The movies to watch to warm up the cooler nights

May 02, 2023
Source: Getty

One of the nicest things about the weather getting cooler is that I get to spend time at the cinema, or theatre or snuggled up on the couch without feeling too guilty about the gardening or myriad other jobs awaiting outside- I’ll save them for spring. 

Living

Bill Nighy earned an Academy Award nomination for his work in this film and it really was deserved. It’s difficult to write about because the subject manner is so very big but everything about the movie is subtle and quiet, except for the soundtrack which was a bit big in some parts.  

Living is a remake of a Japanese film made in the 50s which in turn was inspired by a Russian novella by Tolstoy written in 1886.  The subject matter is timeless and the 2022 Oliver Hermanus-directed Living is set so very well in London in 1953. 

Everything about this film is finely nuanced yet so impactful, it’s slow-moving yet entrancing. Nighy is Mr Williams a council official responsible for the public works team who receives a terminal medical diagnosis. At one time I did find the soundtrack a little overwhelming, usually, I get lost in the wholeness of the film so it doesn’t stand out but a couple of times in this one it did but the way the cinematography used old-fashioned techniques to capture the period more than makes up for it.

I saw a clip of Bill Nighy at the Academy Awards ceremony and he had a small Sylvanian families bunny with him. I did wonder what statement he was making but then he revealed through an interview with The Guardian that he was, ” rabbit sitting for his granddaughter whose schedule had intensified and he wasn’t prepared to leave it in a hotel room as the stakes were too high,… where I go she goes” and every grandparent just instantly understood. No wonder he is so well regarded by so many,  among the glitz and glamour and important reminder about what really matters. 

This is an emotionally honest film of deep human emotion wrapped in the British “stiff upper lips” of a bygone era.  It reminds us to embrace life and that it’s never too late.  You will need your tissues.  I saw Living at my local cinema.

Elvis

You don’t need to be an Elvis fan to enjoy the latest Elvis movie. Written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, this 2022 movie stars Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and Austin Butler as Elvis Presley.

Costumes and design are spectacular with Academy award-winning Catherine Martin responsible for creating jumpsuits, capes and jewels that were such an important part of the on-stage persona. Martin was nominated for an academy award for her work on this movie.  Fellow Australian and cinematographer Mandy Walker was also nominated for an Academy Award for her work on this movie and there are many truly visually pleasing moments in this movie. 

Austin Butler is compelling as Presley nailing many of the mannerisms of Presley and drawing praise from Presley’s family members for his accurate portrayal. 

The heart of the movie is the story of a talented musician who appears to have it all but is pushed beyond his limits and taken advantage of by people around him.  The financial abuse and control of Presley by his manager Tom Parker is the crux of the story but it is so very much more than that. It’s a very sympathetic portrayal of someone who changed the world in his very short life.  There are rumours of a stage show around.  Baz Luhrmann took Strictly Ballroom from the screen to the stage and that would be a great show to see too but do watch this movie, the story, the costumes and music, and the beautiful pictures are truly special. Elvis is on Netflix. 

Lessons in Chemistry 

I rarely include books in this space but I’ll make an exception because this book screams, “Make me into a movie”. It’s a New York Times bestseller and introduces you to Elizabeth Zott, “ a gifted research chemist, absurdly self-assured and immune to the social convention” but as it is the early 1960’s the all-male research teams  Ms Zott works with are not exactly champions of equality.  

Life, like science, can be unpredictable which is how Elizabeth finds herself the star of a popular cooking show, adding a pinch of sodium chloride and challenging the status quo. Published in 2022 it’s a great read.

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