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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Hiding Tonight

Hello!
Is it bad that this week has mostly been a haze for me? I can remember going to see WWE wrestler, CM Punk win the WWE Championship at Hoyts, this past week (which by the way was an amazing moment ever) which renewed my interest in a fake sport. Oh and I also caught up with a good friend mine we went to go see the final "Harry Potter" (although I didn't include a review of it this week)but other than that I think I mostly spent the week at home catching up on a few films here and there. I go back to studying at university tomorrow so I better begin to fix my sleeping patterns.

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Also, I made a "tribute" video to one of my favourite directors, Wong Kar-wai. It's nothing fancy, just a simple video that pays it's respect to the Hong Kong auteur. I was bored, okay? And apparently I also have some minor subtitling issues. My excuse is that I was up late when doing some of these portions. Anyways, if you fancy some procrastination, feel free to watch it and let me know what you think.




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Also this needs to be said but happy birthday to Rose Byrne!
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

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Based on the comic book series of the same name, "Batman: Under the Red Hood" is a both a reinvention of a past character in Batman lore as well as a well-made animated feature that's very mature and adult. The film opens with The Joker senselessly bashing the second Robin, Jason Todd, into a bloody pulp with a crowbar and leaving him for dead in a warehouse. Batman travels as fast as he can to rescue the boy wonder but it's too late - the warehouse is wired with explosives and blows up. Robin is no more. Jump several years later and The Joker is now incarcerated in Arkham Asylum for the millionth time; Batman has no partner, the criminal known as Black Mask controls almost all of the exhibition and distribution of illegal drugs and a mysterious figure known as the Red Hood has come to unleash his brand of chaos on Gotham.

As this is an animation, you'd think that it's a direct-to-video film made for children but the subject matter in this film is definitely a bit extreme for children. What makes Batman and other comic book heroes great is the fact that they can adapt to either being wacky and unique for kids (see "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" - a tongue-in-cheek homage series to the old Batman show starring Adam West) or something adult fans of the comic books can take seriously. Batman's a complex character - an idea of which has been explored so many times both on print and film. Without giving too much of the plot away, the film does a great job of demonstrating Batman's ideals as a vigilante - why he won't use guns and kill people and why he will always be the better man. It's fine exploration into a vigilantes approach in minimalising crime.

The voice-work is exceptional, especially with John DiMaggio's version of the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker. His Joker incorporates parts of Mark Hamill's Joker at times but it's entirely his own thing, especially with how the animators chose to animate him. This character almost sounds "experienced" and not nonsensical or playful like previous voiced Jokers. The only bad choice in voice casting was the decision to cast Neil Patrick Harris as the voice for Nightwing (that's the grown up first Robin, Dick Grayson, for those that don't know). The voice doesn't fit the personality of Nightwing and does not sound convincing. It's almost as though Harris is doing a "hammy" portrayal of a superhero which doesn't do the character justice.

Engaging and mature, this "Batman: Under the Red Hood" is a fine example of an adult Batman animation done right. The story flows very nicely and is a great addition to the stories that have made up the Batman universe. If Warner Bros' animation department assembles the right people to animate and voice their next Batman feature, "Batman: Year One" (an adaptation of Frank Miller's landmark retelling of the Batman mythos as well as the primary source of inspiration for Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins") then WB may have a nice library of mature animations along the way.



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"The Aviator" is Martin Scorsese's second collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio after working with him in 2002 in "Gangs of New York". The pair would later go on to work on two more projects, "The Departed", a remake of the brilliant Hong Kong film, "Infernal Affairs" and last year's mystery thriller, "Shutter Island". With "The Aviator", Scorsese is able to make a film that honours the visionary Howard Hughes by demonstrating that he was a man that had a lot of high ambitions and passion for what he loved but had many shortcomings with his obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe anxiety and depression.

The first half of the film is perhaps the most interesting as Scorsese decided to film that section utilising two strip Technicolor to give the film an old and nostalgic about it. I believe this is done due to the fact that the three strip Technicolour hadn't been around during this time period within film, making everything that's normally green a weird blue/teal colour (of course, I can be wrong so don't quote me on that).

Most of the first half of the film is absolutely solid and paces along very nicely. We see a lot of who Howard Hughes is, his ambitions with aviation and how much he was willing to make his dreams come true. His desire to stick close to his dreams makes him something of a respectable person even if he had to borrow a lot of money along the way to make it happen. It's also interesting to see how Old Hollywood functioned back then, offering up some nice amounts of film history with characters mentioning Hughes' involvement with the original "Scarface" (an instrumental film that was controversial at the time of it's release due to it's level of violence). Also seeing someone like Jude Law portray Errol Flynn is always a nice piece of cameo to throw in.

Unfortuantely the film does suffer in the second portion where things start to become a little stale and isn't as rythmic as the first half. Howard Hughes' trial goes on for quite a while and becomes a bit boring after a while, quickly diminishing interest in the film. I guess for me, the whole aspect of Old Hollywood and Howard Hughes the film maker instead of the "aviator" was more interesting to me. That isn't to say the entire second half was a bore, however, as the second half ventures into the darker side of Hughes' psyche and features a magnificent plane crash set-piece.

Leonardo DiCaprio is amazing in the film as Howard Hughes. If there was any indicator that DiCaprio was award worthy, this film certainly demonstrates it. One has to wonder, with such a great list of accomplishments - working with directors such as Scorsese as well as Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, Danny Boyle and James Cameron - how has DiCaprio NOT won an Academy Award yet? His work in "The Aviator" is amazing - DiCaprio's interpretation of Hughes is a performance to marvel at. DiCaprio clearly taps into the anxities and ambitions of Hughes and translates that perfectly onto screen. Equally impressive is Cate Blanchett who portrayed Katharine Hepburn and got her down pretty spot on as well. The "yakkidy" nature of Hepburn as seen through her films is quite fun to watch on screen as she toys with Hughes but Blanchett is able to also reveal a side of her that seems heartfelt and genuine - a side that most people who've only seen her in films are accustomed to. For her performance, Blanchett was awared the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

That said, "The Aviator" carries with it an impeccable performance by DiCaprio but falls short in the second half of the movie where momentum begins to slow down and end on a rather unsatisfactory note.



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A cult classic, "This Is Spinal Tap" is a mockumentary film that charters the rise and fall of fictional rock band, Spinal Tap. The film follows the band on their tour across America and documents everything that happens on the tour, from gigs gone wrong to reworking their album cover to the curse of all their dummers dying.

It's a hilarious send up and deconstruction of rock and roll that is just riddled with endlessly legendary quotes. The band starts out as a Beatles-esque group then quickly decides that it's all about flower power and then becomes the rockers they are at the time which was just on the precipe of glam rock. Rock and roll can be pretentious a lot of the time and these guys think they're the best when really they're not all that great to many and at one point are sidelining for a children's puppet show. Everything that can go bad on the tour for this band does in the most hilarious fashion possible.

What makes it funny is the fact that the film actually feels real due to it pretending to be a documentary. The actors are fantastic and the realism of it all and the stupidity of some of the things that happen make it seem so much more genuine and funny. Best of all, despite being a fictional band, Spinal Tap have recorded several albums and performed for people as well as having sold quite a lot of merchandise like as if they were a real band. Brilliant stuff.

If you haven't already do check out "This Is Spinal Tap" - it's genuinely hilarious and above all else just an incredibly fun movie to watch.



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Screening at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival, "Submarine" is a British coming-of-age debut feature film from Richard Ayoade whose most known for his work on the popular television show, "The I.T. Crowd". The film has been building up a considerable amount of positive buzz on the festival circuit and has become something of an audience favourite as well as being well received by critics (currently holding a rating of 87% over at Rotten Tomatoes). With "Submarine", Ayoade presents to audiences a stylishly told yet charming story of a teenage boy trying to save his parents’ marriage while also trying to make ends meet and impress a girl at his school.
Many folks will compare "Submarine" to the works of Wes Anderson and while the comparison is fair to make, "Submarine" is in no way a cheap knockoff of a Wes Anderson feature. Yes, there are the familiar tropes of a Wes Anderson feature that can be found throughout the film (the theme of family, the use of narration etc.) but there’s something about the film that sets it apart from most of Wes Anderson’s films. The film feels refreshingly unique and brings with it a strong amount of youthful energy and spirit. Most of this is due to the way in which the film is presented to audiences. It would seem almost as though the film’s presentation comes straight from the mind and imagination of our quirky protagonist Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts). Oftentimes, the film does feel like as if the character has complete control over how his story should be told (and in some brilliant instances, he really does).
Additionally, Alex Turner’s (lead singer of Arctic Monkeys) contribution to the film’s soundtrack not only sets the atmosphere for the film but it also enforces some memorable moments throughout it. Aided by a piano and an acoustic guitar, the songs possess an almost nostalgic quality about them when inserted into integral moments within the film. We are reminded of the joys of our adolescence as well as the tragedies that beset them.
Craig Roberts does a nice job of portraying the film’s protagonist, Oliver Tate. For the most part, Tate’s a likable character who possesses a lot of charisma. His quirks and naivety make him someone that most of us would know in real life. Tate’s love interest, the insufferable Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Paige), is played out with a wry sense of humour. She’s a character that’s just as multi-faceted and fun to watch as Tate. Our two young leads are supported but an equally pleasant cast in Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine (who is exceptionally hilarious within the film).
Perhaps the one thing to criticise about the film is the fact that it lingers around in its second act a bit longer than it should. While the film isn’t long at all (clocks in at around 97 minutes according to IMDB), the film may have benefited by shaving off a few minutes in its second act. Nonetheless, "Submarine" is a charming debut feature and is sure to please a lot of audiences. And much like a submarine, those who do become submerged into the film may come back out with a lovely and refreshing experience.

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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS
JUST TRAILERS TODAY! Some of these trailers here has come out either in preperation for San Diego Comic Con OR was released during the Con. The only ones that didn't are "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Grandmasters". I know you wouldn't wanna miss some of these trailers, folks.
The epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan's "Batman" films.
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Famed Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai takes a break from melancholic romancing to present a martial arts biopic based on Bruce Lee's mentor, Yip Man (yes, it's another Yip Man biopic).
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A darker retelling of the Spider-man mythos.
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Live-action role players conjure up a demon from hell by mistake and must deal with the consequences. (IMDB)
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In the future people stop aging at 25 and must work to buy themselves more time, but when a young man finds himself with more time than he can imagine he must run from the corrupt police force to save his life. (IMDB)
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And that's all this week. Now for you fangirls that love Andrew Garfield, here's a video of him talking about much he's always wanted to be at Comic-Con and what Spider-Man meant for him growing up. Enjoy and goodbye.

End post.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Things In Life

Hey everyone.

So I decided that I'll watch four films from MIFF, those being:

  • Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Norwegian Wood
  • Submarine
  • Being Elmo

Now I was going to include either "Super" and "Hobo With A Shotgun" in there but that was just a really hard decision. Thankfully "13 Assassins" will get distributed here through the Cinema Nova so I won't really be missing out on seeing that on the big screen.

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Bought me three new films this week. I've said it before but JB Hi-Fi is an evil, evil place. They always have some sort of fantastic sale on which makes me give in and splurge. The purchases this week come in the form of "Suicide Club", "I Saw the Devil" and "Once Upon A Time In America". I'm a total baller for buying R18+ movies, lolololol.

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Finished the first season of the brand new comedy series, "Happy Endings". It's got quite a lot of potential this series. I mean it feels similar to other things like "How I Met Your Mother" or "Friends" (minus the laugh track + multi-camera setup) but it feels like it has a bit of a different dynamic between the core cast. I'd say give it a try if you're looking for something new. The first few episodes are kinda average but the rest are pretty solid and get better as these season progresses.



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Also, if you're looking for something different, do try out the television series "Archer". It's an animated series that follows the exploits of secret agent Sterling Archer and his fellow peers at the Isis Agency. It's pretty funny and I love the guy that voices Archer. Judy Greer ("Arrested Development", "Mad Love") , Chris Parnell ("30 Rock", "Saturday Night Live") and Jessica Walter ("Arrested Development") also lend their voices to the series.



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Oh and if you aren't already, do make sure to watch "Wilfred". The US remake of the original Australian series/short is brilliant, hilariously delicious and is quite charming. It's still airing right now in the States. Don't know what it's about? Let the cast below explain.


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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

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This year's recipient of the coveted Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival has reached widespread release here in Australia and has had many film-goers buzzing. The buzz, for the most part, has been positive but hold an open survey on those that saw "The Tree of Life" and you'll probably find that opinions about the film are split. One things for sure though, "The Tree of Life" is different and is a seemingly very experimental type of film. Who knows what director Terrence Mallick wanted to convey to audiences when he picked up this project? It's hard to accept, let alone enjoy, a film like "The Tree of Life" straight from the get-go (as far as this person is concerned, at least) without noticing its major imperfections.

However, before we discuss about some of the bizarre choices that have been kept within the film, let's discuss what Mallick does get right. The film is absolutely gorgeous - there are moments in the film that transcend what we have come to define as beautiful. Mallick works the camera like a pro - weaving the camera in and out, giving the audience a more than intimate and engaging look into the life of a traditional family in the 1950s. The stunning music more than compliments the film's depiction of the miracles of life and the loss of innocence- providing us a truly cathartic experience.

Having said that though, while the visuals and how they're implemented throughout the film offer a rich experience, one has to wonder what the point of it all was. Lingering shots of trees and wildlife can be interpreted as Mallick's desire for the audience to embrace and appreciate nature and all it has to offer but when it's done all the time throughout the film without any clear meaning as to why it has been included, then there really is no point to it all. As such, the running time of the film could've been vastly cut down to make way for a film that can be easily accepted by most people because at a long-winding three hours, the film can leave you snoozing.

Perhaps my biggest problem with "The Tree of Life" is the fact that it's been touted as a feature film when really it feels more like a National Geographic/Discovery Channel special or the long-suffering work of a video artist. Had the film been portrayed as either those, I would've had no problems with it at all. Mallick's choices to include certain scenes of Earth's creation, the universe and everything not relating to the family the film follows hamper the progress of the film - they don't necessarily amount to anything. To compare this film to "2001: A Space Odyssey" is to be right on the money. I also had problems with that film and while I could see what Kubrick tries to do in some instances of that film, there are a lot of things that are left unexplained and also needlessly included. However, you'll have no argument from me about the artistic integrity of both of those films if anyone were to challenge the idea of film as an art-form, then I'd direct them to both of those films (although I do believe films are more universally recognised as art, moreso than video games).

Simply put, Terrence Mallick's "The Tree of Life" may have lost its intentions and message along its ambitions to be artistically tasteful and cathartic but it holds up as a bewildering piece of cinematic art.
Tread very carefully when entering this film, that's for sure.



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When it comes to the new wave of Korean cinema that has entered into the consciousness of Asian film enthusiasts and general cinephiles alike, names such as Bong Joon-Ho ("Memories of Murder", "Mother"), Kim Ji-woon ("A Bittersweet Life", "The Good, The Bad, The Weird") and my personal favourite Park Chan-wook ("Joint Security Area", "Oldboy") spring to mind. South Korea has been home to some incredibly fantastic cinema this last decade and much like it's music scene - regardless of whether or not you like the music or not - we're seeing a particular boom with international audiences taking up and noticing Korea as a place that's producing a lot of talent in it's creative industries (although that last statement might come off as a tad hyperbolic).

Of the three previously mentioned directors, only Kim Ji-woon can say that he made "I Saw The Devil", a revenge tale about a secret agent who seeks bloody retribution after his fiancee is brutally murdered. The film reaches depths of depravity that are incredibly hard to watch on film and are made to look shockingly uncomfortable to sit through. Admittedly, it does feel quite misogynistic at times so females might take offense to some of the things that happen in the film.

Having said that though, the film paces itself along nicely and never feels dull while the quiet nature of the film adds another level of shock and horror to an already violent film. Our two leads, Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik are in top form here. Lee's stoic appearance disarms us as we see him slowly become the monster he needs to be to avenge his fiance's death while Choi's psychotic turn as the serial killer is both terrifying and almost sympathetic. Almost.

While the film is not for the faint-hearted there are moments of dark comedy that are deliciously ripe which is something that I've noticed in a lot of Korean films. No matter how dark the subject matter, they'll always work in some level of dark humour to disarm the audience from what's to come. It's ingenious how Kim has worked the comedy into the plot without making it seem forced or "tacky". Also of particular note is the cinematography and amazing camera-work that was utilised throughout the film. Some great framing choices and camera mobility that work up some fantastic set-pieces in the film.

"I Saw The Devil" is a stunning film but definitely for everyone which is very understandable. It holds up together quite nicely and is anchored by some fine direction and acting.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS
Why hello teaser poster for next year's biggest movie, "The Dark Knight Rises"! And hello to a new desktop wallpaper as well! A teaser trailer for the film was attached to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2", however, the only copy that exists of that on the Internet is a bootleg camera recorded version. I've yet to see the trailer although I've seen snippets of it here and there but I'm waiting until the HQ version is published online.

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Spike Lee has been confirmed as the director that will helm the American remake of one of my all-time favourite films, "Oldboy". Guess it goes without saying that I'll be watching how this project progresses with a lot of caution.

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You guys like trailers right? Below you can find four brand new trailers and posters for films coming out within the year.

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Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.



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An action-thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.



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At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson.



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Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.



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Also you may find here some new photos from "The Amazing Spider-Man" starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans (as well as a whole other cavalcade of awesome talent). Enjoy those photos below courtesy of slashfilm.com and Entertainment Weekly.

Spider-Man EW Hi 1

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Spider-Man EW Hi 5


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And finally, with the end of the Harry Potter series (sad, I know), a fan of the series and student, Patrick Sullivan, decided to include in his portfolio an awesome Criterion cover set for all of the Harry Potter films. If only these could be used as the real thing. I guess we can always download them and then insert them into the slips after, haha. The Criterion Collection is known for its artistic and alternative covers for their films and these beautiful fake Criterion covers epitomise that.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter - Full Set
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And that's it for the week. Now having a trolling Saruman for all your troubles. Good night to you (or day if you're reading this in the day). Ciao.



End post.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Te Quiero Dijiste

Howdy folks.

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I've successfully caught up with "Damages" just in time for the Season 4 premiere next week! It's been a fantastic series although I will say that Season 3 did feel a little rocky towards the end but nonetheless, it's a top tier show. Now to try and find the time to also follow the other shows on FX like "Sons of Anarchy" and "Justified" as well as a whole host of other shows on other American TV channels. Movies have taken a backseat for a while now.


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This past week I was volunteering again for Polyglot. They had a workshop program called "Paper Planet" running for children at Federation Square and I signed up to volunteer from Wedensday through to Friday with a good friend of mine. The basic idea of "Paper Planet" was simply that kids could come into the space and contribute to the space by making things compeltley out of cardboard and paper. It was a lot of fun and the kids were never troublesome.


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The full program list for films screening at this year's Melbourne International Film Festival was released this week! There are quite a handful of films that I want to see but realistically I probably will only get around to just a small few which will be disappointing. Some of them I can already acquire through pirated imports (the Asian ones, hahaha) out on Victoria Street or in the city though but the rest are touring the festival circuits so that's not possible. Below are the trailers and descriptions of the films that I'm looking forward to seeing.

INTERNATIONAL PANORAMA

Martha Marcy May Marlene



Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.

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Melancholia



Two sisters find their relationship challenged as a nearby planet threatens to collide into the Earth.

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Submarine



15-year-old Oliver Tate has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life.

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ACCENT ON ASIA

13 Assassins



A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

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Norwegian Wood



Upon hearing the song "Norwegian Wood," Toru remembers back to his life in the 1960s, when his friend Kizuki killed himself and he grew close to Naoko, Kizuki's girlfriend. As the two try, in very different ways, to contend with their grief, Toru forms a bond with another woman, Midori. (Based on the Haruki Murakami best seller)

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Outrage



In the Tokyo underworld, dominated by the Sanno-kai crime organization & ruled by Mr Chairman, rival clans clash for power and money while temporal alliances and betrayals become indistinguishable.

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The Unjust



A serial killer targeting elementary school students is on the loose—and 5 victims means even the president gets involved in the investigation. When the most probable suspect dies in custody and the case looks like it's reached a dead end, high ranking police brass decide to create a killer—and anyone will do.

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DOCUMENTARIES

Armadillo



In February 2009 a group of Danish soldiers accompanied by documentary filmmaker Janus Metz arrived at Armadillo, an army base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. Metz and cameraman Lars Skree spent six months following the lives of young soldiers situated less than a kilometer away from Taliban positions.

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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey


More of a clip than a trailer cuase there isn't a full length one around. Oh well.

The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet - the heart and soul of Elmo - Kevin Clash.

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The Greatest Movie Ever Sold



A documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement.

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NIGHT SHIFT

Hobo With A Shotgun



A homeless vigilante blows away crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags with his trusty pump-action shotgun.

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Super



After his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills.

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NETWORKED

Life in a Day



A documentary shot by filmmakers all over the world that serves as a time capsule to show future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010.

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MIFF 60TH RETROSPECTIVE

Happy Together



Lovers who are happy together are all the same. Lovers whose relationships fall apart are all different, unique in the ways they inflict emotional tortures on themselves and each other. Lai Yiu-Fai (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Ho Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing) were in love when they arrived in Argentina from Hong Kong. But something went wrong while they were driving south in search of adventure.

As I said, I highly doubt that I'd have the money to go to all of these sessions so I'll have to prioritise which ones I REALLY want to/need to see. I probably won't have to watch "Happy Together" again but I would just like to see that on a nice big screen is all.
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I think I'll leave my post there as there's already quite a bit of content on here (that and it's been a slow news week for films and I haven't seen anything outside of "Damages"). So with that I'll leave you to your business. Peace out y'all.
End post.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Milonga For Three

WHY HELLO THERE.


MONDAY: Went to see "Oldboy" at The Astor Theatre. Ugh, talk about enhancing my love for a favourite movie even more. The score for "Oldboy" sounds so much more richer in the cinema and some of the memorable scenes like the hallway fight look even more outstanding. Now I just need to wait for "Star Wars", "Fight Club", "In the Mood for Love" and "Taxi Driver" to screen on at the Astor (Taxi Driver's getting a remastered re-release soon though so I can cross that off the list soon).

TUESDAY: Spent all of Tuesday watching Season 2 of "Damages". TWIST AFTER TWIST AFTER TWIST AFTER TWIST. Will watch all of Season 3 next Tuesday.

WEDENSDAY: Footage not found.

THURSDAY: Poker and vodka with friends at my place. Why not?

FRIDAY: Went out to catch "Transformers: Dark of the Moon". Thoughts below.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

Apologies for the laziness of my movie consumption. I've been watching "Arrested Development", downloading epic pieces of nostalgia bombs like the "X-Men Animated Series" (yep, the one in the '90s) among other things lately.

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Where to begin with the latest film to hit theaters this week, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"? After saving the world from the destruction of the Decepticons, Sam Witwicky struggles to find a job after finishing college. All of his Autobot friends have abandoned him to work for the government by disassembling terrorist organisations from around the world while also saying ever vigilant for any signs of return from Megatron and is Decepticon army. The film addresses a lot of the issues that plagued the second film and is able to keep things relatively simple (as these types of films should). The film feels way too long as the exposition that's covered in the beginning goes way overtime and the film never really kicks into high gear until the final half where the major action set pieces start to come about. For the most part, the attempt at storytelling and characterisation falls just by the wayside but there is an attempt to show that they've acknowledged their past mistake. And then it's all made somewhat irrelevant in the face of an apocaylyse. Of course, a big budgeted action film is nothing without big budgeted action and the last hour of the film fufill this. One major criticism of the last film was that action was few and far between. Well, not so much here as it is something of a spectacle to see these robots duke it out with one another. And don't get me started on newcomer and Victoria's Secret model, Rosie Huntington Whitely's vapid appearance on screen as the new completely "out of his league" girlfriend. If this is how Michael Bay intends to end his trilogy, he at least did so by delivering it in grand proportions in action and spectacle. It's just too bad that for all of the film's intentions to deliver a blockbuster action-packed spectacle, they still decide to include characters we don't always care about and finish the film with a very cheap and abrupt conclusion. It only ever feels entertaining in the last hour. Regardless of how I feel or how most people feel about the film, it'll go onto make a huge pile of cash at the box office so if you see the film, try to spot the obvious attempts of product placement. It really got annoying to me.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

Yes, we're all fans of Studio Ghibli. So I'm sure most of you will be as interested as I am in their newest film which is set to release very soon in Japan. The film in question is, "Kokuriko-zaka Kara", and is about a group of teenagers who aim to save their school's clubhouse from demolition in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. As expected with Ghibli, the film looks majorly pretty but unfortunately, this first trailer doesn't give much of story insight. Enjoy the teaser anyway.
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And speaking of trailers, the teaser trailer for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" also released this past week. TTSS looks brilliant and has an incredible cast in Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and Mark Strong. Directed by Tomas Alfredson ("Let The Right One In"), the film is set during the Cold War and sees, according to IMDB, "espionage veteran George Smiley forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons."


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And that's it this week. Seems I have a clash for one of my subjects next semester. How unfortunate. Some of the other options available to me don't exactly sound all too appetising but it looks like I'll have no other choice in this instance. Oh well.

I'll just end it there.

End post.