Weekend of world movies at Alice Springs Cinemas


p2112-cinema-night-1Another innovative move by the Alice Springs Cinemas builds on its commitment to enlivening Todd Street North and encouraging a richer film culture in town. They’ll host a movie festival over the coming weekend that gets away from the diet of mainstream new releases.
There’ll be foreign films, documentary, art-house, action and comedy and a festival atmosphere with foyer and alfresco dining and wining.
The program kicks off on Friday evening with Swedish comedy, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. It’s based on an international best-selling book recounting the unlikely story of a centenarian who decides it’s not too late to start over. Rotten Tomatoes gave it three and a half stars; Margaret and David, three and three and a half respectively; but the Sydney Morning Herald reviewer gave it a grumpy one in keeping with the one laugh he got from it.
The later offering on Friday, 20000 Days on Earth, is billed as a “fictionalized documentary”, in which the musician, writer, performer Nick Cave attempts to make sense of his almost mythical life as he reaches his 20,000th day. It’s earned widespread accolades – five stars from Rotten Tomatoes, four and half from Margaret and David. The Guardian’s reviewer gave it four, describing it as “fascinatingly self-obsessed”: “Less of a biography than a widescreen installation with script and music (Cave’s co-writing credit confirms the artifice), this flits between handsome neo-noir pastiche and ripe psychological melodrama.”
Palo Alto is the earlier film on Saturday, by debuting writer-director Gia Coppola, granddaughter of the famous Francis Ford Coppola. It’s based on a collection of linked short stories by actor and writer James Franco, about teenagers’ experiments with vices and struggles with their families. Its reception in the States was generally positive, and here Margaret and David both gave it three and half stars, with David commenting: “The performances are excellent and the result is an altogether sympathetic, if not entirely original film, from the latest member of a talented movie dynasty.”
p2136-Film-Fest-Selfish-GiaWhat We Do in the Shadows, a horror, comedy, mockumentary from New Zealand, follows up as the later Saturday offering. The ‘we’ are Viago, Vladislav and Deacon, three vampires sharing a flat and haunting the streets of suburban Wellington. It got four stars from EMPIRE – “a gag-filled delight”; and five from Rotten Tomatoes – “a sharp little character-driven comedy that gets its laughs not so much from the plot but simply from its cast of weirdos”. Margaret and David, however, couldn’t “get on the wavelength” and gave it only one and half and one star respectively, while The Australian’s reviewer described it as “a wretchedly ugly and unfunny affair”.
Festival weekend rounds off on Sunday night, starting with The Selfish Giant (still at right), a British film inspired by the Oscar Wilde story of the same name. It won the Europa Cinemas award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Best Film at the 24th Stockholm International Film Festival, and Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave it five stars as did Rotten Tomatoes. Margaret gave it four stars, finding that it “absolutely captured the world of alienated kids in an economically depressed area so tragically, so beautifully”; David, however, only gave it three.
The wrap comes with Snowpiercer, a Korean science fiction arthouse action film based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige. Jason De Rosso (ABC) described it as “a beautifully made science fiction allegory about the perversions and arrogance of power” and “a damn good action movie as well”, giving it four stars. Rotten Tomatoes gave it five stars and Metacritic, four.


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