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Monday, 16 July 2012

What If We Could

HEY.

I was out quite a bit this week, mostly due to the fact that a friend of mine came down from Queensland to visit. He's up there working and I don't think we'll see him again for another year although he wants to try and come down during the summer.

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On Monday, we went to Big Boy BBQ in Caufield, a restaurant whose speciality lies in the art of the American BBQ. Got ourselves the biggest platter they had to share between six people and it was amazing. There were no greens on the table - just all meat, from ribs to wings to shoulders. And their selection of BBQ sauce is top too. So yeah, meat lathered in BBQ sauce = the best. I'd totally recommend the place. And then on Tuesday night we just went out for a few drinks. No photos to share though from either of those nights. Not quite the photographer when it comes to my everyday life, clearly.

Oh and then on Wednesday I had yet another dinner with the same group of friends but then afterwards we played some Liar's Dice (those who've played Red Dead Redemption will probably know what I'm talking about).

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The full program for this year's Melbourne International Film Festival was released this week and I was more than happy with the films screening this year. I bought a pass that allows me to see a maximum of ten films so I've booked in the ten films I'm wanting to see. There are some Melbourne critics/reviewers on Twitter that I follow who will be seeing over 60 films which is mindblowingly crazy! I kinda would like to be able to muster up the energy to power through 60+ films in two weeks but I can barely get through three in a week lately!

  • Amour (2012) dir. Michael Hanake
  • Headshot (2011) dir.Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
  • Himizu (2011) dir. Sion Sono
  • I Wish (2011) dir Hirokazu Koreeda
  • Liberal Arts (2012) dir. Josh Radnor
  • Nameless Gangster (2012) dir. Yun Jong-bin
  • Something From Nothing - The Art of Rap (2012) dir. Ice-T and Andy Baybutt
  • The House I Live In (2012) dir. Eugene Jarecki
  • The Imposter (2012) dir. Bart Layton
  • Undefeated (2012) dir. Daniel Lindsay
As you can see, mostly repping Asian cinema with a few documentaries thrown into the mix. I'm a huge devotee of Asian films so it's no surprise my list has turned out the way it has. And honestly, I could have chosen to see something like Moonrise Kingdom but I'm almost positive that's getting a wide release in Australia anyway so I'd rather see something that most likely won't get a release in Australia outside of the festival circuit. Otherwise it'd go straight to DVD (sometimes they don't even!).

To see the full list of films that will be at MIFF this year, head on over to their website and check it out!

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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

Fanart poster that I wish was real.

Akira Kurosawa is heralded as one of the greatest filmmakers to ever leave an indelible imprint on the landscape of cinema. His films have enthralled and inspired generations of audiences and filmmakers alike and will probably continue to do so for future generations. Arguably his most recognisable and popular film, Seven Samurai, was the film that announced the arrival of Kurosawa in the western world and was a film that, along with Kurosawa's other samurai pictures, helped inspire filmmakers like George Lucas and Sergio Leone to apply the Kurosawa formula to their re-establishment of the science-fiction and Western genres respectively. 

When a farming town is terrorised by a group of rowdy bandits, the farmers seek out the help of some samurai to help them fight back against the bandits. Apparently there's a lot of versions of the film but the one I have, which is included in the Akira Kurosawa boxset from Madman that I bought a while back, is the full cut and stands at an epic 3 hours and a half. I'm actually surprised that total running time could fit onto a single disc given that a film like Once Upon A Time In America was split across two discs!


Seven Samurai paces itself nicely over its lengthy running time and never abstains from feeling monotonous or dull. Light-hearted humour is sprinkled all throughout and characters always remain interesting enough for us to want to care about. I think with a running time like this, there would have to be no excuses for a lack of story/character development which Seven Samurai fortunately is able to accomplish and then some. Even the smallest of characters have enough time on screen to satisfyingly fulfil their character arcs.

The grand scope of the film is not to be ignored either. The fact that Kurosawa decided it would be appropriate to shoot on location as opposed to an indoor built set is a testament to how grand his vision for the film would be (although I read that he decided it would be better for the actors to engage with their environment as opposed to make one up for themselves). The effort that has gone into making the film is quite staggering and it definitely pays off - I don't recall a lot of films from this era, Hollywood or otherwise, that use a large and expansive landscape like this one (correct me if I'm wrong!). It really took me back just the scale of the film in context of the time in which it was made.


Also on a technical level, the camera work/cinematography is fantastic. Every shot is perfect - the battle scenes are beautifully staged and not a single shot is wasted. Kurosawa cited influence from American director, John Ford, for his choices in staging characters and action and appropriates it within the context of his film accordingly.

But what more could be said about the film that hasn't already been discussed? Seven Samurai is a film for the ages - one that has stood the test of time and still looks and feels as exciting to this day. Essential viewing for anyone who loves films or is studying it.

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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

Much news to break down this week thanks to the shenanigans of the San Diego Comic Con! So let's get right to it. Here's some film news from this week.


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In video game movie news, the massively popular Assassin's Creed series will be making its way to the big screen. Michael Fassbender, last seen in the sci-fi thriller, Prometheus, is confirmed to be starring in the picture and will also have a producing credit. So if that isn't enough to get excited for a VIDEO GAME movie then I don't know what will. Fassbender's a picky actor too so there's gotta be some level of legitmacy.

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In other video game movie related news, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, will also get a movie makeover. I'd be interested in a Deus Ex movie but that's only if there's a good team of people behind it. I mean if anything it could potentially be another Blade Runner-esque film. Just save the golden filter for another film cause I don't think I can handle it.

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Sam Raimi, director of the original Spider-Man films, unveiled his latest film, Oz: The Great and Powerful at Comic-Con. The film is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz but I can't help but feel cynical about this film because despite its robust cast, it looks way too similar to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. We'll see how this one fares when it releases some time next year.


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Coming off the spectacular success of The Avengers earlier this year, Marvel have unveiled their plans for future films in the coming years. Officially dubbed, "Phase Two", this second step for Marvel will include Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man.

I like the fact that the Thor and Captain America films aren't given the standard numerical imprint to show that it's a sequel. Also, comic book readers will understand why the Winter Soldier suffix has been given to Captain America. As for The Dark World, I'm not sure as to why it's called that.


Marvel also showed off official concept art for Guardians of the Galaxy and Edgar Wright, director of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, showed off his initial test footage for his adaptation of Ant-Man. Marvel's commitment to bringing their comics to life is one that I really admire. We're entering a bit of a renaissance period with comic book films where studios really want to explore the genre and who can blame them? Decades worth of story has already been established for them and there's a huge untapped goldmine of money to be made. But what it all boils down to is a matter of tastefully bringing it together. Its a shame that DC hasn't been as successful with their superheroes, save for Batman, but here's hoping Man of Steel, the newest Superman movie, will change that. Marvel is fortunate in that their characters are embedded in reality moreso than a godlike figure like Superman (or any other hero in DC's glorious pantheon of icons) which is probably why Batman, the most "human" of all DC's characters, has benefited from all this mainstream exposure. /endtangent. 

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Here's a new minute-long trailer for Dredd, a film that I had no real interest in until I saw this. I mean, the previous trailer looked alright but it didn't blow me away like this one did. Zack Snyder, eat your heart out - this is how you do slow-motion (and do it tastefully I might add...well as tasteful as shooting a bullet into someone's brain can get!). I'm liking Dredd, more and more, and I hope it's not disappointing cause right now, it looks like a good bit of fun.


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I might be forgetting something else but I can't seem to recall being excited for anything else this week. I mean there were some other rumblings at Comic Con but no official footage has been shown, just recorded footage from fans which I shy away from.
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And we've reached the end of what seemed to be a very LONG post. Apologies. Or maybe not - I think some people actually like that I write a lot. Anyways, this blog post's title comes from the official score soundtrack to David Fincher's, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I quite like it and anyone who was a fan of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' work in The Social Network should get a kick out of this one too. Have fun.



End post.

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