Classic Reviews

08 August, 2011

The Last Circus.....

Screening 23rd June 2011 at Cinema Nova, Melbourne.

 - Masterfully mad and hilarious all at once.

The Last Circus is a madcap, melodramatic Spanish Drama by Director Álex de la Iglesia winning the coveted Golden Bear at the Venice Film Festival, 2010.

The film commands your attention from the 'get go' with the opening scenes a dramatic montage of war and key events throughout modern history which is combined with a jarring film score that leaves you wondering what this film is all about.

The film begins with Javier (Carlos Areces) as a young boy during the 2nd World War, looking for his father, a circus performer and clown who has been captured by the Gestapo. The untimely death of his father (preceded by some words of wisdom from said father) suggest that Javier is destined to follow in his father's footsteps.

Carolina Bang (the director's partner) stars as the object of affection for two members of the Circus. Carolina is Natalia, the contorionist who dates the sadistically violent Sergio (actor Antonio de la Torre) the happy clown and is pursued by Javier, the recently employed sad clown.

Javier is overcome by his desire to rescue Natalia from Sergio and transforms himself overnight after being brutally attacked by Sergio himself. The transition from gentle and loveable to a crazy man is a sight to behold and you must watch out for the way Javier utilises an iron in his transformation.

The film spirals down an increasingly bizarre path, culminating with the two foes as prison mates, minus the object of their affections.

21 May, 2011


Melancholia' is a new film by Danish filmaker Lars von Trier, well known for his controversial films and statements he has not disappointed with his recent excruciatingly uncomfortable interview at the Cannes Film 
Festival which led to him being banned from the festival for the first time. The film itself is still up for all Awards and in the running for the prestigious Palme d'Or Award, although press conferences for the film have been banned.

I'm unsure if this was a publicity stunt or a little theatre from a man unable to eloquently express an opinion without sounding like a Nazi sympathiser! Nonetheless watch out for his new film and its release in Australia as I'm sure it will entertain.  

Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg star in the film along with Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Rampling. The film is about two sisters (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kirsten Dunst) finding difficulty with their relationship while in the meantime a planet begins to collide with the earth. The film sounds less confronting than its predecessor 'Antichrist', a film I have still been unable to bring myself to watch (and one that I think I will pass on). 

02 May, 2011

14th Spanish Film Festival

Stay tuned for the 14th Spanish Film Festival, premiering in Melbourne on 12th May - 22nd May, 2011.

Films are being shown at the Palace, Como cinema. 

Watch out for (pardon the pun!) Julia's Eyes, produced by Guillermo del Toro who is well known for his association with the following Spanish films: Biutiful (soon to be reviewed by charisse-movierevue), Pan's Labyrinth and The Orphanage.

Check out the following website for more information:

23 March, 2011

True Grit

RELEASE DATE: 26th January 2011.

- Jeff Bridges revisits his character from the Big Lebowski 'The Dude', in his portrayal of a U.S Marshall.

True Grit, can I do it justice! Having not seen the original film starring John Wayne, I viewed this film with little expectation other than knowing that Joel and Ethan Cohen were responsible for writing the screenplay and directing the film. However this is a worthwhile reference, as I'm a fan of anything that these guys release, most recently 'A Serious Man', 'Burn After Reading' and the classic; 'The Big Lebowski'.

The verve and determination of the main character 'Mattie Ross', (played by newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) is remarkable as she vows to avenge her fathers death with the assistance of a U.S Marshall (played by Jeff Bridges) and a Texas Ranger, LeBoeuf (played by Matt Damon).

Jeff Bridges does not disappoint in his role as the U.S Marshall  J. “Rooster” Cogburn, bringing a touch of  'The Dude' (first seen on screen in the film 'The Big Lebowski) 'to his character and Matt Damons delights us by infusing a dose of 'himbo' into his character the Texas Ranger. Josh Brolin plays 'Tom Chaney, the murderer that they have been tasked to pursue.  As the story unfolds Mattie Ross slowly wins the respect of the two men she has employed for her cause and comes face to face with her fathers killer.

Watch out for the 'Grizzly Bear' character as he crosses paths with Mattie and J. “Rooster” Cogburn early on in their journey, a character played with the typical quirkeness of the 'Cohen' brothers.

This film reminds me of the earlier 'Cohen Brother' film 'Fargo' and is equally able to entertain and delight the audience. As I mentioned earlier, I'm a lover of the 'Cohen Brothers' and this film is no exception. Although this film is a remake it definitely has the Cohen Brothers stamp all over it!

23 February, 2011

Tamara Drewe

RELEASE DATE: 26th December 2010

1/2 - She's naughty but nice in equal measure!!!

Tamara Drewe is an English film directed by Stephen Frears of 'High Fidelity' fame (John Cusack and Jack Black star in this '2000' release and favourite of mine).  'Tamara Drewe' played by Gemma Arterton (starring role in Prince of Persia and Quantam of Solace) returns from London to visit her childhood home after the death of her mother. A 'beak nosed' brunette, Tamara left her hometown for London and a career in jounalism and returns with a 'new' nose and a bucket-full of contradictions. On her return she is reunited with her past in the form of the neighbourhood literary star Nicholas Hardiment (played by Roger Allam) and a teenage love.

 Back home to write about the local music festival and organise the sale of the family home, Tamara meets the lead singer of the 'it' band of the moment and begins a relationship. Her neighbours in the Village, Nicholas Hardiment and wife Beth Hardiment (played by Tamsin Greig of British Comedy 'Black Books') run a writer's retreat which is a source of entertainment on it's own.

As the relationships between Tamara and the singer flourishes two local schoolgirls watch enviously at the exciting lives these adults lead. One of the school girls (played by young actress Jessica Barden) has a crush on Tamara's boyfriend and is determined to go to any lengths to ensure this rocker stays in town, at least until she has the chance to introduce herself  and he falls in love with her!!....

As our tale progresses we se love lost, found and re-ignited but best viewed on DVD...
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