Saturday, March 31, 2012

March in Movies

What a strange month this has been. It started off well, with a really fun Drama trip to the capital for the Arts Festival, and then it got even better when I was named director of the school production. Then, by a flick of a switch, it descended into the crappiest month since the middle of July last year. I've been sick twice, first with laryngitis and then with a severe chest infection (every time I coughed I literally had the life taken out of me, which was horrible). And then earlier this week, the shittiest thing happened: the school cancelled the production. I think it is still going ahead, but not with the school, so I probably won't get to be director any more. Basically, I've spent the past few days being fucked off with life since when these good things happen to me there are usually bad repercussions. I'm gonna let the bruising heal before I stop considering giving up on life - life will just go back to worthless normality.

But on the bright side, I bought Strange Days today. I've been wanting this movie forever. And it is the holidays next week. I'll be getting lots of hours at work, which means lots of dosh. I hope that April is a little more predictable. Anyway, March from a movies perspective...

Movies I had never seen before until the month of March...

Belle de Jour - Oh, how I love Buñuel. Hopefully I can track down this movie, because I really wanna see it again. That's what Buñuel does to you.
Red State - Yeah, I had no idea about what happened in this movie. All I know is that it didn't deserve my attention.
Anonymous - I felt so cool because they performed Henry V in this movie, and I knew the opening monologue thanks to our Shakespeare workshop. Speaking of Shakespeare, I'm performing a scene from Othello in Drama on Monday...wish me luck!
I Don't Know How She Does It - I don't know how I survived through this movie.
The Thing - I must see the original one day. But this had one of the weirdest uses of CGI that I've ever seen.
Warrior - Whenever I explain this movie to someone I have to calm myself down because I get so enthusiastic and then when I say that the end is so sad I have to stop myself from crying. Seriously, you should have heard me crying at the end: it was ugly, vocal crying.
Braveheart - Watched this in class for an assessment. Didn't like it all that much. I actually got told that my review was too 'professional' for the standard. Which was awkward. Anyway, I got an excellence for it.
Hard Candy - For the Demented Podcast. I'm still scarred from that experience.
Blade Runner - I was so confused during this first watch...
In Time - Honestly wasn't that bad. But Justin Timberlake crying...oh good lord that was hideous.
A Separation - If I could make a movie half as great as this I would be the happiest gal on Earth.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - I wanna watch this again so I can see just how many times Bella and Edward played chess throughout the duration of the film.
Take Shelter - That final scene is still swirling around in my head.
The Grifters - For the Demented Podcast. I actually had no idea that this movie existed. I'm glad I saw it, though.
Dream House - I can see why Jim Sheridan, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz wanted nothing to do with this movie. It was not good. It only went for 88 mins but it felt like it went forever.
Immortals - So pretty, so boring. I'm catching up with more Tarsem with The Fall in the coming days. Though I must admit, I'm kinda looking forward to see Mirror Mirror on DVD. It looks pretty.
The Debt - I love you, Jessica Chastain.
Puncture - Chris Evans gave a really good performance in this one. It just felt like a made-for-TV legal drama, though.
The Hunger Games - I loved Jennifer Lawrence before The Hunger Games. Does that mean I'm hipster?
Another Earth - I actually love this movie. It has grown on me in the past few days.
The Whistleblower - Surprisingly quite good. And bugger me, Benedict Cumberbatch shows up in it!
Red Dog - I thought this was going to be a really happy movie, which would take me out of my deep depression on Tuesday. I spent the entire movie crying my eyes out, for both the shittiest shitty shit and the movie.
In the Mood for Love - I'll probably need to watch it again before I send it back. I'm a little in love with it, though.

Films I've seen before but felt the need to watch again because I'm cool like that...

Beginners - After Christopher Plummer won his Oscar I felt like watching it again. I'm so glad that I caved and bought it while I was in Australia. It doesn't come out on DVD here until next month.
The Dark Knight - It was on TV, so even though I have the DVD I stayed up until 12am on a school night to watch it. I didn't even watch it at all last year. Once those credits hit (with the beautiful words 'Directed by Christopher Nolan') I got instantly hyped up to see The Dark Knight Rises. 19th July. I'll be at the cinemas, front of the queue, ready to have my mind blown (hopefully).
Captain America: The First Avenger - Me and my fellow The Avengers obsessed friend have decided that Cap is the face of modesty. We love him. And I love Peggy Carter. She's awesome.
Drive x2 - Yeah, I rewatched this twice. I think it is my favourite film of 2011. It is so so awesome. I even have Drive themed fingernails at the moment (they're awesome too)
Blade Runner - ...I was less confused the second time.
Contagion - Made the mistake of watching this while I was sick. I swear I felt 100 times worse at the end of it. Like, my throat even started wasn't hurting before then.
Midnight in Paris - This missed two of it's release dates in Dannevirke, because Universal 'ran out of stock' (even though I found it at the supermarket). So I bought it elsewhere and soaked up the goodness before it actually arrived here. I want to marry this movie.
Melancholia - Wasn't as effective on my TV screen. It annoyed the crap out of me the second time. Still, I liked it enough.
Schindler's List - My friend gave my DVD back so I set aside three hours on Wednesday night to be depressed and watch this film. I fucking love everything about it. Everything. This movie actually makes me a better person every time I watch it (I surprisingly snapped out of my depressive state after watching it). That's why it is my second favourite movie ever. Speaking of that, I'm updating my list in the next week or so...

What do you think of these films? Seen anything good this weekend? Got any ideas of how I can cheer myself up?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Conversation with Immortals

I thought 'interviewing' Immortals would be perfect right at this very moment because today we have Tarsem Singh's latest directorial effort, Mirror Mirror coming out, and also the similarly themed Wrath of the Titans hitting theatres. Yeah, it is another bad film, but I have fun with them being the way they are. So yeah.

If you're unsure about what the hell this post is going to be about, basically I have an interviewer, Christopher (a.k.a the name of my dream ginger cat that I'm not allowed until I leave home) who interviews a movie. It is light-hearted fun - so don't criticise me too much if my jokes aren't funny (which they usually aren't), it is too vague (which it is) or you think it is a sack full of ignorance. Cynicism isn't in this season.

CHRISTOPHER: Hi there. You look look very tan. Tell me, what's your secret?
IMMORTALS: CGI. Or maybe it is just the fact that you sir, are so pale.

C: I suppose that's a justifiable reason. Or that I'm not a Greek God.
I: That too. Maybe you've picked the wrong career. Go throw some stones about or carry buckets of water up steep mountains to your homestead, you'll get very fit like myself. I understand that in your time you don't just get blessed with a perfect body. Now, don't worry about that tan, the CGI will do that for you. Just get some gold armour and a sword and you will be one of us. 

C: I don't think I would be that brave, though.
I: Oh don't worry, all you have to do is look angry and yell really loudly when you slice someone's head off. There's nothing to it.

C: Okay then. If I ever happen to be transported to 1228 BC I will take that advice on board. Now for you to give some advice to the readers...what exactly are you about?
I: What do you mean by that?

C: What is your story?
I: Oh, the story. Do you think that your readers care about the story? Because I think all they'd care about is the way I look and the action sequences.

C: That may be so, but these readers are a smart bunch. Looks will only get you so far...
I: Alright. It is about Gods and Titans. The Gods must stop the titans. And a young peasant named Theseus is the only one who can do that. So he has the godly task (hahaha, you get it?) of trying to save the world.

C: Sounds a bit like Clash of the Titans, if you ask me.
I: Clash of the Titans sounds like me, I do not sound like Clash of the Titans. And I do not look like Clash of the Titans. I am better than Clash of the Titans. 

C: Well at least there probably isn't that much of a chance of you getting a sequel, then.
I: Anything is possible. That's what Theseus symbolises.

C: Ah, symbolism. No doubt a big factor which you worked on a lot.
I: Not really, no. There are more important things to do. Such as make everything look good and have good action sequences. After all, isn't that what everyone wants?

C: They're very standard values. 
I: Are  you calling the way I look 'standard'?

C: No, you look good. But there's more to just half naked men trying to fight Mickey Rourke, I tell you.
I: That's what happened in The Wrestler. And you can't tell me that's not a good movie.

C: Yes but...never mind. Henry Cavill will be saving the world next with Zack Snyder's take of Superman. Do you think he is a good fit?
I: Looks? Check. Acting chops? Check. Capability of dealing with indulgent slow motion sequences? Check.

C: Aha. So what I've gathered is that you're all about the looks, the violence, and Mickey Rourke. Anything else you want to add?
I: Something that I think will resonate with the readers who have seen Braveheart: Stand your ground! Fight for order! Fight for the man beside you! Fight for those who bore you! Fight for your children! Fight for your future! Fight for your name to survive! Fight! For immortality!

C: That was so inspirational I couldn't tell whether you were directly quoting Mel Gibson or not.
I: At least I look better than Mel Gibson.

What I got:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

49 Things I Love About Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino's birthday is drawing to a close as we speak, and I imagine he's partying hard (and also working hard on my #2 most anticipated film for this year, Django Unchained). I have a lot to thank Quentin Tarantino for: he was the first director who I ever got obsessed with, he opened up a world of movies for me, he made me want to become a director. I love all of his work (that I've seen, anyway - I'm only missing Jackie Brown), but none more so than Inglourious Basterds. So how about I pick the 49 things I love about the film, one for each year that Tarantino has been spreading awesomeness around the world. **SPOILERS IF YOU'VE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE, SOMEHOW**

1. How it is divided into chapters - and they're all like five short films stringed together into one big film.

2. Christoph frickin' Waltz.

3. Michael Fassbender's sexiness while speaking German.

4. Or Michael Fassbender's sexiness in general.

5. "Wait for the crème!"

6. The first chapter. All that talking (and beautiful talking, too), and then BAM. Such a finish.

7. The way the languages keep changing. Keeps it interesting...and beautiful to listen to.

8. That Quentin Tarantino decided to rewrite history.

9. The way the German soldier's scar is revealed to Hitler.

10. "Oooooh, that's a bingo!"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #17

What I'm watching tonight...

Yeah, it's just Red Dog this week. There's crap all coming out this week. But the new month starts next week, and it will be the holidays, so there'll be lots of kids movies out...yay.

Video of the week...

So I was watching The Whistleblower last night, and it was distributed by one of the shittier suppliers. So, naturally, apart from a trailer for We Need to Talk About Kevin, there were trailers to shitty movies. Then there was a trailer to Super Shark...I can't even. You need to watch this. I had many tears coming out of my eyes - I can't decide whether it was because I was laughing so hard or crying about the fact that people make movies like this.

Podcast plug...
Here's my fun appearance on the Demented Podcast with Nick and Steve, talking Hard Candy and The Grifters. It appears I did quite well on the Tower!

Last week, Tyler showed us his favourite films under 85 minutes. Now for the complete opposite - ten favourite films over 180 mins.

While everyone is fangirling over The Hunger Games, I'm fangirling over Drive. I've seen it three times this year - it is fucking awesome. I even have Drive themed nails at the moment (they took me so long but they're badass). Anyway, Sati has a review of it.

Candice looks at five forgotten characters in post-apocalyptic movies. I'd want them on my team.

From the files of the most underrated post of the week is Nikhat's post on whether films can shock us into liking them. Where are your thoughts on this?

The LAMB just had an acting school, with Samantha Morton to be exact. Check out all of the submissions here.

Me and my friend are getting beyond excited for The Avengers - it is all we ever talk about. Anna reviews Thor, which has the king of awesome Loki in it.

And because you've probably not read a review of The Hunger Games this week, here's a few:
-Whoa, This is Heavy
-Films from the Supermassive Black Hole
-Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob
-"...let's be splendid about this..."
-Aziza's Picks
-Front Room Cinema

And speaking of The Hunger Games, I haven't laughed so hard until I saw this...

Final word...
Favourite animal movie?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lame Trailer Clichés: Needlessly Loud Music

You know what this one is all about. Trailers that have really loud music using full orchestras just to make everything more 'epic'. Sometimes it is cool, but sometimes it can be abused. So I am here to show you that they abuse it, no matter what the genre.

Action movies.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Underrated Showcase Sundays: Another Earth

Underrated Showcase Sundays is a pretty straight-forward: every Sunday I'll shed some light on a film which I think doesn't get enough love. The showcase will be largely unstructured (well, compared to my other reviews) and will often just be random thoughts. It doesn't matter if I've seen it before or not. Tonight's instalment is one which I had never seen until this weekend, thanks to Fatso.

Admit it, you've probably sat there at least once in your life and wondered about the Earth not being entirely what it seems. You probably look out into the night sky and wonder if there is life beyond Earth. Usually, you'd think that life is some sort of extra-terrestrial race. Another Earth doesn't think so. It begins by showing a young woman, Rhoda (Brit Marling) at a party celebrating her acceptance into MIT. She drives home, and as she does so, there is an announcement on the radio that scientists have found another Earth. This is one of those moments where you know exactly where you were when you found out, but unfortunately for Rhoda, what she'll remember is the fact that she caused a car crash, where two people lost their lives. She spends four years in jail, and when she gets out, she seeks closure, by connecting with the accomplished composer (William Mapother) she almost killed and entering a competition to win a trip to the duplicate Earth.

A Jessica Chastain Appreciation Post

Today is the lovely Jessica Chastain's birthday. This time last year, so few of us had heard of her. And then, out of nowhere, she starred in more than enough films to last an actor a decade. Sure enough, she's became my favourite actress, and I've endeavoured to see her in as much as possible. So let's take a look at the performances of hers that I've seen (there's some that haven't reached us here), and where they stand against each other.

6) Sally Ann in Stolen Lives (2008)

Admittedly, I only watched this movie because I'd heard that she was in it. And because the DVD slip said that there was a man called "John Hammm" (no jokes) in it. You probably can't expect great things from a movie which can't even spell it's headlining star right, but the film isn't too bad. It is just a very standard straight-to-DVD made-for-TV feel kind of movie. If I'm being honest, I can't really remember Jess all that much in it because her role is so small, but she was pretty cute.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Would You Expect from a DVD Store?

Okay, I know that most of you can't remember what a DVD store is. Your most recent memory of such a store would probably be an empty shop with a shoddy paint job and maybe some left-over shelves inside. While you may be getting your movies straight to your letterbox or streamed straight from an internet portal, there are still a few DVD stores peppering the universe. So bear with me - even if you haven't been to a DVD store since they ditched videos, this is still a topic worth delving into.

What would you expect to get each month?

Near the beginning of each month, we get Order to Buys, which is where we order everything that we'll get in store for the next month. Here, we get a pretty huge selection: everything from the big blockbusters to the straight-to-DVD atrocities to the smaller indie fares. Most of the time, we get a bit of everything. Apart from the indies. 

Now, if a movie makes it to the cinemas, you'd naturally expect it to be at your local DVD store in case you missed seeing it or wanted to catch in again. This is never the case where we are. In the neighbouring city, there are two different cinemas: a larger multiplex for the big titles, and a smaller arthouse/indie cinema which shows the smaller titles. Considering The Artist hasn't made it to either of those cinemas, whatever they do get must be pretty special. Therefore, it should be our duty to follow up their screenings with a couple of DVDs on our shelves. That explains why Melancholia is missing from this month's order. Hmmmm.

I understand that there is probably only a select few people in my town who would enjoy an arthouse/indie fare like Melancholia. But I find it a little disheartening when we can spare a bit of space for nine copies of a straight-to-DVD horror that nobody cares about and completely ignore films that made it to the cinemas, had moderate success with the general audience and the critics, and that most people have actually heard of. There are only so many big name blockbusters, so people need something to fall back on after that. After the cinemas have dealt with the movies, it is our job to care for it after that. When we don't care for them, Hollywood wins. And they wonder why there are so many mindless blockbusters. Take a look into the world of DVD buying. We should be providing a range of entertainment. And yes, that range should reach down to the dreaded pretentiousness of Lars von Trier's apocalyptic nightmare.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No, This is Not Your Next Twilight.

Film: The Hunger Games
Year: 2012
Director: Gary Ross
Written by: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray - based on the book 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Willow Shields, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Amandla Stenberg, Wes Bentley, Donald Sutherland.
Running time: 142 min.

One day, a person gets an idea to write a book. The book gets written, then it gets published. It hits the shelves, and someone picks it up. They recommend it to their friends. These friends are most likely teenagers. Then the book spreads like wildfire throughout high schools, it becomes a talking point at lunchtime. Through that success, they make a movie. That movie becomes the most anticipated thing out. Teens queue up with their wallets filled with hope that they might get into a midnight screening. The people in the movie become favourites of teen magazines, and their pictures get plastered over the walls of a young girl's bedroom.

Sound familiar?

Yes, we had this problem with Twilight. People went insane for it, but the problem was, the backlash came. Quite a few loyal fans still hold a torch for it, and that's what keeps the unprecedented phenomenon going. The Hunger Games treads the same path. Let's just say, it takes a detour from turning into mindless teen schlock and is actually a teen cause worth getting behind.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Every Secret Comes with a Price.

Film: The Debt
Year: 2010
Director: John Madden
Written by: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan (based on the 2007 film 'Ha-Hov')
Starring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciarán Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, Marton Csokas, Jesper Christensen, Romi Aboulafia. 
Running time: 113 min.

Right, the time has come: you may as well call me a hipster. I saw the original movie of The Debt, a small Israeli film made in 2007, before I saw the remake. I know, I made a choice so obscure that I should probably be wearing my hipster flag out and proud - but for now, I'd like to call it a good choice on my part by delving into the shallow waters of the preview drawer. Usually, there is just a flood of needlessly violent and cheaply gruesome horrors, or action movies starring Z-list 'actors'. At first, The Debt looked a little like that. But going in 'blind' led to some good results.

These results, though, were some that - dare I say - could have been improved on. I don't want to put anything indelicately, but better production values and a little more money could have turned a solid movie into an extremely good one. With a who's who of British screen-writing team (Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan), Shakespeare in Love director John Madden at the helm and a cast headlined by the always wonderful Helen Mirren, this remake is not one that we can dismiss as a 'copy-cat crap'. Trust me, I know - I'm a 'hipster'.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #16

What I'm watching tonight...

Well, I went into Blockbuster with the intent of getting The Debt (one of the only movies that my darling Jessica Chastain has been in which I've not seen, and I really enjoyed the original) and Immortals. Then I saw Puncture and The Whistleblower - two films I wouldn't mind seeing - sitting there. Due to a bit of homework, I just had to go with The Debt and Immortals like planned, but I shall probably check out the other two tomorrow/next week. Ah, at least we're getting a steady flow of movies through!

Video of the week...

Yeah, it is another song from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's soundtrack. It makes me want to cry every time I hear it. I don't care what everyone else says - that ending was perfect. Ugh, I need to see this magic again.

A bit of randomness...

So on Thursday, me and quite a few friends are going to see The Hunger Games. Yes, this is almost as exciting as The Dark Knight Rises. Therefore, on Thursday, there won't be any 'conversations' (sorry). If I get back early enough, I'll be sure to post my review - just because I have a whole one day window on you Americans who haven't had the chance to get to any premieres/previews. This is a rare chance. Mind you, we get The Avengers two weeks before you, so does that mean that NZ is finally moving up in the world?

Andrew waves goodbye to 2011 (something I won't be doing for quite some time) with an epic top 10 list. The top four make me squeal with delight inside.

Sati gets into the St. Patrick's Day spirit with more clovers than I've ever seen and 16 drinking scenes.

Steve @ 1001 Plus does a wonderful review of one of my favourites The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which is one that both of us aren't keen to see again.

Jessica @ The Velvet Cafe's review of The Muppets made me smile just as much as I did throughout that whole movie. I still sing songs from it when I find an appropriate moment.

With my excitement for The Hunger Games building like crazy, Corey Atad has an open letter to everyone that thinks it is just a rehash of Battle Royale. (And he likes War Horse, too.)

Lesya says that it is never too late to talk about The Artist. Hopefully it is not too late when I finally get to see it in like, 500 years.

Tyler looks at some great films under 85 mins. Who doesn't like a short movie?

Final word...
Who has read The Hunger Games book/s?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lame Trailer Clichés: The Freeze Frame

Yes, another weekly feature. It was something I came up with while selling someone a Lotto ticket at work and gazing at the TV playing the trailer disc. I've seem craploads of trailers in my time thanks to working a DVD shop, and more often than not they're pretty silly. So every Monday, I'll look at a certain lame trailer cliché that seems to pop up in quite a few of them.

Ah, the freeze frame. They're activities we do in our first years of Drama, just so we can create complicated situations with a single movement. Alas, trailers use them in a different way. Many different ways, in fact. Some can be effective, others are just...well, what's the point? Freeze frames are supposed to be the production stills, not subjected to the trailer, which can move and speak. Let's take a look at the four different freeze frames:

1) The 'Introduction' Freeze Frame.

Most of the time, this one is quite effective. Especially in the case of The Change-Up - an otherwise awful film - which shows the life of Dave perfectly. And hey, the second freeze frame sums up the movie perfectly. It is a giant shit in the face. (full trailer here)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

7x7 Link Award

Another award is making the rounds, and this one is pretty fun. Thanks to Anna, it is time to get a little bit blog nostalgic.

But first things first, time to share something that nobody else knows about:
-This kind of hard considering I don't usually keep a lot of secrets (what's the point?). But eh, I've not told anyone that I'm currently writing a script. Which is kinda hard considering my head moves faster than I have time to write the thing, so chances are, it'll never amount to anything. I wish I could just sit around all day like William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love with my quill and write pages and pages. Alas, school gets in the way of creativity (and madness).

Right, now I shall have to link back to my posts in the following categories:

Most Beautiful Piece. Surprisingly, they're both based on Steven Spielberg movies (I couldn't pick just one). I originally hated this 'review' of Schindler's List, but I look back on it and in all it's 10 paragraph glory I can't believe I've ever written anything like it. And as for this post about why I was looking forward to War Horse, well, anything I could write about my Katie is sure to be beautiful.

Most Helpful Piece. Back in my '16 Days of Birthday' series I broke down all of the old Hollywood studios and what impact they had. Seriously, if you got me started on this, I would talk you into a deep sleep.

Most Popular Piece. Allegedly, it is this post which is basically me defending the large possibility that Rooney Mara would be great as Lisbeth Salander. And guess what? She got an Oscar nomination. But the mammoth pageviews only came from image searches. If I were to choose, my most popular post would be my conversation with the people who voted at the MTV Movie Awards.

Most Controversial Piece. I don't really aim to rock the boat, but the cowardly 'Anonymous' haters seemed to not like this one a whole lot.

Most Underrated Piece. (hehe, I forgot this one somehow). Okay, this was back when I had next to no readership, but my comparison of the Inception and The Social Network's soundtrack was one I worked pretty effing hard on. A long time since I posted it, though, there has been a few anonymous commentators latching onto it.

Most Surprisingly Successful Piece. I don't think there's a better fit for this one. I post a random essay I did at school (and possibly one of the best things I've ever done at school) and then I get a call from Paramount. How's that for surprising success?

Most Pride-Worthy Piece. Probably my review of Hunger. I don't know, it just really sounds like I know what I'm talking about. Even if it is two pages long. Or this one about film censorship. I don't know why, but I just love this one.

And now I gotta pass this award on to seven other deserving bloggers (I'm not sure who already has it or who doesn't):
-Cherokee @ Feminising Film
-Lesya @ Eternity of Dream
-Sati @ Cinematic Corner
-SDG @ U, Me and Films
-Tyler @ Southern Vision
-Mette @ Lime Reviews and Strawberry Confessions
-Andrew @ Encore's World of Film & TV

(Sorry for no Underrated Showcase Sunday - I've been quite sick over the past few days and while it is Sunday, I've been busy podcasting and whatnot. I'm rather tired, so I think it'll be an early night tonight. Plus, I'm pretty sure my past two posts haven't made a heckload of sense, haha)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Dated Look at the Future (LAMB MOTM)

Film: Blade Runner
Year: 1982
Director: Ridley Scott
Written by: Hampton Fancher, David Peoples.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel.
Running time: 117 min.
Note: I believe I watched the 2007 'final cut', if that makes any difference.

Okay. No, I hadn't seen Blade Runner before now. You can finally put the pitchforks down: it is crossed off my essential watchlist.

Yet, you might wanna hold onto the pitchforks a little longer. Chances are, I probably didn't like it as much as you.

Now, let me rephrase that: I did quite like the film. Hell, there were even parts that I loved about it. But let's just say this was more of an "it's not you, it's me" kind of situation. My aversion to both sci-fi films and 1980's films kinda let me down, hampering the entertainment sides of things. But while I may not have been fully into it, I could definitely appreciate it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Is Anyone Seeing This?

Film: Take Shelter
Year: 2011
Written and Directed By: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham, Tova Stewart, Katy Mixon, Natasha Randall, Ron Kennard, Scott Kinsley, Robert Longstreet.
Running time: 120 min.

With the 21st of December fast approaching, people are either anticipating an apocalypse or laughing at the people who are scared that it will actually happen. But still, people have good intentions when they plan these so-called apocalypses: just take a look at all the stuff that has happened on the Earth in this past couple of years, the earthquakes, tsunamis, all of the other major disasters. They put these pieces together and suspect the worst is going to happen, sending themselves into fits of paranoia. That is exactly what happens to Curtis (Michael Shannon) in Take Shelter. He has dreams that turn him against the people and things around him - like his dog biting his arm, which results in the dog being left outside - and they culminate in a fear of an impending apocalypse. As the dreams get worse and worse, he finds himself comforted by a building project. This isn't the kind of building project that does any good right now, much to the dismay of his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain). It is the kind where he takes out a risky home improvement loan to do up his storm shelter and create a haven in which he and his family can survive in if his visions do indeed come true.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Conversation with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

I've noticed that since I started this series up again, I've been 'interviewing' some quite bad films. But they're the easiest to talk to, aside from films with great scripts (like anything by Paul Thomas Anderson - or L.A. Confidential, I had great fun with that one). Oh well, I only aim to entertain, and taking the piss out of a Twilight film is one of the best ways to do that. If you are unsure of how this series works, check back here for previous entries. The skinny is that my 'interviewer' Christopher (no reference to anyone living or dead) has a 'chat' with a specific movie. And today's movie just so happens to be The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.

CHRISTOPHER: Hello there. Would you mind stepping out of the dark so I can see you?
BREAKING DAWN 1: I'm a vampire movie. I don't do lights.

C: That's an odd thing to say, considering your main vampire Edward spends a good deal of time sitting outside, in the sunlight, playing chess, and not sparkling.
BD1: He gets a lot of shit for sparkling.

C: I hate to break it to you, but vampires don't sparkle. They're not supposed to be fairies.
BD1: This argument has been going on since 2008. Just let Edward and his vampire family be. If they want to be fairies, they can let their freak flag fly.

C: Hmmmm. So far, we've had the love story between Edward and Bella, and Bella has been killed almost fifty times, plus there's something about some werewolves, one in particular who likes to take his shirt off. What do you have to offer to this obviously epic 'saga'?
BD1: Well, Bella and Edward get married, and Bella almost gets killed again. There's a really short sex scene in there, too - we didn't want to freak any little girls out.

C: So Bella almost gets killed again, what a surprise. How does it happen this time?
BD1: She gets pregnant. With a vampire/human hybrid. Now ain't that excitement for all the little fangirls?

C: Oh yes. I imagine a fetus that's half human is very exciting to whoever still likes you after all this time.
BD1: I still have fans. Mainly the mothers of teenagers who have already outgrown me. Mothers dig that sort of stuff.

C: That is quite surprising, as the series has just got worse and worse. You started out as an indie, which was fine, but then you got all cocky and the budgets got bigger.
BD1: As long as we're making money and winning lots of MTV Movie Awards, we're happy.

C: Are you aware that you're nominated for 8 Razzies?
BD1: Are you aware that that is probably more nominations than Drive got for anything this awards season? See, we're on the top of our game.

C: I'm not even going to say anything to that. Now this is only the first part to the final book. Tell me, why does hardly anything happen?
BD1: What do you mean, 'why does hardly anything happen?'. Edward and Bella play chess for at least 50% of the movie. And everyone thinks that is so romantic. Plus, chess is a game which needs to be brought back out into the spotlight. Harry Potter had a go at making it cool and all, but I think Edward and Bella really nailed it.

C: Yes, I'm going out to buy myself a chess set and hope that some clumsy, boring girl comes to play it with me on a beach. So romantic. 
BD1: It is romantic, for the fangirls, their mothers, and the teens that claim to be hipster but only think that chess is cool because I showed them it in a romantic light. 

C: Oh yay. So you expect them to believe in true love at first sight, with both a vampire and a werewolf, as well?
BD1: Yes.

C: Isn't being in love with a vampire kinda dangerous?
BD1: Do teenage girls think? No.

C: Oh well, if it were dangerous, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson don't do a good job of showing it.
BD1: Who cares? Everyone thinks they're good looking.

C: And what does she see in Taylor Lautner?
BD1: True emotion. You see how he furrows his eyebrows all of the time? And how he got so angry about the wedding invitation that he ripped off his shirt and went for a run? That boy has no heart of stone.

C: Just a face of stone. Thankfully, we only have to endure one more of your films. But you picked a stupid moment to end yourself on.
BD1: It is called ambiguity. All the cool movies end with a shot like that. I mean, you saw that movie called Inception, right? It had that spinning top at the end. And even though I didn't understand that, I thought that last shot was cool because spinning tops are so 2002 which is soooooo retro. So I decided to end with a shot like that, and everyone would be like, that shot is so cool. I mean, how else could I end?

C: I don't know, by fitting the entire book into one film so we could only have four films instead of five?
BD1: You don't understand. The longer we keep milking this vampire thing, the more money we can make. They'll be rebooting the series in a couple of years.

C: Oh God, now I really do hope the apocalypse happens. Do you have any final words?

What I got:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lies May Lead to Truth.

Film: A Separation
Year: 2011
Written and directed by: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shabab Hosseini, Sarina Farhadi, Merila Zare'i, Kimia Hosseini, Shirin Yazdanbakhsh.
Running time: 123 min.

I've always been a big advocate of words being more effective than violence, thrills or laughs on screen. Some Hollywood films abuse that fact, by either using the violence and other visual things to get their point across, or by wasting words on needless exposition. But A Separation, an Iranian film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, seamlessly uses words in all of their glory. It is a seemingly simple story about a married couple (Simin and Nader, played by Leila Hatami and Peyman Hatami respectively) who decide to divorce; Simin wants to leave Iran to let her daughter live a better life elsewhere, but Nader wants to stay in Iran and look after his ailing father who has Alzheimer’s. The story, without the use of guns, bombs or killing, captivates from the very beginning, and becomes a thriller where words speak louder than actions. And that is the way it should be.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #15

What I'm watching tonight...

Well, I know that I'm watching In Time tonight. But there is a place open for another movie, which may be filled up with Drive, if my sister delivers it to me tonight. It will be nice to see that movie without airline censorship (I never heard a swear word from the version I watched...). However, while this week is big, I don't feel the need to freak myself out by revisiting Contagion, and although I like the cast, I'm not sold on Dream House (I'll check it out later). Tomorrow I shall finally be checking out Take Shelter, which I think is more exciting than my birthday, and giving The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 a whirl since I want to complete the series, and see how bad it is. So don't be alarmed if there's no post tomorrow, because I'm at my Dads, which means that I can't just have dinner when I want and watch movies when I want. Ugh.

Video of the week...

I meant to post this last week, but I ran out of time to do one of these posts. When I was in bed with laryngitis the other day, dreading going to work without a voice, the lovely Diana tweeted me the trailer to Now is Good, starring Dakota Fanning and my fourth husband Jeremy Irvine. I'm actually quite looking forward to this one!

Kate Winslet is perfection, and Mette at Lime Reviews sums up on the heavenly creature that she is. 

Another person to jump on the 'hundred things I learnt from the movies' is Nikhat of Being Norma Jeane, who predictably has some awesome quotes

I couldn't really pick out which post I wanted to feature from Tyler's Southern Vision, so I'll just go for both: his review of the worst movie in the world, The Room, and his post all about my favourite score ever from The Social Network.

At the moment, in English we are writing reviews on Braveheart for our assessment - a movie which I thought was quite average. Steve Honeywell from 1001 Plus seemed to like it enough. And our introductions are basically the same!

The On the Road trailer finally hit this weekend, and it looks very good. But no-one is more excited for it than Diana, who sells the movie to us all!

Speaking of Aziza's Picks, if you wanna help a blogger out, make sure to give her some feedback at the LAMB's Brutally Blunt Blog Blustering page!

I do love it when Ryan at The Matinee slows down to do a personal kind of post (in fact, when anyone does one, I love it), and he takes some time to reflect on podcasting. It almost makes me want to do a podcast myself, but I'm a busy wee lassie!

Andrew at Encore's World of Film & TV has been reviewing 2011 in film, and his supporting actress ballot is particularly cool. Why? Double Jessica Chastain :)

Finally, Jandy at Row Three made up the most epic list - ranking all of the Best Picture winners she'd seen. My golly, that would have been exhausting.

Final word:
What is your favourite podcast?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Underrated Showcase Sundays: Quiz Show

Underrated Showcase Sundays is a pretty straight-forward: every Sunday I'll shed some light on a film which I think doesn't get enough love. The showcase will be largely unstructured (well, compared to my other reviews) and will often just be random thoughts. It doesn't matter if I've seen it before or not. Tonight's instalment is one I've seen twice before, and had to go to a whole different country to get myself a copy of it on DVD (that sound more dramatic than what it actually happened).

Right in the midst of my huge obsession with Ralph Fiennes, I found two films of his that I had never heard of before: Strange Days hiding on the thriller shelf at Blockbuster and Quiz Show, which I queued up. Each of them were distinctly great films, offering a look at Fiennes just after his work in Schindler's List - a.k.a the best performance of all time. While Strange Days had him playing the fast-talking, smooth yet kinda seedy street hustler, Quiz Show has him playing a role completely different to anything he has ever done: the vulnerable, well-to-do pretty boy who acts his way into the heart of millions. If you look at Fiennes' filmography, you'll find it rich with varied characters and films, but one performance and film that sticks out for me the most is his Charles van Doren in Quiz Show.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

An Ode to Ambition

"When there is a will, there is a way..."

Anyone heard that line before? It is one of my favourite clichéd, life lessons in one sentence kind of lines. Why? Because I have lived by it as much as I can.

Take for example, the time when my favourite horse Katie cut her leg open when she got caught in a fence. While my parents agreed to not put her down, they didn't hold much hope for her. Basically, it was me who kept her from going back to her former home. Every morning, I'd get up and rub honey on the wound. When she got a bit better, I started riding her in light work. When we got tired of that, I started jumping her to stretch her leg. And where could we go from there? Maybe to the races. Now she'd never been the fastest horse. And I had this thing where my favourite horses would always be the slow ones that would eventually leave us. But I thought that Katie might have something in her. People would always take one look at her leg and tell us that it was cruel to race her - but if we didn't, she would have gone crazy. She went on to win two races.

While I'm the first to admit I wasn't the driving force behind her winning two races (although I did take the two bottles of wine we got from them, which remain unopened in my room), there were a great deal of things involved that made the two victories ever so sweet. Drive, hard work, passion, love, but most of all, ambition.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Quick Limerick Reviews: Anonymous, One Day, Fright Night + More

Yeah, I'm rolling out the poetry again...even though I dislike it to no end. Just in case you don't know what a limerick is, here is the buzz:
-There are five lines.
-Lines 1, 2 and 5 all rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 rhyme with one another, too.
-Lines 1, 2 and 5 have between 7 and 10 syllables in each line.
-Lines 3 and 4 should have between 5 and 7 syllables in each line.
-Ideally, it should be funny (here's hoping).

With these stellar creations that are all about the syllables, I shall be reviewing Anonymous, One Day, Fright Night, Tanner Hall and The Three Musketeers.

Anonymous (2011)

So you think Shakespeare is a fraud?
That sure is a question for the bored.
And hath boring it is
Very pretty, but no fizz
And no apocalypse, thank the lord.

What I got:

One Day (2011)
Is it really that hard to be a Brit?
Or make romance that is romantic?
Good idea, at the time
But just as sweet as a lime
And Anne Hathaway's accent is shit.

What I got:

Fright Night (2011)
Another remake, what a surprise!
Its strange the things that money buys,
There aren't many scares,
Nor is it a funny affair,
But Anton Yelchin is still a cuddly guy.

What I got:

Tanner Hall (2009)
Back when Rooney Mara had long hair
And no dragon tattoos to wear
Being a girl was hard
But it's vision is quite marred
Still, here's the start of Rooney's big career.

What I got:

The Three Musketeers (2011)
A classic novel, the way to go
Just make it work for generation 'whoa'
Stick in some flying boats,
Then it's only fun for goats,
Is it at all cool? Heavens no.

What I got:
What do you think of these movies? Have any poetry to share about them?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Conversation with I Don't Know How She Does It

Most of you probably haven't seen Sarah Jessica Parker's latest War Horse I Don't Know How She Does It, but that doesn't matter. Our 'interviewer' Christopher (named after the ginger cat I never got for my birthday) is going to interview it since it is the perfect film to interview (you'll see why). Basically, if you're new to all of this: I rebooted this series about a couple of weeks ago - missing those weeks because of the Oscars and a school trip - where my fake interviewer Christopher 'chats' to a specific movie. You can find past entries here. Let's get into it, shall we?

CHRISTOPHER: Hi there. I think the obvious question to start with is why the hell do you have such a stupid title?
I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT: Because, silly, who does know how she does it?

C: What, how does Sarah Jessica Parker still keep getting work?
IDKHSDI: No. What I intend for the audience to see is the ins and outs of being a mother. And everyone has to look up at our heroine, Kate Reddy and say "I don't know how she does it!" every five minutes. It is all about girl power, girlfriend.

C: Well in that case, I'm glad that I'm fake so I don't have to have children and have a wife running around like her.
IDKHSDI: I'm obviously not for males. I'm for mothers to put their hands up to and worship, since I am obviously the bible for the working mother.

C: With Sarah Jessica Parker playing your heroine?
IDKHSDI: ...yes. You saw Sex and the City. That was the bible for the fashionable woman! This is like, the sequel.

C: The sequel where Carrie Bradshaw catches lice?

C: And doesn't bake anything for the bake sale so she just buys a pie from the shop?
IDKHSDI: ...yes.

C: And just about has an affair with Pierce Brosnan?
IDKHSDI: ...yes...

C: Wow, I really don't know how she does it.
IDKHSDI: Exactly. She has to deal with all of those problems.

C: Okay, so you are a girl power movie being the bible for the working mother. But why are you made in such a strange way?
IDKHSDI: I am made in a documentary style so it all feels more real. So everyone can somewhat relate to it. And how else could we get across the point that Kate Reddy is so amazing? We had to tell the audience all the time just to remind them. Just in case the title wasn't enough of a clue.

C: Have you ever heard of something called subtlety? It is in right now.
IDKHSDI: Considering one of the highest grossing movies of the year was Transformers: Dark of the Moon - which was not very subtle - I was going with the crowd. I was just expanding that idea.

C: But why did you have to have so many annoying characters explaining a character just as annoying?
IDKHSDI: Have you not read the chick flick handbook? It says that behind every lead female character, you need the trusty best friend who feels the need to crack dirty jokes all the time (Christina Hendricks), the sassy guy friend (Seth Meyers), the nemesis who may look like the perfect mother but actually isn't and has anger issues (Busy Philipps), the younger girl who idolises the heroine but can't get her life straight (Jessica Szohr) and the uptight career obsessed woman who won't let anything get in her way, including emotions (Olivia Munn). And then there's the people who don't have to explain them: the men. The doting husband who is so sensitive of course we have to feel sorry for him (Greg Kinnear), the over-powering 'I wish I was more family-oriented' workaholic (Pierce Brosnan) and the mean 'I don't give a shit' boss (Kelsey Grammer). All of these people are supposed to generate support and emotion towards Kate Reddy, obviously.

C: And is breaking the fourth wall another technique to get us to care about Kate Reddy?
IDKHSDI: Of course we need to know what she's thinking all of the time. And if SJP's husband can do it in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, then she can too.

C: Ah, but you see, that was actually a good movie.
IDKHSDI: And I'm not?

C: Unless you count having every cliché in the book. Mind you, I now know why you have that stupid title. If any woman makes it through this movie, then she I don't know how she does it.
IDKHSDI: See? My title is great after all.

What I got:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

All the Clichés, But All the Heart Too.

Film: Warrior
Year: 2011
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Written by: Gavin O'Connor, Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Kevin Dunn, Maximiliano Hernández, Vanessa Martinez.
Running time: 135 min.

Imagine how Warrior must have looked on paper: another fighting movie about two brothers from a stuffed up family who are the underdogs that have to fight there way up and win against all odds. I can imagine the money-grubbers turning their heads away and wondering when the next movie about boxing robots was going to be pitched. Alas, even though Hollywood is partial to their clichéd stories that generally make everyone feel good, Warrior had the incomparable task of making Hollywood like it, and everyone else too (if you think about it, not many films succeed in that area). Like the story in the movie, Warrior was a film that not many of us expected great things to come out of. It was indeed the underdog who achieved some great things.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lame Trailer Clichés: The Kettle

Yes, another weekly feature. It was something I came up with while selling someone a Lotto ticket at work and gazing at the TV playing the trailer disc. I've seem craploads of trailers in my time thanks to working a DVD shop, and more often than not they're pretty silly. So every Monday, I'll look at a certain lame trailer cliché that seems to pop up in quite a few of them.

Do you ever look at your kettle and think, what a sinister appliance?

Do you ever listen to your kettle boiling and think, "blimey, that makes my life so much more exciting"?

Do you ever think, if I were in my own action movie, I want a kettle boiling in the room just to make it that more intense?

If you answered those three questions with a no? Well, the movies seem to think that kettles are pretty intense, and they like to stick a shot of one and the boiling providing a soundtrack to a choppily edited segment of all of the exciting parts in the movie. For the record, my kettle kind of sounds like Darth Vader letting out a really long breath. And I'm not sure that it would make anything more intense, even Star Wars.

So if you go and watch last year's Liam Neeson thriller Unknown or straight-to-DVD horror Rogue River, keep an eye out for the kettle. They seem to play it out like the kettle could indeed be eligible for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. That appliance that makes you a nice cup of tea/coffee? It is much more of a movie star than you originally thought.

This little humdinger appears at about 2:20

Like Unknown, this one doesn't get his star moment until quite the way through the trailer. Look out for him at 1:40

Do you think that kettles should get their own Oscar category for 'Best Supporting Appliance'?


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