Monthly Archives: March 2009

It’s All Me…

Firstly, sorry for the lack of input over the last few weeks, I have no excuses, just plain lazy. After going through the best and worst of 2008, I realised that I really hadn’t seen much throughout the year. So while my friends were all making the same shit resolutions which they make every year and never keep (i.e. get fit, give up smoking, drink less), I made a resolution which I knew I could keep; to dedicate more time to sitting on my arse, kicking up my feet and watching more movies.To save you all some valuable reading time, I’m just going to break down several movies into short and sweet reviews, which you can scroll and skim at your leisure.

Blood’s a Boyle’n…

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Slumdog Millionaire cleaned up during this year’s awards season, and it’s not hard to see why.However, it took me a while to form an opinion on Slumdog Millionaire and I was never sure why. A friend and I sat for hours trying to pin-point what it was exactly that left us feeling like this film was not what everyone had made it out to be.My friend came up with the surprisingly clever metaphor, in that Slumdog Millionaire was exactly the same as going to a party in someone else’s home town and hooking up with the hottest girl there, only to find out that everyone had already been there before you –sure it was beautiful but there have been millions of Bollywood films to explore Indian culture beforehand.I had to agree, but personally, I felt that Baz Luhrmann was to blame.For some reason, after seeing Australia, I just could not justify how much he was able to exploit everything Australian for the sake of another bullshit Hollywood film and I don’t see why Danny Boyle’s portrayal of Indian culture is any different, except for the fact that Boyle isn’t actually Indian.Unlike City Of God, where director Fernando Meirelles actually made me feel as though I was gaining some insight into slum-life in Brazil, I think I’ve just become too sceptical and too aware of the amount of bullshit I am being fed to believe the same thing here – curtesy of Baz.I always knew there was a lot of shit in Hollywood films; I liked to think of them as hotdogs – which I thoroughly enjoyed even though I knew what they were made of and watching Australia was like watching a hotdog being made, and once I realised exactly how much shit was in them and how much manipulation was involved in selling them, it just made the rest a lot harder to swallow.And for Slumdog Millionaire to win Best Picture, just says to me that everyone in Hollywood is looking at it and thinking “well done guys, this is the type of film that demonstrates how much we have progressed as film-makers,” when realistically, this film still depicts the same Hollywood bullshit and romantic clichés as any other film, it’s just set to a different back-drop and exploiting a different culture.I didn’t start this review with the intention of being critical; it’s just that in hindsight, the film was well made; I just wish Hollywood would just stick to ruining American culture and not fucking with the rest of the world.But fuck it, I’m the one writing this thing and that’s my opinion – deal with it.3.5/5

The Full Nelson (Whatever That Means)…

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The Wrestler was easily my pick of the litter as movie of the year. It held all the characteristics of a commercial success while capturing the grit of a true indie flick and solid performances by Mickey Rourke and the ridiculously hot Marissa Tomei, made The Wrestler essential viewing.It is a shame it didn’t win more in the Oscar department, but in all fairness, we all know that the Oscars are a complete load of shit.The Wrestler tells the story of has-been pro-wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson, who in between romancing a worn out stripper (Tomei) and trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel-Wood), is trying to hold on to his former glory and that one last shot at the big time.Much like Ledger’s Joker at the beginning of The Dark Knight, Mickey Rourke impressively depicts his character through small mannerisms, despite his face being covered with a rubber mask.Marissa Tomei is perhaps the film’s only real flaw, in that she is almost too good-looking to be believable.She plays an aging stripper, trying her hardest to provide for her son, despite losing customers because of her diminishing looks.Having bared all in Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead in the same year, it seems that Tomei is also using her body to secure more work, and while it continues to land her roles like these, I’m sure we will see a lot more of her in the future. The Wrestler is perhaps the most mainstream film to come from Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem For A Dream) in regards to its’ appeal to the more commercial audience. I went to see this with a girl who actually wanted to see Bride Wars and she loved it.This gets my vote as movie of the year.4.5/5

Minor Details

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I have to admit; I think I love Paul Rudd. The man is hilarious. On a scale of man-crushes, he sits up there with Downey Jr. and Sam Rockwell, which is a pretty big call in itself. Role Models further confirms my faith in him as a comedy actor.It seems that Judd Apatow has more pies around than he can stick fingers in at the moment and Role Models is just another notch on the belt.Although Apatow was not actually attached to the movie in terms of production, direction or writing, his influence is highly present in the humour, the actors, the set-up, right through to the underlying morals and romantic tie-ins.90% of comedy castings these days just mix and match Apatow regulars and the formula continues to pay off. Here, Rudd leads the recently absent Sean William Scott (Stiffler), the adorable Elizabeth Banks and everyone’s new favourite geek, Christopher Mintze-Plasse (McLovin).Rudd and Scott play Danny and Wheeler, two energy-drink promoters, who are forced into a child-mentoring program after breaking the law. In a predictable twist of fate, once Danny and Wheeler warm to their initially uncontrollable kids, they learn important life lessons about friendship, love and blah, blah, blah.Rudd’s character is perfectly suited to the dry, sarcastic humour, which he does so well. In that sense, he reminded me a lot of Cusack in High Fidelity; playing a cynical asshole, with enough charm to win the audience over. Similarly to Cusack, the reason Rudd may have suited the role so well is because he also co-wrote the screenplay.McLovin’s schtick is hilarious, but a third time could wear thin, and see him go the same route as Jon Heder.Sean William Scott brings back the immature man-boy charm that made him so likable in the American Pie franchise.It is Jane Lynch’s bizarre role as the mentoring program’s founder that gets a majority of the laughs. She seems to make the most normal circumstances feel ridiculously awkward without leaving you cringing more than you laugh.Role Models didn’t get much of a run at the cinemas, but I encourage everyone to get hold of it.This is what Zak and Miri Make A Porno should have been!3.5/5

It Spilt, No One’s Crying…

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To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much walking into Milk and I didn’t feel much different walking out.This was Sean Penn’s annual appeal for an Oscar and obviously it worked for him.The movie was another of Hollywood’s well acted, well scripted, up lifting, inspiring story of a minority’s rise to the top, which we’ve all seen before in some shape or form.For those who don’t know, Milk tells the controversial story of Harvey Milk; the first openly gay candidate to run for congress.Sean Penn was great, but for some reason, I couldn’t stop imagining him as his character in I Am Sam. He just seemed to carry the exact same mannerisms and similarities in speech, which made him incredibly hard to relate to as a separate identity.James Franco and Josh Brolin were the film’s biggest drawcards and the only two reason I would recommend this film.Franco plays Harvey Milk’s love interest/conscience on the side, Scot Smith. Franco just keeps moving from strength to strength these days and it won’t be long until he makes the transition from supporting to lead actor in similar films.Josh Brolin is the film’s rock with his flawless portrayal of tormented political supervisor Dan White, the man responsible for the assassination of Milk. While Ledger’s performance deservingly brought home the gold at the Oscars, Brolin gets my vote for the silver and the only other nominee within a mile of winning.All in all, Milk was a great piece of film-making and a showcase of talented actors in well-casted roles.I encourage everyone to watch Milk, if only to gain some perspective of the impact Harvey Milk had on gay-rights in America.Milk is a film that everyone should see once, but its length and political focus will deter many from repeated viewings.3/5

It’s Like A Jungle Sometimes…

Animated films with celebrity voices are a dime a dozen these days. And while I have no real vendetta against them, they just don’t do that much for me.They’re cute and cuddly and packed with enough adult humour to entertain the parents as well as the children, and while they continue to rake in as much money as they do, I’m sure there’ll be plenty more to come.Madagascar 2 does not stray too far from the original formula, with best friends Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippopotamus and hypochondriac Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) finally leaving Madagascar for their home in New York.In an unexpected twist, the plane crash-lands, leaving the gang stranded in the middle of Africa.Each of them finds their place among their own kind, and amidst the obvious humour surrounding whether zebras are white with black stripes or black with white stripes, the movie attempts to find it’s heart within issues concerning friendship, family, love and the comfort of home (Aww!)Madagascar 2 succeeds as a sequel because of the additional screen time given to previous fan-favourites the penguins, the monkeys and the scene stealing voice of Sasha Boen Carter as lemur King Julien.I know I am not the target demographic for this type of film, which is why I never expect too much from them but this film is surprisingly funny with just the right amount of underlying morals.

Madagascar 2 is a film for the whole family, and for those of us without kids, it’s the perfect movie for those days when you’re too hung-over to think.3/5