Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ira Glass on Poker


I recently had the pleasure of interviewing This American Life host Ira Glass for SBS Film. We were discussing his involvement as co-writer and producer of Mike Birbiglia's charming portrait of a desperate comedian in Sleepwalk with Me (I later had a marvellous time hosting the Sydney Q&A with Birbiglia).

As our chat wrapped up, I asked Ira about poker. He is featured in the documentary All In: The Poker Movie and I was curious what the draw of poker is for him. 

Ira's answer is just wonderful - and had us both laughing - so I thought I'd share it here: 
The draw of poker for me is that it’s nice to lose myself completely in something that’s sort of difficult but isn’t my job. And I like that it takes a lot of concentration; I like that you’re reading people. I enjoy card games. 
I like that there’s a little bit of math involved – I mean it’s super basic, but you like run the odds in your head when certain things come out – and I like that you’re psyching other people out. 
It’s an incredibly psychological game; I’m not very good at it at all. And honestly my instincts as a reporter are exactly the worst instincts to have as a poker player, because there are situations I get into where I pretty much know what’s happened, I know that I’ve lost, but I’m just so curious to see what happens, and I end up spending a lot of money just to see the other person’s cards. 
I’m good enough to know how bad I am.
 
I love that Ira's curiosity costs him! A small price to pay (hopefully!) for such an engaging mind.

Listeners to The American Life will know Ira has reached out again for the programmes annual pledge drive. If you're a fan and yet to kick a few bucks their way for all the brilliance they bring us, then click HERE to donate. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Oblivion


It's time for some more Tom Cruise cinema this week on The Spoiler Guys, as we voyage into Oblivion.

Heck, I even have a Tom Cruise Checklist™, while Marc claims the name-dropping points, and Giles has us all in stitches with his narration of Top Gun.

Head over to iTunes to download the show (and please leave a review or comment if you fancy it), or stream via Soundcloud below.
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: The Croods


If you haven't yet introduced yourself to The Croods, then RUN, don't walk into the cinema to do so!

But if you're already all buddy buddy with these stone age dudes, then head over to check out The Spoiler Guys podcast on iTunes or stream via Soundcloud below:

Monday, April 15, 2013

**CLOSED** Giveaway: Drift Special Screening


I'm excited to be hosting this Q&A session with the Drift guys tonight at Event Cinemas Bondi Junction.

This will be very different from the last character Sam Worthington and I chatted about - though I'll guarantee we'll still discuss hair! And surely I'm not alone with my McLeod's Daughters crush on Myles PollardXavier Samuel on the other hand - he and I will need to have words about just how freaked out I was watching The Loved Ones.

Mostly though, we'll be talking about surfing, fraternity, and the thrills and spills of filmmaking. Would you like to come along? Thanks to the groovy people Hopscotch Films I have two double passes to give away!

There is also another Q&A screening in Melbourne on Wednesday 17th April at Village Cinemas Southland. Click HERE for more details.
**UPDATE** I now have ONE double pass to give away for the Melbourne screening! Email me for your chance to win. 

Synopsis
Based on true events, Drift is a story set on Australia's spectacular and rugged coastline in the early 1970s.
It begins in a remote coastal town with the two Kelly brothers, who spend their youth searching for the perfect wave. Out of necessity the family launch a backyard surf business; re‐thinking board design, crafting homemade wetsuits and selling their new surf gear out of their van.
Battling killer waves, small town conservatism and hard-core criminals, the brothers persevere, daring to dream of a world where they can surf to live and live to surf.
A story of passion and corruption, deadly addictions and fractured relationships, Drift tells a tale of courage and the will to survive at all odds.



To go in the running to win one of two double passes to attend the Q&A screening TONIGHT at Event Cinemas Bondi, email me [subject: Drift] with your name for the doorlist. Winners will be notified by reply.

Australian release date: 2 May 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Giveaway: Kiwi Phone Home



Calling all Perth-based Kiwis! Feeling a little Beached Az?

Air New Zealand is concerned that you might be battling homesickness. So much so that they’re going to rub it in serve up a little slice of home with two movie nights. They’ve teamed up with Rooftop Movies to bring Perth some homegrown favourites: NZ Kai, beer and sav blac – oh yes and some cinema too.

Taika Waititi's cheeky Boy will be screened. Now I adore this film - I still have a soft spot for it since my first viewing back at the 2010 Sydney Film Festival (you can read my review HERE). So colour me delighted that Air NZ is flying me over to join the fun! 

No, really. I'm off to Perth tomorrow morning, so you might want to follow my shenanigans on Twitter

Which brings be back to the giveaway. The movie nights are sold out, but two lucky Perth readers* have the chance to win a double pass to the shindig this Saturday night (13th April).

To go in the running to win one of two double passes to attend the Air NZ Rooftop Movie Night on Saturday 13th April, email me [subject: Kiwi Phone Home] with your name and answer the question "What makes you homesick?". 
Winners will be notified by reply

*You don't have to be a Kiwi, but that would be cool, bro! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Vine: The Croods


Who else grew up on The Flintstones?

That Hanna-Barbera classic will forever form the Bedrock of prehistoric, animated shenanigans. It might seem like a tall order for DreamWorks and Fox to consider introducing a new family to the neighbourhood, but wait til you meet The Croods: the (new) modern stone-age family.

There’s the over-protective patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), who teaches his family to ‘fear everything.’ His wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), son Thunk (Clark Duke), mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman) and hilariously feral baby all thoughtlessly comply, but not his fearless daughter Eep (the perfectly named Emma Stone). She is suffering from one hell of a case of cabin/cave fever, and wants nothing more than to live in the light.

It turns out teen girls and their fathers really have been knocking heads since time-immemorial, as Eep and Grug harrumph around at an impasse, until they go through tectonic shift…literally. Forced to flee their cave and traverse across the big, bright world, The Croods start to take on the retro comedic stylings of another famous family: the Griswolds. The dynamic changes yet further when the fire-wielding Guy (Ryan Reynolds) bursts onto the scene like some prehistoric hippy – complete with a precocious pet ‘belt’ (‘voiced’ by co-writer/director Chris Sanders).

Homo sapien to Grug’s homo neanderthalensis, Guy quickly becomes the brains of the outfit, threatening Grug’s bear hug hold on his clan. And herein lies my one quibble with this fabulous film: wasn’t this supposed to be Eep’s story?

She opens the movie with endearing narration and dominates much of the first act, setting the audience up for what looked to be the next in line of female-driven family films. (We’ve recently seen a spunky Rapunzel in Tangled, a fearless lassie in Brave, and one could also argue Vanellope gives Wreck it Ralph a run for the titular character's money). But once Guy grooves onto the scene, the focus largely shifts onto his brains vs. brawn rivalry with Grug, leaving Eep to swoon from the sidelines and coo over shoes. Sure, Emma Stone makes that lots of fun to watch – there’s even a great line in there countering our body conscious society, where Guy tells the wonderfully muscular, thick-thighed Eep “You’re really heavy!” And she replies with absolute delight “Ohh thank you!” – but Easy A fans also know Stone can easily carry a film, so why not let her?

Eep does manage to muscle her way back into the third act to a certain extent, where daughter and dad will pull at your heartstrings, while the animation will simply blow you away. Dreamworks have unquestionably outdone themselves with the craftsmanship and creativity on display in The Croods. The kinetics of the opening hunt is absolutely superb, and as the world breaks apart dusty rock to reveal a riot of colour, it’s as if the animators have made it their mission to conquer Avatar. The 3D follows suit with beautiful depth, seamless movement, as well as a few cheeky camera bombs to keep the kiddies jumping in their seats.

Indeed co-writers/directors Chris Sanders (How to Train Your DragonLilo & Stitch) and Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) have certainly found that sweet spot for entertaining kids and adults alike. Much of that can be put down to great casting, as Nic Cage mixes some Homer Simpson into his Kick Ass concerned parent shtick to hilarious effect. And Grug’s running gag about wishing his mother in law has carked-it always manages to get a laugh thanks to Cloris Leachman’s infectious cackle. Reynolds and especially Keener are given a little less to do, but their comedic timing is still put to good use.

It’s no real spoiler to say The Croods leave themselves set up for a sequel. And rightfully so, as Dreamworks have done far more than simply dust off The Flintstones 2.0; The Croods may not yet be a household name, but with their personal brand of buffoonery and heart, you’ll be wanting an introduction.  




Published on TheVine
Australian release date: 28 March 2012

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Trance


There are spoilers a plenty this week on the podcast as Marc, Giles and I succumb to Danny Boyle's Trance.

So if you have also allowed Boyle to mess with your mind, then head over to iTunes and download our latest episode. Or you can stream on Soundcloud below:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

**CLOSED** Giveaway: Sleepwalk with Me


Want to sleepwalk with me?

No. Really. I'll be hosting a Sleepwalk with Me Q&A with its writer/director/star/sleepwalker Mike Birbiglia, and, thanks to Sharmill Films, I have 3 double passes to join the fun.

If you're a fan of This American Life, then you'll already know all about the film. In fact, I also had the great pleasure of interviewing Mike's producer and co-writer, the singular Mr. Ira Glass (really) - so I'll be sure to post a link to that as soon as it's online at SBSFilm.

**Update: my interview with Ira Glass is now online at SBSFilm.

The Q&A screening is this Friday 5th April, 8:45pm at Dendy Newtown.
US stand-up comic-turned-playwright Mike Birbiglia tries his hand at filmmaking and succeeds with the multi-award-winning and US box office hit comedy SLEEPWALK WITH ME.

Direct from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, writer, director and star MIKE BIRBIGLIA will answer your questions in person about sleepwalking and working with This American Life’s Ira Glass in a special Q&A event at Dendy Newtown.

‘I’m going to tell you a story, and it’s true… I always have to tell people that.’

So asserts comedian-turned-playwright-turned-filmmaker Mike Birbiglia directly to the viewer at the outset of his autobiographically inspired, fictional feature debut. Birbiglia wears his incisive wit on his sleeve while portraying a cinematic surrogate. We are thrust into the tale of a burgeoning stand-up comedian struggling with the stress of a stalled career, a stale relationship threatening to race out of his control, and the wild spurts of severe sleepwalking he is desperate to ignore.

Winner of the NEXT Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and based on the successful one-man show, Sleepwalk With Me engages in a kind of passionate and personal storytelling that transfigures intimate anguish into comic art. Produced and co-written by Ira Glass (PRI’s ‘This American Life’), Sleepwalk With Me features a stellar supporting cast that includes Lauren Ambrose, (‘Six Feet Under’), Carol Kane (‘Taxi’), James Rebhorn (‘Meet the Parents’), Cristin Milioti (‘30 Rock’), and a sampling from the who’s who of today’s stand up scene including Kristin Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Marc Maron, Jessi Klein, Henry Phillips, David Wain and Alex Karpovsky.

Bursting with sincerity, Mike Birbiglia’s foray into the medium marks the invigorating emergence of a strong and poignant American voice, at once hilarious and heartbreaking.


To go in the running to win one of three double passes to attend the Q&A screening at Dendy Newtown, email me [subject: Sleepwalk with Me] with your name for the doorlist. Winners will be notified by reply.

Australian release date: 4 April 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Rust and Bone


Rendezvous with the Spoiler Guys this week to listen to our review of Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone

There are some big spoilers to discuss in this film - in fact, I've been surprised how much critics have revealed in their reviews. When I chatted about the film on Richard Glover's Drive, I wouldn't spoil what happens to Marion Cotillard's character, but here we can - ahem - sink our teeth into the story.

Please head over to iTunes to download the episode, or you can stream below:

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