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Archive for the ‘films’ Category

Huge Ackman … amirite?

In films on December 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm

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It’s not often that the male form catches my attention. It’s that whole lesbian thing. But, I tell you what, Hugh Jackman in Wolverine mode does, indeed, catch my eye. Huge Ackman, amirite??

Wow. I have no idea if his form was enhanced via makeup and/or computer tweaking, but somehow i doubt it. Veins popping, ab-flexing, oblique-tensioning sensational.

Lovely stuff.

It has to be said Ackman’s hugeness is about the only thing worth watching in Wolverine. It’s all a bit tedious in a blockbustery, actiony kind of way. Lots of fights and Vipers and Japanese samurai swordy-type stuff going on, but there is nothing to really distinguish it from any other surly superhero lone wolf flick going around.

And yet … Hugh. Lovely.

Life Through a Lens … Leibovitz exposed

In books, films, great photos on December 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm

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Annie Leibovitz’s photos stand out like nobody else’s. My favourites are her Susan Sarandon portrait, the iconic John Lennon wrapped around Yoko Ono shot taken a few hours before he was murdered, and pretty much anything from her Rolling Stone period.

This documentary should really be watched in conjunction with the accompanying book, which is quite possibly the most beautiful thing i own. Both show three streams of Leibovitz’s photography — her magazine work, her family photos and a poignant set of pictures of her lover Susan Sontag’s last months and death.

Beautiful, sad, beautiful, sad, beautiful.

World War Z … who knew?

In films on December 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm

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I am not, generally, a fan of the zombie genre. I can suspend my disbelief with the best of them, but for some reason the whole zombie conversation strikes me as silly and boring.

But, maybe it’s because i’m spending way too much of my time reading research papers on superbugs and antibiotic resistance and pandemics et al, because when zombies are presented to me as the result of Mother Nature wreaking a bit of havoc on stupid humans, then that i can go with. I liked I Am Legend for the same reasons.

Plus, Brad Pitt. The man’s got credibility and that pulls me in from the get-go. Yes, i heard the stories about the troubled production and unfinished script but if all troubled productions come up with movies as good as this one then i say go be troubled.

I’m not saying zombies are a scientific possibility, but i found that concept plausible enough to not be bored or doubled over laughing. In fact, the least plausible plot point was Pitt managing to crash a 747 within walking — or limping — distance of a WHO research laboratory. As you do.

WWZ is bottom line well done. And Pitt does tender-hearted, protective family slash action man to a T. Hardly acting at all really.

Good flick. Popcorn worthy. Watch it again worthy.

Parkland is a cracking film

In films, history on November 30, 2013 at 3:08 pm

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Lots of big names, none of them taking the film over … Paul Giamatti, Zac Effron, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden, our own Jacki Weaver, and a pack of fairly nameless others who do equally terrific jobs.

It’s been a long few weeks for Kennedy-philes such as myself. And I was just about ready to stop watching the same old facts interspersed with the same old conspiracy theories. But Parkland is neither a documentary, nor an apologist for any one theory.

It’s a chronology of sorts, from the moment of the assassination until November 25 when JFK, and Lee Harvey Oswald, were buried.

The first part is a gruesome and fairly harrowing affair, set as it is in the emergency room at Parkland Hospital as people try to, if not save JFK (he was pretty much dead the moment that bullet exploded his head) then do everything in their power to bring him back. Marcia Gay Harden and Zac Effron excel here.

Oswald’s capture, getting JFK’s body to Airforce One, getting the coffin on the plane, the FBI teams, the Secret Service team trying to get Zapruder’s film developed, Oswald’s mother (Weaver) and brother Robert, Jackie Kennedy, Oswald’s murder …

All is focused on the emotional reactions, the shock, grief, anger and guilt. There is no politics, no sleight of hand, no conspiracy. Just guts and great acting.

Tom Hanks and Bill Paxton were co-producers, no it’s no surprise there’s quality at every level.

Cracking film.

Judy Garland would have been 91

In films, great photos, theatre on June 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

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Sigh. Sublime. I wish I had been around to see her perform live. A whole step up from seeing Julie Andrews last week.

And that’s saying something.

Four movies

In films on May 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 5.45.48 PMI admit it, I have watched just about every documentary out there on 9/11. I’m a 9/11 freak.

That’s not to say I believe the conspiracy theories — not at all. I’m just fascinated by how the theories come about and how people justify them.

As conspiracy theories go, this one — that the three WTC buildings were brought down by carefully controlled demolition techniques — is not a new one, but it is one of the more spectacular.

The unnerving thing is that this particular version of it is espoused by a seemingly pretty credible group of people — architects, engineers, demolition experts and scientists who are all willing to go on the record.

They don’t say the US government brought the buildings down. But they certainly imply that the US government covered up the evidence, for whatever reason.

I would be completely unsurprised if WTC7 was brought down by demolition — it was a hazard after all, and supposedly damaged beyond repair, so yeah, pull the thing down safely. I have a much much harder time believing WTC 1 and 2 were brought down that way.

And yet, it’s a tad unnerving.

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 5.54.49 PMFor My Wife is a nice doco about recent changes in same-sex rights legislation in Washington state in the US. Charlene Strong’s wife Kate, drowned in a bad rainstorm in Seattle and Charlene was denied access to her partner at the hospital and later was discriminated against by the funeral home. She went on to become an activist in the fight that saw Washington introduce equal rights for same-sex partners.

It’s a fairly short dock, but well worth the effort. An important story, well told.

carol_channing_larger_than_lifeHere’s a confession: I was put in mind of Carol Channing while watching the Governor-General’s ANZAC Day speech.

Sorry Quentin.

Channing’s a legend. No surprises with her. What you see is what you get, every single time. She’s still going strong in her 90s, still playing dumb while being exceptionally EXCEPTIONALLY smart.

This is a good doco. A good mix of past and present, as well as fans, fellow performers, dancers and dingbats having their say.

pitch_perfectHilarious. H. I. L. A. R. I. O. U. S.

I loved Bridesmaids, I loved Glee before it became ridiculous, and this movie is a perfect mix of the two. Smart women humour, writing and acting, mixed with a capella singing. Can’t do better than that.

Rebel Wilson is brilliant. But there isn’t a character in this that doesn’t rock it one way or another. Someone makes a vomit angel funny, for crying out loud.

Ace.

ABC saves the day … The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

In films on November 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

And along came a hero to save the day, and that hero’s name was the ABC.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Brilliant. Ahhhh this takes me back to my film studies days. Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin. Made in 1962 in black and white.

Supposed to be big artistic reasons for that but the most sensible theory is that both Stewart and Wayne were in their 50s, trying to play young men and they would never have gotten away with it in Technicolor.

“Out here a man settles his own problems, pilgrim.’

‘You know, you look mighty pretty when you get mad.’

A cigar or cigarette in every male mouth and a bonnet on every female head. ‘Cept for the Mexican prostitutes o’course.

Dang.

Grey old day

In fail, films, media, sport, television, weather on November 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I know just how you feel P-Siddy

Why do we try and play Test cricket in Brisbane in November and December?

I’d be pretty shat off if I could only get to the Gabba today and I’d shelled out a small mortgage for tickets only for it to rain. Quelle surprise!

I’m already pretty shat off and I’m sitting on the couch at home, watching a bloody awful Gary Cooper movie (Springfield Rifle, 1952 — Major Lex Kearny becomes the North’s first counterespionage agent as he tries to discover who’s behind the theft of Union cavalry horses in Colorado during the Civil War) that Nine has plonked on while the rain comes down in Brisbane.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that Nine, with all its experience broadcasting cricket over the decades, would have thought to themselves: ‘Hmmm, November in Brisbane — we’d better have a decent Plan B for the three days of the Test it’s going to rain’.

Maybe they did and Springfield Rifle was the Plan B they came up with. Scary.

Meanwhile, I have a chest infection. It’s miserable. I am miserable. But tomorrow it will be a little better, and a little bit better again on Monday.

And who knows? By Tuesday we may even get some cricket.

Shame is one sad film

In films on August 9, 2012 at 10:43 am

Wow. Michael Fassbender is a stunningly good actor.

The hype about Shame on release (back in February here in Australia) was what you’d expect — full frontal nudity, particularly Fassbender’s, graphic sex scenes, no holds barred — but somehow I missed the part where Fassbinder just rips out your heart while he’s repulsing you.

Playing a sex addict in a Steve McQueen (Hunger) film must have been a slightly unnerving prospect. Fassbender manages to take any lingering nudge-nudge-wink-wink hilarity and disperse it inside about five seconds. After all, does this look like the face of a man enjoying his life:

I think not.

The soundtrack of this film is brilliant. For a start Carey Mulligan’s minor-key, haunting version of New York, New York is just beautiful. Also, large parts of the action (for want of a better word) are devoid of any sound except the overlaid music and the effect is to focus the audience on the disconnect between what Fassbender’s character is doing and what he’s feeling.

Does the film answer any big questions? No. But it tells a sad, worthwhile story and tells it very well.

Rent, buy, or skip? Rent, definitely.

Hathaway v Pfeiffer … no contest

In films, great photos on August 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm

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