The Big Sick: a modern day rom-com

The Big Sick (2017) is a modern-day romantic comedy. In the words of filmmaking legend Robert Redford, “storytellers can broaden our minds, engage, provoke, inspire and ultimately connect us”. I think The Big Sick is a film thats come to audiences at a perfect time. With so much apparent racism and hate in the world, one of the film’s messages is that love is love, regardless of the colour of your skin or your religious background.

The Big Sick is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in awhile. It makes fun of stereotypes, dating and modern technology. I love when Emily (Zoe Kazan) calls for an Uber and Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) phone starts ringing. It’s a pretty basic film to be honest. There’s no CGI, no special effects, no action sequences. It follows the story of Kumail and Emily who met and eventually fall in love. It’s about people, not about how good the special effects are, which is how more films should be these days. It’s also written by Kumail and the real-life Emily (Emily V. Gordon). You can really tell that the film is authentic, it’s not a made up tale and that’s definitely one of the reasons it is so enjoyable.

I’ve read that it’s one of the highest grossing independent films of the year. It’s refreshing to have a movie like this in the mainstream. The story really is paramount to the movie. I think that’s not always the case these days. It does provoke you to think about the modern world and how times are changing. I think it is also a film that has something for everyone, it’s appeal is universal.

I also love that the dad in the film is the same actor (Anupam Kher) who played the dad in Bend it like Beckham (2002). He’s essentially playing the same role except it’s his son this time, not his daughter like in Bend it like Beckham. There’s 15 years between Bend it like Beckham and The Big Sick. Hopefully in another 15 years time no-one needs to make a movie about race & culture getting in the way of love. Hopefully in 15 years the world has grown up enough to disregard bigotry when it comes to love & happiness. That’s what I am hoping for anyway.

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Ellipsis – Standout movie at the Melbourne Film Festival

Last Sunday I went to see Ellipsis (2017) at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). It is an experimental film with two central characters. It is a story about escaping the daily grind and living in the moment.

Ellipsis is Australian actor David Wenham’s first time directing and what a way to start! It’s a film that you can tell is made by an actor. I think after all, that they make pretty amazing directors, just look at Clint Eastwood & Robert Redford. The characters in the story are the main part, it’s just a story about people and how one night can change how you view the world.

David Wenham also introduced the film and answered questions about it after also. He said that the night has always fascinated him as things happen at night, that can’t in the day. You can speak to people that you wouldn’t usually approach, have new experiences that you wouldn’t through the day and make friendships, even if just for the night.

It’s not a film with a love story, yet it does have one. It’s just not your traditional love story. It’s a story about friendship with someone you know you’ll never see again. It’s also a love letter to Sydney and for putting your phone away. There’s a whole world out there if you just stop to experience it.

David Wenham doesn’t hammer his point home, he leaves it up to the audience to interpret the film how they wish. There’s a lot of different ways to interpret this film and a lot of messages to take out of it. Not bad for a film that was shot in 10 days.

It’s a beautiful film and honestly the best film I’ve seen all year. I hope it gets the distribution and the acclaim that it deserves.

Can’t wait to see what David Wenham does next.

From Los Angeles with Love

I can’t even deal with how amazing La La Land (2016) is. It makes me want to yell from a rooftop how much I love movies. I watched it for about the third or fourth time this weekend. And I think it keeps getting better each time I watch it.

The nay-sayers to La La Land don’t know what they are talking about. It’s a film about films, made by film lovers for film buffs. Does a film get any better than this? I don’t think so. And here’s why.

The tribute it pays to the movies of the past. It’s a homage to the stars that were and the movies that they live on in. For example, showing Griffith Observatory in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and then re-creating the same shot 60+ years later. The whole film is a love letter to Hollywood, not the Hollywood of today, but of the Golden Era. They just don’t make movies like these anymore, except of course in La La Land.

The music. The score, the jazz music featured plus the concept of “ saving jazz”. I didn’t know much about jazz before. The only real experience I’ve had with jazz is going to Preservation Hall in New Orleans for authentic jazz, no microphone, no amps and also no mobile phones. Gimmicks have no place in ‘real jazz’ and we learn that as Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) does.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are both fantastic and even better when paired together. Which brings me to my favourite part of the film and what I think is the best ending to a film, in the history of film. Big call, but I’m happy to make it.

The final montage is perfect. There’s just not another word for it. It is understated whilst being elaborate. It is affectionate, whilst being heart-breaking. It is unexpected but believable.

This isn’t a story of boy meets girl and then happily ever after. Whilst it is a love story, it is a story about two people chasing their dreams. It is about meeting someone who has an impact on your life & shapes who you become, but then their part in your story is done.

The story & ending of La La Land is a film I think will never be forgotten. This is a modern-day classic whose story has just begun.

The best Bond film

I re-watched Casino Royale (2006) this weekend and it is by far the best Bond film. I remember seeing this at the movies when it came out. (I can’t believe it’s 11 years ago, where did all that time go?) I remember being on the edge of my seat the entire movie, not knowing what was going to happen.

It’s something that you can only experience once. The first time you see a movie & you have no idea what to expect. I think that a great cinema experience like that is one to treasure. Making you forget your own life entirely and be transported to another world is something only very few movies achieve. Casino Royale is definitely one of them.

From the black and white start to the opening credits, you know you are in for a great movie. It’s a Bond who’s not yet quite sure of himself. While he’s still arrogantly charming, he’s not so sure about the killing that his job entails. Daniel Craig portrays this new-age Bond perfectly. He’s ruggedly handsome & does a great job bringing Bond into the 21 century.

I must say that Casino Royale really is a one-off. It’s a not just a Bond film; it’s an action film that has something for everyone. A fast-paced story line, great characters, stunning locations and a love story. Eva Green’s character Vesper Lynd, is not just a Bond girl, but the love of Bond’s life. What a different storyline for a Bond film.

But I have to say, the other films with Daniel Craig as Bond haven’t lived up to this one and I doubt that a Bond film will again. Casino Royale is pretty damn close to perfect.