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  • Susan May

What's on at the movies Dec 1 2016?

Did you miss the Facebook Live Fun?

No need to feel left out ...

I'm excited to share a new opportunity for writers or book lovers. My Susan Mayhem Gang Facebook group is now hosting Facebook Live chats with little old me. We all had great fun on the first chat yesterday, where a bunch of fabulous people joined me from around the world (truly amazing) while I shared my thoughts and experiences in my publishing journey, particularly focusing on writing short stories.

Those who joined in were able to ask questions and respond and interact with me and each other. Everyone said they enjoyed the experience and I think some were motivated to write more themselves or at least gain insight into the writing process, weird as I probably made it sound.

The video is still there in the group feed and you can join anytime and watch. From now on I will be hosting a live chat once a week, where we'll discuss books, writing, the read-a-long currently of Behind Dark Doors (one), which you can grab for zilch, free, nada, absolutely nothing just by joining my mailing club or visiting Instafreebie link:

You are invited to join my Facebook group Susan Mayhem Gang. We are having a real ball there, so come meet us.


Queen of Katwe ✪✪✪✪ ½ Opened December 1

A Ugandan girl, child really, working her way up the ladder to compete for her country in international Chess competitions sounds about as riveting as watching darts. Okay, I've heard if you are into darts the competitions are exciting, but still not your first thought for sporting entertainment. This film will not be on anyone's must-see list. Queen of Katwe is not getting studio promotion; it didn't even receive a word-of-mouth preview because it didn't make big box office in the USA upon its release.

But will you please seek this film out and see on the big screen. This is a type of Slum Dog Millionaire story about a girl who couldn't read or write but turns out to be a chess prodigy with the right attitude and a brilliance for foreseeing eight moves ahead in the game. With the right word of mouth this could be big. I fear it won't though because without that whisper in a friends ear nobody will even notice next to all the other big films, but please don't you and your family miss out on this Disney treasure. Queen of Katwe is also probably one of the most inspiring films of the year and could launch a dozen positive thinking memes. Starring recent Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o ​ (12 Years a Slave) and David Oyelowo (Selma, A United Kingdom) and a cast of marvelous extras, this film is quality from beginning to end. Madina Nalwanga who plays Phiona Mutesi the young chess prodigy holds her own playing beside these experienced and awarded actors.

Take your parents, your children and yourself and enjoy one of the most entertaining, fascinating and most uplifting experiences of the year. When we sit in a cinema and complain that it's too hot or too cold outside, our popcorn is too salty, or the seats uncomfortable or not cleaned well enough this film reminds you that we Australians were handed a gift at birth we too easily take for granted.

Film Blurb

"Queen of Katwe" is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Starring David Oyelowo who received Golden Globe Award, Film Independent Spirit Award nominations and won the NAACP Image Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Dr. King and the film received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

Trolls ✪✪✪✪½ Opened December 1

I couldn't make it to this preview, so I sent my friend Reiko and her family along. She has boys aged 12 and 13 and this is what she thought:

Trolls was a lovely kids movie! Visually it was well made with beautiful colours and I loved it. It's a positive happy story that ended making all Bergens feeling happy, music was great, funny as well and characters are so cute. I bet these trolls dolls will be seen at toy stores before this Christmas and will be very popular for young kids. I rate 4.5/5.

Based on her recommendation I'm going to catch this film as soon as I can. I also heard back from other reviewers that it was a good one and a very positive uplifting experience that gave food for thoughts. Who would have thought those little hairy critters could inspire and delight toughened reviewers.

Film Blurb

A hair-raising comedy filled with unbelievable adventure & incredible music! Known for their crazy, colourful, & magical hair, Trolls are the happiest, most joyous creatures ever to burst into song. From the genius creators of SHREK, TROLLS stars Anna Kendrick as Poppy, the optimistic leader of the Trolls, & her polar opposite, Branch, played by Justin Timberlake. Together, this unlikely pair of Trolls must embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond the only world they’ve ever known.

Morgan ✪✪½ Opens December 1

This film had the potential to be a slick, smart sci-fi thriller but, alas, they went for the tried and true ten little Indians scenario of science experiment gone wrong kills off maker ala Frankenstein. There's a reasonable cast led by Kate Mara (The Martian) and a ridiculous cameo by Paul Giamatti and some overwrought performances by TobyJones, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Michelle Yeoh. I wondered how this film actually got off the ground, despite being produced by Ridley Scott. How did such a poor script by a relative unknown screenwriter entice A and nearly A list actors to become involved? All this comes as no surprise once you learn that director Luke Scott is Ridley Scott's son. All I can say is, not terrible, but just particularly cliche for this genre with some huge plot holes or, let's say, bizarre character behavior and motivation. You'd probably enjoy it as a stream or a DVD on a Friday night. Otherwise watch Alien or Aliens again or give Ex Machina a look on DVD/Stream.

Film Blurb

Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a bioengineered child who began walking and talking after one month of existence, exceeding the wildest expectations of her creators. When Morgan attacks one of her handlers, a corporate troubleshooter (Kate Mara) visits the remote, top-secret facility where she's kept to assess the risks of keeping her alive. When the girl breaks free and starts running amok, the staff members find themselves in a dangerous lockdown with an unpredictable and violent synthetic human.

From director Luke Scott and producer Ridley Scott, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti.

Up for Love (not reviewed) Opened December 1

I didn't see this film but I certainly love Jean Dujardin after seeing him in his Oscar winning performance of The Artist. I will catch this one during its cinema run because the plot just tickles my funny bone. Check the reviews of this from Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB to get and idea about whether you might enjoy. I like French comedy. They have a quirky sense of the world. Maybe this comes from eating all those snails and frog legs.

Film Blurb

A hair-raising comedy filled with unbelievable adventure & incredible music! Known for their crazy, colourful, & magical hair, Trolls are the happiest, most joyous creatures ever to burst into song. From the genius creators of SHREK, TROLLS stars Anna Kendrick as Poppy, the optimistic leader of the Trolls, & her polar opposite, Branch, played by Justin Timberlake. Together, this unlikely pair of Trolls must embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond the only world they’ve ever known.

Underworld Blood Wars (not reviewed) Opened December 1

I'm not a fan of this series and I couldn't make the preview. However they wouldn't keep making these films if there weren't fans out there to see them and they didn't return on the studios investment. This is the fifth film in the franchise I believe. If nothing else, fans of females wearing leather can enjoy. There is some talk this is about introducing a possible TV series in the future. That's a good idea. I think it will fare better on the small screen in a streaming service. Reviewers don't get a chance to see many of those, so it can sneak under the radar. Vampires have never been my cup of tea, but if you have enjoyed the series or like these kind of action paranormal films I'm sure you will see it and possibly enjoy.

Film Blurb

The next installment in the blockbuster franchise, UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS follows Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) as she fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Little Men ✪✪✪½ Opens Lottery West Film Festival

Monday November 28-Sun 4 UWA Somerville

Tuesday December 6-Sun 11 ECU Joondalup Pines

When they say this is a sweet slice of New York life this is the absolute truth. Expect not a big film and on the shortish side at 85 minutes but enough is said in that time to make you think.

A layered film with many messages that seep into you hours after the film is done. I took a lot from this film that I already understood about life. No matter how dramatic, events do fade and we all move on with our lives. Everyone's perspective on right and wrong comes from their own interests. A wonderful story with sharp dialogue and fabulous performances from the young actors. Perfect beginning to the Lottery West Film Festival. Bring on summer and outdoor cinema.

Film Blurb

A sweet slice of New York life in which two teenage friends try to be the best ‘little men’ they can be. When his family moves from Manhattan to Brooklyn, thoughtful art student Jake is happy to meet funny, outgoing new neighbour Tony. But Jake’s family has just become landlord to Tony’s mother, who is struggling to pay the bills. Jake and Tony just want to be friends, but their parents sure are making that hard. Another beautifully bittersweet drama by Ira Sachs (Love is Strange, 2015 PIAF).

The Teacher ✪✪✪✪ Lottery West Film Festival

Slovak with English subtitles

Tuesday November 29-Sun 4 ECU Joondalup Pines

Monday December 5-Sun 11 UWA Somerville

From the opening sequence and the wonderful music the scene is set and you know this is a caper, of sorts, and you are in for a treat. This is a crazy true story that will have you wondering what the heck is going on and then when you begin to understand, you begin to sympathize with both sides. Truly a wonderful, charming, fun film that, unfortunately, is true. Fabulous lead actress Zuzana Maurery is fabulous. I wonder if this might get a nod at the Oscars for foreign language. Something different that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Film Blurb

A stern teacher oversteps the mark.

This audience favourite casts a wickedly humorous eye over the recent European past. It’s 1983, the era of Communist control in central Europe. In a Bratislava classroom stern new teacher Mrs Drazdechova asks what each of the students’ parents does for a living. As those wary adults soon realise, this teacher likes to call in favours from them in exchange for good grades for their kids. The parents convene – should they deal with her corruption? Featuring an enthralling performance from Zuzana Mauréry as the imposing instructor, this is wry, prize-winning entertainment from the Oscar-nominated director of Divided we Fall(2002 PIAF).


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