Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting Duped

I really despise feeling like I have wasted a day that could have been spent doing something constructive. Planting the seeds, as they say. Instead, I shaped my whole day around travelling to my film class only to be there for approximately 3.6502418 seconds, considering the teacher simply had nothing prepared and wasn't in any mood to change that.

By the time I returned home and finished watching Duplicity, I was quite over Monday. I was really disappointed with this film. It had all the bells and whistles of quick humour and breath taking settings across Europe but this was one over ambitious film designed to exploit every minute that it convinced me to sit through. First of all, having two main characters is risky business right from the start. Couple this with bouncing back and forth between different spaces of time and place, exploring both their stories, and that of the antagonist, parrallel action and the 'ticking clock' scenario, it got to a point where my mind was struggling to keep up with all this information that I had actually forgotten what the imperative mission was that the couple were embarking on. It was purely overkill.
I had to have a lie down.

Film Count: 62 out of 365


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sealed With A Song

After getting all snuggled in to my new surrounds, I slept the most beautiful sleep and awoke to the loveliest sounds. Did I just rhyme? It wasn't to the jarring beeps of an alarm clock but to the lyrical songs of birds and rain, smattering on the roof. Ah, lovely. Sundays were meant for this.

I wound myself tight in my fluffiest of fluffy dressing gowns, sat beside the heater and watched The Kissing Bandit as I munched on golden raisin bread smothered with melted butter. I have certainly missed pay tv, and MGM was the first channel I selected. It only felt right.

As I lay in a warm daze, I watched the cheeky Frank Sinatra bound across hotels and valley's, impersonating a prestigious Colonel to be granted entry into the governor's mansion to sing songs, make young ladies blush and win the heart of shy Teresa.

Wonderful costumes and a fabulous dance sequence filmed within the confines of a Hollywood set traditional of the golden era, I was transported to a place of following your dreams and throwing caution to the wind.

Film Count : 61 out of 365


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mr Sandman, Bring Me This Dreamboat

Could this guy get anymore buff? Actually, scratch that, big muscle bound men don't really do it for me and there's already been a mention of Arnie Schwarzenegger on here so that's enough for now. But, boy, Jake Gyllenhaal has filled out nicely from his former pasty Donnie Darko self. And word around the campfire is he did all his own stunts too so he wasn't just sitting pretty.

Tonight my brother, his girlfriend and I hit the cinemas to watch Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. While I was expecting an influx of slow-motion shots of a shirtless Gyllenhaal (especially in the scene involving a waterfall and the sultry Princess Tamina), I was happily surprised that the film tended to focus more on the actors actually acting! Who would have thought! Infact, I even made a conscious effort (well, most of the time, I get easily distrac... oh shiny) to count how many times Jake graced the screen half naked. And that, my dear readers, is once. At the start. For about 3 seconds.

This flick has some pretty cool fight scenes, the revolving camera angles and latest cinematography technology combining to break the fourth wall and propels viewers into the streets and sands that our hero Dastan finds himself forever charging through. The special effects are pretty incredible - whether it be tumbling buildings or the characters former selves emerging like smoke from the enchanted dagger.

I was excited at the prospect of the films setting (based on the popular video game of the same name) that hasn't been portrayed in since Alaadin. The costumes, locations and settings are diverse and magnificent and the story is fleshed out enough to keep you interested for the two hours. So for what it's worth, check it out before you pigeonhole it along with the numerous other average boom-explosions-action films.

Film Count: 60 out of 365


Friday, May 28, 2010

Why So Serious?

My arms feel like they're about to fall off after lifting so many boxes and furniture. I shouldn't complain though because the moving van containing all of my belongings was driving behind a truck on the freeway that suddenly overturned! Fortunately, nobody was hurt but still, I couldn't help but imagine all my things strewn across the road had their been a collision! Thankfully that was the only hiccup and we all arrived in one piece. I forgot just how cold it gets here so I had to rug up! Brrr!

After getting settled in, I watched A Serious Man by the ever marvellous Coen Brothers. If you're not familiar with their works, I highly recommend you hire out No Country For Old Men and Burn After Reading, especially the latter, which was a huge favourite of mine when I watched it last year. I heard alot of complaints about it because the Coens broke many conventions but they never sacrafice on style or artistic measure. I loved A Serious Man, the film following an adorable, nervous physics professor Larry, complete with tweed suit and coke bottle glasses who even exclaims "Now this is where it gets exciting!" as he completes a gargantuan mathematical equation for his students. His children are lunatics, his couch surfing brother Arthur is a deadbeat, his wife Judy is leaving him and a student is blackmailing him. Effectively building tension in every aspect of his life, audiences watch as Larry quickly begins to unravel and tries desperately to seek advice from local Rabbi's. Did I mention it's set in the 1960's and features swinging music? It's a black comedy at it's finest.

Film Count: 59 out of 365


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smooth Move

I spent the majority of today packing the last 12months of my life into boxes and bags to move back to my hometown to help out with my family's businesses. It will be so strange to be there again as its been quite a while. I feel so disconnected from the town and the people in it so it will be a weird sensation to return. But, no matter where you are in the world, you can almost always find some great films to hunt down and escape to.

Today I watched Intermission which is an Irish film made in 2003 that I believe is truly underrated. It's well written with colliding narratives and eccentric characters all flawed in their own dysfunctional, beautiful way. Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy (those eyes!) star in this flick that's punctuated by Colm Meaney, playing Jerry, the brutal hard-as-nails cop. The characters lives all endure a painful upheaval in the way of love, life and crime. Their stories mesh seamlessly and centres around the marvels of ordinary life. I enjoy it everytime I see it so I hope you do too!

Film Count: 58 out of 365


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Sands of Time

Summer skies at a divine beach was a sweet indulgence following the horrid rain storms of late. Visiting Jono's new house on the coast for drinks and movies was a nice finish to a banal day at Uni. We were on the balcony overlooking glorious waves crashing and whirling. I swear I can still smell the sea breeze if I close my eyes.

We watched Conan the Barbarian and giggled through the eccentric plot and dodgy acting of Arnie Schwarzenegger. All I could think of was a quote by Jake Gyllenhaal stating "It's a sad day when our actors are politicians and our politicians are actors."

Film Count: 57 out of 365


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


This is possibly one of the worst photographs in the way of composition and clarity. But it's miles ahead when judged in terms of hilarity.

There's something about McDonalds that brings out your inner child. Especially when there's icecream, cameras and the Beastie Boys playing over the speakers! I laugh everytime I look at it because when it was taken, I was happy to be snapped with the cowering Kleo hiding her sundae stains, as we dined with Matt and Roxanne. We rapped, we laughed, we discussed more outrageous film ideas. We're happy.

Tonight I watched Trees Lounge, a fantastic, offbeat though slightly depressing morbid by Steve Buscemi whose life revolves around the pub of the same name and the monotonous routine his life has adopted because of it. Don't be put off by this subject matter though, it's got alot of heart as Buscemi's character tries desperately to right his wrongs and break the habit that ultimately remains to have a firm hold of him.

Film Count: 56 out of 365


Monday, May 24, 2010

Dreaming Awake

Phew-wee! I hope you all forgive me on my lateness. It has been one crazy week as I've moved back to my home town to resume working at our family business. This doesn't mean I've forgotten about the challenge though! I'm as dedicated as ever and hope you'll continue to follow despite the delay!

Lunch with Jess was just lovely. She really is one of those beautiful people that never seems to be in a bad mood - and isn't capable of putting you in one either. Despite how stressed, confused and tired we all are, I think it's important to take time out, wind down and catch up with the positive people that surround you. I'm lucky to be able to choose from so many.

That evening, I met up with Vigne where we grabbed some Krispy Kreme and headed over to the cinema to watch the much talked about remake of A Nightmare of Elm Street. I must admit, the original that was released in 1984 is a well respected favourite of mine. A truely frightening concept carried by the iconic Freddy Krueger that was simply mindblowing for its time.

Paying homage to such a film requires alot dedication and respect for the original to carry off the new release. And to be honest, perhaps my stubborn biased self is speaking for me, but I was a little dissapointed. But in saying that, it would imply I had high expectations for an impressive follow up in the first place. I didn't. For one thing, the teenagers that we follow are so bland, boring and dry that I was somewhat relieved when they met their untimely fate with Krueger. Now as we're dealing with a remake following the same storyline and events, I did expect the scare factor to be taken to a whole new level. Again, that was cut short (erm, tacky pun) when I realised all of the films scares rest upon moments of utter silence slammed with explosive bangs or screams. These cheap shots quickly become tiring and even annoying after the first 20 minutes. It was a nice attempt that could have been wonderful. I will say that modern technology produced some magnificent visual effects - especially when confusing the audience by them never quite knowing if and when the characters are actually awake or dreaming. The sound is what stuck out most to me in this flick. Amongst the musical score and sound effects, Freddy's shears were simply spinetingling.

Film Count: 55 out of 365


Sunday, May 23, 2010

And this time, it's Biblical

After I was reminded by a lovely blog reader of the various other films created by Kevin Smith this week, I felt inclined to watch Dogma and I quickly remembered that I had seen this many years ago but my memory was so hazy that each witty line, outlandish event and epic exploration of human faith and divine creation was a treat! Whether it's sexually deprived burger flippers, mopey store clerks or anguished angels of God, Smith manages to deliver each film with tender musings and brutal honesty.

Following the flick, a few friends and I went out to some clubs in company of good drinks, hilarious conversations, infectious music and a whole lot of dancing!

Film Count: 54 out of 365


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Hours

Knowing that the evening would see us wandering in a beer fueled haze, I rugged up and watched the classic Clerks. This masterpiece needs no introductions, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to plug it a little - Hey, it’s the least I could do. A fly-on-the-wall expose of a young men floating aimlessly through life, Dante works behind the counter at the local Grocery Store, dealing with stupid, arrogant customers. His fast talking buddy Randal provides the reality check directionless Dante so desperately needs. They openly discuss topics such as college, work, sex, masturbating and existential possibility of fate versus complete personal control. The commentary on life and the choices people make are eye opening, delivered with punchy humor and wit.

Following this treat, some friends and I ventured to the city to sit at a bar, drink beers and laugh loudly, finally able to catch up together away from the uni gloom. We were out to let off some steam so after revealing he’d put our names down on the guest list, Craig lead us to a club where swing and jazz music filled the air. We watched an amazing burlesque show where the girls wore gorgeous costumes. Everybody was shimmying to the music and I got served vodka from a girl who looked like the pierced junkie from Pulp Fiction. Things got a little blurry but by the time we returned to the streets, I ran into more friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. We were all kind of trashed and talking garbage to one another but I was ecstatic. Everyone was happy and laughing and we were all there and I was totally in love with the world.

Film Count: 53 out of 365


Friday, May 21, 2010

We've Got No Money To Sleep!

I spent much of today writing the script for Bieber Fever, due to start filming in the coming week, and then storyboarding the sequence of shots. As with anything, people have their own particular way of making things work and for me, I can’t shoot until I know exactly what I’m doing and how it’s going to come together. That might sound a little constricting, in the way it might suggest a lack of creative spontaneity but I personally feel that you shouldn’t speak unless you know exactly what it is you’re trying to say. And on the topic of being open, I never thought I’d say this, but I suddenly find myself needing Justin Bieber posters and people who are willing to dress up like zombies with pigtails. Go figure.

In light of the comedy fueled week, I indulged in the classic Dumb & Dumber. I remembered this as well as I did when I first watched it back when I was 9 years old. The 90’s really did have some genius flicks, didn’t they. I can’t possibly pick a favourite line. Although, I will always remember it was made in 1994. I once called in on a radio game show and won a stack of cinema tickets after getting that answer correct!

Film Count: 52 out of 365


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sweet Disposition

Last night I watched Evolution and bought back some memories from high school when a few friends and I banded together to watch this out of control, highly funny scifi comedy. This is one of the reasons why I adore cinema, it has the power to transport you anywhere, including your own childhood.

After hitting up Krispy Kreme for sweet things you’re only bound to regret later, Effie and I went to the cinema and watched The Backup Plan (considering Nightmare On Elm Street was out of the question, unless the patrons in front of us wanted to be wearing white chocolate donuts). I have to say, surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad - considering it’s a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez. What sounds like a recipe for disaster was a pleasantly touching story, with very cute opening credits might I add.

Lopez stars as Zoe, a single woman who is artificially inseminated, fearing her biological clock may be ticking away her chances of childbirth. Only after she is pregnant does she stumble across cute Stan (played by Aussie actor Alex O‘Loughlin) and the two practically become a family over night. Dealing with a very real issue that I’m sure some people may have had to deal with, the movie is openly suggesting that in this day and age, there remains no standard. Society is so mixed that we’ve removed ourselves far from the cookie-cutter family template. As the classic Lennon lyric goes, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’

Film Count: 50 and 51 out of 365


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mix It Up

Spending the afternoon in the editing room taught me numerous things. A good lesson to remember is to avoid filming someone wearing white, against a white wall, under a fluorescent lamp. I had to adjust the tones and colours on this shot of Pauline as she looked completely washed out. Trial and error, I suppose!

While in my current fad of dorky comedies, I watched Knocked Up last night. This is a second viewing and it made me remember just how funny it is. Alot of the time, it's usually a case of the higher the budget, the more sterile the gags. And vice versa. But this flick contains well rounded characters with alot of heart, and humour that will leave you chuckling the whole way. I think it was so well written, especially when dealing with a touchy issue like unplanned pregnancies resulting from a drunken mistake.

Film Count: 49 out of 365


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Silver Lining

We’ve all experienced heartbreak. Some of us have even accidentally thrown out their weekly pay packet. But only a small amount of people know how truly gut wrenching it is to lose a tape containing every shot they’ve filmed for the past few months. I am quite certain that I would have lost my mind and torn through the building like the Incredible Hulk, considering I was just two shots away from having the sequence complete. I had to sit down.

But then I realized I am surrounded by positive, inspiring, beautiful people who keep me in stitches and my face hurting from laughter every time I’m with them. So basically, this predicament meant that I would be spending more time around them. I popped my headphones back on, switched on the camera and said “Okay, let’s just do this again.” It was one of those moments where you realize the warmth and generosity in people and how pointless it would be to get frustrated.

Last night I watched Anchorman - I’ve been this mood lately where I wanted to reacquaint myself with lighthearted stupid humor. I think this is probably the most quoted movie I’ve ever known and for good reason too. It pokes fun at itself in a way that is actually condemning sexist attitudes dominant in the workplace in the 70’s.

Film Count: 48 out of 365


Monday, May 17, 2010

Snoochie Boochie Noochies!

Since Saturday night, I’ve been hankering to rewatch the stupid stoner classics of the 90’s like Kevin Smith flicks and reacquaint myself with the hilarious Jay & Silent Bob, the lowlife duo that you can’t help but love. What a far cry from the genius, epic Hollywood action movies covering veterans in ‘Nam that have occupied my headspace for the last week.

Still, watching Mallrats last night (starring Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee, from My Name Is Earl) was a nice way to unwind. Plus, a soundtrack containing grunge tunes from Silverchair and Bush aswell as a cameo appearance from the legendary Stan Lee is nothing to be sniffed at. Using Smith's staple techniques of lightning-fast dialogue discussing socio-political commentary, this one provides a nice round of gags that will leave you chuckling, providing a pleasant change from heavier topics usually gracing the screens.

Film Count: 47 out of 365


Sunday, May 16, 2010

You Can't Stop What's Coming

Sometimes Sundays are best spent doing a wonderful amount of nothing and dash of hardly anything… until you realize you have less time to write your essay than you had previously thought. I finally got writing about just how the Vietnam War ignited a new era of filmmaking, altering cinema as we know it today. Since watching some of the films that generated these changes, and spending the week collecting various notes and handy bits of information, it was a fairly quick, almost pleasurable experience! So if you are curious to learn about anything you desire, get amongst the knowledge that surrounds the world and feel inspired. Learn something new and open your mind!

Last night I watched No Country For Old Men. I have seen this previously but it’s no doubt a remarkable story that breaks a few industry rules along the way. Three characters are mysteriously tied to one another. The lead character Llewelyn is distinctly unlikable and later snuffed out, leaving the antagonist stumbling away into a town where we can only guess will be his new playground for murders. A bold move for the Coen brothers. But if winning an Academy award for Best Adapted Screenplay is anything to go by, these two can get away with bending the rules.

Film Count: 46 out of 365


Saturday, May 15, 2010

You Snooze, You Lose

I quickly calculated that in the past two days, I had gotten only 7 hours sleep. So please forgive my atrocious state in this picture. I am somewhat thankful of its blurry demeanour. Today was my last day at work and the evening was spent with the ever gorgeous Loretta, drinking wine, chatting happily and watching Clerks 2. As tired as I was, I distinctly remember feeling like nothing in this scary, wonderful, crazy world could touch me. And then I realised that if you believed it, it instantly became true. I took my newfound Zen home with me and slept the most blissful sleep.

Film Count: 45 out of 365


Friday, May 14, 2010

Sweet City

Kleopatra and I went to the Spanish Film Festival in the city. She's an incredibly interesting person. We dined at a little Italian cafe and spoke animatedly about obscure films from early, silent horrors to experimental Australian flicks like "Love and Other Catastrophes" which she highly recommends I watch. She is a walking library of alternative gems so I always lose track of time when we get talking. We walked to the cinema and watched Crab Trap. It was so beautifully shot and artistic. It followed an enigmatic man only known as Mr. Daniel as he wanders through a remote island persistantly looking for a boat. He carries a photograph of himself and a young woman as the only indicator of his background. The film uses real natives as their actors, bringing warmth and a distinct genuine performance that cannot be feigned. Afterwards, Kleo and I went to a bar, drank beer and shared stories.

Film Count: 44 out of 365


Thursday, May 13, 2010

War Is Over... If You Want It

I've never really had the urge to search through the War section at Blockbuster but I am glad that I did. Along with more notetaking for the upcoming essay, I viewed Vietnam: War In The Jungle, a documentary following the war between the years 1968-1975 and as the description on the backcover rings true, it is a harrowing account of the tragedy that took place, "warts and all". I find it incredible that this actually happened, the battle claiming the lives of well over one million vietnamese. It left many American soliders questioning why it even occured, some regretting taking part in combat in the first place. Though only 68minutes long, viewers enter a world completely devoid of their own. Sometimes there are simply no words.

Film Count: 43 out of 365


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bieber Fever

This is Matthew. One of the funniest people I have had the pleasure of knowing. We were trying to give him Justin Bieber hair after discussing our next short film, 'Bieber Fever', which is a horror/mockomentary following the devestating virus that spread to far reaching corners of the earth, causing young girls to run wild. We want to base it on George Romeo's "Night Of The Living Dead" which follows Bieber attempting to escape them.

Today was such a delight that by the time it drew to a close, my face was hurting from laughing so much. I'm probably right in assuming that's a reliable way of telling you had a great day. We discussed more ideas for the film during an unhealthy dinner at McDonalds, amazed at how we are actually able to create these absurd movies as a requirement for our studies. When we said our goodbyes, I drove over to Vigne's for a much needed catchup and to watch Deer Hunter. There is nothing quite like the combination of fabulous friends and amazing cinema to make my day.

I didn't realise how long this film was but we both never found a moment where it dragged. It follows three American men enjoying their young lives before fighting in Vietnam. They are later captured and tortured and when they return home, they are distinctly removed from civilian life, unable to shake the horrors they endured. Robert DeNiro stars as Michael, who continues to wear his uniform in public but feels hollow, stating "I feel alot of distance, I feel far away." Steven (John Savage) hides out in a hospital, begging not to go back to surburban life, pleading "I don't fit!". Nick, played by the remarkable Christopher Walken is deeply psychologically affected and suicidal.

This was released only three years after the close of the Vietnam War, when the public were concerned with how and if their veterans could ever resume normal life. Last night, I saw the explosive Apocalypse Now which, really, deserves a whole post unto itself. Exploring the inner battle aswell as the outer, Coppola thrills the senses with explosive sound and flashes of colour that mirror the insanity gripping the soliders as they edge deeper into the jungle.

Film Count: 41 and 42 out of 365


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Page Turner

I'm pretty sure that I was reading about the Vietnam War here while discussing changes to the film industries aswell as listening to a friend suggest popular films to watch while simultaneously imagining what my next short film will be about. Phew. Basically, uni gloom is upon us, each minute eagerly whizzing past and leaving us to frantically run around trying to complete several things at once.

So last night, I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and rewatch A Decade Under The Influence, covering important social and political changes that occured during the 1970's and how it marginalised some social circles and gave the opportunity to promote others through the explosion of indie films, shying away from traditional Hollywood prototypes.

Film Count: 40 out of 365


Monday, May 10, 2010

The Watergate Syndrome

Full Metal Jacket speaks volumes and the message of war is clear; despite who wins, we will all lose ourselves to some degree. Despite being released twelve years after the Vietnam War came to an end, this has long been a favourite of mine, articulating the horrendous realities of combat in a way that is brutally dehumanizing. I chose to watch this again as I've decided to write my film essay on the war and what effect this had upon the American film industry following its devestation.

That does not exactly mean I will only deconstruct popular films that were about the war, but also explore what technological and social advancements (eg, the rise of the indie film culture and anti-war movements) that arose out of it.

In regards to this film however, it is interesting to note it included the line "We are here to help the Vietnamese because inside of every gook, there's an American trying to get out."

Perhaps director Stanley Kubrick was trying to echo an earlier speech made by President Eisenhower who exemplified the patronizing American method forcing themselves upon the resisting Vietnamese, stating "We must work with these people, and then they themselves will soon find out that we are their friends and that they can't live without us."

In adding more weight to my argument, I am hoping to watch other Vietnam films this week including Apocalypse Now, Deer Hunter, Billy Jack, Taxi Driver and Easy Rider. If you can think of other films for me to watch regarding this subject, or have anything else you'd like to share, feel free to post a comment! :)

Film Count: 39 out of 365


Sunday, May 9, 2010

You'd Sell Your Soul For One

Does anyone else remember that very line that got a popular Ford car commercial taken off the air? Some people need to lighten up and learn to take a joke. But looking at their 1972 Gran Torino does make you consider such a deal! Lust! Featuring in the movie of the same name, I watched this Clint Eastwood masterpiece last night following a horridly busy day at work. For me, only a priviledged few films are rewatched and suffice to say, this has made the cut. I seem to appreciate it more each time I see it.

It's not often that a Hollywood blockbuster stars a grizzly 80year old war veteran but Eastwood shows no signs of slowing down in this heavily themed film. With a gripping story rich with symbolism, this features one of the best fleshed-out characters I've seen in a while. Viewers are able to empathise with his lifestyle as they begin to understand the horrors of his past that he has carried with him into an uncomfortable civilian lifestyle, his memories of the Korean War an endless burden upon his shoulders.

Film count: 38 out of 365


Saturday, May 8, 2010

All You Need Is Love

Before watching Sex and Lucia last night, I was prepared to see nudity and a sketchy outline of what attempts to be a storyline. And how wrong I was. The dizzying highs and slamming lows of love and lust were portrayed beautifully in this film directed by Julio M├ędem, winning him several awards in 2001. The most interesting concept, however, was the exploration of what was real and what was being told as a story, narrated by Lucia's writer boyfriend, Lorenzo. Struggling to finish his latest novel, he uses moments from his own life and his own fears, some chapters even altering the course of his and Lucia's life upon being shared.

Artistic in the way shots of human interaction were partnered with the underwater world, any sense of fearing the film as a sugar coated two hour porno is disspelled the very moment you witness the first meeting between Lucia and Lorenzo in the cafe. They are driven by the love shared between them in their own little universe. Every character featured is highly vulnerable and reaching out. I sincerley mourned for these people in their endless attempts to find peace and restore equilibrium. Beautiful.

Film Count: 37 out of 365


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