Category Archives: Film

The Social Network. We’re all in one.

Thanks of a very generous twitterer I was given the chance to see The Social Network on Monday night.

Quick Synopsis:

Nerd from Harvard wants to be popular.

Nerd makes popular website.

Nerd gets into trouble.

Nerd makes even more popular website.

Nerd gets into even more trouble.

Nerd makes a billion dollars.

Nerd is popular….but still a Nerd.

The End.

Yes, it’s the story of that little website that rose from obscurity in the mid 2000’s to become the No.2 website in the world (after Google). It has also made Mark Zuckerberg, the founder/creator/nerd the youngest billionaire in the world with a worth of around 6.9 billion dollars. (click here to see what that could buy)

The film is essentially about the court cases surrounding the inital boom of the website, but we are taken back in time to see what occured during the pivotal moments of Zuckerberg’s rapid rise to riches.

You wouldn’t think this would make an especially enthralling film….but that is where you’re wrong. This film is exceptionally made in almost every way. First, you have David Fincher directing it. I’ve loved this guy since Se7en, which was also beautifully shot in almost every way. (also Fight Club, The Game, Panic Room, Zodiac, Benjamin Button and the new Dragon Tattoo US version). He gives this film an almost gritty edge to it. Surprising seeing as though the majority of it is filmed on a campus location (actually at Johns Hopkins Uni, not Harvard).

Secondly, you have Aaron Sorkin writing the screenplay. He wrote the 90’s hit, ‘A Few Good Men’, but is better known for his work on ‘The West Wing’. This would explain the incredible wordy opening sequence (which took 99 takes), in which Zuckerberg and his gf discuss their relationship.

The film itself just works. It’s fast paced, it has excellent performances from Jesse Eisenberg and particularly Justin Timberlake, who should definitely pursue acting a lot more. He plays the inventor of Napster, Sean Parker, and portrays him brilliantly, assuming that the actual person is paranoid, boisterous and charismatic.

When I walked out of the cinema I couldn’t help feeling that this is a movie for our generation. I specifically mean, for Gen X and Y. The Internet generations. We’ve all grown up with the Internet. We use it every single day and many have since the mid 90’s, but it wasn’t until Facebook appeared that we all joined together so whole-heartedly to create an online community that consumed so many.

My first experience of Facebook was early in 2006 when I was living and working in the US. I befriended a girl from Georgetown University who showed me the site. Of course at the time it was restricted to Universities and High Schools. It was until September of that year that anyone could create their profile.

The film goes a long way to show how the ideas for the site originated. Primarily the idea was taken and massaged from other students into what would become the original ‘TheFacebook.com’. The addition of personal information, relationship status and the infamous wall made it similar to MySpace, but it was the clean interface, speed and unique ability for added applications that helped it grow.

Whether you’re Gen X, Y, Baby Boomer or old fart you should enjoy this movie. If you’re like me you’ll also enjoy the awesome soundtrack provided by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame. Does industrial themed music work with this movie? Yes and suprisingly well. It adds that layer of depth to the scenes that Fincher would have loved and makes this more than a movie about a court case or a web site.

Well, stop reading this tripe and go see it already!

(funny)

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We’re Watching The Watchmen..

watchmen-coverDuring my time in the USA in 2006, I was exposed to ‘The Watchmen’. It’s a graphic novel that was written in 1986/87 as a 12 part comic series. It was later combined into a graphic novel and became one of the best known and well written graphic novels of all time.

Why did it take me 20 years to read? I really don’t know, but as soon as I read it and LOVED it, I heard rumblings about a movie that was going to be made. The movie rights were actually bought back in 1986 by 20th Century Fox.

5 years later and nothing concrete could be written or decided on, until the project moved to Warner Bros, and Terry Gilliam chosen to direct it. I think he would have been a good match for this movie, but because Gilliam’s movie’s tend to go over budget (or not be made at all), the studio only gave them $25 Mil and it was decided that the film would not be made. Gilliam pulled out and called the film ‘unfilmable’.

So the movie then moved to Universal Pictures and a new scriptwriter was employed. David Hayter turned in his first draft of the script in 2002. The movie was meant to start filming in 2004. The project again fell apart at both Universal and Revolution Pictures.

In December 2005, Warner Bros were again attached to the project and Zack Snyder was asked to direct after his successful adaption of  ‘300’ for the screen. Alex Tse was asked to write the script and finally the film was a goer.

Apart from some legal wrangling with 20th Century, the project went pretty smoothly and became the movie that was released a few weeks ago.

Firstly, it has to be said that the comic is a very cerebral read. It’s not your standard BANG, KAPOW, FLUMP!! read. It is very complex, with magazine and newspaper articles intermingled with ‘real-life’ extracts of books. There is also a sub-story called ‘Tales of the Black Freighter’. This is being ‘read’ by a character in the comic and progresses through each issue along with the rest of the main story. To say this comic is complex is probably an understatement. Even after 2 reads I have not taken it all in. I will definitely have another crack at it soon though.

watchmenOk, so. The MOVIE!

It came out a few weeks back as I said, but because of holidays, a broken foot and some busy weeks, I haven’t had a chance to see it. Also, it goes for around 160 minutes, so you need a fair whack of time to devote to it!

The first thing I liked about this movie is the casting. You don’t have Jessica Alba’s or Robert Downey Jr’s or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s here. You’ve got relatively unknown actors like Malin Akerman (27 Dresses), Billy Crudup (Almost Famous) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey’s Anatomy). I think it helps, when coverting a well known comic book to the big screen, that you see the character on the screen, and not a ‘Captain Sparrow’, or ‘Lara Croft’. This did, however, mean that one character, Ozymandias, played by Matthew Goode, really didn’t work for me. I thought his acting left a lot to be desired and it distracted me in the scenes that he was in.

However, the real celebration of this movie was the adaption and synchronisation to the book. Some of the scenes came directly from the page and were depicted amazingly. I love the little ‘Easter Eggs’ that were retained in the movie. The attention to detail was excellent. Apparently Zack Snyder carried the book around with him and used it as a story board for the movie. And why wouldn’t you?

This is a violent movie. The violence is meant to be an example of the violent and turbulent society that we live in, but you could say that some of the fighting scenes in this movie are a bit gratuitous. It does have some nice use of ‘wires’ when the characters get smacked around though. Never knew you could punch hard enough to make someone fly 10 feet away!

Translating a 12 part comic book into a movie was going to be hard because there is SO much to include, and obviously you can’t remake every single frame. The original cut of the movie was over 3 hours long and although Snyder chopped 20 or more minutes out, he has revealed that a Director’s cut will be released in July. This will probably help the box office figures which have apparently been ok for March, but haven’t yet cracked the $100 Million mark in the US. (98 Million as at 22 March)

So, why should you see this movie? The storyline. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before in a comic book adaption.

Think of the world in the mid 80’s. You’ve got ’99 Luftballoons’ banging out of the stereo and the hairstyles, the clothes and the attitudes of the people are wild. We’re in an alternate reality. Nixon has been elected for an (impossible) 3rd term, Russia is about to attack the Afghan border and has 50 odd nuclear missiles pointed at the east coast of America. The threat of Nuclear War is on the tip of everyone’s tongues and Fear is the government’s weapon of choice. (sound familiar?)

A small group of ‘superheroes’  stay in touch after legislation was brought down to prevent them from their vigilante hobbies. They are now just everyday people, but apparently you can’t give up the superhero game just like that. This is especially the case for Dr. Manhattan. A walking, talking man of blue matter and energy that has ”rebuilt’ himself after disintegrating in an atomic ‘test chamber’ accidentally.  (looks amazing) However, he doesn’t see himself so much as a superhero, but as a man that can help develop an infinite energy source.

See? It’s technical. There’s a few sub-plots within all this. Relationships are strained. People die, and there’s a detective theme throughout based of the diary of Rorschach. Now this character was my favourite in the movie. Excellently portrayed by Jackie Earle Haley, and his mask, with ever changing Rorschach ink-blots, are CGI effects at their best.

I can’t gush enough about this movie. Even the ‘alternate ending’ chosen by Snyder doesn’t spoil the effect that this movie had on me. Even LaLa, who has probably not read a comic book since Asterix The Gaul, enjoyed it, and that’s saying something!

5 out of 5 from me!

Watchmen

watchmen-jeh09-3-2

watchmen_comedian

watchmen_pic-2


Se7en Things

Just for the hell of it:

Seven Things You Will Find In Your Room

Clothes (on the floor)
Shoes (under the bed)
An array of Graphic Novels and books on my side table
A fan, that hasn’t been turned on for a few weeks
Toe Clippers
A 34cm TV that isn’t even plugged in
LaLa

Seven Relationship Questions
  1. Do you like anyone? Um. Yes.
  2. Does someone like you? Um. I think so 🙂
  3. Last kiss? Earlier today?
  4. Been led on? Oh yeah. Damn Teases.
  5. Been cheated on? Ummm. I don’t think so? (do guys always say that?)
  6. Want a relationship? In one thanks!
  7. Wanna get married? Again? Yeah…one day.
Seven Things You Can’t Live Without

LaLa
Kids
Music/iPod
Laptop
Triple J
My Bass Guitar
My sisters

Seven Things On Your Mind

What to wear when I see Lily?
I really need to send back that broken PVR
…and that stupid aerial that doesn’t work properly
Will the band have rehearsed enough before the wedding?
Holidays. Soon. Phew…
Footy Season soon. Yes!
Bed.

Seven Other Things: Do You…
  1. Believe in God? Nope, unless he’s Michael Slater.
  2. Had a dream come true? Yup!
  3. Read the newspaper? Yeah, mostly for the sport.
  4. Apparently there’s a question missing here. Sweet!
  5. Have a best friend? Several.
  6. Hold grudges? Not really.
  7. Wish on stars? Yeah. Does that make me ghey?
Seven Have-You-Ever
  1. Fallen in love? Of course!
  2. Kissed someone of the same sex? Um…yes.
  3. Hooked up with someone who had a gf/bf? Nope.
  4. Been to a bonfire? Yeah! Loved them when I was a kid
  5. Ran away from home? Nah. We lived too far from anything when I was a kid.
  6. Played strip poker? Yeah.  With 4 guys. Fun.
  7. Pulled an all nighter? Many times. But never for study.
Seven Thing In the Last 24 Hours Have You?
  1. Cried? Nope.
  2. Had fun? Yeah.
  3. Been hugged? Yes!
  4. Felt stupid? No.
  5. Talked to an ex? Yes.
  6. Missed someone? Yup. Get home from the gym LaLa!
  7. Listened to music? Yes!
Seven Artists/Bands You Really Like at the Moment

Lily Allen
Still Flyin’
Empire of the Sun
Little Birdy
Bon Iver
Glasvegas
The Whitest Boy Alive

Seven Songs Right Now

Still Flyin’Good Thing It’s A Ghost Town Around Here
Little BirdyBrother
GlasvegasGeraldine
The Whitest Boy Alive1517
Josh PykeThe Summer
The GratesMilk Eyes
LadyhawkeMy Delirium

Seven Movies You Love

Zack & Miri Make a Porno – Go see it. Kevin Smith is back. This is funny and well written and just cool.
Slumdog Millionaire – You’ve heard all the raving. It’s worth it. Go see it!
Sin City – I’ve got the collectors edition with the graphic novel. Lurve it!
The Breakfast Club – Same thing! New collectors edition to watch. Woot!
Pulp Fiction – Quite simply, my favourite movie of all time.
The Dark Knight – If you haven’t seen it yet? Now’s the time.  Best Comic Book ever… (until The Watchmen?)
Se7en – Not just because it fits in with this meme. It’s a tops movie. David Fincher at his best (will he ever get that good again?)


I Want to Believe..

The new X-Files is what you expect, but not.

Remember the good old days of early X-Files episodes which weren’t obsessed with the whole alien conspiracy theories, smoking men and Mulder’s daughter?

The movie is like that and it works. Scully smokes up the screen, and together with Mulder they just make you wish you were an ex-FBI agent with time to kill.

I really enjoyed it and although I may have been expecting a little more it was worth the whole $10 I spent on it (love those Hoyts Bluetooth prices!).

So, we’ve landed on Mars and are making little footprints with Phoenix craft. They’ve found evidence that water was there as well, and are now looking for the proof of life.

It’s pretty awesome if they find something. What do we call animals/organisms that exist on a planet other than ours? It’s like a whole blank canvas and a spanking new planet we can destroy.

Oh, and then some weird looking creature ‘washed up’ on the beach in New York

Looks convincing hey?

It’s most likely some viral marketing for a new Cartoon Network show called Cryptids, but damn, I wish it was real. Those little horns are cool, and is it just me or does it look like he is giving us the finger?


Film Review: The Dark Knight

I will not spoil anything in this review, but to be honest, it’s quite hard to spoil it anyway. Nothing I could say would ruin this film.

But I digress.

Batman Begins was the start of a new era for Batman. He has been through many incarnations, from his original comic strip, the the old TV show, to the Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney years to now. And finally they have got it right.

Batman Begins represented the real and true Batman that Bob Kane always intended. It concentrated around the man that is Batman, Bruce Wayne, and around the reasons why he became the vigilante.

The Dark Knight is the movie that Christopher Nolan was meant to make. Batman Begins was just the beginning.

He has assembled a cast that brings Gotham and it’s dirty underworld to life. Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhardt, Michael Caine and Maggie Gyllenhaal. It’s a perfect cast, because they got rid of Katie Holmes, who basically ruined her role in the first movie.

All the talk has been around Heath’s performance, and I cannot take anything away from the accolades he has received. The maniacal Joker is brought to life like never seen before. Where Jack Nicholson brought the class and the wit of the Joker, Heath brings the seediness and the psychotic. It’s a scary performance in that you don’t even see Heath. We don’t see the man that brought us a gay cowboy, a larrikin school kid or a young modern knight. He consumes the role and scares the crap out of you by how well he does it.

But you can’t let Heath’s performance overshadow the other points of this movie. Christian Bale IS Batman. He works as the Dark Knight is better than as Bruce Wayne admittedly, but ironically Bruce Wayne has always been better as the vigilante than as himself. It’s who he is, and always will be.

Aaron Eckhardt, the man you will likely know as the Tobacco company spokesman from Thank You For Smoking, expertly plays Harvey Dent, the fresh faced newly appointed District Attorney for Gotham City. He is seen as the ‘White Knight’ that is going to save the city.

So what then, is The Batman?

Hence, the title and the moniker that he has assumed over the years. The Dark Knight.

This film was always going to get a 5 star rating from me. I knew it would before I saw it, but I was worried about building my hopes up too much. You never want to presume a movie is going to blow you away. Inevitably you will be disappointed.

I was not disappointed.

I can’t rave about it enough. The action, the acting, the directing, the sets, the music, the cinematography, the writing. Everything. It’s the Batman movie I have been waiting 20 years for. That is when I started to read the comic books.

Batman is the people’s hero, and the underlying theme in this movie is just that. He is the hero that the people need. In whatever form that takes.

This is why Batman is easily the best superhero ever created.

Oh yeah, and check out the bike. It’s freaking awesome.

And this shot of the Joker is just perfect. Exactly how I have always wanted to see him.

This is how he looks in comic form. This is the famous strip from ‘A Death in the Family‘. Note the use of the crowbar.

or The Joker from ‘The Killing Joke’

But when it comes down to it. Batman is the hero.

Norm Breyfogle is my favourite Batman artist. Here’s an example of why.


Winter Movie Wrap

Wanna see a movie?

I do.

Hancock – A drunk superhero (Will Smith) turns good and saves the world whilst being funny.

Kung Fu Panda – A fat panda (Jack Black) saves the world with his menagerie of animal friends, whilst being funny and animated.

The Dark Knight – A (dead) crazy psychopath that thinks he’s funny is taken down by a Bat that often saves the world.

Speed Racer – The team that saved the world in their last movie (The Matrix Wachoski Brothers) make a bright colourful speedy CGI movie based on a kids cartoon. Not funny.

Get Smart – Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) teams up with a chick way too young for him to save the world AND be funny. Stars ‘The Rock’ (Dwayne Johnson). Hell Yeah!

The X Files – I Want to Believe – An old show (Can you believe it’s been 6 years?) is revived in order to revive Mulder and Scully’s acting careers. They will most likely save the world from Aliens or the government.

The Love Guru – Mike Myers solves the love troubles of ‘westerners’. Stars Ben Kingsley as a guru. Enough said 🙂

Hellboy II – The Golden Army – A freaky looking horned beast saves the world from a mythical army. Stars Seth McFarlane (voice and creator of Family Guy) as the voice of something. Score!

So. What to see?

Well, obviously The Dark Knight is at the top of the list. Next Wednesday people!!

X-Files, Hancock, Love Guru and Get Smart all look pretty good.

I really liked the first Hellboy and can’t see why Number 2 wouldn’t be any worse (hahaha)

Actually, it’s a bloody good winter line-up of movies.

Any more to add to the list? (Sex and the City, Narnia, Iron Man and Indy 4 are all long gone.)


Film Review : Indiana Jones 4 – Crystal Skulls and Greying Hairs

**—-NOT REALLY ANY SPOILERS—-**

This movie snuck up on me. I remember hearing they were making a new Indiana Jones movie, but wasn’t that like 5 years ago?

But, it arrived and I went and checked it out on in Cinema 5 at Hoyts on Tight-Arse Tuesday.

The iconic theme music of this franchise is up there with Star Wars and Superman for me, and the memory of watching Raiders of the Lost Ark on a 32cm Rank Arena TV with NO remote is still vivid in my mind.

Harrison Ford is 66 in a month or so, and this would be past the use-by date of most action heroes, but he pulls this movie off with aplomb. He can throw a punch, he can leap up boxes, he can swing on whips. (well, his stunt person can at least), but the action is seamless and it makes you believe that Indy is the same Indy you saw 20 years ago.

I love the playfulness of this movie. George Lucas has shown throughout his career that he doesn’t have to take everything seriously, and specifically with the Indy movies he knows how to throw in a wise-crack or 2.

Ignore the plot holes. Ignore the unbelievability. Ignore the CGI. This is fun, action, adventure with a kick-arse cast.

Yes. Harrison Ford doesn’t do many movies any more (this is just his 5th movie this decade) so it makes you appreciate seeing him on the big screen again especially as the greatest big screen hero we’ve ever seen.

Then you throw in Cate Blanchett as the baddy, and she makes one hell of a good baddy. The Russian accent was a bit flakey (I could pick the Aussie!), but she made the character her own and you could tell she had fun playing it.

Shia LaBeouf is the Indy in waiting, just like River Phoenix was back in the ‘Young Indiana Jones’ TV Show. I still find it hard to get past seeing him as the gawky kid in Even Stevens, but since Transformers and this has put him on the Hollywood blockbuster map, his future is set, wouldn’t you say? He plays it well though and pulled off the ‘James Dean’ lookalike pretty well.

Karen Allen returns for this movie as Marion Ravenwood after disappearing since the 1st Indy installment. She was easily the best love interest that Indy had in the first 3 movies, so it was nice to see her get another go.

As in any Indy movie, there’s the obligatory gross out scene, the bug scene, the snake scene, the baddies getting wiped out scene, the honourable ‘right-thing’ scene, the happy scene, the double-cross, the ‘funny because it’s true’ scene. It’s what you expect, but you would expect nothing less. That’s why this is a franchise movie.

Just like you see the same jokes over and over again in a season of ‘Kath and Kim’, you will see the same things over again in a movie franchise. Because it WORKS.

As you can see in the Cate Blanchett scene below, there is almost a comic-like cinematography employed in some parts of the movie. I love the clean colours, and the smooth edges.

I can’t wait to show my kids the Indy movies, but will wait till they are a little older. It’s the sense of fun and adventure that seems timeless that will make these movies, even ones made in 2008, classics for a long bloody time. (I’ve still got to show off the whole original Star Wars trilogy too!)

Have fun and go see it on the big screen!!

4 1/2 Indy Fedoras –