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March Film Reviews

Nick Frost (Bruce Garrett) in Cuban Fury

Cuban Fury (M)

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Directed by James Griffiths

The comic sidekick in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Paul, Nick Frost puts on his dancing shoes and conquers his fear of dancing in public to become Bruce. Overweight and somewhat shabby, Bruce’s heart beats to the rhythm of Salsa. As a thirteen year old who was into ballroom dancing, Bruce was the target of some vicious bullying. He gave up his dancing aspirations but 22 years later, gorgeous Julia (Rashida Jones) walks into his life. When he discovers that his new boss from America is into Salsa dancing, he decides to win her heart. Unfortunately his body has changed considerably in the intervening time and office bully Drew (Chris O’Dowd), also has Julia in his sights. In the vein of Strictly Ballroom, the audience is almost out of their seats cheering for Bruce to defeat his inner demons and triumph over sleazy Drew to get the girl.

NEBRASKA

Nebraska (MA)

Directed by Alexander Payne

Bruce Dern has been deservedly nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his incarnation as Woody Grant, a cantankerous and determined elderly man who is fond of a drink or two or more. When he receives one of those promotional letters notifying him that he has (probably) won a million dollars, he insists on going to claim his prize. Woody probably has a bit of dementia and he drives his wife (June Squibb who is nominated as Best Supporting Actress) and son David (Will Forte) crazy. He even tries to walk to Nebraska from his home in Montana before David agrees to drive him. Each frame of the black and white cinematography is a brilliantly composed photograph and the road trip brings out the best and worst in the people of the small towns. The film’s slow pace and simple story is peppered with enormous amounts of humour and heart.

Lygon Street

Lygon Street: Si Parla Italiano (MA)

Directed by Angelo Pricolo and Shannon Swan

Narrated by Anthony LaPaglia, this mouth-watering documentary explores the Italian invasion that forever changed what Australians ate and drank. After World War II, a wave of migrants from Italy settled in Melbourne. They opened restaurants in a run-down area in Carlton, made pasta and pizzas and imported coffee machines and wine. Angelo Pricolo and Shannon Swan catch up with the early pioneers who speak about their struggles as migrants and also their triumphs. The rich story of an ethnic group that enriched Australia’s culture has many humorous anecdotes as well. The Lygon Street entrepreneurs introduced alfresco dining and street parties to Australia. Their legacies survive today and are replicated in other towns such as Fremantle and Perth. This film is a warm homage to ‘Little Italy’ which survives and thrives despite urban redevelopment. Lygon Street actually lays claim to being the first place where a McDonalds closed down!

Short Term

Short Term 12 (M)

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

Grace (Brie Larson) is a twenty-something supervisor at a group home for at-risk teenagers. She is competent and gutsy and really cares for her damaged charges. Her boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher) also works at the facility and we find out that the carers have had to struggle with many of the same issues as the youngsters they care for. Writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton bases his film on the two years he spent working in a group house and there is an authenticity to the stories of broken lives. There will be tears as the young people who are full of anger, hate and self-doubt share their stories and songs. There is also humour in unexpected places as the audience gets to look into the characters’ eyes to see what life is like.

Short Term 12 screens at Somerville 17-23 March and Joondalup Pines 25-30 March from 7.30pm.

Lezly Herbert

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