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Animal Kingdom-DVD Review *** 06/25/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Action/Thriller, Australian, Australian Film Institute, Australian Writers Guild, Chlotrudis Awards, Golden Globes, Movies, Satellite Awards, Sundance Film Festival, Suspense.
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ANIMAL KINGDOM (Australian) 2010 ***

Written and directed by David Michôd
Starring Jacki Weaver, James Frecheville, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Ben Mendelsohn, and Sullivan Stapleton

Among many other wins and nominations (too many to list; here are just the wins from one):
WINNER, Samsung Mobile AFI Award for Best Film (Liz Watts); Best Direction (Michôd); Best Lead Actor (Mendelsohn); Best Lead Actress (Weaver); Best Supporting Actor (Edgerton); Best Editing (Luke Doolan); Best Original Music Score (Antony Partos, Sam Petty); Macquarie AFI Award for Best Original Screenplay (Michôd), AFI Members Choice Award (Liz Watts); Readers’ Choice Award (Liz Watts), Australian Film Institute

When teenager Josh “J” Cody’s (Frecheville) mother dies from a heroin overdose, he gets reacquainted with the rest of her family. And what a family it is. Grandmother Janine (Weaver), who is affectionately referred to as Smurf, is the matriarch. She has three sons, each of whom is in his own way a hardened criminal. Janine herself will stop at nothing to keep her family together.

A very suspenseful thriller from start to finish. Jacki Weaver, who might be familiar from her role as a very different mother, Dolores in Silver Linings Playbook, gives a chilling performance as a mother who is overly involved in her sons’ lives. Director Michôd has a more recent film, The Rover, which has received excellent reviews from viewers.

Highly recommended for a good action thriller.

113 min. Rated R.
For more info:
Animal Kingdom

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Disgrace-DVD Review 06/03/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Australian, Australian Cinematographers Society, Australian Writers Guild, Based on a novel, Emotional Drama, Film Critics Circle of Australia, Taipei Film Festival, Thriller, Toronto International Film Festival.
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DISGRACE (Australian/South African) 2008
Based on the novel by J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Directed by Steve Jacobs
Starring John Malkovich, Jessica Haines, Eriq Ebouaney, and Fiona Press

WINNER, Award of Distinction-Feature Film (Arnold), Australian Cinematographers Society
WINNER, Awgie Award, Feature Film-Adaptation (Anna Maria Monticelli-screenwriter), Australian Writers Guild
NOMINATED, FCCA Award, Best Screenplay (Monticelli), Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards
WINNER, International New Talent Competition – Grand Prize (Jacobs), Taipei Film Festival
WINNER, International Critics’ Award (FIPRESCI), Toronto International Film Festival

In Capetown, South Africa, middle-aged Professor David Lurie (Malkovich) is accustomed to taking advantage of his female students. When he gets caught having a relationship with one, he chooses to leave in disgrace rather than defending his actions as expected. He visits his daughter Lucy (Haines), who lives alone on a remote farm. Despite the obvious dangers in her surroundings, he cannot convince her to leave.

I read Coetzee’s novel, which won the 1999 Booker Prize, recently and was interested to see how it fared as a film adaptation. It is a story with some very grim aspects; director Jacobs treats them fairly, with the same measured tone as the novel, and without sensationalizing them. John Malkovich’s reserved manner suits the role of the self-centered professor, who knows he has done wrong but doesn’t seem able to feel sorry about it.

119 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Disgrace