Red Koi Reviews

See what I've seen, hear what I've heard

Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Movie review: The Kings Speech

Posted by redkoireviews on 29/12/2010

The Kings Speech” conquers the difficult task of making History personal, emotional and compelling. The film follows King George VI (Colin Firth), who is thrust into throne after his elder brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pierce)  abdicates in order to marry his lover. A terrible childhood has caused ‘Bertie’ to develop a stutter, which makes being a king rather difficult to say the least. We follow his introduction to an unqualified but successful Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffry Rush) who after some persistence manages to get Bertie to the point of being able to survive his coronation and then (in the nick of time)  deliver his first war time speech as Britain declares war with Germany.

The film is well scripted and directed, giving you a real surge of empathy for a man struggling to find the courage to lead a country. Firth does brilliantly as a nobleman with a stutter and Rush carries his ice-breaking role as the egalitarian – honest broker – straight man with real ease. You leave having no problem believing that the movie is not simply based on a true story, but that Firth and Rush could indeed have been the King and King maker.

If you go, it’s not necessary to know anything about British modern history, but 10min spent getting at least faintly familiar with what has happening in the world at the time will add an extra layer of gravitas to an already moving film. (Bluekoi have me the 10min history to me and the people around us as the previews where rolling!).

Second opinion on ‘Reviews for the rest of us“.


Posted in 4 Stars, Movies, Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The paper will be blue

Posted by redkoireviews on 01/07/2007

The Paper will be BlueSorry for the delay, but “The paper will be blue” was another film that my partner and I saw at this years film festival. This film is set in Bucharest on the the night dictator Ceausescu lost power. It follows a small unit of soldiers in their armoured vehicle as they meander around the city, unsure what to do and unwilling to be drawn into anything that might look like trouble. Given there is a revolution going on, the film has a oddly slow pace. Several of the characters are totally unflapped by what is going on around them.

One of the younger members of the unit defects, almost as a spur of the moment decision, and wanders into the throng of those civilians taking control of the TV station. The blurry lines between soldier, defector and civilian make for comic situations as Costi tumbles along and his unit try to track him down.  The film has it’s moment, but there wasn’t enough to really suck you in. Compared to Control, this was a dud. But that’s because Control was awesome.

My Rating: 2 Stars

Posted in 2 Stars, Movies | Leave a Comment »


Posted by redkoireviews on 24/06/2007

ControlOk, I’ve gotten a bit behind in my reviews, but there’s been a lot on. My partner and I went to see ‘Control‘ which is playing as part of the Sydney Film Festival. The film is a biopic – a film where actors play real people to a script based on real events. This one covers the short life of Ian Curtis, lead singer with cult band Joy Division.

I’m not a Joy Division devotee, but we do have the one compilation album floating around our house which gets an occasional listen. However the film adds new depth to the songs, and is a very compelling if sad story of a creative young man wrestling with life and schizophrenia. Director Anton Corbijn has brought out the very best in black and white cinematography. There are dozens of scenes that you could freeze and frame as photographs.

You don’t have to be a Joy Division fan to love this film. It’s beautiful in it’s own right. You’ve missed it as part of the film festival – it sold out. However I’d be totally surprised if this film doesn’t get a decent run in the cinemas later in the year. Keep an eye out for it.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Posted in 5 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Paris je t’aime

Posted by redkoireviews on 22/06/2007

Paris je t’aimeWe where on holidays, it was pouring rain and we where bored. So we went to see this film at the New Empire movie theater in Bowral. Like the review we’d seen on ”at the movies‘, we thought it was a mixed bag. The film is a series of 18 short films about love in Paris. Some of them a re brilliant, some of them are pretty average. However there are simply too many of them – I walked out struggling to remember which ones I liked most or hated most.

The theme was also too loose. There where no linkages between the shorts and no shared actors, even the direction and cinematography was really different. Some where funny, some sad, some wistful. My favourites where the one with the blind guy and his actor girlfriend, and the one involving Oscar Wilde.

My Rating: 3 Stars

For an alternative review, see rotten tomatoes

Posted in 3 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Centre Pompidou Video Art 1965-2005

Posted by redkoireviews on 08/01/2007

Baltimore 2003This exhibition of video art spanning forty years is showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the Sydney Festival. It surprised me to find that artists have been using video and moving images for art for so long – about as long as the format has existed. Some of the early works felt a bit like the artist was still getting comfortable with the tools – a bit like a great painter’s early photographs. In the later works there’s more of a sense that the artist is totally comfortable with the technical bits, which means the viewer is left to focus on the creative aspect of the work, without being distracted.

Of the earlier works, my favourite was a piece by Samuel Beckett, most famous for his plays. Four differently coloured figures enter his minimalist stage one at a time, looking at first to be moving randomly, but as the four come together, creating a very symmetrical, rhythmic pace. He makes very good use of sound and movement – which is exactly the benefit of video over still art. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 3 Stars, Exhibitions, Movies, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Little Miss Sunshine

Posted by redkoireviews on 03/12/2006

Little Miss Sunshine The MovieSorry I’ve been so long with so few posts – I’ve just changed jobs and things have been hectic. Anyway, my partner and I went and saw ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ at the movies last night. It’s one of those quirky dramas centered on a dysfunctional family and a road trip they embark on in order to get young Olive to the ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ child beauty pageant.

The main theme is winning losing and luck. Most of the characters go through some sort of trial where a dream is crushed by the cruel hand of fate for no particular reason. The family has plenty of differences but they all come together for Olive, whose innocent optimism is something they all love, and perhaps miss in their own lives. Check out the full synopsis if you want.
There are plenty of moments when it’s just hilarious – you won’t be disappointed when Olive finally gets her turn on stage at the contest. Go to rotten tomatoes for another view.

I really enjoyed this – if you missed it in cinemas, go rent the DVD.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Posted in 4 Stars, Movies, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

V for Vendetta (The Movie)

Posted by redkoireviews on 04/10/2006

Vendetta PosterI meant to see ‘V for Vendetta‘ at the movies but never got around to it. So last night my partner and I watched it on DVD. It was fantastic, but the movies would have been better. It’s a movie adaptation of a comic book of the same name, and the larger than life nature of the film suits cinema.

The film is set in the near future of around 2015, where America has fallen to civil war and Britain is ruled with a iron fist of extreme conservative party leader and ‘High Chancellor’ Adam Sutler. During the ‘reformation’ that leads this fascist to power, V winds up in a sinister experiment facility, where gays, blacks and other minorities are sent and experimented on. This brutal treatment fills him with hate, and he sets out to get his revenge and bring the government down. Wikipdeia has the best plot synopsis. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 4 Stars, Movies, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Thank you for smoking (The movie)

Posted by redkoireviews on 16/09/2006

Thank you for smokingThank you for smoking” is based on a novel of the same name, and it follows tobacco spin man Nick Taylor as he tries to ‘filter the truth’. I work for a non-profit environment group and we see all kinds of spin designed to make companies look more responsible than they are. Nothing in this movie surprised me much, but it was funny.

Having said that, I’ve met the PR people from tobacco, alcohol and coal companies and they are not as cunning and machiavellian as Nick and his friends in the M.O.D squad (Merchants of Death). Some have more flexible ethics than others, but like Nick, they are all paid to talk, because that’s what they’re good at. The PR industry has already moved beyond characters like Nick – they know he’s bad for their own image. The industry knows the best PR is PR that doesn’t get recognised as PR. The greying out of truth is getting worse, and although the industry would like to think otherwise, public trust in private institutions corrodes just a little more for every ambiguous media release and sound bite.

If you like satire, you’ll like this movie. If you’re expecting a hard hitting expose, this is not it. So much dirty laundry of the tobacco industry has been aired this movie doesn’t even try to add anything more. See Rotten Tomatoes for a second opinion. Entertainment for the cynical.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Posted in 3 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Memoirs of a Geisha (The Movie)

Posted by redkoireviews on 08/08/2006

Memior of a gesiha 2I watched this film on DVD over the weekend, and wished I’d seen it on the big screen. The film is loosely based on a book by the same name. It follows the life of Chiyo, a nine year old girl from a fishing village, sold into a Geisha house.

Her childhood is scared first by separation from her family and sister, then by torment from rivals and others in the Geisha house. Amongst this struggle comes a simple gesture of kindness from ‘the chairman’ – a gentleman and factory owner. Chiyo becomes fixated on this man, making it her purpose in all things to become closer to him. It gives her purpose in a world without any other guiding star.

It’s a visually beautiful movie, shot like someone creating a bonsai – there’s attention to detail that many hollywood films just can’t achieve. This beauty sits uncomfortably next to the fact that these women live have been sold into a life of prostitution, albeit a more glamorous one than in the western world.

The plot and acting supports the visual experience well, creating a wonderful film. I just wish I had seen it in it’s full glory on the big screen.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Posted in 4 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Jarhead (The Movie)

Posted by redkoireviews on 08/07/2006

Jarhead Jarhead is an unusual war movie about an unusual war: Desert Storm & the Gulf War. It’s based on the book by Marine Anthony Swofford about his experiences in Saudi Arabia & Kuwait.

The movie follows ‘Swoff’ and his fellow soldiers through the deserts, but mostly follows them through the boredom and directionless of a war fought primarily through air power, at a distance. This makes the rare encounters with death all the more horrific than in other war films. Think ‘Apocolpse now’ meets ‘Waiting for Godo’, except not as good as either of them.
It’s an interesting insight into modern wars and soldiers, but lacked a grand narrative, a message, anything to give it some real punch. Good but certainly not un-missable. As usual, check out the reviews at rotten tomatoes for a second opinion.

My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Posted in 2 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: