Lady Macbeth Anything but a Dozy Period Drama

Lusty, dark, shocking, subversive: all words you will see used to describe the new film by director William Oldroyd, Lady Macbeth.  This gothic tale of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who  turns to sex, manipulation and  ultimately violence to escape from her confines, is also quiet, beautiful, thought provoking and intelligent.  For lovers of period drama expecting another Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice or even Jane Eyre, maybe this is not the film for you.  Even if you are unaware of the novel this film is based off, the Shakespearean reference to Lady Macbeth in the title will send warning bells, leading a tenseness to the beginning of the film which starts slowly and gently, but always hinting, whispering of the violence to come.

Continue reading

Karel Zeman: Fantasy and Technology

I am not a huge fan of CGI.  I certainly has its place, but give me some puppets and a bit of whimsical animation and I’ll be over the moon.  Even when it looks outdated it still holds it’s own a lot better than outdated CGI.  And there is something beautiful about the work that goes into creating puppets animation and elaborate sets and costumes.  However, like the skills used to build the pyramids, some animation and special effects are now a mystery to us.  One such example is the magical combination of live action, animation and puppetry used by Czechoslovakian director Karel Zeman.  The secrets of his craft are so fascinating that they are now the focus of a documentary Film Adventurer Karel Zeman.  In this documentary film students attempt to remake three of the most famous of Zeman’s scenes.  Zeman’s fascination with Jules Verne highlights his own desire for adventure and exploration in the world of film making and special effects.  His choices of subject are brave and perfect for the experimentation of his field.  Never one to back down from a challenge, Zeman accepted a bet to create an animation using glass, resulting in the film Inspirace 1948.
Continue reading

All Dressed Up

Rosalie Ham was born in Jerilderie, NSW.  Haven’t heard of it? Me neither.  Yes, Rosalie Ham knows about small town Australian living, and it isn’t pretty.  Her novel The Dressmaker has been made into a film that has just been released in cinemas across Australia starring the insatiable force, Kate Winslet, the heart-throb Liam Hemsworth, the show-stealing Judy Davis and our beloved Hugo Weaving, reprising a variation of his fantastic role in Pricilla Queen of the Desert. Continue reading

Three Movies You Shouldn’t Watch with a Cold

Spring is finally arriving here in the Southern Hemisphere, and hopefully with it the end of flu season.  For those followers in the Northern Hemisphere I have some wize advice for you as you head into the cold dark depths of Winter, as learnt from my own experience.  Here I have compiled a list of three films that I watched while under the foggy influence of a particularly bad cold, and deeply regret.  Here are three films not to watch in the middle of Winter when you are unwell (but at any other time proceed with caution). Continue reading

What’s the Catch?

When both a book, and the film based on it, are highly praised, it is always a dilemma to decide which to indulge in first.  The general rule is that you should read the book first, but often it works out the other way around.  Often it is watching the film that first inspires us to pick up the book.  Especially if that book is particularly dense or long, the knowledge that we know and love where it is headed can give you the extra push through the difficult passages.  If I watch a film and then read the book I am always left wondering how I would have pictured the characters had I not already had a particular actor or actress in my head.  If I read the book first I wonder if I would have been less critical about the film if I wasn’t constantly comparing it to the book. Continue reading