Monday, 30 December 2013

Key Largo (1948) - ★★★★

Director: John Huston
Writers: Richard Brooks, John Huston, Maxwell Anderson (Play)
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore, Claire Trevor, Thomas Gomez, Harry Lewis, Marc Lawrence

John Huston is undeniably one of the greatest directors of all time, with Key Largo being one of his very best films. It's an absolute gem of 1940s cinema, boasting a great cast and an excellent dark-noir style. I think its legendary status lies in the performances. You have the classic pairing of Bogart and Bacall, who were a famous real-life couple. Mix in Edward G. Robinson, who's arguably the most famous gangster character actor of all time. Spice it up with two extremely memorable performances by Claire Trevor and Lionel Barrymore, and you have yourself an unforgettable film. Trust me, Key Largo has to go on your "must watch" list.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Takami-kun Series: Nijiiro no garasu (2009) - ★★★½

Director: Takeshi Yokoi
Stars: Kyosuke Hamao, Daisuke Watanabe,
Yukihiro Takiguchi, Yûta Takahashi, Kei Hosogai, Yûki Hiyori

This is the 2nd chapter of the Takami-kun series, an LGBT romance made in Japan. I quite liked the first instalment, but I'm happy to say that Nijiiro no garasu is an even better chapter of this young romance. It's well-made, beautiful, entertaining, and surprisingly emotional. At times it made my heart sing with glee, then it made me quite angry, but best of all, it made me feel heartbroken by the end. This is a show with a heart and soul. It tenderly displays the romance of a young, gay couple, and all the complications of their relationship.

Takami-kun and Gii have been going steady for the past year. The new year brings more drama in the form of a lover's quarrel, and a romance that blossoms in the midst of a terminal illness. 

Takami-kun Series: Soshite harukaze ni sasayaite (2007) - ★★★

Director: Kazuhiro Yokoyama
Stars: Tomo Yanagishita, Keisuke Kato, Yasuka Saito, Yukihiro Takiguchi, Tetsuya Makita

Takami-kun is an LGBT Japanese romance, adapted from a manga of the same name. Series 1 establishes the romance between the two young protagonists, Takami and Gii. Takami has a phobia of humans due to a traumatic past, whilst Gii comes from a wealthy and pressure-filled background. This hour long story is just part one of five chapters, which document their relationship through the years. 

It’s romantic, but it doesn’t capture my adoration. It’s fun, but it doesn’t make me laugh or smile very often. It’s interesting, but it’s nothing special. All this really does is show us the build-up towards Takami’s confession of love towards Gii, who has always let his feelings be known for Takami. It was quite cute, but nothing special.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

You Are Beautiful (2009) - ★★★★

Director: Seong-Chang Hong
Writers: Jeong-eun Hong
Stars: Shin-Hye Park, Jang Keun Suk, Yong-hwa Jung, Hong-ki Lee, Ran Choi, Yu-jin Kim

One thing I love about Korean dramas is how airy-fairy, lovey-dovey they are. The cheesiness of it all just makes my heart sing with glee, and for the most part, 'You’re Beautiful' had that effect on me. It follows the same formula, with characters and dialogue that appear to have been taken straight out of a manga series. It’s just so whimsical. There’s an infectious charm to it that just made me laugh, writhe with elation, and cower from all the corniness. I enjoyed watching this show immensely, however, there were many things that I just couldn’t stand about it. It didn’t sweep me off my feet the way it should have, which is why I must disagree with those that call it the greatest K-Drama of all time. However, it's still one of the most wonderfully entertaining shows I've ever seen.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Alphabet Movie Meme

Katy Rochelle from The Drama Llama came up with this fun little meme, chronicling a bunch of random opinions listed from A to Z. "As all alphabet memes go, each letter is a theme or question to answer about your love of the movies." 

So here goes nothing!

Anticipating Movie of 2014
 Pinocchio - Guillermo del Toro

When I first heard that Guillermo del Toro was creating a dark, twisted version of Pinocchio, I nearly leapt with excitement! His film Pan's Labyrinth is in my opinion one of the greatest movies ever made. It was dark, beautiful, mysterious, and always riveting. When I was a child, I found Pinocchio to be quite a frightening and upsetting movie. I couldn't imagine a better person to recreate this legendary tale, or a better company to bring the animation to life!

Book Adaptation I'd Love to See
Looking for Alaska - John Green

We've seen so many great teen movies over the past couple of decades. From 'Clueless' to '10 Things I Hate About You', from 'Mean Girls' to 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', each have had their own fantastically memorable imprint on the lives of many teenagers. It's time to give Looking for Alaska a go, because honestly, it's one of the most entertaining and original young-adult novels I've read.

Celebrity I'd Most Like to Meet
Glenn Close

What can I say? Glenn Close is my absolute favourite actress of all time. The first time I became acquainted with her work was in 101 Dalmations, where she played the devious Cruella de Vil. I fell in love with her then. The second film I saw of hers (many years later) was Albert Nobbs, where her subtle yet powerful performance broke my heart and moved me to tears. Then it came... the performance to end all performances. Her performance in Dangerous Liaisons is arguably the greatest that has ever graced the silver-screen. When she wipes her makeup off after her world has crumbled around her... it was just unforgettable. I've seen much more of her work since then, and I'd love to meet her so that I can just talk about everything at once! Who am I kidding? I'd probably scream and faint. 

Dream Director / Actor Pairing
Alfred Hitchcock and Kate Winslet

In my opinion, Hitchcock is the all time greatest director of thriller movies. What's more is that he is fantastic at creating some of the most villainous vixens to ever grace the screen. Kate Winslet on the other hand is the kind of actress that completely BECOMES her character. Not only is she drop-dead beautiful, she's one of the most talented actresses of all time. To see the master of suspense collaborate with Winslet, a master of character-crafting, would be one of the most legendary things I can think of. 

Essential Classic Film 
Casablanca - Michael Curtiz

As unoriginal as my choice is, I couldn't possibly think of a greater 'classic' than Casablanca. I'm not alone when I say that this is the greatest film ever made. It's in my top 10 all time favourite movies AND it is my Number 1 romance movie of all time. Why? Because it is perfect. The performances, the story, the dialogue, the cinematography, the music... it's nothing short of perfect. Can't beat this movie, it is the ultimate classic. 

Favourite Film Franchise 
Indiana Jones - Steven Spielberg and George Lucas

This was a no brainer. Indiana Jones is THE series that I can watch unlimited times and never get bored of. For a loooong time, my favourite film was Temple of Doom. Then I changed to Raiders of the Lost Ark. THEN I changed to The Last Crusade, which I still think is the best of the series (but of course it is subject to change). Also, screw the haters, I LOVED Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. People who go on about how 'this is impossible' etc. obviously pick and choose what inaccuracies to call out. Every single film has its unbelievable moments, which is why I just love this series so much. It's thrilling, funny, romantic, exciting, action-packed, pure-cinema gold!

Genre I Watch the Most
Drama (Duh!), Romance (Close-second)

I'm pretty sure that 80% of all the films ever made would fit into the category of 'drama,' which is why that would be the genre I watch the most by far! However, it is ROMANCE that captivates me, "heart and soul." I love the way it makes me nervous, gets me giddy with excitement, breaks my heart with tragic endings, and makes me sing with "they all lived happily ever after." It is my favourite genre, so I watch it often. However, the genre of drama is where the truest portrayals of the human condition lie, which is why I love it almost as much.

Hidden Gem
Millennium Actress - Satoshi Kon

Have you ever seen a movie so beautiful that the images and music alone can make you cry? Well Millennium Actress had that powerful effect on me. It touched my soul... words cannot describe the love I have for this film. This film deserves more attention than what it has received, and Satoshi Kon should be as widely recognised as the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. It's my favourite animated movie of all time, and a truly unsung gem of cinema. 

Important Moment In My Film Life
Ikiru - Akira Kurosawa

A man finds out he is dying of stomach cancer, and realises that he has wasted so much of his life. By the end of the film, he turns that around and achieves something that made a great difference to the community. Takashi Shimura's face when he looks upon his creation, is probably the most touching thing I've ever seen. This scene... the whole movie, taught me to seize the day, live life to the fullest, and above all, care for others above yourself. That is where you'll find you've truly lived up to your fullest potential. 

Just Right Movie for Rainy Day 
Bridget Jones's Diary - Sharon Maguire

From the moment the opening credits begin, and Renee Zellweger mimes the song "All by Myself," I feel so warm and fuzzy inside. Bridget Jones's Diary is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. The social commentary is hilarious, the acting is marvellous, the soundtrack is phenomenal, and the romance is ohhh sooo good. As far as modern adaptation's of Pride and Prejudice go, this one is the best. I love snuggling up on the couch and watching the ball of laughter that is Bridget!

Kiddie Movie I Still Shamelessly Enjoy 
The Wizard of Oz - Victor Fleming

This movie has such a powerful effect on me. It was my favourite film as a child, which means every single time I watch it... I get the same childish excitement and nostalgic feelings. I can't help but sing as loud as I can to every single song. I laugh like the wicked witch at all the corny and witty jokes these crazy characters reel off. Most of all, it brings me back to a peaceful time, where I had no troubles as a child... all I cared about was watching movies and eating packets of cheese (I freaking loved cheese).

Location I'd Most Like to Visit 
Seoul, South Korea

I am a huge fan of South-Korean cinema. I'm an even bigger fan of Korean Dramas (Romantic TV-series). I adore K-Pop, and I find their fashion both hilarious and beautiful. The language is awesome, and the people look awesome. Let's just say, I'm dying to visit this city! One day...

Marathon I First Attended - Disney
(I've never attended a cinema-marathon, so I'll go by my first home-movie marathon). 

I watched every notable Disney film to see what was the best of the best. Gosh, the nostalgia trip this blogathon took me on! I grew up with Disney, so I cried at like 50% of the movies. My conclusion: Best Picture: Beauty and the Beast; Best Leading Role: Mulan, Best Song: Colours of the Wind - Pocahontas; Best Villain: Maleficent - Beauty and the Beast, Most Emotional: The Lion King. 

Netflix Movie I Actually Watched (I used Quickflix instead)
The Lives of Others - Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

This movie left me speechless and in tears. Ulrich Muhe gave an unforgettable, understated performance as "a good man." One of the true masterpieces from the 21st century, this film won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2007 Oscars. 

One Movie I Saw In Theatre More Than 5x 
(Never achieved this, but I re-watched the movie several times after buying the DVD)
Les Miserables - Tom Hooper

"Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men." 
"I dreamed a dream in time gone by." 
"It is time for us all to decide who we are. Do we fight for the right to a night at the opera now."
"Till then, this I swear, this I swear by the stars." 
"On my own, pretending he's beside me." 
"And remember, the truth that once was spoken... to love another person is to see the face of God." 

I saw Les Miserables with my mother. By the time it finished, we were both drenched in tears, audibly sobbing at the back of the theatre. So embarrassing... but so rewarding.

Preferred Place to Watch a New Movie
I like them all for different reasons.

Cinema Pros: Great HD quality, nice atmosphere at times, submersing with the right film (i.e. Gravity)
Cinema Cons: Rambunctious crowds, easy to miss certain aspects of the film.
TV Pros: 'Pause, Play, Rewind (PPR).' Friend/Family atmosphere. 
TV Cons: Some movies are better on the big screen. (i.e. Life of Pi). 
Laptop Pros: Headphones = Better sound quality. Quiet atmosphere. Very submersing. 'PPR.'
Laptop Cons: Small screen, sometimes bad quality. Not as director intended for film to be seen. 

Quote That Inspires Me
Ruth Gordon - Harold and Maude

"A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They're just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E.    L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room."

Remakes: Friend or Foe?
They can either be the greatest of friends, or the most diabolical of foes.

Some remakes are truly fantastic films that stand-up on their own, one of the most notable being The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The absolute worst remake I've ever seen is The Omen (2006), which turned what I think is arguably the greatest of horror films into pure cinematic trash. So I'm on the fence with this one. It depends on how they adapt the source material really. 

Snack I Enjoy the Most 

Ahh, you now know my greatest shame. Whenever I go to the movies, I must have M&M's. I like pop-corn, but it leaves me really thirsty and I always feel super sick afterwards. My substitute is the sickeningly-sweet, chock-full of fat, chocolatey-goodness that is M&M's. 

Twist That Boggled My Mind 
Oldboy - Chan-Wook Park

That twist man... so fucked up. My jaw hit the floor when the first twist was revealed. Just after I picked it up, another twist attacked! My jaw didn't stand a chance. It just fainted, and it stayed on the floor until the credits rolled. One of the craziest, most twisted movies I've ever seen. LOVE IT!

Unapolagetic Fanperson For 
Russell Crowe

I've heard him called the worst actor in Hollywood, to the most overrated actor of all time. I've heard countless people say he was terrible in Les Miserables, from friends to movie-bloggers. I wholeheartedly disagree with them. He is one of the greatest actors of all time. From humble beginnings in Australia, he played a young gay man in 'The Sum of Us,' (1994). From there he went on to Hollywood, and took the world by storm in L.A. Confidential (1997). He then went on to give a powerhouse performance in The Insider (1999), eventually winning an Oscar in 2000 for Gladiator. His greatest performance IMO was in 'A Beautiful Mind' (2001), where he played a complicated and fragile man. As for Les Miserables, I thought he sang terrifically. His rendition of 'Stars' is my favourite of all time. I love this man's talent, regardless of what others say. 

Very Excited For Award Show Season?
In a word: No

2013 has been such a disappointing year for me. There were some great films that came out, such as Gravity, Mud, Blue Jasmine etc. I'm just so disappointed that many independent films have been overlooked by the mass of online movie-bloggers, and all the major awards ceremonies. Upstream Colour, Adore, The Hunt, Frances Ha, The Past... all of these movies are either not major contenders, or have no hope of garnering any nominations. The thing that sickens me most is that Naomi Watts and Robin Wright's performances in 'Adore' are being completely ignored. I consider them the Best Actress and Supporting Actress performances of the year.

Am I excited? No. I've yet to see a few films that will be in contention, but none of them really pique my interest other than 12 Years a Slave. 

Wish I Never Watched
Spring Breakers - Harmony Korine

Many have praised this film for its subtle social commentary on the ridiculous ideals of stupid slutty teenage girls. Sure, I can see that. However, it happens to be one of the most excruciating cinematic experiences of my life. It's unbelievably slow, unforgivably repetitive, and in my opinion, one of the most irritating movies ever made. WE GET IT SELENA GOMEZ, YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN AND ESCAPE A NORMAL, BORING LIFE. YOU CAN STOP REPEATING YOURSELF NOW!

XXX Movie I Watched At a Really Young Age
The Thing - John Carpenter

I must have seen this movie over a dozen times. Many of those viewings occurred whilst I was under the age of ten. I wanted to act brave in front of my older siblings, so I sat down and watched this with them frequently. I DIDN'T ENJOY MYSELF AT ALL! This movie scared the absolute living crap out of me. I had terrible nightmares from it, one nightmare even included my mother turning into one of those 'things.' Now that I'm older, I can proudly say that this is the greatest horror movie of all time. I'll never forget the searing images from this underrated gem. 

Your Latest Movie Obsession 
LGBT cinema

I'm starting to explore LGBT cinema from all corners of the globe. From Britain to China, from the US to Australia, from the Philippines to France, from Canada to South Korea. I've enjoyed it every step of the way, for its such an under-explored subject in the world of cinema. It's interesting to see the director's take on same-sex attraction and transgender people, which is why I am currently obsessed with these movies. 

My expression was exactly the same as Leo's while I was watching The Great Gatsby. 
ZZZ - Catchers 
The Great Gatsby

For a film filled with parties, glitz, glamour, and romance, The Great Gatsby just left me utterly bored. Some people adore this film, and I'm happy for them. I can't help how I felt whilst watching this movie. I was so pumped to see it when I walked into the cinema, but I ended up leaving exhausted. I just found the characters, the relationships... just about everything so disengaging. It's definitely a film I could've slept through, had I not paid good money to see it!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Red Cliff: Part One (2008) - ★★★★½

Director: John Woo
Writers: John Woo, Khan Chan, Cheng Kuo, Heyu Sheng (screenplay), Guanzhong Luo (novel)
Stars: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Fengyi Zhang, Chen Chang, Wei Zhao, Shido Nakamura, Chiling Lin

Red Cliff is one of the most spectacular, breathtaking, epic films of all time. Every time I see this film, it leaves me in a state of awe. The cinematography is as beautiful as anything I've ever seen on film. The score by Taro Iwashiro is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard... it sends chills up my spine. The talented all-star cast managed to make these legendary war-lords and ladies appear every bit as powerful as their legend says. Let me tell you, Red Cliff is two and a half hours of thrilling action, handled with amazing artistry and graceful film-craftsmanship. To me, this movie is every bit as entertaining and epic as The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Man in the Lighthouse (2007) - ★½

Director: Joselitos Altarejos
Writers: Lex Bonife, Joselitos Altarejos
Stars: Harry Laurel, Justin De Leon, Jennifer Lee

The Man in the Lighthouse, or Ang Lalake sa Parola, is a gay-romance film from the Philippines. It's extremely low budget, but it comes from the infamous LGBT film director, Joselito Altarejos. Unfortunately, this is the first film I've seen from the Philippines, and it happens to be one of the worst I've seen in a long time. There are so many faults throughout the film, from acting to cinematography, from dialogue to pacing. I can't say I disliked it, for it left me waiting with a little bit of intrigue for the most part. I waited and waited, but nothing of any substance happened. It's just a 'meh' film, it falls flat by the second act and is entirely forgettable once the credits start rolling. Oh well, I guess I can chuck this on the 'bad LGBT' films pile (which is even larger than the good LGBT films pile). 

Friday, 20 December 2013

Flight of the Phoenix (1965) - ★★★★★

Director: Robert Aldrich
Writers: Lukas Heller (Screenplay), Trevor Dudley Smith (novel)
Stars: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Hardy Kruger, Peter Finch, Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Ronald Fraser, Christian Marquand, Dan Duryea, George Kennedy, Gabriele Tinti

Flight of the Phoenix is quite simply one of the greatest movies ever made. It boasts an unbeatable cast, unreal cinematography, and some absolutely outstanding performances from famous and respected actors. I was gripped from start to finish. It is a suspenseful, emotional journey that not only paints a picture of the madness of men, but also some of the greatest qualities of human beings.

After a plane crash in the Sahara, one of the survivors says he's an airplane designer and they can make a flyable plane from the wreckage. They can either sit and wait for their water supply to run out, or attempt this seemingly impossible mission to live.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Ghost World (2001) - ★★★★

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Writers: Daniel Clowes (Comic Book), Terry Zwigoff
Stars: Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, Bob Balaban, Stacey Travis

I have a lot of mixed feelings about Ghost World. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, it boasts some pretty wicked dialogue and a distinct late-1990s flare. The performances are fantastic, the cinematography is effective, and the score by David Kitay accompanies the scenes beautifully. I found it so hard to like the protagonist, who at first is one of the snobbiest bitches I've ever seen on film. As the story and characters start developing, everything becomes so much more entertaining and interesting. An unorthodox friendship, and a gripping look at the human condition of two major characters, made me enjoy Ghost World immensely. It's a film with edge, a spark that you just don't see in cinema anymore. I can't put my finger on it, but the whole experience was just one big nostalgia trip. I loved it.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told (1968) - ★★★★

Director: Jack Hill
Writer: Jack Hill
Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Carol Ohmart, Quinn K. Redeker, Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner, Sid Haig

Spider Baby is without a doubt, the best 'bad' movie I've ever seen. My family and I were in stitches, laughing at the madness that unfurled in this movie. The story is savagely hilarious, the dialogue is damned funny, the performances hit all the right notes, and most importantly, the events that take place are wickedly entertaining. From seeing a group of mentally challenged cannibals all locked up in a basement, to watching Carol Ohmart running around a field in nothing but her lingerie, Spider Baby truly does have it all. It's a cheaply produced, badly acted piece of cinema... but it's the funniest, most entertaining bad film you'll probably ever see. Ed Wood eat your heart out, this is bad cinema done right!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Adore (2013) - ★★★★½

Director: Anne Fontaine
Writers: Doris Lessing (novel), Christopher Hampton (screenplay), Anne Fontaine (adaptation)
Stars: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Sophie Lowe, Jessica Tovey, Gary Sweet

At the risk of sounding silly, I’m just going to say it. I ADORE Adore. It has one of the most out there, taboo stories I’ve ever come across in cinema. That’s not what makes it an unforgettable cinematic treasure. The way it illuminates the characters, with grace, sensitivity, and understanding, is what makes it so damn beautiful. The cinematography is unbelievably beautiful, the storytelling is both sympathetic and moving, but above all, the performances left me speechless. It’s one of the greatest films to ever come out of Australia, and one of the best films of 2013.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Heavenly Creatures (1994) - ★★★★★

Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Clive Merrison, Diana Kent, Simon O'Connor, Jed Brophy, Bill Perry

“You cannot know nor yet try to guess, the sweet soothingness of their caress. The outstanding genius of this pair, is understood by few, they are so rare. It is a miracle, one must feel, that two most heavenly creatures are real.” Those lines will always stick in my mind, for they describe a most captivating relationship, and come from what I consider one of the finest films ever made.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Roger & Me (1989) - ★★★★★

Director: Michael Moore
Writer: Michael Moore

Roger & Me is the very first documentary that Michael Moore ever made, and in my opinion, it is his best. He returns to his hometown to find that the CEO of General Motors, Roger Smith, has decided to close down several car manufacturing plants. At the time, this caused the loss of approximately 30,000 jobs. Moore achieved his goal of showing the audience how detrimental the downsizing was to the people of Flint. As an added spark, we see much of the Michael Moore Flare, as he follows Roger Smith around the country to try to get answers. It's one of the most effective documentaries I've ever seen. Even though the subject is of a much smaller scale than what most documentaries tend to tackle, it's the way Moore presents his case that shows just how important the subject is. It's not a film that changed the world, but it's a very powerful film in itself. The little guy, the unimportant factor in the equation, is fighting back against the careless acts of the big guys.

A family getting kicked out on Christmas Eve.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Academy Awards for Best Actor | Deservers (1927-2013)

These are who I think should have won the Oscars for Best Actor. Some of them did win in their respective years too. It is just my opinion, a video made with love :)

Music used: Cloud Atlas, Chevaliers de Sangreal, The Untouchables, Dragonheart, A Single Man, Kill Bill, Slumdog Millionaire.

This Is the End (2013) - ★★★★

Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Writers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jason Stone (Short Film)
Stars: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Rihanna

This is the End is one of the funniest comedies of 2013. It had its moments that made me roar with laughter, and an all-star comedic cast that rivals films like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963). Seth Rogen is proving to be a formidable comedic super-star, putting the likes of Adam Sandler and his crew to shame. While this isn't a very original film, the improv from these hilarious men make it one of the most memorable and unpredictable comedies made in recent years. Its biggest asset is the way the actors don't take themselves too seriously, but its biggest folly is that there are frequent, and sometimes prolonged dull-moments. Whatever its shortcomings, I'll always remember the performances of Jonah Hill and Danny McBride, who were the cream of the crop.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) - ★★½

Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt (Screenplay), Suzanne Collins (Novel)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Sam Claflin, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Liam Hemsworth,  Philip Seymour Hoffman,  Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci

If one word was to sum up my experience of watching Catching Fire, it would have to be 'dull.' It's filled with very slow, long, tedious exercises in plot development. I didn't love the book, but the action was much more exciting on paper than on film. There were a few things I really liked about the movie. The costumes throughout the film are astonishingly beautiful, and the performances by Donald Sutherland and Elizabeth Banks were both highlights for me. But whenever the film gained a bit of excitement and momentum, it was taken down a peg by unconvincing scenes of romance and urgency.

Monday, 2 December 2013

My Cousin Rachel (1952) - ★★★★★

Director: Henry Koster
Writers: Daphne Du Maurier (Novel), Nunnally Johnson
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Richard Burton, Audrey Dalton, Ronald Squire, George Dolenz, John Sutton

DID SHE OR DIDN'T SHE? - My Cousin Rachel is one of the darkest and most mysterious films I've ever had the pleasure to watch, making it one of my all time favourite movies. It boasts what is arguably the greatest performance ever by Olivia de Havilland, and the role that secured Richard Burton's rise to fame. It's an exquisitely made film, with both beautiful and brooding cinematography that perfectly illustrates the story. An impressive score by Franz Waxman, along with the magnificent suspense and performances, made this one of the most entertaining and depressing films I've ever seen. What makes this a masterpiece is the way it will forever keep you guessing.

The Kings of Summer (2013) - ★★★½

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writer: Chris Galletta
Stars: Nick Robinson, Nick Offerman, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Erin Moriarty, Megan Mulally, Marc Evan Jackson

The Kings of Summer is a visually beautiful, entertaining film. It's basically like the movie Into the Wild, but for teenagers. It boasts an amazing soundtrack, exquisite cinematography, and an Oscar worthy performance by the hilarious Nick Offerman. I couldn't connect with the characters, because they were the kind of people I generally dislike. However, their complicated feelings and impulsive actions were both easy to relate to, and at times unbelievable. I enjoyed this movie because it made me feel some pretty strong emotions, and it didn't become preachy about in-depth teenage problems. It's just an interesting look at the lives of three boys, who are sick of their lives and want to escape. It's far from a perfect film, but there's enough substance there to call it a great movie.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013) - ★★★★½

Director: Jeff Tremaine
Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Greg Harris, Georgina Cates

Bad Grandpa is one of the most uproariously funny movies I've ever seen. Scene after scene, this film was consistent in its level of unpredictability, originality, and downright hilarious gags. I'd go as far as to say that this is the BEST Jackass movie ever made. No, it doesn't have the classic stuntmen/pranksters such as Chris Pontius, Bam Margera, or Steve-O. It's simply Johnny Knoxville and the sensational Jackson Nicoll, who together have a damned funny, infectious chemistry. It's a surprisingly well put-together film, with a laid-back soundtrack and nice cinematography. What makes this movie work on a cinematic level is that it sticks to a coherent storyline, that is played out through enacted scenes AND pranks on real human beings. I just loved Bad Grandpa, which deserves high praise for making me almost fall out of my chair in laughter, twice!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Monster Pies (2013) - ★★★

Director: Lee Galea
Writer: Lee Galea
Stars: Tristan Barr, Lucas Linehan, Rohana Hayes, Jeremy Kewley, Nicola Eveleigh, Marlene Magee, Marcel Reluctant, Katrina Maree

Monster Pies isn't a very well made film, but it's terribly moving. Once it gets more exposure, there's no doubt in my mind that it will be seen as an LGBT cinematic treasure. It's an important film for Australia too, a country that has only had brief exposure to gay themes on television and in film (Priscilla being the most notable film). It took me a while to get into the movie, because it was hard to get past the shabby production value. As the leading actors took their stride and developed an infectious chemistry, the romance took off and led me on yet another incredibly moving experience. Isn't it weird though, that a film like this (which is far from great) is one that I'll never forget. It does pack a punch, and it will stay with you.