Sunday, May 31, 2009

Review: The Survivor

The Survivor
Dir. David Hemmings
Year: 1981
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 80mins

Anyone who saw the wonderful documentary from last year Not Quite Hollywood would have become well used to the name Antony I Ginnane. A film producer who revolutionised the Australian film industry in the late 1970s with his large slate of genre films. They were sometimes very good (Patrick from 1978) and sometimes they were very bad (Harlequin from 1980). Thankfully, The Survivor errs more onto the side of positive with it's atmospheric tale of an airplane pilot who survives a crash that kills everybody else on board. It was directed by the British David Hemmings who had appeared as an actor in many of these type of films, including vampire flick Thirst.

Starring Robert Powell (an American actor who also starred in the aforementioned Harlequin) as said pilot and Jenny Agutta as a psychic who looks as if she came out of a Jane Campion movie about a uptight school teacher who, at nights, becomes a posh prostitute. It revolves around the lengths Powell's Pilot Keller goes to to remember what happened on that fateful night - in the Adelaide suburbs, apparently - and the lengths the spirits of the dead will go to to punish those responsible. Also featured in a surreal regard is legendary American actor Joseph Cotton, in his final role, as a Priest. Yes, the man who was in Citizen Kane was also in a shlocky Aussie horror flick, if you can believe it.

The central premise holds a lot of promise, and when focusing on the scary elements the film works a treat. A scene in a cemetery proves particularly fright-filled and the big centrepiece of the movie, the airplane crash, is an excellently put together set-piece that would surely continue to rank as one of the best examples of its kind. The use of the hollowed out and destroyed airplane craft adds an incredible amount of atmosphere to the proceedings, too. Especially in this day and age, the sight of these giant engines laying broken on the ground is ominous, and a scene later in the film inside a hangar is a well-done pyrotechnic display. The film's production design received a deserved AFI nomination.

There's also no denying that the film looks a million bucks (in actual fact, it's budget was just over $1mil and it was the most expensive Australian film ever made at the time.) Nominated cinematography by future Oscar-winner John Seale is simply gorgeous. There is such great use of lighting and the way the action is played around the charred chunks of airplane wreckage really is something. I'd hazard a guess and say it still ranks as some of his finest work, even when including titles like The Talented Mr Ripley, The English Patient and Witness in the equation. I also liked the music score by Brian May, whose music here is very much in the same vein as a lot of these early '80s Aussie horror flicks, but here it is much more in tone with the film as it has been in others.

There are problems though, naturally. The final act begins to descend into a confusing muddle with apparent twists being disclosed, yet done so with no context. Despite all the well-done individual scenes they sometimes don't form a cohesive whole, with a struggle going on between the more subtly supernatural elements and the more bombastic horror. And while I enjoyed the performance by Powell - a much better performance than the one in Harlequin that's for sure - the work by Agutter is overblown and feels like it came out of a completely different movie altogether.

Anybody wanting to learn anything about Australian cinema must made through films like The Survivor. They may not hold the prestige of a My Brilliant Career or Gallipoli, but they are an important part nonetheless. And, as these movies go, you could do far worse (trust me, I have). B-

"I look like the mother of a Solid Gold Dancer!"

Gene Simmons is My Daddy

The delightful James Henry at Rants of a Diva recently reminded me of my love for Ugly Betty. Constantly one of my three favourite shows on TV whenever channel 7 deigns to even air it (it went from ratings powerhouse to the summer season rubbish pile). I know a lot of people hate it, but it's perhaps the only show I get a laugh at every single episode. And good hearty laughs too. Of course, I know I need to get a hold of 30 Rock on DVD, but for whatever reason I just can't seem to ever get that excited for that show. Eventually, my pretties, eventually.

But back to Ugly Betty. Of course, the two best characters - outside of Vanessa Williams' Wilhemina - are Amanda and Mark, played by Becki Newton and Michael Urie. They are stereotypes of the highest order, but sometimes stereotypes can be funny when done correctly (although anybody who has seen the movie Obsessed will have been witness to a very bad example of gay stereotyping). The clip below literally had me howling with laughter. "Makin' sweet love to my mum Faye Sommers" gets me every time.

Oscar Winners and Porn Stars, or: "It will be a very realistic death. A piranha comes out of my mouth."

There are so many things that amuse me about this article from the Daily Mail about the making of the new Alexandre Aja horror flick Piranha 3D.

The film is a remake of the horror classic Piranha – and sees Kelly [Brook] take the role of college girl Dani.

Firstly, Kelly Brook is 30 years old and she's still playing college students? Mature age college student, I guess. And, really, does anybody consider Piranha a "classic"? Hardly. At least the sequel has kitsch value as the first film James Cameron ever directed!

Kelly is joined by Elisabeth Shue and Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss in the film...

We were already aware that Oscar-nominee Elisabeth Shue (for Leaving Las Vegas) was in this, but was the first time I had heard about Oscar-winner (for The Goodbye Girl) Richard Dreyfuss appearing as well. An obvious Jaws reference from Aja, surely, but still surprising. I guess Dreyfuss wanted that third storey on his house.

And Kelly is not the only eye-candy on display in the film. The producers have revealed porn star Riley Steele will also be joining the cast as a stripper named Crystal, who meets a bloody end.

And to think Shue and Dreyfuss could be upstaged not only by third-dimensional fish, but a porn star who, as the article says, starred in Naked Aces 5 is slightly bonkers and all filled with boundless possibilities for hilarity.

Riley said: ‘It will be a very realistic death. A piranha comes out of my mouth.’

Literally the greatest thing I've read all day (I guess I haven't been reading that much). And not just taken at face value, either, as coming from a porn star is one big ol' double entendre. Lovely.

Also, this production photo amuses me too. The look on the little girl's face is hilarious.

Her mother will be happy, no doubt.

Movies in Movies: Desperately Seeking Susan in Less Than Zero

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Well Played, Poster: The Final Destination

As most frequent readers would be aware, I have a penchant for horror movie posters. I think that the genre, like no other, allows for such interesting plays on the concepts of key art. It's easier to be creative when you know what your audience wants. Something creepy, yes, but after that you're free to be inventive and it's rare that you see a horror movie post that is simple some cast members standing about staring at nothing or using a boring movie production still surrounded by blank white space.

The horror movies of 2009, however, have been largely disappointing in the poster arena. Whether "meh" (The Uninvited, Friday the 13th), "unintentionally funny" (Drag Me to Hell) or "downright deplorably terrible" (The Unborn). However, I must admit to liking this newly released poster for The Final Destination [aka, "Final Destination 4", "Final Destination: Death Trip", "Final Destination Death Trip 3D" - yikes!].

I originally found this at My New Plaid Pants, but was waiting for a non-watermarked copy so voila.

I like that it not only returns to the original poster's motif, but I also like the illusion to 3D. It is as if the face is smashing through the cinema screen, you see!

By the way, how fun is it to look over the credits list for these movies. For this enstallment alone we have "Kid With Bold", "Racist's Wife", "Racetrack Fan" (hello wildly extravagant 3D-enhanced death!), "Upscale Country Club Patron", "Man With Apple" and "The Cowboy". This movie is going to be amazing.


Nothing for you guys today, sorry. Well, except this teaser for one of my - perhaps the - most anticipated titles of 2010.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Black + White Friday: Reds

Let us welcome back "Black + White Friday". It proved to be one of the most popular features here at Stale Popcorn when I started it last year. As you obviously would have noted I stopped doing it towards the end of last year, mainly because my working/home situation meant I just did not have the time, but I have decided to resurrect it (I started it roughly around this time last year, anyway) because it's so fun. Some of my favourites from season one were Birth, Chicago, The Others, Showgirls and Moulin Rouge! Three of those star Nicole Kidman, which we quickly realised looks ravishing in black and white. Today we learn the same goes for Diane Keaton.

It's Warren Beatty? What's not to like? He certainly looks far more fetching in his tuxedo than he does in his ratty, muddy clothes later in the movie. Soak it up while it lasts because he spends a lot of the three-hour run time in those ratty clothes.

Funnily, the first thing I thought of when I did this screencap was a horror movie. Something like Jacques Tourneur's I Walked with a Zombie or Robert Wise's The Haunting. And, let's be honest, there are worse things I could be reminded of.

This was actually the moment that made me want to do a screencap entry on Reds. It's just so beautifully done with the white shirt front and the light on Diane Keaton's face. This movie really did frame Keaton well, didn't it? There are so many close-ups of her face where it feels as if Vittorio Storaro was entranced by her. And we all know Beatty was at the time, too.

I just really like the framing on this moment. Seems so overflowing with romanticism, don't you think?

Well, duh. The moment I saw this moment I was like "that's another screencap". It really is somethin' else, isn't it?

Again, the way Diane Keaton is filmed in this movie is just gorgeous. Even down to the placement of the hat seems so spot on precise to get the right about of shadow onto her face as we try and figure out what she's thinking. And also trying to not let Jack Nicholson's character see into them too much.

Another shot that was begging to be used. Vittorio Storaro is a master, I swear. Reminds me I need to use Dick Tracy for this feature, too. That'd be interesting to say the least considering how incredibly dependent that movie is on colour. Not that Reds isn't either, mind you. There were many bits that I would've loved to use, but simply did not look as luscious in black and white. Epics have almost always been filmed in colour for a reason. I do wonder what something like DW Griffith's Intolerance would have been like in colour. Or, better yet, let's not give Hollywood any bright ideas. Eep.

I just really loved this scene and this particular moment with the light fixture. Plus, more Warren can't help, right? Even if he is wearing that hat.

I'm surprised this looks like it does since the scenes in question are so full of bright yellows and oranges that I thought it would look bad. It does not.

Hey look, Diane Keaton has lines around her eyes! Shocking, I know. Almost unfathomable in today's film landscape, isn't it? In fact, despite framing and photographing Keaton gorgeously throughout the whole movie, I was surprised by how normal she looked through the whole thing. Not glamourous, nor uglified. Perhaps that's why I thought she was best-in-show, there was something so natural about her in Reds.

What did you think of Reds or the black and white? Speak up if you like in the comments.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Scarlett Johansson Has a New Song!

I have not been quiet about my love for Scarlett Johansson's first album Anywhere I Lay My Head. I still listen to it start-to-end a lot (in fact I'm listening to it right now! Freaky...) and mind it's mystique and enchanting spell has yet to subside with me. I never did get around to doing a top albums of 2008 feature but it would have ranked #3 if that means anything to you.

So I'm one of probably only a small selection of people who is legitimately excited by the prospect of a new album by ScarJo (are people still calling her that?) This time she is working with Pete York on an album called Break Up. The first single can be heard over here and, yes, I like it quite a bit. The album and sing are credited as Pete York & Scarlett Johansson and the track is a duet so fans of Yorn will want to check it out also. The album is released in August.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This Week on Australian Screens

Cinema Releases for the Week 28/05/09

Adventureland - Apparently Greg Mottola's (Superbad) latest, which stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds, is being released today. Did anybody know this? I guess it's flop in America has dampened confidence in it, and with this seeming like a very "American" film I can't imagine there'll be many people showing up.

Katyn - Oscar-nominated WWII film from Andrzej Wajda.

My Year Without Sex - Sarah Watt returns a few years after her debut feature, the excellent Look Both Ways, with another winner. It doesn't quite reach the same heights, but it's very much worth a ticket. Stars Sacha Horler and Matt Day.

State of Play - Kevin Macdonald's latest political thriller (he's made The Last King of Scotland and documentary One Day in September) starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Helen Mirren. I was pleasantly surprised by it.

And also don't forget that Samson and Delilah continues to platform out to extra cinemas and now having won the Camera d'Or at Cannes you have even more incentive to go out and see the film that is doing exceptionally well in limited release. So go see My Year Without Sex and then swing by Samson and Delilah. Sounds like a good day at the movies to me!

DVD Releases for the Week 28/05/09

The Class - The last film I have to see before I can get my UMA Awards underway.

College - Unimaginatively titled comedy about college students getting drunk and stuff. Maybe another time...

Igor - Ugly-looking animated movie about Frankenstein (sort of).

The Spirit - The boyfriend says this adaptation starring Samuel L Jackson and Scarlett Johansson is terrible. I'm inclined to believe him and won't be bothering.

Valkyrie - Tom Cruise and his eye-patch now available on DVD.

Wassup Rockers - Larry Clark's latest actually gets an Australian release! In case you don't remember, Clark's film Ken Park was banned by the OFLC. A dark day indeed.

Review: State of Play

State of Play
Dir. Kevin Macdonald
Year: 2009
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 127mins

Anybody who remembers the 2006 awards season will remember my general loathing of Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland. So going into his latest feature (he started his film career with documentaries such as the brilliant One Day in September) I was wary. Was this, yet another political thriller, going to be yet another bombastic nauseating experience? Thankfully not and I ended up being pleasantly surprised as the film is an at-times quite exciting and intriguing journalistic movie. It has delusions of being a love-letter to the proud days of newspaper journalism, but thankfully the movie itself hasn't succumbed to modern mainstreams tricks and silliness to tell its tale.

Not having seen the British mini-series from which State of Play is adapted, I was not aware of the many twists and turns that I figured the tale was sure to have. Despite a final act botch-up involving the character of Robin Wright-Penn Macdonald mostly succeeds in making a no-fuss movie. More for adults - there is copious amounts of dialogue and the "thriller" elements are decidedly brief and un-flashy - it features good performances out of Ben Affleck as a scandalous senator and Russell Crowe as the journalist friend out to solve the story. Helen Mirren adds fire as Crowe's editor and Jason Bateman arrives in fourth gear as a sleazy PR agent. It is, however, Rachel McAdams that comes out best from the film and it's just a shame she doesn't have more to do because it was nice to reminded of her talent.

State of Play isn't reinventing the wheel, but it does succeed in being a well-made drama/thriller that doesn't always use the easy options (doesn't always, but sometimes does). It wastes throwaway story-lines, that were obviously more prevalent in the British extended TV series, and the actors involved in them (that would be Wright-Penn and Jeff Daniels), but it provides enough fire to make for a rousing piece of movie entertainment. B

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

August in May

Just a tip to all you Melburnian readers - I know there's more than a few of you - who weren't away (I wasn't until this morning) that Tracy Letts' Pulizter and Tony Award-winning play August: Osage County is being performed by the Melbourne Theatre Company from 23 May-27 June. From the looks of the performance stills it has indeed been adapted for a modern Australian setting, but that shouldn't deter you as it is simply an astonishing play.

I saw it on Broadway during my recent trip to New York City and was blown away by it. It goes for three hours and forty minutes (inc. two 15-minute intervals), but the time truly flies by. You could do far worse things with your time than going to see this play. It is currently being adapted into a feature film, but as the running time suggests, it won't be the same. If you're lucky to be in the age bracket of "youth" (according to them it's 29 years and under) tickets are a measly $30! Adult tickets $58.20, so perhaps a bit steep for some, but if you can swing it then by all means.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Songs For Your Week

Add these to your iPod for the upcoming week. They're all bona fide AMAZING songs and I am currently addicted to each and every one of them. Blessed is the music.

Cocteau Twins, "Heaven or Las Vegas" - dream pop = one of the most underrated genres ever and this song is a testament to that. Love the Cocteau Twins, don't you? This song from the 1990 album of the same name is, quite literally, one of the dreamiest songs you'll ever hear. The term "it washes of you" has probably never been more apt. Beautiful, melon collie, uplifting, tragic, spirited... just gorgeous.

Phrase feat. Wendy Matthews, "Day You Went Away" - Phrase's recently-released album Clockwork is, and I have no qualms in saying this, a revolutionary album. The first Australian hip-hop cut that truly ranks amongst the world's finest. This reworking of Wendy Matthew's early-'90s classic "The Day You Went Away" is my favourite track off of it, but the whole album is seriously spectacular.

Bertie Blackman, "Thump" - Another Aussie album that is truly fan-bloody-tastic! Probably the only album from 2009 that even challenged Lily Allen for "best of the year" status. "Thump" isn't my total favourite - that'd probably be "Clocks", but that's for another day - but it's the first single and it's apparently subverting mainstream FM radio so good on her! That chorus has, like, three different hooks that are all amazing. She's like current-day Tori Amos, but interesting. The album is Secrets and Lies by the way.

Sarah Blasko, "All I Want" - Speaking of wonderful Aussie singers, how about Sarah Blasko. We love her here at Stale Popcorn and you should too! Her upcoming album (out in July) is As Day Follows Night and "All I Want" is a nice preview and it sounds like she's channeling Ennio Morricone or something. Although her music is never well represented in singles. You need the entire album to get the atmosphere and the vibe.

Britney Spears, "If U Seek Amy [Weird Tapes Remix]" - Absolute grandeur. Such a brilliant out-of-this-world remix by Weird Tapes.

Luv', "U.O.Me" - Do you love Luv'? I do and this is probably my favourite. I've been playing it a lot lately for some reason. It just bounced into my head one day last week and hasn't left. I find the disinteresting children in the video quite fascinating.

An Education, In the Loop and Anna Wintour @ MIFF

Good news Melbourne film fans, MIFF released their online mini-mag today, which lists a tiny fraction of the titles that have so far been selected to show at the film festival in July/August. There are some excellent-sounded titles already and hopefully plenty more.

Joining opening and closing night titles Balibo and Bran Nue Dae will be one of Sundance's big winners and sure-to-be Oscar bound An Education. Starring Carey Mulligan from a screenplay by Nick Hornby, this 1961-set film has caused quite a stir already and it will be nice to try and see it before the American awards season starts and we, inevitably, have to wait to see it during its theatrical run.

Other titles such as In the Loop, based on the UK TV series, and The Secret Lives of Pippa Lee, with a great cast that includes Robin Wright Penn, Julianne Moore, Monica Bellucci, Winona Ryder, Alan Arkin and Maria Bello, sound promising. Also screening will be Henry Sellick's Coraline in all of it's 3D glory as part of the Next Gen division. Meanwhile the Night Shift section of the program will provide audiences in need for a good fright plenty to scream about Titles playing include Martyres, Eden Lake and Black Dynamite.

Documentaries include The September Issue, which follows Vogue Magazine editor-in-chief Anne Wintour as she and her many staff prepare for the famous "September Issue", the most glamourous edition of the magazine all year. If Valentino: The Last Emperor also screened then fashionistas would definitely be in for a treat! Little Joe is about Joe Dassesandro, beefcake muse to Andy Warhol and there is also Theater of War, which goes behind the scenes of a Brecht play as performed by Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. Streep is notorious for not wanting cameras to follow her around behind the scenes so it would be a treat to see. I Need That Record is a part of the wonderful "Backbeat" sub-section, which focuses on films about music, and revolves around the dying breed that is the record store.

Check out the website for updates and hopefully some even better titles will appear in the full festival guide on July 10.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Portia De Rossi's Greatest Scream 2 Hits

"This must be flat out hell for you?!"

"It's really weird, isn't it? To think this fuss is all because of you! I mean, not directly, but in some six degrees of Kevin Bacon way!"

"Hi! No, I really meant that. Hi."

"Shit, I should've brought my drink."

No quote for this one, but let's just take a minute to sit in awe of those eyebrows.

Portia De Rossi: Comedic All-Star. Now when is Better Off Ted going to start down here? Never? Seems likely.

Samson and Delilah Takes the d'Or

Unfortunately, not the Palme d'Or, but Warwick Thornton took the Camera d'Or prize for his debut film Samson and Delilah at the recently-concluded Cannes Film Festival.

Aboriginal director Warwick Thornton's powerful Samson and Delilah, tale of troubled young love in Alice Springs, was today awarded the prize for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival.

"Thank you for believing in our first-born baby," Thornton said as he accepted the award. "I don't don't know what to say. Viva Cannes, viva le cinema."

Samson and Delilah
competed against 25 other films dotted around all the festival's sections to win the prize known as the Camera d'Or.

It was a popular win among the world's film press, among whom word-of-mouth over the course of the festival had taken the film from obscurity to the prize's top contender.

I obviously can't say whether he truly deserved it since I haven't seen any of the competing films (and probably won't ever get the chance, unfortunately), but the movie is a stunner and it's great to see it doing so well internationally. It has been steam-rolling through the arthouse scene down here and hopefully this means it gets further exposure. Congratulations Warwick. Viva le cinema, indeed.

EDIT: I just saw that in it's third week in release S4D has moved up to #8 on the chart and has increased it's box office takings for the second week in a row. It'll hit $1mil next week hopefully, which is an extraordinary result for a tragic indigenous-themed movie with barely any dialogue. Well done.

A Storm's a Blowin'

Oh, Gale Weathers! You're dynamite, truly.

"Look, Kenny..."

"...I know you're about fifty pounds overweight, but when I say 'hurry'..."

"...please interpret that as 'move your fat tub of lard ass, NOW!'"

"Not Pregnant"


A Novel Idea

A poll for y'all to answer if you feel that way inclined. Feel free to elaborate in the comments.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I know this video has been floating out there for a while now, but it seemed everyone was posting it - rightly so - so I withheld, but I've been spinning the song quite a few times tonight ("spinning" being a now retro term for "playing a record") and, well, now you can too.

How much am I loving La Roux? (L)a lot!

Review: Waltz with Bashir

Waltz with Bashir
Dir. Ari Folman
Year: 2008
Aus Rating: MA15+
Running Time: 86mins

The most potent moment of Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir is the final minute. Tellingly, it is the only minute of the film not told in so-unstylised-it-becomes-stylised animation. That this so-called documentary (I don't think it's anything close to being one) is in animated form harms it in ways that only become clear during these final moments of real documentary footage featuring grieving wives and mothers on the destroyed streets of Lebanon in the early 1980s.

Animation as an art form can be incredibly powerful and films by Pixar have shown that audiences can respond to such emotional heart-tugging represented by things such as toys and robots, and yet I found every single character in this movie to be cold and awkwardly portrayed. There are genuine moments of art floating about in the movie - namely a hallucination sequence as well as an exhausting escape by sea that really are heightened by the animation - but there are images in here that are not done justice by Folman's decision to make the film the way that he has. Perhaps it is that it lends the subject matter a triviality that it most definitely does not deserve, or perhaps it's just that I just found an immediate disconnect between the idea that this was somehow a documentary in any way at all that made me feel let down by it.

What makes it a documentary I'm not entirely sure. It doesn't help that the animated format makes it impossible to determine who are real people and who are not and the same goes for scenes of brutal war. That the horrific acts portrayed within the film happened is not one I'm willing to debate (although the "waltz" proves dubious), but there is a distinct disconnect between the images being portrayed and the portrayal of them. They just do not have the impact that they should. In the end this watcher felt more than a little cheated that something as powerful and important was let down. It may have been a grand experiment, but it more or less failed to yield any substantial results. C

Edit JD raised a theory to me via Twitter that the movie was in animation to make those final moments be even more powerful than they otherwise may have been. I can't say I agree, since that one moment at film's end would prove powerful and evocative no matter what we had seen before it. There's nothing more heart-wrenching than grief and that would have come through no matter how much real life footage we had seen. It, in fact, just makes it more disappointing.

Burlesque Explosion

I recently spoke of my particular disinterest in Christina Aguilera starring in a movie called Burlesque about a burlesque dancer at a burlesque club (that's basically all they're saying at this point). I saw that in Make it Happen, okay, and it wasn't that interesting then, either.

Nevertheless, somebody up there is adamant about me seeing this movie since the following news has come to hand:

Entertainment Weekly says that Cher is in final talks play the owner of the club. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!! !!! !!!! Seriously, the camp level of this movie will hit the heavens if Cher is in it. I mean, Cher and Xtina wearing sparkly nipple tassles while singing and shaking their chichis?! All this ridiculousness needs is a random scene where Joan Collins storms into the club and slaps Cher for no reason.

One's crazy for plastic surgery and the other's crazy for fake tanning; it's a match made in heaven! Interestingly, this will be Cher's first ever movie musical, although it hasn't been made known as to whether Burlesque is a musical in the sense that characters sing songs or if it's merely people dancing about. Nevertheless, the sudden casting of her (well, hopefully) has piqued my interest. Just how god-awfully camp is this movie going to be? My hope? A FREAKIN' LOT!

I have a sudden urge to watch Showgirls now.

Reasons Why Sharon Stone is Amazing

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Face of Beauty

Have y'all seen the trailer for Tsai Ming-Liang's latest Cannes-premiering film Face? It looks absolutely amazing. I included the title my 2009 anticipated titles list purely out of the sheer guess that it would be scrumptious and my hunch proved right. I have never seen a Tsai film so I don't know what I'll be getting in for when I get the chance to see it (I hope it wins something a Cannes, that way it'll be all but guaranteed a release).

It revolves around a director making a movie - from the looks of things, that movie is a musical - in The Louvre Museum, Paris. Insert wildly beautiful and at times slightly odd costumes (hello awards) and lovely art design plus a good some on the soundtrack and gorgeous cinematography.

"I gave him a traditional African name... O.J."

Watch the trailer for BrĂ¼no. It's hysterical. Some may find it offensive, but I think it's great. I'm sure there are plenty of people who will be coming out of this movie displaying the exact homophobic tendencies that Cohen is trying to put a microscope on. Hell, I'm sure there plenty of gay people who think Cohen himself is being homophobic. We'll have to wait and see, but it looks like another winner. I could not stop laughing throughout Borat and I hope for the same here. Cannot wait!

Hugh Jackman, Book Critic

Oh, Hugh. What on Earth are you doing providing quotes for a book by Tara Moss? This picture was stolen from the twitter feed of the fabulous Adam Richard (adjective: his own). It's sort of brilliant.

And yet while Hugh thinks the pages "turned themselves" (with MAGIC?!?) the book is clearly not "selling itself" as evidenced by the discount sticker. From $32.99 to $8.99 is a very big bargain though. Of course in order to savour said bargain you must actually purchase a novel by Tara Moss and that's just something you should not do.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This Week on Australian Screens

Cinema Releases for the Week 21/05/09

The Chifley's of Busby Street - Aussie documentary from Andrew Pike whose last film was the AFI-winning Angels of War... in 1981. Yikes!

Lesbian Vampire Killers - It looks worse than Zombie Strippers!

Night at the Museum 2 - Slashing the "Battle of the Smithsonian" part of the US title, this sequel to the incredibly bland 2006 original gets an upgrade in the form of Amy Adams. I, as you can tell, did not like the first and won't see the second. In America this is released this weekend alongside Terminator Salvation. Alas, we have to wait a couple of weeks for that blockbuster.

Quiet Chaos - Italian film co-written by and starring Nanni Moretti as a man grieving over his dead wife and caring for his young daughter.

What Just Happened? - I like a good movie about Hollywood as much as the next person, but something about this one just turns me off. I'm not entirely sure why since it has a great ensemble (Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Catherine Keener and, ugh, Kristen Stewart) but I think maybe the marketing material has given off the stench of smugness. There's almost nothing I hate more than smugness. But... no. That's not entirely it. Nevermind, this'll disappear quicker than it came and never be heard about again.

DVD Releases for the Week 21/05/09

Revolutionary Road - Underwhelmed at the Oscars, but I generally thought it was okay. It's not Titanic (LOL)! I wrote of my issues earlier in the year.

Seven Pounds - Isn't it funny how this film just dropped like a dead weight (pun not intended).

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - Woody Allen's lovely film, minted by Oscar with Penelope Cruz's much-deserved win.

TV Screenings for the Week 21/05/09

22/05/09, The Big Street (1942), 7HD, 1.00PM - Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda and Agnes Moorehead.

24/05/09, Gigi (1958), C9, 3.00PM - Big giant musical from Vincent Minnelli that won all 9 of the Oscars it was nominated for including, obviously, Best Picture.

27/05/09, Ghost Dog (1999), SBS, 10.00 - One of Jim Jarmusch's most praised films, starring Forest Whitaker.

Hitchcockian! Lynchian! Kubrickian! ...Cronenbergian?

I must admit that this a new one. Taken from the new poster for Pontypool comes this quote.

I do like that tagline though; "Shut up or die". I find myself thinking that at least a few times every day about general people who feel the need to make me angry and annoyed with their pointless observations. Maybe next time someone does that I go all Cronenbergian on their arse? Perhaps I shall... er, whatever that means exactly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Movies in Movies: Mother's Boys in Scream

Four Aussie Films (So Far) to Premiere at MIFF

The Melbourne International Film Festival is coming up soon (July 24-August 9) so program details with begin to filter through frequently from now. Today we got confirmation on the opening and closing night films, two Australian films that will be receiving their world premieres at the festival.

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) will open and close with world premieres of new Australian films. Political thriller Balibo will open this year’s edition on July 24 while music comedy Bran Nue Dae will close it on August 8.

The festival’s Premier Fund did support both films which means it has the right to show them first but MIFF executive director, Richard Moore, said they were chosen for the prime spots on their own merits.

These are probably two of the four or so most anticipated Aussie titles coming out for the rest of year. Especially Bran Nue Dae, which is Rachael Perkins' indigenous-themed musical (click the tag to see posts about it).

There are, however, two other films premiering that the Screen Daily article mentions. Ana Kokkinos' Blessed and debut filmmaker Sean Byrne's The Loved One. The former stars the quality trio of Miranda Otto, Frances O'Connor and Deborra-Lee Furness. It's always great to see her on the big screen so it will give me a reason to push on through with Kokkinos' film since I haven't liked any of the films from her that I have seen. Her last film, the controversy-baiting Book of Revelation was such a wet blanket of a movie that I just hope she can pull some sort of miracle out of her hat. The Loved Ones stars Victoria Thaine, Richard Wilson (The Proposition) and Xavier Samuel, who I've written a bit about on here. You could call me a fan.

Now if any these movies would release a poster or a trailer so I could put it here.