Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Missing: 1 Blogger

Sometimes you just put too much on your plate - your eyes are bigger than your stomach as the saying goes. For the time being I'll be missing from here - writing on the Quickflix blog as well as over at Watch Out For.

A New Level of Nerdiness has been fun but for now it's au revoir!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You have to know who you are, and what you are. It's the only way to lead decent lives.

Never Let Me Go
March 31, 2011

Dir: Mark Romanek

This review was written for Watch Out For

Based on the 2005 novel by Japanese-born, British writer Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go has been called a modern sci-fi classic. I’d be more reluctant to use the word ‘classic’, but the film adaptation of a, in my opinion, overrated book, proved meditative and visually impressive.

Directed by Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo), the film, like the book, is divided into three sections and follows Ruth (Keira Knightley), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Kathy (Carey Mulligan), who begin as students at Hailsham, a privileged boarding school with a secret.

Students are encouraged to look after their health above all else and as they grow to learn their destiny they, and the audience, are asked to question what it really means to be human. While the science fiction element is present, the real focus of the film is the relationships between our narrator Kathy and her friends, including a much longed for intimate relationship with Tommy.

The students also experience an emotional journey of self discovery as they come to terms with their imposed fates.

Continue reading at Watch Out For

Friday, March 18, 2011

The name's Rango

Dir: Gore Verbinski
March 10, 2011

This review was written for Watch Out For

There are often advantages to seeing a film with its intended audience. In the case of new animated family film Rango, I would say actions spoke louder than words as I counted the number of children who roamed the cinema, started kicking seats and talked during the film. Though marketed as a family movie I would safely advise that parents with children under 10 need not bother.

Rango, who begins the film nameless, is a pet chameleon, voiced by the ever charismatic Johnny Depp. He considers himself a bit of an actor, staging plays with his “friends”, the torso of a Barbie doll, a wind up fish and a plastic palm tree – from the opening scene we can tell this isn’t your ordinary animated film and the humour operates on an entirely different level.

While en route with his owners Rango’s tank flies out the back of the car landing him in a foreign landscape – the desert. With the help of lady lizard Beans (Isla Fisher) Rango makes it into the town of Dirt, where he poses as a not-to-be-messed-with cowboy who took down seven brothers with one bullet.

Continue reading at Watch Out For

Marines Don't Quit

Battle: Los Angeles
Dir: Jonathan Liebesman
March 17, 2011

This review was written for Watch Out For

I had the choice to see two films on Tuesday night. The first was a film about aliens invading Earth, the second a film about a writer who takes a wonder drug to increase his potential.

They both sounded ridiculous so it came down to the lead men; Aaron Eckhart or Bradley Cooper? As Cooper has never impressed me with his acting I decided to take myself along to Battle: Los Angeles and watch Aaron Eckhart kick some alien butt.

Battle: Los Angeles follows in the tradition of every invasion film you’ve likely ever seen, in fact the film contains so many clichés it becomes a joke and soon this action film resembles a comedy.

Continue reading at Watch Out For

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wasted on the Young

Wasted on the Young
Dir: Ben C. Lucas
March 3, 2011

This review was written for Watch Out For

The latest Aussie teen film Wasted on the Young presents us with a bleak, unreserved look at the youth culture today. Mobile phones and the language of SMS, drugs, parties, bullying, revenge, sex – it doesn’t sound like your typical Australian high school – or does it?

Set in a privileged high school in Perth, the story centres on step brothers Darren (Oliver Ackland) and Zack (Alex Russell).

As would be expected these boys are polar opposites, though they both swim on the school team, Zack is the Captain and the token jock/bully while Darren is the quieter, more sensitive nerdy brother whose affections for the blonde beauty Xandrie (Adelaide Clemens) begin a chain of events that will forever alter these teenagers’ lives.

First time feature film director Ben C. Lucas has given us a slick, beautifully crafted film but one that lacks believability and heart. Cinematographer Dan Freene gives the film a polished and impressive façade that matches the pretentiousness of the teenagers on show.

Continue reading at Watch Out For

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Three have been killed I am Number Four

I Am Number Four
Dir: D.J.Caruso
February 2011

This review was written for Watch Out For

Why does Earth always seem to be the final destination for aliens when their home planet is destroyed? And why must friendly aliens always be chased by “bad” aliens wielding advanced weaponry?

I Am Number Four, the latest film from director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia), does little to challenge these long implemented stereotypes in science fiction, but then again it’s a faithful adaptation of the novel of the same name, so we should really be pointing the finger at James Frey and Jobie Hughes – collaborating under the pen name Pittacus Lore.

When their home planet of Lorien is destroyed, nine children (just what are alien children called?) are sent to Earth with their guardians. They are scattered to protect them from the Mogadorians, those responsible for killing their race, and are being hunted according to their number.

As they age each of them develops their legacies, powers ranging from invisibility to telekinesis, the use of which Number Four (our hero and protagonist) must harness to fight back. His human name is John Smith, he’s tired of running and is ready to fight, the only problem is he’s just fallen in love.

Continue reading at Watch Out For

I didn't forget everything.

Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra
February 2011

This review was written for Watch Out For

By all accounts Unknown should not be an enjoyable movie. The plot is thin; there are multiple implausible car chases and laughable narrow escapes. Yet I could not wipe the smile from my face for the entire film.

Liam Neeson plays Dr Martin Harris, botanist extraordinaire, attending a summit in Berlin with wife Liz (Betty Draper, I mean – January Jones). Through a series of unfortunate events, Martin and his taxi driver Gina (Diane Kruger) are involved in an accident as the car plunges into a river.

When Martin comes to he’s in a hospital with no identification and a scattered memory. As he begins to piece together his identity he makes the shocking discovery that an imposter, Aidan Quinn, has taken his name and his wife. As he attempts to prove he is the real Dr Harris he uncovers some truths he would perhaps have preferred not to.

Continue reading at Watch Out For 

Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole
Dir: John Cameron Mitchell
February 2011

This review was written for Watch Out For

Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play by David-Lindsay Abaire, Rabbit Hole is a study in grief, in loss, in marriage and in family.

It’s eight months after the tragic death of their young son Danny, and Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) Corbett are struggling to move forward. Dinners with friends are shrugged off; their son’s bedroom remains untouched, Becca easily snaps at her family; mother Nat (Dianne Weist) and sister Izzy (Tammy Blanchard), and Howie can barely kiss his wife without her retreating.

It isn’t long before Becca refuses to continue going to their couples’ therapy group, and husband and wife take separate paths to try healing their wounds. Becca begins meeting up with Jason (Miles Teller), the teenager who swerved his car from hitting the Corbett’s dog and instead hit their child. Howie takes comfort in a friendship formed through their therapy group, with Gaby (Sandra Oh) who, along with her husband, has been in therapy for eight years.

Continue reading at Watch Out For