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home :: film

Jul 17, 2007

Movies Seen Recently

The Good

* The Departed - pretty good drama. Boston sounds like a truly horrible place. Wonder how this compares with the original Infernal Affairs on which its based ?

* Brick - genius. Essentially a 40's/50's film-noir set in a modern US high-school. Recommended.

* Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - a must see. Why de-regulation hardly ever works to the benefit of the average person in the face of unbridled greed.

The OK

* Stranger Than Fiction - how can it not be worth watching with Emma Thompson in it ? The ending is a bit of a cop-out which stops this being in the 'Good' category.

* Idiocracy - the first 30min are brilliant and worth seeing the movie for but then it turns into a pretty predictable sub-par comedy.

* 28 Weeks Later - not bad but not good. It has to be said that Robert Carlyle does make a truly great villain.

* Constantine - not as dire as I thought but definitely a case of missed opportunities. Read the original 'Hellblazer' comic instead and ponder what terrible mayhem Hollywood will wreak upon The Watchmen.

The Ugly

* Music and Lyrics - rom-com's suck. Nuff said.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2007.07.17-19:08.00]

Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons movie is upon us.

All bow down before the mighty Homer (well spotted Mel! be sure to check out her sailing adventures too).

On a related note apparently the pagans are displeased.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2007.07.17-19:01.00]

Mar 08, 2007

Film Trailers

Back from a few days down south and I'm reconnected to the interweb - here are a couple of trailers that caught my eye:

* Paprika - looks like a promising anime from Japan. The quality of the animation looks stunning.

* Black Sheep - similar to Peter Jacksons early splatter-core days is a Kiwi horror that makes you think twice about sheep.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2007.03.08-18:32.00]

Oct 19, 2006

Water + More

Movies I've seen recently . . .

* Water

Part of Deepa Mehtas trilogy (her earlier films were Fire & Earth). Excellent film providing an insight into the barbaric practise of isolating Indian widows. The movie is set in the late 1940's so hopefully this type is stuff isn't still practised. Highly recommended.

* Out of the Blue

Riveting yet harrowing drama exploring the day David Gray went on a shooting rampage in the tiny NZ town of Aramoana (Maori for 'Pathway to the sea') and killed 13 of his neighbours. The moment David snaps made the entire theatre draw breath as the idyllic peace of the town is shattered by his actions. Its sad to think that there are so many people out there who slowly withdraw from society they fear that aren't captured by the mental health system. Definitely recommended. Note that the director Robert Sarkies earlier work includes a 'Shallow Grave' type thriller called 'Scarfies' which is also pretty good and a lot more light-hearted than 'Out of the Blue'.

* Rosenstrasse

Movie depicting one of the few displays of public protest to Hitlers deportation of the Jews in WWII occurred on Rosenstrasse in Berlin. In a passive protest thousands of German wives demanded the return of their Jewish husbands held in a Rosenstrasse collection facility before being deported to concentration camps. The movie itself is in German with English subtitles - its pretty good but a little to long. One of the interesting things related to this movie was finding the various Wikipedia references to other German resistance efforts - such as the White Rose movement, the Swing Kids and the Edelweiss Pirates.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2006.10.19-19:57.00]

Aug 06, 2006

The Machinist + More

Movies I've seen recently . . .

* The Machinist

One of those creepy slow descents into madness type of flicks. Christian Bale plays a machine-operator with insomnia who starts to lose all sense of reality. Recommended.

* The Woodsman

Another one of those slightly creepy movies. Kevin Bacon plays a reformed child-molestor trying to make a new life for himself outside jail. Recommended.

* Triplets of Belleville

Genius animation from France/Belgium - a mother tries to find out what happened to her cycling son who has mysteriously disappeared. Highly recommended.

* Dig

Follow the relative career paths of two related bands - the Brian Jonestown Massacre & the Dandy Warhols. The ego's and personalities on display from these two groups are both pretty astounding. Amusing.

* Lonesome Jim

One of my favourites of 2006 - caught at the tail end of the recent Film Festival. A disillusioned guy moves back home in his late 20's to try and sort out his life after failing to make a mark on the big city. Recommended.

* The Big Night

An oldy but a goody - a small Italian restaurant struggles to survive in 1950's USA because they won't compromise on their cuisine (you to can cringe when the person demands a side of spaghetti to go with her risotto). The pacing is a little slow but its a nice enough movie for a rainy day.

* Kolya

Another oldy - I missed this when it did the Festival circuit several years ago. Basically one of those 'buddy' movies in which an old mans life is enlightened by the initially unwelcome appearance of a young boy whom he has to look after.

* Clerks II

I was prepared for the worst but actually came away enjoying this - its still not as good as the original (or Mallrats / Chasing Amy / Dogma) but its much better than the last one (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back). Recommended if you like Kevin Smith (and you're not easily offended).

[/film] | [permalink] | [2006.08.06-21:08.00]

Jul 24, 2006

Human Traffic + More

Rented a bunch of movies recently -

Human Traffic

I was actually after the Acid House and accidentally picked up this instead. It wasn't to bad. Possibly a little to artificially 'hip' for my liking but a pretty funny look at people escaping the drudge of their 9 to 5 McJob's for a hedonistic clubbing weekend.


By the same guy that did Akira - Steamboys animation is of a similarly high-standard but the storyline isn't as good. Essentially its a kind of 'steampunk' sci-fi story set during the industrial revolution of the 1800's. Not bad but not great.

Family Stone

I'm not a fan of rom-coms so my impressions of this will always be biased :-) basically its just a super cliched story of a woman meeting her partners super-tight family for the first time. Intimidating for sure but the feeble attempts at humour and romance through cringe-worthy embarressment fall pretty flat. The plot line as usual is telegraphed halfway through the proceedings and there are no redeeming special effects or performances to carry the movie either.

Dr Who

The first three episodes of the Christopher Eccelston helmed Tardis were a pleasant surprise. I never watched it on TV because I figured it would be terrible. Turned out I was quite wrong and its actually a pretty good adventure show with plenty of tongue in cheek humour to keep both adults and children alike happy. It's a shame Chris decided to give up this role, he was on a par with Tom Baker, as I'm not sure I like the new guy - then again he may grow on me.

Cowboy Bebop: Series 1

Another Anime - this time about the crew of the ship 'Cowboy Bebop' as they hop from planet to planet collecting (or attempting to collect) bounties on various nefarious criminal types. Unlike most Anime this is more about the stories and characters than the usual 'giant-transforming-robot' plots prevalent in many similar shows. I'll definitely be checking out the next in the series.

And at the movies -

As it is in Heaven

Excellent Swedish 'feel good movie' about a sick conductor who returns to his tiny home town to recuperate. The town has a choir in need of some professional assistance and you can pretty much tell what will happen from here on in. This doesn't stop the film from being a refreshing alternative take on the traditional schmaltzy Hollywood fare (any number of 'famous-guy inspires the little-guy to rise above their modest beginnings' movies). Recommended.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2006.07.24-21:03.00]

Jun 25, 2006

24 Hour Party People + More

Rented three films this weekend -

* 24 Hour Party People - brilliant depiction of the rise and fall of Factory Records. Told through Tony Wilson (well played by Steve Coogan) the film chronicles Factorys ups and downs through Joy Division, The Happy Mondays and the Hacienda. Tagline - Genius. Poet. Twat. [Web banner with pictures of Ian Curtis, Shaun Ryder and Tony Wilson respectively]

* Howls Moving Castle - I'm a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki so I was looking forward to his latest film. The animation is spectacular (as you'd expect) and the storyline is simple but rewarding (suitable for almost all ages). Not quite as good as his earlier western releases - Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away though.

* Brokeback Mountain - The cinematography was amazing - the scenery was almost a third character. The storyline and acting were both well done but I did find the film dragged a little. The low-talking was also a little annoying - at one point we had to switch on the subtitles to see what was being said - I wonder if men mumbling is the root of all miscommunication :-)

[/film] | [permalink] | [2006.06.25-21:28.00]

May 18, 2006

Siones Wedding

Best Kiwi comedy I've seen in many many years - Siones Wedding.

As a rule Kiwi comedy is almost universally dire - Kiwis themselves can be pretty funny but put them in front of a camera and the result will be largely cringe-worthy.

I guess the fact that Siones Wedding is put together by Pacific Islanders (Auckland actually has the largest Pacific Island population in the Pacific) means we get a fresh new twist on life in NZ. The movie itself is a pretty good take on the old 'men forced to grow up and act their age' - banned from their friends wedding by the community priest until they can bring respectable partners to the wedding and show some responsilble behaviour.

More information over at IMDB.

Hopefully this film sees a wider release than NZ, Aus and the Islands as it has a pretty universal appeal.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2006.05.18-01:37.00]

Jan 26, 2006

How It Should Have Ended

Neat - a site with animated takes on how popular movies should have ended.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2006.01.26-00:17.00]

Jan 08, 2006

Films Seen Recently

Excellent family action/adventure with a bit of heart - a type of film not seen since Indiana Jones - King Kong. Bit of a weepy at the end, drags a little in places (a Peter Jackson hallmark) and of course it stays true to the cheesiness of the 1933 original.

Great Aussie drama chock full of Kiwi actors - Little Fish. Can be a little depressing but that tends to be the nature of movies about addicts (see also Requiem for a Dream).

A fairly untypical Bill Murray movie - Broken Flowers. Pretty enjoyable road-trip type movie but the ending may be a little unsatisfying for some. Although if you're a Jim Jarmusch fan then its probably a must see.

A feel-good xmas movie about the brief 1914 truce - Joyeux Noel. Not bad but a little twee.

Probably the best Kiwi movie I've seen since Whale Rider (which some might argue is overly sentimental) - In My Fathers Den. Excellent drama/mystery which shows its not all sweetness and light in small-town NZ.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2006.01.08-21:04.00]

Dec 05, 2005

Little Fish

Saw 'Little Fish' on the weekend - first grown-up movie we've seen in awhile (ie the average age of the audience must have been 35+). Its not really a warm-fuzzy feel good type movie but it has a realistic story, down to earth characters and great acting (stars Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving). Definitely recommended if you like low-key Australian films.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2005.12.05-21:52.00]

Sep 13, 2005

Sin City + Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

OK - Saw Sin City a few weeks ago - not to bad stylistically and storywise but I wouldn't call it a particularly enjoyable movie (in the same way that Pulp Fiction was actually pretty fun to watch).

Pretty Good (if you've never seen the original) - Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the weekend and thought it was pretty good. Not as good as the original though - Depp doesn't have the same meloncholic-malevolence that Gene Wilder did in the original.

Excellent - The same week I saw Sin City I also caught Heights which was actually a very engaging romantic drama centered around collapsing relationships over a 24hr period.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2005.09.13-02:34.00]

Jun 06, 2005

Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

So I've just seen the final Star Wars film Revenge of the Sith and I'd have to say its the best of the three prequels. Which doesn't say much but at least I get closure. The plot isn't to bad but you could still drive several star destroyers through the holes. The dialog and acting is universally terrible but the visual spectacle is still the primary draw-card. The initial opening space battle is definitely my fave scene - its a shame Babylon 5 didn't get a bigger budget for its special fx as its an infinitely better example of the 'space opera' genre than the last few Star Wars movies (my fave is probably Empire Strikes Back).

Someone really needs to turn one of Iain Banks Culture novels into a movie for a decent example of a hard sci-fi story set in the distant future.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2005.06.06-07:20.00]

Dec 13, 2004

Films To See (Updated 13-Dec-04)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - QT Trailer.

War of the Worlds - QT Trailer.

Live action anime: Casshern - QT Trailer.

AppleSeed - QT Trailer.

Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence - QT Trailer.

Hero - QT Trailer.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2004.12.13-04:42.00]