Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Can you believe it's been 10 years since Toy Story 2?! Time flies when you're playing with Pixar I guess. The years have also passed in Toy Story land, and with Michael off to college, our favourite toys find themselves hand-me-downs... to a day-care centre.
Cue crazy hijinks and general hilarity, methinks.
Fresh from his success with Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt has written the screenplay for the hugely anticipated Toy Story 3, while Pixar alum Lee Unkrich has taken the helm. And even though we still have to wait for over a year, we're already being treated to this delightful teaser.
Australian release date: 24 June 2010
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
2008 was quite the depressing year, if the World Press Photo Exhibition is anything to go by. The devastating earthquake in China, the conflict in Georgia and of course the global financial crisis. The celebratory features were Beijing Olympics and Obama's victory (tell me you don't giggle at this photo), but generally this year's exhibition is filled with confronting world events.
Don't let that stop you heading over to the State Library (and quickly! The exhibition ends on May 31st), because while confronting, the images are beautifully composed and moreover they're very informative.
A couple of stand outs (my titles):
- Eviction from Manaus
- Beijing Blood
- Mongolian Jockey
- 9,400 years in the making
If you do make it to the State Library, be sure to sit and watch some of the interviews with the photographers, they're really very enlightening. World Press Photo of the Year winner Anthony Suau seems particularly moved by how he came about his shot. Callie Shell also answers some questions you may have about 'staging' her Obama photos. In other words, I highly recommend you check out the exhibition! Or if not, this montage on SMH is quite lovely.
Turns out a picture really does tells a thousand words and the World Press Photo collection is truly stunning (in all senses of the word).
Monday, May 25, 2009
A room filled with sugared up children isn’t the most conducive environment for watching a film. Then again, when the film is Night at the Museum 2, you realise you’re sitting with the target audience: kids and their weary parents hoping for at least 90 minutes of relative peace. And against that barometer, the film is quite the success.
Indeed Night at the Museum: The Battle of the Smithsonian is fun, popcorn entertainment for kids, parents and film fans alike. It’s certainly bigger and bolder than the first film; helped by the already established conceit, it launches straight into the action.
The sequel sees night guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) having left the museum to follow his success as an inventor, while the museum’s animated attractions are being relegated to storage, replaced by talking holograms. With the archives located in the vast vaults of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, the New York natives seem gone for good. That is until all hell breaks loose and it’s Larry to the rescue.
The premise provides a simple structure for the ensuing historical hijinks. And there are an awful lot of hijinks to be had! The poster should give you some idea of all the historical figures vying for your attention in this film. One can only presume, however, that aforementioned sugared up kids have nary an idea who these people are, particularly given they are Australian children. Would they know who Amelia Earhart, Al Capone, Ivan the Terrible or General Custer were? Probably not. What about Napoleon, Teddy Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln? Perhaps.
The skill of this film is its ability to work on both levels. Whether you know the characters or not, there’s still a lot to laugh about. The kids seemed to love all the slapstick humour - including the bobble-head Einsteins - while the adults tittered over the more subtle site gags such as the throw-away line (literally) about Dorothy’s ruby shoes or the Darth Vader and Oscar the Grouch cameo.
The actors certainly seem to revel in their ‘historical’ characters (the generous amount of artistic license is evident). Hank Azaria as the evil Egyptian Kahmunrah is positively over the top, yet somehow gets away with it. His effete lisp is reminiscent of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Julien from the Madagascar movies, while Azaria also gets the laughs voicing The Thinker and a rather hip Abe Lincoln. Amy Adams brings her bright-eyed gumption to the role of Amelia Earhart and manages to steal quite a few scenes from the rather restrained Stiller.
However the casting coup has to be the Apatow crew. Bill Hader, Jonah Hill (in a particularly funny scene), Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson all bring lend their comedic cred to the movie, compounding the returning talent in Owen Wilson, Steve Coogen, Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais. And when you’ve also got a cameo from the Jonas Brothers as crooning cherubs, just imagine the wrap party!
Night at the Museum 2 is the first production to film inside the Smithsonian, so they definitely go for broke. And while bigger isn’t always better, here director Shawn Levy has succeeded in building upon the strengths of the first film to create an exciting and engaging comedy that might just endear you to a bit of history.Published on Trespass
Australian Release Date: 21 May 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I've been scratching my head every time I come across the Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial, thinking it reminded me of something.
Surely I'm not the only one who remembers the Solo advert from the 90's? Apparently so.
But thank God for YouTube!
Ahem - perhaps I have too much time on my hands...
This week's Trespass Teaser Trailer is all about the Aussies. By which I mean Australian director John Hillcoat and his possy of locals tackling Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Road.
Given how immensely popular No Country for Old Men was, it'll be interesting to see how The Road is received. Though an Australian release date is yet to be announced, I know I've got at least until October to catch up on the book.
Speaking of which, the Oprah interview with McCarthy that I link to in the post is worth a look. Evidently his first interview, the poor fellow couldn't look more uncomfortable. If he scrunched lower in to his chair he might have disappeared (as I'm fairly sure was his intention)!
So, book adaptations: do you read the book before or after? Given the world is never going to be as you imagined it, nor do the characters (and their names - I'm weird with pronunciation sometimes) sound like you thought they would. I'm all for taking a film on its own terms, but lately I'm more for reading the book afterward; treating the film as almost a prelude to the 'real' world of the novel.
Thoughts? Surely I'm not the only one who pronounces names strangely in my head?!
Australian Release Date: 28 January 2010
US Release Date: 16 October 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Yes, the Sherlock Holmes trailer is up and it looks brilliant!
Ritchie has certainly put his stamp on this colourful character. I'm thinking that the bare-knuckled boxing harks back to Snatch, while we've just seen Mark Strong in RocknRolla.
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law look like they're having a ball, so here's hoping Ritchie reigns them in with a little detective work, and the film should be far from elementary.
Australian Release Date: 26 December 2009
We Love You So is Spike Jonze and Co.'s Where the Wild Things Are production/inspiration blog. It's awesome:
Fancy making a paper Max doll? Click here.
What about watching a preview of a Dave Egger's long short featuring James Franco? Here.
Hungry for a Wild Things cake? Here.
Agree with their provisional Top Ten Rascals in Literature? Here.
Or, one of my favourites, product of a bored Spike Jonze: Here. (I dig the typo).
And this discovery is why I love Twitter. Sure, it's a black hole for procrastinators and a shameless tool for self promotion, and some people share a little too much, but then you come across things like this.
So while all that twitters is not gold, you can still come across a few pearls.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Shame is the great unsaid. It’s the emotional baggage we carry and the anxious thoughts that niggle in the back of our minds. How do individuals face their own shame? And what are the consequences?
Celebrated writer/director David Planell teases out these themes in his provocative film La Vergüenza. The story of a successful, thirty-something couple coming to terms with whether or not they’ll go through with the adoption of their 8 year old Peruvian foster child, Manu. That’s on the surface at least. Through the course of a day Pepe and Lucia are confronted by much more than their own doubts. Responsibility, fear, anger and even love are opened up under the enquiring eye of their adoption caseworker.
La Vergüenza could easily be a play, driven by dialogue and set in two apartments. While Pepe and Lucia struggle to impress the caseworker, Manu is with his Peruvian nanny, Rosa, as she contends with her own shameful secret. Such weighty topics are handled well by all the leads, though Alberto San Juan (Pepe) is given the most to do and steals a few scenes from Natalia Mateo’s (Lucia) more understated performance. Marta Aledo (Rosa) also brings a reserved power to her role and her climactic scene is simply shattering.
Planell’s gift is his patience with this story and way he allows scenes to breathe. Like any emotions rising to the surface, the film is a slow burn. Planell’s dialogue is sparse at times, allowing you to pick up on the tense atmosphere of the house (and really, be wondering what on earth is going on!) before the specifics come seeping out. Some of the plot points can probably be guessed, but it’s a tribute to the screenplay and the performances that the plot feels utterly unique to these characters.
This could all sound dark and depressing, but actually Planell manages to inject a bit of humour into the film. There’s humour – however biting – when the truth finally comes out and shame is brought into the light. Relief may follow, but so do the consequences.
The ending, however is a bit more obscure. Purposefully so, one assumes. Perhaps your opinion about the ending speaks to how well you, the audience, believe the characters have dealt with their shame. For me, there’s devastating poignancy, followed by a final scene of hope; hope and a new, if fragile, beginning.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
My ignorance about 'what the kids are in to these days' comes as a bit of a shock. I was all over the kids entertainment scene what seemed like five minutes ago: does no-one remember Agro's Cartoon Connection? And well, The Simpsons is still all over the TV, so how was I to know I was so out of touch?
In any case, Zac Efron is evidently a tween heartthrob and star of the High School Musical franchise. I haven't seen any of his films, but have seen him on Rove a couple of times and mostly I just want to brush his hair out of his eyes.
Wow. I really am getting old.
Which makes it fitting, I guess, that I went to reclaim my youth by watching 17 Again. Expectations were zero. I'd had a rough day and decided to drag my Mum to a really stupid movie. So, colour me surprised when I actually enjoyed it!
The film begins as shameless titillation for Zac Efron fans. He's shirtless, muscles-a-rippling, shooting hoops. Then in the next scene he dances (80s style, but still).
Singing. Mercifully, no. Think you'll have to wait until the next High School Musical for that.
Ok, so now the movie can really start. It's essentially Big in reverse, but actually quite a sweet story of a male in mid-life crisis learning to reconnect with his family. Matthew Perry pretty much phones it in as the adult Mike O'Donnell: unfulfilled father of two disinterested teenagers, on the brink of divorce and bordering on bitter. The magic transformation takes a little too long, but soon enough it's back to Zac.
Surprisingly he pulls off the role of father in a teenager's body. He's obviously not ashamed to look silly and really goes for it in a few scenes; you'd almost say "Awww, Dad" were the lines not being delivered by such a baby-face.
The family scenes are pretty much par for the course - wayward daughter and nerdy son - but Leslie Mann does a nice job as the conflicted wife, trying to move on. Mann's always good for a few laughs and she and Efron handle the awkward humour well.
17 Again is absolutely paint-by-numbers, but that doesn't preclude it from being fun. Girls can watch it and coo over Efron, but I doubt this will convince any males to see the film. And actually that is a real shame, because it's light and breezy style doesn't prevent it from conveying a few home truths. 17 Again could almost be required viewing for all mid-life crisis aged men.
Turns out it's worth finding out what your kids are about.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Also up on Trespass today is my review of Angels & Demons. And while I may have gone with the James Bond allusion, Mathieu Ravier's tweet takes the cake:
"Angels & Demons wants to be 24 meets 7 but is as thrilling as your aunt talking you through the resolution of a sudoku puzzle over 140mins."
You can revel in more cinematic wit at Last Night with Riviera.
Now I was a bit gentler on the film and genuinely think it's an improvement on the bloated The DaVinci Code.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know (optional: in 140 characters or less).
Just a short Trespass Trailer Teaser this week. Considering this blog started with me criticising Australian cinema - or, more accurately, the local media treating such films as charity cases and thus appealing to audiences to 'support the industry' - my write up for Last Ride could be seen as a 180. Oh, and I've wrote about Samson & Delilah as well... I'm a turncoat!
Not that I'd refer to myself as 'media', but you see what I'm saying.
Why then, do I sing the praises of Australian films (and films I've not yet seen no less!)? Perhaps I'm going soft in my old age. Perhaps seeing Margaret Pomeranz at screenings has turned my head.
Let's hope not. As I discussed with Samson & Delilah, there's a difference between appealing to audiences and generating genuine interest. Please let me know if I stray into the former because I'm definitely gearing for the latter.
Last Ride does look like a beautiful film. If it's the book, the award winning filmmaker or Agent Smith that piques your interest then great. And if it's me writing about all three, then that's even better!
**Update 21/9 - trailer now released.
Australian release date: 2 July 2009.
Last Ride will also be screening at the Sydney Film Festival: Sunday 7th June - 4:30pm @ State Theatre.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The Spanish Film Festival's Opening Night Fiesta is on in Sydney tomorrow night! We're talking tapas, sangria and the raucous comedy Chef's Special.
This year, I've organised a few film bloggers to post reviews, thoughts and general festival news over at the official blog site. We have writers from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, so I'm looking forward to film blogging fun (however geeky that may sound).
Keep an eye on the Spanish Film Festival blog and please take part by writing up your own thoughts and comments. There are a great line-up of films this year, so join the fiesta!
Monday, May 4, 2009
My review of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex is now up here at Trespass.
What did ya'll make of the film? Anyone catch it at the German Film Festival?
If you're yet to see it, you might like to check out my Trailer Teaser and save the review until after you've been to the cinema.
Australian Release Date: 7 May 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
The Julie & Julia trailer has been released, and it's the perfect Friday afternoon treat.
There's no doubt we're in for classic Nora Eprhon fare: warm, broad and borderline slapstick humour. I know I've already blogged about this film, but it is nice to see Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci reunited; I thought they complimented each other really well in The Devil Wears Prada.
Also nice to see the aforementioned lobster scene made it into the film. Here's hoping it's done as well as described in the book - in which case, may I not be attempting to drink anything!
Have a great weekend!
Julie & Julia - Australian Release Date: 8 October 2009