Skip navigation

Category Archives: DVD

I’m going to miss Lisbeth Salander. Her black eyeliner, her multiple piercings, her cigarette smoking hunch, her barely-there breasts, her steely glances and her utter unpredictability. Amidst the Carrie Bradshaws, I will miss the coolest female character to grace the big screen in a long time. And in the third and final installment of the Millennium series, we have on board an array of tough-as-nails female characters minus the unrealistic, made-for-male-fantasy garb. There is a pregnant lawyer, a policewoman and a judge – all of whom play major roles in deciding the fate of a group of corrupt cronies. The film picks up from where The Girl Who Played With Fire ends. Lisbeth is brought to a hospital, after being shot by her father, where she recovers whilst waiting trial to be charged for murder and Mikael Blomkvist works to clear her name. It all sounds familiar yet like the page-turner books, the final chapter is a captivating watch.

Special mention goes to the “pig” Dr. Peter Teleborian (Anders Ahlbom) who reminded me of an evil James Lipton (Inside the Actors Studio). His squirm-in-the-seat scene towards the end of the film made me want to stand up and clap like the audiences allegedly did at screenings of The King’s Speech. I’m going to miss Lisbeth Salander. Her Mohawk, her chains, her computer hacking skills and her endearing inability to express herself. If not for anything, watch this movie to see Lisbeth attempt a full smile doused with insanity. Oh Lisbeth, you totally awesome freak.

Advertisements

Some think about death when someone they know dies. Some think about it when they themselves face the unknown inevitability. Some refuse to think about it at all while others wake up in cold sweat in the middle of the night because it is all they can think about. Death is the one certain thing in our lives and relates intimately to each and everyone of us. So a film that promises to search the meaning of death and the possibility of an afterlife minus entertainment gimmickry à la an M. Night Shyamalan concoction, by a talented, octogenarian director is more than just appealing – it feels like compulsory viewing. Unfortunately, the great Clint Eastwood’s latest drama about three lives weaved into one script is lacking in ideas and audacity. Unlike Gran Torino, Hereafter skims rather than delves, leaving audiences unaffected by what should have been a hard-hitting philosophical film.

However, like holding a selective magnifying glass over life, Eastwood captures the little things with skillful precision. This is aptly amplified by the subtlety in his latest muse Matt Damon’s performance. Just watch the scene where he walks out from the cooking class after meeting a beautiful woman. Maybe death is on Eastwood’s mind but he seems to capture life a lot better than he does afterlife. Then, out of nowhere he’s added an extraordinary tsunami scene which has awarded him a Best Visual Effects Oscar nomination, a gong the vivid scene may just deserve but won’t win. I say “added” because in the end that’s what Hereafter feels like. An accumulation of various stories and scenes, ironically lacking soul.

Check your local DVD store.

“When you want something to be there, you’re willing to overlook anything that does not agree with that.”

– Rel Shulman (Creator and cameramaN, Catfish)

If you haven’t alreadyswitched  your Facebook settings to private, I suggest you DO IT NOW! This film was absolutely compelling and captivating from start to finish. Catfish is not based on but IS a true story about an unsuspecting New Yorker who thinks he’s hit the jackpot of love. Photographer Nev’s story is filmed by his brother and friend. The story…

A young girl Abby, a fan of Nev’s photography sends him beautiful paintings of his work. They become Facebook friends and soon after Nev’s found a Facebook family in Abby’s (apparently very hot) mother, (super hot) sister, father, musician brother, cousins etc. Nev forms a friendship then a relationship with Abby’s sister Megan. She’s an actress/musician/artist. He is almost in love. She’s his perfect girl… until he discovers that the MP3 songs she posts on her profile page claiming to be hers are ripped off from YouTube performances.

From this point on, the story takes an unexpected turn, one you’ll never see coming. The promo poster for the film says, “Don’t let anyone tell you what it is”. So, I won’t.

There has been controversy over whether Catfish did actually happen or if it was all made up. To get a better sense of this, I urge you to watch the extras on the DVD where the boys talk about their experience. To be honest, it could very well staged. Doesn’t change the fact that it was a darn good movie.


GASLAND

Would you drink your tap water if it catches on fire? This is a real life Erin Brockovich (well, yes that film was based on a true story about the life of a real woman) tale shot by an unassuming theatre director. He gets a little curious after he’s sent a letter by a gas company offering him $10,000 for permission to drill for natural gas on his land. And what follows is a series of unsettling truths told by innocent citizens with a sense of humour only the truly helpless can pull off. Gasland won Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards earlier this year.

SOMEWHERE


You’ll either love this or hate it, and I loved it. For those of you familiar with Sophia Coppola’s earlier film Lost in Translation will probably be better prepared with what to expect. This film is about a hugely successful actor (Stephen Dorff) going through the motions until his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning) comes to stay with him. The first scene in this film is just brilliant and sets the tone for the film oh so perfectly. Somewhere is slow-moving, sometimes claustrophobic and lingering. Coppola’s made emptiness poetic. This is Entourage minus the entourage and you’ll get what I mean when you’ve seen the film.

P.S. Elle Fanning has an ethereal beauty about her that takes this film to another level. That underground pool scene is just perfect.

PLEASE GIVE

It’s been a while since I recommended a DVD of the week, and it’s time damn it! The first is a quirky little comedy that I love so much, I demand you watch it. It nicely sums up the contradictory lives we live managing accumulating wealth and the guilt we feel because of it. It also touches on infidelity without “real reason” and insecurities despite age. I think Please Give uses a very simple, clean plot to tell a  very clever and funny story. And Catherine Keenan just keeps getting better. Must watch.

 

DUE DATE

I know this film did not receive very good reviews but I watched it two days ago and laughed so much I had to take a break from my Oporto meal. That never happens. Road trip films are predictable so the quality of the film relies solely on the acting chops of the protagonists and Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis make a really great dysfunctional pair. Brush off the hoity toity reviews. This is funny.

Director Chris Morris was inspired by the sheer stupidity behind the mundane details that occur at jihadis training camps like shooting each other’s feet off and martyrdom video bloopers when he made Four Lions. Click on image for full review and my piece in The Sydney Morning Herald.

The other in my recommended category summer must-see DVD is New Zealand hit Boy. A funny father-and-son story replete with Michael Jackson moves and eggs (pronounced igg). Click here to read my interview with Director/actor/writer Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark) and first-time actor, 11-year-old James Rolleston.

Who knew Vince Chase, I mean Adrian Grenier of Entourage was more than just a pretty face. Grenier shed his celebrity to produce and direct Teenage Paparazzo, a doco about a 14-year-old pap, Austin. Art is imitating life in Grenier’s real life and he turns the camera on a fascinating teenager to understand the world of paparrazi. The doco reveals more about the culture of celebrity worship than paparrazi itself but is captivating simply because the teller of the story (Grenier) is honest and delivers his thoughts in measured stream of consciousness without purple prose.

At one stage, when it is evident that Austin is getting caught up in celebrity himself and Grenier’s friendship with the boy has fueled this, an interviewee (media expert) asks Grenier who is very skeptical about celebrity-dom, “Why are you contributing to something you don’t think is very good?” To which Grenier simply says, “I fucked up”.

This film is as reveling about Grenier as it is about Hollywood. Ironically, I feel like this doco will be picked up by the celebrity obsessed for a voyeuristic look into Grenier’s and his celeb friends’ lives. The DVD does have his name plastered on the cover after all.

Ok, so I was babysitting my nephews and I had to choose something for them. Well, the thing is I love animation. In my opinion, Up and Fantastic Mr. Fox were some of the best films I saw this year. Cloudy was not in the same league as the above-mentioned films but it was heaps of fun. The story goes a little like this. Little boy loves inventing but never quite got his break until he discovered a way to make it rain food. This is followed by success, consequences, lessons learnt and of course a cute, nerdy love story to complement the usual plot. It also tackled a few subjects like obesity, hormone-injected food and greed but only in a breezy touch-and-go manner that kids (and some adults) may not even notice. I don’t care what the critics are saying, I can’t wait to watch Megamind.

Awkward is the new black, if black is still the new black. From Kristen Stewart’s tomboyish stiffness to Michael Cera’s adorable gawkiness, awkward seems to translate well in the box office. And Greta Gerwig and Ben Stiller do their own brand of awkward to a tee in Greenberg. Click here to read my full review.

 

 

COMEDY: MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS


“Walking through walls, using sparkly eyes technique to confuse your enemy and killing goats by simply starring at them are just some of the psychic weapons used by the U.S. Military’s New Earth Army. Sounds kooky?”  Click here to read on…

TV SERIES: LOVE MY WAY

Ok, so I know I’m coming into this late and most Australians would have seen Love My Way. If you haven’t, do it! I’m moving towards the end of season one and my partner and I love it. So far, I’ve done the laughing and crying but mostly it’s just cool to see where some of the biggest Aussie stars started out.

P.S. I’m sorry but I just don’t get Sam Worthington.

Sorry guys, couldn’t find a trailer. This is part of episode one.