Monday, June 29, 2009

Coco avant Chanel

My review of Coco avant Chanel is now up on Trespass (click here).

Despite my (feminist) misgivings, this is a lovely film, superbly acted by the gorgeous Ms. Tautou. And speaking of gorgeous, what about this poster! It's quite different from the more period poster in my review, but I find the androgyny of this one particularly striking.

Let me know what you think!

Australian Release Date: 25 June 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Farrah & Michael

This morning I awoke to the sad news that Farrah Fawcett had passed away. One can only hope her long, brave and very public battle with the rectal cancer will raise more awareness about the disease. She was 62.

Then news attention was very quickly diverted to the sudden death of Michael Jackson. At 50 years old, the 'King of Pop' appears to have succumbed to a heart attack.

Much has already been written about these two sad announcements, so I'll just suggest you take a little time today to flick your hair and dance around to some Jackson tunes.

Rest in Peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Win Tickets to Last Ride

Click here and head on over to Onya to win tickets to Glendyn Ivin's remarkable Last Ride.

You can also check out my review here.

Finally, for those in Sydney and Melbourne, you have the opportunity to see the film alongside what looks to be a gorgeous photographic exhibition. See Glendyn Ivin's blog for more details.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Vampires' Lair

Images from here and here

As an architect's daughter, Twilight held more eye candy than just Robert Pattinson.

Behold the Cullen's house: in real life called Hoke House after its Nike director owner, John Hoke.

The brainchild of Jeff Kovel from Skylab Architecture, Hoke House is 4300 square meters of contemporary beauty. Floor to ceiling windows and bold cantilevering only accentuate the absolutely stunning use of timber.

No doubt the colours and materials were selected to blend the house in to its forest surroundings. I particularly love the slate greys.

For all the modernism, though, this shot strikes me as very 1970s - just imagine if the wood was a darker varnish.

But then with the modern twist:

No doubt about the contemporary chic kitchen, however. Check out that stunning counter top! Oh yes, and the view.

Such a gorgeous template of textures here.

The interior design and landscaping is by Lucy Metcalf of Metcalf Construction. I'm such a sucker for an Arco lamp, and those rocks through the window work as stylishly as any painting.

Yes, this isn't a bad place to call a lair.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trespass Trailer: Away We Go

This week's Trespass Trailer Teaser left me feeling creatively inadequate. But then again, there's really no competition!

Click here to find out why.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser

Disney has given us a delicious glimpse into Tim Burton's obsessively anticipated Alice in Wonderland. You can see Johnny Depp has undergone a digital facelift, as compared with the previous pic I blogged about earlier in the year.

And as for Helena Bonham Carter,!
Apparently Burton's gone literal with the Red Queen, who has a moat filled with the heads she so famously demands.

Anne Hathaway's White Queen is looks anemically regal and evidently prefers floating over walking.

The real scoop, however, is the fact Burton's film is a sequel of sorts. A decade has passed, and Alice, now 17, unwittingly returns down the rabbit hole in an attempt to escape an embarrassingly public engagement. With no memory of Wonderland, Alice is free to rediscover this bizarre - and Burtonized - world.

(For more pics, see this article in USA Today)

Australian release date: TBC
US release date: 5 March 2010

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Scrat vs Nut

The battle of the Ice Age goes Sydney?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


is a magical film. From the opening image it displays a striking splendour that only intensifies as the film unfolds. From the high planes of Peru, Altiplano takes the real account of a mercury spill that occurred in the Andean town of Choropampa in 2000 as the departure point for a visual investigation of spirituality, grief and sacrifice.

Peruvian beauty Saturnina (Magaly Solier) is devastated by the loss of her fiancé and seeks revenge against the resident Western communities in the mines and visiting doctors. The ripple effect of these events reaches Belgium, where traumatised photojournalist, Grace (Jasmin Tabatabai), is crippled by her own loss, before finding the courage to reconnect with the world.

Altiplano's narrative is really only half the story in what is a profound cinematic and cultural experience. Husband and wife team Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth bring us their second feature together after the 2006 award-winning Khadak. As they did in Mongolia, the pair brings their documentary and anthropological sensibilities to Andean communities, capturing indigenous rituals that are all-too-quickly fading away. Their remarkable gift is an ability to infuse the real with the spiritual, and to portray their story through beautiful, cinematic tableaux.

Solier's stunning face seems to be an inspiration for many of the images. The film revolves around her passionate performance, which is perhaps symbolic of the Peruvian people. "Without an image, there is no story," Saturnina declares in her climactic scene. On the other hand, Grace and her eye-doctor husband Max (Olivier Gourmet) create windows into this world for the Western audience. "You should read more history, Max," one of his colleagues wryly comments.

Altiplano is a magnificent warning that we, the audience, should inform ourselves. From Francisco Gozon's glorious cinematography to Michel Schöpping provocative score and haunting, operatic soundtrack, Brosens and Woodworth succeed in communicating that grief and acceptance -- both secular and spiritual -- are not unique to the thin air of the high planes, but rather unite people around the world.

Published on Rotten Tomatoes

And the winner is...

That's right, according to Matt Ravier's poll of local film journos (including moi!), The Girlfriend Experience should have taken out the Sydney Film Festival Official Comp.

For the complete poll and links to more reviews, please visit Last Night With Riviera.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bronson takes the Blue Pavolva

And so the Sydney Film Festival official prize heads back to Britain. Hmmm, it wouldn't have been my pick (I was rooting for Missing Water). What do you make of it?

Click here to read my festival wrap up over at Rotten Tomatoes.

Coraline & The Girlfriend Experience

Definitely not two titles you'd expect to see together, but nonetheless here they are! I suppose one could argue that they're both innovative films featuring strong women?

In any case click here to read my reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes.

Coraline: Australian release date - 6 August 2009
The Girlfriend Experience: Australian release date - 3 September 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Olivia, one of the delightful head honchettes over at Trespass just reminded me about my review of Sunshine Cleaning. It was posted last week amidst the Sydney Film Festival fog, so I forgot to log it here.

Click here if you fancy reading the review, and although I'd probably recommend catching Sunshine Cleaning on DVD, it's screening in Australian cinemas now.

Beautiful Kate

Rachel Ward's Beautiful Kate was the final Australian film to screen in competition at the Sydney Film Festival. Applause may have filled the State Theatre at the world premiere, but I think it's telling that the first question from the audience was a rather blunt, "Where do you think you can market this?"

While the film is undeniably beautiful, the subject matter may not be so appealing. I had a long and animated chat with friends on the way home from the screening and I'm sure I'll debate the film much more in the weeks to come.

In the meantime though, you can click here to read my review on Rotten Tomatoes and/or you can check out the trailer.

Australian Release Date: 6 August 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Visage & Missing Water

Two more reviews are now up on Rotten Tomatoes.

I'll admit Visage was a bit beyond me. I described it to a friend as the ristretto of cinema, and it turns out I take my films with a dash of milk. Missing Water, on the other hand, while also asking a lot from the audience (though, not in the same stratospheric way as Visage), I found truly moving. Neither are easy rides, but both, in their very different ways, are profound cinematic experiences.

Read my reviews here.

Oh, and to read a review of Visage by someone much more in the know, check out Matt Riviera here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Paper Soldier, Louise-Michel & Bronson

More reviews from the Sydney Film Festival Official Competition are now up on Rotten Tomatoes. The post covers the above films, so click here to have a read. Oh, and I've already got a comment! Feel free to leave some love over at Rotten Tomatoes so I look cool and's like carnation day at school all over again.

Also, if you fancy hearing some more thoughts on Bronson, those film fanatics over a Worse Addictions have a really interesting discussion for you.

Trespass Trailer: (500) Days of Summer

I cheated a bit with this week's Trespass Trailer Teaser. I actually saw 500 Days of Summer at the Sydney Film Festival and have been raving about it ever since. It totally and completely charmed me and I can't wait for its theatrical release so I can see it again!

Intrigued? Read my post here.

Want to hear more? Check out the thoughts of some Sydney film critics over at the new Worse Addictions podcast.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Everyone's a Critic

Having spent the past week overhearing mutters from punters at the Sydney Film Festival, I can attest to that!

But if you fancy seeing how the festival films thus far have been rated by a selection of local bloggers (including moi!) then head on over to: Last Night with Riviera: Sydney Film Festival: Critics Poll (part 1)

Aussies at the Sydney Film Festival

Before the Sydney Film Festival kicked off, I jotted down a preview of the Australian films that are taking part. Partially to atone for my Australian cinema wariness, partially to learn more about the programme, but also to bring some more love for the local industry to the new Onya readership.

In any case, it's up on Onya now, so you can click here to check it out.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

La Nana & Disgrace

Two more Sydney Film Festival reviews are now up on Rotten Tomatoes. The official competition entries La Nana (The Maid) and Disgrace are both powerful films in very different ways.

Read my reviews here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Looking For Eric

The Sydney Film Festival opened on Wednesday night with another feel good film from the motherland.

See my review of Looking for Eric on Rotten Tomatoes.

Australian release date: 24 September 2009

Don't Try This At Home

That's right party people. Lights, a TV and a pug in a bow tie does not a film festival make. So I'm heeding the Sydney Film Festival's warning not to try this at home, and consequently find myself taking up residence at the State Theatre.

I'll be reviewing as fast as I can write them, so watch this space! Better yet, shout if you're coming to the festival - I'll be the square eyed, slightly disheveled looking person scribbling in a notebook.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Trespass Trailer: Nine

This week's Trespass Trailer Teaser is a brief look at the new Rob Marshall musical, Nine. The cast is ludicrously good, the cinematography looks stunning and the trailer itself starts out with some cheeky, self-deprecating humour. So while I'm not such a huge fan of musicals, let's face it, I eagerly anticipate any Daniel Day-Lewis film.

Australian release date: 21 January 2010

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Ties That Bind (Last Ride)

There's a brand new Aussie mag on the scene: Onya. Launched today in Melbourne to much fanfare and goodie bags (oh but I'm stuck in Sydney!), this online magazine promises to promote, debate and celebrate all things Australian.

To that end, Onya has published my review of Last Ride. But if you're not one to read a review before you see the film, then check out the trailer here.

Australian release date: 2 July 2009

And for a little bit of less selfish promotion, be sure to read my friend Beth's provocative review of the lauded Samson & Delilah.

Mooning Around

Here's some shameless fun if you're mooning around on a Monday: the New Moon trailer has been released.


It looks like they're staying faithful to the book (no doubt not wanting to risk a lynching by the die-hard fans), but thank the Lord it also appears director Chris Weitz has brought some of his CGI nous from The Golden Compass to the table. The visual effects in Twilight were laughable, where as Jacob 'phasing' (yeah, I'm down with the lingo) into a wolf looks quite cool in this trailer.

Whatcha think?

Australian Release Date: 19 November 2009
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