Before I Fall

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Before I FallIt’s Cupid Day and high school senior, Samantha (Zoey Deutch) is getting ready to celebrate it in a life-changing way with her boyfriend, Rob (Kian Lawley). She wakes up like she does everyday – sassy and mean to her parents (Nicholas Lea and Jennifer Beals) and little sister (Erica Tremblay). She is picked up for school by her best friend Lindsay (Halston Sage). Ally (Cynthy Wu) and Elody (Medalion Rahimi) complete their inseparable foursome.

Though technically a school day, classes are nevertheless interrupted by special “cupids” distributing long-stemmed roses to the girls and boys from their boy/girlfriends and assorted admirers, which can be a special kind of Hell for those less popular.

We soon find out that, behind their pretty faces and friendly demeanour, the popular foursome are not much more than a group of mean girls. They take immense joy in bullying and terrorising the class loner, Juliet  (Elena Kampouris) and deliberately ruin the relationship between Anna (Liv Hewson) and her girlfriend. When Sam receives a surprise rose from Kent (Logan Miller) who is hosting a Cupid Day party that night, she rejects his attention as well. Continue reading

Hugh Jackman Gives One Of His Best Performances in Logan

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loganIn the year 2029, Logan (Hugh Jackman), a.k.a. “Wolverine”, is working as a limousine driver and hiding out in the Mexican desert with an ageing Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Caliban (Stephen Merchant). The once-powerful Charles is losing his memory and no longer able to control his powers without the help of drugs. The mutant population is virtually extinct. Charles and Logan have dreams of buying a boat and living out their days in the open ocean where the world would be safe from their powers.

When a mysterious woman, Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), begs Logan to take her and her daughter, Laura (Dafne Keen), to North Dakota, he rejects her. He changes his mind when a wad of much-needed cash is offered, but it is already too late for Gabriela.

Logan soon learns that a group of mercenaries led by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) working for “scientific researcher” Dr. Xander Rice (Richard E. Grant) at Transigen, have been breeding a new generation of children to become mutants and training them to be super-soldiers. When the nurses at Transigen discovered the true purpose of the children they have been nurturing, they helped the children escape, with the aim of getting them across the US border where Eden awaits. Continue reading

Exploring the World with Levison Wood (Part 3): Walking the Americas

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Twelve months ago, I sat in my living room in Sydney, staring at the messy and unco-ordinated furniture around me. They were assorted mismatched bookcases and shelves that I had collected over the years from various friends and family who no longer had use for them. Then I looked at the rest of my flat and wondered if I had the patience for home renovations (I don’t). In the end, I settled for new bookcases to replace old sagging ones that were struggling with the weight of their loads and a new double recliner (by the way, it was a very comfortable spot from which my best friend and I watched Walking the Nile together).

img_0898At about the same time, on a continent far, far away, British explorer Levison Wood was dealing with his own renovations of the seventeenth-century house in Hampton Court he had bought after returning from the Himalayas. Escaping from the sounds of hammer and drill, Wood went for a stroll in the Hampton Court Palace gardens (personally, I rather enjoyed the Palace Maze). From his telling of the history of the architecture of the Palace, Wood segued into the stories of seventeenth-century Scots trying to build an empire of their own and finding the region we now know as Central America. Imagine for a moment if the Scots hadn’t given up the jungle four hundred years ago – we might find some colourful kilts instead of huipils!

So, while a team of workmen were pulling apart and reconstructing his house, Wood plotted his next adventure. And thus, Walking the Americas was born. Off to Mexico he went, joined by an old friend, Alberto Caceres – a fashion photographer he had met some years earlier. A fashion photographer? Knowing how to use the right f-stops and applying the rule-of-thirds for perfect composition were not going to save you from poisonous snakes, tarantulas and crocodiles, not to mention the long list of tropical diseases that could kill you in the most excruciating and disgusting way.

Continue reading

Fences Film Review

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Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.

fencesTo the outside world, the Maxsons live contented lives: Troy (Denzel Washington) has just won the right to become the city’s first non-white driver in the sanitation department; his wife of seventeen years, Rose (Viola Davis), looks after the family home, keeping it spotless and always ready with a good hot meal while looking after the finances; and a teenage son, Cory (Jovan Adepo) who is doing well enough in the school football team that college talent scouts are considering giving him a place.

 

A couple of decades after his own dreams of joining major league baseball because he was deemed too old by the time African-American players are admitted, Troy is still bitter about the path that “could have been” and takes out his resentment on Cory. He refuses to let Cory play football and insists he spend his “spare” time working to support the family. Continue reading

Manchester By The Sea Film Review

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manchester-by-the-seaIn the idyllic, seaside town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, once lived Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) with his wife, Randi (Michelle Williams) and their three young children. He sometimes hangs out with his older brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler) and his nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges) on Joe’s boat, the Claudia Marie – named after their mother. It is clear from the outset that Lee and his family are close.

Following a family tragedy, Lee moves away and is working as a handyman who keeps mostly to himself. His quiet existence is turned upside down when his brother dies suddenly of a heart attack, leaving him the sole guardian for 16-year-old nephew – Patrick’s mother, Elise (Gretchen Mol) having left the family many years earlier.

When Lee returns to Manchester, he is confronted by not only the sad realities of death – arranging for the funeral, the burial and all the legal ramifications – but also all the ghosts of his own past that he has never forgiven himself for. Continue reading

Lion: The True Story of A Man’s Long Journey Home

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lionPicture yourself as a five year-old, small in stature but large in spirit and eager to do everything you can to be your mother’s little helper. You look up to your big brother who, despite being only a few years older, is larger-than-life and everything you want to be. Your family is poor but hard-working and always full of love.

One evening,  despite your sleepiness, you ask your brother to take you with him on his evening job run – because life in impoverished Calcutta, India, means you start working as soon as you are big enough to carry anything and taking any job you can find. Your big brother reluctantly agrees and together you go on a train ride somewhere. You don’t know where because you fell asleep on the train and you can’t read anyway.

When you wake up, you are all alone on a bench on a deserted train platform. You call your brother’s name but get no response. You peek into every train car. You are tired and hungry. You become lost inside one of the carriages and you head into the great unknown. When the train stops, you get off but you cannot understand a word people are shouting at you. They are speaking a different dialect. It is now several days later and all you can do is survive the best that any street-smart five year-old can in a foreign environment. Continue reading

Jackie: The Fairytale Without A Happy Ending

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jackieA great deal has been written about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Jr on that fateful day in November of 1963. The image of his body slumped across his wife’s lap in the backseat of the convertible as the motorcade made its slow procession along the Dallas street has been imprinted in the world’s memory. History books, documentaries, TV shows and films have all told their versions of what happened before, during and after the gunshots were fired. In Jackie, director Pablo Larrain (with a screenplay by Noah Oppenheim) gives us a new insight into the mind of the woman whose blood-soaked suit haunts American history to this day.

Being First Lady is no simple task. There is no job description and the only way to get it is if your husband happens to be the President. With two small children in tow and in an era when media publicity and televisions were only just becoming commonplace, Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) brought glamour to the White House. She gave a televised tour of “the People’s House” proudly but nervously with the help of White House Social Secretary, Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig). Continue reading

Allied:Suspicious Minds

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Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl and get married. Boy suspects girl is not who she claims to be. What’s next?

alliedIt is 1942. Canadian intelligence officer, Max Vatan (Bratt Pitt), is working with the British in Casablanca. Going undercover as the Parisian husband of Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), a French resistance fighter, the two are on a mission to assassinate the German ambassador.

Despite knowing the risks of their jobs and the pitfalls of falling in love on the job, Max returns to England at the end of their successful mission and requests permission to bring Marianne to London so that the two could marry.

Two soon becomes three with the dramatic arrival of baby Anna in the middle of an air raid. However, their blissful life is thrown in doubt when the Special Operations Executive tells Max that they suspect Marianne is not who she claims to be, and that she is, in fact, a German spy who stole the identity of the real Marianne after she died in France.

As Max races against the clock to uncover the truth, he faces the frightening possibility that his life and love may have all been built on a lie. Could he carry out the execution as his superiors commands should their suspicions prove to be true or face becoming a traitor against the Allied nations? Continue reading