Thursday, August 12, 2004


Last Months' Movies

here's all the films I've managed to catch at the movies over the last month, since I've been in Sydney, some good, some bad and some just plain ugly.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11, Michael Moore 2004 ****
A very disturbing documentary, even if you are already familiar with most of the content, it is put together in a highly emotionally stirring way. This was my second viewing, was very odd to see the different reaction from an Australian audience to an American one. The Aussies laughed more, whereas as in the US the audience looked just shellshocked!

SUPERSIZE ME, 2004 ***
Documentary about a guy who decides to survive solely on McDonalds junkfood for an entire month, and every time they offer to 'Supersize' his meal, he has too agree - and eat it all. Fairly shocking - as he piles on the weight, his cholesterol levels go through the roof, and his doctor tells him that he must stop or run the risk of catastrophic faliure in his organs. In the USA where, the percentage of obese persons is the highest in the world, on average citizens eat out at McDonalds (or similar) three times a week. You'll never want to eat another Big Mac again - I saw this in the same week as finishing Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation, so I certainly won't!

THE RETURN, Andrey Zvyagintsev 2004 ****
Very dark, moody and unsettling Russian film - with an awesome aroma of oncoming dread. Two young boys are surpised when their absentee father returns home after five years and wants to take them on a road trip... who is he? what does he want? Highly recommended.

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, Stephen Frears 2004 *
Really awful British movie, with some stupidly convoluted plot about illegal immigration and people selling their organs. I gave up about two thirds of the way through and nearly walked out, but decided to doze off instead. Actually the only reason we went was to see Audrey Tautou from Amelie, but even she was pretty dull - what a crime. Stay away.

KILL BILL VOL.2, Quentin Tarantino *****
Has taken a while for me to get around to this one because travelling, has meant I've kept just missing it, so thanks to Givndas Movie Room. Of course it's fantastic... not so many huge set pieces as The Bride's battle with the Crazy 88's, but all the back story and I never realised that David Carradine was such a great actor [he's made so few movies since Kung Fu, except Q-The Winged Serpent, a personal fave]. This has got everything - premature burial, a sword fight in a mobile home, "the five-fingered touch of death"... I cannot wait until they start screening the Kill Bill double bill... fantastic!

I always really liked the low-budget sci-fi horror movie, Pitch Black that introduced Vin Diesel's Riddick character and although this film has it's moments, on the whole it's all style and little content. If you think Dune crossed with The Borg from Star Trek, Attack of the Clones and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome then you would be there - exactly.

THE PARTY, Blake Edwards **
There's nothing really like a good double bill at the lovely Chauvel in Paddington and when it's Peter Sellers even better. Dr Strangelove, with him playing at least six characters, is still great and with the lunatic warmongering US general still strangely prophetic for these times. Slim Pickens rodeo riding the A-bomb down to Russia is a classic movie moment.
I've never really been a big fan of Blake Edwards' brand of slapstick comedy, which is completely what The Party is about - pies in the face, soap suds in the swimming pool. However there are some pretty ridiculous moments, where you can't help but raise a few titters - Sellers of course is genius, however having him paying his entire role as an Indian in "brown-face" is a bit hard to take, in these 'more-enlightened' times.

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