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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Lazuli

Oh hai, reader! 

A number of exciting things happening on my end but I won't divulge information about it just yet in case things go awry. So uhh, just keep your eyes on this space I guess. 

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When last I wrote, I had received a copy of The Disaster Artist from a mate as a birthday present. I've since finished the book and highly recommend it to fans of cult classic The Room or anyone after some weirdly inspirational story about one man's need to create something special. I'm so glad that James Franco's production team have planned to turn the book into a movie as I can see a lot of it translating really well over onto screen. I now have a more different outlook on the creepily mysterious figure behind The Room, Tommy Wiseau

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Remember how I wrote a short film for the 48 Hour Film Project sometime late last year? Well, my director and pal, Mark, has given what can basically be described as his "director's cut" of the short film and has uploaded it for all to see. It's titled, A Tale of Two, though it wasn't my idea cause when I wrote the script, it had no title and I had no brainpower to come up with one cause it was really early in the morning. Please have a watch and if you have anything to say about it, good or bad, let us know! Keen to give it another go this year!
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING


HER: So I finally saw Spike Jonze's latest and adored it! A lot more clever than the film lets on, there's enough in the film to let it pass as science fiction and though it is entirely a work of fiction, it certainly appears as if we're headed in the direction that Jonze has predicted in the film. In addition to making the romance between Joaquin Phoenix's Thedore Twombly and Scarlett Johansson's Samantha seem credible and extremely palpable, Jonze's observant eye on all of love's facets poses some interesting questions: are words enough to construct the feeling of being loved (represented both in the letter company that Twombly works at as well as his devotion to Samantha)? Are we slowly readying our society towards this hybridisation of man and technology? Does the Asian-inspired cityscape play some part in the film's search for connectivity and understanding of loneliness? Some have viewed Her as Spike's answer to Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, also starring Scarlett Johannson, as Her may, or may not, chart Jonze's inadequacies as Coppola's former spouse.

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THE LEGO MOVIE: Saw this as part of a private staff screening which was pretty cool (film doesn't come out here in Australia until April which I presume is due to distributors wanting to maximise profit by pushing it back to the school holidays). I loved this movie more than I thought I would. More than just a soulless cash-in off the name of a recognisable, licensed toy product, there's so much to appreciate about The Lego Movie! It's essentially like this year's Wreck-It Ralph - a warm, funny and charismatic film that's full of heart and ingenuity. When you really think about it, it's amazing to see how much went into actually taking the idea of this film seriously enough that it'd strike a hit with audiences of all ages (not just the recommended age!). The story is itself inspired by the very appeal Lego has to children (and adults!) with a twist towards the end of the film that's unexpectedly amazing. It also such a nice blend of CG and stop-motion style animation that just adds to the magic of the film! It's just great, okay? Extremely fun and satisfying, I had heaps of fun watching this and I daresay that I may go back and see it a second time when it's officially out (also, best version of Batman ever committed to screen, ngl).

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DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: I really dug Dallas Buyers Club but thought a lot of it was pretty "by the numbers". It might not be particularly bold or take too many risks but it does have a great story aided by some pretty amazing and inspired performances from two unlikely (but now Academy Award nominated actors) men - Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Set in the '80s when the AIDS epidemic seemingly swept America, Dallas Buyers Club sees racist and homophobic Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) take action when he finds out he is HIV positive. Desperate, he seeks medication not available in the United States to survive, living longer than his original expiration date of 30 days and extending that to 7 years. It's an inspirational story, for sure, and the film is hardly dull with enough meat on the bone (in spite of McConaughey's shockingly thin figure) to gnaw from with its performances. One would imagine that the film would make for a decent double with Michael Moore's documentary, Sicko, as both films take apart America's flawed legalities regarding the FDA (Food and Drugs Association) and the practices of big pharmaceutical companies. But hey, talk about a career turnaround for McConaughey, ey? Join the McConassaince everyone!

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LABOR DAY: I normally enjoy Jason Reitman's films (though I've yet to see Young Adult) but I wasn't prepared for this mess. You have to really wonder why this film needed to be made/adapted as there really isn't a whole lot in the film to gravitate towards. It's clear in Reitman's script that there seems to be evidence of a bigger film going on in Labor Day but in the end these distracting subplots do little to either accentuate the main story or remain strong enough to be memorable in their own right. Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet are decent in their parts but there's little for them to work off. With so much going on and yet so very little actually happening, reaching the final moments of Labor Day becomes exhausting as it becomes abundantly obvious that the film is completely bloated and doesn't know how to properly brings all its diverging stories to a proper close. Also, I'm trying really hard to forget that awkwardly long scene of the pie-making. Oh god.

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WARRIOR: This movie had no right being as good as it actually was. It was one of the films I'd wanted to check out during its original run in 2011 but, for some reason, never quite got around to it. Two years later, I finally decided to sit down to this and was not prepared for what was essentially a pretty entertaining sports movie. Though mixed martial arts has been sensationalised a little for the sake of cinematic entertainment in the film, at the heart of Warrior are three inspiring performances from Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte, each of whom give it their all in what could have otherwise been a forgettable cash-in on the UFC/MMA phenomenon which, for me at the time of the film's release, felt like it was at its absolute peak. A solid script and considered direction from Gavin O'Connor make this an emotionally resonant sports film. So, so great.

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PRIDE & PREJUDICE: Adapted from the famous Jane Austen novel of the same name, Pride & Prejudice signalled the arrival of director Joe Wright and helped further propel Keira Knightley's appeal as an actress. Knightley earned a nomination for Best Actress at the Academy Awards that year and it's supremely well-deserved as she turns in a beautiful performance as the independent and proud, Elizabeth Bennett. Admittedly, I wasn't too keen on watching this on the pretence that it was a Jane Austen movie but to my surprise, there was actually a lot to enjoy about the film. It's charming, funny, gorgeous and the courtship of Bennett and Mr. Darcy is so well thought out and constructed that it's no wonder many women find themselves yearning for their own Mr. Darcy (even if the dude's a cold, cold, prick to begin with).

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ATONEMENT: I like Atonement, I really do, but I feel as though the reputation that the film has and my level of expectation because of it, is what stopped me from really embracing it. An intricate film told from several points of view, Atonment is gorgeously photographed and meticulously directed, all of which only adds to the film's romantic grandeur. James McAvoy and Keira Knightley are crazy amazing, as is Saorise Ronan (13 at the time of filming) and the film's centrepiece, an uninterrupted five - six minute tracking shot, cleverly demonstrates the misery and general melancholy of war (and more particularly in the case of James McAvoy's character, showcases the agony and turmoil his character had to suffer after years of being unfairly separated from his woman). It should be noted that Atonement came out in an extremely impressive year of films lead by two American classics in There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men.

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OLDBOY: Yeah don't even bother with this one if you're a fan of the original Korean version I am. I really wanted to give this a chance and like it as I was quite looking forward to seeing what Spike Lee would do with this story (and the trailers, in my opinion, were pretty exciting) but the end result is a product that is needlessly violent, aimless and just plain wrong. Personally speaking, I found one of the biggest sins of the film is its characterisation of the antagonist. In the original, director Park Chan Wook's characterisation of Lee Woo-jin - in my opinion one of the best villains ever on screen - was set up in a way where his humanity always shined through despite his sinister motivations. Where Park's villain was sympathetic, Lee's villain Adrian, comes off almost as an ill-conceived-only-to-be-discarded Bond villain. I could say a lot more about what I didn't like about Spike Lee's Oldboy but I don't wanna waste any more time thinking about it. All I wanna do now is just wash it away with Park's original. Yuck.
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And there we have it for the week! Been pretty hooked on Beach House cause dream pop is amazing for the soul (so is shoegaze, yes) so no surprises why their song, Lazuli, is featured as today's blog title. Thanks Blue is the Warmest Color trailer for showing me how awesome they are (even though I've mentioned this before and plugged them on another post, heh)! I didn't realise this track was a single when I first heard it but once I found out, it kinda made a lot of sense. Listen and love, ya'll.


End post.

2 comments:

  1. OMG THE PIE MAKING. THE PIE. OH GOD FLASHBACKS OF PIE. Also you should put the music at the start of the post! So people can listen to it while they read your post. So I can listen to it while I read your post. Or maybe I can just scroll down to the bottom to play the song and then back to the top to read it, but it's up to you if you want to make me go through all that effort. You selfish prick.

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    1. A comment! I haven't had one of these in forever!!! That's not a bad idea actually, I'll consider it (though I personally like it at the end cause it's a decent little conclusive finish to each post). You are the one who is the prick.

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