Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Releases (03/11)

Opening in Australian cinemas on Thursday are five releases. Though I did enjoy Bill Cunningham New York, this is a pretty uninteresting week. The other films are Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Anonymous, Our Idiot Brother and I Don't Know How She Does It.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - While architect Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) restore their Gothic mansion's period interiors, Alex's young daughter Sally (Bailee Madison) is free to investigate the macabre history and dark corners of the estate. Spurring Sally's investigation are the voices and rasping whispers who call out to her from the basement and promise understanding and friendship. They are also hungry and would like to be set free. When Sally gives in to her curiosity, she opens a hellish underworld, and in her attempts to warn the household, finds out that no-one believes her. Guillermo Del Toro is involved in this horror re-make, but it stars Katie Holmes. This might provide a few creepy moments, but is probably not required viewing.

Our Idiot Brother - Every family has one: the sibling who is always a little behind the curve when it comes to getting his life together. For sisters Liz (Emily Mortimer), Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), that person is their perennially upbeat brother Ned (Paul Rudd), a kind-hearted organic farmer whose willingness to rely on the honesty of mankind is a less-than-optimum strategy for a tidy, trouble-free existence. Ned may be utterly lacking in common sense, but he is their brother and so, after his girlfriend dumps him and boots him off the farm, his sisters once again come to his rescue. This is gentle, heartwarming film with a likeable protagonist with respectable values, but it's all a bit ho-hum and not particularly memorable. Still, it is amusing and the film balances a lot of characters quite well. 3/5 

Anonymous - I haven't spoken to anyone that has been interested about this film. Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer. The poor international reception has resulted in the film being pulled from a number of screens here. It has not fared well critically either. With Roland Emerich, a man obsessed with the end of the world and responsible for one of the worst films of all time (10, 000 B.C), at the helm, this comes as no surprises.

Bill Cunningham New York - "We all get dressed for Bill," says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. The man in question is Bill Cunningham, the New York Times photographer, who for decades has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirees for the Times Style section in his columns "On the Street" and "Evening Hours." Cunningham's enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair. In turn Bill Cunningham New York is a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace. I enjoyed this immensely. 4/5 

I Don't Know How She Does It - Follows a Boston-based working mother (Sarah Jessica Parker) desperately trying to juggle marriage, children and a high-stress job. This will have plenty of corny, unfunny moments, an office fling, a stressful period with the protagonist's husband, and plenty of 'tough female' themed montages. Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan co-star. No.

Weekly Recommendation: Check out Bill Cunningham New York. It's light, sweet, relatively short and will leave you feeling happy. Our Idiot Brother seems to be the best of the rest. But Drive, Warrior and Midnight in Paris are all still in cinemas. If Bill Cunningham doesn't interest you, turn there. 


  1. Sorry for this week of release. All of these movies sound atrocious.

  2. Yeah. I wasn't overly excited about this week. I saw ANONYMOUS last night. It was interesting. Features a convoluted and confusing plot that doesn't just examine the theory that the Shakespeare credited with all of the master works was a fraud, but that the actual playwright was a man of royalty and surrounded by a seemingly endless array of scandals, and political ploys. It's ridiculous, and becomes more and more unconvincing, but it does have all of Emmerich's trademark blockbuster flairs (big budget production design, stunning costumes and cinematography). But, overall, it's an intermittently entertaining slog.