Thursday, September 30, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Picture Me: A Model's Diary - "Sara Ziff has been modelling since she was scouted in the street at 14. It was, she admits, a way to rebel against her academic background, and by the time she was 20 it had turned out to be an extremely well-paid alternative to university too. But the academic vantage point never quite deserted Ziff. She and her boyfriend, filmmaker Ole Schell, began shooting behind the scenes at Ziff’s shows. For five years, they recorded parties, castings, life on the road, and backstage finagling as she became the face of campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, The Gap... What emerged is a portrait of her exhilarating rise – and of the darker side of the fashion world’s rabid appetite for beautiful young women." (Source: World Cinema Showcase 2010)

The Other Guys - NYPD Detectives Christopher Danson and P.K. Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are the baddest and most beloved cops in New York City. They don't get tattoos - other men get tattoos of them. Two desks over and one back, sit Detectives Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). You've seen them in the background of photos of Danson and Highsmith, out of focus and eyes closed. They're not heroes - they're "the Other Guys." But every cop has his or her day and soon Gamble and Hoitz stumble into a seemingly innocuous case no other detective wants to touch that could turn into New York City's biggest crime. It's the opportunity of their lives, but do these guys have the right stuff? (From

Vampires Suck - Parody of the "tweenie" vampire movies of recent times, from the team that bought us the other barrage of terrible parody movies of recent times. This looks just as bad as usual. Featuring Ken Jeong, Diedritch Bader and a supporting cast of Twilight-hopefuls. When will Hollywood stop churning these out incessantly and return to the classy spoofs of the past?

Friday, September 24, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - (Pick of the Week) Oliver Stone's follow-up to his 1987 smash hit, Wall Street, reunites the writer-director with Michael Douglas reprising his famous role as Gordon Gecko and drags in "new-blood" Shia LaBeouf for more excessive executive wheeling-and-dealing. Gecko takes wannabe yuppie-hipster Jake Moore under his wing as the global economy teeters on disaster while investigating the death of the young man's former mentor. Looks as gripping as the original and early reviews have been glowing. Also featuring Frank Langella, Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Vanessa Ferlito and Carey Mulligan. Money, money, money...

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore - Cute-looking kids animated spy adventure movie, featuring talking cats and dogs - sequel to the super successful Cats & Dogs. Just in time for the school holidays, this looks to be a Bond-parody there's even a cameo voiced by Roger Moore!), so hopefully will appeal to the parents dragged along by their children. Featuring the vocal talents of Alec Baldwin, Chris O'Donnell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bette Midler, Joe Pantoliano, Jack McBrayer. (Also in 3D.)

Charlie St. Cloud - Charlie St. Cloud is a young man overcome by grief at the death of his younger brother. So much so that he takes a job as caretaker of the cemetery in which his brother is buried. Charlie has a special lasting bond with his brother though, as he can see him. Charlie meets up with his brother (Sam) each night to play catch and talk. Then, a girl comes into Charlie's life and he must choose between keeping a promise he made to Sam, or going after the girl he loves. - (from (This sounds like a solid premise, aside from the fact that Zac Efron will turn this into an insipid overly-sentimentalized exercise in boredom.)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - This came to our attention when auditions were ingeniously posted on the Internet asking kids everywhere to submit auditions online. Based on a series of online cartoons and illustrated novels by Jeff Kinney, based around the misadventures of a wise-cracking sixth grade student dealing with the usual growing pains. Reports are that this is something a bit different from the usual school holiday fare and would be a great choice for parents wanted to wean their kids into a more "indy" based style of cinema.

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen - Donnie Yen stars in this Wai Keung Lau directed historical triad kung fu epic. Yen's character Chen Zhen is a popular one, having been played on screen previously by both Bruce Lee and Jet Li. A tale of mystery and intrigue set in 1920s China and featuring lots of crazy set-piece fight sequences.

The Last Airbender - M Night Shyamalan's epic disaster picture, The Happening, was one of last year's biggest critical failures, since a slow descent into trash-dom since wowing audiences with The Sixth Sense back in the mid Nineties. I am wondering just how massively he can mess with this adaptation of a much admired series of Anime epics, done live-action. The trailers have been highly effects laden and look to be all chop-sockey action and half-hearted signifying nods to Asian culture. Will either be completely missable or such a mighty cinematic blunder that it will be hilarious for all the wrong reasons. Features Dev Patel as the villainous Zuko and our own Cliff Curtis as Firelord Ozai.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Ben Linus & John Locke Show is All Go

OK the title's a bit misleading, but LOST fans - especially those of Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn's characters - will be happy to know they're going to be back together on the small screen in a yet-to-be-titled show from J.J. Abrams! Described as a "comedic drama" where they'll be playing former black ops agents, the show's been picked up by NBC for a pilot. It sounds all a bit novelty/cash-in/in-jokey right now, but I'm ready to be surprised.

Other LOST-related matters:
  • Yesterday was the 6-year anniversay of the show's pilot debuting on TV.
  • The final season is now available to reserve on our site (as is the ill-fated FlashForwards, which failed at filling LOST's proverbial shoes).
  • NBC's new post-LOST conspiracy show The Event debuted in the US earlier this week to mixed reviews (I'm gonna watch it anyway).
  • I know I said I wasn't going to post anymore about LOST, but such is the legacy of this show... "just when you think you're out, they pull you back in" and so forth.

Female Ninja Magic

Sometimes when you have nothing to blog about, no inspiration, no motivation, all you need is a bizarre Japanese video featuring ninjas and vagina bubbles to get you back into swing of things... WARNING: possibly not safe for work, and definitely not for kids, but there is no nudity or anything, just pure out-of-context random strangeness.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Animal Kingdom - (Pick of the Week) Note-perfect Australian family crime-drama, about the coming of age of the youngest member of Melbourne's Cody family, notorious for their history of petty blue-collar crime. Insightful, well-realised characters and a tight, brilliant script keep this from steering off into familiar territory. Especially impressive is newcomer James Frenchville as the young Joshua and veteran Ben Mendlesohn (Idiot Box) in a spectacular virtuoso performance, as Andrew 'Pope' Cody, the most extreme low-life of the family. Also featuring Guy Pearce (The Hard Word) and directed by David Michod, this was one of the sleeper hits of this year's New Zealand International Film Festival.

Despicable Me - Criminal mastermind, Gru (Steve Carell - Date Night), has the world at his feet - he is launching his greatest plan to take all of the major landmarks and hold them to ransom. When he mistakenly kidnaps three little orphan girls, who just want a father, things start to go wrong and he forms an attachment to the children that threatens his plans for world domination. Featuring heaps of great voice talent: Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Kristen Wiig (Whip It). Looks like fun and something a little different from Dreamworks Animation. (Also in 3D)

Grown Ups - Is it just me or are plot-lines getting dumber and casting getting lazier in comedies these days? Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Maria Bello, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider and David Spade team up as 80s classmates (ugh) who are united by the death of their old college basketball coach. Lots of reminiscing and bad 80s fashion follow there after. Looks like a train-wreck waiting to happen.

I'm Still Here - Speaking of train-wrecks, this documentary slice-of-life looks to be one of the most unsettling, bizarre and down-right crazy of the year. Casey Affleck follows notorious on-again-off-again celebrity Jaquin Phoenix through his alleged retirement, into exploring a career as a rapper and over the brink of sanity. Apparently contains a lot of full frontal male nudity and a certain scene that is probably too gross to write here. Caused quite a buzz at its premiere at The Toronto Film Festival recently, where people were debating the legitimacy of the material. This looks so damn bizarre, I suspect its probably all true.

Mother & Child - A common thread of adoption weaves through the lives of three women in this intense looking drama from Roderigo Garcia (Six Feet Under). Featuring a pretty great ensemble cast: Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Jimmy Smits an, surprisingly, Samuel L Jackson. Looks pretty heartbreaking and densely populated with interesting characters.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - "Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar can't do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness. It'll take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes The Sorcerer's Apprentice." - from

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Inside Mad Men

The latest issue of Rolling Stone has an excellent collection of snaps from behind the scenes of Mad Men. It's really interesting to see all the actors out of character, and with the camera crew present - it shows you how brilliantly crafted, painstakingly designed and hermetically sealed the world the show creates is: the slightest anachronistic detail feels jarring, like a stab in the eye almost... I particularly like this candid shot of Elizabeth Moss (Peggy) and Robert Morse (Cooper) together:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Exit Through The Gift Shop - (Pick of the Week) Graffiti art genius and controversial art provocateur, Banksy, takes to directing in this compelling puzzle-box of a film that may or may not be a complete outright lie. Obsessive documentary maker Theirry Guetta tries to document the general street art scene and soon falls in with Banksy and his crowd. Banksy, however, is unimpressed with his efforts and provokes Guetta to make some art of his own, turning the whole idea of how a documentary should work on its head. Are we being toyed with by a master craftsman, is this an elaborate art prank in and of itself, or is this simply a verite glimpse into a mad world of art eating its own pretensions? See it and decide for yourself, when this fascinating documentary opens this week.

A Prophet - French crime-drama about a young prison inmate who becomes a kingpin of the Cosican mob from his prison cell. Has been winning awards at major film festivals all over the globe, but don't expect this to be some Tarantino-inspired crime caper, this is a dark anxiety, yet a powerful piece of storytelling with a very bleak outlook on the world. From Jacques Audiard, the director of The Beat My Heart Skipped and Read My Lips.

Centurion - Neill Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday) returns with this big-budget epic looking story of the Roman conquest of Britian in the 2nd Century BC. Quintius Dias (Inglourious Basterds' Michael Fassbender) must lead a group of soldiers to rescue a general (Dominic West - The Wire) who has been held captive by a Pict tribe. The general is soon murdered however and the soldiers must run for their lives from the hellbent revenge filled leader of the Pict (Olga Kurylenko - Quantum of Solace). The trailer looks extremely trashy and the style looks like another over-the-top 300 clone, but this could be a cool popcorn action epic to see on Saturday night!

I Am Love - Epic drama about an Italian family who must face change head-on. The Recchi's family patriarch, Eduardo Snr. (Gabriele Ferzetti - Once Upon A Time In The West) has decided to pass on the reigns of his multi-million dollar company by splitting the control between his son Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) and grandson Edo (Flavio Parenti). Edo has aspirations a a restaurateur, however, and tries to break from his grandfather's wishes, leading to a rift in the family. Also, featuring Tilda Swinton (Orlando, The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe) as Tancredi's loving attentive Russian wife.

The Runaways - Musical "rock chick" bio-pic about 70s band "The Runaways" and especially focused on lead singer Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning - War of the Worlds), based on her biography. Also featuring Kirsten Stewart (Adventureland) as female rock icon Joan Jett. Has been winning accolades for its rich texture, fascinating performances and excellent attention to details of the period. Written and directed by debut director Floria Sigismondi.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

The Expendables - (Pick of the Week) Testosterone-fuelled badassery is on overdrive this week with the opening of this much anticipated old-school influenced action fight-fest written and directed by Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa, Rambo). With a cast of some of the top action movie talent - Stallone, Jason Statham (Crank), Jet Li (Hero), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier), Steve Austin (The Condemned) - and cameos from a whole bunch of greats of the genre as well - Bruce Willis (Die Hard), Terry Crews (Gamer), and even Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator). With Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) as the evil island dictator bad guy. With some awesome set-pieces, gratuitous explosions, all of the actors doing their own stunts and regularly going toe-to-toe in some pretty brutal fight sequences, this is my pick for Action Film of the Year!

Going The Distance - Oh no. More insipid American Rom-com boredom. (Can you tell this is a genre I don't like much?) This time real-life on-again off-again couple Justin Long (Drag Me To Hell) and Drew Barrymore (Fifty First Dates) play thirty-somethings who fall for each other on a summer holiday and begin a whirlwind romance. After the vacation has ended they realise they still have feelings for each other and try to keep the flame alive from different cities. I'm not even going to say "hilarity ensues", because it probably won't, because this just looks and sounds dull and uninspiring.

Peaceful Times - "In this German comedy-drama, Irene and Dieter have fled '60s East Berlin with their three children for a better life in the West. Irene can’t shake the Eastern Bloc mindset: craving conformity and living in constant dread of catastrophe, in general, and a Russian military invasion, in particular. As seen by her two matter-of-fact little girls she’s a lovely, mesmerizing bundle of nerves – and something of a responsibility. Dad Dieter meanwhile is crazy for the swinging Western ways. Observing the growing rift, their two little girls plan the divorce – another novel freedom – they believe will make everyone happier." (Source: World Cinema Showcase).

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) - Extreme gross-out cinema really does not get any more extreme or gross than this. From the demented mind of Tom Six. Crazed reclusive mad scientist Dr Heiter (Dieter Laser) exacts revenge on the world that has shunned him by attaching three healthy humans together mouth to... uh... I'm sure you can figure it out from the picture above. Fresh from the New Zealand International Film Festival where it shocked many, this is returning for a strictly limited season across the country thanks to Incredibly Strange and

Tomorrow, When The War Began - Based on the well-known series of "kidult" novels of the same name by Australian author John Marsden, this big screen adaptation has been impressing those already familiar with the story. A bunch of underdog teens find that Australia has been invaded by a foreign power and they must fight to survive and find their families. They'd rather go down fighting than let their loved ones be taken hostage and this makes them a formidable force as a team. To be followed by several sequels as there is much ground to be covered from the world of Marsden's novels.