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thumbnail Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019 USA)

Comedy, Drama, Event, Genre , comments closed

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring:  Luke Perry, Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio
Genre: Drama, comedy
Duration: 120 mins Rated R

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film is a sprawling tale of counterculture California and the final days of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Set in 1969’s LA, the two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a Western TV series and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they no longer recognize, but Rick has a very famous next-door neighbour, Sharon Tate.

Tarantino has said “I’m very excited to tell this story of an LA and a Hollywood that doesn’t exist anymore.” Cinematographer Robert Richardson added, “I think the tone of it is – it’s difficult to describe because it’s very fresh, but it oscillates between humorous, serious, spooky; it’s playful. It’s not easily describable.”

thumbnail Parasite (2019 South Korea)

Comedy, Drama, Event, Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Directors: Joon-ho Bong
Starring: Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo, So-dam Park
Genre:  Drama, thriller, comedy
Duration:  132 mins

Meet the Park family: the picture of aspirational wealth; and the Kim family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide indispensable”luxury services while the Parks give the Kims a way out of their shabby circumstances. But this new ecosystem is fragile, and soon enough greed and class prejudice threaten to upend the Kims’ newfound comfort.

The advertised film, Birds of Passage, was not available.

thumbnail Under the Tree (2018 Iceland)

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Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Starring: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson
Genre: Comedy, drama
Duration: 89 mins

A man is accused of adultery and forced to move in with his parents while he fights for custody of his four-year-old daughter. There he is gradually sucked into a dispute between his parents and their neighbors over an old and beautiful tree. The film’s director, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, has said his inspiration for Under the Tree was Iceland’s high rate of “neighbour rage”: over-the-fence feuds between ordinary respectable people. He skilfully constructs his film as part-thriller, part-intelligent relationship drama, topped with a juicy dollop of savage black comedy.

thumbnail Terror Nullius (2017 Australia)

Comedy, Event, Fantasy, Genre , comments closed

Director: Soda_Jerk
Starring:  Tony Abbott, Angry Anderson, Tom Burlinson
Genre:  Comedy, fantasy, adventure
Duration:  54 mins

Hitch a ride into the dark heart of Australia with Soda_Jerk’s Terror Nullius, a blistering, badly behaved sample-based film that confronts the horror of our contemporary moment. Equal parts political satire, eco-horror and road movie, it’s a rogue remapping of national mythology, where a misogynistic remark is met with the sharp beak of a bird, feminist bike gangs rampage and bicentenary celebrations are ravaged by flesh-eating sheep.
By intricately remixing fragments of Australia’s pop culture and film legacy, Terror Nullius interrogates the unstable entanglement of fiction that underpins this country’s vexed sense of self. Following the success of The Was, their 2016 collaboration with The Avalanches, Soda_Jerk return with a work that’s dark, hopeful, irreverent and urgent. (Formed in Sydney in 2002, Soda_Jerk is a two-person art collective who work at the intersection of documentary and speculative fiction).

thumbnail BlacKkKlansman (2018 USA)

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Director: Spike Lee
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier
Genre: Drama, biography
Duration: 135 mins Rated R

Spike Lee’s Cannes Grand Prix winner is a stranger-than-fiction tale (“based upon some fo’ real, fo’ real shit”) of an African American cop infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1970s. Produced by the team behind Get Out (it was Jordan Peele who brought the story to Lee), BlacKkKlansman slips seamlessly from borderline-absurdist humour to all-too-real horror, conjuring an urgent blend of sociopolitical period satire and contemporary wake-up call.

thumbnail A Man Called Ove (2015 Sweden)

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Director: Hannes Holm
Starring: Rolf Lassgård, Bahar Pars, Filip Berg
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 116 mins

Ove is a widower whose daily visits to his recently deceased wife’s gravesite end with his verbal promise to join her in the afterlife. His failures of self-annihilation are due more to bad timing than botched attempts-he is constantly interrupted by neighbors or some distracting event going on in his housing complex. Priding himself on his reliability, Ove feels compelled to stop killing himself to address each interruption. His clumsy attempts bring him into contact with the Persian family next door, and his growing friendship with them helps him reconnect with life. A heartwarming tale of unreliable first impressions and the gentle reminder that life is sweeter when it’s shared.

thumbnail The Distinguised Citizen (2016 Argentina)

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Directors: Gastón Duprat, Mariano Cohn
Starring: Oscar Martínez, Dady Brieva, Andrea Frigerio
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 118 mins

Taciturn novelist Daniel Mantovani has an ambivalent relationship to fame: it’s brought him the kind of wealth few authors can ever imagine, yet he’s concerned such success means he’s not the challenging writer he was at one time. All this is conveyed in the opening scene when Daniel receives the Nobel prize and voices his fears. Five years later, the Barcelona-based author remains too much in demand, relying on assistant Nuria to politely decline most offers, until he gets a letter from his hometown of Salas, a seven-hour drive from Buenos Aires. It’s been four decades since he’s been back, despite using Salas as the setting for all his stories. To Nuria’s surprise he accepts the invitation to receive the town’s Distinguished Citizen award.
Oscar Martínez (Wild Tales) as Daniel won Best Actor at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.

thumbnail Just to be Sure (2017 France)

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Director: Carine Tardieu
Starring: François Damiens, Cécile de France, Guy Marchand
Genre: Comedy
Duration: 100 mins

In her third feature, director Carine Tardieu and her co-writers build a muted classical comedy of errors that Shakespeare would have recognised. Set in Brittany, the novelty comes in the way the script recognises how science has changed the way we live now – specifically, the DNA test. Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens would have hated the DNA test and the mobile phone for the way they disempower tension in storytelling. However, they can also be used to bring it back. That’s Tardieu’s clever realisation. Erwan Gourmelon is a middle-aged widower with a feisty daughter Juliette, a social worker who got pregnant in a one-night stand, and now she won’t tell him who the father is.

thumbnail On Body and Soul (2017 Hungary)

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Director: Ildikó Enyedi
Starring: Géza Morcsányi, Alexandra Borbély, Zoltán Schneider
Genre: Dramedy
Duration: 116 mins
Rated R

Winner of the Golden Bear at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival.
Hungarian writer-director Ildiko Enyedi (‘My Twentieth Century’) delivers a love story that unfolds both in dreams and an outer world of ostensible normality. An Hungarian abattoir provides the backdrop for an affair between two workers who share the same nightly dream that they are deer wandering a snowy forest. They discover their dreams are shared through Ildikó’s comically preposterous plot mechanism whereby someone in the slaughterhouse has been stealing a special Viagra powder for cattle so each employee must be interrogated by a police psychologist.

thumbnail Perfect Strangers (2015 Italy)

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Director: Paolo Genovese
Starring: Giuseppe Battiston, Anna Foglietta, Marco Giallini
Genre: Drama, comedy
Duration: 97 mins

Named Best Film at the Donatellos, (the Italian Oscars), Perfect Strangers is a hilarious comedy of manners built around mobile phones and the secrets they hold. The perfect strangers are actually seven long-time friends (three couples and one bachelor) who gather one night for a dinner party and agree that no private calls or messaging will disrupt their evening. Instead, in a communal fit of ‘we have nothing to hide’ bravado, they place their phones on the table and all incoming calls and texts are shared with the group. (Letting a caller know they’re on speaker is considered cheating). But what seems at first like an innocent and playful distraction between friends, quickly turns into something more as the messages start to reveal some eye-opening secrets and how little they truly know each other.