Tag Archives: reviews

Film Club – December Releases

december19To ring in the new year we sat down and discussed the December releases that we’d watched during the festive season. You can find (or request) all these great titles in your local library!
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Fast 5 Reviews

fast_5_review_blog_bannerSome of our team members have been writing excellent Fast 5 Reviews of the films/TV series we have available. Reviews like these can be found on our website, both on the front page and alongside the titles themselves. Here are some we’ve received recently: Continue reading

Review: Family United (La gran familia española) (2013)


The Spanish Film Festival is on all around the country at the moment.  Our own Kathie is there for Digital Education Services reviewing three more films, here is the first of three more.  Read her other reviews from the festival too: Three Many Weddings (Tres bodas de más) and Living is Easy with Eyes Closed (Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados).


Reviewed by Kathie.

Family United, is a very funny, warm-hearted, very loose Spanish take on the 1954 Hollywood musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. This Spanish family has two fewer brothers but the five are all named, as in the Hollywood film, for biblical characters, Adan, Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, and Efrain. They all meet at the family ranch to celebrate the wedding of youngest brother, 18 year old Efrain, who is tying the knot with one of his childhood sweethearts, and includes almost every possible disaster imaginable on a wedding day whilst somehow maintaining a freshness and largely steering clear of the predictable.   There are some deeply poignant moments interspersed with hilarious bits of slapstick (watch out for Raúl Arévalo’s unmissable performance as the waiter), wryly amusing bits of tongue in cheek humour and a thoroughly over-the-top Bollywood-style musical number for the arrival of the bride. There are family and individual secrets; broken hearts; a brush with death; intrigue and brooding; sibling rivalry; a contrived break-in and burglary, all set against the drama of the 2010 soccer World Cup final being played out on the same day.

The story is supported by a strong cast with stand out performances from Roberto Alamo as child-minded but hulking second oldest brother, Ben, who is both lovable and hilarious; and Antonio de la Torre as an endearing depressive older brother, Adan.


Initiated. Thanks to Digital Education Services, I have had my first full experience of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). Sixteen films with a maximum of two per day and a panel discussion in sixteen mind-bending days.  Now I finally get why long, winding, mid-winter queues of film goers looking like Telly Tubbies in their thick winter jackets, scarves and beanies, withstand the winds and chill air on the footpath outside city cinemas.


  • Ken Loach’s documentary Spirit of ’45 is inspiring.
  • Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, another documentary was unexpected, moving, funny, sad and intimate.
  • Gloria, a triumphant Chilean movie celebrating the older woman.
  • Tenderness, a Belgian road movie about a long divorced couple thrown together on a nine hour car trip to the French Alps where their son has been badly hurt in a skiing accident. Lots of great snow and gentle humour.
  • Blancanieves, a very Spanish version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and tribute to the old black and white silent movies.
  • Noha Baumbach’s ‘Frances Ha’ is madcap and delightful.
  • Sally Potter’s Ginger and Rosa is a deeply moving story about a father’s betrayal of his daughter.

There were oh so many.

Although it was great to be physically among the action at MIFF the richness of content reminded me of my online Beamafilm viewing.  More next month.


For sixteen wonderful days I was inside the heads of others via films from around the world. Friendly chats with strangers in the street, on the stairs,  or inside the Australian Centre for Moving Image, the old Forum Theatre and diverse cinemas, left me with my head spinning and determined to do it all again next year.

The Lowdown

A mind boggling range of films of all genres; Australian and International.  An e-minipass gets you ten films plus three freebies viewed before 5.00pm. So, I noted the first ten that caught my interest (they all did!), some extras to cover time clashes, and booked whatever fitted.  High on the adrenaline hit of seeing five great movies in the first three days, I promised myself one or two extras to try and catch some that others were enthusing over.

The Broken Circle Breakdown

For a taste of more reviews to come, here’s the first one. A remarkable film. It was the Belgian film The Broken Circle Breakdown that left me reeling. With its powerful story of love and loss and the redemptive powers of the best of America (the best of), it is a celebration of life fully lived, gorgeous tattoos and fabulous Blue Grass music. With mesmerising performances the film presents us with two people leading unreservedly authentic, three-dimensional lives, with all the passion, grief, fun, laughter, such lives can bring.  It is also an impassioned plea to be guided by the rational. The Broken Circle Breakdown is a remarkable film based loosely on a very successful, long-running play of the same name.
Posted by Kathie Farn