Sunday, September 5, 2010

What I've actually been writing:

So I haven't been blogging on here, true, but I have been writing:

Avatar: Special Edition - My review for Filmink of the extended edition of Avatar. Saw it at the Darling Harbour Imax. It was epic on such a massive screen. Actually really enjoyed it. Everyone at IMAX was super nice to me to.

Vampires Suck - It really does. There is nothing to like about this turd. I was an insult to my intelligence. Nothing clever, interesting or funny about this doozy.

Boy - New Zealand comedy out now that is as hilarious as it is charming. Such a crowd pleaser that I could safely recommend to anyone.

Coming soon will be an interview/article I did about the latest IMAX film The Wildest Dream. I got to interview Conrad Anker for it, who was such a nice and inspiring guy. Keep an eye out!

Film Festival Checklist:

It's that time of the year where all the major film festivals start debuting "Oscar films" with high pedigree of talent behind the camera as well as in front of the camera. With so many films getting screened, it's hard to keep track of them all and how they're being recieved so here's a quick summary of some of the hotly anticpated films getting screened:

Black Swan:
Overall Reception - Middle to positive, and some raves.
Oscar Chances - Portman is the only thing unanimously being raved so looks set to at least garner a nomination. Picture and Director maybe but it seems a little wiggedy-whack for the Academy. Cinematography looks pretty set. Could make a big splash if it's as well recieved in its cinema release.

"Alternately disturbing and exhilerating, this dark study of a mentally
fragile performer derailed by her obsession with perfection is one of the most exciting films to come out of the hollywood system this year." ~ Mike Goodridge,
Screen International

Overall Reception - Unenthused.
Oscar Chances - Unlikely. Wasn't very well recieved at all. Post-Slumdog Millionaire was given a chance to prove if was the real deal actress - and apparently she isn't. Apparently the films bludgens audiences over the head with its message. Weinsteins are behind it, but they'll probably drop it.

"The film wears its heart on it's sleeve- and its awkwardness too" ~ Telegraph

Overall Reception - Luke warm
Oscar Chances - For fans of Sofia Coppalla's film, maybe. But no one is saying it's as good as Lost in Translation which is the only time her films have made any real impact on the Academy. Whilst the film apparently meanders, the father/daughter relationship is apparently believeable and effective. So maybe Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning if they campaign and the films gets a positive response on release. The film does have its fans as well as its haters.

"For all the similarities, this does not have the brilliant seriocomic
moments of Lost in Translation. If that was her hit single, then this is her
b-side." ~ The Guardian

127 Hours:
Reception - Positive, some raves.
Oscar Chances - High. They obviously like Boyles style, and apparently it works really well here. Critics are praising the choice to stay with Franco the who film, who apparently carries to film amazingly well. With rollover love from Slumdog, a strong leading performance and the fact that it's a true story makes me think Oscar night will be littered with noms for it. Is it too early to say that Franco looks very likely to be nommed?

"The relief in the theatre was palpable - if there's such thing as quiet
cheering, there it was" ~ LA Time

Never Let Me Go:
Reception - Positive
Oscar Chances - Another actress contender with Mulligan getting great reviews. Might be two years in a row for her! The rest of the cast is also well recieved but apparently its Mulligans show. The score by Oscar winning Rachel Portman is getting unanimous raves, some even calling it for the win. The BAFTAS will likely eat this up, and there is a strong crossover with AMPAS so some major categories are not out of the question.

"It is more than "a good story well told". It is humanity
on screen." ~ David Poland. MCN

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm back.

So I know all -3 of you who read this blog have been wondering where the hell I've been! Well the unfortunate truth is, I've been sans laptop. Toshiba can go to hell. I've finally gotten another, so full swing ahead. For now however, I want to take a moment to aknowledge one of the best unsung performance of the last decade.

For those barbarians who don't recognise her straight away, it is the glorious Maria Bello in A History of Violence. Whilst Mortensen and Hurt have the showier roles in the film, for me Bello walks away with the film with her authenticity, and function as an emotional anchor to the rest of the film.

Anyway, consider this post a "I'm back", random thought I had to get off my chest, and a trailer for an upcoming entry about the most underrated actresses currently working.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inception: A tear jerker... But not sad.

It's rare nowadays that I will walk out of a film convinced that I've just seen the best film of the year, but I did with Inception. It annoys me when film adverts brag "the best film of the year!" when it's only January and the critic is either exciteable or deliberately trying to get his or her name out there. This is not one of those moments. I don't think I've had such an excited immediate reaction to a film since The Fellowship of the Ring.

Maybe Rose was hoping he'd wake up when she "let him go".

For the two people who haven't seen it yet (who are even more unlikely to be reading this anyway), I won't give a plot synopsis because I think part of the fun is watching everything unfold (or fold onto itself as the case may be). I went in knowing about the film, but thanks to a great advertising campaign I was intrigued but not overly informed so everything in the film took me by surprise. In this regard, Nolan's script is truely a well polished and intelligent script. Too often people judge scripts on their dialogue (weakpoint), but a script is so much more than that. Considering the plot and what I suppose you could call "mythology" of the film is so convoluted, everything is seamless and surprisingly easy to grasp. There is certainly a fair share of expositional dialogue but it is necciscary, and unknowing characters like Ariadne (Ellen Page) and Saito (Ken Watanabe) make it far less clunky than it could have been.

Wet Dream

The entire cast of the film is in great form but the real star of the film is Nolan. The directors vision and flair for action sequences is bursting through every frame. I have amittedly been slow to get on the Nolan bandwagon, thinking The Dark Knight was good bu very overrated but you can consider me a shrieking groupie. In fact I have an embarassing confession, in the scene in which Joseph Gordon Levitt's character is fighting in the hotel hallway with shifting gravity, and cutting to his sleepy face being spattered with rain and limp arms flailing about the van... I teared up. Was this scene sad? No. Whilst the film was emotionally poignant it's by no means a tear jerker. So why did I nearly cry? If there was any doubt I'm a total film nerd here it is: Occasionally when I'm watching a great film and scene is so well made I become overwhelmed with the greatness of the film at that moment and tear up. This has happened in only two other films in memory (Lust, Caution and Sunshine).

Such a tearjerking moment...

The cast itself is excellent. DiCaprio has rarely been better. Often I find his performance can come across forced and he seems desperate to give a great performance, but this time there was none of this. Perhaps it was the genre that made Leo avoid "dramatic" acting, or maybe it was a case of Nolan getting the best out of him. Either way DiCaprio gives the film it's emotional core that is so essential to it's success. The moment on the hotel window (you know the one) I thought he nailed it. I couldn't mention that scene or the emotional core without his partner, Marion Cotillard. The role fits her sensibilities, with an other worldliness to her charm and beauty. It's not hard to see her as the woman of DiCaps dreams. She's surreally beautiful. Her sudden menace is also incredible and genuine.

"You jump, I jump, remember?"

Props too to Tom Hardy who was an absolute scene stealer and is it just me or was there something about him that was unbearably sexy?

Ok not just me then.

I could go on about the technical marvels of the perfect cinematography, dazzling CGI, the perfectly interwoven action sequences of the final dream, the clever plot devices, and everything else I love about the film but I'm sure you have something better to do for the next 5 hours it would take me to list everything I LOVE about this film.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inception: A Knee Jerk Reaction

Best. Movie. In. Years.
5 Stars.
Expect more incoherent gushing on the film soon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Sequels That Never Were

I'm going to say something very unoriginal: Sequel's suck. Now I'm going to say something even less original: There are SOME good sequels. Cue roll off of exceptions; Godfather Part II, Terminator 2, Aliens etc etc blah blah blah. But what about those movies that were begging for a sequel that never came for whatever reason? Sequels get made because they are a low risk way of making money if the first one was remotely successful, but sometimes for some reason or another the oppurtunity for a sequel is never capitalized. Sometimes with very good reason. With Robin Hood clearly being the first of a new franchise (despite anyone yet to greenlight the sequel) it promted me to think of all those movies that ended with the promise of a sequel that never came so here goes with the top 5 "Thank God They Didn't Make a Sequel" and the top 5 "Sequel Please". Any sequels in the pipeline are ineligible!

Thank God They Didn't Make a Sequel:
5. Mac and Me

The kid from E.T. had aged poorly

After Mac's alien family are sworn in as American Citizen's, and the reasons that the USA is A-OK are rammed down our throat, the human family and Alien family ride down the highway in a convertible before a large speech bubble appears promising "We'll be Back!". 22 years later and we're yet to hear from them. This flop that tried desperately to be the new E.T. is now a notorious joke.

4. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Connery knew how to deal with any sequel offers.

This one stands for all those crappy comic book movies that attempted to kick start a new franchise and failed epically (Van Helsing, The Phantom). This one took a cool concept, the collision of those creepy old heroes and beloved characters, but it ended up being like when you mix your favourite play-doh colours and you are left with a brown muck. It's reported that this horrible film and the horrible film production are responsible for Sean Connery's retirement and that is unforgiveable!

3. Godzilla

Despite a strong start to his career, Toothy was unable to shake the iconic role of "Godzilla" and became typecast.

By box office sales Godzilla was my no means a failure, but by every other means... it was. There is an entire legacy of films and mythology that this film let down. Roland Emmerich does what he does best and makes everything big and bombastic and forgets to make the film remotely interesting. The end of the film features a Godzilla egg hatching and a baby Godzilla breaking it's way out in one of those horrible "Oh oh! Here we gooo agaaaiiin!" moments. Hazzaa it didn't!

2. Hancock

Let's just say Jada Pinket wears the pants in the relationship...

This could go into the failed superhero category along with League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but since it was a new invention rather than based off a comic it gets its own special placement on the fail list. The fact that some people actually managed to like this great big hunk of crap, baffles me. The plot was daft, the villain was totally uninteresting and the plot was absurd beyond all reason. I sequel has been confirmed and denied over and over but at the moment it seems the project is kaput. Thank goodness.

1. The Covenant

Uhh.. Erm.. What was this movie about again?

If someone asked me what the worst movie I'd ever seen was I would immediately say this. I think it even realised how crap it was so included as much clevage, abs, biceps and well rounded buttocks as possible to blind people from the atrocious filmmaking. It was like a game I would play with... invisible people when I was five, shooting energy at people and pretending I had very non-specific powers. Of course at the end they can't find that dastardly villain amongst the rubble after the yawn and eye rolling in equal meaure final battle scene. They drive away in the convertible knowing that they'll see him again... Thankfully we haven't.

Sequel Please:
5. I, Robot

There was something about Will Smith that set him out from the crowd.

Dear Will Smith, if you plan on making a sequel to any of the films in your backlog please consider I, Robot. Even though the rumours about an intelligent sci fi being butchered once Hollywood getting their grubby hads all over it are more than likely to be true, there was still a lot to enjoy. There's certainly enough srouce material based on one of the gazillion Isaac Ismanov books. Pure blockbuster entertainment at its finest elevated to a level of excellence due to the sleek direction of Alex Proyas. So if he's on board then I will be too.

4. Superman Returns

Brandon flew away from the beckoning straight to DVD offers.

It's undoubtable that one day another Superman film will be made, but unfortunately it will likely be completely unrelated to this fantastic 2006 film. The critics loved it, but the public weren't so hot on it. I certainly was. Brandon Routh was everything I could ask for in a Clark Ken/Man in tights, Kevin Spacey was delightful, and the intelligent script packed a real punch. Brian Singer made X-Men 2 the best Superhero film ever, and for me this one wasn't far behind. At the very least could Brandon Routh have a ongoing career please?

3. Lemony Snickets: A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Even Meryl knows its worth it, and she is God.

This is probably the most baffling of all as to why a sequel was never made. Very popular with the public, the books have a huge following and even those prickly critics liked it! Jim Carrey gave what was probably his best performance of the last decade, as well as the entire cast. Good child actors are so rare and all three of the kids nailed it. The direction and art direction are also incredible making a quirky, yet creepy film that would make Tim Burton jealous. From whatever series of unfortunate events, there is not even the glimmer of a sequal on the horizon.

2. Master and Commander: The Far Side Of the World

Fighin' round the world...

Russel Crowe? Peter Weir? Patrick O'Brian? Some of the best cinematography... ever? Where is the sequel?! The film picked up an impressive amount of Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. The Patrick O'Brian novels have a huge and dedicated following and the first film certainly did it justice, and kept the fans happy. Even everyday fans of good cinema would also be... all aboard :-D

1. The Incredibles

The Incredibles hug their Oscar.

All bow down to the glory of Pixar. Even through their impeccable track record, The Incredibles is seen as one of the best. If the wonderful Toy Story trilogy is any good indication, Pixar will make sure that any sequel would be as, if not more incredible than the first. (I'm having a puntastic good time here today). The superhero genre is something that will never run out of storylines, so surely it can't be a lack of good idea that's holding the studio back? Come on guys!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Grown Ups: The Place Washed Up Comedians Go To Die

You know that feeling when you run into old friends you haven't seen in ages, and suddenly remember why you haven't seen them in ages? The whole reunion quickly descends into awkward laughter at unfunny jokes. Grown Ups has managed to capture this feeling, but unfortunately not between the characters, but between the audience and the washed up comedy actors.

Rub-a-dub-dub 5 unfunny men in a drub.

The gang's all here from those movies that you once thought were funny but find disappointing with repeat viewing: Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Chris Rock and Rob Schneider. Actually Kevin James was never funny. Each of them is retreading familiar territory as indicated in brief character introductions that only serve to let us know that they're going to be playing the exact same characters they've forged a career on. David Spade is being sexist and cheeky, Rob Schneider is being spacey and inappropriate, Chris Rock is being kooky and demasculated, Kevin James makes it to three seconds of screen time before the first fat joke is cracked, and Adam Sandler is the disgruntled slacker whose first line is literally him shouting, "I'm the biggest agent in Hollywood!" down a phone to subtly establish that he's... the biggest agent in Hollywood. The movie is almost a "best of" tribute to these actors' careers except they're all reduced to thinly drawn and watered down stereotypes.

Yup. That's Kevin James with a KFC bucket on his head. Nuff Said.

The five are old school friends reuniting at the funeral for their former basketball coach, held in their home town. You have to feel sorry for the coach as we are supposed to believe that no one, literally no one apart from five losers he used to coach in basketball, are there to scatter his ashes or read a eulogy. If all he had in life were these guys that he hadn't even seen in years, I wouldn't be surprised if the cause of death was suicide.

The friends miss no opportunity to rip into each other. Poor old coach is mostly forgotten in favour of making non-stop jokes at the expense of one another.

Writing about this film is easy, as there is no chance of accidentally giving away plot details or spoilers, because there are none. It's just joke after joke after unfunny joke, none of which add anything to the non-existent plot. The screenplay, if there even was one, is as aimless as the careers of its stars if this is what they are reduced to.

The poor wives of these unlikeable bastards end up being more interesting, but are mostly pushed aside until they give dramatic monologues at the end of the film to wrap up relationship conflicts that you didn't even know existed until they're over. Chris Rock was flirting with the nanny? Adam Sandler is a liar? Are there deleted scenes where this happened? Surely a few of the multiple fart jokes could have been cut in favour of an actual plot or conflict of some kind. With Oscar-nominated Salma Hayek and should-have-been Oscar nominated for A History Of Violence Maria Bello playing the wives, it's puzzling what they're doing in this film playing second fiddle to lesser talents.

Whilst the women watched on in dismay, Salma took her chance and went to hide in the cupboard until the movie is over.

This all being said, I chuckled once. Maybe even twice but it could have been a cough. You're better off hiring something from the actors' backlog because Happy Gilmore's golf ball being too good for its home is still better than anything Grown Ups has to offer.