Saturday, June 30, 2012

June in Movies

Wow...half way through the year already. Our school term has just finished, but unfortunately the workload hasn't weakened. When I'm not working, I'll be doing homework. But I have set aside A LOT of time to watch all the great movies that are coming out in the next two weeks (seriously, in the second week of the holidays there are SEVEN films I want to see coming out). However, as this month draws to a close, I can't help but feel it has been the best month I've had in a long time. Apart from the crappy weather, a cool beach trip with friends, the LAMMYs, the DemPod Battle Royale and the Matineecast turned up to make everything better. My movie watching wasn't too bad, considering that every single day of this month has been filled with school work. I am a time management queen.

*P.S. My time management skills aren't always the greatest. If you're expecting an email or something back from me, I'm slowly getting there...just need some room to let off some steam.

Movies I hadn't seen before until the month of June...

The 400 Blows - Yeah, I didn't love this as much as everyone else. It wasn't a bad just didn't do a lot for me.
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) - Watched this in preparation for my co-directing gig since I couldn't find the musical version. For something shot in two days, it was pretty good.
Albert Nobbs - Honestly couldn't see what was wrong with it. Brendan Gleeson's beard was just too impressive.
Our Idiot Brother - I wanna give this movie a huge hug.
Safe House - Confession: the music used in this trailer is so badass. I really do love it when they use hip-hop songs in trailers. Though it is weird that the trailer for this and the trailer for The Great Gatsby have the same music.
Chronicle - Dane DeHaan is one guy we ought to watch out for in the future.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - If I could be Catherine Deneuve then that would be great.
Alien - So awesome, but didn't get me excited for Prometheus. I have the sequel in my bedroom, can't wait to watch it.
Breathless - After watching this I read a little bit about Jean Seberg's life. Pretty horrific, huh?
30 Minutes or Less - Looks like Jesse Eisenberg isn't having the best run after The Social Network. Have you seen the poster for this? It is SO Photoshopped.
The Vow - Yes, I liked this one. In fact, I've pretty much liked all of Rachel McAdams' romances. Take away my cinephile card if you must.
The Ides of March - I have the poster for this up in my room at the moment. It is nice to wake up to Ryan Gosling's face every morning.
Vivre Sa Vie - Oh I wish I could be Anna Karina too. These French New Wave films have given me major girl-envy.
Raging Bull - Can't say I loved this as much as everyone else but ahahaha, they're making a sequel to it. Weird.
Au Hasard Balthazar - I can't look at donkeys in the same way since Balthazar haunted my dreams a couple of weeks ago.
Straw Dogs (1971) - Okay, perhaps I shouldn't have watched the remake before this one. It just didn't sit well with me at all. Dustin Hoffman was great, though.
One for the Money - Double this with coming across people being mean to other people and man does your night suck.
La Luna - Seriously the cutest short movie I've ever seen. Now every time I go outside at night my eyes are always directed towards the moon.
Brave - I'm still obsessing over Merida's hair.
Memoirs of a Geisha - I borrowed this from my friend on the night of the ball...which was in December last year. Thought it was about time I gave it a watch, huh?
Hiroshima Mon Amour - Eh...
Jack and Jill - How do movies like this happen?
Happy Feet Two - I'd love to say that my mind was fully on this movie, but it wasn't. For one thing, it was too dull for me to be interested in, and for another thing, I was helping a friend with his speech. Because I'm kind like that.
Shame - Oh, you should have heard me crying during this one. I don't even think it was crying, actually. I was basically screaming and heaving. It was a hideous sound.
Jules and Jim - Add Jeanne Moreau to that list of French New Wave-induced girl-envy.

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

The Muppets - For a movie night (with the BEST FEED EVER, which we're gonna do again tomorrow). I got so excited over this movie the third time around I just about keeled over. I wish I could say I was joking.
Warrior - Wow. This movie. Many tears were shed at the end of this one.
Shaun of the Dead - But that's okay, because we watched this one straight afterwards. Oh, Edgar Wright, you beast.
Cemetery Junction - Watched this out at the beach. We all kinda agreed that they should use this movie in our English class. May sound unpopular, but we have our reasons.
Kick-Ass - Hadn't seen this in ages, so I felt deprived of Mark Strong's awesomeness.
Moneyball - I actually really really like this movie. Even though I haven't the foggiest of what baseball entails.
Shame - So the day after I saw it for the first time, I begged my friend to see it so we could chat about it. Next thing I know she's at my house at 9pm (on a school night) and we watched this movie that we've been talking about for the past nine months. Because we're cool.
Three Colours: Blue - I decided as soon as I woke up this morning that I should stay in bed and give this another spin. So beautiful.

What do you think of these movies? Seen anything good this month yourself?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Addiction Eating Away at Normalcy.

Film: Shame
Year: 2011
Director: Steve McQueen
Written by: Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie, Lucy Walters, Elizabeth Masucci, Amy Hargreaves.
Running time: 102 min. 
WARNING: The film is discussed at length, so there'll probably be spoilers. My suggestion is, if you haven't seen the film, see it, and then come back and gush over it with me.

Ever since October last year, I've been looking forward to seeing Shame. I watched the trailer and I couldn't shake the feeling that it made me want to make a film of my own. For months now, I've been going on about it, talking about what it was rated, how I was pissed that Michael Fassbender didn't get an Oscar nomination even though I hadn't seen it...I've been obsessed with this movie for ages. Because of this obsession, I no longer had expectations. I felt like I had already seen the film. But boy, when I sat down to watch it on Tuesday night, I was taken to places that I hadn't expected to go. I was given this whole new perspective of film that either I'd never bothered to look for, or has been missing from my recent film-watching. It had such an immediate effect on me that I knew would happen, but not as strongly or as powerfully as it did. Shame was responsible for one of those rare occasions where I've been so overpowered by a film that I just sit in my seat, frozen, with my eyes locked on the screen as the credits roll, and then find it necessary to tell everyone in the world that I've just seen a film that changed my life. It may sound hyperbolic - especially coming from a 16 year old girl who is legally deemed two years too young to see this film - but Shame had such an effect on me, which gave me just the wake up call I needed.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dipping My Toes in French New Wave: Hiroshima Mon Amour and Jules and Jim

It has been a fun month of getting into French New Wave, but I must admit, it kinda ended with less power than it did when I started. Hiroshima Mon Amour and Jules and Jim, the last films I watched for the series, were unfortunately the worst of the selection that I'd seen. That's not to say that they were bad, they just finished last. Anyway, my (brief) takes on the two, followed by my evaluation here...

The last time I saw a film by Alain Resnais, I was scarred for life. In fact, I watched Night and Fog a whole year ago and every time I think of it, my skin crawls. So I was a little weary about Hiroshima Mon Amour, one of the earliest New Wave films, but thankfully there was little scarring on this movie's part. Instead, this is a film about a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva, who is currently gracing screens in Michael Haneke's acclaimed Amour) and a married Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) who have an affair, but no that they'll have to part ways in a very short amount of time. The film is basically a compilation of the conversations they have over the 36 hours that they are together, which are mostly based around the idea of the limits of memory. While I am a self-confessed fan of hearing people talk, this film, for some reason or another, frustrated me. I'm not sure why that was, as the words said were beautiful - I guess it was either the fact that I was exhausted or I just couldn't really connect to what was going on. Aside from that, it was beautifully made (which I think is just a given because all New Wave films have such brilliant ways of expressing themselves). Also, the opening was great - even though it is different from Night and Fog, I could see how Resnais was building on what he'd done there with a mix of clips revolving around the terrible events of Hiroshima. Certainly something that I wasn't expecting, but Resnais does that sort of thing well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Conversation with Jack and Jill

It has been a little while since Christopher has been at the mic of another discussion with a movie, but he has had to brace himself for something as crappy as Jack and Jill. The record-holder for winning the most Razzies in history (hint: it won all of them) and being probably one of the WORST movies I've ever seen, certainly didn't make for easy watching last night, but as with all bad movies, it is fun to rip into them. Which I'm sure is just what Christopher, the sarcastic, dry piece of witty imagination that he is, will do. If he doesn't want to gouge his eyeballs out, first.

CHRISTOPHER: After going through an entire conversation with Safe House sticking a gun in my face, I think it's high time that I talk to the multi-award winning Jack and Jill. What an honour. So, Jack and Jill, how does it feel to have so many accolades to your name?

C: Why do you feel the need to yell at me in a really high-pitched voice? I'm right next to you.
JAJ: I just want you to realise how dumb you look because you don't have as many awards as me!

C: That's right, I don't. 
JAJ: Shame on YOU!

C: No no, I have no shame. As you can plainly see, I'm a man being a man. You are a man being a woman. And also being a man. Both of which are really silly.
JAJ: Silly?! You don't know the meaning of silly!

C: Oh no, I'm fairly sure I do. If I were to look up the definition of 'silly' in the dictionary I have no doubts that I would find 'Jack and Jill'. 
JAJ: No you wouldn't! That's not possible! Al Pacino is one of my stars!

C: And he calls himself 'Dunkaccino' in it.
JAJ: Well...yeah.

C: And he pretends to be in love with Adam Sandler dressed as a woman.
JAJ: That is totally fine! I'm all for equality!

C: So that's why you have a whole lot of offensive jokes to spurt out?
JAJ: They're FUNNY jokes!

C: Nope. They're silly jokes.
JAJ: Your face is a silly joke.

C: That was a silly joke.
JAJ: You're a silly joke.

C: Is that seriously all you can come up with?
JAJ: Nope. I'll tell you a joke. Why did the cookie go to the hospital?

C: I don't know, why did the cookie go to the hospital?
JAJ: Because he felt crummy.

C: Wow. You didn't just get that from Googling 'lame jokes'. 
JAJ: That's right, I didn't. But Googling 'lame jokes' is actually really helpful. That's how my script was written.

C: Do you want to hear my joke?
JAJ: What's that?

C: How did Jack and Jill wind up with so many awards?
JAJ: Because I'm the best Adam Sandler film EVER?!

C: Because all of the awards it won were Razzies! HA.
JAJ: *silence*

C: Thank goodness, I found a way to shut Adam Sandler up. For five minutes.
JAJ: That's My Boy is in cinemas now! Y'all have to go see it because no-one else has!

What I got:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #29

What I'm watching tonight...

A bit of a mixed bag, but I wanted to catch everything before the holidays start. I FINALLY GET TO SEE SHAME! Yay! It is going to be strange, because I've been going on about this movie for so long and only now do I get to see it. I'm also unfortunately going to be checking out Jack and Jill, because our shop got 21 copies of it and only one copy of The Artist so therefore Jack and Jill must be a masterpiece. Also, I'll check out Happy Feet Two because I loved the first one. This is one of the first three movie nights I've had on a school night in a long time - but I feel I deserve it (no matter how crappy the films are).

Video of the week...

I'M. SO. EXCITED. (seriously, I've got to the 'I'm having a heart attack every time I hear the words The Dark Knight Rises' stage).

Podcast plug...

Since there were a few people who watched my LAMMY 2012 video and said my accent was 'adorable', I think they'd be interested in listening to Ryan McNeil and I chat about Brave. It was 11pm when we started where I was, and 7am where he was. We were both a bit out of it, but it was a fun discussion all the same!

Change in schedule...
Thanks to some issues surrounding my next French New Wave film, I've decided to postpone my final post until Thursday. That means I'll bring my 'conversation' with Jack and Jill up to tomorrow. Then on Friday you will have a review of Shame up for your reading pleasure.

Nikhat looks at her ten favourite female Pixar characters. That is a place filled with magic.

Joining the 'film facts about me' train this week were Andy, Sam, Brittani, and James.

Anna reviews the totally awesome Alien. Speaking of, I have the sequel at my house and will be watching it sometime this week.

I don't watch much TV, but Sati makes me wish that I did with the first part to her 20 favourite TV characters.

Tyler lists the ten films he hopes are never remade by Hollywood. And hopefully they never are.

Finally, here's come great reviews of the fantastic Brave, which I'm liking more and more every second:
-The Matinee
-Anomalous Material
-The Film Emporium
-Being Norma Jeane
-Surrender to the Void

Final word...
Who's your favourite female character from the movies?

Monday, June 25, 2012

So I Say Thank You for the LAMMYs...

*I don't know why but I've had 'Thank You for the Music' in my head all day. Probably because Shep. Burman is Swedish and obviously when I think of Sweden I think ABBA.


I'm not gonna lie, the last twelve months have been great (if we were only talking in blog terms). Winning Best New LAMB last year, getting a casual call from Paramount Studios, upping the hits, upping the followers, upping commenters, getting nominated for five LAMMYs this year...I don't like to boast or to toot my own horn, but I can't help but be immensely proud of what I've achieved.

Now while this year's LAMMYs have had a few humps and bumps, and I admit I was damn near to quitting the blogosphere when I read some of the things that were typed and published over the past week, they've been pretty good. I say this because it was great to see my fellow LAMBs getting rewarded for their efforts, and also because I snagged a couple myself. The first was a win for Best Rating System, which I am quite grateful for. Of course, you all love Tommy Wiseau and his masterpiece, The Room! A shout out must go to Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob, Go See Talk, French Toast Sunday and the runner up, 3 Guys 1 Movie.

Also, while I may not have won this award, I'm pretty freaking stoked with the result. Now, I was pretty happy just getting nominated for Best Blog. It meant a lot. I didn't have high hopes for much more than that. Then, as I was straightening my hair (a lot of use that did, a mere minute later the rain got to it), I started crying tears of joy in my bathroom. Because I got runner up. For Best Blog. Now, most of you would be casual as about it, but I went into full girl freak out mode. I totally wasn't expecting that much. Unfortunately, I had to run to school during a storm, which caused my phone to stop working because of the supposed water damage, and then I've had to go through this entire day with hailstorms followed by sunshine followed by a huge rainstorm and then another hailstorm. The weather couldn't get me down. I'm on cloud nine. I know that I don't deserve such an honour, but I'm glad that whoever voted for me saw something in this little old blog of mine.

The real congratulations goes to the winner, Man I Love Films, my fellow runner upperer Ryan at The Matinee, and the other nominees: the team at Anomalous Material, Ruth at FlixChatter, Dan at Fogs' Movie Reviews, John at The Droid You're Looking For. All such professional, great bloggers who inspire me, and deserve every inch of praise they get.

Anyway, this is the end of another year of LAMMYs. Here's to another year of hopefully successful blogging from your favourite 16 year old Dannevirkean!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Post #900: Ten Blogging Tips That I Learned Through Blogging

In the space of two and a half years and 900 posts, I've gone from posting one paragraph, poorly punctuated reviews to (not to toot my own horn) being nominated as one of the best movie blogs around at the moment. How did it all happen? I got older. I got smarter. I could write more. Through the years, and all of these posts, I've learned some valuable lessons which I want to share with any budding bloggers. They're what helped me, and maybe, they'll help you too:

1) Keep at the blogging if it makes you happy.

Reading back through my posts, I had been blogging for an entire month and a week before I got my first comment. In retrospect, it doesn't sound like that was a very long wait, but that's a whole month and a week I kept at posting at every opportunity I could. In fact, it was a whole year and a half before I got regular readers. I'm not entirely sure how I did it, but even though my reviews were pretty sucky, I still enjoyed writing about movies when I was given the opportunity to do so, and having people actually reading them was the cherry on top. The best thing about the fact that I kept going was that I got a good idea of how far my writing - and my love for movies - has come in the past few years. It is always great to have a record of something like that, but only if you enjoy making it.

2) Give back to the community that is giving so much to you.

I admit to not being the best at this, but commenting on other sites is key. At first, it starts off as a way of making yourself known in the community. Then once you get the readers, make sure theystay. That means giving them some of your time, as they've already spent the time to give you theirs. Another way of saying "I appreciate what you're doing" is by linking their posts or putting them in your blogroll. Try and be nice and spark up a conversation - unless these guys are 'Anonymous' or purposefully trying to cheese you off. And always reply to your comments. These guys spent the time to read your post, so they'd appreciate a reply to know that you're not completely ignoring them. Even if the response isn't straight away, make sure it's there.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

15 Favourite Redheads From the Movies...

Brave came out this week, and I have to say, Princess Merida's curly red hair was definitely the best thing I've seen in a long time. As most of you know, I'm a huge fan of red hair - in fact I once tried to dye my own hair red but then I realised that it was only ever meant to be boring brown. So why don't we celebrate the coolest red heads in cinema, whether they be actors/actresses or characters. And no, there'll be no Weasley family. They're awesome, but I feel like they're exempt because everyone knows how awesome they are anyway...

15. Victoria 'Vicky' Page from The Red Shoes.

The Red Shoes is based around some, well, shoes that are red. I guess it helps that the main character Vicky, played by Moira Shearer in her debut performance, has hair that practically matches the shoes that end up destroying her life. It also helps that this 1948 classic has one of the best uses of colour that I've ever seen. And no, I don't think that just because of Moira's beautifully fiery hair...or do I?

14. The natural, but part-time ginger McSexyPants - Michael Fassbender and Tom Hiddleston.

These guys were born and bred guys with hair that's red (ha, I should so be a rapper), but you wouldn't exactly think "oh, they're red heads!" That's because their red doesn't go as far as Merida's, yet if you look hard enough, it is there. Even though I hate Hiddles for his perfection and Fassy for his sharky smile, they had to sneak in a mention. Because they're both great advocates for ginger pride.

13. Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic.

From what I hear, Leo-Mania wasn't the only thing that came out of James Cameron's mega-squillions hit Titanic. Kate Winslet, sporting the most luxurious bright red curly hair (in fact, she is pretty much a real life Merida), one over the hearts of many, and sparked a bit of a trend. I mean sure, there was a love affair between the poor Jack and the rich Rose which was doomed thanks to that ship not being 'unsinkable', but I was having a love affair with Rose's hair. Any time Kate wants to go back to red, I'll be happy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Change Your Fate.

Film: Brave
Year: 2012
Director: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell
Written by: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Mark Andrews, Irene Mecchi
Voiced by: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson.
Running time: 100 min.

Whenever I watch an animated film, the little kid always comes out in me. When the Disney introdutction came on, with all the fireworks bursting behind this huge fantastical castle, I saw a kid, maybe five years old, sitting in front of me jumping around in his seat in excitement. While I wasn't exhibiting the excitement in my heart in the same way, I felt exactly like him. And from the first moment I saw Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), the new Pixar heroine from their latest, Brave, with her beautifully curled red hair, I retreated to being the little kid that still lingers within my heart. That little kid that exists beyond the little film snob that I've become. Over the years (and the most recent years at that, since I wasn't a huge movie watcher as a really young child), I've laughed with animated movies, I've cried with animated movies, I've sat with big googly eyes in front of animated movies. Most of which have been Pixar movies. In fact, Toy Story 3 held the record for being the movie that made me cry the most until I saw Requiem for a Dream. Pixar has set the bar consistently high, even garnering themselves a spot in the Best Picture for two years in a row, before caving in with their misfire (but honestly not that terrible) Cars 2. Aiming to salvage the so-called 'mess' it created (OH NO! Pixar made a not so great film! The world ended for about two weeks!), Pixar is back with a new original effort. One that got the little kid inside of me to come out and show itself to the world, regardless of whether this will reserve Pixar a spot with the big-wigs in the Best Picture race next year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dipping My Toes in French New Wave: Vivre Sa Vie and Au Hasard Balthazar

This week brought another Godard film, and a donkey film from Robert Bresson. This month is going faaaaaaaaast, and I'm sad that I only have two spots left to fill. French New Wave makes me happy, which is kinda funny because all of the films have been sad. I'm definitely enjoying this little marathon...

That's two out of two for Godard so far. While I really enjoyed Breathless, Vivre Sa Vie has been the stand out for me. It is told in twelve chapters, as it follows young Nana (Anna Karina) and her descent into prostitution. Breathless was a film that was dripping with style, but Vivre Sa Vie had that one extra factor that made it more interesting to watch. First of all, I loved Anna Karina. She just oozed this air of style from the way her eyelashes batted about and her hair formed that spectacular bob on her head - basically, she was my idea of everything stylish from the 60s. Plus, that dancing scene of hers completely one me over. The story that she performed was devastating, though. Nana was such a sweet, quite naive girl who needed to make ends meet, which unfortunately turned her to doing something that extreme. However, Godard doesn't handle the prostitution as a way of making us feel only pity for Nana. We're drawn into her world, where we find out the ins and outs of the job, and how the people doing it interact with each other. Again, it is the documentary feel that Godard achieved with Breathless, and achieved with this one, too. Instead of making this an overly melodramatic film about a woman's sad descent into something she does out of desperation, it is basically a close up on what can happen to a person. A real person. Not a movie character.

One of the things I loved the most about this film, though, was how philosophical it was. There was one particular chapter towards the end which had Nana talking to an old man at a restaurant. I can't really explain how wonderful this scene is - just the words thrown back and forth are so beautiful, so meaningful, and so interesting. In fact, I really want to get a transcript of this conversation to read every single day for the rest of my life, just to remind me of the little things I always forget. And at least six times a year I want to revisit this film to remind me of everything else that I always forget. It's that amazing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #28

What I'm watching tonight...

Yeah, just One for the Money. Since it is the only thing (besides The Walking Dead season two, which I really need to catch up on) out on DVD this week. It's a good thing that I only have this to watch tonight, since I have to practise my speech (I'm unbelievably stressed about this because besides writing, public speaking is my next best 'thing'), do a whole lot of other English work and finish off the writing for my Drama assessment. So yes, Katherine Heigl will be a welcome break. On the bright side, only a week until I can see Shame!

Video of the week...

I'm just gonna use this to plug all the fantastic videos that are going up for the LAMMYs this year. I'll be announcing Most Prolific - just gotta make sure my video works, first!

A whole lotta people have taken inspiration from me and have listed their own film facts. Here they are:
-Cinematic Corner
-"...let's be splendid about this..."
-Being Norma Jeane
-And So It Begins...
-Southern Vision
-Whoa, This Is Heavy!
-Ramble Film

Andy Buckle has just finished up at the Sydney Film Festival and he has this round-up of his fantastic coverage. Sounds like he had a (tiring) blast!

Mette reviews the brilliant Lost in Translation.

It seems that Anna was floored by the brilliant The Double Life of Veronique.

Reel Insight has a celebratory episode for their second anniversary. Awesome stuff!

Tyler, who was inspired by my sudden personal piece on Saturday night, writes about how he takes comfort in film and finds inspiration.

Diana reviews my beloved Schindler's List, and it seems she loved it *almost* as much as me (that's coz no-one can love it as much as me).

The Void checked out the severely underrated Another Earth.

Final word...
Most underrated film from last year?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lame Trailer Clichés: Dramatic Scenes Involving Glasses

Okay, I don't have glasses, but I've always thought that if you needed glasses it may be better if you keep them on while you look at something amazing. Because then, you know, you may be able to see what is so amazing. But not in movies, no. A sign of something being a deeply dramatic moment is shown by the character taking off their glasses to take off the amazing sight they're about to behold. If my idea of having glasses is right, that sight may be a little blurred. To heighten the drama, these scenes are planted into the trailer, just to make things extra exciting. For example:

We see just how buff little old Steve Rogers has become in Captain America...

Okay, I know they're only sunglasses, but Howard Stark is threatening his eyes with the bright radiance coming off Cap's pecs...

This guy has the right idea, though. He thought he might take off his glasses too, but then he though "nah, I actually wanna see my handiwork". Smart guy...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Underrated Showcase Sunday: Spider

I never realised how great Google was for picking out underrated films. As I went to search up Spider, a 2002 film directed by David Cronenberg and starring Ralph Fiennes, I had to sift through a pile of unrelated stuff before I finally found what I was looking for. Sure, it doesn't help that the much more popular and mainstream Spider-Man was released in 2002 as well. The two films are not to be confused with each other: one is a blockbuster about a guy seeking an outlet through spandex and webs. The other one is a strange independent feature about a man who doesn't know where his brain begins and ends. And no amount of spandex or webs coming out of his hands is ever going to help that.

Ralph Fiennes plays the titular character (also known as Dennis Cleg), who is given a room in a halfway house especially for mentally disturbed people. Here he starts to piece together his memories of his past, which lead to an apparently fateful event which changed his mental stability, and his childhood, forever. Now this kind of story is the benchmark for those Oscar driven films that have people going crazy so at the end of the day, they can get a little golden statue. However, there's something so edgy, yet extremely unsettling about Spider. It doesn't take the outsider's point of view. Cronenberg drives you straight into the mind of Spider. His mind isn't carefully placed out. It is lost, messed up, confused. Spider has a knack for blending fantasy and reality into his possible experiences and memories. This makes for a curious, yet slightly frustrating piece of film that needs a clear head to be able to fully articulate. Looking back on it now, though, it is definitely like anything I've really seen of it's sort. It gives an extremely frightening portrait of a man driven mad by his brain. A lot of that madness comes from the people around him - but I was left with the feeling that his brain was doing the majority of the work.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Do I Blog?

Last night, a small conversation erupted on Twitter about how blogging can get you down sometimes, because the readers just aren't there and you feel like you've been talking to a brick wall. This is something I experienced for a year and a half. I look back on all that time and wonder, why did I keep going? Why did I think things were going to get better? Why didn't I give up? Those are some very good questions, come to think of it.

Part of the reason of why I didn't give up is the fact that I used to be taken over by this idea that my posts were actually worth something. I look back at them now and I honestly have to wonder what the hell I was doing. Of course, I can't go back in time and ask myself why I kept going, but I imagine most of the reason why was because I was writing for the local paper at the time, so I guess I needed a reason to keep writing. When I look back on those days, I also have to wonder how I could just blog 'off the cuff'. I would just post whenever - maybe four times a day, but then I'd leave the blogosphere for five days because I'd have to go back to my mothers where I didn't yet have internet access. Back in those days, I used to have so much time to do things that didn't really matter. Now I don't have any time to do things that matter.

Part of that is to do with the fact that I'm now a year 12 and this is pretty much like year 11 on steroids - the workload has been bumped up to 1000. Rarely is there a night that I don't have something school-like to do.  My weekends are usually filled up with school-work. Between all that, I play sport and I'm in the midst of helping direct a town production. Then I have to watch movies. And of course, that leads to blogging. Now I'd say that I'm pretty prolific, as I post at least six times a week. But I always feel guilty if I don't blog. Because now I have readers, who actually take the time to comment on my little silly thinklings. I actually feel lost without waking up in the morning and not having to check if my post got any comments. However, when I think about it, sometimes I think that blogging is so silly. When people ask me what I'm doing, and I say "blogging", I feel like some stupid teenager who is just spending a casual night on Tumblr. And I always have to wonder about why I have a deep desire to post every single night. I know a whole lot of blogs who manage just fine with sporadic posts. But I can't get that through my head.

Other people I know spend their nights on Facebook, or surfing the net, or watching TV. I barely ever have the time to do that. My night's are meticulously planned. I plan everything around my movies and my blogging, which leaves just enough time to do homework and absolutely no time to do normal things. Mind you, I don't mind that. I like to be busy. I can't remember what it is like to not be busy. In fact, in the holidays you would have to strap me to the couch in order to learn how to relax and actually not do anything for once. When I think of 'normal' people sitting down watching some TV program but not actually getting into it, it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.

All of my other friends who are equally busy are that way because they attend sports and clubs and stuff like that. I'm busy because I sit down on my couch with my laptop and tap furiously at the keyboard. To everyone else, they don't seem equal, but to me, they take the same amount of time and you get the same rewards out of them. I don't mean to toot my own horn (because lord I do hate that), but my blog is rather popular. I think once blogs get popular, the writers tend to take for granted the readers that will come back, and the content kinda dwindles down. Not for me, though. I've worked so hard and for so long in order to get an audience, and once I did, I actually had to make my blog worthy of their attention. That's why I work tirelessly at it. Why I stay up sometimes quite late in order to get a post done, even though I have school the next day. Why I skip sitting down and watching a movie so I can write about another. Why I never really have enough time in a night to do normal things. I'm a perfectionist, so I know that my blog will never ever be  perfect, but I hope that when people come back time and time again they're not just being nice.

Through blogging, I've been opened up to this new, fantastic world where people actually share the same interests as me. Where people are willing to read something I write without being paid for it (poor teachers). Where other people have taught me so much. I feel like I can't ever give back enough because I barely ever have enough time to reply to the emails I receive, reply to the comments on my posts or comment on any other people's posts (although I do read them at breakfast on my iPod). There are two things I love most about blogging: seeing the way my writing and taste has developed and the people who make up the blogosphere. You're seriously all way too brilliant. I remember the days that I used to scour IMDb for hours in order to seek out opinions on a certain movie. Now I just need to turn to the blogosphere. It's a beautiful thing.

Blogging may be stupid to everyone else - and most definitely the time gods - but the way I see it, it is just as important as playing a sport. I enjoy it, I get rewarded. And the fact that you wonderful bloggers would remember a 16 year old girl from a small town in New Zealand for Best Blog at the LAMMYs (I'm actually the only non-American/Canadian based site in the race, I think) is reason enough for me to be proud and keep blogging. As long as I keep enjoying it, I'll keep doing it. And that's a motto that you bloggers that are feeling a little downtrodden need to keep in mind.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dirty, Sexy Politics.

Film: The Ides of March
Year: 2011
Director: George Clooney
Written by: George Clooney, Grant Heslov & Beau Willimon, based on the play 'Farragut North' by Beau Willimon.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle.
Running time: 101 min.

Politics. They're one thing that I should have a strong stance on, but every time I hear about them, my brain switches off. I'm sure they're really interesting and all, but the only thing I think about before my brain switches off is how our government thinks it is okay to take money out of the education system, and they wonder why nothing good ever comes out of this place. It just confuses the crap out of me. One thing that confuses me even more is the way that American politics work. I could not tell you the first thing about American politics. So I guess that makes it seem like The Ides of March, George Clooney's latest directorial effort which is all about a presidential candidate's campaign trail, would not be a very good film for me. Admittedly, a bit of Ryan Gosling eased me into things, but The Ides of March was enough to not only get me a little more interested in the ins and outs of politics (only a little, though), but my eyes were opened to the stuff that may or may not be happening behind these smooth talking hot-shots who claim to have the right stuff for running a country.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dipping My Toes in French New Wave: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Breathless

It has been an interesting week since my first entry, with lots of people answering my call and recommending lots of New Wave flicks. Super happy about it, guys, but the unfortunate thing is that I won't be able to watch everything you recommend by the end of the month. I only have eight spots, and half of them have been filled already! However, I'll continue on this education in the many years of life I still hopefully have to live. Anyway, this week's pickings were the musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless.

I consider myself to be quite the fan of musicals. Sure, 80% of them are really cheesy, but if the cheese is melted you right, I can't think of anything more fun. Then there's the other side to musicals: you know, Les Misberables, The Phantom of the Opera etc. These films bring sadness to songs, making heartache mean something so different. And you know what? I love it just as much as I love to see people dancing around in buses in the middle of the day. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is unlike anything I've seen before, though. This film does not have a spoken word of dialogue: everything is sung. I was very confused as to whether this was a New Wave film, since it didn't really look like any of the other ones, but then I realised that it was quite an experiment. It was very hard to get into the fact that no-one was going to just talk to each other, but once I came around, this more was a brilliant experience. As brilliant as it was, though, it was absolutely devastating.

The basic story is that young Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve, who is like my new favourite actress), who lives with her mother at an umbrella shop, secretly falls in love with Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), which her mother disapproves of. Guy is sent off to war, and when he leaves Geneviève discovers that she is pregnant. While he is gone, the wealthy Roland Cassard (Marc Michel) falls in love with her, and offers to marry her and bring the child up as his own. The film is absolutely heart-breaking. And it is simple heart-break, too, which is made even more heart-breaking by the way song and music is weaved into the plot. In fact, just thinking about it now makes my heart hurt a little. However, while the film is doused in sadness, it is extremely beautiful to look at. The 60's were such a colourful era, and director Jacques Demy uses colour to it's full extent. The art direction is beautifully bright and vibrant - for example, the house that Geneviève and her mother live in is filled with pastel pinks and purples, instead of boring creams like most houses. My eyes had a love affair with this movie. Which makes it the ultimate paradox: even though this movie made me hopelessly sad, I am helplessly in love with it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #27

What I'm watching tonight...

These past two weeks have been filled with movies that I've been wanting to see. I rewatched Moneyball last night (which I loved even more the second time around) and gave 30 Minutes or Less a go. Tonight, I'm watching The Vow and finally The Ides of March. However, next week won't be the same. I literally only have Katherine Heigl's One for the Money to watch. Fun.

Video of the week...

What else do you expect me to put here? The Django Unchained 'teaser' came out last week and it was pretty damn awesome. I wish it had more Leo, though. I piss myself laughing every time I see that zoom in on his face.

Podcast plug...
If you haven't listened to the Demented Podcast's Battle Royale yet, what's wrong with you? It's been weeks in the making (scheduling difficulties), and it was a pretty fun way to end a week filled with exams. And you'll have to see who is victorious out of me, Kai, Rachel, Jandy and Jason.

Andy is currently living it up at this year's Sydney Film Festival. Check out the amazing (and oh so prolific) coverage over at his site.

Wanna get involved in something cool, and consider yourself a bit of a Francophile? Check out Lesya's Paris in Genres, and recommend your favourite Parisian set film!

Mette offers a brilliant list of her favourite coming of age films.

Bonjour Tristesse has a review of one of my most anticipated films of the year, Cosmopolis.

The response to the LAMB's Foreign Chops all about French New Wave was quite impressive, and definitely gave me a lot to build on for the rest of the month.

The Kid in the Front Row has some lovely things to say about blogging. I wish I could better enforce the 'take a break' advice!

Sati has another 'Visual Parallels' post, this time looking at the similarities between Amelie and The Artist.

Taking some inspiration from me, Tyler shares his 50 film facts about himself.

Over at Front Room Cinema Tom looks at the career of the brilliant Richard Linklater. And here I can politely mention that a certain Christian McKay was great in his underrated film Me and Orson Welles.

Final word...
What's the best blogging advice you've received/you can give?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lame Trailer Clichés: Pop Songs for Rom-Coms

One of the things that I dislike most about my job is the sound on the trailer disc. Sometimes, it'll be really quiet. Other times, I'll be half way through serving a customer and then the TV will suddenly burst out with some catchy but totally annoying pop song. More often than not, I'll look up and that annoying pop song will be accompanying a trailer for a rom-com. And then I'll get the song stuck in my head. So I don't know, I guess these trailers are doing their jobs:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reviews Round Up: Albert Nobbs, Our Idiot Brother, Chronicle

Isn't it funny how much changes with the flick of a switch? Last week, I was struggling to find movies to review because a) there weren't that many movies out and b) anything I did see didn't affect me enough to squeeze a review out. This week, I have so many that I have to resort to the good old review round up of everything that came out in the past week on DVD: Albert Nobbs, Our Idiot Brother and Chronicle. Because I feel like my fingers need to hit the keyboard for these films.

Albert Nobbs was a film that I only held interest in seeing because of all the love it got during awards season. In fact, all I knew about it was that Oscar peeps seemed to be obsessed with Glenn Close's performance (at the expense of marvellous performances from the likes of Charlize Theron and Kirsten Dunst), Janet McTeer's performance (a well-deserved nomination), and the fact that these woman dress up as men in order to overcome adversity in 19th century Ireland. Yeah, it's the kind of thing that attracts Oscar like a magnet, but aside from the performances, the film wasn't the hit that everyone thought it was going to be. To be honest, I couldn't see what was wrong with the film. Perhaps it was because I didn't have any prior expectations. It was harmless, quite thought-provoking, and somewhat touching. Okay, it did drag a bit, and I do have to admit to occasionally having to reel my mind back into the movie. To add to that, I felt as if it was needlessly sad - as if the writers kept running into brick walls so they had to kill someone off in order to keep the story going. However, this film had a lot going for it. Of course, the performances were great. I was most impressed by Janet McTeer as Hubert, and the supporting turns from Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson (he's starting to churn out some really impressive stuff) and Brendan Gleeson (with a pretty impressive beard) were all worthy. Albert Nobbs him/herself was an interesting character, too, even if I didn't quite understand why he was so naive considering everything he has been through. Perhaps the reason why I liked this film so much spawned from one particular scene: where Albert and Hubert put on dresses for the first time in ages, and walk along a beach. Albert comes to realise her true nature and runs freely, enjoying this moment. Had this scene been put in a better film, it'd be the kind that film historians would say is one of the best scenes ever. I don't know, maybe it'll grow on people a little more in the future. It has the potential.

What I got:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

100 Film Facts About Me

This list idea is one that I've been toying around with for a long time. You know how there's those trivia pages for people on IMDb? Seriously, I've always wanted one of those. If I ever do become a director, I'm gonna be so freaking excited once I get some trivia up there. In fact, I can imagine that in 38 years, I'll get a trivia page and it will say "When Stevee was 16, she revealed to everyone on her super awesome blog that she wanted a trivia page on IMDb, and that's why she agreed to make Little Mermaid vs. the Two Headed Shark vs. Giant Octopus: Volume 4.7." Anyway, the aim of this game is to share 100 little pieces of trivia, all to do with me and movies. Because, who knows, once Little Mermaid vs. the Two Headed Shark vs. Giant Octopus: Volume 4.7 comes out, one of you will be searching for some crap to stick on my trivia page, right? You can thank me in a few hundred years.

1. The third time I watched The Muppets, with my friends, I literally cried tears of joy. I was so happy I could not contain myself.

2. I have never seen Star Wars. Getting around to it, though.

3. The first film I remember seeing was A Bug's Life. I think. Well, I just say that, because that's what I remember.

4. I know they've only done two scores, but I will forever watch a movie if Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score it.

5. I still listen to The Social Network's score. Like, not a day goes by without listening to at least one song from it.

6. Every time I see the Shame trailer, I want to make a movie. I still haven't seen Shame though.

7. I've been excited for The Dark Knight Rises since July 30th, 2008.

8. I actually saw The Dark Knight 22 months before I saw Batman Begins. I know, that's awful.

9. Quentin Tarantino was my first director obsession. Even though I admit, at age 12, I really didn't get Pulp Fiction.

10. However, I think Baz Luhrmann was my first real director obsession.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Conversation with Safe House

Time for another entry to the LAMMY award nominated 'A Conversation with...' series! I'm sure Christopher would be right proud to have a nomination. I mean, the poor guy has to be a figment of my imagination, talk to some bad movies, and on top of all that be named after a ginger cat that doesn't exist. So do the young man a solid and flick him a vote at the LAMMYs. Because tonight he has to talk to Safe House. A movie which I had to take a nap during, and it was the middle of the freaking day (granted, I am extremely tired).

CHRISTOPHER: Well I'm back again, and this time I get the pleasure of talking to Safe House, Denzel Washington's...whoa whoa WHOA! Put down the gun!
SAFE HOUSE: I will not put the gun down. I know that you're going to betray me. 

C: Well I'm not...I promise.
SH: Promising isn't enough. Any time soon you're gonna pull a gun outta nowhere and shoot me right in the head.

C: I can promise you that I've never owned a gun in my life. Let alone seen one.
SH: You're lying.

C: I am not lying. 
SH: You tell a hundred lies a day, and then you think they sound like the truth.

C: I have not told one lie today.
SH: Yes you have. I overheard you telling Dwayne Johnson that he looked good in a purple tutu. We all know that he only looks good in a pink tutu. That's why I'm holding a gun to your head. 

C: Ummmm...okeydokey, then.
SH: You can't trust anyone. Espeically if you think Dwayne Johnson looks good in a purple tutu.

C: I'm not even going to question that. So that what you're all about?
SH: I guess. And Denzel Washington beating the crap out of people. And pulling guns on people. You know, just the basic action/thriller shit that everyone loves. With a bit of smart political/CIA talk to trick people into thinking I'm really smart.

C: I'm sure you succeeded in many cases.
SH: Well yeah. I mean, having good old Denzel was enough. He would scare people into thinking anything. Except for thinking that Dwayne Johnson looks better in a pink tutu, apparently.

C: For God's sake! Let the tutu thing go!
SH: I will not let it go. I'll get the CIA onto you. Aha, now you think I'm really smart!

C: Yes. If I didn't know any better, I'd think that I was talking to Albert Einstein. Starring alongside Denzel is Ryan Reynolds. Is he the next big action star?
SH: Well Green Lantern was a bit of a fail, wasn't it? That's why Dwayne Johnson don't wear no green tutu, either. I think he's heading for like, the next Matt Damon sort of thing, but he's taking a few unagreenable (ha) choices along the way. Mind you, I wouldn't go past a buddy cop movie starring he and Denzel one day. If Denzel ever stops doing political action/thrillers.

C: He's pretty much made up his own genre of action/thrillers.
SH: One day I'll be part of the special cinematic movement called 'The Denzel Wave'. How you like that, cinephiles?!

C: It'll be like 'The Dwayne Johnson Wave', where he pops up in lots of kids films even though he's not suited to them. 
SH: No. Tutu's don't deserve their special place in cinematic history. Denzel kicking butt deserves a special place in cinematic history.

C: Well...if you say so. 
SH: I do say so.

C: Now can you please move the gun away from my head?
SH: Ae?

C: You're pointing a gun at my forehead still.
SH: Huh? I didn't even notice. BADASSSSSSSSSS!

What I got:

10 Best Directors of All-Time Relay

Nostra has created a directors version of their relay races which has been making it's way around the internet lately. This one is still quite fresh, only starting a couple of days ago. The torch was handed over to me by Surrender to the Void, but here is what Nostra has to say:
So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the ten best directors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one director (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best directors. If you are following the relay race it is also a great way to be introduced to new blogs!

Here's the previous entires:
My Filmviews
Southern Vision
And So It Begins...
Surrender to the Void

Here are the directors:

Ingmar Bergman

Akira Kurosawa
Joel & Ethan Coen
Hayao Miyazaki

Martin Scorsese

Alfred Hitchcock
Krzsysztof Kieslowski
Lars von Trier
Quentin Tarantino
Stanley Kubrick
Who I'm taking out...

Lars von Trier makes me very uncomfortable. I know that's what he aims to, but I just find him a generally repulsive man. I liked Breaking the Waves and Melancholia enough, but Dogville didn't sit well with me at all. It literally gives me a headache just to think about it. So sorry, Steven, but Lars has to go. He's the kind of person I could do without in my life.

Who I'm adding...

Okay, so since Christopher Nolan is my favourite director, it'd be only natural to stick him in. However, apparently it's now not cool at all to like him (wow, things have changed from when I started blogging). So I'll dodge him in order to not become the most hated blogger ever. Steven Spielberg got taken out, and he's my second favourite director, but I'm sure he'll be back so I've decided to bring a new name to the table: Paul Thomas Anderson. Now the guy hasn't made a lot of films, but that's because he takes time to create mega awesomeness. Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood are all extremely awesome - in fact, it's kinda like they're from another planet. There'll never be a moment in my life when I'm not looking forward to his next film.

Anyway, I'll pass on the torch to Defiant Success.


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