Friday, January 29, 2010

Adventureland (2009)

Sue: What are you majoring in? Joel: Russian literature and Slavic languages. Sue: Oh wow, that's pretty interesting. What career track is that? Joel: Cabby, hot dog vendor, marijuana delivery guy. The world is my oyster.

It's 1987 and teenagers will inevitably do what they do. Experiment with alcohol, sometimes drugs, party, and chase after the opposite sex. In recent years the teenage flick has got smarter. Superbad is a great example of the sort. For me Adventureland is a throw back to the 80s teenage flick. Mostly apparent in John Hughes films like Sixteen Candles (1984) & The Breakfast Club (1985). The director Greg Mottola of Superbad, wrote this one and he nailed it. The film is sweet, subtle and the characters all have a lot of depth to them.

It was a pleasure watching the story unfold. Sometimes in the teenage flick you get the sense that when there is a dramatic scene to be played out between boy and girl respectively, it is always done in an immature way. Here Mottola gives his characters a much more mature way in resolving drama's, which is smart considering that teenagers are always involved in adult content. It seems much more real. Adventureland is a drama that has some very funny content. In the same vein of those early John Hughes films.

Look for the scene where Em (Kirsten Stewart) and James (Jesse Eisenberg) are driving along, to The Velvet Underground's Pale Blue Eye's. A special understated moment that uses music extremely well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Funny Games (2007)

Anna: Why don't you just kill us?
Peter: (smiling) You shouldn't forget the importance of entertainment.

Michael Haneke 's remake of his own film from 1997 is Funny Games (Austria). A tale of a family who go on holiday to their vacation house upon a lake. Starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth in what is very much a thriller with horrific elements. Naomi Watts had a hand here getting this film up, even helping finance it as Executive Producer.

For the first 21 minutes, I could have sworn this film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock himself. To quote the man himself "There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it" Haneke masters it then gloats a little. It works. I was lucky to have the film on DVD, I had to keep pausing it at intervals as to let my heart restart a little. Yes at times I forgot to breathe.

There is a shot that runs over 5 minutes as you are forced to be disturbed. Get prepared. There are messages sprinkled throughout the film, like when the criminals chat to the audience and ponder what they are seeing, sometimes it seems like an attack on Horror seeking audiences. I loved it. Great film-making is about being original while telling a narrative, a hard task these days, Hanneke achieves this feat.

If this is not great film-making, then I have no idea what is. To me Funny Games is a pure thriller, you jump on board and enjoy the ride.

Funny Games Trailer

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The One-Liner

Currently there is a time-slot uncertainty war between Jay Leno and Conan. It got me to thinking about the late Johnny Carson. You see this all comes about with change. David Letterman seems safe...for now. I'll drop another name, Ed Sullivan. I grew up watching these blokes in Australia, not live, I mean Carson and Sullivan were before my time. I watched them on video's and part of my Martin and Lewis collections.

One-liners, I believe are the root of all comedy. There is a genius behind the one-liner. It's easy enough to state an observation, but to lead an audience to a joke, then swing them another way and still be funny is pure genius. Johnny Carson was King. Up until his death, he still wrote one-liners for David Letterman's stand up at the start of his own show. Having watched a charity benefit he hosted last minute with The Rat Pack this man held his own, while visibly being stunned by the star power he had on display. The one-liner is a throw back to a golden age of comedy. Something we are now missing unfortunately. There may be people out there applying this trade still, but it does not get the recognition it deserves.

I accidentally started a thread of them on facebook with friend Steve Ramsie. Note it get's a bit weird towards the end.

So to pay homage to the one-liner and Johnny Carson.

Dean Today was so hot joke #53
Today was so hot, I saw a tree begging for a do to take a leak on it.

Today was so hot, the pilot light kept blowing itself out.

Today was so hot my air conditioning jumped into my freezer.

Today was so hot that listening to Hanson's Snowed In album actually seemed like a good idea.

Today was so hot, I used my hatching chicks incubator as a cooler

Today was so hot, I didn't need to order a Hot Ball from the Pancake Parlour. I already have two.

Today was so hot, I kept stumbling over my testicles as I walk.

Today was so hot, I actually had to tell Natalie Portman to put on some clothes, put a bag on her head and act ugly.

Today was so hot, my sun tan peeled off and ran away.

Today was so hot, my sunscreen told me 'Uh-uh! I want my own protection, bitch'.

Today was so hot, I used SPF get the fuck out of the sun

Today was so hot, acid seemed to burn less than the sun.

Today was so hot, my liver asked for another beer.

Today was so hot, my body appeared as a mirage.

Today was so hot, Britney Spears actually had a reason to strip off.

Today was so hot, the freezer wanted an ice-bath, but all the ice attempted to sail to their homeland Antartica. Tragically, none of them made it.

Today was so hot, old dirty men in hospitals and nursing homes jumped at the chance to ask for a sponge bath.

Today was so hot, spicy curries were cold in comparison.

Today was so hot, The aliens passing through thought they had stumbled upon hell.

Today was so hot, people thought going to Hell would be a great way to cool off.

Today was so hot, steve and dean started a neverending string of "today was so hot" jokes.

Today was so hot, I'm not really sure when this strand might end.

Today was so hot, that the sun heard Steve's last comment and made it it's creed to wilt all humans. This went on for years. Until humans invented an SPF go fuck yourself sun and eventually the population was restored. The sun, the creator of SPF go fuck yourself and Steve are in talks to produce the film based on real events with the biggest budget ever...apparently the film will open to a " today was so hot....." line

Today wasn't that hot.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moon (2009)

GERTY "I hope life on Earth is everything you remember it to be."

Upon viewing Moon I just could not get Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" out of my mind, the emptiness of the ship, the sound, and the robot operating system voiced by Kevin Spacey (GERTY) indeed reminded me of HAL from 2001. Moon is most definitely inspired by Kubrick's masterpiece but that would be very hard for any filmmaker creating a film about outerspace, as Kubrick set the bar for these films. But with all the similarities expect a very different film.

I felt a little like "oh no! not another man vs. solitude vs. technology film", but the story takes a twist, one you will see coming. It throws up the subject of cloning, and you soon understand that the world the protagonist abodes, is solely to allow the subject unfold without hinderance to the issue. Upon this twist in the film, the story is left to brew and is explored quite ingeniously, which makes you think that the moon is just a metaphor for exploring a clone's mind. This is exactly what science fiction should do, it is not about, explosions, milky ways and aircrafts, it is about connecting with the human emotion and the what if? scenario, that is led by human's ever advancing technologies and the consequences.

Moon is absolutely amazing for such a small budgeted film. The cinematography is lovely and subtle for a space film. The score drives emotion quite powerfully. Lastly Sam Rockwell (Sam Bell) is brilliant playing opposing clones. You get a sense Rockwell had fun playing two characters of quite different qualities.

Moon is truly a moving and thought provoking film.

Moon Trailer

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Two Travel

and opening her heart,
to a new start.
a risk of infection,
a risk of elation.
she's got cute teeth,
turned over a new leaf.
cut me deep,
in they would seep.
all covered in scars,
travelling over to mars.
our bubble is hard,
our only guard.
unfolded handkerchief,
wipes away the grief.
faraway planets,
holes for vents.
making fire,
things are dire.
weeping sends liquid into lap,
thumbs and fingers will sap.
hair tucked behind ear,
only for dear.
auto-pilot off,
stage of the moth.
floating into the sun,
together as we're done.

Ignorance Is Bliss?

I watched something with Chris Rock recently, I think it was a documentary on the history of comedy in the U.S. he said something that has stuck with me, something i have believed in for so long, but he summed it up perfectly.

" Ignorance is bliss. What is the opposite to that? It's hell to notice everything"

Rock was chatting about the entertainer, like himself his comedy comes from observation of humans. I can't help but be drawn to human's. Sometimes I suffer from misanthropy but that is a slight case I quickly get over. I love people, I really do, I love company, maybe it is when I look too much into someone, i get a little depressed. It is like what Chris Rock was trying to say, he deals with it by making fun about it, getting on stage and blurting his guts out about what he hates and his non-understanding of humans.

I'm far from being perfect, I mean, I need to be creative when observing too much!
So IS ignorance bliss?
Ignorance leaves a human without anxieties, with freedom, without knowledge.
I dare you with ignorance, to stare into the sun, tell me what you see, because at the moment your blinded, so you won't feel pain, hurt, loss.