Month: April 2012

‘The Virgin, The Copts and Me’ review. 3 stars

Persistence pays off for director Namir Abdel Messeeh , as well as the audience, in his documentary film ‘The Virgin, The Copts, and Me’.

The premise is intriguing.  Namir travels to Egypt to document an apparition sighting of the Virgin Mary in 1968.
But red-tape and resistence from local authorities jeopardise the production of his film.

Namir appears on camera, the documentary is through his eyes.  He is an engaging person, who despite the roadblocks (some from his family),  managed to make me appreciate the efforts he had gone to to complete the film.

He is a young filmmaker starting out, but the difficulties he encounters forces a realisation that perhaps his next movie will be a straight forward narrative. ‘No more documentaries’ he says exasperatedly.
But in Australia we have a tendency to admire the underdog, in particular if those closest to them are some of their biggest detractors.  And Namir becomes an underdog in this film.

We meet alot of Namir’s family during the documentary, and each, despite supporting roles, stay in your mind long after the film.  The mother who orders Namir not to film his family for the documentary.  His grandmother, who has experienced so much of life, but quiet and thoughtful.

I enjoyed The Virgin, The Copts and Me.  I found the film’s ending to be most rewarding, and it made me think back to an early scene from the 1973 film Spirit of the Beehive.

The Virgin , The Copts and Me screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012 and the Berlin Film Festival in 2012 (where it came third for the Panorama Audience Award).

You don’t have to have a deep interest in religion to appreciate this film.  The journey of how something is made, out of nothing, – is the main reason to see it.

Score: 3 stars



‘The Avengers’ review. 1 star

‘The Avengers’ is a failure.

The overlong, stale experience barely raises a fast pulse, as the movie quickly stumbles into a standard film structure and doesn’t even try to break free.

What ‘The Avengers’ missed was an opportunity to define the structure of a Superhero film.  Intriguing side stories between each hero played out like a first draft no one bothered to check.  On three occasions I pre-empted dialogue that was about to be spoken.  The character’s lines were delivered with as much intensity as a wet match.  And the money shot that people would have been waiting for – all the Superheroes assembled in the one panning vista – was underwhelming. So underwhelming.

You can draw the plot and execution of ‘The Avengers’ on a postage stamp.  Introduce characters. Internal conflict. Bandy together. Fight.

The ending, with the MacGuffin and Loki, felt rushed. Attempts of emotional moments fell flat, and I didn’t care at all if The Avengers conquered evil or finally stopped bickering amongst themselves.  Throwing in a few sneaky one-liners or one-punch jokes (literally), doesn’t elevate a film into some glorious cinema experience.

Of all the moments, only the appearance of The Hulk  (ably portrayed by Mark Ruffalo) and his subsequent storyline arc was of partial interest.   Perhaps Hollywood will finally do a just adaptation of the angry man.

But what I think of the film won’t change one iota how much money it makes.  But I can’t stand back and have a Twitter stream full of positive reviews without raising my hand, without being a dissenter, trying to convince people not to fall for the shiny packaging.

Score: 1 star