American Film Festival

And yes, if you’ve not seen it, Annie Hall really is that good. It’s a four and a half from me.

Top Picks

Trailer Icon 03 20th Century Women (Opening Night)
Dorothea is mother to Jamie and he’s growing up fast. It’s a challenging time and Dorothea decides she needs all the help she can get. Living in a house with lots of comings and goings, Dorothea enlists the services of her punk-rocker lodger Abbie and Julie, Jamie’s best friend. Together they share their lives and experiences in the hope that these personal insights will help guide Jamie to manhood but they’re complex things to absorb.
☆☆☆☆☆ Cine Vue
☆☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
☆☆☆☆ IMDB
☆☆☆☆ Slant Magazine

Trailer Icon 03 Becoming Bond (Centerpiece)
Probably the biggest mystery in Australian show business is why George Lazenby’s more than credible Bond never made a return to the screen. Shrouded in mystery and rumour the reason has never quite been established – that is until now – and the answer is very likely to surprise you. In this hugely enjoyable film Lazenby himself confronts the camera and takes us on an often laugh out loud journey from his days as a car mechanic to 007 and the life after. As Lazenby recounts many surpremely funny and more personal moments the events are depicted in highly stylised and equally clever interpretations by Josh Lawson, Kassandra Clementi and others including Jane Seymour no less.
☆☆☆☆ IMDB

Benjamin Braddock is a young man with it all. Good looking, a wealthy family and a beautiful fiancé the world is at his feet. That is until he meets Mrs Robinson, the wife of one of his family friends and mother of his fiancé Elaine. What she provides for Ben is a path outside of the one pre-ordained and for him that’s at first both exciting and rebellious. But what starts as a fun physical sideline turns into a quagmire of loneliness and isolation in what is a powerful statement of 1960s youth and expectation.
☆☆☆☆☆ BBC
☆☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
☆☆☆☆ IMDB
☆☆☆☆☆ Slant Magazine

This unusual and laconic work travels like a tumbleweed through the lives of half a dozen or so characters as they dream of somehow, sometime making it to Hollywood. Underpinning these disparate and sometimes desperate characters is Cory Zacharia who spends the film trying to raise money to star in a film he’s been promised by a German producer he met sometime earlier. Between auditions, acting classes and odd encounters Cory speaks candidly with the various characters that inhabit this arid landscape to often profound effect giving the film such an usual texture with lots of hidden surprises.
☆☆☆☆ IMDB

Sylvio is a gorilla working for a debt collection agency but isn’t happy with his job. He’s soon promoted to house calls collecting outstanding debts. In accordance with his job he arrives at the house of Al Reynolds, who’s running a very low-fi public television variety show from his basement. Sylvio is mistaken for Al’s next guest who’s meant to be a novelty juggler of breakables. Sylvio gives it a go and inadvertently becomes a hit on the show with his special skill becoming the destruction of props put in his way. Unknown to all though is Sylvio’s secret hobby of producing short hand-puppet videos called The Quiet Times With Herbert Herpels.
☆☆☆☆ IMDB

This lovely portrait of acclaimed author Armistead Maupin is as much a story of the man’s life as it is a chronicle of San Francisco’s gay scene. The film examines the life and work of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers, following his evolution from the conservative Old South into a gay-rights pioneer whose novels have inspired millions to claim their own truth. Jennifer Kroot’s documentary about the creator of Tales of the City moves nimbly between playful and poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. With help from his friends, Maupin offers a frank look at the journey that took him from the jungles of Vietnam to the bathhouses of 70’s San Francisco to the front line of the American culture war.
☆☆☆☆ IMDB

Annie Hall delves into the world of Avly Singer – a neurotic New York comedian who after a failed marriage falls for Annie Hall, a would-be singer. It can never be smooth sailing for Alvy and things start to fall apart on the therapists couch as he deals with his own insecurities and Jewish guilt.
☆☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
☆☆☆☆ IMDB
☆☆☆☆ Slant Magazine


During the early 90s the G-Funk style of hip hop emerged from Los Angeles, combining melodic elements of Motown, Funk, and R&B with socially-aware rap lyrics. For the first time in history, a hip hop album debuted at #1 on the pop charts and the genre became a staple of mainstream American culture. This is the untold story of how hip-hop’s most commercial and iconic sub-genre came to be.
☆☆☆☆☆ IMDB

A beautiful girl has a gun pulled on her while obviously held hostage in a motor vehicle on the outskirts of LA. A terrible accident on the road is both curse and saviour for our mysterious heroine as she escapes with amnesia and hides in an apartment. Arriving in town is Betty, an aspiring actress who finds our mystery woman hiding. Together they seek to find out the how, what, when and why of our protagonist hidden world.
☆☆☆☆ BBC
☆☆☆☆☆ Cine Vue
☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
☆☆☆☆ IMDB
☆☆☆☆☆ Slant Magazine

You Never Had It is made up entirely of until recently lost U-matic tapes of Charles Bukowski interviewed by journalist Silvia Bizio. Over the course of a single night that’s infused with red wine, cigarettes and in the company of his soon to be wife Linda Lee Beighle, Bukowski opens up in the most fascinating of fashion. In a kind of stream of consciousness Bukowski is absolutely himself. Answering questions with wit, humour and laser guided honesty his observations are endlessly fascinating as is the environment which is the lounge room of his San Pedro home…, and you really feel like you’re there sitting on the floor with everyone else.
☆☆☆☆☆ IMDB

Henry lives in a desolate and decrepit industrial world. Thrust into his world is what resembles something of a child but is perhaps more alien than anything. Henry is forced to look after the child whose behavior becomes nothing short of torture for him and during which period he succumbs to all manner of hallucinations – including the famous “woman in the radiator”.
☆☆☆☆☆ BBC
☆☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
☆☆☆☆ IMDB
☆☆☆☆☆ Slant Magazine

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4 Responses to American Film Festival

  1. David Walker says:

    Probably the biggest mystery in Australian show business is why George Lazenby’s more than credible Bond never made a return to the screen. Shrouded in mystery and rumour the reason has never quite been established – that is until now – and the answer is very likely to surprise you.

    Jeez Nick, not only is the reason for Lazenby’s departure well known. but it’s written up on this very site.

  2. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Thanks David,

    I didn’t even see those words. The words are scraped from review websites for your delectation by my assistant in India – Anoop. I remember the question of the grotesquely wooden George L coming up on Troppo.

  3. Nicholas Gruen says:

    This is Troppo, where the only kind of aggression, (if there’s to be any of that kind of ugliness at all) is microaggression.

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