Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Hunter, 2011

I'm looking forward to watching this film which is set and shot in my home state, Tasmania.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Battle Los Angeles

Some commenters have said that it’s too soon to commit to film, the tragic events that left thousands dead in Los Angeles a few years ago. Personally, I don’t subscribe to that lefty thinking. I believe the story of the men and women that defeated the alien hordes on that tragic day is too important not to be told and Battle LA tackles the subject with sensitivity and compassion.

Based on the best selling biography of Sargent Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), Battle Los Angeles follows the now famous rag tag team of marines that spearheaded the defense of LA. It recounts, in detail, the heroic sacrifices made by our fighting forces that were needed to defeat the alien scum.

This film is brilliantly cast; I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a clean sweep at next year’s Academy Awards. As well as Aaron Eckhart’s blistering performance, other notable standouts were Michelle Rodriguez as Technical Sargent Elena Santos and Ne-Yo, playing Corporal Kevin Harris. If there was an Academy Award for an ensemble cast, this is the film that would receive it.

Christopher Bertolini expertly adapted the screenplay, based on the book. You really get a sense of whom these people are. The character development is brilliant and is complemented by dialogue worth of Aaron Sorkin at his best.

History tells us what happened after the invasion, but Battle Los Angeles tells us the untold story, the personal story, of the American Heroes who put the lives on the line to protect our planet.

4 patriotic stars.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Submarine (Richard Ayoade, 2011)

Submarine is the highly acclaimed debut film of Richard Ayoade (Moss from the IT Crowd) based on the best selling novel by Joe Dunthorpe, which I feel a very strong need to obtain and read.

15-year-old Welsh schoolboy Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is a cool literary genius.

In reality, however, he’s socially inept and unpopular. 

Oliver has set himself two tasks for the coming months:  to lose his virginity and save his parents’ marriage.  He suspects that his mother (the ever wonderful Sally Hawkins) is having an affair with her first love Graham (Paddy Considine) a new-age Psychic.

Meanwhile, Oliver attempts to attain the affections of Jordana (Yasmin Paige) who introduces him to pyromania and eczema.

This film had the whole audience in stiches.  This film is so funny, quirky and warm hearted.  Oliver is such a fun character with strange idiosyncrasies (some of which I share – - when lending books, make sure the borrower knows not to crease the spine!)

The young actors playing Oliver and Jordana were fabulous.  I loved Noah Taylor as the reserved and sad father and Paddy Considine was hilarious as the spiky mullet wearing mystic. 

This film was so enjoyable from start to finish.  Definitely another film to add to the DVD collection!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

And here's the trailer... Jane Eyre (2011)

Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga, 2011)

I wish I were a good writer. So that I could put on the page exactly what I felt when watching this film. But I shall try…

On Saturday afternoon I went to the lovely State Cinema in North Hobart with a friend to watch the most recent film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and my golly gosh how much did I love this film!

Most people know the story of young English orphan Jane who is shipped off by her aunt to a very punitive boarding school and who at 18 years of age, goes out into the world (still England) to work as a governess for the ward of the fiery, older and more worldly (been overseas), Mr Rochester. A man she falls in love with and which is requited but, alas, Mr Rochester is hiding a terrible secret.

Now, one could expect that this would be the usual period drama cliché. But this is not the case. In fact this is the best adaptation of Jane Eyre I have ever seen. Why, is this so? Well…
The cinematography by Adriano Goldman is breathtaking. The moors at once breathtaking and then haunting and gothic; the direction by Cary Fukunaga superb. I love the way the structure of the story was tweaked so that it flowed so well on the screen. The timing was beautiful and though I had seated myself with a full bladder I had forgotten all need by the time the film was into it’s 5th minute and I did not want this film to end. In fact, 2hrs later, I would, quite happily, have sat and watched more of the majestic scenery and some more fiery banter between Jane and Rochester.

Which brings me to the acting. Mia Wasikowska is amazing as Jane. The best Jane! She can look young and naïve and a child of 12 in one scene and in another a fiery independent woman. And she doesn’t even have to say anything. There is so much she can say with just a look.
And Michael Fassbender… He brings all the charm, temper, and fire you want in a Mr Rochester. It’s a superb bit of casting and the supporting cast which includes Sally Hawkins, Judi Dench and Jamie Bell is just great.

This film is thought provoking and beautiful. I want to go back and see it again. At times it was touching, you could feel Jane's turmoil and it wasn’t just me being a softy, I heard some teary sniffs behind me!

It made me think a lot about how lucky I am to be a woman in 2011 living in the developed world. I can choose my career, who to de facto or marry and travel where I choose. Jane is a 2011 woman stuck in 19th century England and when Jane is running along those moors without a house or carriage in site (and no mobile phone handy) it’s devastating to see just how isolating and cruel 19th century working class life could be. I highly recommend this film and can’t wait to get my own copy on DVD.

The Night Porter (1974, Liliana Cavani)

Tonight's movie:

Monday, 5 September 2011

Basket Case (1982, Frank Henenlotter)

As a kid I used to be quite frightened of the front cover of Basket Case and made the decision it was too scary to ever watch……

But then I grew up.....

……Young Duane Bradley arrives at a cheap hotel in New York with a wad of cash and a big wicker basket. He feeds the contents of the basket hamburgers while they communicate semi-telepathically. It quickly transpires that Duane and the basket contents are Siamese twins who are seeking revenge on the Doctors that separated them.

It’s the perfect horror movie if you want a good laugh. Henenlotter seems to take great enjoyment of making the movie gross but funny. He also somehow manages to make you feel a little sorry for the deformed critter, who was left in the trash to die after the twins were operated on.

Really though, it’s enough to just watch the film for the stop motion animation where the wee mutant goes ballistic in the hotel room.

The extras are also worth viewing as Henenlotter revisits a few of the movie locations 20 years on. Interesting to note that part of it was filmed in a building which is now the Hellfire Club.

I give it 4 1/2 comedy horror movie stars.