The closing night film this year was the Sophie Fiennes Directed documentary 'Grace Jones : Bloodlight and Bami'. IMDB summarises the noted film which also opened the Documentary section at TIFF earlier this year, as 'larger than life, wild, scary and androgynous - Grace Jones plays all these parts. Yet here we also discover her as a lover, daughter, mother, sister and even grandmother, as she submits herself to our gaze and allows us to understand what constitutes her mask.' It goes on to say 'in Jamaican patois, 'Bloodlight' is the red light that illuminates when an artist is recording and 'Bami' means bread, the substance of daily life. 'Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami' weaves together the layers of Grace Jones' public and private life, as she moves effortlessly between different facets: she is gypsy, artist and partying hedonist, warm and funny but also a fierce and tenacious businesswoman.'
In terms of official competition winners and grinners, these are :
2017 Adelaide Film Festival International Best Feature Fiction Award, presented to :
* 'I Am Not A Witch' closed TIFF this year, was shown in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes this year, and is the highly acclaimed Directorial debut of Zambian born Welsh raised Director and Screenwriter Rungano Nyoni. Telling the story of a nine year old orphan girl Shula (newcomer Maggie Mulubwa) who, following a banal incident in the village where she lives, is accused of witchcraft. After a hasty trial at which she is found guilty, she is banished and exiled to a camp in the middle of the nowhere desert, with mostly elderly women 'witches'. At the camp her initiation ceremony is where she is shown the rules surrounding her new life as a witch. Like the other resident witches, Shula is tied by a ribbon which is attached to a coil that is tethered to a large tree. She is told that should she ever cut the ribbon, she'll be cursed and transformed into a goat. Combining magic realism, social commentary and a deadpan sense of humour it is the talented cast of no-name Actors that persuaded the Jury, that this was the standout winner.
2017 Adelaide Film Festival Flinders University International Best Documentary Award, presented to :
* 'Taste of Cement' is Directed by Ziad Kailhoum in only his second documentary feature film outing, and was Written by him too. This film poignantly paints a picture of construction workers in exile. Described as an empathetic encounter with people who have lost their past and their future, locked in the recurring present. Here the Director has crafted a documentary of Syrian construction workers building new skyscrapers overlooking the city of Beirut out of the ruins created by the Lebanese civil war. At the same time their own homes are being bombed back in Syria. A curfew prohibits them from leaving the construction site after the days work is finished and so every night in their meagre and makeshift dwelling below the skyscraper the news from their homeland, the memories of the war and what they left behind plague them. Mute and imprisoned in the cement underground, they must endure until the new day arrives where the hammering and welding drowns out their nightmares, unable to construct any sort of life for themselves . . . only others, and in a country where they are alienated, unwanted and disenfranchised from society.
2017 AFTRS (Australian Film, Television and Radio School) International VR Award, presented to :
* 'Nothing Happens' Directed and Written by Michelle and Uri Kranot, this twelve minute animated short Virtual Reality film presents a new way of looking. It's a film about spectatorship, about watching and being watched. Its about being present.
Turning attention back to this week then, there are six new films to tease that movie going dollar from out of your wallet. We launch with a Norwegian set serial killer thriller chiller based on one of a hugely popular collection of novels; then we go to the mother of all cataclysmic climatic conditions that promises to wreak storm and tempest down on an unsuspecting world that only one humble man can prevent; before moving onto a Victorian England horror offering of murder most foul at the hands of a legendary creature. We then go to a RomCom featuring a recently separated Mum of forty getting all jiggy with a twenty something year old lodger lad with far reaching consequences; and up next is a doco of the 1,200 mile pilgrimage of eleven Tibetans that takes seven months to traverse on foot, while lying down prone on the ground every seven or eight paces or so out of their faith and devotion to their God. We then wrap up with an animated feature of a young lads journey to connect with his long last Dad, and discovering more than he bargained for when he eventually does.
Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the six latest release films as Previewed below, or those doing the rounds currently on general release and as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog Posts here at Odeon Online, you are here cordially invited to share your movie going thoughts, opinions and observations by leaving your relevant, succinct and appropriate views in the Comments section below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and in the meantime, enjoy your big screen Odeon experience during the coming week.
'THE SNOWMAN' (Rated MA15+) - here we have the first in what may turn out to be new film franchise for this Norwegian crime fighting detective Harry Hole, based on the Oslo Crime Squad character created by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo in the popular series of novels that have been translated into forty languages and having sold over thirty million copies worldwide. Harry Hole appears in eleven novels so far, first launched in 1997 with 'The Bat', taking us up to 2017 with the release of 'The Thirst'. 'The Snowman' upon which this film is based is the seventh book in the series and was published in 2007. This film is Directed by Tomas Alfredson, whose previous Directing credits include the acclaimed 'Let The Right One In' and 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'.
Research reveals that Harry Hole (here portrayed by Micahel Fassbender) is a brilliant and driven detective prone to using unorthodox methods in his work, a classic loose cannon in the police force. Hole is unmarried and he has few close friends. He frequently makes enemies among his colleagues who, nevertheless, grudgingly respect him. He is a chain smoker and heavy drinker, although for the most part has his reliance on alcohol under control. The effects of his problems however, sometimes bring him into repeated conflict with his superiors, and some colleagues. Hole is also one of just a handful in the force to have undertaken special interrogation techniques and firearms training with the FBI. In this story Hole investigates the disappearance of a female victim during the first snowfall of Winter. He soon deduces that a serial killer, known as 'The Snowman' may be responsible and active only during the season. He teams up with talented recruit Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) and together the pair must trawl through decades old cold cases to connect the dots to the latest killing spree if he is to thwart this elusive killer before another grisly murder is carried out. The film also stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones, Chloe Sevigny and James D'Arcy, has so far taken US$9M and has garnered less than favourable Reviews.
'GEOSTORM' (Rated M) - here Dean Devlin Co-Writes, Co-Produces and for the first time Directs this Sci-Fi disaster action film that was made for a budget of US$81M with principal photography beginning three years ago in October 2014. Come late 2015 and test screenings met with a generally poor response resulting in extensive reshoots occurring in late 2016 and into early 2017 with the added bonus of new Producer Jerry Bruckheimer coming on board to deliver the film that is released this week. Set in the near future when a bunch of satellites circle our planet controlling the weather conditions, it only takes an unforeseen malfunction to see the worlds climatic circumstances change with cataclysmic consequences. It takes Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) to don his space suit and launch himself headlong into the outer reaches to fix the problem with the satellites that he designed in the first place, before a storm event takes place like no other the world has ever seen. The film also stars Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia and Abbie Cornish.
'THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM' (Rated MA15+) - this British horror mystery film is Directed by Juan Carlos Medina, based on the 1994 novel 'Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem' written by Peter Ackroyd. The film had its world premier at TIFF way back in September 2016, and was only released in the UK on 1st September this year and now gets its limited Australian release this week. The story unfolds when a series of murders occurs in the Limehouse district of east London in Victorian England. These deaths shake the local community who believe that a mythical creature from the dark days - the legendary Golem - must be responsible. Leaving cryptic messages written in the blood of its victims, Scotland Yard assignes the case to Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy), a seasoned detective, who is determined to crack the case. With a list of suspects narrowed down from a diary of the Golem's crimes supposedly hand written by the Golem itself, Kildare must rely of his sense of detection, the help of witnesses, and his instincts to bring the supposed Golem to justice and put an end to the murders. Also starring Eddie Marsan, Olivia Cooke, and Douglas Booth. The film has so far taken less than US$2M despite generally favourable Reviews.
'HOME AGAIN' (Rated M) - this RomCom is Directed by first timer Hallie Meyers-Shyer and Written by her too and stars Reece Witherspoon as Alice Kinney a recently separated mother of two young children who has relocated back to Los Angeles and moved in with her mother Lilian Stewart (Candice Bergen) and has designs on establishing her own interior design business. About to celebrate turning the BIG 4-Oh! Alice meets Harry, George and Teddy (Pico Alexander, Jon Rudnitski and Nat Wolff respectively) three aspiring film makers who all need some place to live. Alice decides to let the three men reside in the guesthouse temporarily, but complications soon begin to manifest themselves when Alice and Harry begin an affair and her new found freedom and happiness is on the verge of collapse when her ex-husband Austen (Michael Sheen) arrives on her doorstep carrying a suitcase. The film cost US$12M to make and has so far grossed US$30M and has garnered average Reviews since its Stateside release in early September.
'PATHS OF THE SOUL' (Rated PG) - this Chinese film was Written, Produced and Directed by Zhang Yang are premiered at TIFF back in 2015, before being presented an numerous film festivals on the circuit over the following two years or so. The film was released in China in June this year, and has been highly acclaimed by Critics and audiences alike. The film chronicles the journey of eleven ordinary Tibetans as they take the cross country pilgrimage of twelve hundred miles from their home village to Lhasa, prostrating themselves on the ground every seven or eight paces or so along a journey that lasts seven months. An extraordinary story of human devotion, faith and redemption featuring stunning vistas of Tibet through the seasons.
'THE SON OF BIGFOOT' (Rated PG) - is a Belgian and French co-produced CGI animated feature film Directed by acclaimed Belgian animator and CGI artist Ben Stassen, with Jeremy Degruson. This story tells of teenager Adam Harrison (Pappy Faulkner) who sets out on a journey to find his long lost father, only to discover that he is in fact the legendary Bigfoot. He has been in self imposed exile hiding in the forests for years to protect his family and himself from an unscrupulous company who want to exploit Bigfoot's DNA and conduct scientific experiments on him. As father and son begin to bond, young Adam discovers that like his father, he has been gifted with super powers that include being able to converse with animals. However, it's not long before the company who have been tracking Adam's whereabouts, close in on father and son with potentially dire consequences for them both. The film has met with critical acclaim for its top notch CGI animation, story telling, and production values. A film for kids of all ages.
With six new release films this week to tempt you out to your local Odeon, taking in a snowbound serial killer crime thriller; the mother of all weather conditions; a Victorian England horror mystery; a RomCom; a prostrating pilgrimage; and a family friendly animated feature suitable for kids of all ages. Remember to share your movie going thoughts with your other like minded cinephiles afterwards here at Odeon Online, and meanwhile, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-