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Saturday, 12 June 2010

Surface of the Sun

World Cup Fever! Kick-off was last night and saw Mexico take on South Africa to a 1 - 1 draw. I didn't watch the whole match (my friends and I were playing Poker at the time and one of my friends ended up changing the channel), but was able to catch the replay and thought it was a pretty good game. The first goal from South Africa was spectacular and they would've sealed their victory in the dying minutes of the second half if one of their player's didnt kick the ball into the post of the goals. It was tragic to watch that cause it would've been a great goal. I was pulling for South Africa in that match but it went to a draw, a good one anyway. I don't really have a team to cheer for in the World Cup, though I do recognise that teams such as Portugal, Spain and Brazil have favourable chances at going for the gold. As an Aussie though, I'd cheer for Australia and wish them the best (even though they're up against Germany).
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Oh I was gravely mistaken about the Melbourne International Film Festival's film list being released this week. I was so caught up in the excitement that I didn't read that it said July instead of June. The Chau is very embarrassed. Still, it's only a month away and I've got enough time to wait, I think.


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I... I have to have this. That Blu-Ray above is THE definitive edition of the first of the newly revised versions of this masterpiece in anime. I didn't think it would get Australian liscencing. Anyhow, "Neon Genesis Evangelion" was the first "serious" anime that I was exposed to and it's one that really holds a special place in my little world. Anyways, I already have a copy of "Evangelion 1.0" on DVD, but this is "1.11", the only difference being the picture and audio are much crisper, therefore much better; there are a few more minutes of previously unseen footage added; some extra features and a nice 20-page booklet. I'm a collector and for this, I have to double-dip. I haven't even opened the original DVD that I bought and it's still sealed in it's plastic casing so I have no idea what the DVD looks like inside. I'm willing to sell it and use the money for the new version.


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So I said I'd upload the video from my friend's short film that I volunteered to be a part of and there it is above. I like the idea and I like how the film turned out. Of course, my amazing acting skills are what make this video all the more greater, hohoho. If you wanna watch it, let the video load first and then skip to 1:28. I chose Vimeo cause I liked the layout of the embedded video moreso than that of YouTube.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

Not included in this week's watch list was "Moon". I know I said I'd watch it last week but considering that I'd already seen it, I didn't think it was necessary to write about it twice. I did see it again during the week though as I said, I didn't feel it was required of me to write twice about it in such a small amount of time. Anyways, below are this week's viewings.

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I watched "Ellie Parker" late Tuesday night and it's not that great of a film. I don't see myself watching it again any time soon, although, Naomi Watts is really what makes the film bearable and very watchable. If it were anyone else I don't think I could even bother watching it. The movie revolves around the titular character, Ellie Parker, as she goes from audition to audition trying to land roles to make it in the weird bubble of Hollywood. The film takes a light jab at Hollywood and aspiring actors trying to make it big in LA and shows how hectic this lifestyle can be. I like the fact that it was filmed entirely on a handheld digital camera because it gave the film an almost mockumentary kind of feel (in some ways, Ellie could be the fictionalised version of Watts, except I always imagined Naomi Watts to be a little bit more classier and elegant than Ellie). However technical praise aside, it doesn't excuse the fact that film pretty much had an incredibly dull plot with random things happening here and there. I think it should be noted, however, that the film originally started out as a short film between Watts and screenwriter Scott Coffey on the set of, "Mullholland Drive" and through their friendship, expanded to something that was shot over the course of four years. So it's obvious that things are just filled in here and there. As I said earlier, Naomi Watts makes this film watchable as her performance as Ellie is quite memorable and is very fun to watch (it's a character that's very unlike the roles she's usually seen playing). This next point shouldn't be taken as bias for the film, but I do put Naomi Watts in high regard because she's one of Australia's finest exports and is, in my opinion, one of the best actresses working today. Fans of Watts should check this out, but it's not a recommendation from me to anyone else. I've wanted to check out some other films in her filmography and have acquired, "Mullholland Drive", "Funny Games U.S" and "The Painted Veil" to watch whenever I have the time. I'm expecting big things from "Mullholland Drive" because it's her breakout performance that got people raving about her but I don't know if it's going to convince me to change my opinion about her amazing performance in "21 Grams". *end Naomi Watts praise*



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"Mean Streets" was the breakout feature film for Martin Scorsese and cemented him as a filmmaker. It's not quite "Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull" or "Goodfellas" but it's still an important film in the Martin Scorsese filmography. The reason behind the film's importance is because it gives you the early indications of what later would become trademarks and staples of an important and truly magnificent director. The film is heavily embedded in Catholicism and it's evident with Harvey Keitel's character. The film isn't as powerful or memorable as the aforementioned films but it does contain a few noteworthy scenes such as the opening credits (they're accompined by The Ronettes' "Be My Baby"), Johnny Boy's introduction (played by a young Robert De Niro and set to The Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash") and the "What's a mook?" scene. The performances of Keitel and De Niro are equally impressive and very good. I liked it, like most of the films I've seen from Martin Scorsese.


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"Event Horizon" could have been a staple in sci-fi horror. It had the makings of a potentially good and memorable movie. However, I do believe that the film's falling was it's very script. I actually think the director, Paul W.S Anderson, did an okay job setting up potential danger for the crew. This comes as a surprise as Anderson is usually a crappy director (he's done "Resident Evil", "Mortal Kombat" and "Alien Vs Predator"). The script made the characters far too one-dimensional and they never really changed or progressed. I have nothing against Laurence Fishburne, but I think he plays the same person in almost every movie. I could've sworn he was going to tell someone to choose the red or blue pill at some point. Anyways, the film's okay, not enough to warrant a second or third watch and is passable enough for a recommendation. Also, if there's one thing, other than the script, that I absolutely disliked, it was the incorporation of random techno music in the opening and closing credits. Why? It just doesn't fit anywhere into the context of the film. So why?



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I wanted to like "Pandorum" but it really disappointed me. It's worse than "Event Horizon" in that I didn't care for any of the characters in the film and that the "creatures" that were on the space ship with them seemed hardly a threat at all. There wasn't ever a real sense of emergency or danger for the people in the film and when it came time for the movie's twist, it wasn't really executed that greatly and felt flat. Simply put, I didn't care for anything that happened. Like "Event Horizon" it had the makings of something uniquely spectacular to the genre of sci-fi/horror, but it falls flat and is poorly executed. Gravely disappointed.


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After seeing those aforementioned two films, I was hoping Stanley Kubrick's critically acclaimed masterpiece, "2001: A Space Odyssey" would lift my hopes up for science fiction films. And it did. The only criticism I'd give the film is the fact that there were WAY too many scenes that could've been chopped and left on the cutting room floor. Honestly, certain scenes seemed to have gone on forever and didn't require the length of time they were given. However, having said that, I think it's a great film - one that probably only gets better the more you watch it. I didn't like it as much as I thought I might've, but I still appreciated it and thought it was good. The set designs and cinematography of the film are absolutely spectacular and the special effects are brilliant and still hold up very well to today's effects (considering the advancement in technology in the last few decades). I'm still quite confused about the film as a whole as I was given the impression that this was a film that was heavily embedded in philosophical debate but that's only a personal thing as I'm sure it may be different from person to person. That remark wasn't meant to be taken as a critique on this otherwise wonderful looking film. Nonetheless, cinephiles owe it to themselves to see this film if they already haven't.


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I remember seeing Danny Boyle's "Sunshine" some few years ago (when my taste in films was only starting to mature and become much more acquired) and thought it was a pretty exceptional movie. Even now as I watch it, it's still an exceptional movie - one that not many people have seen. It's highly underrated in my opinion but it's a really well made and brilliant film. The film is set approximately 50 years into the future where the sun is dying and Earth is on the brink of a permanent winter. Out of desperation, seven astronauts are sent into space to deliver a bomb into the sun - thus, reigniting the dying sun and creating normality back on Earth. As I was watching it, the mysticism of space and the sun felt so awe-inspiring, much like in "2001". Another awe-inspiring element of "2001" that transferred over to "Sunshine" were the set designs and magnificent cinematography. I think with effective and well-made science fiction films, you'd have to have good lighting and camerawork. Finally, the acting among the cast members is very good as everyone works off one another really well. It's an ensemble cast but the names aren't too big or too recognised which is good cause you're not really focusing your attention and one but all (as this mission is a group effort). The one thing that I didn't like this time around watching was how random the third part of the film felt, in that it descended quickly into mediocrity by eliminating what mde the first two thirds of the film wonderful. It slowly turns into a typical slasher film (think "Friday the 13th" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street") which feels a little out of place. I can see what writer Alex Garland was trying to do and the third part has its moments sometimes but it just doesn't feel right. Nonetheless, Boyle's "Sunshine" is a magnificent film, in my opinion, and one that I'd fully recommend.

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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

This week was a pretty slow news week for film but this video came from out of no where, surprised everyone and got a LOT of people talking and speculating. A video was posted anonymously on YouTube by username "MortalKombatRebirth" and featured an incredibly polished looking seven minute short film/preview/trailer for a potentially new "Mortal Kombat" film. People speculated it could be a live-action teaser for an upcoming MK game (with E3 - the world's largest gaming convention - being around the corner, it wouldn't be a surprise) or a trailer for an upcoming film. You can see the video below for yourself but basically what you need to know, now that the facts have come out, is that the video was directed by Kevin Tancharoen ("Fame") and that he used $7,500 to make that short and convince Warner Bros (who own the rights to the "Mortal Kombat" series) to give him funding for a new dark and gritty reboot of "Mortal Kombat". If the short video he directed was of any indication, it proves that the man knows which direction to take the series and how to approach it. I think that by posting this video virally, Tanchareon will get a lot of support from fans and people who genuinely thought this would make for a badass movie. If enough interest in the fanbase and other people is generated, Tanchareon should get the funding he needs from WB and convince the studio that he's the right one for the job. The casting choices for the video were pretty awesome, especially Michael Jai White as Jax (before he gets his robotoic arms).



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How the hell does Entertainment Tonight do it? I don't even consider them a real television show because they report about things that don't matter half the time. In fact, their "journalists" ask really stupid questions too. So someone explain how ET are able to get exclusive invites to the sets of some of the biggest movies like the upcoming "Thor" movie! They recently had a set visit and, while it doesn't actually contain official footage of any kind, it does show a few things here and there (you'll see in the video). Also, just listen to the interviewer's questions. They're so stupid. The plus side to this video, other than seeing the film-making process behind "Thor" is watching Natalie Portman be awesomely cute. I'd embed the video, but it auto-starts so just go over to /Film to see it.

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I wouldn't really write anything about this, but because it's semi-Seyfried related, I feel obligated to say something. "Mean Girls 2" has been greenlit and the plot details and director have been revealed. The story has nothing to do with the first "Mean Girls", isn't written by the insanely epic Tina Fey and doesn't have the same stars as the first one. It pretty much has all the makings of a straight to DVD film (much like all those "Bring it On" movies I keep seeing at JB Hi-Fi). Tina Fey's writing was what made "Mean Girls" absolutely hilarious and insanely quotable. Oh well. I thought I'd just write something about it for a bit. For the full story, head on over the /Film for more details.

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Yeah this week was pretty slow for film news. There were a few other small bits of news that I thought could've made it's way on this blog but I just picked out a small handful that were "good" enough to be put here for readers.
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Anyways, that concludes this week's post. To finish off, here's a video of a "Toy Story 3"/Google commercial. I thought it was pretty good, how it used certain quotes here and there from "Toy Story 3" and placed them into the commercial. As previously mentioned in countless other posts, I cannot wait for this movie and am willing to kick a kid out of line so I can get a seat first.


End post.

1 comment:

  1. Australia was so owned by Germany ):
    LOL nice acting skills :D
    Toy Story 3 (Y) Can't wait :D

    ReplyDelete