Tag Archives: Film Review

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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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 –


Film Review: Into the Wild

What is happiness?

..

..

I’ve just watched Into the Wild.

(possible spoilers)

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..

It’s a movie about a 23 year old guy, who just graduated from University with almost straight A’s and has $24,000 of college fund to put towards going to Harvard Law School.

He decides to leave it all, destroying his ID, giving the money to charity and hitting the road. He heads north to Alaska in the pursuit of freedom, a break from society and a new outlook on life.

What he finds is friendship, people, relationships and happiness, but also crushing loneliness, moral uneasiness and hunger.

This is apparently based on a true story and a book about the ‘real’ Christopher that up and left society to find a place which isn’t ruled by money, power and greed.

Ultimately he seeks truth and to escape the lies that his parents had told him as a child.

Look, I’m a big softy at heart. I have been known to sob at the end of Donnie Darko, and have been moved to tears by music. I don’t deny this and am not embarrassed by it. I found myself with tears rolling down my face as I watched this movie. Not only from the experiences that Chris has, but also from the amazing voice and music of Eddie Vedder who provides a lot of the soundtrack to the movie.

Couple that with the sensational scenery and cinematography and it resulted in a movie that moved me and made me think.

And that’s what I love about a good movie. It makes you think. It helps you to see things from another perspective and to ‘live’ another persons life for that 2 hours or so you are watching them

Like a good book, you immerse yourself in the characters. You see what they see and feel what they feel.

Emile Hersch does an outstanding job as Christopher. He brings a realness to the character that makes you want what he wants, but also want a lot more that he can’t. Cameo’s from Vince Vaughn, Jena Malone (who I have a huge crush on) and Catherine Keener are all great.

Sean Penn wrote and directed this movie, based on the book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. He really brought it to life and it shows what a great talent Sean is in both acting and directing.

Christopher is a very literary character. He has read a lot of books, quotes from them on different occasions and takes what is written to heart. I watched his character and wished that I had read as much as he had, and that I was able to quote even one line from a book, let alone pick them out randomly. There are so so many books out there, just waiting to be read, but when I go to do it, I just can’t seem to give them the time they deserve.

Maybe one day, when I’m old and wiser, I will take the time to read, absorb and learn from the classics.

I guess that’s one positive thing. They are never going away, and will wait for the day that I am ready to read them.

Christopher is seeking happiness. Along the way he ignores the opportunity to achieve possible happiness because he is focused on finding the happiness that he believes in. He doesn’t stop and realise that happiness has always been around him, and his selfishness towards his own family that truly loves him is profound and sad at the same time.

When he thinks he has finally found happiness, but instead encounters loneliness, he realises something and writes it down…

“Happiness is only real when shared”

I like that line and I really believe it. Whether it’s my happiness or someone elses, there is nothing like being able to share it with someone else. Sure, it is possible to be happy alone, but at some stage you will want to share that with someone else, whether it be in photos  or simply re-telling your experience. And if you can contribute to someone else’s happiness, then why not?

Very enjoyable movie and highly recommended, but not if you love moose.

And this movie gets 4 1/2 of them.

Moose Moose Moose MooseHalf Moose


No Country For Old Men – A Film Review

Sometimes there’s a movie that you are dying to see and you have the highest expectation for, and then you see it and you aren’t quite sure if it reached them.

Sometimes there’s a movie that you are dying to see and you have the highest expectation for, and then you see it and surpasses your expectation easily.

This time, I saw a movie that I was dying to see and I had the highest expectation for, and it’s blown them out of water, but it’s hard to describe why.

I’ll give it a shot.

I just saw it and it’s very fresh and I am still digesting it. It’s not a heavy plotted movie, but there is so much going on that isn’t spoken, isn’t shown but runs through the characters heads and into yours as the viewer.

It felt like I was reading a book for the whole movie. It was in fact taken from the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, but the narration I ran in my head felt like it was coming straight from those pages.

It’s hard to review a movie like this because it’s just something that you either take in, watch, listen and absorb and enjoy, or come out of going, “Where’s the punch line” (I actually heard this comment as I left the cinema). It was gripping, entertaining and so very well acted.

The character of Llewelyn Moss was played by Josh Brolin. The sort of actor that you see around in a few movies, but never really think that much of. Llewelyn is a character that he plays with aplomb. From every movement, to every bit of speech, you feel the realism of this middle aged cowboy that you know has never had a lot of luck in his life. He comes across 2 Million dollars and his life changes forever.

The storyline takes you through Texas to Mexico as Llewelyn is chased by a psychopath played by one of the scariest dudes I have ever seen, Javier Bardem. This character is methodical, exacting and freaky as hell. He makes you scared just to look at him.

Woody Harrelson has a cameo (Where has he been?) and Tommy Lee Jones is awesome, as always, as the sheriff.

Before I saw this movie, LaLa mentioned that it was a boys movie. I think that she is probably right, but it’s not to say that only boys would enjoy this movie. There is a lot of blood and graphic scenes of wounds, but they are in the context of the film, and the way it is shown, although it makes you squirm, it makes the appreciate the characters and the story all that much more.

It’s the small bits of dialogue between characters in certain scenes that just keep you interested, thinking and on the edge of your seat. The screenplay by the Coen Brothers is outstanding and it’s what keeps this movie together. I think that there was every chance that this movie could have been a mundane, meandering flop, if it were not for the observation, suspense and skill of the Coen Brothers words and directing.

Unfortunately, I think it’s the quirkiness, originality and subtlety that would make some people get turned off by this movie, or expect things that don’t happen. You need to think of it in a thriller sense, similar to Hitchcock’s style. I think that’s one reason I love it so much. I love Hitchcock and this is very much in that old fashioned suspense style.

That’s enough gushing from me. I loved it as you can see. A definite front runner for Best Picture.

5 Stars.