The first 30 Days Of Night is a unique and original vampire film. Based on the comic series of the same name, it's a refreshing and terrifying movie that returns vampires to their monstrous origins. They're creatures of the night, not glitter children of the day. And now the follow up, Dark Days which continues directly from the first film. Its a good looking and stylish film for a direct-to-video release. There is no doubt that a lot of love and dedication to the original source was invested (the comic's creator Steve Niles co-wrote the screenplay). It was directed be the same guy who made the two online 30 Days Of Night mini-series': Blood Trails and Dust To Dust. While I did enjoy this, it severely lacks the wow factor of the original. The first movie's success was in it's setting.... the cold, stark & desolate isolation of a remote town in Alaska. Now we're in Los Angeles and the aesthetic is lost. But hey, the sequel comic was set in LA and so its faithful... just not as affective. A little generic but good fun nonetheless. The poster art does suck though.
During the 80's Nadia Tass and David Parker gave us some of the best movies; Malcolm, The Big Steal & Ricky and Pete amongst them. For the past several years they'd fallen off the map. Lost in the Americas they made a string of cruddy telemovies and it seemed all was lost.... but they've returned to the wonderful land of Oz with Matching Jack. It's their first Aussie outing since Amy in 1998 and its a belter. Its an absolute beautiful and life affirming film which happens to star my favourite actor of all time, James Nesbitt.. as well as Richard Roxburgh, Colin Friels, Kodi Smit-McFee and a few other familiar faces from the past. Hopefully this movie marks the return of Tass & Parker in Oz.... IMDb has their next project listed as "In Production" so its looking good.
Dinner For Schmucks is CRAP. Sure I laughed out loud a few times but that doesn't mean it wasn't CRAP! This movie is the perfect example of wasted talent.... bucket loads of wasted talent. Steve Carrell, Jemaine Clement, Zach Galifianakis, David Walliams, Ron Livingston.. etc... wow. I haven't seen the French film but I wish I had. Many time's I've meant to but got distracted. I bet its hilarious. I watched this movie and imagined it in French and for some reason, I was amused. Yeah I laughed out loud but that doesn't stop Dinner For Schmucks from being CRAP!
I just watched Buried for the first time. To all of the people who told me how unique and original the film is, you obviously don't know a lot about cinema. If Hitchcock is directing movies from beyond the grave, then Buried is his latest gem. From the opening title sequence to the complex camera angles and the melodramatic score... its very Hitchcockian (Lifeboat being the obvious comparison).... Having said all of that, Buried is fantastic. The entire 94 minutes running time is spent confined to the inside of a coffin... and not a single minute is wasted. This film is gripping from start to finish and Ryan Reynolds is fantastic. We feel his frustration, his panic and his terror. What would seem like such a simple film must have been such a complex and time consuming task with the coffin being filmed from every angle imaginable to maintain a steady and riveting movie experience. High praise from me!
"City Under Siege" is a lame title for a movie like this. It's description suits the plot but not the atmosphere... it makes it sound like some 80s Hollywood blockbuster. Anyhow, its a weird and quirky Chinese sci-fi action in the vein of XMen. A troupe of circus performers are exposed to a chemical which was hidden in old gold mines by the Japanese during WWII and it lends them superhuman powers. With an arrogance of invincibility they embark on a rampage of mayhem. It's actually really stupid. The movie is too comical for it's own good and the dialogue (translated subtitles) is terrible. On the positive it's a stylish and great looking movie. There's some interesting imagery and action sequences but its overall very underwhelming. Bugger.
For me Jean-Pierre Jeunet's films are events. He's such an original and visionary director and I always anticipate his films with bated breath. His latest film is "Micmacs à tire-larigot" (Micmacs) and its a throwback to the aesthetic of his first two films; Delicatessen and City Of Lost Children. It tells the story of Bazil who's father is killed by a land mine in the middle east and 30 years later Bazil himself ends up with a bullet lodged in his brain when he is shot in the head. Finding himself jobless and homeless he is taken in by a group of eccentric dwellers who sift through scrap heaps for a living. Bazil hatches a scheme to exact revenge on the weapons dealer & manufacturers who are the reason for his woes. The film is full of crazy and bizarre scenarios, incredibly creative creations and old fashioned comical performances. If you like Jeanet's work the you'll love Micmacs. High entertainment.
Black Death is one of the best medieval films I've ever seen and its one of the more unique I've seen in a while. Directed by Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance) it tells the story of a plague ridden England during the 1340s and a group of soldiers who enlist the guidance of a young monk to embark on a mission to seek a remote village which pestilence has left untouched. It is believed that a necromancer governs the village and he or she must be killed. This movie is so well made. Its dark, sinister and brooding. The landscapes are bleak and forbidding and all the while... beautiful. No doubt Christopher Smith drew inspiration from Mario Bava films like Black Sunday and Lisa and The Devil and he's tailored his own very original film that will hopefully be remembered for some years to come. This one impressed the hell out of me.
I can sum up Road Train in two word; bloody crap! However I'll elaborate a little more just incase you don't trust me. As a horror fan I'm always prepared to stretch the limits of my believability. In fact i'm always told that I accept far-fetched stories a lot easier than most people... but Road Train really tested my patience. It's just absurd. Take Spielberg's "Duel" and Stephen King's "The Mangler" and that's all this amounts to. If I had to scrounge for positives I would say that its well photographed and its great to see David Argue back on the screen... but he's in it for 5 mins, max. Bugger! The title is misleading because road trains generally have 4 or 5 trailer compartments but the one in this movie only has two... its just a truck. A keen eye (a lazy one too) would also notice that the background landscape jumps around a lot. One moment they're in the middle of a flat and barren outback and the next moment there's lush green hills and pastures... then at one point we're suddenly in a forrest... wtf? The only reason I persisted to the end was that I had my fingers crossed for a satisfying payoff.... thankfully there IS a pay off and it is mildly cool, but nowhere near enough to redeem this mess of a movie. So to recap; Bloody Crap!
Most people who have had film conversations with me know that I LOVE Rolf de Heer. I think he's one of Australia's best and most important filmmakers. He never makes the same film twice and they're always unique. His films include Bad Boy Bubbdy, The Tracker, Ten Canoes, The Man Who Read Love Stories & Alexandre's Project... and then there's Dr Plonk! De Heer throws back to the silent era of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplan with this fabulous silent feature filmed with an old style crank camera, giving the picture a classic vintage authenticity. The slapstic is nostalgic and probably wont amuse many people under 30... but its good clean humour. All players are wonderful and the real show stopper is Tiberius, a pint sized dog with a flare for theatrics. He's hilarious!!! Hopefully it's not a hard title to come by and I would hope that most video stores stock it... go check it out.
1995's Ghost in The Shell is a masterpiece. Its technically magnificent and proved to be one of the most influential anime films of all time. Ghost In The Shell 2 isn't quite a sequel but rather a companion film, taking place in the same universe. Its a detective/murder investigation involving cyborgs who have murdered their masters... its neither as technical as the first film nor is it as ingenious. Nevertheless it looks great and is engaging enough to make it a worthwhile experience. There are various styles of animation going on at once here and there are moments when they don't meld perfectly but individually they're spectacular.
I reckon i've seen Chopper at least 20 times and its always as entertaining as ever. It's without a doubt (in my opinion) one of the greatest Australian films ever made. Eric Bana is incredible and plays Chopper to a tee. It's one of the most quotable movies I know of also... "I should report you to the fucking RSPCA you idiot". Intense, graphic & highly amusing... Chopper is one of the truly great crime flicks.
I'll add that watching this film, along with other greats like Everynight... Everynight and Romper Stomper makes me so goddamn grateful for the life I live. Free of crime.. free of dickheads... free of violence... free of derros... and 100% awesome!
Drop Dead Gorgeous follows in the mockumentary footsteps of Spinal Tap and Best In Show. It's not quite up to the hilarity standards of Christopher Guest's mockos but it's a damn amusing 90 minutes nonetheless. Centred around a mid-western beauty pageant, Drop Dead Gorgeous follows several contestants as they rehearse, perform and compete. There's some great performances from Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adam, Denise Richards, Brittany Murphy, Kirstie Alley and Allen Barken... but the show stealing performance comes from Allison Janney as a trailer park floozy. The satire is aimed not only at beauty pageants but middle America in general. Very funny.
There's a misconception that Meatballs is some sort of zany sex romp of a movie but it couldn't be further from the truth. Instead its a really sincere and modest coming of age PG rated comedy about the difficulties of being a teenage loner. Its also quite an important movie for the fact that it launched several major careers... Ivan Reitman, Harold Raimis and Bill Murray all launched their careers with Meatballs. It's often poignant and always funny. Meatballs is a definite comedy classic!
Meatballs Part II recycles the formula from the first movie, only it lacks the sincerity. There's no direct connection between the movies as a different bunch of kids spend a summer at a different camp. Most school camp movies are the same... either they're about two rival camps competing in a tournament or the camp is threatened by developers. Well Meatballs 2 has both. lol. And then just when you think the movie is pretty lame, along comes a space ship and leaves behind a teenage alien to spend the summer with humans. It's a massive case of WTF? But its so ridiculous that it redeems the movie. There's some familiar faces from the past (Paul Rubens, Kim Richards & Jason Hervey) and its generally a fun movie... but not a patch on the original.
Meatballs 3 abandons the PG formula of the first two movies and ventures into the sex-com hijinks that Porky's and other movies popularised a few years earlier. As if part 2 wasn't stupid enough with a weird alien character attending summer camp, part 3 has a dead porn star sent back to Earth to help a geeky teenager get laid. That kid is Rudy who was the main character from the first Meatballs... so that makes it a direct sequel to the first movie... but its really fucking dumb. Patrick Dempsy makes his movie debut as the lead character and he spends much of this film walking around with a hard on. File this one in the "so bad its good" catalogue.