Behind the Candelabra chronicles the relationship between animal trainer, Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) and iconic pianist, Liberace (Michael Douglas). When Scott first meets the closeted Liberace, he is repulsed by the aging star but Liberace works away at him with expensive gifts, offers of employment and a lavish lifestyle that he cannot resist until he is completely in his thrall. Things become even more intense as Liberace convinces Scott to undergo plastic surgery to make him resemble himself as a younger man. As the relationship becomes every more co-dependent and bizarre Scott becomes more and more trapped and reliant on prescription and street drugs until things come to a dark conclusion. There are elements of this story that are so bonkers that it would be hard to believe if it wasn’t based on Scott’s autobiography. Both leads give excellent performances and Douglas is especially creepy as the egomaniacal Liberace. I found the whole film really quite unsettling but also maybe a bit… long and drawn out. It’s an interesting study in how one person can consume another so completely. Worth a watch. 3.5/5
At the height of Irish immigration to America, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) a girl from a small rural village relocates to Brooklyn. Initially she is incredibly homesick, desperately missing her family and the life she knew and struggling to make friends in the boarding house she lives in or to enjoy her department store job. But when she meets and falls in love with Italian-American, Tony (Emory Cohen) things change and she starts to enjoy life and what New York has to offer. The death of her sister leads to her travelling back home not long after her marriage and she finds herself sucked back into her old life and attracted to Jim Farrell (Domnhall Gleeson) a wealthy landowner who can offer her everything she once wanted. Now Eilis will have to choose between the life she left behind and the new life she has started. I was super excited to watch Brooklyn because it got such good reviews and a lot of Oscar love but I found myself underwhelmed. Sure it looks gorgeous and the performances are respectable but there’s just nothing new or innovative about it. I am sure that is part of the appeal but I just got kind of bored. I think since I now operate on limited sleep and there is always something or someone crying out for my attention (literally) it takes quite a lot to keep me engaged. I also struggled a bit with Eilis’ character because I thought she was a bit of a dick once she got back to Ireland and basically forgot she was married! Don’t let me put you off though because I think I am in the minority here. 2.5/5
Supersonic documents the rise of seminal indie band Oasis from their origins in Manchester basement bars to playing what were then the biggest ever British gigs at Knebworth only two years later. Unsurprisingly the focus is less on the music and more on the in-band politics with a particular look at the love/hate relationship between brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher. Mr O is an absolutely huge Oasis fan (and does a pretty impressive Liam Gallagher impersonation), so much so that he was actually at one of the Knebworth gigs. I am less so. I think they have about three good songs and their lyrics are mostly nonsensical. Obviously this was his pick. I was expecting a sycophantic ode to the band but what I got was a raw, unsugar-coated look at what went on behind the scenes. The Gallagher brothers are real characters, both packed with bravado and stubbornness and in Liam’s case self-destructiveness. Watching their sibling rivarly unfold with the level of openness they are both willing to have about their faults is fascinating and would probably be gripping even if you have only a passing knowledge of who Oasis are. Choosing a small (and probably the most exciting) section of the band’s career is a good call and keeps things focused. One of the better band biopics I have seen. 3.5/5
I think everyone knows the top-level story of Amanda Knox, the American student accused along with her boyfriend, Raffaele Solicito of murdering her roommate in Puglia, Italy. This documentary looks at the bizarre high-profile case as it unfolded with the conflicting stories, media obsession with “Foxy Knoxy”, back and forth verdicts and odd behaviour of the Italian police leaving the viewer to decide what they believe. With Amanda Knox, Raffaele Solicitio and several journalists, detectives, prosecutors and experts who were involved appearing it’s easy to get sucked in and the film avoids coming across like one of those specials from the Crime Channel. You can also easily see why there was so much confusion with Knox’s constantly changing story and her generally odd demeanour. At the same time the Italian police’s obsession with Italian justice rather than hard evidence is quite alarming. And the way the press handled some of the more salacious aspects of the case is somewhat shocking. Definitely thought-provoking and worth checking out while it’s on Netflix. Whether or not you think Amanda Knox did commit the crime, I’ll leave up to you to decide. 3.5/5
I remember my Mum loving Liberace when I was a child. I thought he was creepy even then, but she always denied he was gay! That film has my interest, I must admit.
I never could stand the Gallagher brothers, so will give the Oasis doc a miss.
Best wishes, Pete.
It’s amazing that such an incredibly camp man managed to hide who he was seemingly in plain view.
LOL. I have missed your film posts and captions!
I’ve heard good things about Supersonic, and I was a big fan of Oasis when I was a teenager in the 90s so I’m looking forward to watching this. Great post! 🙂
I think you’d really enjoy it!
Thanks, I have added it to the list! I’m looking forward to the flashbacks 🙂
I’m with Cindy ha.
Nice one Abbi. I’m really interested to see that Amanda Knox doco!
She’s such an interesting character and the scenario is so bizarre that it’s really engrossing.
I agree with you on Brooklyn except I thought she was a dick throughout the whole film.
Yeah she really wasn’t my favourite.
Haven’t seen anything on your list! Wow! Will check some of them out still at some stage though.
I think you’d enjoy the Amanda Knox one!