What's on at the movies 16th March 2017?


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A couple of films this week and I didn't love either of them. Next week I'll have a bunch of school holiday films to review, so come back then.

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LOVING ✪✪✪ Opened March 16


Loving was nominated for many prestigious awards and won some, mostly for Ruth Negga's performance as a colored American woman who marries a white man in Virginia in the fifties, when this was illegal. I know, it just seems abhorrent that in our lifetime this is a thing that happened.

I'll just pause and get on my soapbox here to mention that this is still happening, except insert gay marriage in the box of prejudice. So I don't think we can look at this story and say, "Wow, isn't that terrible." Prejudice is an abhorrent process, no matter what difference is involved. I'm appalled that good friends of mine cannot marry the one they love.

Okay, now I'm back being a film critic ...

This is a slow film and I personally would have liked to see twenty minutes cut from the 123 minutes run time. That's not to say that the story isn't fascinating. Like all Jeff Nichols films it's about the mood and the colors and watching every emotion play across the actors' faces. I have not loved all of Nichols films, although the 2011 Take Shelter is simply one of the finest indie films I've ever seen, so maybe you have to be in the mood for slow and painstakingly drawn characters.

Watch the trailer to see if it will grab you. I call this an interesting piece but you could watch it on streaming or DVD too.

Film Blurb

From acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols (Midnight Special, Mud, Take Shelter), LOVING celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga), who fell in love and married in 1958, defying Virginia's laws against interracial marriage.

Jailed, then banished from their home state, the Lovings spent the next nine years searching for a way back home, taking their civil rights case Loving v Virginia all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry. Their love story has become and inspiration to couples ever since.

Driven by powerful performances from Joel Edgerton and Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga, LOVING ia a beautifully crafted, warm-hearted film, at once an urgent, relevant drama and an intimate, tender story of the heart. 2017 Academy Award nominations - Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role, Ruth Negga 2017 Satellite Awards - Winner, Best Actress – Motion Picture, Ruth Negga 2017 Golden Globe nominations - Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama, Joel Edgerton; Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama, Ruth Negga

GRADUATION ✪✪✪ Opened March 20


I think I'm getting less tolerant of plodding storylines in my old age. This has some complex themes but watching the lead actor Adrian Titieni slowly wander around the story interfering in his daughter's life just didn't have me riveted. Certainly it did well at Cannes but honestly some of the films that do well there are not for the average filmgoers entertainment. So don't go trust those award-winners.

The other reviewers and I and even the program director for Lottery West Film Festival enjoyed a debate on what the last minute of the film actually meant. They assured me if I was correct then that would make the film a cynical commentary on human nature. I'm going with cynical, sorry, which probably says a lot about me.

An interesting idea but again too long.

Film Blurb

‘An intricate, deeply intelligent film.’ The Guardian

Winner, Best Director (Cristian Mungiu) – Cannes Film Festival

Nominated, Best Film – Cannes Film Festival

A good father in a moral maze.

What wouldn’t we do for our kids? Determined to help his brilliant 18-year-old daughter Eliza pass her university entrance exam, respectable doctor Romeo begins to call in favours from friends with influence. One good turn leads to another and before long Romeo is drawn into a circle of favours – the very thing he has spent his life teaching Eliza to avoid. This joint-winner (with Personal Shopper) of the Best Director award at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival is a gripping, serious tale by one of Europe’s most brilliant and morally engaged storytellers.


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