Pompeii

Pompeii or Pomphay gurl, I lava you just the way you are or Mt Vesuvime, Mt Vesuviyou, Mt Vesuvius.

gsregesrnderson-1I don’t want to spoil the ending of this movie so I’ll have to try really hard to not mention the volcano exploding.

Oh wait. Dang.

Pompeii (or Pompe2 as it’s known in Ancient Rome) stars Kit Harington as Milo, who, as a young boy, witnessed the slaughter of his entire village of Horse Whisperers. Many years later, Milo has been traded from slavery into the life of a gladiator. By chance, he meets Cassia (Emily Browning) and kills her horse (not a euphemism). She is obviously immediately attracted to him but gross lol he’s just a filthy slave and she’s the crowned princess of Pompeii. Or the Mayor’s daughter… or something. Anyway, it is not long until the corrupt Senator Corvus (a sober Kiefer Sutherland) shows up and wants toget into Cassia’s toga, but don’t be fooled, he’s a giant ash-hole.

Corvus is like “why does she keep making eyes at that poor guy” and an extra is like “He’s from Game of Thrones” and Corvus is like “Um doesn’t she know 24 is coming back soon?” and the extra is like “no”. So Cassia hates Corvus, Corvus hates Milo and Milo hates volcanoes spewing lava onto his friends. Oh PS a volcano explodes.

Basically, Pompeii is what happens when you put equal parts of Titanic, Dante’s Peak, Gladiator and The Horse Whisperer into a bucket, and mix. But it’s not awful. I mean yes, it’s awful, but only in the sense that it’s exactly what you’d expect from it. I actually loved it and here’s why:

Pompeii+Australian+Poster

Take a look at that poster. Is that not the most splendid thing you’ve ever seen? Kit Harington has a sword, which is wonderful because a volcano’s only weaknesses are swords and sassy insults. (“Hey volcano, u think ur so hot but ur not!”). Meanwhile, Kiefer Sutherland looks absolutely fabulous, like he’s about to battle the volcano by properly accessorizing that cape. It’s pretty clear he’s only trying to marry Cassia in order to distract from his giant bodyguard (Sasha Roiz). And finally, poor Emily Browning :(.

There’s also the subplot of Milo’s gladiator status. More like frowniator. There’s maybe one great fighting scene, the rest look like the cafeteria scene from Mean Girls. Milo’s Regina George in this case being Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Atticus. The two forge an unlikely friendship, that really is more interesting than the romantic storyline whatsoever.

A lot of the film’s effects budget went into trying to give Emily Browning emotions other than ‘vacancy’. There are also one or two really great set pieces that lend themselves to some pretty ok scenes. Director Mr Milla Jovovich (Paul W.S. Anderson) really only uses the 3D of the film effectively once, with plumes of smoke giving the scene a great sense of depth. Were you to see the film in 2D you’re not missing anything at all.

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Ladies, if you get a burning sensation when you kiss a man, that’s not always a good thing.

I feel like this is a film that will be unfairly bullied for doing exactly what it says on the box- but I have to be honest, there were a few genuine surprises for me, and I genuinely had a good time. There’s fighting for the boys, and there’s people being trampled to death and covered in lava for the girls! (I don’t know what girls like.) Was the film necessary? No. Dear god, no it definitely wasn’t. But as far as unnecessary blockbusters – this one will give you a good afternoon of enjoyment/mass murder.

 Not so much Volca-No as Volcan-ok.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Shouting at Everyone Then Lets Do Some Drugs and Put Our Wangs In Some Prostitutes

TheWolfofWallStreet_posterSo I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. I mean. It’s a good film. I know so many people are going to see it and love it. They’ll think it’s a great film. I just feel like I’m not those people. I think watching it, I finally figured out where my attention deficit disorder kicks in. Almost exactly 90 minutes into the movie and BOOM I just really needed to check my phone. And I usually NEVER check my phone in movies because it’s rude and no one ever texts me.

Look. Here’s the thing with The Wolf of Wall Street. There is about an hour of the film that I could happily cut out, and it would change nothing. There’d be no adverse affect on the film’s flow, meaning or statement. In fact removing some of the more repetitious content would serve to elevate a lot of that!

And I KNOW recently most of my gripes with films have been because they’ve been too long. But there are other films like Prisoners where I actually was really happy for the enormous run-time! But not when it’s as painfully repetitious as Wolf. You could defend the film by saying “oh but this is just fitting in the theme of indulgence and reflective of the lifestyle of the characters”. To which I say pah. PAH. It’s ineffective.

Here are things I would never complain about being too long:

  • All-you-can-eat buffet tables
  • Penises
  • Burgers
  • Time spent laying really still

Here’s my list of things I would definitely complain about being too long:

  • Movies for no reason
  • Penises
  • Queues to get to all-you-can-eat buffet tables
  • Sharks.

Wolf of Wall Street_Leonadro DiCaprio

So what’s the film about? Leonardo DiCaprio shouts at you for three hours and also cocaine is awesome and if you don’t do it you’re a loser and also chicks are basically great to put your penis inside of and how great are boobs and also money is great.

Just kidding but not really.  Based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who dabbles in corrupt practices on Wall Street in the 90s. The film tracks Belfort from his humble beginnings as a fresh-faced broker, following in the footsteps of his mentor Mark Hanna (played by the shrunken head of Matthew McConaughey under a Toddlers and Tiaras reject wig). Belfort soon becomes obsessed with sex, drugs and the rock and roll of hanging out with Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill). Eventually, Belfort’s debauchery attracts the attention of an FBI Agent and things begin to become tenser for the cashed up cutie in the classy suit.

BUT WAIT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE. It’s already such a massive story, which is really interesting, and the script by Terence Winter is sharp, dark and incredibly funny. But the amount of content they cover has a tranquilizing effect. Scorsese also employs every filmic device that has existed and inserts it in the film. What occurs is this frenetic vibe that mirrors the life of Belfort that so suddenly spirals out of control. Sure this is all well and good – but there’s only so much of the same ol same ol that we need to see in the film to get the idea.

worst. twister. game. ever.

worst. twister. game. ever.

Casting is perfection. DiCaprio shouts at everyone like they’re icebergs dead ahead. Jonah Hill is a brilliant kind of grotesque, I never knew if I was supposed to want him to get shot, or pull out his prosthetic penis again. Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia – Belfort’s wife – is beautiful and holds her own against the giant, screaming mass of DiCaprio. And from there, there’s just piles and piles of great supporting roles. The main brokers Belfort initially hires are a rag-tag group of misfits that are so hilarious and horrible. Cameos from Rob Reiner and Joanna Lumley were also welcome as they were, and always are, excellent (CHRISTINE EBERSOLE WAS ROBBED OF MORE SCREEN TIME!!!). Also they mention Belfort had two children, but they only ever show one of them??? What happened to the other one?? Genuine question, leave me a comment or tweet me or sky-write me.

Honestly I think so many people will love this movie. It definitely wasn’t my cup of cocaine, and because of that I feel like the length really brought me down, kicked me in the face, and tried to give me a lesson on finances.

Final thoughts: Stockbroker? I don’t even know her.

American Hustle

American Huh? Still Going?

american hustle poster jennifer lawrence jeremy renner bradley cooper amy adams christian baleI was trying to come up with a gimmick to write about American Hustle where I could completely avoid writing about it because I don’t get it. I mean I get it, it’s a film, whatever, but I don’t get it. Outside the A-list cast and funky fun styling, the bloated and misguided story runs for far too long. I’m not saying that I hated the film, I don’t think it’s a film that would be easy to hate, and it isn’t inherently bad. I’m just saying absolutely nothing in the film resonated with me and I don’t understand how someone can leave thinking that it was a good film? I don’t really get it.

The film stars Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld, a conman. Irving, along with his saucy mistress Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), is forced to work alongside FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) in order to expose fraud and corruption within Jersey politicians. That’s such a basic summary. There’s also Jennifer Lawrence who plays Irving’s wife Rosalyn, there’s nice-guy/nice-hair-guy Jeremy Renner as Mayor Carmine Polito, there’s Louis C.K., there’s five minutes of Robert Deniro exhaling through his nose. Such a giant cast, so many things going on so it’s no surprise that the film goes for 140 minutes.

But why does this film go for 140 minutes? Because it really shouldn’t. There’s no real extraordinary character development, there aren’t very memorable scenes, so what’s actually happening for the duration of the film? Mainly, it’s just Amy Adams changing into every possible outfit that existed to show her boobs without showing her boobs.

american hustle poster jennifer lawrence jeremy renner bradley cooper amy adams christian bale

American Hustle BUSTle, what’s all the fussl-e?

I can see why someone might like this film. It’s flashy; the 70s aesthetic is done incredibly well, a few of the actors have scenes where they are very actor-y and act a lot (acting!), and the cast all look great and funny with their wigs and potbellies (so great and funny!). But outside of that, the film feels directionless, messy and empty and I feel like that’s why I just wanted it to end. And when it DID end – I hated how it ended but I was so happy it had. Guys it was such a long film.

Christian Bale has very kind eyes, until you remember he’d probably shout at your mom in a restaurant. Bradley Cooper dances from his hips and I am very attracted to him even with a perm. Amy Adams is great in this. She looks great and she does a pretty great job with a pretty average character (TRIGGER WARNING: she’s doing a bad accent on purpose, so if you hate bad accents you will probably not cope). And of course, Jennifer Lawrence steals the show – but it seems like Director and co-writer David O Russell crafted the character of Rosalyn in order to suit Lawence’s incredibly charming, and accessible sense of humor. But her brief stint as the comic relief in the film is too few and far between to ultimately pull it out of the slog of its own GIGANTIC plot.

american hustle poster jennifer lawrence jeremy renner bradley cooper amy adams christian bale

Speaking of gigantic.

I guess you could claim that the film is a commentary on authenticity (the clever wink of the opening card: ‘Some of this actually happened’), you’re forever wondering how much of the tale is actually true. The skeleton is, sure, and had they stuck to that story it actually may have succeeded in being a fine con/heist/sting film. The addition of the unpredictable and volatile DiMaso, and two clashing love-triangles, plus plus plus all the other added elements makes the film unwieldy and unnecessarily complex. Ugh guys. There’s just so much going on it’ll cross your eyes (and when Cooper does his sexy 70s dancing it’ll uncross your legs haaay).

Similarly to August: Osage County, watching American Hustle I hated it. I hated watching it. But I only mildly dislike the film. As I said, it’s a hard film to hate because it’s not bad – it just doesn’t achieve much. Of anything.

Not so much American Hustle as it is American Bustle (because so much cleavage), and I just don’t get all the American Fuss-le.

See it. I would LOVE for you to tell me why you like it.

August: Osage County

The Play’s The Thing Wherein I’ll Catch The Conscience Of The Streep

august-osage-county-poster1August: Osage County brings together the Weston family under unfortunate circumstances. The patriarch is missing – soon to be revealed he’s committed suicide – and so the family must come together, and unravel together. There’s a lot of bickering, and there’s more bickering. Just in time for the holiday season, get ready y’all, it’s a film all about how shitty it is to be with family!

An all-star cast featuring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Demort Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch and Abigail Breslin, August: Osage County is based on the play by the same name, and adapted for the screen by the playwright himself (who I totally knew was a dude the whole time), Tracey Letts.

What I don’t think Letts anticipated was that the film really only led me to one conclusion: this would make a really great play. As far as films go it’s far from terrible. The performances and the writing are (on the whole) incredible. But it’s difficult to watch at times. 130 minute run-time of Meryl Streep shouting, contrary to popular belief, can be quite grating. (“Meryl could play batman!” you scream at me. Yes. Yes, we all saw that episode of Modern Family. Aren’t you clever? Also – no she couldn’t.)

Having not seen the play here’s what I imagine: all the action is set in and around the family home. There’s no leaving the house. Claustrophobic. You’re embedded in the action and the tension and because of that there would be so much more power behind certain moments. Especially the ending (no spoilers). I just don’t think it translated into a film so well. In fact the ending sucks. It’s such a nonevent. Having that openness they create in the film, the fact that characters come and go so freely, means that once they leave the home – be it temporarily or for good – it holds no emotional punch. There are attempts at highlighting certain characters leaving (screaming at cars as they drive around the seemingly labyrinthine driveway) but again, it lacks any kind of lasting punch. You’ve spent such a long time (oh god so long) watching a group of horrible people be horrible to each other, and then it just kind of peters out. Oh. Okay.

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Ladies leave your man at home, the club is full of ballers and they pockets full grown.

Streep, as the cantankerous, pill-popping Violet is fantastic. Her energy undulates throughout the film delivering these monologues that are cutting and so finely paced (again, no dust on Letts’ writing chops, the script is great). But it’s so much content that after a while it just seemed to wash over me. More surprising, and ridiculously brilliant is Roberts. She builds to the incredible crescendo that is so heartbreakingly entertaining, and unexpectedly funny but again this momentum is let down by the blah-as-hell ending.

The rest of the cast (Martindale, McGregor Cooper and Cumberbatch especially) are all equally well equipped to compete for screen-time, and with such a mammoth ensemble they all succeed in making an impression for better or worse. Abigail Breslin’s Jean is a horrible character. She sucks so much. Breslin plays the character well but it’s unfortunate because she’s so convincing as a human-shaped bag of ratdicks. Seriously, her parents Bill (McGregor) and Barbara (Roberts) are fighting over raising their daughter correctly and it’s like guys, you failed. She’s terrible. Don’t waste your time.

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you buggin’ what? you buggin’ who? you buggin’ me! and don’t you see it ain’t cool.

This was a weird experience for me. Because I genuinely didn’t enjoy watching it. I didn’t like it. But I can recognize how well it was written and executed by a terrific cast. And the more time I spend away from the film the less I dislike it. Roberts and Streep deserve every shred of praise they’re getting, sure. As I said, further I get away from it, the less I feel like it wasn’t too bad. But please don’t make me watch it again?

A little more kin and less than kind of okay,  sure I guess I get it I mean whatever; August: Osage County opens in Australia Jan 1.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

May the odds be ever in your favor? I don’t even know her.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire posterThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire begins right where we left everybody’s best friend Jennifer Lawrence as archer, sister, daughter, poet: Katniss Everdeen. After conning the Capitol in a scientology-esque relationship of convenience with co-victor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss and Peeta must continue their facade while touring the various districts in order to maintain the safety of their friends, family and assorted other loved ones. Unbeknownst to Katniss and Peeta, their defiance of the first Hunger Games has sparked rebellion throughout the many districts, and President Snow is

NOT. HAVING. IT.

Every 25 years the Hunger Games take on a new rule, and for the 75th ‘Quarter Quell’, the tributes are reaped from previous victors. Cut to Katniss reaction shot.

Now, I’m a fan of the first two Hunger Games novels (the third book being the equivalent to a sack of kitten feces someone accidentally mistook for an airline sick-bag that they then spilled room-temperature orange juice on and left out in the sun for a few days), so I was definitely excited to see how they would follow-up the incredibly successful first installment of the series. And I genuinely think this is just as strong – if not stronger – than the first.

I want to get something out of the way first because it BOTHERED me, dear reader. I hate how this film ends. It drags its feet, losing all momentum and adrenaline. I wanted it to end with a punch to the gut, feeling that I may not survive the yearlong wait for the next chapter. Alas, lazily we drudge through more exposition than necessary for a conclusion and lo it ends. And this SUCKS because everything else had been paced well.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Katniss, Effie and Peeta

Collars by Georgia O’Keeffe

My only other slight complaint is that Catching Fire spends just as much time around Katniss and Peeta’s ‘Victory Tour’ as it does in the actual Hungry, Hungry Game. Which is great and some of my favorite moments actually occurred before the gun of the game goes off, but it also exposes the weak foundations of many of the supporting characters. Katniss’ sister Prim sucks. She’s a shitty character in the books, and she’s a shitty character in the movies. Prim is one of those characters that if you say “No! She’s not that bad!” you’re a liar. She’s just crap and I feel bad for the young actress that plays the character because I bet she sat in her trailer with a ‘Hang In There Kitty!’ poster, wiping away a single tear for having to go method with such a crap character.

Then there’s poor Liam Hemsworth. The Loki of the Hemsworths. Poor Liam has to grapple with one of the most wooden characters ever written. In the first and second books Liam’s Gale is an incredibly minor character – both because he doesn’t feature much and because he works in a mine (YOU’RE WELCOME). The love-triangle of The Hunger Games series is garbage because Gale is a tall pile of lumber, and Peeta’s jawline is the bicycle seat of your dreams. You just want to shake Katniss and scream HONEY! That man is NOT a L’oreal commercial and girlfriend he’s not HemsWORTH IT. Get over it already. I dread more Gale-time in the third, fourth and ninty-fifth film.

Lawrence and Hutcherson reprise their starring roles wonderfully and they are incredibly adorable to watch. Honestly, alongside the ever brilliant Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, and Woody Harrelson as Drunk Woody Harrelson – the awesome foursome easily carry the first half of the film that had the potential to be a real drag. Brief moments of crappy exposition are punctuated with Stanley Tucci’s wig, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s actory sinuses and angry monkey butts.

And yes, Sam Claflin is unbearably handsome and shirtless.

The Hunger Games Sam Claflin

More like the Thirsty Games

Catching Fire feels like it takes the world of The Hunger Games and expands on just how dark some of the themes actually are. I was actually impressed by the maturity of the film (except Prim, shut up Prim). Although there were also some moments that seemed oddly sexual for a film about people organized purges. You know – and this isn’t me trying to get political – but I feel like if President Snow looked at the distribution of funds, like how much money they spent on building a giant murderdome in godknows where – he probably could have just used that money to buy the people some breads and kraft singles? Wouldn’t that have just solved everybody’s issues? I humbly accept your nominations for Nobel Peace Prizes.

Everything you’d expect, PLUS all those fanfics I wrote about Magda from Sex and the City (Lynn Cohen) and Belize from the HBO Angels in America (Jeffrey Wright) finally and magically came true.

You know you want to see it. You know you love Jennifer Lawrence. Plus Sam Claflin gives Josh Hutcherson CPR and I gave myself a cigarette and a hand-towel to calm down afterwards.

ADDITIONALLY:

If you love The Hunger Games series then you definitely need to see Sesame Street’s Catching Fire trailer and also this BRILLIANT mashup of Lana Del Rey’s Video Games and Hunger Games.

Prisoners

Prisoners or: The Prodigal Blog Returns

Hello, hello. Is this thing on?

Dear reader I thank you for your patience, for the letters you sent begging me to return to my much abused and thoroughly unloved habit of coming here to complain about Anne Hathaway films. I thank you for sticking by me through the hard times, the times when I couldn’t stop watching Great British Bake-Off Season 2, or the times when I couldn’t stop talking about Great British Bake-Off Season 2. I thank you for coming here because we have much to talk about.

I’m always hesitant, good friend, to recommend films to people. I don’t like it because there’s such a heavy expectation that someone will feel the same way about the film that you did. They probably wont.  So believe me when I say, I think you should go see PRISONERS.

PRISONERS key art

I’m still slightly dumbfounded at the experience. It was thrilling, it was horrible, and it was one of the best films I’ve seen in months. Here’s the catch. I watched the trailer after watching the film. Do yourself a favor and avoid the trailer because it’s not very good. Just watch the film, okay? Please? Thanks.

I don’t want this to become a rambling rave of all the things I loved about the film because, in all honesty, there’s far too much for me to go into, and my thesaurus would quickly run out of synonyms for ‘incredible’. As the old saying goes: my thesaurus is terrible. And terrible.

Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend vanish one afternoon with almost no trace – except for a campervan that was inexplicably parked outside a vacant house. After the Detective that is assigned to the case (Jake Gyllenhaal) assures Dover (Hugh Jackman) that the camper is not the lead they’re after, Dover has no other option than to take matters into his own hands.

What follows is an incredible journey, a labyrinth of plot-twists that have you second-guessing the motives and morals of almost every character. At no point did I not consider each character to be a villain of sorts. But of what sort is the key.

I have forgiven Aaron Guzikowski for the incredibly shit CONTRABAND he wrote (co-starring the bloated runtime of 109 minutes and a never shirtless Mark Wahlberg). It’s almost difficult for me to consider the two films written by the same person. The script unfolds with such a menacing grace, it’s torturous. The film runs at 153 minutes, I know I just complained about CONTRABAND being too long, but runtimes are contextual. Contraband offers you nothing in terms of entertainment, PRISONERS takes you by the throat and forces you to look even when it goes against your better judgment. Just absorb. See what you think.

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Jackman is electric. A performance unlike any he’s given before. In my eyes Jackman redeemed himself for spitting through all nine hours of Les Mis. I will even go so far as to say he even redeemed himself for BOTH terrible Wolverine films. And Gyllenhaal. He’s wonderful. He inhabits a space in the film that is comfortably underplayed, off-putting and mysterious all at once. Top all that off this with the always-stunning, borderline obsessively beautiful cinematography from Roger Deakins. The supporting cast can’t go without mention, as they’re fantastic. Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo. It’s like the answer to one of those hypothetical ‘who would you invite to dinner and what would they bring’. (They’d all bring vodka. And no children.)

Terrifying, heartbreaking and breathtaking. This is a film I want to sit down and discuss with all of you over a nice cup of tea in a well-lit room.

Dear friend. Will you do this for me? See it and tell me what you think.

Thanks.

PS did you get cuter and thinner and stronger and younger? You look great. Thanks for stopping by.

Prisoners opens Oct 17th in Australia, and I only tell you that because I want you to realize it’s COMING SOON. So you should SEE IT SOON. GREAT CHAT!

The Wolverine

THE WOLVERINE – Or ‘Japanese, Japanice, Japanasty’ or ‘A Dialogue Between Two Sad Mats 2″

movies_the-wolverine-posterHey guys. I’ve decided I have a lot of things to talk about for this review- so I’m employing the INCREDIBLY popular (with my mom) dialogue format that I featured back in my Great Gatsby ‘review’.

A summary of the plot: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sad because he killed Jean Grey in that shitty movie. He lives in Canada where everyone sounds Texan and no one says ‘sorry’. A Japanese girl tells him that a guy he saved during the Nagasaki bombing wants to say thanks. They go to Japan. The guy offers to take away Wolverine’s healing powers. Shenanigans.

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Hey.

I missed you.

Okay so. Where to begin?

Firstly- did you hate it?

No! I don’t think I did? I didn’t hate the movie – but I hated watching it.

Why are there so many Wolverine movies?

I DON’T KNOW! I honestly don’t think there are two characters in the Marvel universe that I care less for than Wolverine and Jean Grey. And I feel like that has just been exacerbated by this constant demand for Wolverine to be the central figure of every X-Men film. To me, he’s such a one-note character. Oh his life is so hard because everyone he loves gets killed and he can heal. Oh look he got punched in the face and has a cut on his cheek. I hope he turns back slowly, revealing his healing powers and then he punches someone.

So I guess the intriguing part of this film is that there’s an opportunity for Wolverine to be vulnerable – because he does lose his ability to heal.

Right. But this is what I didn’t understand because he loses his ability to heal- and then is shot six million times, and still is capable of having a very intense fight on the top of a bullet-train.

My assumption was that his adamantium skeleton was protecting his vital organs so no real damage could be done, but he could still get shot?

I thought about that, and then I thought about all the flaws in that logic, so I just assumed he was a big ol’ toughie! Able to run very quickly with six to eight million bullets lodged in his chest.

And because of that – at no point did I actually think ‘Oh he’s in danger! So much danger!’

No. And I think that’s a major flaw of the film. It’s just another Wolverine movie where at no point are you ever too worried that he’s vulnerable. And an invulnerable hero is really dull. There’s no risk or real threat. I think that’s why Hulk movies can be so dull – you really have to find a good storyline to fit these kinds of characters.

The-Wolverine-Hugh-Jackman-as-Wolverine-in-Japan-Courtesy-of-20th-Century-Fox

I’m trying to think of a single character that I didn’t hate in the movie…

Yukio (Rila Fukushima) was cute. I liked her. She was all right. Everyone else I was absolutely uninterested in.

I hate Jean Grey so much on a usual basis, but in this film she really just became two pillowy breasts that would float in and out of scenes. “Wolverine, in heaven all I wear is this slinky nightgown! Oops it fell off!”

That whole situation was so awful. The film would have been no different if they had removed it. In fact it would have been a lot shorter which is what it needed. It’s over two hours long.

But to juxtapose what essentially is a very strong female character that was then boiled down to talking tits, we have Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova). What a sucky villain. Honestly so sucky –which is ironic because she spends most of her time in the film spitting at people – and everyone knows a lady always swallows.

The issue with Viper wasn’t the character insomuch as her dialogue was almost pure exposition.

There’s that one bit where she says ‘Wolverine is weak now. I did that. That was me.” Like… We know… we saw it. Calm down.

Shitty characters aside – I just didn’t get it. I felt like the film dragged, like it was trying to be a lot more than it actually was, and like for the millionth time; we were watching a film that does not need to be in 3D. Not even slightly. No one benefitted from that. Also – I feel like the whole Japanese cultural thing was a bit poorly handled.

I liked when Wolverine stuck his chopsticks in his rice and Mariko (Tao Okamoto) has her Pocahontas moment where she’s like “No, white devil. Not like that. Paint with the colors of the wind, rest your chopsticks on the table”. But like he genuinely had no reason to just pick up his chopsticks, stab his rice, and then pick up a spoon to eat something completely different?

Also when Mariko was on the train, and she’s wearing a Kimono-  they had to run away from a battle – and she just pulls out headphones from her Kimono. Where is she keeping her iPod in a kimono?

More like Kimo –NO GIRL.

That actually bothered me!

What did you like?

Well. This is where we’ll get in trouble if we say too much. But they decide to do a little sneaky package in the end credits teasing the next X-Men film: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.

You liked the end credits sneak?

Yeah. That was the first time I was actually excited in the whole film. Even though I thought that was directed poorly (felt a little too much like we saw a parody of Dr. Scott’s entrance in Rocky Horror) it was the only time I was actually amped.

And why is that

Because Wolverine is a really boring standalone character. X-men are an ensemble.

I’d recommend people just wait until that has been leaked online. I don’t know if sitting through the whole film was worth two minutes of okayish setup for the next film…

We did get free gum at the end though. That was ace.

Another reason why we shouldn’t be making Wolverine the star of the show just beclaws we can. THE WOLVERINE is a drawn-out, boring rehash of everything we’ve already seen from this character in the shell of what is essentially a fine film. Will be quite enjoyable for some. If you’ve got ADD, bring a Sudoku.

Sydney Film Festival Week Two

Sydney Film Festival Week 2: Roundup – or LADIES???

newphotogalleriesHere we GO! Round two. Week two. Number two. Same as with my Week 1 Roundup these mini-reviews are more reminders for myself as to what I actually saw – and what I thought. If you want a more indepth discussion/argument, slap me in the face with a comment or an @ reply over on the twitters! Ready? Set? GO:

THE EAST

THE EAST is a great meditation on morality in modern times. Conventions of a modern thriller, the drama stars co-writer Brit Marling as a young woman working for a private security agency. Her task is to infiltrate a guerrilla environmental organization known as The East (LIKE THE FILM TITLE!). Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard are part of The East and Alexander Skarsgard gets naked a few times. Here’s why I loved this film: Alexander Skarsgard’s butt, Alexander Skarsgard kissing a guy, Alexander Skarsgard naked in a lake, Alexander Skarsgard in a bath. The film is also PRETTY great – however the film ends, and has a credits montage? While the credits roll, we see what Brit Marling’s character gets up to. This is an AWFUL idea and I’d highly suggest as soon as the film ends you cover your eyes and run out of the cinema. It’ll make a much stronger impression on you.

BEHIND THE CANDELABRRA

I LOVED THIS FILM. Starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, the film is based on the real relationship between Liberace and Scott Thorson, based on Thorson’s memoirs. Steven Soderbergh brings to life this opera of the grotesque which alternates between the glittery, rhinestone encrusted world of Liberace, and the twisted dark-side of his glamor. Both Douglas and Damon are brilliant, and Michael Douglas’ post-sodomy groans are perfect nightmare fodder. The high-camp, often hilarious film then twists and contorts into a pretty intense drama, culminating in some intense emotional points of tension. SEE THIS FILM. DEBBIE REYNOLDS! ROB LOWE’S FACE. It’s good.

SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF’S

Ugh that joke is so awful, and you’re awful for reading it (just kidding I love you). SCATTER MY ASHES is a documentary about the store Bergdorf Goodman. That’s all really. There have been some brilliant documentaries about the world of fashion (September Issue/Valentino) and this really doesn’t hold up. It’s sort of baseless, the attempt to create some kind of narrative around the window displays for the holiday season – and even though they are BEAUTIFUL windows, they are still windows. It’s hard to have any kind of emotional attachment to windows. I guess you could say this film is really easy to look right through (WINDOW JOKE). But it’s still a light and enjoyable film/commercial for Bergdorf’s! Also, notable highlight: Betty the personal shopper. She’s brilliant.

BLANCANIEVES

BLANCANIEVES is a modern adaptation of the fairy-tale Snow White – told in the classic form of silent cinema. Beautifully crafted, and absolutely true to all forms of classic film making, BLANCANIEVES WOULD be one of my favorite films, except it totally subverts your idea of a fairy-tale narrative. No spoilers, but this film does not give you the happily-ever-after ending you’d expect to get. It lulls you into this sense of comfort and security, and then BLAM, rips your heart out and flamenco dances all over it. Still, it’s a really stunning film and if you do get a chance to see it in a cinema (seeing it at home wont back the same punch, the audio/visual experience of the big screen is so important to this kind of film) I’d highly suggest you do so!

I AM DIVINE

I have been a huge fan of John Waters, and his muse Divine, for years. The documentary I AM DIVINE chronicles the life of the incredible performer Divine, and her rise to stardom through the unconventional counter-culture films of Waters, and ugh. It’s just great. Never-before-seen interviews with Divine’s mother as well as close friends, the film is just a perfect portrait of a really amazing performer. I LOVED IT.

 

So that’s the festival for this year. Good work everyone. Now I can safely return to sitting on the couch all the time and hardly leaving my house. Just like the good lord intended.

 

After Earth

Or – After The Tuscan Sun

imagesI really wanted to hate AFTER EARTH because from everything I had seen (including Jaden Smith walking around New York in a discount IRON MAN outfit) it just looked terrible. And you KNOW I love to hate-watch things. The most disappointing thing about AFTER EARTH is actually that it’s not even a successfully bad film – it’s completely boring.

Visually fine – the film stars Will Smith as Jaden Smith’s father and Jaden Smith as Will Smith’s son. There’s no twist, no real major points of tension – but there IS a lot of Jaden Smith running. Because I found the entire experience so underwhelming I thought I would pad out this ‘review’ with the following. Here’s a summary of the film AFTER EARTH from Jaden Smith’s character, in a format more familiar to his father:

Now, this is a story all about how
My ship got flipped-turned upside down
And I liked to take a minute
Startin from my birth
I’ll tell you how I starred in the film: AFTER EARTH

So we screwed up our planet and in due time
Had to settle on a world that they called Nova Prime
Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool
Until a race of dudes called S’krell played the fool,
They released Ursas,
So hold onto your rear,
Ursas sense humans by smellin’ their fear
Tho my dad is a douche and don’t got no feels
He said ‘just calm down – they wont be on your heels’

Our ship crash landed and what do you know
My daddy said ‘to the tail section you go’
He gave me a kiss and then he gave me a cutlass
I started running even though I was gutless

Earth sucks yo, this is bad!
Runnin from monkeys and boars and all that
I get paralyzed, and smacked in the face
How we ever gonna get out of this place?
I run to the tail and pull out a flare
And you’ll never guess who would be there
An Ursa is waiting, and ready to eat me like toast
Conveniently, like my dad, I learn how to ghost
So I whip out my cutlass and cook that crab rare
Meanwhile my dad’s learning bout childcare

Ursa’s stabbed in the back about 7 or 8
And I yelled to the Ursa ‘Yo homes smell ya later’
I set off the beacon,
And proved my worth,
So roll the credits cause that’s AFTER EARTH.

After-Earth-Movie-Trailer-photoThe film attempts to garner some sense of emotion by cutting between the events of Jaden Smith running and Will Smith strapped to a chair on the wrecked ship (both his legs are broken and one is badly broken) with the sad events of Lenny Kravitz’s daughter tragically dying at the hands of an Ursa while trying to protect a young Jaden Smith. This obviously upset everyone a lot and so everyone is sad. Also there’s a scene with a birthday cake.

From this point on, I will only refer to this film as ‘director’ M Night Shyamalan’s WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JADEN. Will spends the whole time unable to walk, being a diva and Jaden runs around in a baby-doll dress talking about his relationship with his father. Shut down your WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE: SPACE OPERA Kickstarters because it’s been done.

AFTER EARTH is not very good, but NOT the worst film you’ll see, it’s just very, very dull. So dull. So much running.

Sydney Film Festival Week One

Sydney Film Festival Week 1: Roundup – or AM I RIGHT LADIES?

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We’re currently in the midst of SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL – a festival of films, set in Sydney. With 13 films on my slate – I thought I would try to keep a record of what I saw, and a brief word-vomit for each title just so I can keep track of what went down. I’ve also gotten into the terrifying habit of tweeting really lame jokes before each film. So I’m combining all of that here for your enjoyment (but mainly for me to remember what I’ve been doing with my time). So here are my opinions, I have a lot of them – Here we GO!

 

THE ACT OF KILLING

Why is it that we call it a ‘directors cut’ when it should really be called a ‘directors longer’? Directors never cut things from their films, and that’s why THE ACT OF KILLING is almost three hours long. A hefty, occasionally difficult to slog through, documentary entirely in Indonesian, THE ACT OF KILLING takes a very unique look at the boastful, proud killers of the ’65-66 Sumatran massacres. Director Joshua Oppenheimer offers these men the chance to tell their own story through film – which results in a LOT more showgirl headdresses than you’d expect. Though absolutely surreal at times, I felt like the 159 minute duration really took away from the power the film could have had.

THE WAY, WAY BACK

Starring Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell’s biceps and an absolutely flawless ALLISON JANNEY, THE WAY, WAY BACK is a coming-of-age story about Duncan (Liam James) who is forced to spend the summer with his mother (Collette) and her douche boyfriend (Carrell) at his beach house. Duncan finds himself getting a job at a waterpark where he meets Sam Rockwell, Sam Rockwell gets his t-shirt wet and standing ovations everywhere. Charming – but a totally generic film. All I wanted was to get drunk with Allison Janney, who is perfection in every way.

WADJDA

By now you probably know I am absolutely lazy, and I hate reading, so for a lot of the films I’m seeing this year, I haven’t even read the synopsis. Hearing that WADJDA was the first ever film entirely shot in Saudi Arabia, as well as having a female director – I was absolutely prepared for a grueling drama. The best kind of surprise, WADJDA is an absolutely gorgeous story that follows a ten-year-old girl Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) who wants to buy a bicycle. That’s simplifying the plot a bit, but all I’ll say is this film is such easy watching. I was completely blown away by how lovely it is. Just. Ugh. Great. Writer/Director Haifaa Al Mansour should be incredibly proud, as should Saudi Arabia for having such a brilliant first feature.

STOKER

I love director Park Chan Wook. I love OLDBOY. I love SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE and I even love THIRST. (I didn’t like MR VENGEANCE as much as the others because of that one scene with the ankle that still haunts my dreams) so finding out Park was directing a screenplay by Wentworth Miller (He can stoke me anytime), starring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and Jacki Weaver. HEAVEN comes to mind. Directorially strong but lacking just that little something extra to make it all stick. I loved the aesthetic and the sound design. I loved the performances. Not outstanding, but I was still stoked to have seen it.

BLACKFISH

I hate the ocean. I hate it. I’m terrified of sharks, I think octopuses are assholes and I just think all sea creatures are out to get me. BLACKFISH is a documentary entirely about how the Orcas at seaworld are murderers. Guys I’m not exaggerating lets just agree to let the oceans dry up. So basically Seaworld capture Orcas, and then the Orcas bide their time, and then they kill their trainers. This has happened over 100 times at various water parks. There’s a lot of focus on the OJ Simpson of the whaling world, Tilikum. Who is gigantic and ugh just terrifying and has killed a bunch of people. A BUNCH YOU GUYS. This is a really strong film, but I hated watching it so much. I was so stressed. I almost cried for an hour and had my feet off the floor because I was so tense. I absolutely recommend watching it – and then sign up to my mailing-list and social cause ‘Nuke The Oceans’.

REAR WINDOW

One of my absolute favorite Hitchcock films (right after PSYCHO), seeing REAR WINDOW on the big screen was just too good an opportunity to pass up. Still an absolute brilliant thriller, if you haven’t seen this – see it. A beautiful and smart discussion on viewing – and the reference point for so many parody tv episodes. REAR WINDOW still holds up as a brilliant film. Note: to the dumb idiots sitting behind me who felt the need to announce really obvious things in the plot, I will find you and I will loudly talk through all your favorite things. Cinemas are not your livingroom. Be quieter.