Hysteria - Movie Poster

Hysteria

3.5 Anne Murphy

The reworked truth of how Mortimer Granville devised the invention of the first vibrator in the name of medical science.

Set in Victorian London, this story is a cheeky reminder of just how recent modern medicine is. While the advent of the vibrator is sufficient to stimulate interest, it's the central romance that is the most entertaining cinematic device. "Hysteria" is tastefully done and inoffensive; viewing won't cause blushing let alone paroxysms. The veracity of the historical content may be a little dubious but nonetheless this is an amusing movie. Not hysterical, but it may tickle your fancy.


As Luck Would Have It - Movie Poster

As Luck Would Have It

3.5 Anne Murphy

An out-of-work publicist who suffers an accident looks to sell the exclusive interview rights to the highest bidder in an attempt to provide for his family.

A film of today that provides plenty of food for thought. Under the director's scrutiny are the media and their audiences, both hungry for sensational news. "As Luck Would Have It" is an original but grim satirical drama about a life and death story that unfolds under full media attention. How ordinary people respond to the extraordinary and ethical questions about the price of a life holds the audience's attention through to the closing frames. Unlucky for some.


Sleep Tight - Movie Poster

Sleep Tight

3.5 Anne Murphy

An embittered concierge plots to make one happy-go-lucky resident completely miserable.

There won't be much sleeping tight or otherwise after watching this tense psychological thriller, it is creepy. "Sleep Tight" is difficult to watch while breathing normally. The plot is suspenseful and diabolical, a callous stalker taunts his victim and all the while she is unaware of the identity of her tormentor or his presence. The most frightening element of this well-crafted and well-acted piece is that the story is close to credible given a sufficiently deranged mind at the centre. Don't let the bed bugs bite.


The Opposite of Love - Movie Poster

The Opposite of Love

2.5 Anne Murphy

An on-again/off-again couple lays out their ideas on how their relationship should work.

"The Opposite of Love" has a funny 'he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not' plot. The trials of relationship and commitment are played out by a good looking cast in the city of Madrid. The movie is genial, witty, and starts out well, but in true rom-com style it all becomes a little a shallow and interest fades towards the end. This is due, in part, to the sub-plots. The theme of repressed homosexuality is corny, becoming less funny as more screen time is devoted to it. We say opposites attract...


Wrinkles - Movie Poster

Wrinkles

3.0 Anne Murphy

An astonishing cocktail of friendship, resistance and life set among the unexpected landscape of an elderly care facility.

The simplicity of the animation style is key to the appeal of this feature. The style presented complements what is a story told in a simple but direct way from the perspective of the residents of a nursing home, and plays to our worst fears of being confined to a similar place by well intentioned family. There is something melancholic about the mature way the story is related, no-one will want to look to far into their own future after viewing "Wrinkles". Time for botox.


The King is Dead - Movie Poster

The King is Dead

2.5 Anne Murphy

Open inspection in a leafy neighbourhood. Max and Therese decide that here is the house for them.

"The King is Dead!" provides an interesting take on a neighbours-from-hell saga that is not quite interesting enough to really delight. It is a clash of cultures when a cosy middle-class couple move next door to simpler drug dealing folk. There are a few laughs to be had as the plot dawdles and drags, but expect stereotypes drawn with a heavy hand, and disappointingly, we watch caricatures rather than characters. Still, you can't help wondering what you might do in this situation. Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…


Cousinhood - Movie Poster

Cousinhood

3.5 Anne Murphy

A young man trying to heal a broken heart is taken by his cousins to the village where they spent summer vacations as kids

'Bro-mance' may not be a standard film genre but it's readily recognisable when we see the escapades of virile young man-friends who love, lose, and laugh together. "Cousinhood" has all the ingredients of its mainstream counterparts, including a thwarted wedding event and a goofy karaoke stage performance. The Spanish seaside setting provides a scenic backdrop and a cast of eccentric extras; both elements colouring and lifting this effort above standard fare. Ole!


The Bad Intentions - Movie Poster

The Bad Intentions

2.0 Anne Murphy

A young girl convinces herself that she will die on the same day that her brother will be born.

A sullen, spoilt, and maladjusted little girl is the central character of "The Bad Intentions", and few 8 year olds could be as unlike-able as this one. Therein lies a problem, as the story is hers, other characters are ancillary to the plot. It's hard to maintain interest in what befalls a child so disinterested in those around her, background political unrest and the privileged social standing of the girl's family providing the only peripheral interest. The intention is dark humour, but not so good.


Buck - Movie Poster

Buck

4.0 Anne Murphy

An examination of the life of acclaimed 'horse whisperer' Buck Brannaman, who recovered from years of child abuse to become a well-known expert in the interactions between horses and people.

This engaging documentary centres on a horse whisperer who says that rather than helping people with horse problems, he helps horses with people problems. The modest and authentic cowboy is kind in his methods and demonstrates an incredible rapport with and respect for the horses he works with. The message delivered is how to break cycles of abuse with sensitivity, the effect is life affirming and uplifting. Home, home on the range…


Polisse - Movie Poster

Polisse

4.5 Anne Murphy

Based on real cases, "Polisse" follows the daily lives of a tight-knit team of men and women working in the Child Protection Unit of the Parisian police.

People working in child protection roles sometimes say they feel the task is akin to emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. That sentiment is certainly present in this gritty drama, which intertwines many concurrent story lines with realism. Be prepared to witness determination, despair, humour, and some of the most heartbreaking scenes presented on the big screen. This is complex against-the-odds emotional territory as we follow the team from day to challenging day. Help Polisse!


Declaration of War - Movie Poster

Declaration of War

3.5 Anne Murphy

When their young son is diagnosed with a brain tumor, young parents Roméo and Juliette unite in the fight for his survival.

Despite its heart wrenching content "A Declaration of War" is lively and energetic. The movie is based on the experience of the director and her co-writer; part autobiography, part love story and part challenging medical drama. A story of desperately holding to hope is imbibed with familial love and delivered without pathos, and the result is a very moving account of navigating adversity while giddy with grief for what might happen. War, this is what it's good for.


Sympathy for the Devil - Movie Poster

Sympathy for the Devil

3.0 Anne Murphy

Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil uses both documentary and staged sequences, alternating between an inside look at a rock band's recording process and reflections on politics.

Watching "Sympathy for the Devil" is like opening a time capsule and being transported back to 1968. The viewing is patchy as the camera moves from a recording studio to a yard of car wrecks. The Rolling Stones reveal themselves as incredibly professional as they create their magic, a stark comparison to the intellectualising revolutionaries who become quite tedious to watch. Back in those days, even Jagger didn't move like Jagger, but he was compelling musician.


The Woman in the Fifth - Movie Poster

The Woman in the Fifth

4.0 Anne Murphy

American writer Tom Ricks comes to Paris desperate to put his life together again and win back the love of his estranged wife and daughter.

The actor's performances are very good, the cinematography is considered, and dramatic tension is maintained throughout. Audiences will still wonder what happened when the plot is unfolded and will want to decipher what looks like an allegorical representation of the psyche of a writer. This movie will instigate discussions to determine how to explain the outcome. There are no tidy conclusions, and the story will linger beyond first viewing and into the fifth.


Restless City - Movie Poster

Restless City

2.5 Anne Murphy

Tells the story of an African immigrant surviving on the fringes of New York City where music is his passion, life is a hustle and falling in love is his greatest risk.

Senegalese immigrants who survive on the fringe of US city life are the subject of this uneven movie. Perhaps the reason for the rough on-screen presentation and crooked camera angles is to present images as the characters experience them, but it is a bumpy ride for audiences. "Restless City" can also be appreciated as bold and innovative film making, one that will divide opinion but is interesting nonetheless. Restless spirits.


Cracks in the Shell - Movie Poster

Cracks in the Shell

3.5 Anne Murphy

Josephine suffers from not being seen but she also does her best at not being noticed, even though she is an acting student.

It's an emotional journey from auditions and rehearsals to a performance. "Cracks in the Shell" is a movie full of emotional expression as the shy lead actor struggles to meet the expectations of her director. The young woman is pushed, and pushes herself, as she is almost consumed by her own conflicts, taking the plot beyond a coming of age movie and into the territory of a psychological drama. Raw, tough and relentless, it's little wonder cracks emerge


Café de Flore - Movie Poster

Café de Flore

4.0 Anne Murphy

A love story between a man and woman, and a love story set four decades earlier between a mother and her son.

"Café de Flore" has two distinct threads that are separated in time and interwoven into one movie like a dream within a dream. The story is one of love and obsession and it is told with a sense of unease that builds along with anticipation about what might transpire. This movie is as engrossing as it is puzzling, with content so emotional you can't help but be drawn in and watch entranced. Book a table.


The Well Digger's Daughter - Movie Poster

The Well Digger's Daughter

3.0 Anne Murphy

A father, in pre-World War I France, is torn between his sense of honour and his deep love for his saintly daughter when she gets in trouble with the wealthy son of a shopkeeper.

A film that explores class differences, social attitudes and mores could be expected to incite ire, something "The Well Digger's Daughter" is too genteel to do. Perhaps it's due to the likeable and charming actors, the rustic French setting, old fashioned feel or simply the issues that raised eyebrows in earlier times that have less impact now. Whatever it is, all is well that ends well.


Hotel Lux - Movie Poster

Hotel Lux

3.5 Anne Murphy

Hans Zeisig, an apolitical comedian, impersonator and cabaret actor, flees with a Russian passport from Nazi-Berlin, and finds himself in Moscow staying in the legendary Hotel Lux.

Valuing humour over politics, this a comedic romp in a wartime setting. Elements of the story are grounded in fact, and the political caricatures are obviously drawn from fiction, but work well as parody. "Hotel Lux" is interesting because it centres on a part of WWII not often seen on the big screen, the relationship between Hitler and Stalin. Employing comic antics of another era, this is irreverent and entertaining... make a reservation.


The Good Neighbour - Movie Poster

The Good Neighbour

3.0 Anne Murphy

Two neighbours discover they are lonely kindred spirits until they are involved in a hit and run and events spiral out of control.

A story of a tangled web of deception that gets more convoluted and tense with each scene. The suspense builds, and although tense cinema viewing, it is not quite edge-of-the-seat viewing. As the plot twists and turns and a sense of impending doom builds, it becomes obvious things will not end well. Even so, this well crafted movie holds plot surprises to maintain interest right through to the close. Love thy neighbour.


Promising the Moon - Movie Poster

Promising the Moon

3.5 Anne Murphy

A woman with Alzheimers leaves her nursing home and wartime family secrets are uncovered.

Set in Germany and Latvia this movie traverses the past and present as well as the countries themselves. Regardless of the setting, "Promising the Moon" is an emotional drama rather than a war film, a portrait of the bonds between mothers and daughters, and wives and husbands. A story of reconciling strained family relationships is related with a depth of feeling that is absorbing, while a mystery is unfolded and the past is explained in this superior and well-acted production. Promises lead to obligations.


This Must Be the Place - Movie Poster

This Must Be the Place

4.0 Anne Murphy

A bored and retired rock star sets out to find his father's executioner, an ex-Nazi war criminal.

This is a beguiling character study, thanks to the disarming performance of the lead actor. The central role is a captivating mix of unsophisticated naivety and world weariness played with sincerity. This movie, which is one man's search for self-discovery, could be plumbed meaning, and while many messages might be discovered it is better appreciated as adventurous film-making that delights with its originality. "This Must Be the Place" takes audiences to some-place else... if someone asks, this is where I'll be.


A Dangerous Method - Movie Poster

A Dangerous Method

4.0 Anne Murphy

A look at how the relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

"A Dangerous Method" documents the shared origins of what have become rival doctrines, following the professional friendship and falling out of the earliest proponents of 'the talking cure'. The actor's performances ensure compelling, if at times uncomfortable, viewing. The period in modern history is faithfully depicted and attention is paid to details which highlight the differences between the lifestyles and theories of kindred pioneers. Even more engrossing than the look is the dialogue; unsurprisingly the screenplay is based on a non-fiction book. No slips, Freudian or otherwise.


Dr. Seuss' The Lorax  - Movie Poster

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

3.5 Anne Murphy

Dr. Seuss' classic tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope.

"The Lorax" targets young audiences and captivates them with candy coloured animation, cute critters and a lively pace, all presented in 3D. Although the original story book was written 40 years ago, this is a fable for today with greed pitted against green. There's a strong moral message about the importance of caring, and thankfully the lesson is related without preaching; instead there's singing and dancing in a kid's own adventure. Spirited school holiday viewing, a magical movie starring Truffula trees.


Mirror Mirror - Movie Poster

Mirror Mirror

4.5 Anne Murphy

An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.

A favourite story recounted for today's audiences. The charming prince, while handsome, is more affable than heroic and it's the beautiful princess who achieves her own victories. The story retains all of its original elements and is retold with a fabulous sense of humour and spellbinding magic. "Mirror Mirror" is magnificently staged and gloriously costumed; it is also CGI enhanced, but only just enough to ensure no wrinkles. The fairest of them all.


Le Havre - Movie Poster

Le Havre

3.5 Anne Murphy

When an African boy is discovered hiding in a shipping container in the port city of Le Havre, an aging shoe shiner takes pity on the child and welcomes him into his home.

The simplicity of this movie is material to why it will be enjoyed. It is warm hearted and unpretentious. Layers of difficult socio-political issues are pared back to create a story that humanises the plight of immigrants without visas. The kindness shown to one struggling boy and the solidarity of the town’s characters in resisting the law enforcers are natural choices. Compassion and humour perfectly blended.