Sunday, August 13, 2017

Movie Review … The Time Of Their Lives

In recent years there have been more films aimed towards mature audiences.  No one wants to say the words ‘elderly’ or ‘old’, but several have catered for older viewers wanting something without CGI or an endless stream of sex and violence.  Movies, including ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and others, have explored the ageing process in an engaging manner with fine performances.  ‘The Time of Their Lives’ follows the same template.  Starring evergreen ladies Joan and Pauline Collins, it’s a fine journey firmly establishing that age is always just a number.

When her ex-husband dies, former Hollywood movie star Helen (Joan Collins) travels to France for the funeral.  Not wanting to make the journey alone, she asks new friend Priscilla (Pauline Collins) to join her.  Jumping in the car and hitting the road, the duo quickly become embroiled in mischief and mayhem.  Meeting men like Alberto (Franco Nero), Helen and Priscilla navigate the personal upheavals such encounters bring making them focus on the meaning of friendship.

‘The Time of Their Lives’ has much in common with the stage play/movie ‘Shirley Valentine’. Both feature ladies searching for more in life and trying to sort out the baggage of past relationships.  Perhaps it’s no coincidence that both featured the talents of Pauline Collins.  She’s always had a special talent for conveying the yearning for new pastures without her characters feeling desperate.  She is accompanied with style in Joan Collins’ troubled character, with the famous ‘Dynasty’ diva putting in a strong performance.

Whilst it provides an engaging journey and a smattering of genuine laughs, ‘The Time of Their Lives’ feels familiar.  Think an old-time version of ‘Thelma and Louise’ and you wouldn’t be far off.  The plot occasionally creaks under its own dated antiquity, but its premise of facing the past and forging new horizons no matter what age is engagingly handled.  The French scenery is gorgeous to look at as always with Roger Goldby’s smooth direction making the most out of a clich├ęd story.

It’s pleasurable seeing older actors strut their stuff.  They know how to project their roles well with ‘The Time of Their Lives’ benefitting from their experience.  Ageing gracefully is something we could all learn although having fun while doing so like the film’s characters is a lesson we should never forget.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.


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Movie Review … Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

Luc Besson has never been known for his restraint.  Director of films such as the sci-fi epic ‘The Fifth Element’, he has gleefully embraced the meaning of excess. The French director has his admirers with his movies turning a profit despite their huge budgets.  That’s just as well as his latest, ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ is already notorious as being the most expensive French film ever made.  It certainly looks spectacular with every penny seen on the silver screen in Besson’s typically outlandish style.

Valerian (Dane DeHann) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are special operatives from the Ministry of Defence charged with maintaining order.  It’s the 28th century, where all manner of species converge to trade.  Sent to a world called Alpha also known as the City of a Thousand Planets, Valerian and Laureline come across a sinister plot to disrupt its delicate peace.  Dealing with shady types such as shapeshifting dancer Bubble (Rihanna) and pimp Jolly (Ethan Hawke), the law-enforcing duo uncover a grand scheme that could destroy the entire universe.

‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ is pure spectacle.  It really looks amazing with the only limitations being the film-maker’s imaginations.  All manner of new creatures are on display as they battle for survival amidst a cosmic mystery.  Valerian and Laureline make a quirky couple and neither of their portrayers are known for their heroic roles but gamely go out of their comfort zone.  Although their chemistry is miniscule, DeHann and Delevingne almost succeed in embodying their character’s traits and remain consistently engaging.

Besson’s stylistic flair is seen in abundance and he doesn’t hold back in the CGI splendour.  Whilst the script is overlong and has several unnecessary scenes adding little to the central plot, the gorgeous scenery provides compensation.  The wondrous visions aid in papering over the cracks of a predictable plot as do the energetic and enthusiastic performances which divert attention away from any deficiencies. 

‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ is a sci-fi epic on a grand scale. It’s an often glorious mess and occasionally drags when it should soar.  But its good moments are memorable with its use of 3-D technology adding to its allure.  Luc Besson doesn’t hold back with his latest with a beguiling mix of genre styles sure to further cement his popular reputation.


 Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.


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Movie Review … Wind River

The best types of thrillers are ones using locations to their fullest.  Whilst indoor-set mysteries are still good, there’s something about being in open spaces that increases the tension and atmosphere.  It’s as if secrets can be unearthed anywhere at any given moment that makes things more impactful.  ‘Wind River’ uses this motif very well.  A genuinely suspenseful film with its’ harsh and rugged locations adding immeasurably to a mood refusing to let go until the final credits.

When a body of a Native American girl is discovered in the rocky wilderness of Wind River, Wildlife agent Corey Lambert (Jeremy Renner) seeks help.  This arrives in the form of novice FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen).  Unprepared and shocked by the harsh wintry conditions of the wilds, Jane’s task in solving the mystery becomes harder.  Using Corey as her tracker, Jane and her new companion swiftly face the realities of their environment and the savagery of nature’s elemental fury.

Although the basic plot is predictable, ‘Wind River’ maximises locations well.  The desolate, snowy vistas play an almost sinister role hiding the horrors of what the duo discover.  ‘Wind River’ isn’t a simple whodunit but a complex piece about breaking down barriers of grief and proving yourself in a different environment.  Corey and Jane are both damaged people looking for a way to free themselves of personal burdens.  Only by taking on the anguish of the victims’ family can they let go, which is an almost perverse form of therapy the film daringly explores.

Taylor Sheridan makes a solid directorial debut with a good cast of characters and strong story.  He sets the scene well and creates a slowly percolating atmosphere of dread.  Whilst the procedural routine of examining clues is formulaic, Sheridan goes deep into his characters to unearth issues of racism and redemption.  Renner and Olsen turn in fine performances although their mumbling accents occasionally makes it difficult to hear what they’re saying.  They are still good amongst a great cast who perfectly pitch their roles with a dose of cynical world-weariness.

‘Wind River’ uses its locales well.  It builds on the screenplay’s drama and adds to the character’s feelings as they navigate its brutal terrain.  Mystery enthusiasts should enjoy sifting through the clues along with the characters even if it’s advisable to wear something warm while watching it.

 
Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.


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