Talk Hard – The Grand Budapest Hotel, Drinking Buddies

Simon may be away on holiday, but you can still catch up with his reviews of Wes Anderson’s cinema release The Grand Budapest Hotel (the best film of 2014 so far?) and new DVD/streaming title Drinking Buddies. Listen up!

Grand Budapest Hotel


Show Notes:

Rest assured Talk Hard will be back in a fortnight. Scroll through the archives to make those 14 days go by a little bit quicker.

In the meantime, tell your friends to subscribe to us on iTunes and feel free to leave a review. Or, follow our RSS feed.

Remember to send all thoughts, comments, feedback, and general well-wishes to talkhard@quickflix.com.au

You can contact me directly on Twitter: @simonmiraudo.

Thanks to Blue Ducks for our theme, “Four, Floss, Five, Six.” You can find more of their work at www.recordsonribs.com

A special thanks to RTRFM for their recording facilities.

‘X-Men’ producers mull over solo ‘Mystique’ movie

Mystique

Because they ingeniously signed up Jennifer Lawrence for a multi-picture deal before she became an Oscar-winning, Tumblr-dominating, GIF-inspiring mega star, the producers of the X-Men series are considering a spin-off movie featuring her villainous, oft-nude Mystique.

Lauren Shuler Donner – producer of every X-Men film – tells EW the current regime at 20th Century Fox is much more amenable to solo ventures than the previous one.

“I’d like to do Gambit. I’d like to do Deadpool. We’ll see. There’s a lot of really great characters.”

First Class writer and producer Simon Kinberg revealed a particular affinity for Lawrence’s shape-shifter:

“I love what Jen Lawrence has done with her, and I feel like because she is in such a crowded ensemble, there’s so much more opportunity if you were to follow her solo.”

Right now, Fox has a full slate of X-Men movies, including a sequel to the upcoming Days of Future Past set for release in 2016 and another Wolverine adventure in 2017.

With two Fantastic Four flicks still to come, and now, potentially, a bunch more solo mutant instalments, Fox may eventually rival the output of those at the Disney-owned Marvel Studios.

Fake TV show ‘The Truman Show’ to become real TV show

truman show

Paramount, getting super meta, will turn The Truman Show into an actual TV show.

For those fearing the dystopian nightmare of a movie studio purchasing a baby and then filming it in secret for the entirety of its life – as predicted in Peter Weir’s weirdly prescient social satire – don’t panic: the TV show would, of course, be more like the movie than the program within it.

Don’t expect it in the immediate future, however. According to The Wrap, it’s just one of several new series being developed by Paramount TV, a new department intent on creating content for broadcast, cable and online outlets.

So, in the meantime, start selecting your new Truman. Would Jim Carrey be up for returning back to the world of Seahaven?

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to play sisters in ‘The Nest’

amy tina

World’s funniest women Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will play hard-partying sisters in upcoming comedy The Nest, Variety reports.

Tina Fey had been attached to the Universal flick for some time, but her fellow SNL Weekend Update anchor and Golden Globes co-host Amy Poehler is now in final negotiations to join her.

The script comes from former SNL writer Paula Pell and concerns two 30-something siblings who host one last wild shindig at their childhood home.

This doesn’t mark their first film collaboration, however. Poehler had a small, hilarious part in Fey’s Mean Girls, and the duo shared co-lead status in the only-okay Baby Mama.

Though Baby Mama was only a modest success at the box office, The Nest should fare slightly better; after all, the 30 Rock and Parks and Rec stars have never been more popular.

Now if only they can convince their Dog President co-stars Damien Francisco and Darcy St. Fudge to join them.

Television Revision: Sherlock – Season 2

Sherlock

By Andrew Williams
April 11, 2014

Television Revision is a weekly feature in which our tuned in TV critic trawls through the best the box has to offer, giving you a primer on some of history’s finest shows (and the rest).

Now, this is a story all about how… Genius detective Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) continue to solve the most difficult cases in the world, all while their nemesis Moriarty continues to scheme against them.

Sherlock

Happy days? After the classic finish to the first season of Sherlock, writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss might have felt the strain of dealing with the television equivalent of a difficult second album. Eighteen months had passed between the end of Season One and the beginning of Season Two, and the fans’ hungry anticipation for new episodes of Sherlock had grown ravenous. Fortunately, the second outing is just as clever, atmospheric and hilarious as the first.

Ever since it became a hit, the conversation around Sherlock has tended to focus on the plot mechanics. Do the mysteries make perfect sense? Are the cliffhangers resolved satisfactorily? That’s fine (and fun to speculate about), but the greater pleasures of Sherlock remain elsewhere. I would rather an episode of the show be totally nonsensical, for example, than have it not be funny. The fact this murder-mystery drama is funnier than most television comedies is no mean feat, and this second season is even more successful on that score than the first.

Everything else there is to love about the show remains intact: the atmosphere, the thrilling battles of wits, the sparkling dialogue and the inventive visual style (to name a few) are all present and correct. Everything is elevated by the definitive performances of Cumberbatch and Freeman; a better Holmes and Watson you will not find. That only leaves the mysteries themselves to live up to expectations, and while they can sometimes get bogged down in their own complexity, they always serve to shed light on the two leads. That’s the main thing.

The final frontier: Sherlock’s second season is like Sherlock himself: pure genius.

Sherlock

Best episode: 3) The Reichenbach Fall. This episode had fans and casual viewers alike speculating for two years on how it might resolve its devastating, paradigm-shaking cliffhanger. That’s an effective episode of television, no matter which way you slice it.

Worst episode: 2) The Hound of the Baskervilles. An adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most well-known story (by title, at least – I don’t know anyone that’s actually read the damn thing) always had its work cut out for it, and this episode follows the first season’s template of having a middle installment where the resolution is uncharacteristically unsatisfying.

Season MVP: I didn’t want to mention his name in the review of the first season lest I spoil it, but Andrew Scott is playing classic Holmes nemesis James Moriarty like we’ve never seen him before, and it’s one of the most memorable television villains in recent memory. They needed someone brilliant to go toe to toe with Cumberbatch, and they found them.

5/5

Check out Andrew Williams’ previous instalments:

Television Revision: Sherlock – Season 1

Sherlock is available on Quickflix.

Playtime – The Lego Movie review

The Lego Movie

By Simon Miraudo
April 10, 2014

At the intersection of chaos and commerce lies The Lego Movie, a manic, subversive family film that somehow squeezed its way out of the studio sausage factory. Don’t call it a cash-grab. Heck, if cash-grabs were always this good, we’d all be broke. The credit probably belongs to writer-director duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who similarly spun surprising cinematic gold from the wildly uncool 21 Jump Street TV show (and who have been ingeniously rethinking unimpeachable icons since their short-lived animated series Clone High, in which Gandhi was reborn as a teen rebel in the mould of John Belushi‘s Bluto). More like the delirious, seizure-inducing French flick A Town Called Panic than, say, every other direct-to-video Lego movie, this is delightful, inspired, affecting, utterly hilarious stuff, and certainly the first feature starring Batman to earn a couple of those compliments.

If you’ve been subjected to/sung along to/cursed the heavens to the tune of The Lego Movie‘s catchier-than-chickenpox theme song ‘Everything is Awesome!’, you might be among those suspecting Lord and Miller’s latest of being as inane as its lyrics: “Trees, frogs, clogs, they’re awesome! Rocks, clocks, and socks, they’re awesome!” Imagine viewers’ surprise when they actually discover the ‘happy workers’ anthem is an endless, fascist call-to-arms for the unquestioning, obedient citizens of Bricksburg, orchestrated by villainous Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and hummed-along-to happily by generic construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt). (Always trust songwriters Mark Mothersbaugh and The Lonely Island of knowing how to infiltrate our heads, and singers Tegan and Sara to harmonise so hypnotically.)

The Lego Movie

Our hero Emmet is freed from his workaday life by revolutionary Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and blind wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), on the very, very, very incorrect assumption he is ‘the special’; a master builder to save the world from Lord Business’ impending glue-pocalypse. Despite years – or however long pieces of Lego are technically alive for – of conditioning, Emmet must learn to abandon ‘the instructions’ and tap into his imagination, so he may craft the very instruments to bring about Business’ downfall. His first suggestion is a ‘double couch’. His next suggestions are, somehow, worse.

The financial smarts behind a Lego movie become clear when Wyldstyle’s boyfriend, Batman (Will Arnett), swoops in, later to be joined by Gandalf, Han Solo, Wonder Woman, Dumbledore, and, erm, Shaq (figures who could never share a live-action stage, unless some mad billionaire producer was willing to secure and then part with… oh, say, all the world’s money.) It’s a brand-bonanza in The Lego Movie, yet Lord and Miller’s script does not pander to the licence holders. For example, Arnett’s Batman is an insufferable bro whose Batmobile is used mostly as a speaker-system for his terrible, self-penned songs about darkness. Also, Abraham Lincoln has a flying space chair in this, in case you were unsure about the film’s fidelity to real-life characters too.

The Lego Movie

The seemingly-stop-motion CG animation is astounding; each collage of Lego blocks magnificently mangled and, in the case of those retro figurines we played with as kids, scuffed and chipped and impeccably imperfect. Our directors – as proven in their first cartoon feature, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball –  are no slouches when it comes to relentless action sequences, and The Lego Movie has more than its share. The voice cast is so lively and enthusiastic, especially the ascendant Pratt of Parks and Rec and eventual superstar-status fame; his Labrador-like charm and earnest everyman abilities mined to much comedic and, shockingly, dramatic success.

All of that amounts to a whole lotta nuttiness, and yet, the filmmakers still manage to sneak in one of the most surprising third-act turns of recent memory. Spoiling it here would be tantamount to stepping on a child’s intricately-constructed official ‘Lego Movie‘ playset. Nonetheless, it’s a surreal sequence that, at once, chastises those in the audience who are too old to collect such toys whilst also reaching out to the emotionally-stunted ones who relish their childhood playthings for reasons far more profound and maybe even tragic than others might assume. Lego itself is celebrated as the instruments of the lonely and order-seeking, as well as the accomplished and artistic (though the picture rightfully points out how f****** frustrating they can also be). If the recently rebooted Muppet movies are all about being a superfan, The Lego Movie is about being a bad fan; the kind who doesn’t question their habits, obsessions, and need for everything to stay as it was ‘when we were young’.

Lord and Miller have assembled something incredibly fun and so much more. For that the kids of today should be incredibly grateful: not all relics of our youth stand up to scrutiny. Even if most people eventually age out of Lego, the same fate won’t likely befall The Lego Movie. We may have to revisit the conversation in a few decades, but I suspect this marvel will be ageless.

4.5/5

Check out Simon Miraudo’s archive of reviews.

The Lego Movie is now showing in cinemas.

Cool hand Elsa – Frozen review

Frozen

By Simon Miraudo
April 9, 2014

With a billion dollars in the bank, two Oscars on the shelf, and the ire of ridiculous, right-wing pundits who think it’s turning the children of the world gay, Frozen has pretty much pulled off the trifecta of cinematic accomplishments. There was no way to predict back in November of 2013 – a simpler time – that Disney’s latest, non-Pixar-produced musical would become history’s highest grossing animated movie, nor that its show-stopping tune ‘Let It Go’ would become a karaoke anthem to rival kiss-off favourites ‘I Will Survive’, ‘Since U Been Gone’ and ‘Single Ladies’. All these weeks later, it sits among the top 10 biggest ever box office hits, and that damn song remains stuck in our heads.

For the rare parent who hasn’t been subjected to the film a few times already, the plot: In the fabled Nordic nation of Arendelle, young Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel) struggles with her ability to manifest ice and snow from nothingness, accidentally endangering the life of her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) in the process. Afraid of causing further harm, Elsa locks herself away in her bedroom, while Anna – who has lost all memory of Elsa’s magical talents  - whiles away the lonely years in boredom. After their parents’ death, the newly teenage girls open the doors to their castle and await Elsa’s coronation. But, of course, her powers are inevitably revealed and everyone freaks out, causing Elsa to freeze the rivers and flee into the wilderness. Anna follows close behind, leaving her fiancé-of-a-day, Hans (Santino Fontana), in charge of Arendelle, and recruiting local ice-merchant Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer Sven, and talking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) for help in ending the siblings’ – and kingdom’s – cold spell. Animated to intricate perfection, the character designs here are impeccable (even if the icy locations feel a little samey after 100-odd minutes).

Frozen

Directed by Chris Buck and writer Jennifer Lee, Frozen is the result of a decades-long effort to animate Hans Christian Andersen’s fable The Snow Queen; surely an attempt by Disney to recapture the heights of their golden era. Though they dipped their toes into similar waters with The Princess and the Frog and Tangled, it was third time’s a charm with Frozen, which perhaps connected most with audiences, ironically, because it is the most modern and subversive-seeming of the lot. Consider the way Elsa – while performing ‘Let It Go’ – triumphantly turns her back on the haters and embraces the lifestyle she’d been told to hide for so long, and it suddenly makes sense why certain religious bloggers got so angry at the LGBTQ-friendly flick. I still haven’t quite figured out why they accused it of normalising ‘bestiality’ too. I must have gone to the bathroom during that part.

Despite its fairy-tale trappings, the picture twists expectations as often as possible, ultimately turning the romantic subplot on its head and focusing intently on the central sisterhood of Elsa and Anna. If only the skeleton of the plot – which involves our heroes walking in one direction, and then running back in the other – were as smart and revolutionary as the rest of the feature. Menzel and Bell are wonderful in their parts; it’s no surprise stage-powerhouse Menzel brings the house down at every opportunity, but Bell shows off some impressive pipe-work too (admittedly, on the flightier, funnier soundtrack cuts). Credit must partly go to song-writers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – the former being responsible for Broadway’s darkly comic sensations Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon – whose offbeat humour permeates proceedings. Gad, a delight in Mormon and a real burden in almost everything else, is so warm and winning as the summer-loving snowman Olaf. Clearly he should only ever work with Lopez.

3.5/5

Check out Simon Miraudo’s archive of reviews.

Frozen will be available from Quickflix on April 30, 2014.

Sympathy for ladies vengeance – The Other Woman review

the other woman

By Jess Lomas
April 9, 2014

Attempting to prove that friendship lurks in even the most unexpected places, Nick CassavetesThe Other Woman fails to deliver a strong female comedy in the vein of Bridesmaids. Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz), a New York City lawyer with a long list of exes and strict rules about dating, seems to have finally stumbled on a decent guy, Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). She opens herself up to love only to discover the man of her dreams is already married to the manic but sweet Kate (Leslie Mann).

When the truth about Mark is revealed, Carly is alarmed to find Kate reaching out to her for help and companionship, and is even more startled when she finds herself reaching back. The plot thickens when the two women discover Mark has another mistress, the much-younger Amber (Kate Upton), who soon joins Carly and Kate on their revenge mission to bring the serial adulterer down. Along the way, a half-hearted love story develops between Carly and Kate’s “hunky” brother Phil (Taylor Kinney), a contractor who has charm but zero chemistry on screen with the overly eager Diaz. Their narrative is entirely predictable and unsatisfying, much like the second half of the picture.

the other woman

While The Other Woman starts off strong and delivers a basket of sight gags and gross-out jokes to rival any male-centric comedy, it quickly loses steam and sight of its goal. Producer Julie Yorn reportedly envisioned the feature as a relationship story between the women instead of a romantic interest, and screenwriter Melissa Stack didn’t want her characters to succumb to stereotypes, such as the ‘bitchy mistress’ or the ‘weak wife’. Yorn’s vision is fulfilled, and while the various montages set to ’80s songs deflates the otherwise sweet story of unexpected female friendship, on the whole the film delivers a fresh perspective. Stack’s vision, however, although successful in delivering a strong wife and sympathetic girlfriend in Carly in Kate, drops the ball when it comes to the ditzy, big-bosomed Amber. She is the weakest link, and it’s hard to know what came first: Upton or the bad role.

The flick thrives on Mann’s performance alone, even if this too dissipates during the runtime. The Other Woman is an at-times playful and rollicking revenge comedy but at others it surrenders to genre boundaries, and your level of enjoyment may just depend on how much of your brain you’re willing to turn off.

2.5/5

The Other Woman arrives in Australian cinemas April 17, 2014.

Wounds with friends – Cheap Thrills review

Cheap Thrills

By Simon Miraudo
April 9, 2014

Black comedies should be as funny as they are grim, otherwise they’d call them ‘stone cold bummers’ or something. Well, E.L. Katz gets the ‘black’ part right in his Machiavellian Cheap Thrills, the former film journo’s first effort as a feature director. In it, a good man goes bad over the course of one hellish evening thanks to the promise of no-strings-attached cash and the prodding of a pair of wealthy misanthropes. To those looking for a bad time – and some good, no, great gore – take note: you’ll get a kick out of Cheap Thrills, if not a giggle.

Compliance‘s Pat Healy, the patron saint of uncomfortable indie cinema, plays recently fired mechanic Craig, who competes against burnt-out old buddy Vince (Ethan Embry) in a series of escalating dares, instigated by coke-snorting Colin (David Koechner) and his dead-eyed wife Violet (Sara Paxton). After randomly – or perhaps not so randomly – meeting in a bar, the foursome eventually head to Colin and Violet’s house, where the challenges exponentially increase in difficulty and disgust-ability. Where they once offered a few hundred bucks to see who could finish their drinks fastest, the married weirdos eventually throw faecal matter, self-mutilation, cannibalism, and even murder into the mix. Needless to say, their shindig devolves into a dinner party that would make Peter Greenaway sick into his own lap.

Cheap Thrills

Though its central quartet is excellent, especially the increasingly-desperate Healy and the often one-dimensionally-drawn improv powerhouse Koechner, Cheap Thrills is sorely lacking a funny side. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe the picture is being mismarketed as a cheeky good time for deviant movielovers. Or maybe it’s too self-serious,  considering the grotesque, Looney Tunes-esque antics its characters get up to. That’s not to say screenwriters David Chirchirillo & Trent Haaga shouldn’t take its subjects – so corrupted by money they’ll shed any semblance of humanity in the pursuit of it – seriously. Simply that, as a satire, its target remains unclear in the mire of all the unpleasant violence and depravity. A few well-placed comic beats, or perhaps even a further-heightening of the stakes, might have made Cheap Thrills sting a little more, indicting its gleeful audience in the process.

The tone set by composer Mads Heldtberg and cinematographers Andrew Wheeler & Sebastian Winterø is a dreary one, though there are some nightmarish sequences that’ll shrink the extremities, and a final shot to sink in your stomach. Still, alongside the bleak Compliance (which similarly tightened the screws over its short runtime, and posed a confronting ‘what if it were you’ scenario to the viewer) or the winking, scary slasher spoof You’re Next (made by Katz’s frequent collaborator Adam Wingard), it feels like the weirder, shallower sibling of some fascinating, multi-layered horror flicks.

3/5

Check out Simon Miraudo’s archive of reviews.

Cheap Thrills will be available from Quickflix on April 16, 2014.

Sony ensnare Drew Goddard for their ‘Spider-Man’ spinoff ‘Sinister Six’

Sinister Six

Sony is making good on their promise to foster a Marvel-like franchise based around Spider-Man by recruiting Drew Goddard as director of a Sinister Six movie.

According to Deadline, Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) is nearing a deal with the studio to make a movie based around Spidey’s most notorious enemies.

The Sinister Six is being set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and include super-villains Electro, Doc Ock, Sandman, Mysterio, Vulture, and Kraven the Hunter.

Should the Sinister Six movie be successful, expect spin-off films for each member.

Sony is also working on a standalone Venom movie, to be directed by Alex Kurtzman.

Variety says Goddard, Kurtzman, Spider-Man helmer Marc Webb, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, and Ed Solomon make up the “franchise brain trust”, charged by the studio to develop an ongoing story thread across the individual features.

What separates Sony’s efforts here from Marvel’s is that they seem keen to build a universe of anti-hero blockbusters. It’ll be interesting to see if people take to it after overindulging on Marvel’s many heroic efforts.

The Amazing Spider-Man 3 already has a release date set for 2016, while The Amazing Spider-Man 4 is expected to follow close behind.

‘Goonies’ sequel, ‘Gremlins’ reboot back on the cards

goonies

Warner Bros. is moving forward with a sequel to ’80s family favourite The Goonies, director Richard Donner has revealed.

Though Donner only dropped the news when cornered by TMZ, Ain’t It Cool News did some digging and discovered the flick is indeed on “the fast track to production.”

Donner will produce alongside Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus, though none will write or direct this new sequel.

The picture will likely concern the kids of the characters from the first feature, with the original cast appearing in cameos.

The Goonies ain’t the only 1980s property being plundered by WB.

AICN believe a remake of Joe Dante’s Gremlins - another reboot that’s been rumoured for years – is similarly on the fast track.

So, get ready for a whole new generation of truffle-shufflin’.

Divide and conquer – Divergent review

Divergent

By Jess Lomas
April 8, 2014

The world has crumbled following a world war, yet again, and this time the key to society’s salvation lies with one teenage girl, yet again. Based on the bestselling novel by Veronica Roth, Divergent will invariably draw comparisons to The Hunger Games for its dystopian narrative, roots in Young Adult literature fandom, and attractive leads brooding for one another. Despite its similarities, Divergent expertly creates the world of a futuristic Chicago and its controlled inhabitants, setting it apart from similar tales and making it worthy of your time.

We meet our hero, Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley), on the eve of her Choosing Ceremony, where she will decide her destiny. After the war that is said to have destroyed most of the world, peace is established by dividing society into five factions: Abnegation, the selfless, Erudite, who value intelligence, Dauntless, the brave who guard the city’s border, Amity, the peacekeepers, and Candor, who are honest above all else.

Divergent

Beatrice, born into Abnegation, undergoes a test ahead of the ceremony to help determine which faction she really belongs to. Beatrice’s results are inconclusive, placing her in three factions and labeling her as ‘Divergent’, a person who defies the government’s ideology and threatens their supremacy. Warned to keep her results secret, Beatrice leaves her family for a new home.

Along with the other initiates, Beatrice, now called Tris, undergoes a series of tests to see whether she deserves to remain in her new faction. She meets new friends, Four (Theo James) and Christina (Zoe Kravitz), as well as foes Eric (Jai Courtney) and Peter (Miles Teller). When Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) leads a revolution to overthrow the Abnegation, it is the Divergent who are left to fight for freedom.

Divergent

Directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist), there’s a lot of world-building in Divergent that contributes to its two-hour runtime. Thankfully the length never feels like a chore and the assembled cast delivers true-to-the-text performances that will delight fans of the novel and newcomers. Woodley proves once again she is a force to be reckoned with and Teller nails the mischievous bad guy, making you wish his character had more screen time.

Tris is no Katniss Everdeen, and Divergent is a better film for not trying to impersonate a similar trilogy. It won’t excite the world to the extent of The Hunger Games but this more humble offering is nevertheless exciting, fun, and, above all, satisfying.

3.5/5

Divergent arrives in Australian cinemas April 10, 2014.

Screen legend Mickey Rooney dead at 93

Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney, once the world’s biggest movie star and an enduring icon of Hollywood’s golden age, has died. He was 93 years old.

Reports of Rooney’s death first emerged from TMZ, though his son Michael Joseph Rooney eventually confirmed his passing.

Los Angeles Police Commander Andrew Smith took a death report at Rooney’s North Hollywood home

Though the cause of death is still unknown, the police noted there was nothing suspicious about the circumstances.

Rooney first found fame as a child star. He went on to appear in the popular Andy Hardy series, classics such as National Velvet, Boys Town, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, as well as beside Judy Garland in a number of hit pictures.

In 1938, he was awarded the Academy’s Juvenile Award, preceding four further Oscar nominations for his performances in Babes in Arms (1939), The Human Comedy (1943), The Bold and the Brave (1956), and The Black Stallion (1980). He received his second accolade from the Academy – an Honorary Oscar – in 1983, “in recognition of his 50 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances.”

From 1939-1941, he was Hollywood’s biggest draw, and by the end of his career he had racked up more than 200 film credits.

Rooney also enjoyed a number of marriages. His first marriage was to Ava Gardner, followed by Betty Jane Rase, Martha Vickers, Elaine Devry, Barbara Ann Thomason, Marge Lane, Carolyn Hockett, and Jan Chamberlin.

Chamberlin and Rooney separated in May of 2013.

He is survived by nine children.

Chiwetel Ejiofor wanted as Bond villain in ‘Skyfall’ sequel

chiwetel

Chiwetel Ejiofor is being eyed for the lead villain role in Bond 24, and why wouldn’t he be?

According to The Wrap, Ejiofor hasn’t been officially offered the part, nor is he in formal talks, but he is “widely presumed to be the frontrunner amongst the other actors under consideration.”

The English actor saw his stock skyrocket in 2013, thanks to his Oscar-nominated leading role in Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave.

Sam Mendes is returning to helm the untitled follow-up to Skyfall. 

Daniel Craig will once again reprise the role of James Bond, and will be joined by Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw.

The picture is set for release in November of 2015.

‘Transformers 5′ dated for 2017 (maybe)

Transformers 4

In news that should surprise no one and depress most, a fifth Transformers movie is being considered for 2017.

Transformers World got their hands on some leaked concept art for Michael Bay’s upcoming fourth instalment, Age of Extinction, which included a placeholder logo for its sequel.

That’s about as deep as the scoop gets, though it doesn’t take a genius to assume Paramount Pictures would be developing a new instalment for their most successful franchise.

Considering 2017 is still three years away, that gives Bay plenty of time to complain about having to make more Transformers movies before ultimately signing on once more.

Shia LaBeouf might even be interested in being famous again by then. Comeback?

Key & Peele are rebooting ‘Police Academy’

KeyandPeele

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele – of the aptly-titled and brilliantly incisive sketch show Key & Peele - are set to produce a Police Academy reboot.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the duo is on board to develop the flick for New Line.

Though a reboot has long been in the works, this is the first bit of development news in some time.

Director Scott Zabielski, last named as helmer in 2012, has walked away from the project.

Key and Peele will team up with original producer Paul Maslansky for the new take on the seven-film franchise.

It’s unknown if they’ll star in it… but surely they would, right? The world needs a cinematic vehicle for these two comic talents, even if it is pre-loved.

It was announced in November that Judd Apatow was working with the duo on a film of their own. Until that manifests, we’ve got this.

Oh, and if they’re looking for character names to join the force, might we suggest Ibrahim Moizoos or Hingle McCringleberry?

Turbulent times – Planes review

"PLANES" By Simon Miraudo
February 1, 2014

The Cars franchise is Pixar’s cash cow; a kid-pleasing collection of movies tailor-made to sell merchandise (which, at this point, totals in the billions of dollars). The adults don’t much care for them, and unabashed lovers of the studio (including myself) turn a blind eye. “If the little ones enjoy it, and it helps Pixar to raise funds for their more experimental and ambitious efforts, there’s really no harm in them making more,” we all thought. Fools. The lot of us. As Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Pixar’s “experimental and ambitious” efforts – such as Ratatouille and WALL-Enow seem like a distant memory, with the studio now focusing on prequels and sequels to previously successful flicks in this new, terrifying age. One of those is Cars spin-off Planes, which, in fairness, is not actually produced by Pixar (who perhaps were too embarrassed by the brazenness of it) but instead their overlords at Disney. Still, it’s the direct result of their willingness to abandon bolder fare for guaranteed money-spinners.

Planes2

Featuring the vocal talents of Dane Cook, Teri Hatcher, and, erm, Sinbad, Planes feels like an off-brand, Eastern European imitation. (Half the calories, none of the taste, double the dyspepsia!) Cook plays Dusty, a crop-duster with dreams of competing in a round-the-world race. After unexpectedly qualifying, he meets his competitors (voiced by affordable international stars John Cleese, Priyanka Chopra, and Australia’s own Jessica Marais) and discovers they don’t all play as fairly as he’s been raised to do. Once again, another tale from the Cars universe reminding us that only farm-folk from the American red states can truly be trusted. Everyone else: git off their lawns.

Okay, neither Cars nor Planes are nearly as xenophobic as I’m suggesting, but they do delight in an old-fashioned idea of community and culture that doesn’t feel quaint so much as it feels in total denial of the world we truly live in. The kids won’t care about that stuff though. The animation is dynamic, the colours are bright, and the voices are goofy/ethnic. The toys it will inspire are probably going to be pretty cool too. It’s a shame that Disney and Pixar aren’t in the ‘classic-making’ business anymore; just the ‘distraction-making’ business. Planes is, at the very least, successful as a product of the latter manufacturing line.

2/5

Check out Simon Miraudo’s other reviews here.

Planes will be available on Quickflix from April 9, 2014.

Full service – The Grand Budapest Hotel review

The Grand Budapest Hotel

By Simon Miraudo
April 7, 2014

What a rare pleasure it is to watch a movie and slowly realise it will soon become one of your favourites. Wes Anderson joints always threaten to wedge their way into your heart for all time, and his latest, cuckoo caper comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel, wedges with gusto. I’ve lived with Rushmore for fifteen years, and Moonrise Kingdom for only two, yet both are remembered by me (and many) with an increasingly warm hue. The same fate will likely befall The Grand Budapest Hotel, actually all about memories so potent and experiences so vivid the decades that follow just can’t compare. As with all things nostalgic, when Anderson bows out of filmmaking, I’ll probably wonder forlornly why things weren’t ever quite as good again.

Our tale begins when the mysterious Zero (F. Murray Abraham) – seemingly the lone, lingering resident in the decrepit remains of the once grandiose title hotel – reveals to a holidaying writer (Jude Law, seen as Tom Wilkinson in his later years) the circumstances of his loyal patronage to this crumbling icon, reflecting on his youth as a lobby boy (played by newcomer Tony Revolori) working under the tutelage of legendary concierge M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes). Back in the early 1930s, the wealthy, elderly, largely-female clientele were drawn to the Grand Budapest - anachronistically located in the fictional, eastern European Republic of Zubrowka – specifically to be serviced by the refined, profane Gustave. And yes, ‘serviced’ is the key term here.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

When one of Gustave’s ancient playthings (Tilda Swinton) winds up murdered, with a will recently reshaped to bequeath him a priceless heirloom, her family make it their mission to put the amorous concierge behind bars. In prison, Gustave relies on Zero and baker’s apprentice Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) to help bust him out, clear his name, and claim his treasure. Unfortunately, there is no brief plot synopsis that could give fair mention to the dense cast of characters surrounding them, comprised of Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Mathieu Amalric, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman, as well as (too briefly) Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, and Léa Seydoux.

Framed as a story-within-a-story-within-a-story-within-a-story (each earning its own aspect ratio), The Grand Budapest Hotel is as manicured and intricately designed as any of Anderson’s features. It’s also the grandest in scope, with the most outrageous locations, the closest thing he’s ever made to action set pieces, and one towering lead performance from M. Fiennes, whose Gustave is maybe the most memorable in Wes’ canon; a complex, comic creature whose con-man charm masks genuine concern for those in his life (including Zero, Agatha, and all those lovely old ladies he prides himself on satisfying). The Grand Budapest Hotel is similarly, wonderfully contradictory; easily the director’s coarsest, most violent effort to date, with some honest-to-goodness gruesome deaths that are cutesy and cartoonish and chilling in their own Etsy-esque manner. Is it wrong to be so tickled by them?

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The credits claim the script is inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig, although the screenplay is assigned to Anderson and Hugo Guinness, so to them goes the majority of praise. They’re responsible for this magnificent monologue of Gustave’s, explaining to his young colleague the origin of his new shiner from prison: “What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living s*** out of a snivelling little runt called Pinky Bandinski. You should take a long look at his ugly mug this morning. He’s actually become a dear friend.” Odd, funny lines are one thing. Intricate narrative craftsmanship is another. Most impressive about their screenplay, however, is the way in which it twists history into something that feels both foreign and familiar. As the 1932 storyline comes to a close, the fictional Zubrowka is invaded entirely by a Nazi-like army (calling for immediate comparisons with Ernst Lubitsch‘s To Be or Not To Be, Powell and Pressburger‘s A Matter of Life and Death, and Charlie Chaplin‘s The Great Dictator; esteemed company it certainly earns). The mismatching of dates, locations, and names of nations furthers the point that this wonderful time – the best in Zero’s life, preceding true tragedy – is slowly escaping his grasp, and only by recounting it aloud can he hold onto it, even in this slightly forgotten, perhaps half-invented form. There’s tragedy to be found beneath the surface, should you want to dig deep enough.

It’s a visual delight, surely no surprise to anyone who’s seen one of Anderson’s projects before, thanks to the well-schooled, track-happy cinematographer Robert Yeoman. The highly-specific blocking of the actors and the way the camera follows them as if they were moving across a doll-house is especially effective in this instance, representing the Grand Budapest as a fantasy, illusion, and maybe-memory wrapped into one. (Don’t think that turns his cast into props: Fiennes in particular leaps off the screen.) It’s an aural delight too, and not just because the resonant Abraham is our primary narrator. Alexandre Desplat’s hypnotic, metronomic, surprisingly witty score easily ranks among his best; an imposing, amusing, melancholy companion to the film it supports. The Gregorian rendition of the main theme that briefly appears in a monastery earns a laugh on its lonesome.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is as inventive and immaculately orchestrated a cinematic universe as I’ve ever seen. Avatar ain’t got nothing on this. Speaking of, patrons reportedly suffered depression after leaving sessions of James Cameron‘s space epic, knowing they can’t actually live in Pandora. I feel the same after Anderson’s pictures. You can never go home again, but you can always watch his idiosyncratic treats any time you please, and know that even though the years pass and change everything around us, nothing could diminish or damage his pristine, snow-globe ensconced worlds. Photos fade. Dreams dissipate like fog. Recollections grow unreliable. The only major change I’ve found in Wes Anderson’s movies? They mostly just keep getting better.

5/5

Check out Simon Miraudo’s archive of reviews.

The Grand Budapest Hotel arrives in Australian cinemas April 10, 2014.

‘God Help the Girl’, ‘Frank’ bound for 2014 Sydney Film Festival

God Help the Girl

The first batch of features bound for the 2014 Sydney Film Festival have been unveiled.

Lenny Abrahamson’s music comedy Frank, starring Michael Fassbender in a giant papier mâché head, will make its Australian debut at the festival, as will Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch’s directorial debut, God Help the Girl.

David Gordon Green and Nicolas Cage’s collaboration, Joe, Irrfan Khan’s rom-com The Lunchbox, and Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm are also headed to SFF.

A number of documentaries profiling some fascinating figures have also been selected by festival director Nashen Moodley: Michel Gondry’s Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? sees the French filmmaker interview Noam Chomsky, while Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known puts Donald Rumsfeld under the microscope.

The festival will also screen an eight-film retrospective on the work of Robert Altman.

A special 40th anniversary restoration of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre will be screened as part of the festival festivities on Friday the 13th of June at the Skyline Drive-In.

The full program for the 61st Sydney Film Festival will be announced May 7.

SFF runs from June 4 to the 15th.

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz get freaky in the trailer for ‘Sex Tape’

SEX TAPE

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz fall victim to the cloud in the trailer for their upcoming comedy Sex Tape.

In the flick, they play a married couple trying to rekindle their passionate spark by recording their lovemaking.

Problem is, by using their tablet to tape the shenanigans, they accidentally upload it to the cloud and onto the iPads they recently gifted their family and friends.

(How rich is this couple that they’re just giving away iPads?)

Diaz and Segel previously starred together in Bad Teacher, also directed by Jake Kasdan.

The flick, featuring Rob Lowe, Ellie Kemper, Rob Corddry and Jack Black in supporting roles, hits cinemas in July.

This is a red band trailer, so you know the drill, kids: avert your eyes!

Ben Stiller in talks for stripper drama ‘I Am Chippendales’

Stiller

Ben Stiller is in early talks to take a lead role in Alan Ball’s stripper drama I Am Chippendales.

According to Deadline, Stiller would play the choreographer who turned the all-male dance revue into a internationally recognised phenomenon.

Before you begin picturing Stiller in the tearaway pants, Magic Mike style, it’s worth noting the dark undercurrent to this true tale.

‘Chippendales’ founder Steve Banerjee would go on to hire a hitman to take out his choreographer after becoming intensely paranoid.

Ball, who won the Original Screenplay Oscar for American Beauty, is shopping the project around as a potential directorial project, with The Weinstein Company close to picking up the rights.

Talk Hard – Sam Lloyd and Robert Maschio (Scrubs), Enough Said

Quickflix critic Simon Miraudo dons a hospital gown and catches up with Scrubs stars/Oz Comic-Con guests Sam Lloyd and Robert Maschio. Stay tuned for a review of new release Enough Said, now available from Quickflix.

Sam Lloyd and Robert Maschio


Show Notes:

Cheers for tuning in!

Please tell your friends to subscribe to us on iTunes and feel free to leave a review. Or, follow our RSS feed.

Remember to send all thoughts, comments, feedback, and general well-wishes to talkhard@quickflix.com.au

You can contact me directly on Twitter: @simonmiraudo.

Thanks to Blue Ducks for our theme, “Four, Floss, Five, Six.” You can find more of their work at www.recordsonribs.com

A special thanks to RTRFM for their recording facilities.

Play It Again – Fargo

Fargo

By Glenn Dunks
April 2, 2014

Play It Again is a weekly feature in which our classic-film connoisseurs revisit a revered motion picture from the annals of movie history, to see if it holds up… or if it has aged terribly. And yes, it takes its name from a famously misquoted Casablanca line. Hey, whatever. It fits!

It’s easy to underestimate the skill behind Joel Coen’s Fargo. Deceptive in its storytelling choices, economical with its plotting, and sly with its dialogue, this Oscar winner is truly incredible. It’s stood the test of nearly 20 years, and will continue to do so thanks to its roll call of fabulous performances, cold yet alluring cinematography, and a wickedly comic screenplay. Inspired in part by the groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks, Fargo itself has proven to be an influential and important work.

Fargo – which falsely claims to be based on a true story – follows the botched kidnapping of a wife and mother in Minnesota by Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare). Hired by the woman’s husband (William H. Macy), and eventually trailed by seven-months pregnant police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), the bungled ransom job has, in reality, born multiple television pilots and even inspired urban legends of people travelling to find the missing case of cash.

Fargo

There is so much to enjoy about Fargo, but without the performance of McDormand it’s unlikely the movie would be held in quite as high esteem. Despite not appearing until 30-minutes into the proceedings, her effective and charming take-charge attitude makes her one of cinema’s greatest characters. In the kind of strong female role that many decry Hollywood for not producing enough of, McDormand is funny, but also tough, and written so wonderfully by Joel and Ethan Coen it’s easy to forget she’s only around for two thirds of the runtime.

Despite the similarities between Coen productions involving blood, limbs, violence, and greed, there’s a refreshing deftness to the material that hasn’t changed since its 1996 premiere at Cannes. Unlike some of the Coens’ other features, and cinema in general in the years since, Fargo doesn’t allow its nastiness to take over. Despite its themes, it’s an illuminating picture that suggests things about people a cheaper, more shock-oriented filmmaker may have been more inclined to ignore in favourite of a nihilistic game of grotesque one-upmanship. It remains the Coen brothers best films and one of the best films period.

5/5

Fargo is available on Quickflix.

Felt again – Muppets Most Wanted review

Muppets Most Wanted

By Simon Miraudo
April 1, 2014

In 2011, Jim Henson’s long-retired felt friends The Muppets were welcomed back to the big screen warmly by kids and kids-at-heart alike. In 2014, The Muppets’ inevitable sequel is met with all the anticipation of a forgotten appointment: “Oh, was that today?” There are a few possible reasons Muppets Most Wanted received such a muted reaction ahead of its release (ultimately translating to a dull box office tally in the United States). Perhaps it was the reminder that a parade of awful Muppet sequels was exactly what killed the franchise in the first place. Perhaps it was the perceived watering-down of the prestige “movie” status following the exit of Jason Segel and Amy Adams, and their replacement with ‘famous from TV!’ talent Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell. Or maybe it’s simply that nostalgia can only be tapped for critical and commercial gain when those doing the fond remembering have had time to miss what’s being sold. Kermit, Miss Piggy, and company are, so to speak, part of the furniture once more.

It’s true that, without the sense of rediscovery, Muppets Most Wanted lacks much of what made The Muppets feel so special, joyful, eventful. Yet, in a lot of ways, Muppets Most Wanted is the better picture. It’s not burdened with the unenviable task of having to spend much of its running time reuniting the fallen-out puppets, isn’t beholden to reprising ‘The Rainbow Connection’, and, most significantly, (thanks to the slightly-less-stellar human cast), puts its titular creatures back in the center of proceedings. There are also some new songs courtesy of Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, even more earwormy than his last batch. His late-seventies sensibility is a perfect fit, and his musical numbers make the movie worthwhile alone. That could be read as a dismissal of everything else on display. Please don’t read it that way.

Muppets Most Wanted

Director James Bobin (of the Conchords TV show) also returns, working from a script he penned with Nicholas Stoller. They don’t bother much with making excuses for their latest venture, its entire existence shrugged away in jaunty opening jingle ‘We’re Doing A Sequel’. With the Muppets internationally famous again, they are encouraged by sinister British manager Dominic Badguy (Gervais) to take their undercooked variety show on the road. Their world tour gets off to an inauspicious start when criminal masterfrog and prison escapee Constantine (Matt Vogel) fools the authorities into arresting his doppelgänger, Kermit. Constantine, barely masking his Eastern European accent, installs himself as leader of the easily-fooled Muppets, enacting elaborate heists while his troupe is busy on stage in Berlin, Madrid, and London. Meanwhile, the real Kermit suffers in a Siberian prison run by Fey’s warden Nadya and occupied by Danny Trejo. The most appealing and playful of the human cast, Fey is gifted the Carole Bayer Sager-esque musical number ‘The Big House’, a major highlight. Muppets Most Wanted is handily the funniest film ever set at a Russian gulag.

The catchiest track, however, belongs to Constantine, who woos Miss Piggy with the Hall & Oates soundalike slow-jam ‘I’ll Get You What You Want’. She spends much of Muppets Most Wanted trying to get Kermit/Constantine to acquiesce and marry her already. (No mention is made of her former career as editor of French Vogue.) I have to say I was weirdly concerned with the way in which Bobin and Stoller so happily reduced the fiercely independent Piggy to a wouldbe bridezilla. That said, her Marlene Dietrich-inspired outfits are pretty remarkable and she does get to perform the show-stopping ‘Something So Right’ with Celine Dion. That has to count for something.

Muppets Most Wanted

Listing the remaining cameos would be wasteful, so the only other human star I’ll mention is Burrell as an outrageous French Interpol officer, not so much paying homage to Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau as he is Steve Martin’s. The low-key Gervais isn’t nearly as mischievous; funny, kind of, just not ‘Muppet funny’. Muppets Most Wanted, mercifully, is ‘Muppet funny’; goofy and shameless and irresistible because of it. (The running joke is that the kind of humour favoured by the Muppets themselves – puns, explosions, chickens – is largely despised by their audience, Statler and Waldorf included. Still, they do find space for a smart Seventh Seal gag…)

Bobin’s staging is a little flat, as it was in the predecessor, though his direction comes to life in the peppy music videos littered throughout. The increased presence of previously underserved supporting players Scooter, Sam Eagle, Rizzo the Rat, and the rest was certainly appreciated. They’re all performed wonderfully by Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, and David Rudman; Whitmire and Jacobson being better mimics of iconic puppeteers Henson and Frank Oz than Constantine is of Kermit. The Muppets may not be as wanted as they once were – even just three years ago – but there’s still some dumb laughs and sweet tales of friendship to be found in this ragtag group of old-fashioned show-puppets.

4/5

Check out Simon Miraudo’s archive of reviews.

Muppets Most Wanted arrives in VIC/QLD cinemas April 3, 2014. It arrives in ACT/NSW/SA/WA/TAS/NT cinemas April 10, 2014.

Anatomically incorrect – Nurse review

Nurse

By Richard Haridy
April 1, 2014

Nurse is one of those modern, pre-fabricated cult movies like The Human Centipede or Sharknado, designed to be talked about amongst friends though never truly satisfying as a genuinely interesting piece of exploitation cinema.

The picture (inspired by the photography of Tim Palen, production company Lionsgate’s chief marketing officer) introduces us to homicidal nurse Abby (Paz de la Huerta), a killer who preys on cheating men. Abby becomes obsessed with new graduate nurse Danni (30 Rock‘s Katrina Bowden) and, after being shunned by her, begins exacting a revenge that includes sex, blackmail, murder and a contrived backstory.

Nurse

The big hook of Nurse is de la Huerta and much of the magnificently fetishistic promotional images play up her exploitation charms. Her disaffected presence and monotone narration is admittedly frequently compelling. She’s an intriguing presence – a bizarre blend of conscious self-parody and authentic lack of talent. Some of her line deliveries are so astoundingly misguided they veer into campy brilliance. Director Doug Aarniokoski knows exactly how to use her unique “skills” but the flick frequently hides its lack of ideas with a conscious “we’re making a bad film on purpose” vibe.

After a strong, well paced first half, Nurse becomes increasingly uninteresting as its focus shifts away from Abby to Danni, transitioning into a conventional Fatal Attraction-styled thriller. Bowden does competent work, despite her character being bland and one-dimensional. A project like this needs escalating wackiness and here we simply get a bland movement into formulaic territory. The gleefully gory final 15 minutes do certainly compensate for many of Nurse‘s shortcomings, serving up a bonkers bloodbath jammed with limb chopping, endless cat fights, anachronistically jaunty music, and an obscene volume of redder-than-red blood. Is it enough to make a viewing worthwhile? I’m not so sure.

Originally presented in 3D, Nurse’s pulpy heritage is still notably present from the cavalcade of sharp things pointed at the viewer to the obsessive way the camera leers over de la Huerta’s shapely figure. Nurse certainly has enough nudity, gore and camp to satisfy most viewers. However, in the end it’s not creative enough to be the true trash classic it so clearly wants to be.

2.5/5

Nurse will be available from Quickflix on April 9, 2014.

Rebel yell – Ginger and Rosa review

Ginger and Rosa

By Jess Lomas
April 1, 2014

In Sally Potter’s Ginger and Rosa, two best friends learn forever may not be as long as they’d always thought it would be. Set in London while the Cuban Missile Crisis is in full swing, best friends Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) yearn to escape their repressive mothers and the domestic boredom they want no part of. Growing up the girls have done everything together, but as Ginger becomes increasingly preoccupied with the potential end of the world and attending ban the bomb rallies, Rosa focuses more on her developing sexuality.

Despite the title, this is Ginger’s story, told from her point of view as the threat of nuclear war collides with her disintegrating family. There’s her fragile mother Natalie (Christina Hendricks) and radical writer father Roland (Alessandro Nivola), whose unremitting fighting leads to a separation. Ginger’s godfather Mark (Timothy Spall), his partner – also named Mark (Oliver Platt) – and their houseguest, activist Bella (Annette Bening), make up the rest of Ginger’s support network, begging her to be content as a carefree girl a little while longer. Yet, the problems of 1962 weigh on Ginger’s shoulders, especially when she is forced to keep a secret of her father’s; something she believes will cause the end of the world for everyone she loves if admitted out loud.

Ginger and Rosa

The film nails the transitional period of the era, perfectly blending the bland and understated post World War II decor and attitudes with the burgeoning Swinging Sixties looming on the horizon. Even within Ginger and Rosa’s relationship there is evidence of this, with the girls content to share a beige wardrobe early in the feature before Rosa transitions to all black, complete with eye liner and Brigitte Bardot hair. These are the subtleties that impress on reflection, and, in an otherwise competently layered story, it is only the main and incredibly predictable plot development with Ginger’s father that weakens the overall impact of the movie.

This is a tepid drama, riding on the shoulders of a truly breakout performance from Fanning. Her understated and beautiful interpretation of the fragility of teenage friendships and the heartache that can occur as girls become women is made only more impressive by her age during production, a mere 14 years old. Ginger and Rosa is a small flick that reminds audiences how exciting it is to see raw and sincere performances despite what kind of package they’re delivered in.

3.5/5

Ginger and Rosa will be available from Quickflix on April 2, 2014.

Talk Hard – Olaf Boggleson, The Boney Instrument, Pelvis Season 4

Simon Miraudo and RTRFM host Peter Barr talk up April 1st’s finest releases: Olaf Boggleson’s biopic on the life of Icelandic poet Borg Romulanson; YA sensation Daphne Zuniga and the Boney Instrument, and, of course, Season 4 of Pelvis.

Olaf


Show Notes:

Thanks for listening!

Please tell your friends to subscribe to us on iTunes and feel free to leave a review. Or, follow our RSS feed.

Remember to send all thoughts, comments, feedback, and general well-wishes to talkhard@quickflix.com.au

You can contact me directly on Twitter: @simonmiraudo.

Thanks to Blue Ducks for our theme, “Four, Floss, Five, Six.” You can find more of their work at www.recordsonribs.com

A special thanks to RTRFM for their recording facilities.

‘Frozen’ becomes highest grossing animated film of all time; 10th biggest overall

Frozen

Frozen, unwilling to end its reign atop the box office charts, just broke another record.

This past weekend, it overtook Toy Story 3 to become the highest grossing animated film of all time.

It now sits in tenth place overall, with $1.072 billion in the bank.

There is a chance it could rise a few more spots depending on how it continues to fare in Asia (Japan, Korea, and China were among the last markets for the Disney behemoth to open in, and, spoiler alert, they are loving it).

It will be available from Quickflix on April 30.

Keira Knightley sings for Mark Ruffalo in ‘Begin Again’ trailer

begin again

Keira Knightley shows off her pipes in the trailer for musical dramedy Being There, previously titled Can A Song Save Your Life?

She plays a recently-dumped songstress taken under the wing of a recently-fired music exec (Mark Ruffalo).

Though the trailer looks pretty unremarkable, reviews out of Tribeca were largely positive, and the pedigree behind and in-front of the camera is enticing.

First up, you’ve got Once director John Carney at the helm, as well as Judd Apatow acting as executive producer.

Throw Hailee Steinfeld, Mos Def, James Corden, and Catherine Keener into the cast, and you’ve got yourself a stew going.

Begin Again arrives in cinemas August 7, 2014.

Warner Bros. spinning ‘Harry Potter’ off-shoot ‘Fantastic Beasts’ into trilogy

J.K. Rowling

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara has plans for three new Harry Potter spin-offs based on J.K. Rowling’s ‘Hogwarts textbook’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

In a lengthy profile by the New York Times, the previously announced Fantastic Beasts adaptation is revealed to be in the works as a brand new trilogy.

Rowling penned the spin-off, set seven decades before the events of the main Harry Potter saga, in 2001.

The protagonist of the new film trilogy will be “magizoologist” Newt Scamander.

Rowling is working on the script for at least one of those feature films.

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