Saturday, 22 November 2014

Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit)

In 'Two Days, One Night' a factory worker (Marion Cotillard) spends a weekend visiting her sixteen coworkers to persuade them to vote against receiving a sizeable bonus in order that she may save her job.

It is a simple film with Cotillard in nearly every scene, the camera following her from residence to residence as she battles her health, uncertainty and embarrassment in this weekend task. The film feels a little bit padded with some longish dialogue free scenes that don't always advance the plot.

This would be a very slight film except for Ms Cotillard's nicely understated performance and a climactic dilemma that provides a poignant finale.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Streets of Paddington

Inner Sydney suburb Paddington was a downtrodden area, out of fashion, when I was growing up in the 1950/60s but the suburb has long since been reborn as fashionable, trendy and expensive.

Thankfully many of the older residences have survived the rebirth largely intact.

Jacaranda tree in flower

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Paddington Reservoir Gardens

The Paddington Reservoir operated as a water reservoir for the eastern suburbs of Sydney in the latter years of the 19th Century. It was decommissioned in 1899 and for most of the 20th Century was a facility for motor vehicles including a service station until the service station subsided partially into the cavity below it in 1990. The damaged service station remained blocked off and the site unused for the next 18 years until a restoration of the reservoir and the reopening of the site as public gardens in 2008.

It is unusual space being below street level but the gardens, built on the former water chambers, draw a lot of attention from passers by and provide an oasis of calm alongside a very busy thoroughfare.

Gateway to the Eastern Chamber
Former Western Chambers
Eastern Chamber sometimes hired for fashion photo shoots, events, etc
Busy Oxford Street goes unnoticed in the Gardens
Sunbather enjoys the calm

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My Old Lady

In 'My Old Lady' Kevin Kline travels to Paris to claim an apartment he has inherited from his father's estate only to find he is unable to sell the place because of a French law which entitles the former owner and now resident, Maggie Smith, occupancy of the home for life.

The casting suggests that the film is a comedy and whilst there is the occasional humorous moment this adaptation of a stage play is mostly a drama and I'm afraid a rather dull one at that. I did not care much for the characters and the dialogue heavy film, betraying its stage origins, is redeemed only by the glimpses of Paris; images that rarely fail to delight.

Neither Ms Smith playing a more subdued character than her roles of the past decade nor the usually reliable Kristin Scott Thomas can save this dull piece.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Drop

A barman and the bar owner are confronted with crime elements who use the bar as a collection centre for the money proceeds of their activity.

'The Drop' is an unusual crime thriller in that it is mostly talk and very little actual crime; at least very little that is depicted visually. Based on a short story, which probably partly explains the general lack of specific action, this is nonetheless a surprisingly tense film. Not until near the end do you feel that you have the full picture of the plot and all the while you have an uneasy sense that something terrible is about to occur.

Tom Hardy is excellent as the intriguing barman and James Gandolfini is typically solid in this, his final, film role.