Tag Archives: Movie 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)


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.


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 –


Australia Day Long Weekend – Part 3 – Atonement/Sweeney Todd Reviews

Righty-o.

So, are we sick of my marathon posts yet?

Yeah. I am.

This will be shorter.

I have seen 2 movies in the last week and although they are both very different, they are both worth seeing.

Atonement

It’s true. I wouldn’t have seen this movie at the cinemas if it hadn’t been nominated for Best Picture.

I was right. It is a romantic, period piece, (semi) chick flick move. Not your standard chick-flick like 27 Dresses, but let’s just say that humans of the female persuasion are more likely to attend this movie (and drag their other halves!)

At least the other halves would get to perve on Keira Knightly in her see-through slip. But I was a bit turned off by the boney shoulder blades and ribs. (shudder) The lack of breasts on her makes her look like a boy in one scene. Gross.


Pick the one where she’s not anorexic.

James McAvoy is the male lead in this movie and he is excellent. All performances are good, but Keria doesn’t really stretch herself too much really.

The storyline runs from an upper-class English country house to France in WWII. Some of the visuals of the war are amazing, and the grand English street shots are very well done. If anything, this movie should get cinematography accolades.

But, is it worthy of a Best Picture nomination? It’s hard to say as I haven’t seen the other contenders yet, but for me I don’t think there was anything very awardworthy about it. I really want to see ‘Juno’ and ‘No Country For Old Men’ before I can really compare movies.

Having said all that, the movie did keep be interested for the 2 hours and 5 minutes it ran for, although it was probably flying close to the wind on running time. The format of the movie and the way it shows scenes from different perspectives is quite well done and the ending was very much a surprise.

So, if you’re interested in successful novel translation to screen, I think you could do worse, but for me, it wasn’t anything worth cheering about..

I give it 3 1/2 Ming Vases.

Sweeney Todd

It was only 10 minutes before seeing this movie that I realised it was a musical!

Evidently, from the looks and sounds in the audience, a lot of people who were there didn’t realise this either and I think they were a bit disappointed.

Never-the-less, I wanted to see this movie (over Cloverfield and American Gangster) because it had 2 of my favourite movie makers in it. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. The 2 have combined in no less than 6 movies (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride, Charlie the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow to name a few), and all of them have been quality. They also teamed up with Helena Bonham Carter again to add to the dark, gothic London theme they were looking for.

And very very dark it is. Right from the start you get the imagery of a dingy, dirty old London Town that has burnt Sweeney Todd many years ago. The singing from Depp and Bonham Carter is excellent. You just know that Depp has had the classic theatrical training that enables him to play such a diversity of roles. He’s come a long way from 21 Jump Street!

As with all Tim Burton films, he puts a lot of effort into the scenery and sets for the movie. Remember, he did the original gothic Batman movies that really brought out the real Gotham City. There is hardly any sun in this movie at all. Is that what London is like Aly? πŸ™‚

The movie ebbs and flows between the revenge that Todd (aka Benjamin Barker) craves over the man (Alan Rickman’s character) that took away his freedom 15 years earlier, and the forbidden love that a fellow sailor has over a young girl locked in a mansion. Of course the storylines cross over and make for a rollercoaster ride of murder, music and mayhem.

This is a bloody good…and I mean BLOODY good movie. I don’t think I have seem more red on the screen in a long time. It’s a black comedy, but there aren’t that many laughs in it. The most humourous character has to be Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Signor Pirelli. He does an excellent job as the tall travelling salesman and deserves more movie roles in the future that aren’t Borat or Ali G.

The only downfall of this movie is that you don’t really get to see the acting talents of Johnny Depp further than his singing. He does an English accent splendidly, but this role isn’t that much of a stretch for him I don’t think. The little kid in the movie, Toby played by Ed Sanders, does a fantastic job and I think he’ll get some great roles out of this.

It will make you cringe, smile, sad and nauseous. But it’s a seriously good movie.

It gets 4 Meat Pies


Film Review – Death Proof

It’s been 6 1/2 months since my rant about Grindhouse being split into separate movies.

I was pissed off that US audiences were so fucking thick as to leave before the second movie and/or not go to the movie at all.

I have been converted.

Death Proof has been split off and extended by 24 minutes by the man, Tarantino and he has turned his movie into a freaking masterpiece of cinema.

I wanted to see this movie early on, and thanks to TJ’s rollicking review of it (and no thanks to Margaret’s bullshit 1/2 a star) I made sure I toddled along to see it at the late session on Tight-arse Tuesday. Unfortunately there were only about 10 people in the cinema, so there would be little Whooping and Yahooing (although I made my own noises. Just ask Steve).

It’s hard to describe QT’s films. But I like, “Visually scrumptious”. Even the crackling imagery and sound of the opening scenes; The authentic skipping of scenes; The cinematography of filming 2 cars in a deadly pursuit down a country road. This film pushes my buttons all over the place.

The casting of 8 very hot women also helps.

The sight of Vanessa Ferlito’s arse gyrating in front of the jukebox was just about enough to make me squirm.

This is very much a girly movie, but not in your traditional chick flick sense, unless you’re a chick that likes car chases. Lots of female dialogue (and I mean LOTS) makes this movie a little talky, but then again that is the trademark of Tarantino.

He manages to fling the user into the world he is portraying in such a way that you believe it is genuine.

Realistically, this movie is not for everyone and I am of course a biased Quentin fanatic, so pretty much he could sneeze snot onto the screen and I’d go see it and applaud it, but seriously, it’s FUN. It’s what movies should be.

It’s also very different. You won’t see anything else at the cinema that looks like this any time soon (perhaps, except for the other half of the the Grind House, Planet Terror).

I have not mentioned another big feature of this film.

The stunts. A cunning array of stunts if you will. One of the stars of the movie is a girl called Zoe Bell. Who? I hear you saying. Well, she’s a stuntwoman. (Zoe the Stuntwoman. Hehehe) She’s stunted for Lucy Lawless in Xena, Uma in Kill Bill as well as in Catwoman, Alias and Poseidon.

Now Quentin got her to ‘act’ in this movie and I am the first to admit that her acting skills leave a lot to be desired, especially alongside Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms, and her thick Kiwi accent stands out like a sore thumb, but it’s the stunts that leave you breathless. She, of course, does her own stunt work and this stuff is amazing. No CGI here. It’s real, and it’s terrifying.

I could gush and gush, but I just loved it, so there.

See it, groove to the awesome soundtrack, yell your support for the girls at the end of the film and come out of the cinema with your heart racing and sweat dripping from your armpits.

4 1/2 1970 Camaro’s πŸ™‚