The Meddler

image** (out of five)

Lorene Scafaria’s portrait of a middle-aged woman and her adult daughter a year after mom’s husband has passed away may be autobiographical (with Scafaria being the daughter), or at least inspired by Scafaria’s true story, but it’s nevertheless riddled with cliché and trite situations that are very difficult to swallow.

Susan Sarandon plays the mom, and Rose Byrne plays the daughter, and they’re the two reasons to see the movie. They’re both great and the scenes they share are emotionally connected and true (there aren’t enough of them, unfortunately, but that’s the essential nature of the story – the mom has to learn to live outside of her daughter’s pocket). But Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) looks strained and embarrassed – hiding behind a bushy mustache – as a stereotypically too-good-to-be-true love interest for Sarandon; their sub-plot is treacly, ludicrous and cringe-worthy. Wait’ll you hear the 70s hit that wells up over their big moment; it’s unintentionally hilarious.

I’m not the demographic target for this film and I suspect, among that demographic, it’s going to be a big hit. The cinema I was in had about eighty patrons and I’m sure seventy-eight of them were women Sarandon’s age or older. They are a seriously powerful and cashed-up segment of movie-goers. They deserve better than the same old hash.

THE FILM MAFIA / MOVIELAND AWARDS 2014!

What a great year for going to the movies. Here are the MOVIELAND / FILMMAFIA AWARDS 2014. Below, you’ll find our Top Ten for the year. Also, listen to the ceremony on the Movieland Podcast here:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/movieland-awards-2014/id668507582?i=328380848&mt=2

Best Film:

MV5BMjQ4NzY0ODg0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjY3OTc2MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Force Majeure

Best Direction:

Ruben Östlund for Force Majeure

Best Feature Documentary:

20,000 Days On Earth by Jane Pollard and Iain Forsyth

Best Australian Film:

(only given when Best Film is not Australian)

Felony

Director Matthew Saville

Best Lead Performance by a Man:

Tom Hardy, Locketumblr_mxdnqzUyej1qe5f96o1_1280

Director Steven Knight

Best Lead Performance by a Woman:

Luminita Gheorghiu, Child’s PoseLuminita-Gheorghiu

Director Calin Peter Netzer

Best Supporting Performance by a Man:

JK Simmons, Whiplash

Director Damien Chazelle

Best Supporting Performance by a Woman:

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Director Richard Linklater

Best Original Screenplay:

Nightcrawler by Dan GilroyUnknown

Director Dan Gilroy

Best Adapted Screenplay:

A Most Wanted Man by Andrew Bovell

Director Anton Corbijn

Best Edit:

Tom Cross for Whiplash

Director Damien Chazelle

Best Cinematography:

Fredrik Wenzel for Force Majeure

Director Ruben Östlund

Best Production Design:

Adam Stockhausen for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Director Wes Anderson

Best Original Score:

Daniel Landin for Under The Skin

Director Jonathan Glazer

Worst Film:

Tammy

Director Ben Falcone

Top Ten

10) Whiplash – Damien Chazelle, with excellent performances from JK Simmons and Miles Teller.

9) We Are The Best! – Lukas Moodysson

8) Boyhood – Richard Linklater, with an intriguing performance by Ellar Coltrane, who ages from 5 to 17 in the film, and excellent support from Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

7) Two Days, One Night – the Dardenne Brothers, with a superb lead performance by Marion Cotillard.

6) Under The Skin – Jonathan Glazer

5) The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, with Ralph Fiennes at his comedic zenith.

4) A Most Wanted Man – Anton Corbijn, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman in one of the roles he left behind.

3) Locke – Steven Knight, with Tom Hardy in an astonishing performance.

2) Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy, with an excellent Jake Gyllenhaal.

1) Force Majeure – Ruben Östlund. Film of the Year.