BIFF2013: 12 Years A Slave

12 years a slave posterThere’s no better way to close off the Brisbane International Film Festival other than a screening of the film 12 Years A Slave. Based on the true story of a free man named Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped in the mid 1800s and sent into slavery, 12 Years A Slave is far from comfortable viewing as it looks at the American slave trade that affected millions of people. The movie is an unflinching look at the familial separation, the torture and the abuse in one of the darkest points in American History. Continue reading

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BIFF2013: The Grandmaster

the grandmaster posterThere are several cuts of The Grandmaster at the moment. The original film ran approximately 130 minutes, but the version featured at the BIFF was the American cut of 109 minutes. While each cut has its own ‘uniqueness’ to it, the featured version at BIFF felt like an incomplete film. The cinematography was beautiful and the action sequences were spectacularly crafted, but the whole film was muddled by poor storytelling. Continue reading

BIFF2013: Patrick

patrick posterUnless you’re an Australian and/or a horror film nut, you probably won’t even know that Patrick is a remake of a 1978 Aussie flick. Despite following the usual horror movie tropes, Mark Hartley’s remake is moody, loud, unapologetic and a whole lot of fun! Continue reading

BIFF2013: Don Jon

don jon posterAs some festival goers would say, Don Jon is the most ‘mainstream’ or most Hollywood film at the Brisbane International Film Festival this year. Both screenings attracted a sold out crowd and there is a good reason for it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has demonstrated that he is a fantastic actor and through Don Jon, he also showcased his writing and directing skills as well. His feature debut Don Jon, is a smart and funny commentary on how the media can negatively consume both men and women in our society. Continue reading

BIFF2013: Labor Day

labor day posterIt’s okay to let yourself be happy, because you never know how fleeting that happiness may be. Jason Reitman’s latest effort Labor Day is a moving film that looks into how desperately we seek happiness and how quickly that happiness can be torn away once it is achieved. It is a snapshot of the happiness found with the storm clouds looming on the horizon. The film carries a melancholic tone to it, even during moments when things are seemingly good. Continue reading

BIFF2013: Short Term 12

short term 12 poster“Look into my eyes so you know what it’s like to live a life not knowing what a normal life’s like.” Those harrowing words came from the rap lyrics that Marcus (played by Keith Stanfield) delivers in one of the most powerful scenes in the film. Sure it was laced with coarse language, but the raw emotion from the song about parental abuse and his estrangement from his family was like a big punch to the gut. The film is uplifting yet heartbreaking and it knows how to grip so tightly in our hearts and never let go. Short Term 12 delivers an emotional powerhouse through superb direction, touching script and brilliant performances from the actors involved, in particularly Brie Larson.  Continue reading

BIFF2013: The Spectacular Now

the spectacular now posterIda Scott Taylor once wrote “Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering”. All this sounds quite beautiful, but let’s be honest here, the whole ‘live in the present’ philosophy is not exactly a good one. Often we have to think about tomorrow because we expect to still be here. The Spectacular Now is a wonderful film that explores the ‘live in the now’ mentality while taking a look into high school romance and the anxiety of escaping our shells in the teenage years. Led by the wonderful performances of Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now is a charming yet powerful coming-of-age story about the fear of looking into the future and simply staying in the safety net of the present. Continue reading