Thursday, November 12, 2009
Quotes are great aren't they?
Infact, people love them so much that they get them tattooed onto their bodies. Quotes, mantras, biblical passages, song lyrics, shoddy little chinese symbols... the list goes on.
But if you're a teensy too squeemish to take the plunge and get inked, then this spiffy shirt from the talented lovelies at Chip Chop is just as good!
For $70, you can wear your favourite film quotes loud and proud. Plus, it's sure to be an instant icebreaker with any film buff who happens to be standing next to you in line at the cinema.
Hit these babies up at chipchop.com.au
Go ahead, make my day.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
If you're unfortunate enough to have to sit through a yawn worthy horror movie (The Strangers, I'm looking at you), then this pretty little ditty ought to make it easier to stop you escaping from the couch.
Made from a pre-loved Breakfast At Tiffany's record, fill this number with yummy sweets and snacks, use it as a centrepiece or just fling it on your wall. For 8bucks, you can't go wrong really.
Perhaps those Shaun Of The Dead fellows should have refrained from hurling their collection at zombies and invested in a new homewares business instead. Just a thought.
Find yours at www.chiclookate.etsy.com
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
So after watching Ride In The Whirlwind (1965), I could only feel relief that Jack Nicholson had stuck to acting as his forte.
Nicholson tries his hand at writing (aswell as producing and starring as the lead) in this low budget Western, directed by Monte Hellman.
Despite a shoestring budget, the props, costumes and landscapes were quite fitting but the film took a turn for the worse with lazy directing, poor editing, jarring jumpcuts, lazy continuity and a stale two dimensional mise en scene.
Excessive filming in real time is both unimaginative and unecessary. Had they had spent less time showing every banal action in long, single takes, Nicholson may have been able to explore the psychology and backstories of the characters to make viewers actually care if they succeed to outrun a gang of bandits, while keeping the story rolling along with fervour.
Basically, any life threatening scenario is instantly eradicated of all it's suspense the moment the escapists decide to play a long, dull game of checkers.
The movie is unlike typical Westerns with no definitive villians and heroes, and a potential love interest that is as plain as cardboard, fizzling out into obscurity.
Had there have been more creativity and initiative, it could have become quite a powerful flick, resting on the themes of loneliness and loss. Sadly, this little number did nothing to make me feel "Much Obliged".
Save yourself the 85minutes and watch something starring Lee Van Cleef instead.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
JB HiFi has once again restored my faith in quality bargain sales.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Les Quatre Cents Coups (or The 400 Blows), I embarked upon a hunt to find my own copy of this momentous cinematic artwork.
The uni library has a few yellowed books but no copies of the movie to hire. But why hire when you can own?
Expecting a challenge, I was blown away by the sale at JB, stocking not just a copy of the winning 1959 film for Best Director at Cannes, but a 4 DVD set showcasing the 'Adventures of Antoine Doinel'!
Françious Truffaut, cinematic genius considered to be soley responsible for the New Wave era of french cinema, created a fictional character by the name of Antoine Doinel.
Between 1959 and 1979, Truffaut created five films following the mischievous Doinel as he matures through a life that closely follows the directors own, leading one to believe that the films are more of an autobiographical series.
All five Doinel films star the lively Jean-Pierre Léaud who formed a close friendship with the director.
Their similar appearances are striking, with Truffaut and Léaud only appearing face to face onscreen in La Nuit Americaine (1973) despite numerous cameos of the director in earlier productions.
Over the 20 year span, audiences have watched Jean- Pierre Léaud grow into a livelier, resilient Antoine, alter-ego of the director, making this DVD set an amazing addition to any collection.
The set contains;
The 400 Blows (or Le Quatre Cents Coups), 1959
The Brats (or Les Mistons), 1957 - short film, 18minutes
Antoine and Collette (or Antoine et Collette), 1962 - short film, 29minutes
Stolen Kisses (or Baisers volés), 1968
Bed & Board (or Domicile Conjugal), 1970
Love On The Run (or L'amour en fuite), 1979
Plus all the original theatrical trailers, filmography and a 10 page booklet.
I paid $37 for this incredible set - that's about 6bucks for each masterpiece!
Find yours at either JB HiFi or by logging onto www.umbrellaent.com.au and clicking on the World Cinema tab.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I'm one of those people who actively avoids watching trailers to a movie.
Sure, they're a good resource for answering the age old question "What's it about?" but there's other ways to understand a synopsis without having the excitement blown for you in the space of 80 seconds.
Trailers seem to be a miniature movie in themselves and because of this, I believe they show waaaay too much.
This is why I flat out refuse to watch any trailers for Tim Burtons latest adaption 'Alice In Wonderland', set to hit Oz in 2010.
Amongst other exciting installments heralding a new decade, this visual feast is one of the most anticipated.
Featuring Burton's signature style of jaw dropping cinematography and animation, the film stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway, aswell as Aussie actress Mia Wasikowska playing Alice. Basically, it's a winner.
In light of its impending release, I've steered clear of YouTube, IMDB and Google images, determined not to have the novelty and surprise spoiled from overexposure.
Instead, I've spent the past week reacquainting myself with the filmography of the wired-haired wonder himself, Tim Burton, and even read through two great books on the side.
Anyone who's ever loved the classics like Edward Scissorhands and the Nightmare Before Christmas, would get a giddy little thrill from discovering the ideas behind their symbolisms.
I highly suggest either 'Burton On Burton', edited by Mark Salisbury and 'The Films of Tim Burton' by Alison McMahan as they're both a fantastic insight into each film from conception to creation.
Indulging in my Burton Bonanza, this week I watched;
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Nightmare Before Christmas
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
You'll notice I omitted Batman Forever. This was merely only produced by Burton, who admits he had very little to do with its creation as he was busy filming Ed Wood at the time.
If you get through all of these and you're still craving a Burton fix, I’d be a bit concerned. Still, be sure to hit up Ed Wood, Planet of the Apes, Sleepy Hollow, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Burton's infamous short film, Vincent.
Burton has come a long way from drawing cute animals like Disney's 'Fox and the Hound' by forging his own distinct, enviable style into the hearts of millions.
So on yer bike!
Pop down to your nearest Blockbuster and ask for Burton!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The highly anticipated new installment from Quentin Tarantino has finally hit Australia, and folks, this is one movie you have got to go see on the big screen so don’t read any further until you have!
Set in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, we follow the story of various characters, some Jewish, some just plain angry, seeking their own personal revenge upon Nazi troops - the word ‘story’ being the operative word here. Viewers will discover that the film has been divided into chapters, with the first of these even stating “Once Upon A Time…”.
At this moment, we are reminded this is merely a story of fictional characters set loose in a real moment of history, where anything can happen.
With QT being the puppet master, prepare to be shocked/satisfied with exaggerated violence and black humour, such as a scene opening with an ECU of a scalping. I havn’t flinched so much since I watched Luis Bunuel’s Un Chien Andalou.
Yes, it’s violent. But it’s a revenge story, set in WW2, created by Tarantino. That’s a winning combination. But as QT once famously said, “You don’t go see a Tarantino movie and not expect to see violence, alright? That’s like going to a Metallica concert and asking the fuckers to turn the music down!"
But these aren’t cheap shots designed to just make you gasp or repel. They strike in the midst of calm - emphasizing on the war’s sudden brutality that was always lurking beneath the surface. Additionally, it demonstrated the sacrifices and devotion the characters lived and died by.
It’s messy and bloody but the story is tight, succinct and superbly cast. Christoph Waltz and Mélanie Laurent are fine actors, their deceptively cool demeanors designed to shock and taunt, while mainstream celebrity appearances from Mike Myers and Brad Pitt, surprisingly, don’t deter the focus as one may expect, but rather, bring characters to life by injecting the film with a refreshing bout of humour, with Pitt managing to grab most of the laughs - particularly when expressing his dislike towards fighting in basements.
Reflecting the various cultures effected by the war, the film contains multilingual dialogue, ranging from English to subtitled French and German (and a fourth if you want to count Pitt's delightfully tragic Italian. “Bonjourno…?”).
If you’re quick, you’ll also discover QT has paid homage to various cinematic styles and references that provides a fresh, kooky new way of telling a story based on a familiar issue.
On-screen animation of names and freeze frames echo gritty 60’s television programs while the score of Leonie-esque spaghetti western music playing upon the “Bear Jew”s’ arrival gives a nauseating expectation of gore. QT has fine tuned our sense of hearing - not even Bob Dylan was safe.
Using these graphics can be distracting as they noticeably ‘pull’ viewers out of the world their watching. QT indulges in not only directing his crew, but audiences aswell. Occasionally, there’ll be arrows, circles and names scribbled on the screen. At one point, we’re even given a brief history lesson on the flammable qualities of celluloid film by the narrative voice of Samuel L. Jackson.
Again, this all aids to building the suspense for the anticipated “Operation Kino” against Nazi troops while highlighting the fictional qualities of the film. Peeking glances at a blueprint reminds you it’s just a construction.
Direct references include mention of 1929 silent film, Pitz Palü plus an assortment of movie posters adorning the cinema walls such as La Assassin Habite au 21. More pronounced references are exemplified in German director G.W Pabsts’ appearance in the form of a guessing game, or the Max Linder film festival and how Private Zoller “always preferred him over Chaplin.”
However, staying true to the stylistic path he forged for himself, Tarantino mirrors the techniques of his own works. Admittedly written around the time of Kill Bill, the similarities are expectedly uncanny, displaying QT’s love for double agents (another being scandalous Mata Hari, whose name adorns another game card).
Like Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds actively avoids having a protagonist, displaying how a single story can have several prime characters.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Mexican Standoff while you’re at it - that’s where several characters are aiming weapons at each other at the same time. Pulp Fiction’s was in the diner with Pumpkin and Honey Bunny, aswell as Resevoir Dogs climatic ending. Heck, even True Romance had one!
And while on the topic of QT style, be prepared for shell shock. Clocking in at nearly 3 hours, this genius always knows how to keep a story progressing without ever being predictable, and he will play with your expectations along the way.
The very notion of watching a frightening mass murder in a cinema (with Shosanna's face that seemed eerily familiar to a cackling Carrie), while being in a cinema, made the horrific ordeal seem as realistic as much as it was extravagant, setting his film apart from any WW2 movie you’ve ever grabbed onto with all your wiener schnitzel lickin’ fingers.
This may just be one of the finest films for ‘09. I’ll bet my sauerkraut sandwich on it.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
While the rest of you neo-gadget obsessed kids rush to cinemas to view the latest screenings in 3D, I have done the polar opposite by hitting up a factory seconds store in search of an oldschool VHS player.
Blu-ray? HD? 3D? No-D!
I found my trusty little GC480W for a mere 44bucks.
Not that I have anything against restored versions of the classics, but I'm a tad impatient to sit around and wait for them to be released. (I'd much rather sit around and watch them instead!)
Gone are the days where I find near forgotten treasures like The Red Shoes, Ivan The Terrible and Alphaville crammed inbetween the shelves of 791 at uni, collecting dust. The same goes with tempting Ebay listings and JB bargain finds only to discover they're of VHS format.
Sadly, many classic videos sit alone and forgotten in opshops and movie memorabilia stores. These little dudes desperately need a home so quick sticks!
Grab yourself a VHS player and immerse yourself in the nostalgic, albeit grainy, flicks of yesteryear!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Well I did. For a whole five hours. I was six years old and had my rucksack packed with food and my piggy bank. I only got as far as the backyard before I pitched my tent out under the stars (And when I say "I", I mean of course, my father).
I tried to sleep but the moon cast scary shadows. Dogs in the distance howled and tree branches leered towards me, scraping the tent like fingers down a chalkboard. I'm not sure how quick I ran back into the house but I was pretty thankful I had a bed to hide under!
It’s fair to say that most people, at sometime in their lives, will feel like escaping the daily grind or play victim to fantasizing themselves in their own oasis.
It’s no different for Coraline Jones.
We find this grouchy, blue haired girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) stubbornly avoiding unpacking her belongings into the new (well, ancient) home that she has moved into, along with her parents who work obsessively, striving to start their own business. Consumed in their work, it has left them distanced from their only child, oblivious to Coraline’s dilemma of being homesick, and, sick of her home.
Having no friends, missing her old ones, being cooped up inside from the miserable rain and sitting down to her dad’s vegetable slop everynight is enough to make anyone want to get on their hands and knees and follow a tiny, trumpet playing mouse through a secret door into a glittering parallel universe!
On the “Other” side, Coraline ventures into a world that is a replica of her own – but better! The weather is beautiful, the garden is blossoming, her annoying crooked necked neighbour Wybie is a mute and then there’s crazy, old Mr. B, the acrobatic Russian with a disturbing festish for cheese, who has transformed his apartment into a magical circus complete with cotton candy cannons.
If it wasn’t for the overly-charming-but-not-quite-right Other Mother (voiced by Teri Hatcher), children would think Coraline had hit the jackpot and would also begin to plot their own escapes by eagerly tearing off the wallpaper to reveal secret doors, or just running full pelt at a brick wall (Just like Platform 9 ¾, but less Harry and more Muggle).
And like any fable of magical, mysterious adventures ('Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'Alice in Wonderland' spring to mind), all is a little bit dark and twisted under the wondrous exteriors. You see (ha, pun), the Other Mother just wants one teensy thing of Coraline’s; her eyes. She bargains with Coraline, promising to sew buttons in their place - a small favour to pay for gifts, daily banquets and endless love and attention. An eye for an eye (or button in this case).
Coraline has been described as too frightening for children and I can see why. As the Other Mother reveals her sinister, twisted side, desperate to own Coralines soul, she gradually transforms from a warm, sophisticated lady into a looming creature, piercing like a praying mantis with menacing teeth and razor sharp talons.
Icecubes floating in lemonade, swirling fog, facial expressions, steam from a frypan, shadows and swollen heart shaped flowers are finer details executed in a way that mirrors real life and will have you gasping in your seat.
The score used in this film was quite striking also. Instead of the extravagant, cheesy singing and dancing hoopla churned out for all standard childrens films, Coraline features music that is delicate, haunting and ‘other’ worldly. (See what I did there?)
But then, this is no standard children’s film!
Friday, August 7, 2009
Aside from the obvious hypnotic powers radiating from newsagencies and paper stands, I have a disturbing habit of burning a hole in my wallet each time I enter a 10metre radius of these places.
Not exactly the most logical thing to do if you're a dollar concious uni student, but my inner geek gets such a rush from these splurges that it requires, nay, insists, that this happens more often then I'd like to admit to.
There's just nothing quite like the shiny, new issue of your favourite magazine(s?) hitting the stands, a hot celebrity or model adorning the covers and big, bold, juicy type demanding your attention. (I always grab them from the back of the pile - less fingers have flicked through those issues!)
So imagine my utmost excitement when I laid eyes on the fresh new issue of Empire, the portal to all things cinema, with a bright, blazin' crest welcoming the Heroes of 2010!
Not only do I get to catch up on the new releases, but I can also peek into what's currently being filmed, despite it still being a little hush-hush. Kicking off the new decade though, is a handful of exciting features from right here in the wonderful land of Oz!
Beautiful Kate, Cedar Boys and Hugo Weaving's Last Ride are all dark, moody and broody and have been received with high regard. Let’s not forget the highly anticipated Balbio either, starring incredible Aussie actor, Anthony LaPaglia!
I wish there were more, but this is a nice start indeed!
Anyway, enough plugging the mag. Just be sure to get yourselves to the cinema and give something back to the Australian film industry.
Now, I'm off to go plant some trees in return for my sweet hoard.
Monday, August 3, 2009
What better way to kick off this brand spankin' new blog than to take a moment to acknowledge the very beginnings of the films we see - and just how they came about to have scheduled times!
The Master of Suspense, or Alfred Hitchcock as we common folk all better know him by, was a cinematic genius who's festively plump, rotund figure has become an internationally recognised icon with just a few simple strokes of a paintbrush.
Not bad, eh?
What's more, is this jump-cut ethusiast is the man responsible for insisting cinemas play their releases at certain hours.
You see, back in the old days, flicks were on a reel of continous play that were occasionally followed by news broadcasts, cartoons and advertisements.
That's right, my little movie monsters. You could've bought a ticket just to watch the local weather report and a Bugs Bunny cartoon on your way home from work.
These loops played non-stop and posed two obvious problems; People could come and go whenever they pleased, often missing the crucial openings of the movies they saw, and secondly, lets face it, it was just downright disrespectful to the director as the appointed storyteller, robbing them of their right to show their works the way it was meant to be seen.
So when Hitchcock released his widely acclaimed 'Psycho' in 1960, he demanded cinemas designate the screening to strict timeslots, refusing entry to a patron after the film had begun.
This film is infamous for its frightening twist revealed in its final scenes, one that Hitchcock famously defended, pleading "Don't give away the ending - it's the only one we have!"
Can you imagine if 'The Sixth Sense' was played on a loop where people could just watch the last 30minutes to get the general jist of what happens?
M. Night Shenanigans would've had a coronary.