Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trailer Alert - Orphan

When out at the cinema the other day to see Drag Me to Hell, the trailer for this little gem appeared.

I have a love hate relationship with Dark Castle movies, not a single one of them has managed to entertain me for its entirety and yet I love (and I mean LOVE) aspects of nearly all of them. House on Haunted Hill has some great moments and gets points for being the most entertaining, it is only let down by an appalling final 10 minutes. Ghost Ship gets off to a great start with one of the most interesting opening sequences for a horror movie in ages, but again is let down by a sagging middle an incoherent story and a rubbish ending. Gothika was an interesting idea flawed only by its application. I am not sure what The Reaping was an attempt at, but again with the evil child syndrome and the less said about 13 Ghosts the better, but it did still have some original ideas. Which brings us to....

Well, this looks like it could be the best film they have done. I note that the reviews on-line from the U.S have been mixed, but I quite like the idea of evil children, and it works so well when done properly.... this one looks great! What do you think?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Hot off the heels of his mainstream acceptance with the Spider-man films, Sam Raimi returns to the genre that got him into the business to begin with.

Alison Lohman stars as Christine, she is a young aspiring loans officer at a bank who, in an attempt to get an assistant manager's position, shames an old gypsy woman by denying her an extension on her mortgage. That, as it turns out, was quite the mistake. On her way home the old woman is waiting for her and during a struggle manages to curse our poor heroine with one of the nastiest things in the book. (Presumably the gypsies keep books with all these curses, after all; the psychics, mediums etc always manage to find a book amongst their collection that will help with the exposition.) In this particular instance it is Rham Jas (Dileep Rao) who comes to the rescue albeit reluctantly at first. Also at her side is Christine's boyfriend Clay as portrayed by Justin Long, although he is not a believer in curses, he does believe in Christine.

Drag Me to Hell plays partly as a comedy, but mostly as a horror and adheres to all of the usual cliche horror moments, the loud noises, the scary jumpy out bits when all is quiet, as well as the obligatory visit to a cemetery during a thunderstorm (when is Hollywood going to learn that lightning and thunder are not the same thing....) that it does all of these things with its tongue firmly in cheek allows for some overlooking.

For the most part I enjoyed the film, but I think that has a lot to do with how well Alison Lohman is cast, she plays Christine as the everyday girl just trying to get ahead, regrettably she chooses the wrong time to take action, but we actually care about her character though and want her to succeed in her quest to get the curse lifted. After all, she only has 3 days before she is being dragged to hell for eternity.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Trailer Alert - Alice in Wonderland

Hmmmm what to make of this. On one hand it does look very pretty and interesting, but it also looks a little "overdone". I guess we shall have to wait and see.

Here is a peak at some of the poster art too....

Monday, July 20, 2009

A New Week

A new day, a new week... sadly off to a bad start....

I was just reading over on Variety.com that FOX has had a fall out in pay negotiations with the Futurama voice cast. It appears the 3 main voice actors will not be appearing in the new season of Futurama. As far as I am concerned, they might as well not make the show! Billy West IS Futurama, without him....it doesn't exist.

I also noted last week that Village Cinemas are extorting their patrons again with a 50 cent price hike on ticket costs. The price is now set at $15.50 per adult to see a film.

What a joke. I can go and rent a movie for 2 nights for $6, why the hell would I pay over twice that to see a movie in an uncontrolled environment, where for the most part these establishments have no respect for the quality of their screenings and are constantly understaffed!

You can read my other thoughts on cinemas, piracy and other general lack of service or technical knowledge by simply browsing the "Just Musings".... section of my blog.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekly Round-up

Well another week is almost over, although I have watched a few things of interest this week including the new Studio Ghibli film Ponyo on the Cliff.

It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. It felt as though it was building up to something and then just glossed over it quickly. The animation was excellent as usual and character expression still amazes me in the Ghibli films. The subtitles on the DVD left a little to be desired with some whole sequences of dialog missing a translation (thankfully my 3 years of Japanese did something to at least help me understand what was going on) I will be interested to see how Pixar dub the film though...

I note the U.S poster art above is similar to Finding Nemo....so we know the audience they are targeting.

I have been going through a magic phase at the moment, most likely due to the return of Penn & Teller's Bullshit. I got hold of their DVD Off the Deep End, and whilst is was quite entertaining I still prefer their stage show based performances, the card trick on the beach was my personal favorite. The new season of Bullshit has certainly been interesting though with the last episode dealing with Video Games and whether or not violent games insight violence in the players of them. Their usual wit and common sense prevail as usual and I am looking forward to tonight's episode.

Well, Harper's Island had its big season finale last weekend too....the less said the better, suffice to say I did not enjoy it. They had 13 episodes to sort this out and make it play and this is all they could come up with?! It was nice to have a show where basically the entire cast ends up dead, but the motive and driving force behind them was just stupid.

Eureka is also back on the air waves and I must admit I enjoyed the latest episode....even if the town (in fact the whole world) was in jeopardy again!! I still have faith that at least one episode won't involve the entire destruction of the town/world/etc lets hope it doesn't let me down.

In other TV news, a few new weekly shows have been keeping my interest, I have just got the latest Warehouse 13 episode, Psychoville still gets a look in every Thursday and of course Top Gear on Sunday nights is still a must.

Otherwise...not much else to report for this week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Square (2008)

For some reason I don't seem to enjoy Australian cinema. Well, maybe I enjoy some of it. I am more a genre film appreciator than films that base themselves on cultural roots (which is the majority of the Australian Film Industries output). Whilst I appreciate the need for those types of movies, it is just one area that rarely appeals.

I actually wanted to see The Square in cinemas, but somehow I missed it. I enjoyed the trailer, it looked like it was going to be a decent enough drama / thriller. It was released on DVD recently so I thought I would rent it and give it a go.

I didn't dislike it, I just had issues with it. As mentioned in my previous review of Yella; I really take issue with films in which the lead character makes the most obviously stupid mistake that leads to endlessly and mindlessly stupid results. Regrettably The Square is a film in which nearly every character falls victim. As much as it annoys me, I can admit that for the most part the events that unfold in The Square are things that sadly, actually do happen in real life.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Road Deaths

The picture above featured on the front page of our local newspaper. No one survived this crash. On what is being drilled into us as the "Darkest Day" on Tasmania's roads there has been much talk about how to stop so many deaths. Slower Speed Limits, Dual Carriage ways, more police patrols....the list goes on, but sadly none of them will curb the obvious issue of driver's attitudes. Tasmania has some of the worst drivers I have ever witnessed in my life. They have a total lack of respect for the road, the others on the road and most obviously, their own lives. I am by no means perfect, but I have only ever been involved in 2 accidents (neither of which was attributed to me) and I have never received any form of traffic infringement with the possible exception of a parking ticket. I wish my car had a camera system installed, but buying tapes for all of the "evidence" being submitted would be costly. I was reminded of the days when I used to visit the TARD (The Atlanta Roadways Digest). An awesome feat of David vs Goliath in which an Atlanta resident publicly shamed bad drivers on his site. Maybe Tasmania could do with one of these... while the government wastes its time talking about solutions that everyone knows will do absolutely fuck all to fix this problem, it is down to the individual road users to make a stand. Changing speed limits does nothing but hurt those already obeying them.

My advice; if you see a moron, pull over and call the police. If you are a moron, try running into a tree and just killing yourself instead of other innocent road users.

You can read about the accidents at The Mercury website.

My sympathy goes out to all of the families affected by the accidents.

I know this post isn't technically movie related, but I was angry, and when I am angry I tend to want to write about it and I figured I should given the post below.....

Oh dear.....

Well it would seem I have fallen off the wagon again and neglected my poor old blog. I can't even use the excuse that I haven't been watching anything, because frankly, I have been watching a lot more than usual.

I went to see The Hangover the other night, and I must say that it got immediately added to my "guilty pleasure" list. That is, movies that I enjoy, but wouldn't own. I am not at all impressed that a sequel is already being talked about though. Yes, the film was good and I don't doubt it is making lots of money, but a sequel? This was a one time deal honestly.

I have been catching up on a few B movies both past (Tarantula) and present (Ogre) as well as some new releases. For some reason the mood to write has abandoned me, I am still half way through my review of The Square and I started that nearly a fortnight ago.....sad....

The magic light box (TV) has also been keeping me occupied with Penn & Teller's Bullshit, Harper's Island (final tonight!), the first two episodes or Warehouse 13, Psychoville and Top Gear, yet I have missed 2 weeks of my so-called-Weekly TV roundup.

Anyone have some hints or thoughts on how to get my writing mojo back?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Eat My Shorts: Kids + Money (2008)

Kids + Money (2008)
Directed by Lauren Greenfield
Running Time: 32 minutes
Country: USA

This was a really scary documentary. When I see stuff like this I know that there are so many things wrong with the world and that people will never change. The documentary is basically a series of interviews of kids ranging from 11-17 years of age. It is focused on the L.A area and mostly concerns money & general living conditions as well as what it takes to be accepted and part of the in crowd and how the kids go about becoming so.

As much as I enjoyed watching it, some of the kids interviewed could certainly do with a reality check and I was seriously shouting at my screen for them to shut up and "get real". It also left me questioning how any decent parent could allow their child to be and act the way some of them do. In short it is very scary. Kids + Money is not exactly bias, in fact it is quite objective and simply presents the Kids as they are with occasional input from a parent, however it does not make any judgement or ask anything too probative.

You can find more information on the director's website here, as well as a clip of the intro.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Knowing (2008)

I sat, I watched and I feel cheated. The first half of Knowing is an amazing film. Riveting, intelligent, well written, perfectly acted, beautifully shot. Almost a masterpiece and certainly the best science fiction film in ages!! Sadly, it has a second half. Dark City is one of my 10 favourite films of all time, the recent director's cut reaffirmed its place even more. Alex Proyas is a gifted science fiction director, The Crow was great, he showed his diversity outside of the genre with Garage Days which I also quite enjoyed. I, Robot was his first "commercial film" and a return to sci fi and until now I felt was the weakest of his directorial credits. What happened? I note around the net that this film met particularly divided results, it seems to be a love / hate relationship... I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't love it. It could have been soo much more.

I am looking forward to listening to the audio commentary, Proyas is quite articulate when it comes to explaining his thoughts and motives and I am hoping he can help explain his film to me on a level that might help me to better appreciate it.....but until then.... Knowing is a film with so much promise that fails to deliver on it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hansel and Gretel (2007)

A rather interesting re-telling of the late Grimm Brother's fairy tale. This Korean adaptation puts a slight twist on the western version. Our lead character Eun-soo has an accident whilst traveling to visit his ill Mother in hospital, he awakens in a forest from which he cannot escape. During the night he meets a young girl who takes him to her house in the centre of the forest. There, he meets her older brother, younger sister and her Mother and Father, but all it not what it seems as strange things start to occur and despite his days spent wandering through the forest he never seems any closer to finding a way out.

The film is borderline fantasy with very little real horror to be had, I say this only as I find it interesting that it is classed as a horror film. What it really is is a drama about the way in which children perceive adults and the interaction they receive. It is difficult to reveal more of the plot without spoiling the experience. I did find some of the pacing to be a bit slow and there were certainly scenes that I think could have been left on the cutting room floor, but overall this is quite a solid entry for Korean genre films and it is unusual to see films that place such a high degree of responsibility on the child actors.

The cinematography is quite beautiful and very colourful with some great use of saturation of background whilst keeping colour in the foreground. The soundtrack was a little week and very front heavy, but the film is mostly dialogue driven and for the most part was quite clear and concise.

The film wasn't quite as good as I was expecting, but by the same token I am not quite sure why I was expecting it to be any different to what it was.

regrettably I was unable to locate a trailer with English subtitles so until I do here is the Korean trailer: