Wednesday, March 27, 2013

TheVine: Sydney Film Festival launches A Living Archive

BYO: Tablet devices.

You’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty curious invitation to receive (not to mention potentially exclusive!). But ok, consider my interest piqued - and my Nexus 10 packed - Sydney Film Festival.
Launching this morning at Custom’s House, Sydney Film Festival 1954 to Now: a Living Archive is a world first online publication to celebrate the festival’s 60thbirthday.
But ‘online publication’ really doesn’t do this treasure trove justice. Crafted by “digital pioneers” realview, it is an EPIC e-book; a staggering, film history geek mecca that chronicles 60 years and the 8580 films that have graced Sydney Film Festival screens. There are essays, short films, program guides, photos, and memories from festivalgoers young and old.
Festival director Nashen Moodley appropriately let the digital version of himself handle the introduction, before bringing up film doyen and erstwhile festival director David Stratton, who joked that in 1966 “online” “would have had something to do with a hills hoist.”

Mr. Stratton then went on to recount the year “a flock of sheep attended the opening night of the Sydney Film Festival.” Wonderfully told off the cuff as an example of how anything can happen at the festival, one can only hope he will add that story to the archive!
An Internet hole of cinematic proportions (and I mean that in a good way!), this living archive has been built to expand in future years. And while will take days to uncover all its current delights, here are a few fun places to start:
- Trundle through the folio of festival posters.
- Click “All Pages” and delight in the beautiful design and array of film stills for each festival year.
- “Films with Writing on the Bottom” – Former Travelling Film Festival Manager Susan Wilson’s delightful memories on “not your regular movies” that draw surprising crowds around Australia.
- Have a story to share? Join the discussion.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Top Gun 3D

Talk to me Top Gun fans....

Oh yes, Tony Scott's classic has been remastered and re-released on Blu Ray in 3D. And it is EPIC!

Marc, Giles and I practically went supersonic in our enthusiasm for seeing Maverick and Goose soar across the big screen. We even sought to start a movement to bring Top Gun to cinemas, but, happily (given Marc's questionable hashtag choice) IMAX is already on the job, so you'll be able to go ballistic come March 28th.

But first, you'll want to download the latest Spoiler Guys podcast over on iTunes, or stream below:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Oz the Great and Powerful

This week on The Spoiler Guys we take a trip back to Oz...and we're not too happy about it!

Alas, Oz the Great and Powerful is found wanting, and you can hear why (we're looking at you, James Franco!) over on iTunes, or via Soundcloud below:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

TheVine: Side Effects

You’re unlikely to feel woozy after taking in Side Effects, but you may well walk away feeling pretty icky.

And my bet is that is exactly what Steven Soderbergh hopes to prescribe: a reality check couched in a thriller.

For the director has reteamed with his Contagion and The Informant! screenwriter Scott Z. Burns to deliver a neat little noir, that comes with an added dose of social smack down as they take a swing at Big Pharma and the casual medicalisation of Western culture.

Within the film we’re shown warm and fuzzy posters for anti-depressants, and the dreamy, aspirational TV ads that go along with them. We listen in on blasé conversations between colleagues where different drugs are compared and recommended. We bear witness to a psychiatrist dosing his wife up on beta blockers before her big job interview; a drug that “makes it easier to be who you are.”

And that’s before we even get to the fancy long lunches and sycophantic wheeler dealing that goes on between the drug reps and the doctors. Soderbergh and Burns show it all, and yes sometimes they show too much. But if Contagion faltered as it succumbed to melodrama and hysteria, Side Effects manages to be  much more cannily insidious.

All of this social critique forms the caustic backdrop for a psychological thriller surrounding a depressed young woman, Emily (Rooney Mara) who slips into a depressive abyss after her husband (Channing Tatum) returns home from a stint in jail for insider trading. When Emily winds up in hospital, she comes under the care of a well-meaning psychiatrist, Dr. Banks (Jude Law), who tries to find the right cocktail of drugs to help Emily find her feet again. Dr. Banks also seeks counsel from Emily’s previous therapist, Dr. Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), but to say any more would be to spoil the many twists and turns Soderbergh has in store for you.  

Suffice it to say, that there’s plenty more on offer than a few teary trips to the therapist.

Mara is perfectly cast as the conflicted wife and troubled soul. After impressing us in both The Social Network and, more dramatically, in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mara proves her range yet again, as Emily appears the epitome of quaking vulnerability. Soderbergh also proves the camera worships her face, as he uses shallow depth of field to bask upon her haunted, and increasingly deadened eyes.

Jude Law similarly impresses as a doctor pushed to the limits. After his bizarre, histrionic turn in Contagion, it’s nice to be reminded that he can build a performance in with astute nuance. Where Side Effects dabbles in film noir, Dr. Banks becomes a detective of sorts, and Law displays a deft hand with the genre’s obsessive and anti-heroic demands.

Fans of Soderbergh’s Magic Mike will be sad to see so little – ahem – of Channing Tatum this time around. But abs aside, there is no question that Soderbergh brings the best out of Tatum, who shows increasing command with each dramatic performance.

The same can’t be said for Catherine Zeta-Jones, who feels like she’s in a different movie – possibly a cartoon. Her ultra-slick, cat-who-got-the-cream routine feels out of sync with the rest of the understated performances. And again, without giving anything away, her storyline is easily the weakest and one of the film’s major disappointments.

The greatest disappointment, however, will be if Side Effects is really Soderbergh’s swan song. Not to imply that he’s gone out with a whimper, not a bang, but rather to impress that he’s too sodding talented a filmmaker to give it up! Yes we still have his HBO Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra to look forward to, but then will he actually call it quits?

That will be the real bitter pill to swallow.

But all the more reason to forget what it ways on the warning label, and take Side Effects in with a big glass of wine.

Cheers, Soderbergh.

Published by TheVine
Australian release date: 7 February 2013
Seen the film? Listen to the Spoiler Guys episode.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Side Effects

This week on The Spoiler Guys we eek out the final milligrams of Steven Soderbergh cinema magic with his psychopharmaceutical thriller Side Effects. It's the perfect film for a spoiler podcast, so please don't listen until after you've seen the film!

But will this really be Soderbergh's swan song? Join in the debate over on Twitter

You can download via iTunes (where we'd love you to leave us a rating and/or comment) or stream via Soundcloud below: 

Australian release date: 28th February 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Argo

Are we sick of the Oscars yet? Nah.

That said, I was completely gutted to miss out on another Eat Tori Oscars Feast (seriously, I need some of that Django Unchained white cake in my life, stat!), but I did try to make do with coffee and brownies for our Spoiler Guys recording sesh on the Best Picture winning Argo.

Tune in to hear us chat about the Blu Ray extras, the extended cut, and of course, that catchphrase. Giles and I also disagree over Ben Affleck's performance - what do you think? Should Ben cast himself in his movies?

Huge high fives to everyone who has helped the Spoiler Guys reach #1 on the iTunes top 10 TV & Film Podcasts. Please keep spreading the love by leaving us a rating or a review on iTunes, or simply by subscribing to the podcast.

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