Weekend Round-Up – Cine-City’s Big Weekend!
This weekend was a mammoth of one for me, not so much in the quantity but the quality of films seen was amazing.
Cine-City is now over the halfway mark. And the fatigue is now replaced with a sadness for I see the end now. In fact I am only going to be able to attend 2 films this week, which is a shocker after the attendance I was able to put in last week
But what a week? And What about the weekend?
It has been fantastic, I have been truly blessed in being able to attend and also cover it for you all to read. Cine-City have managed to bring film after film that have astounded, delighted and often left this film lover speechless. Cine-City have almost picked up LFF given it a good shake and have hand-picked the best of the mix. I haven’t seen a bad film yet, Sarah Palin was average, but not BAD. The rest have been excellent. And this weekend was no different.
Friday night I went along to a packed out screening of Martha Marcy May Marlene, full of foreign exchange students on a night out, made for quite an atmosphere. Saturday we were presented with Coriolanus, a totally different and much more subdued crowd for this Shakespearean Monster. Finally on Sunday I took Lyn along to a screening of one of my most anticipated films of the year, The Artist, it did not disappoint and it received a huge round of applause from the Brightonian Audience.
Thanks to The Duke of York’s and Cine–City for presenting us a great festival that needs to be listed up there as one of the best events on this countries FILM calender!
Here are my mini reviews of these films…
I bet first time writer/director Sean Durkin is feeling pretty chuffed with himself. Martha Marcy May Marlene (for the rest of the review I will call it MMMM) is a solid, psychological thriller that looks into the harrowing time spent in a hippie like cult/commune by a young woman.
Haunted by dreams and flashbacks of the captivating yet menacing John Hawkes, Elizabeth Olsen in the titular role as Martha is in impressive début form. Martha is a woman who is trying to take control of her identity, but she has been part of a co-op for so long she hasn’t got a clue where to start anymore. Durkin keeps the focus set mainly on the beautiful setting of her sisters lake house. Lucy, played by Sarah Paulson, is the only family member available to Martha when she decides to OPT out of her 2 year cult holiday! The open views of the lake house and the lake itself takes on an almost as menacing role as Hawkes when Martha starts to unravel and loses track of what she is remembering and what she is imagining.
Martha lashes out at her successful brother-in-law, and acting like a looney tune in ways that her uptight older sister simply doesn’t know how to handle. The relationship between the two sisters is compelling and very real. Martha and Lucy have a rich and believavle history. Nothing is ever paved out and explained, we just get the hints of their past from the dialogue and left to fill in the blanks. But this lean and taut screenplay does nothing but improve the set up. The deliberate pacing let’s us in a little at a time, and is totally intentional in the way it does it.
Durkins smooth visual style is also well executed. The colour palette is muted and seem to mirror the cold and alien mental state, she is fractured, broken and numb. The direction seems to come looser as the film goes on and Martha’s mind starts to play tricks on her. Barring some inconsistencies, MMMM is a passable thriller that is tightly constructed. Not the best FIRST DATE film, but it begs to be seen with a friend and talked about after.
Shakespeare wrote many well-loved, and well received plays, Romeo & Juliet or Hamlet for instance. Coriolanus is often seen as one of his lesser known and maybe a little lesser loved plays. So it may seem a strange choice for a directional début of Ralph Fiennes. Although Fiennes has played the titular character on stage, a modern setting for the film, along with directing and acting the lead, may just be too bigger bite.
Fiennes is Casius Martius, the scarred general of a ‘PLACE THAT CALLS ITSELF ROME’. His country is locked in a never-ending battle with it’s neighbour the Volsces, whose leader is Martius’ mortal enemy, Tullus Aufidius, played by Gerard Butler.
There is an initial problem with the film, a small disconnection with the modern warfare setting and the pace and rhythm of Shakespeare’s words. But once this is over come and you allow your inner thespian to rise, there is a lot to be enjoyed here. The supporting cast is all strong, standing out for me was Vanessa Redgrave whose turn as proud and loyal mother that definitely pulls all the strings was an absolute pleasure to watch.
The early battle sequence feels very real and it is hard to imagine this play being done in a NON modern setting, well it is for this philistine. The harsh cruelty of war is depicted so clearly here, with Fiennes spattered in enemies blood, innocent civilians bodies litter the streets. For a directional début, Fiennes shows he has got some real talent behind the camera as well as in front of it. My one problem is the strange use of BBC news clips to help the narrative along, it felt a bit misplaced.
Fiennes has succeeded here in both roles. His direction was slick and well thought out and his strong performance was truly captivating to behold. His take on Coriolanus is the perfect protagonist, he is so easy to dislike but so engaging to watch.
I wasn’t too sure on whether I was going to like this film, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. I am the first to admit that I am not the best at keeping up with Shakespearean tongue, but with a small amount of concentration, and a cast as impressive as is on show here, it is a film that vastly enjoyable. It will stay with you for days.
The ArtistTITLE – THE ARTIST YEAR – 2011 DIRECTOR – MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS CAST – JEAN DUJARDIN, BERENICE BEJO, JOHN GOODMAN WRITER – MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS
Inventive, imaginative and ultimately challenging, The Artist is an almost silent film about the advent of talking pictures and their effect on the silent stars. Set and filmed in Hollywood by a french crew headed up by the writer director Michel Hazanavicius.
Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a flamboyant and very charming screen idol. At the première of one of his films, he accidentally bumps into a fun-loving and ambitous young girl be the name of Peppy Miller, played by Bérénice Bejo, and is immediately intrigued by this beauty. She soon gets her BIG break and becomes a headline star, while Valentin is eclipsed by younger stars who are more willing to take on the challenge of ‘THE TALKIES’.
The film echoes many of the old classics, it certainly isn’t breaking new ground. But taking on a silent film, with use of modern techniques, shows us how easy it is to tell a story without any dialogue at all (apart from a few inter-titles).
Dujardin and Bejo are a truly charming pair. The chemistry felt between the duo is almost embarrassing to watch. Dujardin is full of Gallic charm and has a great range of facial expressions and dance moves, he is a cross between Errol Flynn and Fred Astaire. Bejo is so beautiful to look at and is also very adept at comedic acting.
Let us not forget the scene stealing Uggy the Dog. The Jack Russell is at his masters side throughout his spiral from fame to anonymity. Loyal, faithful and heart warming at all times.
The Artist is a comedy, a romance and a drama. it is not only a brilliant homage to an era gone by but it is also a fantastic example of it. I smiled from start to finish.
THIS FILM may not appeal to all, if you are a fan of exploding robots and have the unwillingness to be charmed in an old-fashioned way, then maybe you should find another film. But for everyone else I challenge you to NOT like this film.
[starreview tpl=16 size='30']
Have you seen any of the above movies? What are your most anticipated films? Comment below…