FILM REVIEW: Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed (David Trueba, 2013)

Who wouldn’t want to drive to Almeria and chat with John Lennon? Get me a time machine and I’m there. In Living is Easy with Eyes Closed, teacher Antonio San Román (Javier Cámara) uses John Lennon’s lyrics to teach English to his students. One weekend he drives his cute little Fiat to Almeria in an attempt to find Lennon who is shooting a film on location. Antonio picks up a couple of stragglers along the way – first Belén (Natalia de Molina), a young pregnant woman, and then Juanjo (Francesc Colomer), a schoolkid who is sick of his father telling him to cut his Beatles-esque hair. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

FILM REVIEW: Force Majeure

Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund, 2014)

I’m sure everyone would like to think that they would be a hero in a disaster situation, but sometimes the gut instinct is to get the hell out of there and to hell with anyone else. Unfortunately, this is how Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) reacts in the face of an oncoming avalanche on a family skiing holiday to the French Alps, leaving his wife and two children to fend for themselves. Dick move, Tomas. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Force Majeure

FILM REVIEW: Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep (Rowan Joffe, 2014)

Every morning Christine (Nicole Kidman) wakes up with no memory of the past twenty-odd years, as a result of an attack ten years earlier. We’ve seen anterograde amnesia used as a plot device before, in Christopher Nolan’s superb Memento, and in the lighter 50 First Dates. Despite having seen it before, it is still an alluring premise, and one which offers plenty of room for a good twist.

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FILM REVIEW: Whiplash

Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)

I look back fondly on my days in the school concert band, where I did a pretty average job playing clarinet. My friends and I spent more time gossiping and laughing than we did actually playing the right notes. Luckily we didn’t have a cut-throat teacher like the one in this film – but that might partially be because the majority of us were too bad to respond to such motivation.

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MUSICAL REVIEW: Happy People in Concert

Happy People in Concert (2014)

HI-5: THE DARK SIDE. Whenever I think of children’s television/music shows I think of the sketch from Comedy Inc where a faux Hi-5 member sings “Repetition, repetition, let’s sing it again”. The world of children’s entertainment is ripe for comedy gold, and Matthew Lee Robinson has found that gold, and polished it to the nth degree. Continue reading MUSICAL REVIEW: Happy People in Concert

FILM REVIEW: The Judge

The Judge (David Dobkin, 2014)

Robert Downey Jr & Robert Duvall
Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Oh wait, wrong movie. But the trailer still promised us a COURTROOM SHOWDOWN and it delivered. The critics have been a little harsh on The Judge, perhaps unfairly. It was a decent film, though it’s definitely not going to be part of the Oscar race. The Academy likes schmaltz, but you’ve got to be a little more subtle than this.

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FILM REVIEW: The Case Against 8

The Case Against 8 (Ben Cotner, Rob Reiner & Ryan White, 2014)
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_thecaseagainst8_courthouseProposition 8 is a heinous constitutional amendment passed in 2008 that declared that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California”, which nullified all same-sex marriages that had previously occurred in the state. The Case Against 8 documents the battle of the good guys – the legal team that sought to overturn this shitty amendment.  Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Case Against 8

FILM REVIEW: Obvious Child

Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre, 2014)

Jenny Slate
Jenny Slate

I anticipate that most viewers will either love or hate Obvious Child, but most would-be-haters will probably avoid it in the first place, unless they like to hate-watch things that make them angry. Obvious Child has been described as a ‘subversive rom-com’ due to its controversial subject matter. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Obvious Child

FILM REVIEW: Marina

Marina (Stijn Coninx, 2013)
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_italianfilm_marina_poster_oddchoiceMy pick of the Italian Film Festival was Marina, a biopic about a young Italian man who endures (moderate) hardship and racism to finally become what surely every young boy dreams of becoming… A FAMOUS ACCORDION PLAYER! If that doesn’t impress the girls, I don’t know what will. It wasn’t your average biopic in that sense, but it was a successful one.

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MUSICAL REVIEW: Once

Once (Melbourne Theatre Company & John Frost, 2014)
clairestbearestreviews_musicalreview_theatrereview_once_australia_stageEveryone raves about Once. Based on the 2006 film which won an Oscar for best song, Once opened to critical and commercial acclaim on Broadway in 2012, going on to win eight Tony awards, including best musical. I’ve only ever heard good things about it. And despite all that, I still wasn’t that pumped to see it. But I was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading MUSICAL REVIEW: Once