Movie Review – ¡Ay, Mi Madre! (Oh My Mother!)

TL;DR – While the premise is strong, the inconsistencies in tone lead to a dissonant ending.     Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

¡Ay, Mi Madre!. Image Credit: Gossip Event & Productions.

Review

In my drive to see more international films, one area where I do not have a lot of experience with is the cinema from Spain and Latin America. Indeed, most of my experience comes from interpretations of Latin American culture like the still excellent Coco. However, today I start to fix this with a film that explores the difficult relationship between a mother and her daughter.

 So to set the scene, we open in on a day that no one wishes, for María (Estefanía de los Santos) is returning home, and not for a happy reunion. Because unfortunately, her mother Paca (Terele Pávez) has passed away, or maybe not unfortunately given how everyone talks about her. María had an estranged relationship with her mother that was never resolved. This means that María has to deal with all the funeral proceedings, while also dealing with the complicated relationship she had with her mother and that is all before the will is divulged.

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Movie Review – The Lion King (2019)

TL;DR – An animated marvel that unfortunately comes off as a disjointed mess at times   

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The Lion King. Image Credit: Disney.

Review

I’m going to be honest right from the start here, I had some real trepidation on walking into The Lion King today. I consider the original animated film to be one of my all-time top animated films. In the 25 years since I first watched it, it still holds a special place in my heart, even though those 25 years were filled with hot takes about authoritarianism and plagiarism accusations. However, something about this remake just was not jiving with me. Well now that I have seen the full film I am happy to say that it was not the disaster I thought it would be, but wow does it have issues.

So to set the scene, and if you have seen the original film you can probably skip this section. We open with dawn breaking on a very special day in Pride Rock. Because this is the day that the new prince Simba (JD McCrary) is being presented to the animal kingdom. As Rafiki (John Kani) raised the young cub up in front of all the animals that have gathered Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Sarabi (Alfre Woodard) watch on with pride, but someone is missing. Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) the brother of the king is absent and his absence is notable. He wants the throne for himself and he will stop at nothing to make that happen. Well, one day when young Simba and Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph) escape their watcher Zazu (John Oliver) and take a trip to the elephant’s graveyard an opportunity lands in Scar’s lap.

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Movie Review – Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein

TL;DR – Absurdist and silly, and while the mockumentary is fun at the start it does feel like it never quite came together.     

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene

Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Well let me tell you a story, we have a famous actor creating a mockumentary of a fictional ancestor that he also plays, and we are going to jump back and forth between him finding out things today and a pretend performance of a televised play in the 60s. This is a truly bonkers scenario, but that is the one we have with us today as we explore Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein.

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Movie Review – Concern for Welfare (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – A strong central character is a foundation for an interesting story about family     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Review


If you have read my reviews before you will know that I am a sucker for a work of media that delves into family relationships. Who we chose our families to be and how we relate to people are full of emotional stories to tell and this is one of them.

Concern for Welfare is a title that has multiple meanings throughout the short film. On the surface, it is the police term for when a member of the public has a concern for the welfare of someone else. This is important for Ali (Nicole Chamoun) because she is a probationary police officer being shown the ropes by Sambo (Ryan Johnson) her supervisor. They have to check on an elderly gentleman that people have not seen for weeks.

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Movie Review – Busting Out The Bells (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – A film with the right heart, even if it does not all come together.      
Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Review

Watching a love one slide into dementia where they forget where they are and who they are is a heart-breaking process that I and many others have had to experience. Indeed it is a real shame that more films don’t explore this issue but today we get to look at some that have.

Busting out the Bells tells the story of when parents had to tell their young children Jason (James Bingham) and Kate (Amelia Kelly) that their Grandpa George (Phil Mackenzie) will not be staying with them this year because they have had to put him into a nursing home because he kept forgetting things and getting lost.

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Movie Review – Birdie (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – In some respects this is a very simple film, but it uses that premise to perfectly explore the building tension    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Review

There are a lot of things films can do, they can excite, they can astound, they can terrify, and the can crush. However, one of the key things they can do is let you walk in another person’s shoes for a time, which can lead to some really powerful moments.

The story of Birdie is, well it is less of a story and more of a premise. A woman (Maeve Dermody) is on her way to see a new apartment so she takes the train. This is the framework, but this is where the tension is introduced because as she arrives at the Redfern station there are a couple of guys lurking around. You can feel that tension as her personal security lowers each moment they are around. How she tries to find people to be near so she is not alone, you feel every moment of this trial.

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Movie Review – Andromeda (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – An interesting look at what it means to be alive, but feels more like an opening act than a complete film.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Review

The next in our look at the 2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition delves into the notions of what it is to be alive. It explores a world where androids have become the new working class and the ever reaching effects that would have.

One area where this film excels is in its production, with some beautifully framed shots. There is this use of light and colour to bring us into this world of Andromeda (Kestrel Leah) all situated around story time with a young Ella (Mai Brunelle) who has not quite worked out what Andromeda is.

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