deeper, remember our original experience of the film and enjoy J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World all over again.

 

Don’t miss the next exciting event in the QSO / Cineconcert series on October 7 Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets 

 

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02
Mar
15

Noosa Long Weekend Festival 2015 Now On Sale!

 

Noosa Long Weekend Festival presents our most exciting program yet!

 

You know these events SELL OUT! In fact, many events have already sold well during the exclusive pre-sale for Friends & Patrons. Become a Friend or Patron this year so you don’t miss out again next year!

 

You won’t want to miss David Williamson’s DREAM HOME or CATHERINE ALCORN or ROB MILLS or DUSTY LIVE IN CONCERT or AN EVENING WITH THE QUEENSLAND BALLET or MELODY BECK & JOHANNA ALLEN or ROB MILLS or JULIAN GARGUILO or THE MAGIC FLUTE! GO ON. BOOK NOW.

 

pre-sale

 

There are 3 easy ways for you to secure your festival event tickets:

1. Online

2. Telephone* (07) 5329 6560 – The J Theatre Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm.

* A transaction fee of $3.50 applies to all telephone ticket sales.

3. Counter sales The J Theatre Mon-Fri 9am 5pm.

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For the first time ever, Opera Australia will bring a fully staged production of its much loved Opera, The Magic Flute to the Sunshine Coast.

 

Direct from Melbourne, the professional cast and orchestra complete with an authentic Egyptian tomb set, lighting, costumes and wigs will perform one night only, on Tuesday July 14.

 

“It’s a magical way to kick off our 2015 festival” said an excited and proud Festival Director, Ian Mackellar. …“It couldn’t have happened without the wholehearted support of Opera Australia Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini AM and festival event sponsors, Settler’s Cove and Tourism Noosa.”

 

The logistics surrounding this ‘one performance only event’ equates to Noosa’s own G20 manoeuvres.

 

With no existing stage large enough, a 48 foot Semi will roll into town and transform the Noosa Leisure Centre into a major performance space capable of staging the full production of this Mozart masterpiece in front of 700 people.

 

The ability to pull off such an event, confirms the Noosa Long Weekend Festival as the major regional Arts Festival in the Country.

 

President Johanne Wright said “The collective vision of Opera Australia and our sponsors has enabled us to make this special performance accessible to as many people as possible and this will be reflected in the ticket price.”

 

Lyndon Terracini AM, Artistic Director of Opera Australia said “Opera Australia is thrilled to be bringing Mozart’s The Magic Flute to the Noosa Long Weekend Festival. I’m personally tremendously excited about this event and I know all the cast and of course the legendary director Michael Gow are just as excited as I am. It’s a wonderful production…”

 

10
Feb
15

Star Trek Live In Concert

 

Star Trek Live in Concert

Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Royal International Convention Centre

February 7 2015

 

Reviewed by Michelle Bull

 

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When I was little, we used to have an old wooden cabinet filled with VHS tapes (yes…VHS!) that I would meticulously arrange and rearrange on a weekly basis. This was partly because the cupboard had a rich wood polish smell that I weirdly loved and partly because I prided myself on my Anne of Green Gables and 1950’s musical collections. Sitting beside them, equally as impressive, were a collection of Star Wars and Star Trek videos that, thanks to my brother’s pre-teen ‘outer space phase’, were viewed in equal rotation on Friday and Saturday.

 

So it turned out that growing up amongst all this Sci-Fi I had unknowingly become more of a ‘Trekkie’ than I realised, which is why I jumped at the chance to see Star Trek Live in Concert a showing of the 2009 Science Fiction action film with Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack, performed live by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

 

Upon entering the auditorium guided by a young Vulcan acting suspiciously like a Theatre Usher, an other-worldly blue light highlighted the faces of a room filled with the most eclectic crowd I’m sure QSO has seen to date.

 

An enormous screen was suspended behind the stage and as I surveyed the jam-packed audience I noticed a number of Vulcans and Star troopers filing into their seats. Feeling underdressed and resisting the temptation to giggle as the Star Trooper beside me gave a split fingered salute to a fellow officer, I realised this was serious business for some. I. Could. Not. Wait.
As the lights dimmed and a thunderous overture began my heart pounded as the musical and onscreen action began…at warp speed!

 

For those who have yet to experience a concert of this kind, the setup is that the film is shown on the large screen above the Orchestra as they perform the soundtrack, in perfect synchronisation to every moment in the film. That in itself wowed me, as every nuance seemed a perfect fit; my guess is Conductor Nicholas Buc has earned true Trekkie status with his intense study of the film by now!

 

This incredibly immersive experience is like no other as the score itself almost drags you from your seat and onto the Star Ship Enterprise. Filled with suspense and sudden changes of pace and dynamic, QSO handle the challenging score with an intense focus and sophistication. Emotional moments were made all the more tragic and it seems that as opposed to the score existing in the background to the drama it instead propelled the action onscreen and made it all the more powerful.

 

Although initially I gravitated to the more intimate moments, during which beautifully executed and haunting lines allowed the players to showcase their musical sensitivity, the rousing Overture (which drew spontaneous applause) was hard to deny as a standout moment. Especially when a young audience member ahead of me (who couldn’t have been more then 8yrs old), literally sat bouncing in his seat as he alternated between playing ‘air-trombone’ and conducting passionately as the Star Ships battled it out in explosions of light and fire!

 

Queensland Symphony Orchestra have clearly reached new audiences and excited their current patrons with Star Trek Live in Concert. I do hope the season returns to Brisbane as I am sure there are more Trekkies out there who are yet to experience the magic QSO bring to this cult classic.

Live Long and Prosper QSO!

 

01
Oct
14

Saying no and staying home is hard!

 

In lieu of attending Lavazza Italian Film Festival opening night tonight in Brisbane I made our favourite Italian dish at home and asked Poppy to put on Andrea Bocelli loud enough for the whole street to hear.

THIS IS WHY:

 

I love my little family.

 

I love cooking.

 

I love cooking Italian food.

 

I love eating Italian food.

 

There are times when I actually do enjoy cooking and eating at home.

 

I don’t see Sam very often at the moment, although I hear him every morning now from 5am – 9am on HOT91.1! That’s right! In case you missed it (serves you right for not following us on Twitter and Insta), Sam is the Sunshine Coast’s newest brekky radio show host! He joins the lovely and very funny Lynda Edmunds each morning. Together they are #samandedmoforbreakfast & #wakeuptosamandedmo & #thesoundofthecoast  (Sam is actually perfect in this role. He sounds as if it’s what he’s always done. I guess at every party, and in every upbeat moment, indeed he has done!). Luckily, the station has completely rebuilt itself and the music is now awesome too. I mean, it’s actually great! Every hour there is 80s gold! GOLD!

 

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I’m driving to Brisbane tomorrow night for shake & stir’s Wuthering Heights and on Friday night for Harvest Rain’s Spamalot. Chookas, all!

 

Driving to Brisbane gets expensive.

 

Driving to Brisbane gets frustrating.

 

Also, there is always good wine here.

 

I was looking forward to seeing a heap of the Italian films over the next couple of weeks and also, to meeting Nadir Caselli. Well, weren’t you? Isn’t she just gorgeous?! I think I’ve decided not to see anything at all, and to find all of the amazing films on offer this year, eventually, somewhere online.

 

 

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I managed to get out last night with my dear friend, Min (you know Min, of White House Celebrations), to catch an advanced screening of Gone Girl. Directed by David Fincher, with a screenplay by the author, Gillian Flynn, this is one of the best page to screen adaptations I’ve seen. I loved the book and the film stays true to its quirks, its characters, its pace and structure, and its disturbing brilliance. It could be argued that the film is in fact, a little more brilliant! I know. It’s a big call. Perhaps I’ll tell you more (but not too much more!) another time. I still have some theatre reviews to write (I always have theatre reviews to write), a stack of one-act plays to get through, and Term 4 planning to complete, and according to Poppy it’s not even nearly the end of school holidays. We have much more cooking, baking, swimming, playing, singing, dancing, shopping, running, reading, making, gardening and climbing to do!

 

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It’s no wonder that we are all so tired by the end of each day! A no-show-night means, officially, it’s an early night. I’m trying to establish a new routine actually, because being back at school is exhausting enough, and I’m trying to get up earlier to write. With Sam up and at ’em before four, I figure I can get up too, get dressed, light some candles, make some tea and work for two or three hours before Poppy stirs. If I’m feeling super motivated I’ll do some yoga again too.

 

We’ll see how long this lasts…

 

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