Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Week In Movies 5/9/11 - 11/9/11

I'm late! By a few days too. First off I'll apologise. Sorry. Second I'll explain the situation. I'm very busy. Work is tough and long right now. I'm sitting here 14 hours after I left my house this morning. For the fifth day in a row. It's not even a film job, for which I might expect to be working those kinds of hours. Our bookshops are under staffed, coupled with a recent pseudo promotion this means lots of responsibility for me and a huge (partially self imposed) pressure to improve, fix, tinker and generally leave my own mark on the place. I shall add to that the fact that I found myself visiting over 50 blogs daily through sheer enthusiasm for reading everyone's great reviews and articles on a subject which I have such a huge passion for, which left my real life empty, devoid of any trace of me, just the detritus (and Leah) awaiting my return from self imposed exile.

I'm a pretty competitive guy, whatever I do I want to do it well, I want to do it very well, to the very best of my abilities in fact and this blog was/is no exception. I started taking it very seriously; planning weeks in advance, counting traffic, plotting advertising and marketing strategies with the vague idea that if I was going to be writing then I wanted to be huge. I wanted the entire world to be hitting my page twice daily with so much traffic that I could crash Google. It's not possible is it? Google is pretty powerful right? And anyway all of that is taking away from the fact that I quite like my real life, I really only got writing this thing to break my writers block and it's possible that I don't care enough to be constantly creating new (recycled) content for you all. I'm not going to be the greatest film blogger who ever lived so I'm going back to having some fun. It's ideally a change of mind frame for myself that shouldn't see too many changes in what I post. I've accepted one offer to write elsewhere online, which is a lovely bonus that was not something I ever thought about doing before and I'm looking at some other options with regards to writing occasional pieces online and IN PRINT! To quote a friend of mine, "I'm kind of a big deal around these parts don't you know?!" but only in my mind.

Now on to last weeks viewing history.

Attack The Block is superb, so very funny, much fun, very clever and is totally worth watching at least twice. Not for any particular twist of subtleties missed first time around but simply because it is pure enjoyment on a stick. Granted I am English and familiar with the slang that is quite prevalent throughout but I don't think it's essential to understand the actual words as the meaning is quite clear. I've heard stories of Americans having to subtitle English movies before now due to accents and dialects and slang, can anyone confirm or deny reports that this has happened with Attack The Block? I haven't read the post yet but Scotty L from The FRC has apparently just written a mumble about this slang, if you haven't read it yet my reader tells me it is kept here.

The noir-a-thon was a total letdown this week. Having seen The Glass Key this week we were reminded of our previous experience of it; we didn't actually like it too much. This was a year in the planning and purchasing of DVD's so clearly it had slipped our mind during that period. We left it off the list originally but it was added during the purchase stage of the planning as it was thrown in to a large selection of early noirs purchased in one batch on eBay for an extra $1. It's hard to pass up a bargain like that but I sort of wish I had now. As part of this weeks general abandonment of my online presence we have skipped a week in our noir-a-thon which has happily coincided with a movie that we didn't like. It's not getting a review, it's getting removed from the list. Next week This Gun For Hire and maybe Double Indemnity.

I had this overwhelming urge to watch Everything Must Go again during the week. I don't know what it was but it left me with a strange feeling that I get with these smaller movies that aren't amazing but I can't help but champion. Off the top of my head I'll add Roger Dodger and Tadpole to that list. I enjoyed it again, if you missed the review and want to know what the fuss is about please go here.

I was lucky enough to see Kevin Smith's newest film Red State last week and it got me very excited. I admit to being sceptical of him as a legitimate film maker recently after hearing anecdotes about being too fat for plane seats, being too stoned to direct actors and not working with The Weinstein Company anymore plus I don't really enjoy horror movies so my expectations were low. So low that I was ready to end my viewing after 15 minutes of quite awful chatter from three teenage boys trying to get laid. If that had been the whole movie I would have been appalled. However what actually occurs during the next 80 minutes or so was a pretty powerful piece of cinema that questions the nature of humanity. I'm not going to go in to detail as I may just write a full review now or after the advanced cinema preview next month that I've been invited to here in Perth. There are some strong performances from a great ensemble cast but I dare you not to be blown away by Michael Parks.

Now for the blahblahblahgay turnoffs in a busy week of non-viewing; Leah finally finished reading the excellent Patricia Highsmith novel The Talented Mr Ripley so we could watch the Matt Damon starring adaptation of it. To say we were horrified by the movie would be an understatement, too many changes to the story and most importantly the excellent character of Tom Ripley combined with weak direction to say the least. Do not bother with this one. Serious Moonlight was the last script to be written by our latest fascination, Adrienne Shelley, before her murder. Directed by Cheryl Hines (a mediocre debut that should remain her only directorial effort) and starring the once beautiful now horribly disfigured Meg Ryan in a role clearly made for Shelley (nobody can play these roles better than her) opposite Timothy Hutton (a poor poor poor substitute for Martin Donovan.) I wish it were better, Shelley deserved more. Bridesmaids could be a controversial choice for a turnoff award but I got to 40 or 50 minutes of this 2 hour long 'comedy' and laughed once yet groaned many many times. That's just bad stats for a supposed laugh out loud comedy. Something I don;t understand is the cliche of the two friends from different social groups competing with each other for their mutual friends affection. The speeches I could see coming from a mile away but the tennis montage was one of the most painfully obvious attempts at physical situational comedy I've ever witnessed in something that had previously been labelled 'clever' or 'intelligent' by reviewers. I say poo to you.

Be well readers, thanks for your patience over my absence. Anyone miss me? You know where the blahs are.


  1. @ Bridesmaids: Thankyou thankyou thankyou. I thought I was the only one. I hated that terrible film. Agonising on numerous occasions (those speeches, the whole plane debacle). BUT, you have already seen Attack the Block, Everything Must Go and Red State. Damn you! Sorry, it's before 8pm and I just got up...and have a long day ahead, so I'm speeding out a post and some commenting! Sounds like a busy week, dude.

  2. Nice to have you back, mate. So you saw ATTACK THE BLOCK too? Damn, it looks as if everyone's seen it but me. As soon as it hits cinemas here, I am all over it though.

  3. Hi Toby, I just saw Everything Must Go recently. I like it but I feel like the ending was kinda unnecessary, I mean it felt natural until that part at the detective's office, I dunno it felt put on just to be sensational. But that's what I think anyway. Ferrell was good, as was Rebecca Hall. I appreciate Ferrell in this more serious tone than his usual slapstick comedies.

    As for Bridesmaid, I never have much interest in seeing that one. I probably won't laugh either.

  4. Everything Must Go is one of those pleasant indie I wouldn't mind seeing again. I totally can see why you would want to rewatch it. I did like Bridesmaid though but to each his own :)

  5. 'If you type Google, into Google...'

    Another on the list of small movies that aren't excellent: Weather Girl. You liked that one a lot too.

    Also, omg Attack the Block poster is amazing!

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  7. Why can't I edit my comments? Curse you Blogger!!

    Welcome back matey!! You have been missed and also thanks for the LINKAGE!!

  8. I had pretty much written off Kevin Smith, but I might have to watch Red State now.

  9. @ANDY B - i knew i couldn;t have been the only one who felt that way about bridesmaids. i have been informed that ATTACK THE BLOCK won't get an Australian cinematic release due to it's content.

    @TYLER - as the above comment to Andy, i would assume it won't get an NZ cinema release either.

    @RUTH - i can't say for certain but that ending was in the short story i think. its some kind of allegorical storytelling. you must let go of everything before you can be comfortable being yourself or some such new-age theory.

    @CASTOR - i may not watch it a third time however.

    @LEAH - you're right, WEATHER GIRL wasn't amazing but i found it charming all the same. that poster for ATTACK THE BLOCK isn't an official one i don't think.

    @SL - you're welcome, it was an enjoyable post in the end so worthy of a link!

    @BT - it's not exactly subtle. it's quite violent and bloody and as you are sure to know Smith isn't the most imaginitve of directors when it comes to his camera but i think for me at least on first screening it worked. We shall see how I go with the preview in the cinema. hopefully i don't change my opinion too much.

  10. Attack The Block is on my radar for this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing it. And I must check out Red State and Everything Must Go too. Red State definitely looks interesting given it seems to be based on the religious fanatics Kevin Smith had to put up with during the release of Dogma.

  11. Yep, Attack the Block was a lot of fun!

  12. Loved "Everything Must Go" ... had problems with "Red State" and "Attack the Block" appears it won't be coming to my area.

    Good to have you back.

  13. It legitimately pains me to see that you didn't like THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY. It's one of my favourite films, and I think the entire cast is just flawless (and probably my favourite Jude Law performance.).

  14. @DAN - I'm not sure RED STATE is based on those same people, more religious fanaticism in general. They definitely reminded me of The Westboro Family but so much more crazy and amazingly enough more believable.

    @VIK V. - I've been meaning to check out your review actually.

    @DUKE - It's sad that ATTACK THE BLOCK isn't making it more mainstream but I can understand the lack of appeal to smaller markets in USA, it really is a British film filled with colloquialisms

    @ANDREW - I'm sorry to have upset you, are you a fan of the novel? I had too many problems with the unfaithful adaptation to enjoy the film on it's own merits I'm afraid.

  15. I saw the film before I read it, so the issues didn't really bother and I am an over earnest fan of Anthony Minghella.

  16. @ANDREW - at the risk of alienating you further i don't think i can claim to have liked any film by MINGHELLA as far as i know.

  17. I completely agree on Bridesmaids. I laughed once and smiled a few other times and that was it. I fastforwarded through the extended vomiting/diarhea scene. That's not something I need or want to see.

    Part of the problem was wrong expectations. This was supposed to be a "female Hangover" that was hilarious. It is in no way, shape, or form another version of The Hangover. It's about all the crappy things women do to each other to try to cut the other down, as well as the things they do to ruin their own lives. Unless that's something you like watching, I don't recommend this movie.

  18. CHIP - I can't remember if you mentioned that scene somewhere else or other peope have had a probem with it but I didn't even get that far.

    I tell you, if the blurb or any of the reviews I'd seen had said "It's about all the crappy things women do to each other to try to cut the other down, as well as the things they do to ruin their own lives." as you just did i probably would have had almost zero interest in seeing it. although i have a thing for WIIG so may have given it a chance with the expectation of hating it.