A BEACH BOY’S TALE: John Cusack and Elizabeth Banks in a scene from the movie Love & Mercy.
A BEACH BOY’S TALE: John Cusack and Elizabeth Banks in a scene from the movie Love & Mercy. Francois Duhamel

A little bit of everything at the Moncrieff

AT THE Moncrieff Entertainment Centre we love to challenge and provoke our audiences and the best way to do that is to screen movies and documentaries and to present live performance pieces which leave the audience gasping, questioning, loving or even hating what they have experienced through these programs.

There are three types of film which will achieve these responses on some level and there are some really interesting histories of development and points of difference between art house films, film noir and documentaries.

Feedback from our audiences, particularly Gen-X, Baby Boomers and seniors, and more particularly women, has identified that they want more of these types of cinema experiences.

The problem is that these genres are quite niche market, often difficult to source, and therefore are not always a commercial success.

However, we are a diverse community and there is an acknowledged need to cater to the tastes and cultures of these diverse communities and every now and then we are able to offer an alternative to the Hollywood blockbuster specials, so here are some helpful definitions of each of the alternatives.

Art house

Art house (also known as an art movie, specialty film, art-house film, or, in the collective sense, as art cinema) is typically a serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass-market audience.

An art film is intended to be a serious artistic work. Often experimental and not designed for mass appeal, they are made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit, and they contain unconventional or highly symbolic content.

A certain degree of experience and knowledge is required to fully understand or appreciate such films. One mid-1990s art film was called "largely a cerebral experience" that one enjoys "because of what you know about film". This contrasts sharply with mainstream "blockbuster" films, which are geared more towards escapism.

Film noir

Film noir is one of Hollywood's only organic artistic movements.

Beginning in the early 1940s, numerous screenplays inspired by hardboiled American crime fiction were brought to the screen, primarily by European immigrant and refugee directors who shared a certain storytelling sensibility: highly stylised, overtly theatrical, with imagery often drawn from an earlier era of German "expressionist" cinema. Film noir are darker, more cynical crime melodramas.

During and immediately following World War II, movie audiences responded to this fresh, vivid, adult-orientated type of film - as did many writers, directors, cameramen and actors eager to bring a more mature world-view to Hollywood product. Largely fuelled by the financial and artistic success of Billy Wilder's adaptation of James M Cain's novella Double Indemnity (1944), the studios began cranking out crime thrillers and murder dramas with a particularly dark and venomous view of existence.

Documentaries

Documentary film is a non-fictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record. Such films were originally shot on film stock - the only medium available -but now include video and digital productions that can be either direct-to-video, made into a TV show or released for screening in cinemas.

Documentary has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries.

Soviet film-maker Dziga Vertov provides the idea that documentaries present "life as it is", that is, life filmed surreptitiously, and "life caught unawares", that is, life provoked or surprised by the camera.

The American film critic, Pare Lorentz, defines a documentary film as "a factual film which is dramatic". Others believe that a documentary stands out from the other types of non-fiction films for providing an opinion, and a specific message, along with the facts it presents. This genre is without borders.

MOVIES THIS WEEK Thursday, July 23 - Wednesday, July 29

LOVE & MERCY (M)

In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr Eugene Landy. Starring John Cusack, Paul Dano and Elizabeth Banks, this movie is a combination of biography, drama and music. For lovers of an incredible repertoire of Beach Boys hits, and a viewer wanting a voyeur's journey in to the often disturbed mind of Brian Wilson.

TED 2 (MA15+)

Newlywed couple Ted (voice of Seth MacFarlane) and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) want to have a baby, but in order to qualify to be a parent, Ted has to prove he's a person in a court of law. Ted's best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) gets the help of a pot-smoking trainee lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) but it seems they need the additional expertise of top-gun civil rights lawyer (Morgan Freeman). This script is extremely funny and worth a second Ted tour.