Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed - Movie Poster

Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed

4.0 Anne Murphy

Spain, 1966, a high-school teacher, Antonio, drives to the town of Almeria in hopes of meeting his hero, John Lennon.

The most striking aspect of this movie is the warmheartedness of the central characters, the teacher, a young woman, and a boy who has left home. On the road together they create an engaging tale, each on their own journey of discovery. Instances of random cruelty provide a caustic note and serve as a reminder of the political backdrop of a country under fascist rule. Close your eyes and this is a feel good story, but living is just not that easy.


Get Low - Movie Poster

Get Low

4.0 Stefan Bugryn

An old hermit throws himself a funeral party... while he's still alive.

This thoughtful meditation on forgiveness starts out as a comedy, but unravels to become something much more poignant. The joke of the 'funeral party' lasts only briefly, while the true drama slowly creeps in. What really makes this film work is the fine acting by the three leads. The odd sense of humour, and some truly touching moments are delivered with marvellous poise by the cast. Combined with stylish music, customers and production design, it makes for a very enjoyable movie... and that's the low down!


35 Shots of Rum - Movie Poster

35 Shots of Rum

4.0 Wendy Slevison

The relationship between a father and daughter is complicated by the arrival of a handsome young man.

This is a beautifully fluid, soulful film full of quiet observations about the journeys we take towards change. Simplicity and complexity are subtly juxtaposed, just as in 'real' life. Relationships and facts are hazy, crediting the viewer with enough intelligence to come to their own conclusions... often a rarity in movies these days. The intriguing character studies, together with the haunting musical score and delicate metaphors, make these "35 Shots of Rum" rich, warm, and easy to ingest.


The Last Summer of La Boyita - Movie Poster

The Last Summer of La Boyita

4.0 Anne Murphy

Feeling estranged from her older sister, Jorgelina and her father go in their Boyita camper-van, to the countryside where playmate Mario is undergoing some changes of his own.

This coming of age story is set during a long hot summer on the Argentinean Pampas. It's a summer of discovery, particularly of the unknown and unimagined world of inter-sexuality and gender identity. The children's roles are well acted, striking a perfect balance between innocence and precociousness. The sensitive themes are tenderly handled - the film's narration is more through visual imagery than dialogue - and it never becomes clumsy. Can't wait for Autumn.


Albert Nobbs - Movie Poster

Albert Nobbs

4.0 Wendy Slevison

Some thirty years after donning men's clothing in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland, a woman finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making.

"Albert Nobbs" is the complete antithesis of the summer blockbuster movie. Its quietly tragic tale is told with confined restraint, analogous to the exquisite self-control of the title character. Featuring a stunning performance from the female lead, who is also writer and producer, and an incredibly impressive support cast, this is a film that could be overlooked but shouldn't be. Skip the escapism and spend some time with the curiously compelling Albert.


Ex Machina - Movie Poster

Ex Machina

4.0 Stefan Bugryn

A programmer spends a week with a tech prodigy who is developing his own artificial intelligence, but things begin to unravel as days pass...

Sometimes science fiction is more enjoyable when it is grounded in reality. "Ex Machina" is heightened by this very sense. Its engrossing storyline feels like it could be happening somewhere behind the scenes, even now. The impact of this film delivers more than just ideas to be imagined. The visual palate, filmed sumptuously in an almost dream-like location, could be plucked straight out of a magazine. It delights on many levels, and like an ex, will be hard to forget.


A Serious Man - Movie Poster

A Serious Man

4.0 Andrew O'Dea

A Midwestern professor watches his life unravel when his wife prepares to leave him.

"A Serious Man" is an exquisitely executed - albeit extremely ambiguous - black comedy about the uncertainty of life. The deadpan style is complemented with an almost sardonic dry wit that makes it both agonisingly depressing and bemusing. We watch as Larry grapples with random events that happen with no discernible purpose or reason, as the movie philosophises about faith and the ultimate futility of searching for answers. An intriguingly profound film that will frustrate those who require resolution, but give others inspiration to seriously ponder.


Leones - Movie Poster

Leones

4.0 Thomas Jones

Lost in the forest, a group of friends wander around in a desperate search, trying to avoid their already written story.

Without trying you may find yourself becoming part of this film, the sixth soul looking for a way out. Your vision is impaired when what you see is contained to a single lens. If you keep watching, and don't turn from the screen, the effect of these extended single shots can be surprising. You hear things, and see things - bodies, shapes, shadows. Then as the camera moves you deeper into the woods…there's nothing. It's creative, compelling, and complex. And green, it's very green.


Dev.D - Movie Poster

Dev.D

4.0 Amit Jain

Dev who, after spurning Paro's love due to a misunderstanding, turns to drugs and vodka for solace.

"Dev D" is a coming-of-age film that challenges the conventional Bollywood film industry. The story is a modern take on a classic novel, and the amazing cinematorgaphy portaits beautiful rural india and shady parts of Delhi. The music is both breathtaking and bizarre as it reflects the emotional capacities, struggles, and lifesytles of young Indians caught between conservative Indian society and modern western sensibilities.


You'll Miss Me - Movie Poster

You'll Miss Me

4.0 Anne Murphy

The lives of six people converge briefly at an airport, where arrivals and departures are the norm.

"You'll Miss Me" is composed of a delightful series of vignettes that deftly intersect and overlap, exploring loves lost and found. The movie delves into the emotions of people with vastly different lives, the laughs laced with feelings. The production has a warm hearted feel, perhaps only possible because it's French - it's certainly not as theatrical as the English ensemble pieces it is so reminiscent of. Try not to miss this one.


The Orphanage - Movie Poster

The Orphanage

4.0 Anthony Macali

A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, where she opens an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

There aren't many things creepier than a house haunted by ghost children. In a scare climax, a medium channels the voices and cries of the sick orphans. It might be a little clichéd, but it's far from shallow. It also deals with grief and loss, themes supported by impressive performances. While the story lingers in these moments, the twists of the finalé forgive the build-up. A beautiful story of life and death, "The Orphanage" is a film not to be abandoned.


The Last Station - Movie Poster

The Last Station

4.0 Anne Murphy

A historical drama that illustrates Russian author Leo Tolstoy's struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things.

Anchored with a passionate but philosophically-conflicted relationship between a husband and wife, "The Last Station" is a sweeping period piece that manages not to overwhelm with historical trappings. The a story is engrossing where, given the subject, it could have been rather dour. The players resist melodrama; there's an almost capricious tone that makes this film a pleasure to watch. It's not revealing too much to say the last station is the end of line.


The Ides of March - Movie Poster

The Ides of March

4.0 Stefan Bugryn

A game of dirty politics plays out behind the scenes of the campaign for a Presidential candidate.

This is minimalistic film-making at it's best. The movie tackles some truly hard-hitting notions, but packs its punch with the little things. It's captivating to watch the actors hold back the emotion, where the drama is implied rather than thrown in your face. The long stares. The knowing eyes. It all sizzles in the background… but you can definitely feel it. The director could have easily gone for high melodrama, but instead went for the complete opposite, and it paid off remarkably. A vote of confidence.


The Messenger - Movie Poster

The Messenger

4.0 Anne Murphy

An American soldier struggles with an ethical dilemma when he becomes involved with a widow.

"The Messenger" delivers emotional punches in relentless succession in a context of heartbreaking realism. More than a war film, or even a film about the army, this is a movie about loss and grief, mostly expressed by men. Harrowing exchanges made when people are at their most vulnerable are intense to witness, made no less easy by scenes where withheld emotions seethe within the characters. Thankfully there are strands of camaraderie and humour threaded throughout, and they serve to strengthen the compelling messages.


The Artist - Movie Poster

The Artist

4.0 Anne Murphy

Hollywood, 1927: Silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion.

Prepare to be transported to a past era in Hollywood by "The Artist". There are many adjectives to describe the nostalgic venture including: charming, original, witty, surprising, and stylish. In short a captivating movie, and all the more so for daring to be all but silent and presented in black and white. It is a pleasure to be entertained by a romance that eschews modern effects and remains authentic to the period portrayed. Paints a picture.


Neighbouring Sounds - Movie Poster

Neighbouring Sounds

4.0 Thomas Jones

Life in a middle-class neighborhood in present day Recife, Brazil, takes an unexpected turn after the arrival of an independent private security firm.

In Brazil, Moses must've had nine commandments. Love thy neighbour, clearly the exception. In this place even your own family can't be trusted to rip you off, or in one case, rip your hair out. This unique film provides a window, albeit barred and wired with security, to a world where the threat of violence is a constant and where silence is not golden, but met with fear. Cleverly shot, with an incredible soundtrack, it's a trip worth taking.


Invictus - Movie Poster

Invictus

4.0 Andrew O'Dea

To unite South Africa, Nelson Mandela enlists the national rugby team to win the Rugby World Cup.

"Invictus" is a charming true story that strikes a seamless balance between politics and sport. The director delivers a meticulously sincere picture that not only presents a truly 'human' portrait of Mandela, but also a remarkable achievement by the Springboks. Stunning cinematography provides the perfect backdrop to sporting sequences that dazzlingly capture the tension and brute force of bone-crunching rugby action. Above all, the performance of the lead is nothing short of brilliant as he so effortlessly embodies and personifies the dignity and wisdom of one of history's greatest men.


3:10 To Yuma - Movie Poster

3:10 To Yuma

4.0 Anthony Macali

A small-time rancher agrees to hold a captured outlaw who's awaiting a train to go to court in Yuma.

The track to Yuma is a windy road that will keep you constantly guessing. The landscape and period are captured beautifully, from small humble towns, shining pistols, and humble town-folk. Unlike your traditional western, these characters have names and bring their colourful history to the screen. They create a conscious conflict as you guiltily admire the charismatic bad guy and resent the bitter and weak good guy. This film harbours a swag of strong performances in an enjoyable and riveting ride.


The White Ribbon - Movie Poster

The White Ribbon

4.0 Anne Murphy

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment.

"The White Ribbon" is visually mesmerising, artistically captured in black and white with a period detail that is meticulously reproduced, particularly in the costumes of the farming villagers. With its fascist undertones this film is a harrowing watch for all of its lengthy run time, and even then there is no reward of a conclusion or explanation. Austere, relentless, seething with hatred and cruelty, this is unforgiving viewing. The film evokes a sense of impending doom, with blue ribbon success.


The Iron Lady - Movie Poster

The Iron Lady

4.0 Thomas Jones

A look at the life of Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Romance or political drama? "The Iron Lady" could be shelved under either genre as it depicts the political rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher against the backdrop of her mourning the passing of her husband. There is a nice balance of both plotlines and the inclusion of real footage adds conviction to this film. The performance of the lead is so convincing it's like a Madame Tussauds figure coming to life. Thatcher herself endorsed 'doing something' rather than trying to be 'somebody'. With that in mind, do something... go and see this film.


True Grit - Movie Poster

True Grit

4.0 Andrew O'Dea

A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer.

"True Grit" is a film that holds the idea of a classic western in high reverence. The spectacular cinematography is a highlight in this story of retribution, and the directors' hands are clearly present; the storyline contains all the wit, deadpan humour and fleeting moments of brutality that one has come to expect from them. Although some may be dismayed at the tonal slur that is the dialogue, the language is drawling yet authentic, and we revel in the interplay between the leads, each impeccable in their roles. Gritty n' good.


Your Sister's Sister - Movie Poster

Your Sister's Sister

4.0 Thomas Jones

Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family's island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack's drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris' sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days.

'Written and directed by…' is the first credit. Ironic considering this film seems to be stripped of all script and direction. Applying their craft in the purest form, the cast improvise each scene and create a compelling and honest story of love and relationships. This style may turn some off. The dialogue and scenes lack the structure we are more accustomed to. But, like a woman removing all make-up, at first it may seem different, but its true beauty lies beneath.


The Descent - Movie Poster

The Descent

4.0 Anthony Macali

A group of six woman organize an adventure trip to go cave exploring. Things start to go wrong when they venture down unchartered caverns.

This is a classic genre movie exploiting the chilling atmosphere of murky caves and uncomfortably claustrophobic tunnels. As our adventures descend into the dark, the tension increases and the Gollum-like creatures come out to play. These predators are vicious, predictably narrowing our crew one victim at a time... with excessive blood so thick, it forms pools. A delight for horror fans who don't plan to delve into the sub terrane in the near future.


The Girl Who Played with Fire - Movie Poster

The Girl Who Played with Fire

4.0 Thomas Jones

As computer hacker Lisbeth and journalist Mikael investigate a sex-trafficking ring, Lisbeth is accused of three murders, causing her to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name.

Set in the country famous for IKEA, this film is much the same as visiting one of their superstores, minus the ball pit. There are countless twists and turns as you follow the path of these complex characters, and at the end, you pick up the pieces. The epic plotline is full of suspenseful and provocative drama, delivered at a pace which will leave you behind if you don't keep up. The best in Swedish design. Ja!


Fish Tank - Movie Poster

Fish Tank

4.0 Anne Murphy

Everything changes for 15 year old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

"Fish Tank" is a coming of age movie set on a rundown English council estate. The characters are filled with equal measures of frustration, anger, longing and alcohol, without means to release the pressure. The decaying situation is played out with a credibility that leaves the audience unsurprised at the outcomes but gripped by the tension. With nowhere to go but down, the mood is deliberately oppressive. The tank is grimy, and breathing underwater almost impossible, but even so we glimpse gold on the scales of these fish.