Monday, August 22, 2011

The Week In Movies 15/8/11 - 21/8/11

I feel like I've outdone myself this week. A fair few movies seen. Perhaps I should've used the time to write my novel or my script? Oh well. It'll happen when it happens.

The second noir night means we saw Peter Lorre in Fritz Lang's brilliant M, review to be posted Tuesday as always. And my favourite movie of the week was Quiet City, which was reviewed here on Friday in case you missed it.

A bizarre combination of movies you may think but these things are always going to occur when you watch so many films and then pick based on what mood you're in.

Continuing my love affair with Adrienne Shelly I went back to her directorial debut and final film before her murder, Waitress. Strangely after seeing her earlier work I didn't enjoy this one quite so much but for Leah it had the opposite effect and she liked it a lot more, even singing the pie making song performed by Keri Russell in the movie, all day. It's a sweet tale of love and hope and pie with some enjoyable performances from Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion amongst others.

The newest Studio Ghibli animated movie is known either as The Borrower Arrietty or simply Arrietty and was based on the Mary Norton novel The Borrowers. It's another piece of beautiful animation as you would expect from the studio and the story is sweet and faithful despite it's slight update and switch of locales. I highly recommend it as I would any of their movies but for me there will only ever be one adaptation of this novel and that was the BBC TV version starring Ian Holm or Bilbo as he will almost certainly be known as forever. For indepth analysis go see thecynicalgamer at Film Ha Ha for his great review which gave me the push I needed to actually get around to seeing this one.

Another recommendation from Bonjour Tristesse this week, the Rupert Everett starring zombie movie Cemetery Man. With a tagline of "Zombies, Guns and Sex. Oh My!" you'd be a fool to miss this one. It was low budget and strange but very good. At times I had no idea what I was watching, it felt like both an existential dramedy and a surreal zombie flick with moments and connections reminding me of Angel Heart and Shaun of the Dead amongst others. It was based on a novel by the same guy who wrote the Dylan Dog graphic novels which raised my interest and there's some similarities between the main characters and the worlds both stories use but aside from that they are very different beasts indeed. This is not horror and is worth seeing for people interested in strange and little known movies.

I actually went to a cinema twice this week, a rarity indeed. I took myself off to see Senna by myself because I could find nobody even slightly interested in seeing a documentary about a formula 1 driver and loved it so much that I had to write a review straight away.

We got free passes from the very excellent Pigeonhole hipster boutique in Perth to see the Mike Mills movie Beginners. To be disappointed would have required expecting something from the film but when the movie ended the mood in the full auditorium was something approaching apathy, I've been to the cinema when the crowd have been unimpressed and when they've enjoyed themselves but never experienced apathy before. I got the distinct impression that they were happy it had finished but weren't unimpressed by what they had witnessed. I thought it was OK, solid film making with a generic indie hipster girl opposite Ewan McGregor and his once more ridiculous American accent. They were both good and they had good chemistry but I didn't really care because their story was interspersed with the uplifting sad story of his recently out-of-the-closet dad living life to the full before dying of cancer. I could have watched either story on their own and enjoyed them but together they cancel each other out and I ended up not too fussed about either of them.

And then came the evening of watching movies we love, love, love.

Two of my favourite movies of 2009 and two of the most underrated movies of recent years in my opinion. You could class me as a film snob, in fact I regularly use the term in self defence but I have no problem in defending Jennifer's Body. Diablo Cody's follow up to Juno is a pitch perfect teen comedy that plays with the conventions of teen horror movies. Yes it probably helps to get a lot of the references and find them funny and enjoy the emo soundtrack but how can you not love Adam Brody in this movie? He is perfect as the lame indie singer who desperately wants to be like that guy from Maroon 5.

The same goes for Gamer, Gerard Butler is awesome in this movie but that is not reason enough for me to love it (otherwise I'd love Law Abiding Citizen too) Neveldine and Taylor have created some superb near future sci-fi with this film. So rarely does it happen that people can take current technology and societal behaviour and make assumptions about what might come next to create a wonderfully funny and realistic science fiction idea. I loved the concept of Society as the next step for Second Life and Slayers as the next step for all this reality TV we're inundated with. Michael C. Hall owns his role and the musical/dance number comes out of the blue and is brilliant. Great performance from Logan Lerman as well, he was totally wasted in that Percy Jackson movie. How people can't enjoy this movie for the good time it is, is beyond me. I happily place it alongside such classic films of the genre as Running Man and Total Recall.

Last but not least, today is the wonderfully talented young blogger Stevee's 16th birthday, go over to her great blog Cinematic Paradox and wish her a happy birthday. If I had her taste in films when I was 16 and was writing half as well as she does I probably wouldn't be here blogging about film.

A heavy week, please discuss in the blahs, I do love it when you leave me blahs. Any suggestion on what I should watch this week? I have two days off work and I might hide from the rain.


  1. Some good movies in here. I loved Waitress. But, I couldn't focus on Jennifer's Body because I was too distracted by Megan Fox's body. Buh-duh-dun.

  2. Very lol alan - I don't understand the fascination the world has with megan fox. She's just some average looking girl in my mind. Seyfried is much more attractive.

  3. Wow quite the busy week! Very glad you enjoyed Cemetery Man, it's always good to hear when my suggestions pan out. I haven't seen either of your 2009 recommendations, but I've heard a lot of good things about Gamer and just might be convinced to give it a chance now.

  4. BT - you're making me nervous, as long as you don't blame me if you don't enjoy i'll feel better. a man's reputation shouldn't hinge on a Gerard Butler movie! :D i'm quietly hopeful that this week will involve less movies to be honest.

  5. Wow that's a whole lot of movies for one week! I really didn't like Gamer, the action sequence were unspectacular and all the gratuitous over-editing was getting on my nerves. I look forward to seeing Senna and Beginners but only on DVD as I don't feel like making a trip to the indie theater by myself ah

  6. Thanks for wishing me a happy birthday! I quite liked Jennifer's Body too - it was pretty weird, but it was cool.

  7. castor - that's a shame but not terribly so, whilst i am a firm believer in the smaller movies being much better in multiplexes/on big screens than the summer blockbusters i don't think that applies to either of those two movies.

    i know what you mean about the action sequences and the editing in gamer but i just fully bought in to the world they created so it seemed almost essential.

    stevee - you're welcome, i hope you have a great day. i'm glad jennifer's body got some love from somewhere. i think it's problem was the marketing and not knowing who it's target audience was.

  8. Pretty intense week you had matey!! Glad you got such a diverse mix in there!!

    As a reminder it is your week on the World Tour!! :-)

    Hope you ad Leah are well!


  9. scott - it was pretty hectic, i'm not sure where i found the time. i ended up not even watching anything today. i baked/am baking passionfruit and white choc muffins instead.

  10. Do you really want to write a novel or script, or is it just a dream like "Ah, I'd wish I would write a novel someday.."? Cause that's what I think many times, too...

    I had considered watching Beginners, but thanks for warning me... Now I just need to chose between Planet of the Apes and Super-8.

  11. Lime(tte) - if you've seen others reviews you'll probably note that most people have enjoyed Beginners to some extent, but I thank you for your faith in my taste. as for apes vs super8, i've heard nothing but good things about apes and would definitely recommed that if you have to see a hollywood picture.

    i haven't managed to finish any writing project for about 5 years now, endless amounts of frustration, procrastination, fear of failure and distractions BUT i have been working on some ideas for a couple of scripts recently and somebody suggested i might try writing a novella like graham greene did to help get my ideas cemented before adapting it to film format. i lack structure in my life.

  12. I liked Waitress, but I didn't love it. I was a little disappointed based on what I had heard about it beforehand.

    Cemetery Man has to be one of the stranger movies I have seen, and considering how many I've seen that's saying something. Not the least of it is Rupert Everett being about as macho as possible. And no, I don't really understand the whole movie.

    I haven't seen any of the other movies you mentioned. I've had Gamer in my Netflix Instant queue for I don't know how many months.

  13. Chip - cemetery man is worth seeing just for everett playing against type right?

    I don't really understand netflix instant, we don't have netflix here. It means you can choose a movie to stream on demand right? Why the queue?

  14. I actually saw Cemetery Man before I ever knew who Everett was. It's only in hindsight that I remember his character basically beating corpses back into their graves. When I saw him in My Best Friend's Wedding I didn't connect the two. At some point I was probably on his IMDB page and only then noticed he was the one in Cemetery Man.

    If I had to pick one reason for watching the movie it would be for Anna Falchi (before she goes through changes.)

    Yes, Netflix Instant is streaming movies. The queue is a list of movies you can build to watch at a later time. It mirrors the queue you set up to get the DVDs mailed to you as you return the older ones.

  15. With all those movies on your list, I only saw Jennifer's Body. Gamer sounds a thrill, need to check this one out.

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