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Monday, 25 April 2011

Everything In It's Right Place

Hi everyone.

Apologies for the delayed post. My post is delayed because I've been busy all weekend trying to get work done on Saturday and helping a friend out with her video shoot yesterday (the latter of which caused me to physically drain my body and made me so sore for the rest of Sunday evening.... even right now). So I guess this is the part where I tell you what I got up to this week but most of my week was pretty boring. This week I:

- I saw "Limitless" with Tran down at Jam Factory. After the film we hung out at The Coffee Club and had some epic cake. Why wouldn't you?

- My script was finally workshopped this week! I personally am not all that happy with the few pages that I wrote but it seemed to go over with my class and teacher pretty well so that's made me feel a little better. Too bad the storyline is absolute shit (they'll be rolling their eyes with that one).

- A friend of mine, Camille, asked me to be her leading man in a film shoot that she's doing for Uni. She might have been a little too prepared for her short as I was able to read through my lines exactly the way she wanted it. It was then that we just sat at the Max Brenners at QV for the longest of time talking about quite an array of topics. Fun, fun, fun.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

I've been getting so lazy that with these reviews as you may tell. I'll get back to writing them in regular form sooner or later.

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- Surprisingly decent, a lot better than you'd think.
- Bradley Cooper deserves more credit as an actor, I reckon. He seems like a really likable dude whose charisma really radiates off the screen. Has great screen presence.
- Robert De Niro did not look like he wanted to be there and looked annoyed the whole way through. Probably accepted only for paycheck.
- Intriguing enough story that keeps you interested throughout the film, never feels like there's a dull moment and is always exciting.



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- Enjoyable popcorn movie but probably not as fantastic as a lot of people may have been hoping for it to be. Was underwhelmed by the film.
- Didn't mind Chris Hemsworth as Thor, to be honest. Natalie Portman was uninteresting in the film. You'd think Anthony Hopkins wouldn't give his talent away for a comic book movie but he is surprisingly keeping in really good form with his role as Thor's father, Odin. Tom Hiddleston was great as Loki - hoping Marvel make good by keeping him around as the primary antagonist for "The Avengers".
- A lot of the really old camera angles felt quite jarring at times. Gave the film a unique look but at the same time really became quite bothersome.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

I think it's quite obvious that I've started to get lazy with this section. So I'll just post one piece of news that really grabbed my attention this week.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt's and Marion Cotillard's roles were revealed this week by Warner Bros who issued a press release stating that Gordon-Levitt will be playing a beat cop named John Blake and that Cotillard would be Miranda Tate, a board member of Wayne enterprises. So either these rather standard and admittedly boring roles are the ones they've been assigned to OR they're just a cover for what their real roles entail. I could be wrong with that last one but one can hope right? Liam Neeson was Henri Ducard and we all saw how that one turned out...

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I'm gonna try and have myself an Alfred Hitchcock week this week because if I hear another person say to me, "You haven't seen any of Hitchcock's films yet?!?!", I'm going to trap myself in a glass case of emotion. So yes, I will be watching three of his most iconic films, "Psycho", "Vertigo" and "Rear Window" this week and will possibly even watch "North by Northwest" and "Notorious". We'll see how I go but I just want to see the essentials first so that I can actually partake in discussions of Hitchcock's works and cross him off the list of "directors I have to catch up with".

So that's it this week. Nothing to end it off with so I'll just leave that there.

End post.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sky Might Fall

AND HELLO TO YOU TOO!

Short dot pointed post today because I'm lazy and I've gotta finish the rest of this essay.



  • One of my media teachers was kind of enough to upload my class' video up onto YouTube. Unfortunately, I can't embed it for some reason so if you're interested to see what I did, HERE IS THE LINK TO WATCH IT. It's not that great of a video but as I've said before, I'm quite proud of it.
  • Oh that reminds me, I've gotta put in some blog posts over on this website I'm using for uni as part of assessment. I'll do that next time.
  • My screenwriting teacher told the class that he didn't think "Shaun of the Dead" was funny. Not cool. That night I got home and watched "Shaun of the Dead" again just to prove him wrong.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

...Not much. I kinda took the time to re-watch "Lost in Translation", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "The Wrestler" because they're awesome films (obviously) and are among my favourites (probably somewhere in the top ten... probably).

However I did watch:

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Now I'm not gonna critique the film because it's sometimes hard to critique a comedy film (at least based on story and such). And I wasn't in the mood to fully review one so I'll just say that it's got an ample of amount of very nice, genuine laughs. Sci-fi nerds should be able to spot a few gems of nerd humour that should make them appreciate the film a lot more. And Seth Rogen voicing the titular alien is a brilliant casting move.


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I can't be bothered with film news this week. Not much that I can recall from that anyway. So to end this week, here's a video of a little girl who willingly joins the Dark Side of the Force.



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Sunday, 10 April 2011

Youth Knows No Pain

OH HAI READERS,

Okay wow, I can't remember much of what I did this week. It's probably cause I didn't get up too much. Yeah that seems most likely. This week I:
  • Finished editing my video for one of my media classes. Quite proud of it even though I didn't really incorporate the interview/voice-over that I wanted. Will upload once I get the video back.
  • Watched "Never Let Me Go" with Tran on Tuesday at the Nova - thoughts on that film below of course.
  • Bought "Wall-E" on Blu-ray and it's so goddamn beautiful. Gonna buy "Up" next on Blu-ray.
  • Resumed my weekly Friday movie consumption at the cinema with two of my friends. Thoughts on "Sucker Punch" below.
  • Downloaded "Wrestlemania 27" and thought the entire show was really medicore. WWE used to be cool (If you hadn't guessed by now, I used to be a professional wrestling fanboy).
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I really wanted to hit up Supernova and see/meet Simon Pegg and Nick Frost today but homework beckoned. Ugh. Could've potentially seen Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter) as well. Melbourne looks like they have the best group this year (it's often Sydney that get the best people) so go us.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

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This week I decided to go through select films from Tony Leung Chiu-Wai's filmography that I hadn't seen before. This man is one of my all-time favourite actors and brings so much energy and charisma to a lot of his films. So here are my thoughts on some of his films that I saw.

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As some of you may know, I've been quietly anticpating the screen adaptation of Haruki Murakami's novel, "Norwegian Wood" (which I hope runs at this year's Melbourne International Film Festival). That film had French-Vietnamese director Anh Tran Hung working on it. Since then I've been curious about some of this reknowned director's little arthouse films. I was disappointed by "I Come With The Rain" and took my time trying to find his other works to watch. I finally was able to get, what some may refer to as "The Vietnam Trilogy", and began watching "Xich lo (Cyclo)" this past week. The film follows three people: a young man who descends into criminality, his sister and his sister's on-again-off-again lover (also a fellow criminal). At times a bit of an odd ball film but it's one that's mostly bound together by great characters and beautiful cinematography. Tran's camera movements come off as being quite expressionist at times which heighten the atmosphere of the film as it is quite a raw and visceral experience. I dare say that it's a true-to-life potrayal of the mean streets of Saigon and one that paints the modern-day struggles of the average Vietnamese person in a very honest yet brutal light. Very gritty. Tony Leung Chiu-Wai's character, The Poet (the characters don't have names), is played out with what appears to be a level-headed coolness interspersed a quiet desperation. It's quite an understated performance from Leung that might actually be one of his best, I think. Very rarely does he need to talk (then again, Leung's character here is Vietnamese and Leung doesn't speak a lick of it) and a lot of what he wants to say or needs to say is communicated through his eyes. This idea of acting with one's eyes is made emphatic during a pivotal scene in which The Poet leaves a club to Radiohead's "Creep". Quite powerful. I'd say give it a try if you're wanting to step out of your comfort zone in films. May even be rewarding.



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This next film comes from director Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). "Lust, Caution" tells the story of a woman who becomes embroiled in an espionage plot to assassinate a powerful political figure/Japanese sympathiser during the Japanese occupation of China during the second World War. This is a film that you'd best NOT watch with your parents because the film contains quite a lot of sex scenes (rather explicit ones at that) that may make things very awkward and uncomfortable. Having said that, the sex scenes themselves are artistically directed in a way that doesn't make it seem pornographic. Here, Leung plays Mr Yee, a man of much respect in the political world who just so happens to also be a sympathiser of the Japanese. He's the target of assassination for a bunch of naive university students who believe in the freedom and liberation of their homeland. The film stands at about two and a half hours long and could have easily been at least two hours had it not been for the rather long-winded first act. There's a lot of exposition which gets tiresome after a while. The actual seduction between Yee and Wong Chia Chi (played with grace by Wei Tang) doesn't even begin until an hour into the film. However, if you can bare with the first act of the film, the rest of it moves along at a rather brisk pace that allows you to really settle in with the whole espionage nature of the film. The actors involved with the film turn in fantastic performances which is a testament to Lee's direction, the music is sublime and I honestly think that after having seen this film that no one can play repressed men as well as Tony Leung. A devastating feature film, do try to check it out if possible.



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The final film comes from Hong Kong and is an action epic from John Woo. No I'm not talking about "Red Cliff", I'm talking about "Bullet in the Head". The film follows three best friends who, after the murder of a gang leader, retreat to war-torn Vietnam where their friendship may be torn forever. As expected from action maestro, John Woo, the film features spectacular over-the-top set pieces that are sure to leave viewers in an state of disarray and utter disbelief. However, underneath all the trailblazing gunfire and explosions is a story that's quite moving. The film begins very strangely enough with a somewhat cheery overtone which is immediately destroyed by the sudden appearance of bloodshed and violence which brings up the film's editing. There's quite a lot of strange hiccups in the editing department with scenes that never seem to smoothly cut into the next scene with a seamless transition. With "Bullet in the Head", Woo seems to try to ask the viewer "How far should I go with the violence?". It's almost as if Woo is trying to critique the nature of violence in films and the gun fetishism that these action films have to adhere to. This is portrayed through the POW camp scenes where our three protagonists end up getting captured by the Viet Cong. Their experience in the POW camp is incredibly hard to watch - unflinching and terrifying. In previous films, Woo's characters often killed without thinking of the consequences or collateral damage it may cause but here it's explored to full effect with some rather brutal results. The acting from all three of the leads are fine and Jacky Cheung might seem a little over the top in his acting sometimes but I thought it was absolutely necessary (at least within the context of this film). A really entertaining film that appears to be quite deeper than it actually is (well that's what I got out of it anyway).



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And now for the two new release films for this week: "Never Let Me Go" and "Sucker Punch".

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"Never Let Me Go" is a melodramatic British film that stars Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley as despondent young adults who grow up together and await for the horrible reality that awaits for them as they make the most of the time they have now. The story of the film is a bit of a stretch to put it lightly. It's hard to accept the story at face-value which makes it pretty hard to actually settle yourself into. Aside from the problems with the story (don't want to go too deep into it because it may spoil the film), the acting from our three leads is rather exceptional. Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield continue their success and are fast becoming two actors whose careers, I hope, will be filled with much interest and excitement. Mulligan's restraint and poise is wistful and full of grace while Garfield's boyish naivety and charm makes the reality of these characters' situations all the more hurtful. Knightely is also wonderful as a mean (couldn't think of a better adjective, haha) yet lonely and suffering character. Even the younger incarnations of our three leads are just as good (and they look exactly like their older counterparts too!). There are definitely problems with the plotting and story here as well as the rather slow moving pacing of the film, but the actors are the ones that shine here.



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I wanted to like "Sucker Punch". I was ready to defend it too after a lot of harsh criticism began circulating about the film being a complete mess. I like Zack Snyder and think he offers up some fantastic visuals on screen. But being that his previous films were all based on existing entities (with decent to good scripts too, no less), this original screenplay and story that Snyder brings to film is one of the most self-indulgent things ever committed film. The only redeemable aspects of the film are the visuals of the film and the opening scenes. The rest? Forget about it. The characters never develop and remain as vapid and uninteresting as they were to begin with. You never care about these girls. Ever. The pacing of the film is extremely sluggish which is not helped at all by Snyder's signature use of gratuitous slow motion (of which gets really bothersome and tiring after awhile). The story is just as uninteresting as the characters and again is made even less interesting by the sluggish pace of the film. What's worse is that the film tries to be cool with it's music and ideas of female empowerment. I wouldn't have an issue with this if Snyder hadn't tried to make this into a bombastic music video of a film. The cover of "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" which is used at the beginning of the film is used quite effectively and the beginning of the film is actually the best part of the movie but the rest of the songs don't add anything to the film whatsoever. It's just loud and pretentious. As for the theme of female empowerment, Snyder barely touches on this and you never get the sense that this film is supposed to make women feel stronger or united. The idea that you could have sexy scantily clad women fight against steampunk Nazis and dragons may seem cool and look cool but in the context of this film, it quickly becomes tiresome and gimmicky. Like 3D. The film is just one hot mess, one of the worst films to have released so far in the year. Incredibly disappointed with this.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

Brace yourself. The following are four trailers for some upcoming films and one web-exclusive series.

http://www.heyuguys.co.uk/images/2011/04/Hesher-Poster-405x600.jpg

The first comes from "Hesher" which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a long-haired, heavy-metal loving anarchist who invades the lives of a young boy, his father and a local girl. Co-starring are Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson. Looks pretty awesome.



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The next is a documentary (not sure if it's actually been screened in Australia yet although I'll assume it hasn't) that looks incredibly compelling. It's a war documentary that follows a platoon of Danish soldiers who do a six month tour in Afghanistan. There's a shot of a shell-shocked soldier that is absolutely devastatingly haunting here. I'm curious about this documentary now.


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"Warrior" looks like your run of the mill sport movie and uses the same music and font as "The Fighter". It looks generic but I'm mostly interested in how Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton will approach this. Both of them are fine actors and I'm wondering how well the film respects MMA (although the trailer shows a powerbomb... a move that is very rarely used in the sport). Oh and I see Kurt Angle, hohoho.


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And finally we have a teaser/clip from online web-series "Mortal Kombat: Legacy". Remember when an unknown Mortal Kombat video was posted online that fans went crazy over? Well the story goes that the guy behind that video was given money to turn that into a web series. So yeah, here that is. The series begins April 12 (13 for us Australians).

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And that's all this week. Still haven't gotten around to making my new banner but I'm just lazy so whateverrrrrrrrr. You guys have an awesome week. Ciao.

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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But...

Hello everyone!

Short post today because this week was pretty darn average. Everything was kinda "meh"-ish to me this week in terms of film news, movies and just life. If that makes sense...


So looky here, I finally have all three of the original "Star Wars" trilogy's film posters! I wake up every morning with a feeling of awesomeness when I see these. I actually have enough room on the wall for the prequel trilogy as well and am considering to get those extra three. In other news, it would appear that females everywhere have decided never to come into my room and speak to me. (Y)
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

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"Red Riding Hood" is a darker revisioning of the classic fairy tale that most of us are familiar and accustomed with in our childhood years. Unlike the seemingly innocent fairy tale present there, this version turns the wolf into a werewolf and plays like a "who-dun-it". Unfortunately, with a fairly weak script and not much in the way of direction and acting, the film isn't as exciting as it could've been. Yes, the potential is there (and if someone like Leonardo DiCaprio loved the idea so much to produce it himself, there's definitely potential to be had) but the film just feels hollow and isn't never really lives up to that potential. I'd normally praise Amanda Seyfried for just about anything but here she's just not doing it and is totally unbelievable in role as Valerie, our girl in the red hood. The romantic angle, for which the marketing campaign were trying to promote, led no where and lacked any semblance of on-screen chemistry. At least there's Gary Oldman. No matter what project he's a part of, he always seems to make watching the film a little more enjoyable by adding his charismatic screen presence. He embraces the cheesiness of the film and hams it up which makes the film a bit more watchable. And the sets... oh the sets. They just looked really uninspired, cheap and bland - perhaps a metaphor for the entire film?



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To follow up an instant modern crime classic like, "Se7en", would have been no easy feat for director David Fincher. Where would one go from there? "The Game" was his follow-up to previously aforementioned film and follows Michael Douglas as Nicholas Van Orton, a wealthy business tycoon whose brother (Sean Penn) offers him a present in the form of game that consumes facets of Van Orton's life. The film is, for the most part, largely far too ambitious for it's own good. It begins intriguingly enough and as the film progresses, it gets harder to distinguish who to trust and what to believe (as most good thrillers should). The plot twists and turns, leaving you in a state of disarray, much like Van Orton, but as the film goes on and on, you're eventually lead to question what the point of it all is. Fincher doesn't seem to really connect with the material as he does with a lot of his other films and because of that the film really just kinda lacks a lot of what makes Fincher's films exciting. And while the acting was fine from everyone involved, by the time you reach the film's ending, you may feel cheated and even betrayed. Simply put, the ending kind of ruins the entire film. You're lead to believe one thing the entire way through only for Fincher and everyone involved to say "screw you" and go in a completely opposite direction. It's a poor attempt at twist ending that really destroys the entire film.


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I promise to make a better post next week... and yes I haven't changed my banner yet because I'm lazy. So I'll get around to that... GOTTA LEARN TO PRIORITISE HIEU!

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