Out Now – 9th November 2012

We have actually seen three of the films out this week!

Argo
Somehow Ben Affleck has managed to make a film about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis into a funny Hollywood satire that doesn’t make light of the serious drama of a real-life international incident. It’s a strange beast but good.

The Sapphires
Three country song-singing Aboriginal sisters and their cousin get turned into a soul group by a bar worker, before travelling to Vietnam to entertain the troops. It might not be Stephen Colbert getting a buzzcut in Iraq on Obama’s orders but it is a joyful watch.

People Like Us
After his estranged father dies, a salesman discovers he has a half-sister he knew nothing about. It possibly gets a tiny bit incestuous. Now is that a story that’s going to make it into the Christmas newsletter?

Here Comes the Boom
To make money for extra curricular activities at his school, a biology teacher becomes a mixed martial arts fighter. Hang on, isn’t this a sillier version of Warrior?

Love Bite
In fictional Rainmouth, a werewolf is eating virgins. This may be the one time an orgy is declared as a public service.

Alps (limited release)
To help people with the grieving process, a business offers a service where people impersonate recently deceased loved ones and recreate classic scenes from their past life. Tim says that if Charlie Kaufman were to make a Greek film, it would look a lot like this.

Grassroots (limited release)
This is the perfect time to release a film about a grassroots campaign to get someone elected to the Seattle City Council. It’s not like anyone’s got American politics fatigue and is relieved the Presidential election circus is over or anything. Hello Cobie Smulders!

The Joy of Six (limited release)
A set of half a dozen (see what they did there?) short films out of Soda’s New British Cinema programme. Some bright new directors, including Romola Garai, and some established acting talent. Hello Judi Dench!

Mother’s Milk (limited release)
The combined power of Jack Davenport and Tom Hollander star in this drama about the troubled relationships within an English family. Stiff upper lips at the ready please.

My Brother The Devil (limited release)
Yet more gritty drama from the East End – this time British Egyptian teenage brothers have to survive the streets of “gangland London”. It sounds familiar but this might be the one to see: at the time of writing, 16 critics have given it a 100% fresh rating.

East End Babylon (limited release)
A “rockumentary” that tells the history of London’s East End over the past 100 years, leading to the formation of local band The Cockney Rejects, which seems more than a little self-important. They apparently united their joint passions for music and West Ham and released a punk cover of West Ham’s song “I’m forever blowing bubbles”, one of the more unlikely choices for a football terrace chant.

Aurora (limited release)
A 42 year old man, “troubled by obscure thoughts, drives across the city to a destination known only to him”. I am no more enlightened by this than you.

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (limited release)
Documentary about stop-motion king Ray Harryhausen, who is now 92 years old.

The Sapphires – LFF Review

It is 1968 in Australia and three Aboriginal sisters who like to sing country songs are turned into a soul group by a drunk bar worker who looks a lot like Chris O’Dowd. After gaining a singing cousin they travel to Vietnam to entertain the troops. Their journey is filled with song, laughter, heartbreak, and a fair share of bullets.

The Sapphires is a warm and wonderful film which presents a familiar story in a unique setting. Not only are the sisters dealing with some old rivalries amongst themselves they are also fighting widespread racism while dealing with travelling through a country at war with a drunk Irishman calling the shots. You can feel a genuine familial bond between the sisters and they are easy to sympathise with thanks to the attitude of white Australians in their town. Despite their numerous hardships the sisters never come across as self-pitying and instead use the oppression as fuel for their fire and desire to become famous singers.

Chris O’Dowd is his usual charming self and helps lighten even the darkest mood with an awkward smile and a well delivered line. O’Dowd also provides one half of the romantic core of the film allowing a more sentimental side to be seen.

Music runs throughout the film and the musical numbers are mostly wonderfully produced with a lot of energy and passion. Occasionally though the film slips into Glee territory as the lip-synching jars slightly and everything is almost too pitch-perfect. When four women are singing in an outhouse it is OK for them to sound like they are singing in an outhouse rather than a recording studio. We could all learn something from Kylie singing live in Holy Motors.

The Sapphires is a joyful watch and though holds no real surprises has enough originality to stray from predictability.

The Sapphires screens tonight at 6.00 pm and October 18th at 6.15 pm and tickets are still on sale for both. The Sapphires is on general release in the UK from 7th November 2012.

56th BFI London Film Festival

And we’re off! The 56th BFI London Film Festival is in full swing and as is tradition Mild Concern will be turning into full festival mode for at least the next week. Armed with a press pass, a week’s holiday, and a small amount of disposal income we will be watching as many films as we can in an effort to breach the 30 film mark having successfully reviewed over 20 films last year.

To help make this deluge of reviews more manageable links to all the films we’ve watched will be placed below in a beautiful wall of hyperlinked images. Have a click around, it does wonders for our stats.

Films reviewed:

The SessionsHyde Park on Hudson