Tag: Movie

Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard

I have to admit that despite being both a Melbournite and a massive fan of Nick Cave and his consortium of fellow artists I knew next to nothing about Rowland S. Howard going into this documentary. It’s unfortunate then that the film is so abstract in its depiction of the man, because that approach means that I still know almost as little now after it that I did then. It is fitting in a way though that his film should have so little to say about the man, because he was himself a man of not many words, so it only seems fitting that I also keep this review brief.

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Albert Nobbs

I usually prefer using smaller pictures in the prefaces of my posts but in this particular instance I simply could not go past that poster. It is just beautifully realized, every element sings: the simplicity, the imagery, the typography and most of all the subtle duality. Upon first glance the film that the poster is selling should also be a beautifully realised production, every element is one to which we usually sing praises: It is an accurately depicted period piece with an amazing cast, some stunning sets, set-dressings and dresses and most importantly an intriguing and somewhat original premise. Though where I could not help but to display the poster, I can’t truthfully recommend this film anywhere near as thoroughly; because in the end a movies quality comes down to the words driving the pictures, and in this case a seemingly scattered-together script prevented any of those fine elements from coming to fruition. That though is not all there is too it, something at the heart of Albert Nobbs sits wrong, something that is not at all as simple to explain.

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The Adventures of Tintin

Though James Cameron has proclaimed it of himself based on the success of his few movies, I would argue that Steven Spielberg is the real ‘King of the World’; at the very least he is the king of this year’s Boxing Day with the dropping of two simultaneous releases, one that sits quite clearly within the modern Spielberg mould of war and melodrama and one that stands as a subsequent departure from all of the man’s many other movies. The later is The Adventures of Tintin, an adaptation of the cult-classic – and I mean classic – comics from Belgian artist Herge, and although a quick look at the trailer may suggest that they make for a film that well suits Spielberg’s style, containing as they do Indiana Jones-esque adventure, it would also reveal what it is that makes this such a distinctive entry in his oeuvre, the look.

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Carnage

Roman Polanski is not a happy man, nor is he a man who makes happy movies and yet, now, at arguably the darkest moment in his career -locked away from the world and cast out from the artistic community that once loved him – he has made his funniest film yet in Carnage. The premise is very simple, two happy couples walk into an inner-city apartment to diplomatically discuss a violent incident involving their young sons; then, a few hours and many vials of vitriol later four dark and disillusioned individuals exit through that same door to a now uncertain future. So funny then is a relative term as Carnage is arguably Roman’s roughest and most inhospitable of movies, which is saying something given that his oeuvre is mostly made up of movies about nazi’s, madmen and nefarious spirits.

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Mission:Impossible – Ghost Protocol

In this day and age of endless secret agents, dapper and dangerous alike, one wonders if there is still a place for Ethan Hunt; the man whose impossible missions inspired the films title. Bourne has brutal and realistic in the bag and while Bond was once different he now follows in that forgetful man’s footsteps, merging the grit he kicks up with an operatic (read: Arthouse) sense of beauty and sensibility. How then can the oldest of the bunch   Bond is after all only two films old – remain relevant to us? By acting childish of course, and who better to teach him how than PIXAR’s Brad Bird?

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50/50

 

Just a few years ago the very concept of this picture would have seemed a little controversial: It’s a comedy, but it’s about cancer? Certainly the topic was not completely taboo for stand-up’s (but then what is?), nor were there no great picture made about it, it’s just that the two so rarely, if ever, came together. Nowadays though a film like 50/50 doesn’t come as a shock to the senses, in fact there is almost nothing risqué or bile-rising about it; thanks in part to a crop of contemporaries (like say, The Big C) who have by now both hit the vein and started prospering from the mining boom that followed and the film’s own original sense of laid-back lackadaisicality.

The premise itself is pretty simple: A young public radio writer’s life (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is struck on a sudden by cancer and we watch to see how he and those in his life cope with it from first diagnosis, through chemical treatment and into invasive surgery; some sadly falter and fade away as things get tough while others rise up and reveal the extent of their love for him. All of this while maintaining a joke per minute ratio that would rival your average Vegas-set sex-romp. As I said, it’s a simple premise to be sure but it’s also a superbly executed and startlingly original one.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love

Steve Carell is a big boy now, he’s an adult. He no longer plays small minded characters in Will Ferrel comedies or minds the main managerial position on the small screen. Though to be honest things haven’t been going all that well for him since he started that transition; his comedies, though not without potential (I mean, Tina Fey y’all), have been too shallow and his forays into drama  too sallow, but that’s not to say that he made the wrong decision, no not at all. Enter Crazy, Stupid, Love. On the surface it seems like just another Romantic-Comedy, the kind of thing we’ve all seen (but never admit we’ve seen) before (right guys?) but it’s in this film’s interesting approach to the hyphen that Carell has finally found a role to justify his pre-awarded progression.

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Patton Oswalt’s Finest Hour

Patton Oswalt is a comedian, a bloody good comedian in fact and his particular style of comedy is what’s referred to in the industry as ‘reference humour’, wherin the jokes are based around the perverted regurgitation of familiar cultural terms, artifacts and experiences: the old delivered in a new light, it feels shocking and yet still inherently true. Given that we all currently live at a time in which the geek has inherited the earth this certain sense of humour is at both its most prevalent and its most potent levels and yet, and yet this is quite conclusively not Patton Oswalt’s most successful show, despite what the referential moniker would have you believe (an hour, is of course the industry term for a Comedian’s set).

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Wisdom

This is the first draft of a short film script that i’m currently working on; it’s based on a short story from Ethan Coen’s collection Gates of Eden. Enjoy, and feel free to comment as whether or not you do.

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Trailer Trash – Carnage

I think in this case the title says it all. Originally I was disappointed that the studio had seemingly shortened it from the original, rather epic sounding ‘Gods of Carnage‘ but now that I’ve seen it in action I can appreciate this new, truncated version a little more; there’s nothing high and mighty about this movie or it’s characters, it’s just mess, human mess and gloriously so.

Locked room drama’s can become stale without the requisite amount of drama, but I can’t see that being a problem here: Polanski’s direction is set to be stunning (even if he edited from a prison cell), the script seems solid (based on its theatrical runs) and the cast, fwoah what a cast; mark my words, there will be Oscars. It’s not exactly going to be an enoyable night out at the cinema but it should be a great one nonetheless.

Within the same year of her passing Elizabeth Taylor’s opus of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf may too be bested and removed from it’s throne. Let’s hope.

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