Trailer: Inherent Vice

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Sep 302014

To call this trailer highly-anticipated would be an understatement. Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film Inherent Vice is set to screen at the New York Film Festival (currently underway) ahead of its theatrical release. Australia isn’t going to get this until early 2015, so by then I’m sure we’ll have a pretty good idea of how the film has been received.

The film is adapted from Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name, which I made it 1/4 into reading before abandoning. It’s not that the story wasn’t interesting, it’s that I found the way it was written incredibly hard to digest. I’m hopeful that the film will be more accessible, we’ll see…

The official synopsis is as follows:

When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…well, easy for her to say.
It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused—except this one usually leads to trouble.
With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists… Part surf noir, part psychedelic romp—all Thomas Pynchon.

So, what do you think?

Monthly Round-up: September 2014

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Sep 302014


Last month I saw 2 films at the cinema, this month it was 32. After wanting to go for so long, it’s kind of hard to believe that the Toronto International Film Fest is done and dusted. Other than the fest and the long plane trips there and back, I didn’t see a whole lot else. On the TV front I finished the entire series of 30 Rock, a show that I can’t say I love but I can say I liked. I loved the relationship between Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, but the rest was rather patchy. I saw 41 films in September, which for me is a lot. Check the round-up out after the jump.
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So that was TIFF14

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Sep 232014


So, it’s done. I, with my fear of flying, made it all the way to Toronto and attended the Toronto International Film Festival. I hope to have a steady flow of reviews up on the site over the next month, but for now here’s a brief summary.

*29 films viewed at the festival (list here)
*2 films skipped – Wasteland, which I heard was terrible and Bang Bang Baby, I was just too tired
*8 films viewed on the plane
*The best film I saw at TIFF by a country mile was Nightcrawler
*Nightcrawler was one of only two films which audiences burst into applause mid-film
*The other the horrifically painful The Last 5 Years and I have no idea why people clapped
*I didn’t cry this festival, but Coming Home got me the closest
*FAQs are generally awkward and bad, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are
*The award for ‘the film shoved in at the last-minute to my schedule which turned out to be incredible’ award goes to Coming Home, with Beyond the Lights and Hungry Hearts the runners-up
*The worst film was Manglehorn. David Gordon Green goes on my list of directors I am wary of because they are too hit-and-miss. Other members of this list include Michael Winterbottom, Françis Ozon and Jason Reitman.
*I had one great morning of celeb spotting and let me tell you Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is ever bit as handsome as he appears to be on the screen
*My one fangirl moment was seeing Mark Ruffalo onstage for Foxcatcher. *swooooooooon*
*I was surprised by how TIFF is a festival of two halves. Thursday->Monday is absolutely packed with celebs, press packs with their red lanyards (and often pushy, entitled attitudes) and lines like nothing I have seen outside of Japan. From Tuesday the press start to leave, there are less big red carpet events and you can mostly forgo lining up
*It’s much harder to pick films for a festival where most of the films are world premieres, thus the number of not-so-good films I saw was probably higher than most festivals.
*Certain veteran TIFF goers make pirate noises when the anti-piracy ad comes on. It’s weird and you should stop it
*The volunteers are incredible. How these people could have a sunny deposition when looking at my sleep deprived, grumpy face at 8.30am is beyond me. Kudos TIFF volunteers, you made it something special
*Beer is dangerously cheap and I drank my weight in it
*Toronto has perfected the art of city pubs, but you have to work a little harder for good [healthy] ethnic food
*The blocks are always twice as big as you expect, so wear comfortable shoes. Actually this applies to the first half of the festival, regardless of how far you have to walk. You will spend hours upon hours lining up, so treat your feet kindly
*The people are so nice that you’ll consider never leaving (but then you remember how cold it gets). Huge shout-out and love to Ryan, Lindsay, Courtney, Bob, Matt, Kurt, Amir, Max & Shannon (& others)for making it such a fantastic festival
*It was worth every cent
*I want to go back

The Forgotten: The Truth About Cats & Dogs

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Sep 212014


In this edition of The Forgotten, Andrew Gillman explains why The Truth About Cats and Dogs is far more than just another generic rom-com. Thanks for contributing this piece Andrew, it’s a great read. [Ed]

I am a rom-com tragic. This is an odd juxtaposition of terms since (a) romantic comedies are supposed to be all meet-cute to happily ever after ending with only a minor third act detour into sadness of any kind and, (b) Any suggestion of tragedy pre-supposes that Christopher Nolan is now making films about “wuv twu wuv” (The Princess Bride) which I am fairly certain hasn’t happened.

Through thick and thin, from Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn/ Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan good to Matthew McConaughey and Drew Barrymore bad, I have watched romantic comedies through every rose-strewn, diamond-twinkled rise and fall in the much-maligned genre’s fortunes.

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The Best Films Set In…Chicago

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Sep 172014


This is the thirteenth post in the “The Best Films Set In…” series. The setting can be a place (like Tokyo), a location (like the beach), or a time (like Winter). In these posts I’m going to pick my 5 favourite films that are set in that particular place/location/time and explain why I like them.

For this edition, I’ve handed over the reigns to Sydney film enthusiast and critic, Lisa Malouf. Lisa has picked an American city for the setting of her list. It’s a city that can be both beautiful and gritty, and is the setting of a large number of excellent crime genre films. Thanks for sharing your list with us Lisa. [Ed]

The city of Chicago conjures up many associations for different people: it could be historical figures Al Capone and Eliot Ness, its nickname ‘the windy city’, or the famous Steppenwolf Theatre Company, or maybe as the one-time home of the Obama family, and the long-time home of both Oprah Winfrey and the late great Roger Ebert. For me, the first thing I reflect upon when thinking about Chicago is just how many terrific films were set (and often filmed) in this city.

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Lucky Bastard

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Sep 172014


Before we begin, please take a minute to read Lukas Kendall’s article, What Happens When You Make An NC-17 Film.

Film is a powerfully subversive format. It climbs into your soft tissues, stirring hormones and ideas. Amos Vogel, writing in the 1974 classic Film As A Subversive Art, wrote that “short of closing one’s eyes – in cinema, a difficult and unprecedented act – there is no defence against it”. However, as noted by Kendall, closing one’s eyes in the cinema isn’t the problem; simply getting it in front of your eyes at all is the greater difficulty. Lucky Bastard has engaged itself in a cultural war, one with a frontline that is mired in the sucking mud of ‘rules of art’, ‘good taste’ and ‘acceptable content’.

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The Forgotten: Super

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Sep 152014


In this edition of The Forgotten, Steve Parkes (Cinema Cope) explains why Super (James Gunn, 2010), an underrated super hero movie of sorts (which was dwarfed by bigger films released around the same time) is worth  a watch. Thanks for sharing this film with us Steve. [Ed]

Around 2009/10 at least four Superhero-as-vigilante films came out, including the completely forgotten Defendor (with Woody Harrelson and Kat Dennings), and the most successful of them, Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, based on the Mark Millar comic book series.

I enjoyed Kick-Ass, but the best of these movies is the nearly forgotten Super. If Super is on some people’s radar at all at the moment, that’s probably because it gets the occasional mention in articles about its writer/director, James Gunn. Gunn is getting a lot of attention at the moment thanks to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. Prior to Guardians, he had only directed Super, and the 80s-set horror-comedy Slither.

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The Forgotten: Possession

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Sep 132014


In this edition of The Forgotten, Andrew Buckle (The Film Emporium, Graffiti with Punctuation) explains why Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981) is one of his top 20 horror films of all time. Thanks for sharing this film with us Andrew.[Ed]

Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 domestic melodrama come psychological thriller come gruesome creature horror is one of the most chaotic and deranged films I have ever experienced. It is a ghastly film that is sure to leave an imprint on anyone who survives it. But, being pretty inaccessible, it isn’t a film you hear about too often.

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