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Sunday, 29 May 2011

Swim Good

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It's that time again! I've got a major essay due in two weeks time but I took the liberty of doing some early research on my topic of choice. I feel almost guilty that I'm allowed to write an essay on action cinema of the 1980's. I'll just be watching "Rambo" and "Predator" on a loop from here on out.

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Finished "L.A. Noire" yesterday and feel like a boss. The third act of the game kind of falls apart but nonetheless it is a fairly fun game to play through but it's not what I expected. I went in thinking it would be like an open-world/sandbox experience much like "Grand Theft Auto" and "Red Dead Redemption" before it but the game is fairly linear. Detective work - as intriguing and fun as it may be - can get repetitive and feel stale after a while. But the more you discover as a detective through your sweep of the crime scene and the interrogation of witnesses and potential suspects makes each case more and more interesting as you probe deeper. Not as much depth but still a fun time to be had, especially when it's in the 1940's. Classy times.

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Speaking of video games, I was tempted into buying "Dragon Age: Origins" this week. EB Games has a ridiculous sale going on right now that saw this fantasy RPG go on sale for only $30. The best part about it is that this is the Ultimate Edition which comes with the expansion pack and a whole multitude of other missions and bonus content. Normally this would be a lot more expensive, probably around $50 - $80 so to get it at $30 is quite a steal. Goodbye social life.

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So everyone knows who Adele is right? Of course you do. Now while I was already aware of who Adele was, I hadn't actually heard her music until this week (shame, shame, shame). Her smash hit, "Rolling In The Deep" currently has 67 million+ views on YouTube and she seriously deserves all those views. I honestly didn't think her music and voice would reach such a massive pop-listening audience though but she deserves it all. Loving Adele just as much as the next guy.



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People should also listen to Frank Ocean. I only heard about him through Childish Gambino who name dropped him in one of his songs and decided to follow up and I'm glad I did. RnB can go eat its heart out because this guy's tracks are just gonna kill every other RnB artist out there.


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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

This week's big release came in the form of "The Hangover Part 2". Prior the film's imminent release, I actually had not seen the first film in the series but was mildly excited anyway for the sequel mostly due to the hype surrounding it. So I saw both of those films this week as well as "In the Loop", a small film that satirizes politics and war.

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"The Hangover" is one of those very rare success stories that helped launch the careers of Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis and Ed Helms.The film did amazingly well at the box-office - far more than producers could've expected. The premise of the film works wonders for comedic promise and delivers on all fronts of gross-out laughs. Often times, comedy films don't have much of a story but the genius behind making a film revolve around guys trying to piece together the events that happened the night before certainly makes for some interesting story beats along the way. Our three leads work together very well and work off one another very well - much of which is a testament to the directorial efforts of Todd Phillips. However, as funny as the film may be, it wasn't as funny as I had hoped it to be. Was it because the film had been spoiled by most of my friends? Was it because some of the jokes weren't quite my type of humour? Humour is subjective after all and it's hard to gauge just how successful a comedy film will be with audiences. A tad overrated, but still a fun film to watch.




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Well paint me surprised.
"In the Loop" is a small independently financed political satire film that pokes fun at the behind-the-scenes world of politics. Now while politics isn't necisarrily a subject of particular interest to most people, "In the Loop" fiercely attacks politics with sheer wit - it's smart and bold but also very funny. The film's premise revolves around the idea that the US and the UK want to begin a "war" need a reason to do so. And with that come the spin doctors, media directors and political personell who all have a part in trying to "articulate" their words and feelings in a way that expresses either their pro-war or anti-war sentiments. Their screw-ups is the stuff of comedy gold. The cast is fantastic, especially Peter Capaldi who plays the brutal and fierce Malcom Tucker. He is vicious in the film and is also endlessly hilarious whenever he throws a fit at anyone. Absolutely quotable, he is. If you like your humour a bit black and smart, try "In the Loop".



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This week's major release "The Hangover Part 2" tries to capitalise on the success of the original but is it as funny as it's predecessor? The film begins with an all too-familiar scene. Phil and the boys are lost and have no idea what to do. Phil says that they've screwed up again and the camera pans back to reveal that they are on top of a building overlooking the rest of Bangkok. Cut to opening credits over a montage of shots of Bangkok. While the locations may be different this time around, the film is still very much the same as it's predecessor. Everything feels familiar and feels very much the same as the one that came before it. What's amazing is how much of the story feels as familiar as the first film with the characters finding themselves in similar situations. Does this make the film any less good? No it doesn't. The formula for the first film worked, so why wouldn't it work a second time around? But, for all intents and purposes, "Part 2" is pretty much feels like a remake of the first one, just transposed from Las Vegas to Bangkok. Again, our three leads work together very well and the humour may be subjective amongst most people but for this viewer it was good enough to get uproarious laughter from me.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

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Here is a trailer for "50/50" a dramedy about a man who finds out he's diagnosed with terminal cancer and finds it hard to come to terms with the fact that this could be the end for him. It's a deeply personal project for screenwriter, Will Reiser, who himself modelled the story over his bout with cancer. So basically if I had to dumb it down a bit, the film is basically "Funny People" except without comedians. And I'd like to think that almost anything with Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to be pretty decent, lol. Supporting cast includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Seth Rogen, Angelica Huston and Anna Kendrick. Nice cast.

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There's news that David O.Russell (director of "The Fighter") has left the Uncharted live action movie project which has made the fanboy in me giddy with glee. What he was going to be doing to the Uncharted franchise didn't sound particularly sound all that wonderful to me but I'm glad that they won't be going with his idea and that he's left the directorial chair open to someone else.

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And here's a fan-recorded trailer of David Fincher's (director of "The Social Network") American adaptation of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". I haven't seen the original nor have I read the books but the film looks like classic Fincher. Expect no less, I suppose. Looks amazing, I'll probably post an official HD version sometime later this week and replace it.


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And that's it this week. Wanna see something cool/creepy/awesome/funny?



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Saturday, 21 May 2011

Piledriver Waltz

YO!

So yes, this blog post does come quite late but that's mostly due to my rather hectic week. Very, very busy.

You see, this week I was spreading the work of my screenplay out throughout the week and finished it all on Friday afternoon. Reason being is cause I didn't want to stress about one extra assignment especially when I had several plans during the week which consisted of:

A. MY FIRST CLUBBING EVENT

B. A HOUSE PARTY/GET TOGETHER

But more on that later.

Needless to say, happy that I got my 20 pages of screenplay done (as horrid as they are) a week before it's due and that now I just need to focus on my final three assessment pieces for the semester. Hooray for organization and planning. (Y)

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Say hi to my official copies of the crazy awesome Korean Western, "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" on Blu-ray and brand new Playstation 3 title, "L.A. Noire". I'm assuming you all know how much I love the former and how much I've been eagerly anticipating the latter. Ugh, so much goodness in disc form.

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So about that clubbing thing... Everyone knows I'm not that clubbing type but I made a drunken promise to Thy at Tran's birthday that I would make an appearance at a club for her. I made my appearance for her on Friday night and it was horrible and exactly how I'd imagine it. Maybe if I was a little more intoxicated on Friday night, I may have enjoyed it, however, I don't imagine my intoxicated self to enjoy that particular scene anyway.


*SMALL RANT TIME*

It's okay for other people to be into it that sort of thing but I just... I just hated everything about it. The music, the people. Just not for me. Needless to say, never going back to those places ever again.

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The following Saturday was much better because my mate threw a house party/get together at his place as his parents were gone for the entire month. Quaint little BBQ that saw me stuff my face with four plates worth of deliciousness as well as an extra filling of dessert. Fantastic night with friends. Much better than clubbing.

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These blog posts are so boring and uninteresting without the use of pictures. I keep telling myself that I should update with some IRL pictures of myself and friends but then reassure myself that people aren't coming for my weekly happenings, haha. Onto the films...
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING


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"Insidious", the new feature from "Saw" creators (and fellow Melbournites), James Wan and Leigh Whannel, is a horror film that follows a surburban family who try to wake their son up from a coma after an accident that causes leaves his body free for possession from the dead. There's a creepy atmosphere that is steadily built up very well in the first half of the film with many minor moments of suspense and tension that make for some very startling moments in the film. However, the "haunted house" angle that film sets up in the first half is oddly enough taken away in the second half in favour of a more supernatural tone which becomes increasingly absurd as the film reaches it's end point. There are decent frights laced throughout the film, however, most of these feel quite cheap. Ultimately, "Insidious" isn't as frightening as most of made it out to be - the echoes of "Paranormal Activity" run rife throughout this feature which may polaraise and alienate audiences.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS
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First big piece of geek news in film is the teaser image of Tom Hardy as Batman villain, "Bane" in Christopher Nolan's upcoming third outing with Batman, "The Dark Knight Rises". Well this looks pretty cool - reminds me of that teaser image of Heath Ledger as The Joker a long time ago.

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Anyone reading my blog a fan of "The Hunger Games"? If you are here's your first look at Jennifer Lawrence as leading heroine, Katniss. "The Hunger Games" series of books are quite popular and have a strong "Battle Royale" feel to it (children forced to compete in a game to the death with each other). I kinda want to read the books. Lawrence looks like a younger Lara Croft.

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Anyone else also a fan of Tintin? I never really grew up with Tintin and don't know much about him and his adventures but apparently this film is a big deal if it's pulled Steven Spielberg out to do an animated feature. The teaser for "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" doesn't tell you much by way of story but it does look somewhat interesting. Somewhat Indiana Jones-esque too.



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And finally here's the best trailer of "Green Lantern" yet.
Unlike the previous two, this one shows off the mythology of the Green Lantern Corps (think of them as police of the Universe). As a fan of the Green Lantern, I must say that this particular trailer should appeal to all the comic book geeks out there as you get a good look at the planet Oa and all of the other awesome Lanterns.


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And that's all this week. I have nothing else to share so I'll end it right there.

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Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Sky is Rumbling



This blog post was proudly brought to you by the awesome sounds of Tokyo Jihen's newest single, "Sora ga Natteiru", which released this past week. Ya'll know how much I love anything that Shiina Ringo puts out. The English translation (at least I assume that's right) of the single is being used as today's blog post title. Do have a listen if you're curious.

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Now because I'm THAT lazy, I'll just post about the rumblings of the week that affected me and NOT about films I saw or write about film news. For one, I don't think that there was anything huge or substantial in the world of film this week and I actually didn't watch anything this week (other than my now regular consumption of television shows, although that's soon to change with "Community" already ending it's second season on a high note).

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Chinatown (1974) dir. Roman Polanski

On Wednesday, ACMI had a screening of Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" which I dared not miss because it's quickly become one of my favourite movies ever to enjoy. It looks so much better than I could've imagined on the big screen and the ending of that film is as powerful and devastating as it was the first time I saw it. What's interesting is the fact that I saw it with a bunch of high school kids who were watching it as part of their education curriculum (somehow this film fits into Year 12 Literature, which is strange but in either case, why didn't I study THIS film when I was in Year 12?!?!). Pretty dope stuff having them react throughout the film - made watching the film that much more enjoyable. The power of cinema!

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I spent Friday night with some mates in the city. Had some beers and buffalo wings down at the Equinox and then retreated to Cue City on Bourke Street to kill time with some pool. Unfortunately no photos were taken but it was a pretty awesome night catching up with a friend that I hadn't spoken to or seen in over two years.

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And finally last night, Tran was celebrating her 19th birthday last night. I'd like to think that everyone had a whirlwind of crazy awesome fun. I now know that I absolutely hate Tequila. Next time, I'll stick to some good ol' fashioned beer, thanks. (Y) Photos galore.























Back to regular format next week. Take it sleazy, friends.

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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sigma Crawl

Howdy.

Went back to uni this week. BOOOOOOO! Came to class on Monday only to find that I didn't even need to be there since my teacher was sick (and yet the lecture went on still... we just watched a film).

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Handed in audio assignment too... if you guys wanna have a listen, click this link to visit my ABC Pool account (it's just a site that my subject requires me to use). It's titled "Interview with a Gamer". (Y)

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Look what came in the mail this week! No idea why JB Hi-Fi doesn't have this highly underrated film in stock but I'm just happy I have a copy of it now. If you guys haven't seen "Brick" yet, I'd recommend it definitely. Quite good stuff.

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Anyone watching HBO's new fantasy series, "Game of Thrones"? It's pretty damn solid so far - every episode hasn't disappointed and it's remained consistently good. The budget of this must be off the rails for each episode. Yikes.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

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This week's release, "Source Code" comes from Duncan Jones, the son of David Bowie who broke out with his fantastic debut in the now modern sci-fi classic, "Moon". The film follows Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is tasked with the objective of finding out who bombed a Chicago-bound train. The only catch is that in order to do so, Stevens has to retrace 8 minutes and ONLY 8 minutes of another man's life in another reality in order to find the culprit in this reality. Scratching your head? That's a good thing. "Source Code" is a great film that really makes you scratch your head and wonder what's just happened and will keep you guessing until all is said and done. It does a fantastic job of keeping you on your toes and gripping you within the film's story. It works as a mystery/sci-fi/thriller headtripper and unlike the ambitiousness of the hugely successful, "Inception", "Source Code's" low-key approach to this mind-bending perfectly suits the film. Now to have the film move forward by repeatedly having to go back to relive 8 minutes might sound like it could easily be a boring concept but it works wonders in the film. I do have one complaint though which falls into spoiler territory so I'll do without that but I will say though that I had a fun time with "Source Code" and look forward to more from Duncan Jones.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

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One of the breakout films that garnered quite a bit of buzz was "Martha Marcy May Marlene". Quite the tongue twister isn't it? The film follows a young woman trying to rebuild her life after she flees from a cult. And while I am mostly interested in this film due to Elizabeth Olsen's presence (although I do here she made an outstanding impression crowds who saw this film), I will like to say that the film does look quite interesting and very creepy, at least according to that trailer. Consider my interest in this film, piqued.



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Following the news of Quentin Tarantino's next film being now officially titled, "Django Unchained", it seems that Tarantino wants to have one of the world's biggest box-office stars, Will Smith, to be his leading man. I'll trust Tarantino here - whenever he finds people for his films, he makes them work within the context of his films and always pulls incredible performances. Just look at recent example in Christoph Waltz. Complete unknown who went from nobody to somebody in the film industry. Yes it's a bizarre choice to have the Fresh Prince as a freed slave in a Tarantino film but weirder things have happened. besides, Smith can act. So I'm just curious to see if he'll take the bait.

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And finally here's the second trailer for "Green Lantern".
It's much, MUCH better than the first trailer and is a lot different in tone than the first one and actually lays out much of the story. I'm looking forward to this film.
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And that's it this week. To end this blog on a positive note, here's a video that's bound to make you go "awwww". Enjoy.

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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Nothing Else Matters

Hi folks.

Got up to quite a bit over this Easter break which is good cause then I'll actually get to talk about things I got up to this week, haha. The bad part about breaks though is that they must all come to an unfortunate end. I've already adjusted to having been away from uni for a whole week so it's gonna be a little bit of a challenge to get back into the funk of things. No more staying up late.

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A mate of mine had his birthday on Tuesday. Turned 19, he did. I hadn't seen him in well over a year so it was good to catch up with him as well as everyone else. It was a bit of a high school reunion for a lot of us there. We had a barbeque during the day which wasn't as organised as I was lead to believe but everyone had a great time it seemed. The girls all left when it was night and us guys kinda just cruised around for the rest of the night and chilled in a park by the city afterwards just shooting the shit. A good day for me and an even better birthday for him I would say.




















Can't remember the last time I shared photos of outings like this on my blog. Cheers to Ellen for these crazy awesome photos. Unfortunately those are the only IRL photos that will be posted today. I should have more photos just so to make my blog look more nicer.

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On Wedensday, I went to the city to do some extra sound recording for one of my media subjects. I feel like I'm not gonna do very well in that particular subject but I'm confident in my ability to pass at least. Anyways, I did the live recording of arcade sounds out at Galactic Circus which was good and decided to have some fun and go to the casino afterwards with my mate and fortunately made a profit of $70 (lololol). Winning that was great of course cause now I have enough to buy "L.A. Noire" when that hits games stores. I feel like going back to try my luck but it's probably not the best idea to visit Crown Casino so soon.

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And then on Thursday, I accompanied Tran to the Melbourne Museum. That place has changed sooooooooo much since the last time I was there (two years ago). We got there pretty late though as the museum was less than an hour away from closing which was unfortunate as I did want to get more time browsing through the folios from this year's Top Design. Some of the folios I did quickly see though were damn impressive. Looking at those folios kinda makes me wish I chose to do something in visual communication/graphic design instead but oh well.

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I also finished watching the first season of "Damages" this week. Pretty good first season and I really can't wait to get into the second season of it. Glenn Close and Rose Byrne work off each other so well in the series and I love how the series progressed with two timelines in the past and present.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

As promised I would be going through three of Hitchcock's films this week and these three are arguably his most famous works on film. At least now I can say that I've seen his films.

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"Psycho" is one of the most famous and iconic films in the history of cinema for many reasons. It's typically hailed as the first slasher film which has had much success over the years with the likes of Freddy Kreuger, Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers emerging from this bin of iconic film villains. It's a precursor to horror films that we're accustomed to seeing now that capitalise on it's use of sound and image to instill dread and fear. Hitchcock's understanding of film allows for some fantastic shots and Bernard Herrman's score for the film is as brutal and terrifying as the murders themselves. But the standout here is not Hitchcock's direction but Anthony Perkins' performance. His performance alone is absolutely sinister - Norman Bates' friendly, unassuming, charismatic nature can immediately be thrown out the window as soon as any other character mentions "going away" or suggests otherwise about his mother. It's a performance for the ages that haunted Perkins everywhere he went because audiences only saw him as the murderous Bates and not the actor which is pretty sad. Fantastic film, I can see why it's an absolute classic.



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"Vertigo" was not the film that I envisioned it would be when I sat down to watch it. At first I thought it would be an interesting take on the detective story, maybe even a noir as interpreted by a master of suspense. But no, it was something that was a lot deeper than that. It's an evaluation of the human psyche and how guilt and obsession can corrupt even the most noble of men. Again, Bernard Hermann's score appropriately suits the film and is a fantastic score. The score just repeats itself over and over in a dizzying cycle of repetition that speaks volumes of our hero in James Stewart's detective character, John Ferguson. Stewart's performance is fantastic to watch as the unraveling of his character is strongly felt and very tragic. Hitchcock's use of what now is known as "the Vertigo shot" is used to startling effect and puts you right in the position of a man whose crippling fear of heights almost destroys him. The one criticism that I will make of "Vertigo" however is that it moves at quite a slow pace which didn't do it for me all too well. I understand why the film is intended to be as slow as it was but felt quite bothersome to me at times. Aside from that minor criticism, what Hitchcock does provide us here are some very interesting and multi-faceted characters, making this most character-driven of the three films I saw. A deep and thought provoking film. Repetitive viewing may lead to a much greater appreciation for the film, I feel.



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Finally we have "Rear Window" and probably my favourite of the three Hitchcock films I saw. As mentioned earlier, Hitchcock only allows you to see what he wants you to see and this idea is ever so prevalent in "Rear Window" as the film is about a disabled man who spies on his neighbour and increasingly becomes suspicious of murder most foul. Again, performances are top notch all around and Hitchcock is able to maintain steady momentum throughout, leaving us on the edge of our seats, curious about wanting to know what's around the corner. What's fantastic about is that it the entire film practically takes place from James Stewart's apartment and involves him looking out the window or talking to the beautiful Grace Kelly about love. I've previously shown my adoration for films that can utilise one location for most of, if not, the entire film. "Rear Window" also has some very brilliant touches of humour sprinkled throughout the film which is a relaxing change of pace from "Psycho" and "Vertigo" which were much more serious. A pretty fun and enjoyable film, I must say when compared to his more serious works.



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I also watched Wong Kar-wai's short, "The Hand" a segment he contributed to the omnibus film "Eros". Wong's short has been praised as the best and the one that lives up to the expectations of the title. I hadn't gone out of my way to watch the other two but I hear that Steven Soderbergh's one is pretty decent but Michelangelo Antonioni's segment is very poor. Anyways the short stars Chang Chen as a tailor who routinely visits the nesting quarters of an aging prostitute in Gong Li and gives her beautiful handmade garments. I would say that this is one of Wong's best works and ranks alongside "In the Mood for Love" (my fourth favourite film of all time) and "Chungking Express". "The Hand", much like "In the Mood for Love" has a lot of that eroticism pouring from every frame which is a credit to Wong's team of cinematographer Chris Doyle and set designer William Chang. If anything, it's much more haunting than "In the Mood for Love" but as with all of Wong's films, it's subject matter and characters resonate with you long after the credits. My only problem with the film is that it's hard to gauge time as most people have suggested that the film takes place over several years. Otherwise it's a fantastic short and another worthy piece of cinema from Wong. Which reminds me that I should get a start on select Gong Li films which I was meant to have started some time ago...

No trailer unfortunately. Although if you're curious to watch the short, you can find it in it's entirety on YouTube.
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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

Some new trailers this week. Harry Potter and the Death Hallows: Part 2 got it's first theatrical trailer as did the third of the "Transformers" films, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon". A new "X-Men: First Class" trailer also got showed off this week and looks a lot better than the previous trailer which has gotten me into all kinds of excitement. So basically three big blockbuster trailers for the Summer (or Australian Winter).







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It's also been confirmed that Quentin Tarantino's next film, "a Southern" as Uma Thurman had once described it, will be called "Django Unchained". Sign me up for anything Tarantino brings to screen, especially if it's in similar vein as a Western.
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So that's all this week. It's nice having to write a proper blog post like this again. Anyways, I leave you with this awesome fan-made trailer entitled "The Batman Complex". If this film actually existed, I would watch the hell out of it because the trailer makes it looks absolutely amazing and is an interesting take on the man of bats. Everyone wants to be Batman once in their life, right?



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