6:00 PM, 1st August, 2009
Mary Dinkle lives in Melbourne with no friends, weird parents and bad eating habits. Max Horowitz lives in New York with doomed goldfish, chocolate hotdogs and Asperger's Syndrome. Through sheer chance, these two become pen-pals, and we get to see how their relationship develops over many years.
Adam Elliot found success a few years ago when his short film Harvie Krumpet won an Oscar. It quickly became a favourite with many Australians, with its dry, humorous and very Australian look at the world from the outside looking in. Mary and Max continues this theme, without giving us a "been here, seen that" feel. Talented actors like (a totally unrecognisable) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette and Eric Bana have all come on board here, as they obviously can distinguish when a fantastic script is available to them.
And I've gotten this far into the review without mentioning that it is all done in claymation form. There's not many film-makers using this beautiful, but painstaking, medium anymore (even Aardman have gone digital in recent times).
This film is dark in some places, but nothing that the average child shouldn't be able to handle with some parental guidance. So come along to see a most unusual film in many ways - mainly visually and in its humour - but in many GOOD ways.
8:00 PM, 1st August, 2009
"Baader-Meinhof Complex" was the name given by the media to a gang of left-wing terrorists that called itself the RAF ("Red Army Faction"). I'm using the word "left wing" a little loosely; for, as the saying goes, a fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim; and we get to see these people forget their aim before our eyes ((ndash)) their very personhoods disintegrate; they become little more than violent wraiths.
Admittedly they were pretty close to that state to begin with ((ndash)) with one intriguing exception: Ulrike Meinhof (Gedeck ((ndash)) the female lead in The Lives of Others), who gets involved with the RAF largely because at least they're doing something: it may be something pointless, counter-productive and wrong, but it's something; and weren't we all told that the tragedy of Nazi Germany was good people doing nothing? She wavers for some time but in the end commits herself once and for all to the RAF by... simply jumping out a window; and it's a chilling moment, for while we may not have done the same thing, we can feel the impulse she acted on.
Despite its length, this is an engrossing film. Even if you don't feel the disturbing tug of forces that might, in another age, have done to you what they did to Ulrike Meinhof, you'll at least feel the 1970s brought to life in a way that no other film I know of has quite managed.