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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.

1 comment:

  1. Did you download "I Saw The Devil"?
    :o I saw those covers for HP on tumblr, they're pretty neat.
    I still can't get over it though. (that it's all ended;books and films) :<

    ReplyDelete