Once upon a time, in the galaxy far, far away, there was the Australian television network landscape of my boyhood. Hard to believe now, this consisted of a mighty four selections; three commercial networks and the government one. In these pre-cable, let alone pre-internet, days, those networks showed movies. A lot of movies. And movies spanning all decades and many continents. In fact, the television landscape of my boyhood, as seemingly limited as it was, was a great film school.
Enemy begins with Jake Gyllenhaal’s heavily bearded character entering a room where a group of men surround some sort of sex show. A scantily clad woman cries out in what could be either pleasure or pain. The camera pans across the faces of the men. Some seem fascinated, some seem uncomfortable, some, almost weary. Two women wearing sheer robes and high heels walk out. One woman places a Sterling silver serving tray on the floor and removes the cover to reveal a giant spider. The other goes to step on it with her high heel, and the camera cuts away. Then, things get weird…
Although it was released throughout much of the rest of the world mid-2013, and won’t be released in the US until April 4th, Time Warner Cable is currently offering – and promoting heavily – Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge (re-named from Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa) on VOD, presumably to cash in on Philomena’s massive surprise sweep at the Oscars. Alan Partridge is nothing like Philomena.
You get a lot of movie for your 16 bucks with The Wolf of Wall Street, but you’d have a better time if you got less movie. It’s two hours and 59 minutes, which sounds like director Martin Scorcese said to Paramount, “You don’t want a three hour movie? I haven’t given you a three hour movie!”
Oh my god!! This is the WORST Christmas movie ever! For one, it’s not about Christmas, it’s about slavery. Which, in retrospect, I should have gathered from the title. Seriously, though. This is the most brutal, hard-to-watch, eye-opening film of the year. Every single person ever should watch. I loved it, in that way that you love a movie and hope to never, ever, ever see it again.
If your favourite Coen Bros. flick is The Big Lebowski, True Grit or No Country For Old Men, there’s no guarantee that the new one, Inside Llewyn Davis, is going to be up your alley. But if you thought A Serious Man was funny as shit (it was), pissed yourself at O Brother Where Art Thou?, and basically had a haemorrhage the first time you saw Raising Arizona, you’ll love Davis, which is really funny while also bringing the Art.
Amy Adams is hot. If you don’t believe me see American Hustle. In fact, see it anyway. See it no matter what. It’s awesome.
Birth of the Living Dead is a documentary about the making of one of my favorite films; Night of the Living Dead. It contains a treasure trove of trivia about how George A. Romero, NOTLD’s director and screenwriter, added the zombie to the classic monster roster with the help of a rag-tag group of investors and first-time actors and filmmakers. But unlike Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and The Wolfman, zombies were added as a whole, as a collective. Forty-five years after NOTLD’s release, zombies are more popular than ever, which makes me a very happy man.
The “Catching Fire” in this case is about the fire that is civil discontent brewing in the 12 districts that will soon be the revolution. But also it is the fire that makes me slowly warm up to this franchise. I hated the first one so much that I walked into this with dread and left mildly surprised… How about that? I say that they did something right.
A foolhardy concept from its very inception, Diana, which imagines the relationship, in the last three years of her life, between Diana, Princess of Wales, and heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) is chock full of dialogue that no actor can possibly make work. If we are to believe this film, Diana and Hasnat’s early courtship, held essentially in secret at Kensington Palace, was composed of her making gags about the bounty of royalty (asked if she has any more wine, she replies “This is a Palace – we don’t run out of anything”), while he parried with poetic quotes and ludicrous, high-faultin’ babble (on surgery: “You don’t perform the operation – the operation performs you”).