I've had a few conversations with some of you about Fast Five, so now it's time to share my thoughts here. I like it. I figure that if you didn't think much of the first four movies then you won't have bothered with this one. And if you've seen this one then you'd be well aware that they're little more than fluffy popcorn features. To me in many ways it's movies like this that are the reason we watch movies. Its escapism. I particularly liked this one as it marks a transition in the series from rev-em-up adrenalin fuelled mayhem to fast paced shoot-em up action that we used to celebrate in the 80s. It's pretty classic stuff when you think about it. Fast Five has less cars and more braun and i think I prefer it that way. The action sequences are quite incredible and the final sequence is amazing. Intellectual? Hell no!! Heaps of fun? Shit yeah!! I'm looking forward to part 6 (stick with the credits for a grab) and a 7th is also confirmed.
I have a fascination about the psychology of real-crime, particularly serial killing. I recall once reading the full account of the infamous Bodies In The Barrels murders and of all the grisly things I have read in my life, those details turned my stomach and horrified me the most. Information like that cannot be unread. Anyone over 30 living in Australia remembers this case and it remains taboo in many circles. And so to the film, Snowtown. This is a monumentally bleak movie-going experience. The relationships of all involved in the crime is explored with a veracious honesty and unflinching realism that results in an uncomfortable and relentless sitting. Thankfully not all of the crimes are depicted but those which are are graphic, upsetting and repulsive. The performances are amongst the best I've seen in years. Daniel Henshall who played John Bunting delivers the most menacing and terrifying character I can recall. I challenge you to find a better performance in recent years. But despite it's horrors, Snowtown is a brilliant film. Only see it if you know what you are up for and be prepared for it to stick in your memory. You wont forget it and may not want to revisit it again... incredible.
I reckon we Aussies do quirky rom-coms really well. Think of movies like The Big Steal, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel's Wedding and recently I Love You Too. We put a certain flavour into a lot of our comedies and the rom-coms often have a "twang" that appeals to me. Danny Deckchair is one of those movies. It was poorly received when it was released but I reckon it was harshly done by. Rhys Ifans stars as Danny, a depressed and eccentric bloke who ties a heap of balloons to a deck chair and flies towards a new start. He lands in a small town where he finds a quality of life he'd always dreamed of... that (of course) includes the woman of his dreams. Yeah I know it's not award winning stuff but it's a subtle little gem that brings a few good laughs and a lots of smiles. Miranda Otto is great and Rhys Ifans slaps on a near perfect Aussie accent. Impressive I reckon. =)
Let It Be is an observational film which chronicles The Beatles' recording of their album Let it Be. There is no narrative structure and the film comprises of jam sessions, live recordings and discussions amongst the group. Unbeknownst to the band itself the film ultimately captures their implosion, or at least the beginning of the end. You can sense tension between the four of them and there's a feeling of exhaustion. To this point in time the film hasn't seen a dvd release with a planned remastering being postponed due to old issues being rehashed (whatever that means). I think its a really important film though and should be remastered. There's a lot of iconic moments such as their performance of the title track and the infamous rooftop concert (their final live performance) in it's entirety. Let It Be is a really awesome glimpse into the recording of an album. Great stuff.
When Pitch Black became an unexpected sleeper hit, David Twohy (writer director) went and injected a dose of steroids into his creation and created this big budget, special fx driven sequel. After 5 years on the run since the end of Pitch Black, Riddick is captured and finds himself up against an army of necromongers who are systematically annihilating the known universe. Its an entirely different movie to the first and quite frankly is ridiculous... But it's fun too. The character of Riddick is a unique antihero that's strong enough to engage and hold an audience. Players like Judi Dench and Colm Feore add credibility to an otherwise unsubstantial story and I find that the better elements of the film hold it together. A 3rd film titled RIDDICK is in production and will return the franchise to it's modest low budget roots. I'm eagerly awaiting that one.
I remember seeing Pitch Black for the first time at the cinema. I came away from it thinking I have seen something special. "Who is this Van Deisel guy?" I thought Riddick was the coolest character I'd seen in years and I still think that. The movie takes the best elements of Alien and The Thing and creates a modest little sci-fi thriller about a group of marooned travellers on a seemingly desolate planet which has 3 suns. I'm sure most of you have seen it so I won't bother with any more of a rundown. Needless to say its a taut film, well written, well acted and really well directed. The movie was followed by The Chronicles Of Riddick (which I'll re-watch and post soon) and a 35 minute anime that bridges the two feature films. Very cool stuff and a 3rd Riddick movie is in production which will return to the gritty and modest aesthetic that fans prefer. Can't wait.
Drive Angry is astoundingly stupid.... but its knows exactly how absurd it is and it doesn't apologise. It's a high octane, ultra violent revenge flick with Nicholas Cage playing a father hellbent on avenging his daughter's murder and saving his infant grandchild from the impending sacrifice at the hands of a demented cult leader. Many people will perceive this movie as nothing less than awful and I get that... but the movie has too much fun enjoying itself and it works on a purely superficial level. It was made for 3D and I really wish I'd watched it that way. I'll have to check out the 3D BluRay to get the full experience. I'll be keen to hear what other's think of it but for me it was a real grindhouse kind of experience which brought back memories of Spawn with a touch of Mad Max.
Remember that cool little sci-fi movie a few years ago called Primer? It was about 2 guys who build a time machine in their garage and end up creating a whole heap of alternate realities? Phasma Ex Machina is a similar film about a grieving science student who creates a machine in his garage that uses electronic energy to open a doorway to the hereafter in an attempt to bring his parents back. "Crossing over" is a concept that we've seen over and over but this movie does it differently. There's a strong emotional core that drives this story along and the characters in it are genuine and believable. There are no typical ghostly devices or scare tactics and the story is told in a believable way that almost makes you forget that it's fantasy. The finale is particularly effective and the end credits really brought the movie home. If you love supernatural and/or spiritual films then check this one out because its a real sleeper. It's win all the way as far as I'm concerned.
This is Australia's version of The Breakfast Club. When the Beatles visited Australia in 1964, a frenzy of Beatlemania swept across the country and Melbourne bore the brunt of it. Never has there been so many people concentrated on the streets of the city. This movie tells of 4 of those screaming fans and 1 Elvis loving greaser who find themselves trapped in the basement of the Southern Cross hotel where the fab four are staying. They're all from different walks of life and all have different stories.... and as the title of the film suggests, they each have secrets. It's a talkie movie which predominantly takes place in the one location. They all share a love for the Beatles except for one who brings the conflict as he hates everything the Beatles represent. It's not a great movie by any means but it's one I loved as a teenager. The soundtrack is packed with Beatles tunes which holds my interest even more. It's not an easy flick to come by but is worth checking out if you do. It's called "One Crazy Night" outside of Australia.
There were loads of great comedies released last year... some intelligent and others even genius but for some juvenile reason Diary Of A Wimpy Kid was my favourite comedy of the whole year. There was an elementary brilliance to it that struck a chord. It took me back to my primary school days and reignited the kid in me. And so naturally I was mega excited about part 2. Now I have watched it and while it's not as sharp and witty as the first movie, it still induced some big LOLs. The strength of this family flick is the performances. The actors know exactly where their marks are and they don't miss a beat. As our main character Greg steps up into junior high (7th grade) in this movie, the tone is slightly more mature than the previous movie. Perhaps that's why the first one worked better for me... maybe it was the innocence of it all... whatever, Roderick Rules is still a great little family movie. Part 3 is in production and I'm looking forward to seeing it. My expectations wont be as high and that might be to its advantage.
Cain Toads The Conquest is Australia's first 3D film. It's a follow up documentary to the 1988 film Cain Toads: An Unnatural History. Having seen that I can reassure you that this new doco stands alone. I didn't see it at the cinema but I wish I had. The 3D would have added an entirely different level of humour to it. On dvd it's an informative, amusing and scary story. We all know how cain toads were introduced and we've all heard stories of them invading backyards in the thousands.... we've certainly heard of people playing golf with them. This film looks at everything we know about the vermin and attempts to understand them. It questions what can be done to stop them and canvases a broad diversity of opinions. "Nuke the bloody things". "Create a militia". "Use them for medicinal purposes" etc... at the end of the day the toads win and we've got ourselves to blame. This is a very funny film that might change peoples' opinions of cain toads, or it will simply fuel their hatred even more. Ugly bastards!!!
I was all set to watch Cain Toads: The Conquest tonight but I put the dvd in and a trailer for 7 Days played.... holy crap it hooked me and I remembered that I have it lying around somewhere waiting to be seen. So Cain Toads got a flick... 7 Days, WOW! This is one brutal and unflinching film. A little girl kisses her dad goodbye and leaves for school. In the meantime mummy & daddy make use of the serenity and screw. Unbeknownst to them while they're having sex their daughter is being brutally raped, beaten and murdered. Cut to the body being found by the father & police and the film's title appears. The killer is identified and the guilt ridden the father kidnaps him and begins a 7 day torture session. Plot wise that's all that needs be said. This French-Canadian film is a bleak experience with absolutely no light. The performances are great and the guy who plays the killer is incredible. It's a difficult watch but well worth the time. Underlying the barbarity is a moral quandary as the father experiences a whole gamete of emotions. Throughout it all the film is asking what you would do? Obviously not for everyone and some people will ask why watch such a violent movie that offers little redemption? My answer to that is that it challenges the viewer. It forces questions and examines consequences. I reckon I'll be watching it again soon.
Holy Shit!! I just watched the coolest comedy-horror movie. All ye horror buffs need to check out The Revenant. The best way to describe it is like Re-Animator meets Boondock Saints... but that only barely describes it. This movie is original, hilarious and gruesome. The story goes like this; a soldier is killed in Iran. A month later he is buried back home in America. A few days later he wakes up in his coffin... still dead. With nowhere to go he crashes at his best mate's house. Turns out he's neither a zombie or a vampire but a little of both (that's no spoiler)... a Revenant. And so he and his mate start working their way through LA's lowest. Thugs, rapists, drug dealers... yep, they turn vigilante and start drinking their victims. That's all I'll give you but the movie goes a lot further into stuff I haven't seen and its very cool. Check it out if you're a genre fan. Big kudos!
All of the horror buffs here know what "Giallo" is but for those who don't, it is a term used to describe a particular genre of Italian mystery/horror fiction. It is also the Italian word for yellow and the word serves as a double-entendre for Dario Argento's most recent film. Adrian Brody stars as an American homicide detective working in Italy who is in the middle of a serial killer case. When the most recent victim's sister pushes her way into the case the two work together to catch their killer. It's nothing new but it is well made. Argento was once a master of his craft with his work in the 70s being amongst the most influential horror ever made. But then in the late 80s and early 90s his work took a drastic turn. He became kitsch and desperate, falling victim to his own ego. But fortunately for us aficionados he has started to claw his way back and his past few films have been getting better. I think Giallo is his best since the glory days and perhaps thats owed to the fact that it's the first film he hasn't written personally. It looks good, the flow is eloquent and the locations feel classic. Adrian Brody also does a solid job performing two characters (he's also plays the killer and is almost unrecognisable) I think the movie slightly suffers from indulgence with unnecessary gore but aside from that it's good to have the maestro back.