Watch the nightly news as Christies auctions a rare piece of jewellery and you understand the premise of this intelligent movie “The Best Offer”. Like any auction, the anticipation builds as you wait to see where the story ends. The value is unknown despite the best of valuations. The real value is only shown as the hammer falls and all the characters have played their part to acquire the gems.
Antiquities and paintings like a good wine or cheese will always improve with age. The tricks amongst many for capitalising on these collectibles include knowing where to find the most valuable of objects under the dust and shadows and recognising how to spot a fake. Take a trip into the mind of an auctioneer who has learned and perfected this craft and you start to wonder who you can trust your valuables with.
Our story enters the auction world of Virgil Oldman played by Geoffrey Rush. For years he has controlled his auctions and customers in order to manage his distance from the world. With a fear of human connection Virgil is drawn into the art world as his only emotional connection. Even his gloves don’t provide enough of a barrier for the fear of rejection. Geoffrey Rush has come along way since he bounced high and naked enough for an Oscar as David Helfgott in Shine
When Virgil’s world intersects with the broken sanctuary of Claire the fuse is lit. Claire, played by Sylvia Hoeks, has been living for years in her parents villa within hidden compartments behind the walls. A broken young lady, Claire is charged with overcoming her fears in order to sell her parent’s rare treasures. Her greatest challenge is not coming from behind the walls, but deciding whether to trust a man she doesn’t know, a man with an astute eye for beauty and riches.
As the two develop a deep an unerring bond, Virgil is drawn to her vulnerability and confesses to a young engineer called Robert, played by Jim Sturgess. Robert the ‘lad about town’ then helps develop the auctioneer’s confidence and dating skills in order to be able to court Claire. Robert becomes more intertwined in our story as he has been engaged by Virgil to rebuild an antique Animatron made from pieces Virgil finds in Claire’s estate. The mystery of its origin and value provides some mystery to the script as the Animatron comes together like the pieces of a puzzle. Read more ›
The Steve Jobs legacy is still warm. The Apple Company is the richest on the planet and Hollywood couldn’t keep away from the story of the technology buccaneer. The Steve Jobs life is known for the tsunami like waves he rode as well as the ups and downs he created in the lives he touched.
Of course the key to the beginning of this rags to riches story is actually Steve Wozniak played in this movie by Josh Gad. One of the humanising aspects of the movie is the connection between Jobs and Wozniak through both the good and bad. When you start to see the genius of Wozniak combined with the entrepreneurship of Jobs who could dream of what ‘could be’ you realise the potency of this odd chemical recipe.
Sadly Wozniak has come out very critically on the accuracy of the movie script written by newcomer Matt Whitely. That’s not a reflection on Wozniak after all he was there. Where it’s a problem is it continues to beg the question, when is a biographical movie just that and not sculpted and adjusted like a photo-shopped model.
Starting back at the launch of the iPod, the jOBS movie walks us through the tumultuous years of Apple from its inception in the Jobs garage. One of the key points in the Apple story was the appointment of John Sculley the Pepsi marketing genius that assumed the role of Apple CEO only to unseat Jobs from his founder role. Matthew Modine assumes an uncanny likeness to Sculley for the role but makes the character come across as a wuss in the hands of Apple Chairman Arthur Rock played by J. K. Simmons. Dermot Mulroney provides continuity as the earlier venture capitalist Mike Markkula who lifted the apple dream out of Steve Job’s parent’s garage. Read more ›
Wadjda is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun-loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself.
Byzantium brings Vampires to the screen in a more creative way than we’ve seen in the last few years. Movie goers who have become tired of sparkly vampire ghouls and appearances in Scary Movie comedies will find Byzantium a fresh if still dark and gory journey. Originally released last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, the movie has had a very staged release with a variety of critical response.
The setting initially is set with a mother and daughter walking through modern day seemingly on the run avoiding the authorities. Gemma Arterton plays mother Clara with a dark past causing her to become an immortal. As the story unfolds we begin to understand that her daughter Eleanor played by Saoirse Ronan has inherited the trait resulting in a life that has seen them running from the life that initiated their curse. The need to protect her daughter will cause Clara to take violent aggression against any protagonists so be aware that this isn’t for the squeamish.
As Clara and Eleanor try to find peace in a coastal town they cause ripples in the community as their assimilation hits a road bump. Clara tries to raise money in the way her lady of the night experience has worked before. Taking over the Byzantium Hotel and providing prostitute services attracts the wrong kind of attention for the two amongst an eclectic set of characters.
While Eleanor tries her way at normality through the school system its her engagement with local boy, Frank, played by Caleb Landry Jones which starts to cause a misfire in her thinking. Jones who we know as Banshee from X-men First Class does a superb job of assuming the accent needed to take away his Texan drawl. Read more ›
Set in Los Angeles, slightly in the future, “her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. From the unique perspective of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Spike Jonze comes an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world.
Sharknado, starring Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210), Tara Reid (American Pie) and several hundred CGI sharks, tells of a freak hurricane swamping Los Angeles, resulting in ‘water tornadoes’ and thousands of sharks terrorising the waterlogged populace.
Typical of its crazy style, the film will not follow the traditional release plan of a cinema release, a 4 month wait for DVD and VOD, then another 3 – 6 months before its TV screening. Instead, following the cinema screenings, the film will screen on Prime TV in late August, before its DVD and VOD release in October.
In the USA, the film launched on SyFy TV channel, before releasing on VOD platforms, and is now receiving a theatrical release around the country as people rush to see it with large groups of friends. At its peak during the TV launch, the movie was generating 5,000 tweets a minute. With a total 387,000 social mentions, it came just under hitting the social mentions of Game of Thrones’ “Red Wedding” episode. Read more ›
The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.
A damning indictment of corporate greed in the context of the aquatic entertainment industry, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish is a documentary that most definitely beats its drum, though to a rhythm I suspect most viewers are already in synch with. Nobody* likes to see animals exploited and films that expose such behaviour (from faceless corporations no less!) are always going to elicit empathetic cries of “Nooooo!” from the incensed masses (myself included). Then add in the majestic/novelty/cute factor of Orcas and you know a film like this can’t fail to please – unless it is doing something terribly wrong, which Blackfish is not.
The narrative thread around which the issues are presented is the tragic story of the quite possibly borderline psychotic Orca Tilikum. Taken from its pod as a pup then kept in tiny unnatural enclosures with hostile co-occupants and traded between parks this poor creature has been the cause of three seemingly intentional deaths over his time in captivity. Cowperthwaite and co. go to great lengths to show us how Orca life differs in the wild from captivity–probably the best sequences of the film by far–and presents compelling evidence that the two latter deaths need not have occurred if decisions regarding Tilikum weren’t solely based on profit margins. The bulk of the footage is made up of ex-Seaworld trainer talking heads elucidating the situation at Seaworld as they remember it–illustrated via archival recordings–and explaining how their perspective has changed in subsequent years. All are sincere and have the Orcas/dolphins/etc best interests at heart even if they now realise that the ecosystem they fed into is most definitely NOT what is best for these creatures. We are shown how the ‘highly skilled trainers’ of Seaworld and the like start off, for the most part, with no particular background, training, or qualifications related to marine mammals. This is all on the job, corporation derived practice and philosophy; dubious at best. In ways watching this reminded me of Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man about the sincerely deluded Timothy Treadwell working to ‘help the bears’. It is unsurprising given all this that attacks happen and fatalities occur. Read more ›