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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Put It In My Video


Another average week (surprise, surprise) so really not much to talk about from my own personal life (not that there ever is anyway). Only thing worth mentioning is that I start my second year of university studies this Monday (genuinely excited to go back, really) and that I picked my tutorial times for each class. Ideal timetable is rather ideal with days off on Tuesday and Friday.


Anyways, we begin this week with some admiration. A moment, if you will, to admire the existence of Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of famous twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley. Olsen impressed audiences and pundits at this year's Sundance Film Festival with two films and emerged from Sundance as an actress to look out for in the future. She was recently cast in "Red Lights" a feature that will be written and directed by "Buried" helmer, Rodrigo Cortes and will see her star alongside Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro. In my opinion, Lizzie (as she's known to her friends and family), is much more attractive than her famous twin sisters and may even have more acting talent than them (at least from what I'm hearing from people around the Internet). Needless to say, I've clearly become quite smitten. Ain't she just pretty?


Mortal Kombat logo

In gaming news, the latest "Mortal Kombat" has been refused classification from Australia.... WHAT?!?!?! Okay, so for years they've had "Mortal Kombat" games building up in Australia and keep in mind that this is a game that has a fairly loyal fanbase. I don't make up that loyal fanbase (don't get me wrong, I like the games but never followed them) but as a consumer who was looking forward to purchasing it, it saddens me that Australia STILL does not have an R18+ rating for video games. Why does the government keep pushing this issue under the rug? Ugh. Guess I'll just have to import it now which consequently means that Australian retailers will be suffering from this the increasing trends of importing video games. Maybe if the gamers out there import enough to make government realise that jobs and money are at stake, they'd be forced to reconsider for a new classification? One can hope.


Last week was intended to be a week dedicated to actress Faye Dunaway but I got sidetracked with a particular game so I moved that to this week instead. Below are three select films from Ms Dunaway's filmography as well as one other film that Dunaway was not a part of (it was just something I wanted to watch). I feel so blessed to have seen these fantastic films though as three of the four have become new favourites (although I'm thinking one of them might not be unless I watch it again).


Nominated for 10 Academy Awards and winning 2 (for Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography), "Bonnie and Clyde" is a classic that attempts to bring to the screen, the true story of two lovers who became infamous for their murders and bank robberies. The film starts off interestingly enough with cuts of both Bonnie and Clyde as children with photographs of their upbringing cut into the opening credits sequence. It's a smart technique to already lay the foundations for these characters without having to build upon so much exposition about who they are and where they came from. After all, the film should just be about these two people's exploits as criminals and lovers and that's what we get. Once that opening credit finishes, the first actual scene is of our titular characters' meeting for the first time. Faye Dunaway marvels as the desirable Bonnie Parker while Warren Beatty plays it cool as the man that seduces Bonnie into a life of crime, Clyde Barrow. Dunaway and Beatty are fantastic together and really share some genuine moments of love and passion throughout most of the film. Early on it's hard to take their romance seriously as it is written in a strange way but it isn't until later in the film where you feel genuine emotion towards them. Bonnie and Clyde didn't just rob banks alone and had the help of Barrow's brother (a young Gene Hackman) and a mechanic they picked up along the way. It's a daring film for it's time and even today may even shock people with it's violence. "Bonnie and Clyde" isn't afraid to show violence for what it really is and never justifies it either. And while the music might feel outrageously inappropriate for a film like this, "Bonnie and Clyde" is a film that really pushed the boundaries of violence and as such, it's easy to say why a film like this is so important in American cinema.


Often hailed as one of the greatest films ever created, Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" is a film that captures the period in which the film takes place so perfectly with it's combination of music, mise-en-scene and genre. It's a noir tale that sees private investigator, Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), investigate one of his standard cases of adultery but through a series of events, becomes embroiled in murder mystery that revolves around Los Angeles' water supply. I've often said that detective movies/police procedurals are personal favourites of mine as I am someone who likes to try and figure out who committed the crime. It's part of the fun of this genre. What can be said about this film that hasn't already been said though? Everything you want out of a perfect film is right here - fantastic script, direction, acting, music and story. I've grown up used to seeing the sleazy Nicholson that most people see in Nicholson today so to see him playing a hard-nosed detective playing it cool with Faye Dunaway's, Evelyn Mulwray, while trying to stay out of trouble with the cops. Dunaway evenly balances sex appeal while adding a bit of suspicion and distress to what could have been the standard "grieving widow" character that makes the audience never rule her out as a viable suspect in the murder of her husband. I really can't say anything else more about how spectacular this film was. It's a film that could have easily been made during the 40's and 50's as the film does such an outstanding job in transporting the viewer back to this alluring era of Hollywood filmmaking. An incredibly outstanding film with an unpredictable ending that I did not see coming at all. One of the best and definitely a new favourite of mine.


Network-poster.jpg Network-poster

"Network" was released in 1976 and wa s met with much critical praise and it's not hard to see why. Despite protests of it being heavily dialogue driven with very little action (if any), what can one expect when they consciously decide to watch a film about network executives exploiting their news anchor's mental breakdown in order to gain ratings? What we have with "Network" is a fantastic film that's amazingly well written and superbly acted by all those involved. If I were to make a modern day comparison, it's almost like a mix between "The Social Network" (not just by name of course) and "The Truman Show". I can't stress enough how great all the actors are here and how wonderful they are to watch in this film. Peter Finch especially deserved his posthumous Oscar that year as the deranged news anchor, Howard Beale. His performance is captivating. William Holden, who plays the head of the news division at the fictional UBS television network and best friend to Beale, provides a very subtle supporting performance that allows for actors around him to bounce back with more intensity. Faye Dunaway is electric as the career-obssessed television executive who fails at human contact and gets off on shares and ratings while Beatrice Straight who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, was only in the film for no more than ten minutes, really made her screen presence felt and was rightfully awarded so. Seriously, I can't get enough of how damn good this film is and how much it's relevant even for today as the film says a lot about the standards of television programming today (what with the excessive amounts of reality television shows that play upon the emotions of real people). It's tough for a film like this to be completely talkative without ever feeling to drab and dull but, similar to this year's Oscar running film, "The Social Network", it just goes to show you that with an amazing script and fantastic direction (Sidney Lumet's direction is flawless), any kind of movie is possible. One of the best movies I've personally had the pleasure of seeing. Maybe a new favourite? We'll see.


After watching "Chinatown", I was really in the mood for more hard-boiled detective stories. I gave a quick look at the similar films section under "Chinatown" and one of the films that was listed was Curtis Hanson's 1997 film, "L.A. Confidential". It's a film that I had been meaning to see a long time and was one that I had been somewhat exposed to in the past. My dad owned a copy of the film when I was younger but we don't have it anymore (I'm guessing he lent it to a friend who never returned it - seems to be an issue amongst the males in my family). Anecdote aside, "L.A. Confidential" just might be one of those really underrated films that should have gotten a chance the first time. I'm not sure if this is true but apparently it underperformed at the box office which is baffling as the film really is something that much of the general public could get a kick out of. However, the film's (purported) struggling performance may be attributed to the mammoth success of James Cameron's "Titanic" which not only released that year but swept the Academy Awards. I'm with the crowd that don't particularly agree with "Titanic's" win and believe it should have gone to this film. Set in Los Angeles during the 1950's, the film revolves around a shooting at a cafe where three detectives set about to investigate the massacre through their own methods. "L.A. Confidential" is a powerful film and is a modern day noir-like story of cops and robbers with actors that are really on the top of their game here. The film starts out with the introductions to each of the three detectives that the film follows and captures is quick to capture their personalities and agendas and once our leading men have been established, the story kicks in and really escalates. Russell Crowe is incredibly intimidating as Bud White, a detective that can't stand men who beat on women. Guy Pearce puts in a subtly nuanced performance as the political detective living up to his father's reputation, Ed Exley and Kevin Spacey is fun to watch as narcotics detective, Jack Vincennes, who spends his time as a consultant on a popular police television serial. Supporting performances from Danny DeVito, James Cromwell and Kim Basinger elevate the quality of the film much more and give it extra personality. Cromwell especially impressed me as I never really saw him as an intimidating person until his turn as police captain, Dudley Smith. The film never feels too long and does a great job of keeping you interested and engaged with the characters and story. A finely crafted film, a masterpiece even. You'd be doing yourself a disservice to miss this. Goes without saying that this is a new favourite.



Three trailers for you guys to enjoy. The first is the teaser to "The Hangover: Part II". Confession: I haven't seen "The Hangover" yet. So I'll probably try to do that before the film comes out (I already have a copy of it, I just haven't gotten around to it). I haven't seen the trailer yet so yeah.


The second is the third trailer for Zack Snyder's upcoming CGI-fest, "Sucker Punch". Despite what many people think about Snyder, I think he's a pretty cool dude whose films have always been either a) visually spectacular or b) entertaining as hell. Sure, some of his films don't have all that much substance to it but the man knows how to play on audience expectations of genre. Nice to see one of my favourite bands, Silversun Pickups, getting a lot of love in this trailer.


And now the third trailer is the international trailer for Tran Anh Hung's adaptation of Haruki Murakami's popular novel, "Norwegian Wood". The film releases on March 11 in the Uk with no word on a US or Australian release so far.

Coincidentally this just so happens to be my new wallpaper. C:

Here's your first look at a new "Toy Story" short dubbed "Hawaiian Vacation" that will be attached to "Cars 2" later this year. So I'm guessing the only reason to see "Cars 2" now is to see this short, huh?


I think that should be enough for this week. I wrote too much in the "What I've Been Watching" section that I gave up on the "Tidbits of Film News" section. Then again, it is just tidbits so I didn't have to post a lot, I guess. Maybe I'm just getting lazier?

Anyways, that's all this week. Nothing to take the blog post out this week so we'll just leave it there. AS OF THIS POST, THE ACADEMY AWARDS AND UNI WILL BEGIN IN TWO DAYS!
End post.

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth Olsen is really pretty~ I was surprised to find out that the Olsen twins have a younger sister. I hope The Hangover part II is as good as the first!
    I'm glad they have another screening of the Oscars at night. Hyped?