Animal Kingdom

Now Playing: THIS IS SPINAL TAP, PHILADELPHIA and WILD AT HEART

Now Playing: THIS IS SPINAL TAP, PHILADELPHIA and WILD AT HEART

This week goes up to 11 with the mockumentary – or, if you will, “rockumentary” – that started it all, spawning a new film genre and influencing Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel) to make such later films as WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, BEST IN SHOW and FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. Check it out this Sunday night, and take a look at what else we’ve got in store for our film blocks this week.

Now Playing: ORLANDO, THE COLOR OF MONEY, and RESCUE DAWN

Now Playing: ORLANDO, THE COLOR OF MONEY, and RESCUE DAWN

This week, we’ve got Tilda Swinton in a film literally for the ages. Also don’t miss Paul Newman and Tom Cruise partnering up with Martin Scorsese, Christian Bale going on a crash diet, and more.

Denis Villeneuve's INCENDIES

Denis Villeneuve's INCENDIES

Like two other films I posted on in the past year, Jacques Audiard’s A PROPHET and David Michôd’s ANIMAL KINGDOM, Denis Villeneuvie’s INCENDIES is a film of epic proportions. The story follows a young French Canadian woman (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and her twin brother (Maxim Gaudette) as they investigate the past of their now-deceased Lebanese mother (Lubna Azabal), who turns out to have lived a life far more dramatic — and traumatic — than her children ever imagined.

Sundance Film Festival follow up: ANIMAL KINGDOM

Sundance Film Festival follow up: ANIMAL KINGDOM

When you say the words, crime family, I doubt if anything besides THE GODFATHER springs to mind. That’s why when writer/director David Michôd made ANIMAL KINGDOM, his film about the downfall of an Australian crime family, he wisely avoided the epic romance of the Corleones and veered sharply towards the naturalistic. While there’s a lot at…

David Michod's ANIMAL KINGDOM

David Michod's ANIMAL KINGDOM

David Michôd’s ANIMAL KINGDOM features one of the quietest protagonist you’ll ever meet. He’s ‘J’ (James Frecheville), a good looking kid with a heavy brow and downcast eyes, and in the first moments of the film – one of the strongest opening scenes I’ve seen in a while – he’s on the couch watching the telly (this is an Australian film) with his mum, who is asleep. Only she’s not asleep … (SPOILER ALERT – “inciting incident” about to be revealed right here and now) … she’s “gone and OD’d.” As the paramedics take her away, J, now fully alone, calls his estranged (no joke) Grandma Smurf (Jacki Weaver), and within minutes she’s on her way to pick him up . (“Do you remember where we live, Grandma?” “Course I do darling!”) She proceeds to pull him firmly into her family of criminal sons; into the ANIMAL KINGDOM where the weakest are, well, devoured. In this hyper aggressive world, where men lunge at one another like lions, shoot cops, do drugs and kiss their mother on the mouth, how did Michôd manage to pull off the writing feat of a passive protagonist? For much of the movie, J sits and stares, goes to his room and escapes to his girlfriend’s house. Passive.

Or is he?

Gay animal kingdom

Gay animal kingdom

While the issue of same sex relationships ruffles the feathers of various tribes among the supposedly higher brain functioning bipedal primate sub species of homo sapiens, this is barely a controversy in the rest of the animal kingdom who seem to all shrug their collective shoulders or fins or wings at gay and lesbian lifestyles. Scienceray lists ten animals comfortable with same sex partnerships.