Sunday, September 30, 2012

70mm Going on 4K

I find it interesting that the same week my local repertory cinema and Melbourne theatrical institution, The Astor Theatre, announced a week-long season of Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master in 70mm they go ahead and screen the new 4K digital restoration of David Lean's Oscar-winning classic, Lawrence of Arabia. I love that the likes of Anderson and Christopher Nolan are still not only using film, but daring cinephiles and non-cinephiles alike to confront the issue of celluloid versus digital. The Dark Knight Rises' 70mm IMAX footage has been one of the highlights of my cinema year so far, and I highly anticipate The Master (although my cooler reaction to There Will Be Blood has tempered my expectations below full on hair-tugging excitment like I am with Les Miserables) in the classical film format.

In the meantime, you still have time to see Lawrence of Arabia in its gobsmacking digital re-issue. Not only is it playing at The Astor, and has been for about a week now, but it will start touring the world for its 50th anniversary. It's interesting to see this film, renowned for its classic 70mm presentation, is now making the rounds in the next generation of cinema format. Sadly, the existing prints are getting sadly degraded through misuse - The Astor's original 70mm print was exported to Korea and, horrifically, had subtitles laced onto it that couldn't be removed! - so 4K it is. It's undeniably a stunning looking file (I guess we shouldn't keep calling them prints, yeah?) and when projected on actual 4K projector it will surely make audiences recognise the ways David Lean's use of the camera defined everything the word "epic" entails. I wasn't all that taken by the film's post-intermission second half once it begins dabbling in Arabian politics, but the first half with T.E. Lawrence's trek proving to be a rousing and magnetic viewing experience.

At roughly four hours long - with overture and intermission - it's a lengthy watch, but anybody who would rather watch it at home, on DVD or Blu-ray, rather than in a cinema is mad. As for The Master? The 70mm presentation is coming to Melbourne cinemagoers as an early Christmas present, running from 16 December - 22 December. It will be hard to wait the several weeks it will be in general release beforehand, but I think it will be worth it! You can pre-purchase your tickets, too!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Arbitrage

Arbitrage
Dir. Nicholas Jarecki
Country: USA
Aus Rating: MA15+
Running Time: 107mins

Like something straight out of 1992, Nicholas Jarecki’s debut feature Arbitrage – a term that means the simultaneous buying and selling of a commodity (also a word never once used in the film) – is a small scale, high-gloss thriller that feels like Wall Street’s cousin. More interested in fidelity of the bodily kind, rather than the ins and outs of the financial world, Arbitrage is a solid, if wholly unremarkable, play for the adult market that should lap this mystery up thanks to Richard Gere’s impressive performance and the slick fluorescent hum of the New York City skyline that always threatens to close in on his character as he gets deeper and deeper into murky, shady territory.

Read the rest at Trespass Magazine

Stoked! (See what I did there?)

Do Americans use that word? "Stoked"? As in to mean "excited". Because if they don't, they really should, if for no other reason than it goes really well with the anticipation levels for Chan-wook Park's next movie, titled Stoker. Moving on...

So, many of you may be aware that I don't like Oldboy. I know I am in the minority, but I find its nihilistic ugliness so completely and utterly repellent. I am, however, much more on board with Chan-wook's Thirst and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, which I think are both fabulous movies that are stunningly photographed and feature a ball-busting, magnetic central female performance at their core. It's a major relief then that the man's English-language debut - not a vampire film as was once rumoured, but a drama about a particularly mean-spirited and secretive, affluent family - appears to be more in the vein of those two aforementioned titles, and not Oldboy. A major relief for me, of course, but I can't speak for others (although response to the trailer has been uniformly positive from where I've been sitting).


"You know, I've often wondered why we have children. And the conclusion I've come to is we want someone to get it right this time. But not me. Personally speaking, I can't wait to watch life tear you apart."

Personally speaking, I can't wait to watch Nicole Kidman devour her role as an evil mother with all the relish of Mo'Nique in Precious. Kidman is so, so good in villainous roles (To Die For, The Golden Compass for instance) and she appears to have some juicy moments amongst the ravishing cinematography of regular Chung-hoon Chung. While Wasikowska looks typically wan as always, some of the images within the trailer hint at a darker bent to her usual style. Plus, who I'm loving seeing Jacki Weaver there in the fogged up telephone booth, as well as those ever-piecing eyes of Matthew Goode.

It certainly helps that the trailer itself is well put together - although the fate of one character seems a bit silly to ruin - that one can't quite get a grasp on it despite the deluge of images and plot. The release of Stoker - March next year for America, although a local release is unknown it's certainly assured given the Australian-heavy cast (three generations!) - can't come soon enough. Even with all the big awards season heavy-hitters coming our way, this is one of the very top crop of anticipated movies. "We don't need to be friends. We're family."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

100 Gays in a Movie Theatre

Oh hai there Oscar-nominated star of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara.


Ne need to act so shy. Even though you were going by the name "Tricia Mara" and, as we've previously discussed, we know you're not enjoying yourself here having to reduce yourself to acting in a low budget, independent gay movie. But, hey, at least you got to make out with Maximillion Roeg, son of Nicolas Roeg and Theresa Russell.


He's a good looking boy, that. Just so happens that he was starring in a movie called Dream Boy, a middling, if nostalgically effecting, drama about two teenage boys in 1960s Texas who find themselves rapped up in a sudden fondness for one another. It's one of those "gay movies" that will appeal directly to gay audiences most of all, and pass everyone else by. It's hardly Mysterious Skin after all.

I was, however, slightly surprised that Dream Boy wasn't featured on this latest list of "the greatest gay movies" at After Elton. Such a list is always going to raise an eyebrow of suspicion before I even click on a link. The last time I looked over their list was when they did it two years ago as a top 50, upon which time I observed that many of the voters can't seem to tell where "lol, that wasn't great cinema, but I guess it was fun and the actors were hot?" ends and "great" begins. Many of the same problems exist on this expanded list, but at least the broadened scope allows for some titles that felt offensively left off get to appear. I do, however, giggle at the fact that the list's introduction wants to imply that Brokeback Mountain's lack of pole position is some big shock when, just earlier in the list, titles such as The Crying Game and Far From Heaven couldn't mustre enough support to supplant the likes of The Big Gay Musical, Eating Out, and Another Gay Movie. It's hardly shocking given their penchant for naked torsos over anything else, but still a sad indictment.

To quote Cici Cooper: "There's no accounting for taste."

Of course, once you actually see what movie trumped Brokeback Mountain to the top of the list you'll have to scratch your head and wonder whether it's a simple matter of taste or if the sort of people that would vote on a list like this genuinely have no right discussing cinema at all. There are many movies on this list that are far from outright "bad", but are many of them truly "great"? Rooney Mara says no.

(Please note that if I haven't typed anything after a specific title it means I either haven't seen it or have nothing to say.)

100. Doing Time on Maple Drive
99. Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom - I remember hearing quite a bit about this one. I like that it looks like a gay man's relic from the days of Girlfriends, but then it also looks dreadful.
98. Breakfast with Scot - I've never been able to bring myself to watch this Canadian "gender-bending"... comedy? It screams of "Yikes!" and the child on the poster is all kinds of off-putting. Man, is Girlfriends on DVD?
97. Howl
96. Christopher and His Kind
95. eCupid - I've never heard of this film from last year, but, to be perfectly honest with you, I'm a-okay with that.
94. Law of Desire [La ley del deseo]
93. The Crying Game - Oh, this ol' thing? Oh, this groundbreaking, barrier-busting, zeitgeist-capturing megahit? Oh, yeah, that.
92. Camp - I wasn't a particularly big fan of this musical theatre summer camp musical comedy, but it's a hell of a lot better than that offensive, flatlining nonsense that is Were The World Mine!
91. In The Family
90. You Should Meet My Son - I can't even with this poster, you guys. I can't even!
89. Heartbeats [Les amours imaginaires]
88. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World - One of the big losers in the two years between charts. In 2010 it was #45, and I was quite miffed about it appearing at all given it has one gay supporting character of worth and a bisexual one reduced to little more than a "LOL! lesbians!!" gag.
87. The Opposite of Sex
86. Breakfast on Pluto - What's the bet you had forgotten this movie even existed? Wasn't Cillian Murphy nominated for a Golden Globe? The same year as Chiwetel Ejiofor in Kinky Boots? Yikes.
85. Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds - Look, I have major issues with this franchise - by far the worst series of film I've ever watched... and yet I keep watching them because I need to be able to have proof of how mind-fuckingly bad they are - and genuinely think anybody who considers this movie (any of them, really, but I think this sequel was particularly worse than the rest) better than The Crying Game, or Heartbeats, or Law of Desire is an insane person that I'd rather not associate myself with.

In typical fashion, everyone in this movie is an insufferable douchebag, and ridiculously attractive. No wonder it made the list!

84. In & Out - Still a very funny movie and Joan Cusack's Oscar nomination - "Fuck Barbra Streisand and fuck you!" - remains a personal favourite. Kevin Kline is a total dish here, isn't he?
83. The War Boys - I saw this recently and... well... good for them, I guess. The guys are cute and Peter Gallagher is there too.
82. Going Down to La La Land - I assume "La La Land" is a euphemism for genitals. Ya know, like how that Ashley Simpson song, "La La", was about masturbation?
81. Is It Just Me? - Probably.
80. A Home at the End of the World - This really does feel like the readers were stretching to find titles, doesn't it? But, no worries, it's not like any film from the New Queer Cinema movement should be on here or anything like that. Who needs the films of Gregg Araki when you've got the movie that made headlines for a deleted scene involving Colin Farrell's massive donkey dick? LOL!
79. Adam & Steve
78. BearCity - I haven't seen this 2010 comedy by Douglas Langway, but the trailer is appropriately abysmal. I'd suggest people seek out the Spanish film Bearcub instead as it's actually, you know, really rather good. Sigh.
77. Cabaret - But, hey, Make the Yuletide Gay made it in at #75 so we really shouldn't complain about this genuine, bona fide masterpiece classic only appearing at a mere #77. What's eight Oscars anyway?
76. Happy Together [Chun gwong cha sit]
75. Make the Yuletide Gay
74. Burnt Money [Plata quemada]
73. La Cage Aux Folles
72. Before Night Falls
71. Private Romeo - I reviewed this disappointing Shakespeare adaptation earlier in the year when it played at MQFF. The main guy looks like Chris Evans though so that's something to distract from the odd blending of Shakespeare's language and the queer bent director Alan Brown takes to the bard's most famous work.
70. Romeos
69. Wild Reeds [Les rouseaux sauvages]

68. Far From Heaven - Oh come on! It's not even like Todd Haynes' first masterpiece, [safe], where the queer element could go undetected by less keen film-watchers. The gay element is so in the audience's face with Far From Heaven so why is this ranked so low? Are Dennis Quaid's abs of steel not enough of an enticement alongside the EVERYTHING ELSE OF THIS MOVIE OMG I CAN'T DEAL RIGHT NOW, OKAY?

67. Touch of Pink
66. I Killed My Mother [J'ai Tué Ma Mère] - Is anybody watching the current season of Project Runway (number ten)? Xavier Dolan totally reminds me of Christopher! Anyway, I love this movie. I'd probably love it even without the below scene set to Crystal Castles' "Tell Me What to Swallow", but it does feature this scene so I guess I love it just a little bit more.


65. North Sea, Texas [Noorzdee, Texas]
64. Love! Valour! Compassion! - Shit!
63. Bent - I have this one here to watch. Somebody convince me to do so (and I've already seen the pictures online so don't use that) because the idea of gays in WWII just sounds a bit too wretched.
62. Judas Kiss
61. The Big Gay Musical - No.
60. Gods and Monsters - Good work by the voters putting this and Victor/Victoria behind Eating Out and Another Gay Movie. That's some fine critical assessment going on there.
59. The Curiosity of Chance
58. Victor/Victoria - Leslie Ann Warren, bitches!
57. Another Gay Movie - I genuinely think this movie is an abomination. Nobody would give this a pass if it weren't about gay people. Nobody. And that's why so much "gay cinema" is a complete waste of time. Movies made only for none too discerning gay audiences whose idea of a great movie is anything with gay characters. "So relatable!" Ugh. I know it makes me sound pretentious and high brow, but I have so little time for people that genuinely think stuff like Another Gay Movie is good.
56. Eating Out - Same goes for this. Twofold. What a disaster of a movie. Somebody stop them because, unlike the gays, the Eating Out films are multiplying like rabbits.
55. But I'm a Cheerleader
54. Plan B
53. Transamerica - Meanwhile, the moving transgender drama of Gun Hill Road starring an actual transgendered actor (Indie Spirit Best Suppporting Actress nominee, Harmony Santana) doesn't get a mention. One good thing about Nicholas Hoult's awful performance in A Single Man (see further down the list for that one) is that it overtook Kevin Zeggers' one here in Transamerica as supreme twinky dunderhead punching bag.
52. The Sum of Us - One of only two Australian film in the countdown. Genuinely surprised Ana Kokkinos' Head On wasn't featured, at least in the lower rungs of the list.
51. The Trip
50. Mambo Italiano - That song by Shaft > This shit movie.
49. All Over the Guy - Apparently there are people who actually think this Don Roos film is better than The Opposite of Sex, which sits rather unglamourously up there at #87.
48. Making Love - Once upon a time I watched this and loved it because I'd seen so few examinations of gay life like this. I'm not sure what I'd think of it now, but I imagine it'd have more luck being an '80s nostalgia curio rather than anything else. Has anybody seen this one lately with fresher eyes?
47. Priest
46. Rent - I don't object to this film's inclusion so much as I wish its ranking was for the film that should've been and not the one that we eventually got courtesy of Christopher Columbus. I guess it was a novel trick to not film any scene of this movie as an actual musical, and it probably would've worked if he had just eliminated those pesky songs, you know? As it is there is scene after scene of people dancing being chopped up with predominantly facial close-ups! Grrr.
45. Beginners - That's nice. I suspect this one will rise when more people get the chance to see discover it.
44. The Bubble
43. Bad Education [La Mala Education] - Love this Almodovar film, but it strikes me that voters were clearly of the "Gael Garcia Bernal > Antonio Banderas" train of thought, no?

With Gael Garcia Bernal, even in drag, it's always a "yes!"

42. Edge of Seventeen - Of all the twinky, low budget coming out films on the list, this one by David Moreton and written by Todd Stephens is surely the best. Filled with '80s goodness from start to finish, it effective evokes the era far better than than Adventureland (for instance). Perfect title, too. Love this movie. I always lump this one together with Gypsy 83, which is fantastic and not enough people have seen it, which is a definite shame.
41. Yossi and Jagger
40. Boys in the Band - But not And the Band Played On. Or Cruising for that matter... when will that William Friedkin slice of queer life get its due?
39. My Own Private Idaho - Given it's prickly aesthetic I'm surprised it ranks this well, to be honest. The River/Keanu ("river canoe") factor certainly helps, as does its director becoming one of the most famous gay directors of all time.
38. Velvet Underground
37. The Wedding Banquet
36. Boy Culture - No. So completely mediocre.
35. Parting Glances - I found this movie frustrating. I appreciate it, but found it hard to really get into. I had thoughts at the time, but have mostly forgotten them by now. That's a shame.
34. I Love You Phillip Morris - Gosh, I think I bust a gut when I saw this at a sold out screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival. What a riot. And I say it's Ewan McGregor's best performance. Discuss...
33. Undertow [Contracorriente] - Another one I have here waiting to be watched. I've heard very good things.
32. Patrick Age 1.5
31. Philadelphia - As I said last time: "As a gay person I am supposed to hate Cruising, but like Philadelphia? As misguided as parts of Cruising are at least it has the guts to be out there. "We're Here / We're Queer" and what have you. Philadelphia, on the other hand, is more like "We're Here / But Well, We'll Stand Over There and Maybe You Won't Notice That We're Queer... But We ARE Here! Sort of! Maybe!"
30. Jeffrey - Another pleasant, if unremarkable, gay film that acted as a sweeter balancing act to the harsher films of the New Queer Cinema movement in the late '80s/early '90s. Steven Weber and Michael T Weiss sure are good looking men, aren't they?
29. Love Songs [Les Chansons D'Amour]
28. Summer Storm [Sommersturm] - I've never heard of this German rowing drama, but I am instantly intrigued. From the sounds of it is a bit more earthbound than many of the glitter pixie films scattered around the countdown. I can only hope that Harvest, another recent German young adult drama that I reviewed at MQFF, makes it on to the countdown next time. If enough people see it, of course.
27. Just a Question of Love [Juste une question d'amour]
26. To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
25. Torch Song Trilogy
24. C.R.A.Z.Y.
23. The Broken Hearts Club - The image used alongside this title on the list is that of Timothy Olyphant. I suspect that's why it ranks so highly. Big names (especially in retrospect) get our attention.

22. Shortbus
21. Hedwig and the Angry Inch - I love that John Cameron Mitchell's two films wound up side by side. They should certainly rank above the five that follow it, but we'll forgive them since they're still quite high comparatively to other great, amazing films. I think Mitchell came about ten years late as he would've been a perfect fit for the New Queen Cinema craze. As is though he's a brilliant man who brought these incredible stories to the world's screen. Bonus points for him taking on Rabbit Hole.

20. Longtime Companion - I watched this at the same time as Parting Glances and had meant to comment on them at the time. Alas, I don't remember all that much about this other than it was a perfectly okay midday movie and Dermot Mulroney was really annoying.
19. Big Eden - Worth it for the Tim DeKay gifs it provided. Actually, not really. The movie was so fake.
18. The Birdcage - Tellingly, a whole 55 spots ahead of the original foreign language version, La Cage aux Folles.
17. Trick
16. Prayers for Bobby - A TV movie.
15. Angels in America - A miniseries. Strange they got put together. I've not seen Prayers for Bobby (even with Sigourney starring), but this Mike Nichols-directed miniseries is absolute perfection. Did I ever tell you guys I came within a foot of getting Meryl Streep to sign my DVD of Angels in America? Everybody else had The Devil Wears Prada, but she would've seen me as a true Streepophile. Sigh.

14. My Beautiful Laundrette - Daniel Day-Lewis in this movie is basically the sexiest any man has ever been. With that smudge of paint? Oh my. Certainly helps that the film is flat out incredible in every way. I'm both surprised the film is so high, but at the same time surprised it's not higher. I do like that, much like the film below, many people will go back and discover this Stephen Frears film in the wake of Daniel Day-Lewis obsession that took hold after Gangs of New York and, especially, There Will Be Blood. Yes, watch Plainview flick soapy bubbles all over his gay lover. He's so method (I hope).

13. Mysterious Skin - Amazing. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's stature will only continue to make people sit down and watch this incredible movie, my personal favourite film of 2005 (never mind, Brokeback Mountain was my #3).
12. Get Real
11. Were the World Mine - One of the absolute worst. Go away forever.
10. Maurice - Officially 25 years old. No longer the silky-skinned twink is our Maurice.
9. Milk - Previously #2, is Gus Van Sant's moving tribute to the gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk already waning in public impression? I certainly hope not.
8. A Single Man - I wish, however, that Tom Ford's glorified angora sweater and thick-rimmed glasses commercial would fall out of critical favour quicker than I can hope for. Still can't figure out what people see in this movie outside of Colin Firth's performance (he probably should have won the Oscar for this as it's certainly stronger work than The King's Speech) that they didn't then turn around and condemn Madonna for with W.E.
7. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - Previously ranked at #15 and I so love seeing this film continue to make people laugh rather than crumble under cultural cringe.
6. Weekend - Unsurprisingly, Andrew Haigh's Weekend is the highest new entry into the list.
5. Latter Days - Curiously, another Joseph Gordon-Levitt film. This one isn't particularly good so I'm baffled as to its high rating. What am I missing? Is it a mormon thing? It's a mormon thing, isn't it?
4. Beautiful Thing

Satanic mechanic is 'bout right for this lot. Thank gawd Lea Michelle is hidden here.

3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Previously ranked at #42 so something obviously happened between polls for it to jump so much. I hope it wasn't Glee's "Rocky Horror" special, but it's the only thing I can think of that has pushed this audacious musical back into the public consciousness in the years since the last list. I hope people were voting for the movie, and not the Glee episode!
2. Brokeback Mountain - I have no qualms with this movie not being #1. What I do have qualms with is...

1. ...it being beaten by this. Shelter is by no means a bad movie. In fact, it's quite a lovely one and there's some sincere moments that are beautifully done. However, the list isn't "Top 100 Nice Gay Movies That Make You Feel Good Inside". Shelter isn't even a great movie, let alone the greatest. People genuinely confuse me at times like that. And I say this as someone who believes pop films shouldn't be relegated to "but..." status. "I love it, but..." I mean, I've put films like Bring It On, Burlesque and so forth on my top ten lists for their given years. I think they excel at what they do. Shelter does what it set out to do quite well, but it's fairly unremarkable choice.

I suspect even most AfterElton readers would look at this list and half-heartedly admit that, yes, Brokeback Mountain, or Cabaret, or Far From Heaven, are better examples of a "great" filmmaking, but that Shelter is sweet and gives them googly feelings in the stomach. Still, I shouldn't expect much from a list that includes something with the name Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds. And, let's face it, this is hardly Vertigo knocking Citizen Kane off of the Sight & Sound list. Still, I wish the website's readers would show a bit more reverence for genuine classic cinema. Sigh.

It's disappointing that this is the only sort of "list" there is going online. Nobody in any academic circle appears to want to compile one that looks at queer cinema, gay cinema, whatever-you-want-to-call-it cinema, with a critical eye. I'd be mightily interested in one so as to find spots for such glaring omissions as Almodovar's All About My Mother, Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause, Todd Haynes' [safe], Todd Stephens' Gypsy 83, Tom Kalin's Swoon, Todd Solondz's Happiness, Lynn Shelton's Humpday, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Querelle, Nigel Finch's Stonewall, Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr Ripley, Jon Matthews' Urbania, Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien, and so on. And I know the list is exclusively about gay male cinema and not "lesbian" cinema - are lesbians not gay? so confused! - but surely gay men can relate to, and find power in titles like Boys Don't Cry, Heavenly Creatures, Bound, The Kids are All Right, or High Art. I guess we should be thankful Flawless isn't on there and move on.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Lore

Lore
Dir. Cate Shortland
Country: Australia / Germany /UK
Aus Rating: MA15+
Running Time: 109mins

In the dying days of WWII, a mother to a seemingly affluent family with a husband whose supposedly still away at war fighting for the Third Reich, tells her five children that they must leave and seek refuge with their grandmother. As word of Hitler’s death filters across the European landscape, the mother departs her children to hand herself in to the new occupying forces and leaves the teenage Hannelore (Saskia Rosendahl in a fabulous debut performance) in charge. As they struggle to make their way across a divided nation that is crumbling around them, the children must join forces with a Jewish boy who makes Hannelore confront the prejudices that she and her siblings have been taught to adhere to for as long as they can possibly remember.

Read the rest at Onya Magazine

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Make Hummus Not War

Make Hummus Not War
Dir. Trevor Graham
Country: Australia
Aus Rating: Exempt
Running Time: 77mins

In 1995, the hummus industry (such as it was) was worth around $5million in the United States. In 2012, it is worth over $400million. That’s probably the wildest fact from this small-scale documentary by local filmmaker Trevor Graham (AFI Award-winning Mabo: Life of an Island Man), and the one that, for whatever reason, stuck out the most and has stuck with me once the credits rolled. It’s probably a backhanded compliment to this film for such a random fact, slotted into the story late in the game with little fanfare, but it is the kind of information that seems so ridiculous that its mere mention was enough to perk me up when some of the film’s other elements failed to spark in a way to make me truly engaged.

Read the rest at Onya Magazine

The Perfect Billboard

I'm not sure where this was taken - or when, for that matter, since it would seem odd for a twelve-year-old film to be getting such prominent and eye-catching advertising for a television airing - but it's gold. Gold! Or should that be ivory?


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Other Catwoman and Metal-Faced Hulk

I recently watched Eugène Lourié's turgid 1958 sci-fi parable, The Colossus of New York, on Blu-ray. It looked fantastic, but the movie itself was just so flat and dull that there was no enjoyment to have outside of the brief, and rather silly, way that New York City was actually incorporated into the narrative. It bares no similarity to Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space other than it being a Z-grade black and white science fiction from from the '50s (that famous movie was released one year later), but I was struck my the similarity in my viewing experience of each.

I didn't like them. While hardly surprising that I wasn't a fan of, in Plan 9's case, a film hailed as the worst ever made, or a cardboard cutout of a Frankenstein's Monster remake in the form of The Colossus of New York, they were two films that I immediately thought of after the double feature at the Astor Theatre last night. Quite on a whim, I went to along to the famed repertory house to catch 35mm prints of Arthur Hilton's Cat-Women of the Moon (aka Rocket to the Moon) and Phil Tucker's Robot Monster (aka Monsters from the Moon). I guess 1958 was all about the moon. I mean, there's not even any mention of the moon in Robot Monster! Then again, the villain in Robot Monster is neither a robot nor a monster, really, so maybe we shouldn't split hairs. Still, I thought of Colossus of New York and Plan 9 from Outer Space because whilst I watched those two films in the comfort of my own home, by myself, and disliked them terribly, I saw these two (arguably) equally dreadful movies from the same era, but did so in a cinema with about 50 other patrons all laughing along and I enjoyed the experience immensely. I have no doubt that Colossus is a dud no matter how one views it, but Plan 9's reputation makes me suspect I'm missing something that home entertainment simply can't provide.

Would I have enjoyed Cat-Women of the Moon and Robot Monster half as much if seen at home with all the distractions that my meagre wage can afford? I assume no. There's something about watching an overweight, pelvic-thrusting gorilla in a space helmet tip toe around the desert as he(?) tries to destroy the American nuclear family that doesn't pack quite the same punch when by one's lonesome. I would like to see more, quite frankly. And at only 65 minutes each, it's certainly a quick and very entertaining way to spend a couple of hours of one's evening. Despite the incredibly Z-grade quality of both movies, they provided far more genuine entertainment than most of the films I have seen from 2012. No, they're not good movies by any stretch of the imagination, but gosh they're a riot to watch in the right setting.


Cat-Women of the Moon, to those who've seen both films, is clearly the inferior of the two. The effects are all but non-existent, the women are hilarious cliches, and the romance is startlingly abrupt, but you don't watch something like this for the thoughtful presentation of ideology about space colonisation and the dilemmas of faith around searching for life on other planets. You just don't! You go to giggle at the "space age" look and marvel at the naive simplicity of it all. How these rocket scientists use a tiny window to judge their moon landing on the dark side of the moon is a true miracle of science.


Still, it's a far more competent film - if one can use that term to describe these things - compared to Robot Monster. An absolutely hysterical post-apocalyptic sci-fi rumble that uses the magic of public domain stock footage to warn moviegiers that they're destroying the planet and that if they keep going the way they have been, we will all be invaded and killed by gorillas in space suits with posture issues, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and sensitive feet. How does one even begin to comprehend? There's a wedding (and honeymoon under a shrub) for no apparent reason other, the women don't wear bras, stop-motion dinosaurs are sent down to Earth via lightning, and a giant alligator battles a giant lizard out of any context. It's mad, I tellsya. Mad! What else could we expect from a film written by somebody with the name of Wyott Ordung?

And yet in that darkened cinema as the small crowd (especially for a cinema that can seat over 1000) had a fun time, these films became more than just forgotten Z-grade shockers. Cinema - as in the psychical building of a cinema - has the power to turn even the strangest of concoctions into memorable experiences.

Has anybody else experienced this films of this type. Is Plan 9 from Outer Space a must see on the big screen, or is its inherent badness not even able to be overcome by a crowd of cult-like devotees and their riotous laughter? I anticipate the day when I get the chance to see it in such a scenario.

Review: Bait 3D

“Wanna see a movie?”

“What’s playing?”

“Bait 3D?”

“What’s that about?”

“It’s the one where a tsunami hits the Gold Coast and sharks end up inside a supermarket.”

This conversation can go one of two ways. The friend could think Bait 3D, the latest big budget Aussie flick to come along in an effort to snare more box office returns than critical adulation, sounds completely ridiculous and scoff at your notion. Or they could think it sounds completely ridiculous and want to be the first in line at the ticket counter. The end result of the film lies somewhere in the middle.

Read the rest at Trespass Magazine


Also, it should be noted that as I was doing "research" about the movie, I came across some images that I think are very important for judging whether to see this movie or not. I don't think it's spoiler territory to tell you that for a movie about people be drenched, there isn't anywhere near enough in the sexiness department.

This actor is Richard Brancatisano and when I saw him listed in the cast list I couldn't for the life of me remember who he was. Was he one of the early victims of the tsunami? No, then I remembered he features in the opening scene and then, er, is disposed of. Obviously the film doesn't utilise his considerable skills if I didn't even remember this. Not at all. Also this, this, and this.

Elsewhere, fans of Xavier Samuel get some surf lifesaver roleplaying inspiration, but little else. Hilariously, multiple characters tell him he "looks like crap". My kingdom for my version of "looks like crap" to be in the same beautiful universe as his. Alex Russell doesn't get much in that regards either, but he does get the best scene in the movie (a genuinely tense pipe crawl over shark-infested water) and he gets out of the film with his career unscathed. The same can't quite be said for Lincoln Lewis - who has a brief shirtless scene that was met with somebody over the other side of the cinema hollering "WOW!" - or Cariba Heine, Julian McMahon, or poor ol' Sharni Vinson who's called to drop to her knees in horror and scream "NOOOOO!" more times than I care to remember.


Yes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

So Many Chainsaw Massacres in Texas!

So, the trailer was recently released for the seventh entry in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. These massacres just keep happening and there is apparently nothing we can do about it! Of course, the makers of this edition - curiously titled simply Texas Chainsaw 3D - have skirted the issue by claiming this is a direct, the one and only true sequel to Tobe Hooper's groundbreaking 1974 masterpiece original. Not that you'd know it from looking at it, as John Luessenhop's film looks to mimic the style of Platinum Dunes' "remake" and that film's prequel. I'm a huge fan of Marcus Nispel's high gloss chainsaw apocalypse from 2003 (less so the prequel, but it's far from the worst entry of the series), but why this film is supposedly aping that film's style so obviously - even the trailer is paced identically, including the fake out "oh shit, so that's what this is a trailer for" beginning - when it's not made by the same company, and is more or less disregarding it to craft its own timeline, is perplexing.

I'll always be there for a new Chainsaw flick, I really will. The first film is genuinely one of the two or three scariest films I've ever seen, and perhaps the best horror movie ever made. Even though the sequels are generally all awful, there's something about the downright terrifying idea that will always provoke some sort of response from me. Good or bad, these films never leave me with a shrug.


Set some 30 years after the original (I assume that's not just a failed attempt at 1974 chic, right?), Texas Chainsaw 3D (who needs words like "Massacre", or "The", really?) sees a midriff-baring relative of the Sawyer clan inherit a house that was built on land owned by her family. Or something. I'm not really sure how that works. I mean, the house featured here certainly isn't the same one from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, ya know? Maybe Leatherface and company upgraded in the early '80s before they got caught? Maybe they really like billiards? Whatever. Naturally, Leatherface is still hanging around and even pushing 60 (surely?) he's able to swing that rusty blade around with aplomb as these nubile, semi-naked teens strut about his homestead. Or maybe it's "Son of Leatherface" and the makers just didn't want to make audiences burst out into hysterical lulz during the trailer. Third act twist, here we come!


Look, as I said, I'll see it, but I just find the entire thing so weird. One of the franchise's greatest assets has been that each entry has its own style, whether it be authentic documentary styled, glossy piss-stained Hollywood look, grungy redneck slasher, bizarro world comedy... This one seems to have none at all. The house seems to mirror that of the remake, as does the exterior location with the car. Even angles and shots seems to replicate that of Nispel's film, not to mention the inclusion of a scene where the screamy friend and the level-headed final girl are trapped in a van being stalked by the killer, as well as one of Leatherface showing off his sowing skills. Is this a remake of the remake, perhaps?

I like the idea of Leatherface venturing into populated territory - there appears to be a shot of one character being chased on the steps of a town hall like building, as well as a fairground sequence - and the 3D aspect should certainly be eye-catching (eye gouging? eye tearing?) to say the least. The return of Marilyn Burns and Gunner Hansen also piques my interest. I'm very skeptical, but maybe there's something to it that they're holding back. I certainly can't say I wouldn't appreciate a surprise or two.


Also: How dumb must you be to hide in a freakin' buried coffin? Answer: very!

Lastly: How great is the poster up top? Answer: very!

Hi-res images via Bloody Disgusting

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This Week In Strange Critics Quotes: Holy Motors

With Leos Carax's loving befuddlement of a comeback, Holy Motors, set for release in UK cinemas on 18 September - it has already been released here in Australia to unfortunate minimal box office, but we could hardly expect it to become a blockbuster - it was only a matter of time before a typically gorgeous UK quad poster came our way. The design that has come down the pipeline is certainly lush, full of woozy greens and sleek whites. Take a look at it below and tell me its assortment of images doesn't at least pique your curiosity (not least because Kylie Minogue looks like she's from a spy thriller or a Doctor Who episode.)


Yes, we can accept this. However, if you look carefully at the critics quotes, you will find something truly bizarre. I'm not sure what Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian, known as a rather erudite critic, was thinking when he used the word "batsqueak" to describe this movie (or anything for that matter), but there you have it. Even stranger is that the film's British distributor thought "yes, that is the exact right quote to entice cinemagoers." :/


From his original review:

Leos Carax's Holy Motors is weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact. It is wayward, kaleidoscopic, black comic and bizarre; there is in it a batsqueak of genius, dishevelment and derangement; it is captivating and compelling. This film may or may not be a prizewinner here – although I think it may actually get the Palme d'Or – but really this is what we have all come to Cannes for: for something different, experimental, a tilting at windmills, a great big pole-vault over the barrier of normality by someone who feels that the possibilities of cinema have not been exhausted by conventional realist drama. Some may find it affected or exasperating; I found it weightless and euphoric.

I can already spot a couple of bites from that opening paragraph that would make more sense as a movie poster pull quote. Throughout the rest of his Cannes review he hails Holy Motors as "a mysterious odyssey through the streets of an eerie, beautiful Paris", "(t)here is something of David Lynch here, a little of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, of Gaspar Noé's Kubrickian head-trips", "it is a bravura exercise in pure imagination", and "it's funny, it's freaky ... breaks the wheel of convention." Would none of those have been more appropriate than a confusing line about whatever a "batsqueak" is.

I live with somebody who resided in England for many years and she has never once heard of that term being used to describe anything. Other than (one would assume) the sound made by an actual bat, of course. If nothing else, it's certainly not a term that had caught on in the counsel estates of Essex. What a batsqueak indeed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Phin-nom-ne-nom of Chloe Sevigny

"It's recently come to my attention,
that 'tis the season, for ray-a-ding.
I discovered this phin-nom-ne-nom,
whilst enduring a burnt bone massage,
alongside the artist Kimbra."

'Tis the season, all right! 'Tis the season for Chloe Sevigny. I've not watched (or even heard much about, to be honest) the new series from DirectTV in which the real Chloe Sevigny plays a transgendered serial killer (remind me again why this isn't on my viewing schedule?!?), but our favourite version of Greta Gerwig is never too far away thanks to Drew Droege's endlessly entertaining comedy bits on YouTube wherein he portrays a startlingly eloquent, if frequently mis-pronouncing, Chloe, whose ever-expanding circle of famous friends (March alone sees her hanging with Pippa Middleton, Deborah Kara Unger, and Apitchatpong Weerasetakul) and hobbies make for some of the funniest stuff on the internet.

The latest video is a tribute to reading - "the complete works of Angela Lansbury, Miranda rights ... mercury levels, petroleum metres, and the frustratingly fluctuating population levels of Papua New Guinea" - wherein she discusses her book club (Anna Wintour and Kiernan Shipka reading Cliff's Notes) whilst getting a bone massage with the Kimbra. Because, ya know, she's Chloe Sevigny.


"Books."

I can't recommend watching the Chloe videos enough. It would take too long to list my favourites, but they're pretty much all excellent. If she's only recently come to your attention then hop on to it and watch them all.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When Bad Posters Strike: Fun Size

You guys, Hart of Dixie is back soon! I know the show is little more than one of those ridiculously tired city-gal-heads-to-quirky-small-town concepts that coasts on the charm of its star, Rachel Bilson, and the good looks of its love triangle cast (that'd be Scott Porter of Friday Night Lights, and the unfortunately named Wilson Bethel), but I enjoy it anyway. Josh Schwartz, who created The OC, has a knack for turning should be fluff into, at least, intensely enjoyable fluff. I mean, it's no Men In Trees, but what can we do?

Anyway, all of this is a long way of getting to Fun Size. I'd never heard of it before, but now I have and I think I preferred it when I was oblivious to its existence. Fun Size is the directorial debut of Josh Schwartz although the below poster certainly doesn't try and alert audiences to his involvement (rightly or wrongly). I was legitimately surprised, however, to discover that not one of the film's nine (NINE!) listed producers and executive producers were involved with this year's teenage party comedy, Project X. Not because the films are similar in any way - to be perfectly honest, after looking at the Fun Size poster I did not care one bit to investigate it further - but because the posters look so alike.


Both seem to be showing these supposedly confused/innocent teenagers gawking expressions that say "lol, what's happening?" while crazy stuff happens in the background.

At least Project X's poster looks competently made though. This Fun Size travesty is a big ol' mess. I mean, yeesh, look at the baby! Maybe if the entire thing wasn't drowned in pumpkin orange it wouldn't look quite so garish, but then how would audiences no it was set on Halloween? Oh right, they've said as much in the tag line! Yikes, you guys.

Then, of course, there are the badly photoshopped bodies in the foreground, the ugly mish-mash of images going on in the background, and the boring font. It's pretty easy to determine who the romantic leads are, too, isn't it? The two who aren't wearing costumes, obvs. Especially not the one wearing the sexy catsuit one. Ugh. What an ugly disaster. Some people just can't design movie posters. But, hey, at least Hart of Dixie returns at the start of October!!!

Review: Fashion Pack

Fashion Pack
Dir. Olivier Nicklaus
Country: France
Aus Rating: U15+
Running Time: 168mins

Fashion, like any other niche segment of pop culture, has crafted its own place in the cinematic world. No longer just the realm of costume design, film and the fashion industry have well and truly blended into one to satisfy the fashionista set's desire for cinematic enlightenment. From dramatic films like Coco avant Chanel and The Devil Wears Prada, to documentaries such as Bill Cunningham New York and The Tents, fashion and its makers are as much a part of the world of film as sport fans, the GLBT community, and environmentalists. Taking its name from the classic Malcolm McLaren tune of 1989, ACMI's "Deep in Vogue" is ACMI's focus on fashion festival, coinciding with the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. Screening amidst the mini-fest are films about Tom Ford (Visionaries: Inside the Mind of Tom Ford, a title that doesn't wont for ego), Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton (Dressed for Winter) and this trilogy of documentaries, each just shy of 60 minutes, entitled Fashion Pack.

Divided into three sections, Fashion Pack (or, going by its international title, Fashion!) looks at the modern world of fashion through the prism of decades. The extravagant 1980s in "Golden Eighties", the anti-fashion rebellion of the '90s in "Anti-Fashion", and the current global obsession with brand and the ever-burgeoning world of fashion in "Go Global". The first two pieces are screening together, and the third separately, but all three together makes for the optimum viewing experience.


That being said, the films themselves are curious creations. I'm not aware of director Olivier Nicklaus' history with the project, but the three pieces feel more like television programs more than anything else. A quick glance at his IMDb profile shows no mention of Fashion Pack, but there is a 60-minute TV documentary called The Red Carpet Issue that amassed a guest list as long as Fashion Pack so one must assume that these three docos are better suited to the small screen. Whether audiences will get a chance to see them outside of ACMI's season, however, is something I cannot answer.

Still, no matter the technical limitations on the project, the three films do impart a good amount of knowledge on a viewer who may not be otherwise up to date with their fashion history. Golden Eighties is certainly the most fun segment, its fashion flashbacks making for highly entertaining viewing as it follows the big designers of the day whilst giving hat tips to the incoming crop. Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana and Azzedine Alaia are the major focuses and their careers are full of fascinating anecdotes and moments of designer chaos that make for fun viewing. Anti-Fashion, however, is the one that proved to be the most interesting for a novice of the arena. Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo's work in dismantling the excess of 1980s fashion and redirecting it into a world of political and social demonstration (is that where Step Up 4: Miami Heat's inspiration came from?) If ever there was somewhere to direct people who don't believe fashion can be art then this may just be it.

The Go Global segments looks at the commercialisation of modern day fashion into the world that we know it today. Focusing on the likes of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel (I just kept picturing Margaret Cho's stand up bit, "wouldn't it be fabulous if Karl Lagerfeld actually was a murdered?!?"), Tom Ford's reinvigouration of Gucci, Marc Jacobs at Louis Vutton, John Galliano at Dior and Alexander McQueen at Givenchy. Viewers such as myself will certainly find this piece the most recognisable in terms of names and designs, but much like modern day fashion feels decidedly un-edgy, the film too falls into a rather complacent groove. It's informative, but rarely all that thoroughly. Extending it and the entire series into a longer television series would have, I suspect, allowed for deeper analysis and a more complete history being presented.


Visually the film is sadly unspectacular. Fashion Pack screens off of digital betacam that lacks the sleep design of a Chanel suit, but this probably won't be as big of an issue given the film's prevalence of archival footage. Still, it just further accentuates the project's ought-to-be television home. Nicklaus' distracting English language dubbing is unnecessary and the editing is rarely anything beyond the expected. It's a shame the director didn't take inspiration of his subjects and inject the technical aspects with more style and panache, a bolder vision for a bolder project. As it stands though, Fashion Pack is certainly a collection worth perusing to fill in ones knowledge of the fashion world (or, at least partially). Fashion fans will get a kick out of the interviews with industry royalty and the repeated use of old runway footage will be a hoot for any viewer. Golden Eighties: B; Anti-Fashion: B; Go Global: B-.

Review: Your Sister's Sister

Your Sister's Sister
Dir. Lynn Shelton
Country: USA
Aus Rating: M15+
Running Time: 90mins

If you don’t know what “mumblecore” is (or was) then my describing Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister as “post-mumblecore” will mean absolutely diddly to you. If, however, you’re familiar with the term and the filmmaking names and styles that arose out of the lo-fi, independent movement then my aforementioned description of this affably charming romcom will prove most apt. Shelton and her star/executive producer, Mark Duplass, have well and truly moved out of the shadow of mumblecore’s limitations and into the realm of wider public consciousness. It helps that an actor of Emily Blunt’s stature signed on to give this project star wattage, but the film is genuinely a major step up in terms of maturity and skill compared to Shelton and Duplass’ last collaboration, Humpday.

Read the rest at Trepsass Magazine

Monday, September 3, 2012

Does Four Make a Legacy?

You guys, I have Some Thoughts about The Bourne Legacy. I know that movie is old by internet standards, but the film's media screening and subsequent release came about during MIFF and the weeks after wherein I was ridiculously ill. So, as you can guess, I'm only just getting around to seeing this fourth instalment of the Bourne franchise. Tony Gilroy has been bumped up from mere screenwriter to director, too, and made a film that acts as a reboot, a sequel, and a prequel all at once. It's a nifty trick and one that will certainly benefit viewers who have recently seen the prior films (even the opening shot of this film directly references the same shot of The Bourne Identity), but also one that will distract and ultimately compare negatively for those same people.

This latest film is quite decent, for sure. It's competently made - which sounds like a backhanded compliment, but given some recent examples of Hollywood action filmmaking I think it's a fair enough remark to make - and the actors are fine, but it never truly comes close to achieving the same success as the franchise's second entry, The Bourne Supremacy (a bona fide master work of contemporary action filmmaking if you ask me), nor even the lesser, but still fantastic, bookends, The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Ultimatum. Anyway, it's late and you probably aren't all that interested in a formal review, so let's just run through the pros and the cons of The Bourne Legacy because there are a few.


PRO
Look, let's just this out in the open right here at the start. Jeremy Renner is a good looking man, and it's certainly always going to be at least somewhat entertaining to watch him running around making a sweat. Preferably without a shirt on, which he does here within minutes of the film starting. He possesses a very similar "every man" quality that Matt Damon had, which makes his good looks somewhat identifiable. Yes, he's got the muscles and the movie star good looks, but they're in proportion to real life. It's far easier to watch a movie such as this - that is, one that purports to exist within the real world rather than a fantasy bloodsport one like those of the 1980s hey day - when the lead actor doesn't look like they've spent their life in the gym and using facial beauty products (even when we know they have!)

CON
Tony Gilroy must be sheepish. That, or he just isn't particularly talented. Now, we know that's not true because Michael Clayton was a win and I am a fan of his comedic follow-up, Duplicity, too, even if many others are not. So, the only explanation for this film's complete aping of the Paul Greengrass aesthetic is that he was afraid to tamper with the pre-existing, successful formula that had worked so well in the past. Gilroy's camera isn't quite as shaky as Greengrass', but there are very similar visual effects at work here. Lots of zooming and swooping, hot-footed action set-pieces that are filmed to make an audience feel as if they're right in there in the action with Jason Bourne whatever the character's name is (I honestly don't remember, but IMDb tells me it is Aaron Cross - pronounced "Erin" as is the American vernacular).

Still, it might have been nice for Gilroy to try and forge his own style for his big promotion. One of the things that makes the Alien franchise so interesting is the way its directors all lend their individual film a new and different style. While there's not much that can be done with this film in terms of creative directions, something new would have made The Bourne Legacy feel more essential and less like, well, the fourth film in a well-worn, but perhaps a bit tired, film series.

PRO
The action was more or less pretty great, especially the motorbike chase through Manila. It is preceded by a rooftop escape sequence that, hello, mirrors Ultimatum (but also The Fast Five!) and feels overly protracted, but at least it's energetic and the surprise element of Louis Ozawa Changchien was nice. Still, did anybody else feel like the motorbike sequence was leading to one last big confrontation? One between Renner and Edward Norton with his awesome grey hair, perhaps?

CON
I love Joan Allen - I really, really love her - but I'm not exactly sure why she's here. Donna Murphy was doing a perfectly respectable job as the sharply-featured character actress who dons a pantsuit and makes big decisions in a room full of boys, so the inclusion of Allen feels particularly unnecessary. Don't get me wrong, it's always nice to see her (especially lately since she appears to have vanished from cinema screens altogether, although her puffy face is a concern), but getting shoehorned into this film isn't how I'd like her utilised by filmmakers.

And it must be said, is this the shortest ever amount of screentime given to a performer whose name is featured prominently on the film's marketing? Her role amounts to about little more than 45 seconds, I'd estimate. And yet there she is credited fourth after Renner, Rachel Weisz, and Norton. The same can be said for Albert Finney, who gets one scene with a brief monologue. Meanwhile, perfectly acceptable actors like Oscar Isaac, Donna Murphy, Scott Glenn, Željko Ivanek, and Stacy Keach (!!!) rest in the cast unnoticed. I am aware there is some contractual obligations going on here, but that's a stretch and they surely know it.

PRO
Once the film gave up its "Bourne goes native" act at the start, the film was genuinely quite exciting. Renner's reboot is curiously sidelined towards the start, relegated the character to a supporting context. After the shooting sequence, however, it was all systems go. At 135 minutes long it is inarguably far too long, especially for a film with such little plot momentum ("I need the chems!" is as far as that gets, really), but it maintains the pace well enough.


CON
Is that the best plot they could come up with? Really? Without a Michael Crichton source to get their inspiration from it appears the brothers Gilroy could only come up with a story about a renegade mercenary who needs the drugs they've been giving him to keep going. Really. The entire film is one big effort to get him more drugs. In fact, the film plays like like one of those Aussie kitchen sink dramas about a man participating in a clinical study about heroin who needs that one last fix and travels to East Asia to get it. Except, ya know, this time there's fight sequences, and not the of-mind-body-and-soul variety.

PRO
I thought Renner acquainted himself quite nicely with the role for many of the reasons I already discussed. I liked the way he (/ his stunt double) was routinely filmed climbing up walls like Spider-Man, although some of the stuff in that opening rock climbing sequence was a bit fanciful for my taste. I did get a good chuckle out of the idea of Renner gunning for yet another franchise in his feather cap: The Terminator! Riding around on a motorbike with a leather jacket and sunglasses certainly brought up Judgement Day imagery that was hard to ignore.

CON
Jeepers, those Manila police are quite shit, 'ey? It all gets a bit Blues Brothers towards the end.

PRO
Shane Jacobson! Haha, you guys, Kenny is in The Bourne Legacy! That's too wonderful for words.

CON
It's not The Bourne Supremacy. :/

So, basically, it's a pretty good effort, but one that certainly looks weaker in the shadow of its predecessors. I'd certainly see another one, but I'd suggest more problem solving secret agents and less Beardy McBeardman in the forest. Yes? Yes. B-