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Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Greatest

Hello.

Uni starts up again tomorrow which means I'm gonna have to try to keep this post as small as possible cause I don't want to have to waste time editing it down and junk because before you know it it'll be 3.00AM and I'll be sleep deprived as hell.

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Yesterday I hung out with some friends (but you can read all about that over at Ellen's blog). We had pizza, Scrabble'd and talked. It was good.

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I visited my mate's new apartment in the city and it is absolutely awesome. Some of my friends are planning to get him an inflatable pool just for the hell of it (I honestly do not know if this is actually going to go down).

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Picked up this bad boy over at Dungeon Crawl today. I spent so many weekends playing Twisted Metal 2 on my friend’s PSX when I was younger and it’s a game that’s really entrenched itself within my memories of more fonder years (followed by the first Tony Hawk game and Ocarina of Time). If anything, I bought this game out of pure nostalgia (and impulse but let’s not talk about that!) but I don’t think I’ll be disappointed by the product because the game looks about as insane as it did back in the day. Yep, looks like a whole new set of weekends are about to open up again for this.

I also bought myself a copy of "Twisted Metal". Loved the original game back on the PSX and have great memories thanks to this series. There needs to be more games based on crazy vehicular mayhem.

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And "Community" (a.k.a. my absolute favourite comedy series of all time) returns from it's mid-season hiatus on March 15th! (that's the 16th for us, Australians)! MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND SHARE IN MY EXCITEMENT!
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHINGhttp://www.blogcdn.com/blog.moviefone.com/media/2008/03/blue1.jpg

  • Surprisingly was not put off by much of the film at all.
  • Yeah, the film might feel like it's some WKW-imitator but I think it's the fact that its set in America and features English-speaking actors (because I can't say American) which makes it seem like its an imitation.
  • That and the fact that Christopher Doyle isn't lending his talents to lense the film.
  • I'll admit it's a bit strange to see and hear the Wong aesthetic being implemented in an American feature and it's a little disconcerting at the start but flows well enough throughout the feature afterwards.
  • Having said that, I thought the film provided an interesting insight into what Wong percieves as "America".
  • And I couldn't really care if it was a real enough depiction of these characters or not, it just intrigued me how this foreign director views the landscape of America and of its people.
  • I don't blame Wong either for making the film the way he did - I doubt he's all that familiar with the landscape and I didn't feel all that disconnected from the film at all.
  • However that doesn't change the fact that the film barely has a story to keep it altogether.
  • The bit with Natalie Portman's character really put me off the film because I just didn't care for her character at all.
  • Norah Jones wasn't as bad as I thought she would be (singer turned actor usually does not go well).
  • Also Sue Lynne = Su Li-zhen. Am I right? Rachel Weisz was like a mix between Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi's characters in "2046".

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  • So this is my first Spike Lee film and it wasn't a bad way to get into his films I suppose.
  • Although I think I may have watched "Malcolm X" back when I was in high school but I barely remember it.
  • Anyways, Edward Norton turns in a good performance and further proves why he is one of my favourite actors to watch.
  • I had problems with the story/character development, particularly with Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character.
  • It just ultimately didn't add up altogether in lieu of what was really going on.
  • Oh but that scene where Norton's character has his hate speech... damn good stuff.
  • Also Barry Pepper is someone who I have recently come to admire as an actor.
  • He's in a lot of films but mostly in supporting roles (he's great in them though).
  • Give it a shot, I say. Film's not bad at all - looking forward to seeing Lee's other well-regarded films.
240p, we meet again.
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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWShttp://www.disneydreaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Disney-Pixar-Brave-Poster.jpg

The new "trailer" for Pixar's upcoming epic, "Brave", arrived this week. I put trailer in quotation marks because it's more of a clip from the film than a trailer but, and excuse my gibberish here but OMFG DAT FLUID ANIMATION! Pixar's animation gets better and better with each film and if you have the option to watch the trailer in 1080p then by all means because WOW! "Brave" releases later this year (otherwise known as the year that will end blockbuster films).

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And that's all there is this week. Today's blog post title comes from Cat Power's contribution to the soundtrack of "My Blueberry Nights". WKW sure knows how to compile a soundtrack, ey?


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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Monster Hospital

OH HAI.

It may be because of the Japanese Festival last week but I've been on a weird Japanese-high this past week. I don't normally watch dramas from overseas but gave a little Japanese drama called, "Orange Days" a shot. This came about when one night I realised that "47 Ronin" - a Hollywood version of a famous Japanese story that has been brought to screen numerous time in Japan - releases later this year (albiet in 3D) and I was reminded of just awesome the cast for this film was (Keanu Reeves, Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rinko Kikuchi and Kou Shibasaki).

Then I realised that aside from Kou Shibasaki, I was pretty much very familiar with the other actors. I mean I knew she was Mitsuko in "Battle Royale" but other than that she's not really a huge name as far as I know. So then this lead to me seeing what else she had been in and I found out that she'd been building a steady acting career mostly through Japanese drama television and that's how "Orange Days" came about!

In addition to that, I was also reading "Battle Royale" and was able to finish it this week. Fantastic read! You can't really put it down at all - the book just sucks you in. It was nice having the film as a reference for what the characters could look like and how their situations would play out in my mind but I think the book was better than the film in terms of clarifying WHY the Battle Royale program is implemented as well as providing much more background on a lot of the lesser known characters that get killed off-screen in the film. Also some of the changes from book to film are for the better because there were a few situations in the book that had me raising an eyebrow.

And to top it off I also watched a Japanese film called, "Su-ki-da". Thoughts on that film can be found below. But yeah, that's pretty much my weird Japanese-themed week there. I don't think I did much else during the week aside from going to the cinemas to both work and unwind.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

This week I was able to watch (and finish) the Japanese television drama, "Orange Days", Hiroshi Ishikawa's second feature film, "Su-ki-da", the super-powered "Chronicle", and the silent feature that's captured everyone's hearts, "The Artist"! SO AWAY WE GO!

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  • Quite liked this drama!
  • It doesn't quite feel like your typical drama although (and this will make my point rather redundant) it does have a few cliche moments here and there that most Japanese drama enthusiasts would be familiar with.
  • I don't claim to be an expert on the matter though as I've only seen a very small handful of Japanese dramas.
  • The show centers itself around the friendship/romance between Kai, a student stuck between college and the real world, and Sae, a deaf violinist struggling to cope with her disability.
  • Essentially the show is a coming-of-age story that utilises the romance between these two as its driving force.
  • And I can definitely feel like I could relate to the characters in the drama, being that I am in the same situation as Kai and his friends.
  • The show does get a bit corny at times but I feel like as though that's the staple among dramas in general, not just in Japan but throughout most of Asia.
  • But for all its corniness, you just want to cheer for these characters and wish them all the best (despite the fact that they're fictional).
  • I'll be honest and say that I yelled at the screen when something would happen between Kai and Sae.
  • Disappointingly though, the show rushes towards it's conclusion a little too quickly and ends on an extremely positive high which is completely different to the tone that the first few episodes were trying to convey but nonetheless, it's quite an enjoyable drama.
No trailer but here's the closing credits sequence/song from the drama that captures much of the spirit of the drama.
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  • This may be an unpopular opinion but I'll say that while I did enjoy "The Artist", I didn't think it was deserving of as much praise as it has gotten.
  • The film pretty overrated in my opinion but that doesn't stop the fact that it has the power to delight audiences.
  • It looks exactly like a film that "they just don't make any more" but I would prefer a film like "Hugo" over this as far as cinematic nostalgia goes.
  • My biggest problem with "The Artist" were the moments where (SPOILER ALERT!) they introduce sound to the film.
  • To do this would be to undermine the entire film, I thought.
  • I mean the film WANTS to be a silent feature (even providing a 4:3 screen ratio on screen for the film) and yet to introduce sound in a few moments throughout the film is a bit distracting.
  • You might think it's clever and a bit self-aware/tongue-in-cheek, but I thought that in doing that, it undermined a lot of the film's aesthetic.
  • But never mind that, "The Artist" is still a fairly enjoyable film and is one that is primed for many Oscar wins (if the BAFTAs were of any indication).
  • To say that "The Artist" is a triumph is to put it lightly though as it is quite amazing to see that, in this day and age, it's a silent film that is getting all the buzz.
  • Maybe people are too quick to proclaim this a masterpiece and want desperately for a film to be similar to the ones they used to make.

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  • It's always have good to bring in some different perspective and new stories in a popular genre and I think "Chronicle" does a good job of providing a different take on the superhero origins.
  • If this film was stripped of it's powers, it'd essentially be a very Columbine-esque situation for Andrew, a kid who has a terrible time at school and at home.
  • A lot of the film reminded me of "Akira" which would be more than appropriate what with Andrew's downfall and backlash against everyone.
  • My only complaint is the whole "found footage" technique.
  • It works on an emotional level in the beginning of the film when the guys are just goofing around with their newfound abilities and paints a very intimate potrait of them but later on loses it's meaning and becomes less personal and more cinematic.
  • I'm not a fan of the "found footage" technique yet as often in films they are rather gimmicky but I understand that it's a relatively new technique that's only beginning to find it's footing amongst film makers.
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  • Very tough film to sit through as most of the time nothing really happens.
  • Characters just stare off into the distance and don't do or say anything a lot.
  • Ishikawa's a tough director who prefers long and lingering takes on actors to make emotions more emphatic and, in addition to excruciatingly long takes without cuts in between is the lack of action and dialogue.
  • The constant cutaways to the sky seemed too pretentious for my taste.
  • Moreoften than not, his characters don't say much and let their faces and body language do the talking.
  • It works to a degree and to pull it off he'd have to have good actors which, fortunately for him, he did get.
  • Aoi Miyazaki impressed the hell out of me in this film - she did so little and yet was able to convey so much with her time on screen.
  • The scene where Yu and Yosuke share their first kiss is beautifully directed and you can't keep your eyes off Miyazaki's character in that scene.
  • I didn't really enjoy the film all too much which is a shame considering that I liked Tokyo Sora, despite it's flaws.
  • I read one review of the film however that made me change my perspective on the film but that doesn't necessarily mean that I like the film because a lot of the time it's very boring.
  • Oh and Aoi Miyazaki, once again, finding herself in a film that involves itself with music just like in the last few films I've seen her in.
Not a real trailer but I don't imagine the actual trailer to a good job selling the film because it's a hard sell for a film BUT this comes close enough. I probably like this more than the film even though it doesn't present the adult versions of Yu and Yosuke.
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I don't really want to add much else to this post. Couldn't be bothered doing a film news section this week so I'll just leave it here. As always the title from today's post is brought to you by Metric. I had my iTunes on shuffle while I was reading "Battle Royale" and this song came on. I just thought it fit so well with what I was reading at the time. Very cool.



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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Our Deal

HEY HEY.


On Saturday I was at the Japanese Summer Festival to my volunteer my time to lend a helping hand in guiding people around. It was a pretty nice gig - got to a hang out with a friend of mine (she wanted someone to volunteer with and I said I'd be interested) and enjoy a pretty fun festival. The job was simple too which is always good. I sure volunteer for a lot of things...

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MY SCOTT PILGRIM COMIC BOOK COLLECTION IS NOW COMPLETE

Look! My order for the final three "Scott Pilgrim" books arrived in the mail this week! I look forward to finishing off the rest of the series (which so far has proven to be better than the film and a lot different too!). I will start it up again once I finish reading "Battle Royale" (which so far has been nothing short of exciting - VERY HARD TO PUT DOWN!).
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING


I wrote another fully written review this week! This time it's for the magnificent film "Shame"! If you're keen on reading what I had to say, head on over to Mark Battistella Films and check it out for yourself!


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  • Interesting choice in direction by director Steve McQueen.
  • The film could have easily gone through a whole number of interpretations but McQueen chooses to go for an approach that, by the end of it all, comes off as a masterful stroke of artistry.
  • Sands’ death is rather beautiful in a strange way.
  • Being that the story of Bobby Sands is true, one that might not be known all around the world, McQueen chooses to focus his attention on both the prison that housed the IRA and on the hunger strike that Sands and his inmates partook.
  • Less an autobiographical tale and more a character study, I feel.
  • And what’s a good character study without a good actor to bring that character to life.
  • Michael Fassbender’s performance is charged with such quiet intensity - truly magnificent and utterly dedicated to the role.
  • Comparisons to Christian Bale in The Machinist are more than appropriate as Fassbender, under careful medical supervision, starves himself for the sake of the film.
  • A quiet film with a lot to say.

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  • Did not find it all that funny.
  • I mean I chuckled here and there but it wasn’t as hilarious as a lot of people make it out to be.
  • I got really bored after the walk-off.
  • Super unpopular opinion here but I just didn’t think it was good.
  • Now can someone explain to me why a film like Anchorman made me laugh much more than this?
  • I mean both are completely stupid films but I think it’s Will Ferrell’s commitment to Ron Burgundy that makes all his time on screen to be hilarious (just answered my own question, I think).
  • With Ben Stiller’s Derek, I just could not give a crap about him - there was nothing about the character that I liked and I never found him to funny at all.
  • Going around in circles here, I’ll just stop.

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  • Terribly slow film and very disjointed in terms of pacing as certain characters aren’t given enough time to develop or have their individual stories cut off.
  • But that doesn’t really matter because the film is still rather enchanting in a strange way.
  • Nothing about the film is remarkably special and yet there’s a pull behind it that makes the film all the more captivating.
  • This is pretty much due in fact to the way in which the film is directed.
  • Hiroshi Ishikawa shows us life in all it’s mundaneness with his choices in cinematography (all of which are quite lovely to see).
  • I swear you would’ve thought that someone just followed a bunch of women around Tokyo and edited together a film out of it.
  • The realism and the degree of veracity behind it is what makes the film uniquely outstanding.
  • And the themes that are evoked from the film - loneliness, aspiration, depression etc. - are all what help give the film a sense of personality - drawing you into the lives of these six individual women.
  • In the end the problems with the film can be forgiven due to the way in which Ishikawa moves the film, allowing the characters to just simply "live" rather than give them situations to overcome.
  • They just live.
  • Beautifuly poignant and quite comparable to Maboroshi no hikari, another fantastic Japanese film of a similar nature.
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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS


Look alive guys, it's the new trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man"! It's a lot different to the first trailer that was released some time last year and offers up a more grand and epic scope for the film rather than probe into the more "emotional" aspects of the film. Also, Garfield's wise-crack at the car thief while in costume was spot on to how I'd imagine that line to be delivered.


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And if you're a fan of the Bourne series, here's the trailer for "The Bourne Legacy" which is being taken over by Jeremy Renner. Also, I did not know that Edward Norton was in this so all of a sudden I'm interested in this (I haven't seen the third film and can barely remember what happens in the first and second film... so needless to say not a huge fan of the series by any means).

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This week's blog post title comes from a track by indie/surf-rock band, Best Coast. The video for their song (embedded below) stars Chloe Grace Moertz, Tyler Posey, Alia Shawkat, Donald Glover, Miranda Cosgrove and Shailene Woodley and is directed by Drew Barrymore.

I really want to see the full short (runs at ten minutes, from what I hear) but this is the best I could find. I remember catching wind about this video at the time of it's release but couldn't find a copy of it to watch because it was unavailable in Australia (which is pretty stupid if you ask me).

But as always, I'll leave it right there and let you guys enjoy some easy-going tunes. Have fun and be safe. Ciao.


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Monday, 6 February 2012

One Hundred Years

Hey all.

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On Sunday, I was out and about at an event for Old Mout Cider. A friend of mine who volunteers with me at ACMI invited me to the event since she works as Old Mout Cider's marketing person (so she pretty much organised the whole event). It was at Young and Jackson which is pretty much the pub that's straight across the road from Flinders Street Station. Invited some friends out and had a pretty awesome day out. But why re-tell it when Ellen's already done so? Boom.

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Super thick novel is thick. My Battle Royale novel came in the mail this morning and I am a bit taken by just how thick this novel is. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been reading shorter works as of late…Wandering around the city and found a copy of Anvil - The Story of Anvil on DVD for only $7.00. Absolute value, immediate buy. If anyone’s followed me on Tumblr and Blogger, they’d know that this doco recently became a huge favourite of mine, it’s sitting somewhere in my top ten, I’d say. Brought me to tears, this film did.

Ordered "Battle Royale" through The Book Depository and recieved it in the mail this week. Also bought myself a copy of "Anvil: The Story of Anvil" at JB Hi-Fi on impulse (but a film this good warrants a purchase). I was surprised at just how thick the novel was but people on Tumblr have been telling me that it's a really quick read. We'll see about that (slow reader).

As for the DVD, I think that anyone who has consistently read my blog (no one), will know just how much I fell in love with documentary. One of my favourite films ever - hugely inspirational and one of the few films to ever bring me to tears (suggesting that I am a big burly man who shows no weak signs of emotion).
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

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Who follows me on Tumblr? You do? Well you must know how much I am in love with Elizabeth Olsen's everything. I am so in love with her that I went out to see her film, "Martha Marcy May Marlene", last week which recently released in select cinemas across Australia!

Now this is the part where you normally see my quick thoughts on the film but here's something a little different for today. I submitted a written review (yes, I'm actually back to doing these again!), over to Mark Battisella Films so if you're interested in reading what I had to say about the film, please support myself and more importantly the website by heading over there and reading it (hell, why don't you go and tweet about it and like it on Facebook too!). No seriously, I'd really love it if you can spare a few minutes just to read it. Cheers.

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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS


Since I brought up Elizabeth Olsen, here's a trailer for a new film she's a part of called, "Red Lights". The film, directed by Rodrigo Cortes ("Buried"), stars Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro and is about a psychologist and her assistant, both of whom study in paranormal activity, investigating a world-reknowned psychic.

The trailer does a good job of selling me on the film but from what I've heard, the film isn't as good as one would think (which is a shame because it looks pretty good). I'll let you be the judge and I will anticipate this film any way.


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Also here's a new Superbowl trailer for "The Avengers". I'm very much looking forward to this film for many reasons (none of which I will name now). Once again, 2012 is the year to end all blockbuster films.


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And not so much film but more on the TV spectrum, here's a new trailer for Season Two of HBO's awesome series, "Game of Thrones". Just return to me now please... (you too, "Breaking Bad").


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And that is it for this week. Hey, here's the mandatory music highlight! Today's blog post title comes from a track by The Cure! There it is below and now you go and enjoy it.


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